OPINION: Mass Shootings

OPINION:

Mass Shootings: A Feature of American Culture

Gun violence in the United States is out of control. We need common sense laws.

OPINION:

Mass Shootings: A Feature of American Culture

By Trevor K. McNeil and D. S. Mitchell

 

Nothing New

The recent rash of mass shootings has shaken the nation. Rightfully so, such a wanton loss of life is unacceptable, particularly in the civilian sphere. Sadly though, it is difficult to be surprised. Spree killings have been as much a feature of American culture as baseball and apple pie, reaching all the way back to the days of Howard Barton Unruh.  Howard  was an American mass killer, sometimes classified as a spree killer. Unruh  shot and killed 13 people (including three children) during a 12-minute walk through his neighborhood in the fall of 1949, in Camden, N.J. He was 28 years old.

A Couple Years Later

Charlie Starkweather is another twentieth century mass murderer that blazed across the pages of American newspapers with his 14 year old girlfriend.  Charles Raymond “Charlie” Starkweather went on a multi-state killing spree killing eleven people in Nebraska and Wyoming between December 1957 and January 1958. He was 19 years old. He killed ten of his victims between January 21 and January 29, 1958, the date of his arrest. The point being, America has a gun problem and it is nothing new.

Powerful NRA Lobby

The primary opposition to gun control laws in the United States are the gun manufacturers. The NRA has served as an arm of gun manufacturers for years, successfully masquerading as a citizen 2nd Amendment right’s group. The NRA and its bought and paid for wing of the Republican party have formed a powerful voice in Congress, effectively shutting down nearly all efforts to legislate gun control. One of their more ridiculous cries has been the case of “what-aboutism”

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Silverchair “Anthem for the Year 2000

Silverchair “Anthem for the Year 2000”

Silverchair “Anthem for the year 2000

Silverchair were three school mates that came together and rose to international stardom in 1995.  They were all 15 years old when they recorded their first album, Frogstomp, was a pleasant mix of Nirvana and Pearl Jam.  Like all groups over the years their sound has morphed.  Their debut album topped the Australian charts and broke the Top Ten in America, making them the first Australian group since INXS to have significant success in the States.  T. K. McNeil suggested today’s Calamity Jukebox Choice of the Day, Silverchair doing “Anthem for the year 2000” and as usual he got a  “hell, yeah!” response from me and the parakeet. T. K. wanted readers to know that this song was written and recorded in response to a political movement in the 1990’s in Australia. “In the late 90 a far-right party was running on repealing the gun laws. These were the gun laws instituted after the Port Arthur Massacre. Lyrics are below. Enjoy! DSM

**The Port Arthur massacre of 28–29 April 1996 was a mass shooting in which 35 people were killed and 23 wounded in Port Arthur, Tasmania. The murderer, Martin Bryant, pleaded guilty and was given 35 life sentences without possibility of parole. Wikipedia

Anthem for the Year 2000

by Silverchair
We are the youth
We’ll take your fascism away
We are the youth
Apologize for another day
We are the youth
The politicians are so sure
We are the youth
And we are knocking on death’s door
Never knew we were living in a world
With a mind that could be so sure
Never knew we were living in a world
With a mind that could be so small
Never knew we were living in a world
And the world is an open court
Maybe we don’t wanna live in a world
Where our innocence is so short
We’ll make it up to you
In the year 2000 with
Never knew we were living in a world
With a mind that could be so sure
Never knew we were living in a world
With a mind that could be so small
Never knew we were living in a world
And the world is an open court
Maybe we don’t wanna live in a world
Where our innocence is so short
We’ll make it up to you
In the year 2000
Build it up for you
In the year 2000
Make up to you
In the year 2000
Build it up for you
In the year 2000 with you
Never knew we were living in a world
With a world that could be so sure
Never knew we were living in a world
With a mind that could be so small
Never knew we were living in a world
And the world is an open court
Maybe we don’t wanna live in a world
Where no one even cares at all
We’ll make it up to you
In the year 2000
Build it up for you
In the year 2000
Make it hard for you
In the year 2000
Build it up for you
In the year 2000
Make it hard for you
In the year 2000
Build it up for you
In the year 2000 with you
Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Daniel Johns
Anthem for the Year 2000 lyrics © Sony Music Australia

