Saturday, August 10, 2019

The Shootings: What Can We Do?

Two shooting within hours of each other. The first, on August 8th, took place in El Paso Texas. An individual murdered 22 seemingly random individuals and wounded 24 other (the police identified one shooter while many of the witnesses said there were as many four. The next day, another individual, this time in Dayton Ohio, killed ten people while wounding 37. The tragedy, as with most, is almost beyond words.

We've already heard stories about some of those who died, acts of bravery, sheer fear, anger, pain, and I'm sure we'll heard hear many more such stories over the weeks and months to come, especially how those who survived attempt to cope with the senseless acts of violence and begin the slow arduous road to at least some form of recovery, although their lives will never be "normal" again.

But the dual tragedies didn't end there. Almost immediately, there were other reports of similar acts of attempted violence. On the same day as the Dayton shooting, there were four other shootings. Two took place in Chicago. One involved a single death with seven being wounded while the second had seven wounded and no reported deaths. In Memphis Tennessee one person was killed and three were wounded.

On August 5th, in Suitland Maryland, there was five shootings, resulting in one death and four injuries. On the 6th, we had four wounded in Detroit and the following day, in St Louis, two people were killed and two others were wounded. Of course, I want to mention the mass shooting which occurred in Gilroy California, at a Garlic festival on July 28. Four were killed while 15 were injured.

Thus far, based on what law enforcement classifies as "mass shootings", there has been 248 incidents. There has been 246 deaths and 979 injured. Of these, two deaths occurred in a school and one at a place of worship. Sadly, August has just begun and we have four more months to the year left.

Granted, the majority of these "mass shootings" were gang and/or drug related. Nevertheless, within a matter of hours following the El Paso shooting, there was a carefully orchestrated effort to somehow blame the shootings on President Donald Trump, complete with scripted press releases (written, taped, and live interviews) and even paid commercials calling for the banning of guns, ammo, and so forth.

Even Hollywood got in on it by going not just after President Trump, but especially Trump supporters (an obviously attempt as isolation and intimidation). Some as gone as far as to encourage people to attack or even kill Trump supporters (a couple have actually called for Trump's assassination. Once upon a time that would earn you a visit from the Secret Service or FBI). Obviously the "managed media" does its best to reinforce this anti-Trump rhetoric as well.

The overwhelming majority of these individuals and lobbyist groups responsible for the ads all blame a so-called "climate" of "hate" and "anger" promoted by the President and/or his supporters; often cherry picking Tweets, comments at events, and so forth. Lastly, they claim that Trump caters to "White Supremacy" and promotes "White privilege".

As usual, they all call for an immediate ban on guns of all sorts, but particularly "assault" rifles, which are simple semi-automatic rifles with military looking stocks, along with various add-on features. There is also a new call for so-called "Red Flag" laws.

Red Flag laws allow an individual or member of law enforcement to petition the local court to issue an order to "temporarily" remove all firearms from an individual and/or prohibit their ability to purchase any guns on the basis that the person in question is a danger to himself or others. The order remains in effect until the individual is evaluated by authorities (including a psychologist) and determined to be otherwise. Failure to comply is considered a criminal offense subject to jail time and/or a hefty fine.

At present 17 states, mostly the West Coast and New England have some version of the Red Flag law currently in effect. Many of those who are demanding greater restrictions on gun purchases and ownership are calling for a national version of the Red Flag law. While the overwhelming majority is coming from the Left, many Republicans are also warming to the idea, especially as the 2020 election cycle approaches (imagine that).

Of course, the Right isn't quite ready to throw in the towel by a long shot. Many point out the need for gun ownership not just as a means to protect family, friends, or self, but as a "inalienable" right bequeathed to us by the Founding Fathers; a means to defend ourselves from a corrupt government intent on enslaving its citizens. The Founding Fathers, who had just finished a bloody and costly revolution with Great Britain as well as watched several failed revolutions throughout Europe, felt so strongly about this that it was the second right bestowed on the citizens of this new nation just behind freedom of speech and expression.

