Praying for Guns

Gun Violence 2

Like most of you, my heart was shattered this morning when I heard the news.  By now, you’ve no doubt read more than you can likely stomach to read about the events in Las Vegas and I wouldn’t be able to do it justice anyway.  I don’t have the words or the eloquence to adequately tell that story.  

What I do want to discuss is my theory is that we have basically “Thoughts and prayers” our way into American carnage.  

I have made no bones about the fact that I am a VERY lapsed religious person, and in effect have functioned as an atheist or agnostic.  I do not believe in, nor support any form of organized religion.  I honestly don’t really believe that there is a God.

Having said that, in a weird way, I do believe in prayer.  Now… I don’t believe that it actually works, I don’t believe in religious mysticism and I surely don’t believe that you sending Joel Osteen $50.00 via PayPal will help you get to Heaven.  I have an odd theory that revolves around this idea that prayer works in hospitals because it allows patients to relax, and in turn that allows cellular structures to heal better.

OK, enough weird theories.

What I mean above, is that I believe that American politicians on both sides, although I do believe this to be a primarily GOP issue, have negatively affected America with their default position of ‘thoughts and prayers’.  Let’s face it.  Most of these people are even bigger religious phonies than some of their constituents.  Two Corinthians, anyone?  

My opinion is that Donald Trump is the least religious national politician in American history, certainly of the Presidency.  Yet his 30% (i.e. the ‘base’) believe him to be a man of God.  Pfft. 

But this post is about ‘thoughts and prayers’…  

My opinion (this is my blog) is that thoughts and prayers have been co-opted by politicians as political cover.  They don’t actually mean it.  Because if they felt TRUE empathy and Christian love and charity, they’d govern like it.  Instead of making it easier for the mentally ill to get guns, they’d make it harder.  Instead of taking money from gun lobbyists, they’d tell them to take their blood money and stick it.  They don’t.

Instead of taking healthcare from nine million poor kids as part of the CHIP program, they’d find some way to get nine million more on it.

Thoughts and prayers sounds good to say, especially to their (dwindling) religious-right constituents.  

The problem is that it does nothing.  It provides no actual healing, very little comfort, and certainly does nothing except feed yet more red meat to the ultra conservative base.    See, if they really THOUGHT about these issues, and they actually truly PRAYED for guidance from God, they’d do something about it.  They enact laws to at least TRY to prevent another Sandy Hook, another Aurora, another San Bernandino and the beat goes on.  

This morning, the NRA indicated that it would halt ad buys for EIGHT WHOPPING DAYS.  I assume that they felt eight days is sufficient to re-begin their violence incitement, their lies about gun confiscation, and their general contribution to the moral decline of this country.

I read TONS of hot takes this morning about some variation of ‘now is not the time’.  ‘Leave this for another day.’  

N O. 

We have ‘left this for another day’, prayed about it, thought about it, and generally kicked the can down the street for too long.  I’d like anyone to tell one of these fifty-eight families or those that may be permanently maimed or disfigured for life that we should wait another minute to enact common sense gun laws, with a straight face.  Or maybe stop making it easier for the mentally ill to get guns.

Now.  I consider myself to be a fairly intelligent person.  I am WELL aware that all the gun laws in the world, any gun law that any amount of infinite monkeys pecking away at typewriters could create could never prevent every instance of this magnitude.  Evil is within many and there is not much to do in a free society.

But just because that may be the case doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try.    The same people that think that a healthcare law covering 17.8% of the US GDP can be written in the dark in one night, or that tax ‘reform’ can be thoughtfully done in a weekend are the same people telling you that gun control takes time.

Pardon my language but that is utter bullshit.  Congress could go to work TOMORROW to begin taking measures such as further reductions on magazines, increased background checks.  Reinstalling the laws preventing the mentally ill to own guns.  

But, surprise…surprise, they aren’t.  They’re going even further and making it easier to purchase silencers.  

Yes, really.  

This should be a national outrage.  But, instead we’ll just think about it.  And pray.

 

 

 

 

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On Arpaio

Arpaio

You’d have to be living under a rock this week to not have heard that King Donald the Unwise pardoned the former Sheriff of Maricopa County Arizona (where I reside), Loyal Joe™ Arpaio. 

Of course the purpose of this article is to illustrate that those that support this regime must be living under a rock.  