Dion “Abraham, Martin, and John”

Dion “Abraham, Martin, and John”

Dion “Abraham, Martin, and John”

The Jukebox choice of the day was suggested by Calamity Politics’ friend and contributor, David Shadrick. The song was written in 1968 by Dick Holler and first recorded by Dion. The song is a tribute to the memory of four assassinated Americans, all icons of social change: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, and Robert F. Kennedy. We celebrate the birthday of MLK on the third Monday of January every year. This year it falls on 1/18/2021. The lyrics are below. Enjoy. DSM

Abraham, Martin and John

Dion DiMucci

Anybody here seen my old friend Abraham?
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed lotta people but it seems the good they die young
You know I just looked around and he’s gone
Anybody here seen my old friend John?
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed lotta people but it seems the good they die young
I just looked around and he’s gone
Anybody here seen my old friend Martin?
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed lotta people but it seems the good they die young
I just looked around and he’s gone
Didn’t you love the things that they stood for?
Didn’t they try to find some good for you and me?
And we’ll be free
Some day soon, it’s gonna be one day
Anybody here seen my old friend Bobby?
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
I thought I saw him walkin’ up over the hill
With Abraham, Martin, and John
Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Richard Holler
Abraham, Martin and John lyrics © Regent Music

 

David Shadrick “Stay Home”

David Shadrick “Stay Home”

Stay Home

David Shadrick is back with his regular video cast, but today he has a few things to say to any folks who are planning to protest at state capitols around the country and otherwise stir up trouble. Stay the fuck home!  Dave says,   “It’s time for me to rant about the possible civil war brewing on the 20th of January, 2021.  This is my reminder to please stay home, put your gun in your gun cabinet and watch the action on TV.  No matter where you stand on the issues we don’t need shade thrown on our election process.  Stay Home!”

https://www.calamitypolitics.com/2020/06/17/world-on-fire/

Editorial: Surprisingly Unsurprised

Editorial: Surprisingly Unsurprised

Editorial: Surprisingly Unsurprised

**The House of Representatives has drafted a Resolution of Impeachment against Donald Trump for “incitement of insurrection” following the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot. President Donald Trump spoke to his supporters at a rally on the National Mall prior to the mob breaching the Capitol. House Democrats are charging Trump with “willfully inciting violence against the government of the United States.”  “He also willfully made statements that encouraged — and foreseeably resulted in — imminent lawless action at the Capitol.”

By Trevor K. McNeil

Predictability

Humans like predictability, to know, within a reasonable margin what will happen next. If, for no other reason, so they can be prepared for it. We make up rules and reality for ourselves, and get very upset when these rules are violated. One of the mythical theories of the American context, is that of American exceptionalism. American exceptionalism is the idea that America is somehow superior to other nations or that it has a unique mission to transform the world.

How Dare They?

Using this theory as its banner and its hammer, America acts as though it can do whatever it wants in terms of foreign policy or damn near anything else. And boy do Americans get upset when there is any kind of push back. As in the case of the psychological meltdown after 9/11. The Bush administration and most American citizenry were unable to fathom that a small group of Saudi terrorists were able to pierce the bubble of American security.  A theme going all the way back to the civil war with Confederate surprise attacks. ‘How dare they?’ The populace would ask indignantly, ‘don’t they know who we are?’