They also like to point out how totalitarian regimes love to confiscate guns in the early stages of their authoritarian takeover. Specifically they like to point to Soviet Russia, Communist China and Cuba, Fascist Italy, and of course Nazi Germany (as an aside, some are wacky enough to claim that Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany are actually "Leftist" forms of government, or even types of Communism). In short, both sides demonize the other. So what are the facts and what is the usual partisan rhetoric aka "propaganda"?

At least two and possibly as many as four of the recent events (including an attack by a machete and gun toting individual just recently) were either mass murders or attempts at mass murder. Is this Trump's fault or that of his supporters? No. Yes, Trump has made some comments and Tweets that makes one cringe, but none of them encourage violence or racism in any way (and by the way, while there are likely bonafide racist on the Right, there are also bonafide racist on the Left too).

In fact, those on the Right have been remarkably civil (and certainly non-violent) overall when compared to Antifa which looks more like Hitler's Brownshirts than anything on the Right. We also have college student demanding that individuals be denied the opportunity to speak (even after being invited to do so by the university), and have even stormed the stage, pushing the speaker either aside or off the stage! Where has that occurred on at conservative schools? The answer is nowhere.

The claim that these attacks are Trump's fault is simply without merit. Under President Obama there were 32 officially declared mass shootings, but no one seemed to think Obama was somehow responsible. Perhaps the most infamous of which was the Mass shooting at the Mandalay Casino in Las Vegas which resulted in 59 deaths and 851 injuries, including 422 by gunfire. We could consider San Bernardino in 2015 for instance. 14 people were murdered and 21 injured. How about Orlando Florida in 2016? 49 died while 53 were wounded or injured. Want more?

In Binghamton New York, 13 were killed and four were wounded. In 2010, eight were killed in Manchester Connecticut and two were wounded. In 2012, a total of 67 were killed and 68 were wounded. In 2016, 71 were murdered while 83 were wounded (Orlando Florida saw the worse of it). We can't forget the Congressional Baseball Game for Charity in 2017. That's where an individual targeted Republican members of Congress during a practice game. Fortunately, only six were wounded (two critically), the only death was the shooter. I could easily go on, but I think you get the point.

Was any of these the result of President Obama or his followers? Was the result of the atmosphere he created through his comments? I certainly recall a lot of hostility during his two terms. Was this it then the result of "black supremacy" or "black privilege"? In my opinion, no to all of the aforementioned. It was the result of some very twisted minds just as it is now. They were able to take advantage of our existing freedoms such as gun ownership or the ability to freely by fertilizer or other supplies which could be used to make explosives or rent trucks capable of delivering their deadly cargo.

By the way, regarding claims of "racism", let's remember that blacks, not whites, Asians, or Hispanics, are the ones responsible--- by far--- the killing of fellow blacks; about 92% according to the FBI. In fact, blacks as whole are actually responsible for violent crimes against other races than any other group (likely the result of economics and social pressure such as gang influence). Meanwhile, on the other side of the spectrum, Asians have the lowest crime rate of any race. Perhaps, again, the result of economics and social norms, but also due to culture which places a high value of conformity.

Now, let's take that same fact and reinterpret it another way, we find that those of a particular race are much more likely to murdered by someone of the same race simply due to association (ie: about 84% of whites in 2016 were murdered other whites, etc). See how that changes our perception of the same information? Yes, in the case of mass shootings, many of the perpetrator(s) are usually white or Hispanic. Why? I don't know, but I seriously doubt it has anything to do with their race. It could the result of specific social norms which affect one group over another just like overwhelmingly mass murderers are male rather than female.

The fact is that evil will always find away. In the UK, which has extremely restrictive laws pertaining to gun ownership, extremist Muslims use machetes and butcher knives to commit their mass murders. Should we outlaws those? What about clubs, bats, slingshots, bows and arrows? Perhaps we could restrict boards, pipes, sticks, and maybe rocks while we're at it. Bad guys don't care about your laws. They will find a way to get their hands on one. Then, faced with an unarmed public, it will be like a pack of hungry wolves on sheep backed against a cliff.

