The Bastardization of the Second Amendment

OPINION:

The Bastardization of the Second Amendment

OPINION:

The Bastardization of the Second Amendment

*The Gun Violence Archive defines a mass shooting as “one with four or more people injured or killed, not including the perpetrator.”

By D. S. Mitchell

 

Breakdown

2022 started out with a bang, and it just seems to be getting worse. I had barely stopped crying over what had happened in Buffalo, N.Y. when Uvalde took over the news cycle. Yesterday, I watched Mathew McConaughey, the Texas actor who was born in Uvalde, break down during his speech at the White House as he described trying to identify young bodies after being shot to pieces by an AR-15 assault rifle.  One cable commentator told the television audience that there have been more than 250 mass shootings since the beginning of 2022.  I can’t confirm that, but such a number would not surprise me.

Statistically Speaking

As most of us are aware, Americans kill Americans in huge numbers. Americans kill themselves in huge numbers. In 2020, according to CDC data, 45,222 people died from gun-related injuries in the U.S. That figure includes gun murders and gun suicides, accidental deaths, and law enforcement actions. During the Corona virus pandemic, it seemed like mass shootings had stopped; or at least decreased.  But as information comes out it is becoming clear that perception was an illusion; the killings never stopped. For some reason the shootings were less public. Maybe there was just too much noise about masks, mandates, and vaccine protests. With all that aside, the statistics are staggering. There were more than 600 mass shootings in 2020, compared to 417 in 2019. That carnage continued into 2021, and now 2022, with hundreds of shootings.

American Exceptionalism

No where else in the world is gun violence a problem. So, why in the United States? Well, let’s see. I think a good place to start would be to recognize that we live in a country where there are more guns than people. We have a Supreme Court that wants to write its own laws. I say that, using the decisions of the Robert’s court to support that contention; whether it be Heller or Citizen’s United. In the minds of our 21st century ‘conservative’ justices, Ben Franklin, James Madison, Washington and all that crew visualized a country of 330 million people all able to pack AR-15’s if they are over the age of 18. Oh, and let’s not forget the NRA. In my opinion the NRA should be sued after every mass shooting. It is the power of the NRA lobby and their big money that buys off members of the House and Senate; halting any progress on common sense legislation.

Just Imagine

These rebels and rabble rousers of the 18th century never comprehended the potential invention of a revolver, much less an automatic weapon. Lord, folks, when I was a kid I never would have imagined the rise of the personal computer, cell phones, social media, electric cars, or billionaires. I’m damn sure that Ben, Jimmy and George would have written things a bit differently if they could have only imagined our world. There is no person on earth that could ever convince me of anything different. This bullshit of the Second Amendment being a permission slip to ignore pubic safety and turn our streets into war zones, as deadly as Mariupol, is outrageous. Personally, I don’t want to have to put on a flak jacket to go to the store, pick up my grand kids at school, or go to a concert.  Come on America demand sensible gun control; our lives, and the lives of our children depend on it.

 

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

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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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

 

Mass Shootings, A Terrorism Problem

Mass Shootings, A Terrorism Problem

By James Moore

A Borderline Distraction Won’t Help 

I live a few short miles away from where the Borderline mass shooting took place. Some people say it hurts more when it happens so close to home. I guess that depends who you are. For me, every mass shooting hits home.  Sandy Hook was gut wrenching.  Columbine devastating. But then so have all the others which consists of a list so long the names are becoming a blur. This is what happens when our leaders brainwash the ignorant into thinking we are under a terrorist attack from horrible things like caravans that must be stopped by building a wall. No border wall would have stopped the carnage in Thousand Oaks or any of our other mass shootings because the killers were all made in America.

Facts Are Pointless  

In the two decades since Columbine, the mass shootings have not stopped. We have all seen the statistics.  If you are of reasonable mind, they do  more than concern you; they make you demand we see changes made to decrease their likelihood in the future. If you aren’t, you think the Second Amendment  the most sacred words ever written and believe the only way to stop gun violence is by arming more good guys. 

Another Gun For A Good Guy

Our most recent mass shooter was a good guy. A decorated ex-marine who came home unable to cope with what he saw in battle. It’s safe to say if an NRA controlled congress can find the funds to build a border wall, they can find the funds to protect the likes of the innocent who were gunned down at the Borderline. Ah, but the GOP is not about compassion nearly as much as they are about fear and solving any problem with a show of force. No wonder mass shootings keep increasing. Our top down leadership is one that says if 300,000,000 guns are not enough to curb gun deaths, then we need to arm more people.

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Flag Day shootings

Flag Day Shootings

D. S. Mitchell

Calamity Politics is a political blog where we try to post relevant political news, tart commentary, engaging analysis, focusing on progressive opinions and speculations primarily written by me, Darlene Mitchell, a life long agitator and troublemaker.  Due to some recent health issues I have been silent for several days.  I’m doing fine, but I have a few tests and doctors visits in my near future.  So, enough on my medical condition, let’s get to what’s going on in the United States political news scene.