Strike First, Then Lie

One of the most hilarious examples of this, is the one that has come up in the wake of the events at the Capitol in recent days. Everything is showing the siege was planned, but it was not well planned. The events quickly descended into a chaotic riotous seizure of the U.S. Capitol. The resulting mayhem familiar in the tradition of South America, such as when American troops helped to install Augusto Pinochet as the president of Chile. The shock of such events, despite the clumsy execution, having otherwise intelligent commentators, on CNN no less, referring to when “The British attacked us in 1812.”

We Started It

Two corrections are in order. First, while the war started in 1812, it did not end until 1814. Second, the United States absolutely started it by thinking they could annex Canada from Britain. A notion of which they were disabused when British troops, with the help of Native strategy, drove the invading, that is invading now, Americans back across the border.  The offended Brits burned down the White House and nearly every public building in Washington D. C. in retaliation for the farms the American troops routinely sacked and razed during the course of the war. Still making sure to spare civilian homes. Because the Brits didn’t gain ground in the war, which was never their intention, Americans now mistakenly think that they won the war. The end result being closer to a Vietnam-style stalemate. Neither nation really gained or lost anything but British-Canada maintained its sovereignty.

This Could Be Anywhere

The main cause of dismay in the aftermath of the Trump rioter’s insurrection is that they would dare to attack the Capitol. A sacred temple of holy democracy watched over by God himself. Never mind that there is meant to be a separation church and state. The only problem with this line of thinking is that it is entirely symbolic.

Just A Building

The Capitol is just a building with doors, and can be entered like any other building with doors. There is no force-field around it keeping evil-doers at bay. Nor was there around the capitol building in Serbia when Slobodan Milosevic was dragged out in 2000 by a mass of angry citizens. Capitols are just buildings and governments are made up of people. Right now investigations are underway. The power of social media deserves close examination. Details are emerging by the minute. We may even learn that there were Capitol Police involved in allowing insurrectionists into the Capitol. All we can do is try to learn and see where improvements need to be made.

https://www.calamitypolitics.com/2018/10/05/there-is-one-born-every-minute/

Foster The People “Pumped Up Kicks”

FOSTER THE PEOPLE “Pumped Up Kicks”

“Pumped Up Kicks” is one of the great anti-gun songs of all time. Thanks to “Foster the People for this amazing song. The lyrics are shown below. “Foster The People  is an American indie pop band formed in Los Angeles, California, in 2009. It currently consists of lead vocalist Mark Foster, lead guitarist Sean Cimino, keyboardist Isom Innis, and drummer Mark Pontius.” Wikipedia. Lead singer Mark Foster is the songwriter. So, here we go folks, The Calamity News and Politics Jukebox Choice of the Day, “Pumped Up Kicks.” DSM

PUMPED UP KICKS

Robert’s got a quick hand
He’ll look around the room, he won’t tell you his plan
He’s got a rolled cigarette
Hanging out his mouth he’s a cowboy kid
Yeah found a six shooter gun
In his dad’s closet, oh in a box of fun things
I don’t even know what
But he’s coming for you, yeah he’s coming for you
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You’d better run, better run, outrun my gun
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You’d better run, better run, faster than my bullet
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You’d better run, better run, outrun my gun
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You’d better run, better run, faster than my bullet
Daddy works a long day
He be coming home late, and he’s coming home late
And he’s bringing me a surprise
‘Cause dinner’s in the kitchen and it’s packed in ice
I’ve waited for a long time
Yeah the sleight of my hand is now a quick pull trigger
I reason with my cigarette
And say your hair’s on fire, you must have lost your wits, yeah
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You’d better run, better run, outrun my gun
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You’d better run, better run, faster than my bullet
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You’d better run, better run, outrun my gun
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You’d better run, better run, faster than my bullet
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You’d better run, better run, outrun my gun
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You’d better run, better run, faster than my bullet
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You’d better run, better run, outrun my gun
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You’d better run, better run, faster than my bullet
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You’d better run, better run, outrun my gun
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You’d better run, better run, faster than my bullet
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Mark Foster
Pumped Up Kicks lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Bad Guys With Guns

Bad Guys With Guns

By Trevor K. McNeil

Gun Culture

America has a gun culture. More than any other country, Americans love their guns. The only other place in the democratic world that has as many guns in civilian hands is Northern Ireland. Most of those weapons, are imported from the United States. Intended for use by the Emerald Isle’s alphabet soup of republican and anti-republican paramilitaries. ‘Republican’ in this case meaning to join the Republic of Ireland. Not that having more guns than an urban war-zone puts most Americans off.