Some of these mass murderers were/are mentally ill. Better access to mental care could have prevented a few killings. More aggressive enforcement of existing laws pertaining to gun purchases would have also cut down on the number of incidents. I agree that some form of "Red Flag" law would have also helped. I would also like to see mandatory gun safety training with periodic updates. As for restricting certain types of weapons based simply on how they look, that's ridiculous. Any gun, regardless of what it looks like or its caliber can kill in the wrong hands.

Lastly, we have to look at the media and current climate of hate and anger, not caused by President Trump per se, but the result of the virulent partisanship in Washington where rarely a civil word is exchanged between parties is ever hear. Part of this is the result of the Left not being able to get over the fact that Hillary Clinton failed to get her coronation. That seems to be what stunned the Left and the win by an outsider like Trump is what pushed them over the edge and into a never-ending vendetta.

The media, which, along with the government, is controlled by the ruling Oligarchy (90+% of all media, including entertainment, videos, radio, newspapers, magazines, TV, and internet content are controlled by just six corporations), has played a large part in contributing to the atmosphere is hatred. When was the last time you watched the "news" (perhaps excluding Fox) in which something was directly or indirectly derogatory toward Trump or his supporters? Even our nightly lineup of TV shows often include some sort of negative comment about Trump. Gone are the days when we got non-partisan reporting. We miss you Art, Walt, Chet, David, Howard, John, Frank, and Harry.

So, what can we do? The first thing, perhaps the most important thing, is to at least agree to disagree; to accept our differences along with our commonality. We won't agree on everything, or even most things as a country. Heck, we don't even do that within a family unit most times. We don't always get our way either. But we can respect each other's opinion and right to voice them, whether we agree or not. We each have that right.

We also need to consign the notion of race hatred, supremacy, privilege, or whatever, regardless of where it comes, to the proverbial "dustbin of history" where it needs to be. That means removing quotas, restrictions (including association), and so forth. It also means treating and respecting each person for who they are individually, not the color of their skin or any other manufactured differences.

We need to step up and enforce existing laws pertaining to background checks. Too often that's the first real break in the chain of responsibility. We do need to enact some form of "Red Flag" law, as well as impose mandatory gun safety training with periodic updates. We must do more---much more---to identify and treat those with mental disorders. Those are the most likely to be our serial killers and mass murderers.

Trying to remove certain guns based on their appearance makes absolutely no sense. Outlawing guns in general make zero sense. As I said, evil will always find a way around any law or restriction. Criminals are, in general, cowards. They tend to hide behind violence and prey on the weak. Someone who is properly trained to use a gun is much less likely not to become a victim than someone who is unarmed. We need to remember that in going forward.

Finally, we need to recognize that the ruling Oligarchy is all about control, be it assets, resources, or us. To do that, they will wage wars using us as their pawns. They will buy and toss politicians like yesterday's fruit. They literally own both parties and the government's bureaucratic infrastructure. Their interests are well protected through their well paid lobbyists and palms are always greased. But to completely control us, they must divide us, and they try in as many ways as possible.

They formulate hatred, division, envy, jealousy, and most of all, anger until we beg for their intervention. As long as we're fighting each other, we're ignoring them and that's the way they want it. We must fully understand this and approach it with eyes wide open. We must accept our few differences while embracing our much larger commonalities. Once we stop playing their games, then we can focus on what really matter to us. Then, and only then, can we truly become a "United" States of America.

Finally, as a side note, I intentionally did not mention the names of any of the mass shooters, past or present. I also chose not to use any of their pictures or descriptions. I decided that I would not give any of these individuals free publicity on this site.

37 Years of Mass Shooting in the US in One Chart

Red Flag Laws

Race and Crime in the United States

Why We never Talk About Black on Black Crime: An Answer to White America's Most Pressing Question

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