Flag Day, June 14, 2017, ironically is my son’s birthday and the birthday of Donald J. Trump, President of the United States.  June 14, 2017 was also another day of gun violence in the United States.

In an upscale Alexandria, Virginia neighborhood, a well armed lone gunman, opened fire at a Republican baseball team practice, wounding 4. Three Capital Police officers, assigned to Majority House Whip Stephen Scalise returned gunfire, by witness accounts, saving multiple lives.  The legislators and aides had been practicing for the last several weeks for their up coming annual benefit game against the Democrats.

Within minutes, officers from local police departments converged on the site in response to numerous 911 calls.  The arriving officers immediately engaged the shooter. Two of  Scalise’s security detail, Capital Police officers, were wounded in the gunfire. Crystal Griner  was wounded in the ankle and another Capital Police officer, David Bailey was wounded in the leg. Bailey was treated and released, while Griner remained hospitalized for her injuries.

Representative Scalise was shot in the hip.  The rifle bullet tore through internal organs and left the Louisiana House Rep, near death.  Also critically wounded was Matt Mika. Mika was shot multiple times and was at last report on a respirator. Mika is a former congressional staffer, now working as a lobbyist for Tyson Foods.

A staffer for Representative Roger Williams, Zachary Barth, was also shot and is hospitalized with undisclosed injuries.  Roger Williams (R. Tx) was also injured in the melee, spraining his ankle as he ran for cover from the hail of gunfire. Roger Williams, was treated and released on crutches.

The shooter has been identified as 66 year old, caucasian, James T. Hodgkinson from Belleville, Illinois. Hodgkinson was shot multiple times and was pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital.  Hodgkinson, a former home inspector, who had sold his business and allowed his Illinois contractor license to expire last November was identified by his Illinois driver’s license. His wife told reporters that “he sold everything and went to Washington, to work on taxes.”

Neighbors state that Hodgkinson has been visible in the Alexandria, Virginia up scale enclave for the last 4-5 months.  Hodgkinson, who was described as “quiet, but a bit gruff,” had been seen daily at the local YMCA, and appears to have been living in his white cargo van.

Hodgkinson’s motives are unclear. Multiple anti-Republican and anti-Trump postings were found on his Facebook page.  Posts condemning Clinton were also noted, however not to the extent of his rants and ravings on social media against the Republicans. Hodgkinson claimed to have worked for the Bernie Sander’s campaign, however Sander’s quickly came out denying any connection with the shooter after reviewing volunteer records from Illinois.

Additionally, the names of six Republican law makers along with their Capitol Hill office numbers were discovered among the shooter’s personal effects. And, at least one bystander reported the shooter asking, “Who’s playing, Republican or Democrat?”  Early information seems to support the theory that Hodgkinson may have been specifically targeting Republican office holders.

Statements from President Trump, and both Democratic and Republican leadership, stress a need for folks on both sides of the political argument to turn down the heated rhetoric and focus on getting the people’s work done.  It looked like a real Kumbayah moment for everybody. Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi took to the House floor and spoke of a unified voice against violence.  I guess when gunshots are flying by your ear, it might be a ‘Pass Jesus in front of you moment’.

Grab hands; forget that we have had knives at each others throats for nearly a generation.  Since the time of the divisive, combative and disgraced former Speaker, Newt Gingrich, the tone has been hot and nasty. Very nasty.

Speaking of the divisive Mr. Gingrich he has been making the rounds of the cable news networks, working to gin up the right wing base with attacks against any and all “liberals,” “lefties,” and the “Democrats” specifically, because these groups are “inciting radical violence” against President Trump, and the GOP. Citing the Alexandria shooting on “liberals.”

The Republicans have sunk so low that a SuperPac promoting the Republican candidate for congress Karen Handel in Georgia’s 6th District is using attack ads against Democrat Jon Ossoff showing pictures of wounded Rep. Scalise being carried from the field alleging it to be a “liberal attack” against the Republican baseball team. Mind blowing.

Cynic that I am, I think any moderation in tone is a momentary thing.  It can’t and won’t be sustainable.  But, I’m willing to watch and comment along the way.

I must mention that firebrand musician Ted Nugent is calling for a cool down of the rhetoric. Thank you, Ted.

Lastly, I want to say that I am appalled at the second mass shooting on Flag Day, in San Francisco, where three people were killed and two wounded by a disgruntled UPS worker at a packaging center, where after shooting his co-workers, the gunmen turned the gun on himself, committing suicide.

At some point, we as a country need to decide if the killing of thousands of people in this country annually by gun violence is worth examining.

Dar

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