Rallying Anthem

America’s gun love is so strong it has led to a willful ignorance seen in few other cultures. John Lennon wrote a satirical song, directly mocking American gun culture titled Happiness Is A Warm Gun. Weirdly, that scoffing rebuke of the gun culture has been adopted by America’s horrifically powerful pro-gun lobby. An instance of sick irony rivaled only by the embracing of Tomorrow Belong’s To Me, a song from the famously anti-Nazi musical, Cabaret, by the American far-right as their rallying anthem.

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SUICIDE PREVENTION MONTH

D. S. Mitchell

Please Call 1-800-273-8255 for help. 

Dangerous To Your Health

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. If you are between 15-35, suicide is the second leading cause of death for your age group.  For all age groups, suicide is responsible for more deaths than murder and natural disasters, combined.  Men take their own lives four times as often as women. Many men sadly would rather be dead than seem ‘weak.’

Not Rare, Or Isolated

As you can see, suicide is not a rare, or an isolated event. Twenty-two vets a day kill themselves. An alarming increase in suicide among law enforcement officers should be of national concern. Approximately 170 officers killed themselves last year. Suicide is permanent. No one comes back. It is very real and definitely a permanent end.

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Editorial: “A Matter Of Time”

A Look At Gun Control and 2nd Amendment Reform           

By Trevor K. McNeil

Still Echoing

The cycle has come back around again, and gun-control has returned to the sociopolitical forefront. Something that has occurred with increasing regularity since the beginning of the 21st century, starting with the Columbine shooting in 1999. A twenty year old tragedy that still has echos today.

Posting Memes

Both Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza and Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz posted memes related to Columbine massacre, before committing their own atrocities. The down time between mass shootings has been reduced from months, to weeks, to hours.  The two most recent shootings in Ohio and Texas occurring on the same day. Something that has never happened before on American soil. It has gotten to the point that in the United States no one is safe anywhere. Not in church, not in school, not at the mall, not at a concert, not at a restaurant.

Efficient Means Of Killing

The main reason this is happening, and will continue to happen, is a lack of political will by law makers to devise meaningful reforms. Finding that ‘will’ seems is apparently hard.  But we must find the will. We must make it more difficult for such crimes to occur by limiting access to guns. Death by gun is one of the most modern and efficient means of killing, on an personal level, ever devised. One such reform would be an extreme overhaul of unlicensed gun shows. Such unregulated gun shows are exactly how the Columbine shooters got the guns they used that fateful day, in April 1999.

Under Age

Despite that both shooters were too young to buy, or own a gun in Colorado, they were able to use a ‘straw buyer’ to get the guns at an unlicensed gun show. In December, 1998 several guns were purchased at an unlicensed gun show by the straw buyer. The buyer later sold the weapons to Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, in spite of the seller knowing the boys were under the legal age. It is clear that if they had tried to buy such weapons in a licensed gun store they would have been turned away.  If they hadn’t gotten the guns a lot of people would be alive today, including the shooters.

Gun Love

The gun love is so strong in some quarters, not even Democrats dare stand against them, even in terms of reasonable measures. Conor Lamb, as such, is a self-described “Pro-Gun Democrat.” It was that distinction that was key in his victory over his Republican opponent in 2018. It is a fact that gun law reform will be necessary if America is to slow the number of gun related deaths. Currently, the United States loses 40,000 people annually to gun violence.  Many of these deaths are not mass shooting events, but rather domestic violence or suicidal actions.

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