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

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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What Happened At Columbine

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This is a piece I wrote about the Columbine tragedy. It turned out a bit different than I thought it was going to, but I think it works. It basically centers on the difficulty of really knowing the past with so many factors and interests involved, and ends with a counter-factual. A counter-factual is a sort of intellectual game we historians do to better understand what actually happened. We go through the facts and find a factor, usually a small one, that plausibly could have changed everything; presuming everything else stayed the same.

My factor was the fact that both of the attackers were under the legal age to buy the kind of guns they used and had to get them through an illegal “straw purchase.” In this case, meaning through a third-party, someone who got them at a gun show from unlicensed sellers. Had this not happened they would have been left with their primary bomb plot which if successful would have been the second largest domestic bomb attack after Oklahoma City. We, however, know that the large bombs completely failed and the homemade pipe-bombs were ineffective, all of the deaths coming from gunshots. No guns, no dead and what is seen as the first-mass shooting becomes an embarrassing fuck-up-T.K. McNeil

What Really Happened At Columbine

By Trevor K. McNeil

When Are Facts, Really Facts?

Recording history accurately is a tricky business at best. Particularly when there is a degree of shock and trauma involved in the events. Passion, stress and the now known unreliability of eye-witness reports make accuracy difficult if not impossible to piece together.  Furthermore, human memory can lead to things being a matter of record that turn out not to be true. The only reason we have a good idea of what happened on 9/11 is that there is video. But to this day, there are theorists who believe there were explosives inside the towers that were the real cause of the towers collapse.

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WE CAN STOP THE KILLING.

Adding Up The Dead

We at www.calamitypolitics just keep adding up the numbers of lives lost to gun violence in America on a near daily basis. We can’t be the only ones horrified and appalled. At some point it will sink in; we need gun control. We cannot continue wasting these beautiful young lives. Let’s have some common sense conversation–D. S. Mitchell

 

NRA Assault

NRA Assault 

D. S. Mitchell

NRA Strategy

In an article for The Hill, Tim Devaney highlighted a change of strategy by the NRA. For the last 8 years the NRA has been kept on the defensive by the Obama Administration. With the installation of the Trump Administration it is full-bore ahead, shaping policy and writing bills favoring the NRA and its activist activities.

I Like The Second Amendment

I believe the 2nd Amendment is sacred.  It’s the best defense the citizenry has against a President that wants to overstay his welcome. We have seen it in the banana republics, where the generalissimo hangs on after an election. About 36,000 people died from gun violence last year. I do not feel it makes sense for the Congress to roll back regulations on guns. The NRA has engaged in heavy lobbying efforts (that means money, vacations, gifts etc). The mentally disabled should not have access to guns. The Republican House  reversed a Obama Administration regulation inside Social Security to restrict gun ownership.  There are similar regulations in VA rules, and it is expected that the House will also rescind those.

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