This week I’ve heard conservatives, the base,  numbskulls, talk about how Arpaio should be pardoned because he was simply doing his job and that he should be rewarded for that and that he’s a Real American™ and True Patriot™ and that he is tough and we need tough people.

So, I thought I’d share a few Did You Knows related to King Donald’s loyal friend Joe…

Did you know that Loyal Joe referred to his jail lovingly as a concentration camp?

Did you know that prisoners in Loyal Joe’s jail died at an exponentially higher rate than at other jails and often there was no explanation for the deaths?

Did you know that one of Loyal Joe’s Sheriff’s Posse broke the neck of a wheelchair bound-paraplegic simply for asking for proper medical treatment for his condition by forcing him into a restraint chair?

Did you know that Loyal Joe once herded Latino prisoners into an area of the jail’s yard that contained electric fencing for a photo opportunity?

Did you know that Loyal Joe once instituted a mugshot of the day contest on the MCSO website whereby fine upstanding Real Americans™ and True Patriots™ all across this great land could vote on which inmates could be tallied on a Mugshot of the Day Leaderboard?

Did you know that Loyal Joe arrested local journalists simply for covering him and the journalists were paid $3.75 million because he had them arrested for no reason?  $3.75 million of the same Real American™ and True Patriot™ taxpayer money.

Did you know that HUNDREDS of sex crimes often including children went un-investigated, often because Loyal Joe’s posse were off profiling hispanics, and too busy?

Did you know that despite a seeming lack of funds for rape kits or time to investigate actual crimes, that Loyal Joe sent his “Posse” to Hawaii to investigate President Obama’s birth certificate.  You know since there are no issues of jurisdiction at play here…

Did you know that Loyal Joe staged an elaborate assassination attempt upon himself including the shocking revelation at trial that his own deputies bought the bomb materials, etc.?

Did you know that finally…in 2013 a Federal Judge found Loyal Joe guilty of racially profiling minorities and ORDERED him to stop?  By the way, the Constitution of the United States is DESIGNED to prevent this.  

Did you know that in turn, Loyal Joe hired a Private Investigator to shadow the judge and his wife?

Did you know that Loyal Joe eventually was charged and convicted of contempt of court but still continued?

Did you know that Loyal Joe destroyed numerous hard drives to delete emails and evidence that was ordered to be turned over to the Court?  (We know how much Real Americans™ and True Patriots™ hate destruction of hard drives and email foibles…)

Did you know that Loyal Joe in just one year in 2015 cost Real Americans™ and True Patriots™ $44 million in taxpayer funds to settle numerous lawsuits against him?  In just one year!

Did you know that members of Loyal Joe’s ‘Posse’ set a puppy on fire during a botched SWAT raid and laughed at the dog’s owner?  You know because it stands to reason that since they committed a crime they deserved to have their dog set on fire.  Of course they did.

33% of them didn’t know this because they don’t know anything.  They don’t know anything except for what Breitbart or Fox News or Crying Patriot Eagle™ tells them. They don’t read, they don’t consume media other than propaganda.  They don’t think critically, they don’t research. They don’t verify.  They don’t do anything but peddle in racially motivated tropes. Whenever I talk to Trump supporters, I’m astonished that they have never even HEARD of the bad things that he does (hourly). They talk about job growth (lower than any month of Obama’s entire presidency) or they talk about the stock market (the stock market grew from 6k to 20K under Obama).

They have never met a Muslim, they have never met a Hispanic person.  But they are sure that because people like Loyal Joe think that these people are bad, that they must be.

King Donald’s pardon of Loyal Joe is nothing more than still more dog whistling to racists.  Still more flaunting of the rule of law and a complete and utter lack of understanding of the Constitution.  The base numbskulls that support this are lost. 

And we may be as well.

 

Struggling

I am a child of the rural South.  I was born in Montgomery, Alabama, once the actual Capital of the Confederacy.  My hometown of Tallassee, Alabama was the site of an armory which made carbine rifles for the Confederacy.

I went to college in Auburn, Alabama which resides in Lee County, Alabama, named for Robert E. Lee.

The beat goes on…

I grew up hearing the N word.   I grew up hearing that ‘those people’ are bad, lazy, on welfare, and whatever else you can muster.  I grew up around Confederate flags and all the associated paraphernalia that comes with all of that.  My ancestors were poor so it is unclear whether they owned slaves but I know from stories that they did own indentured servants which was more common in most cases.

I grew up hearing that ‘our guys’ were gentlemen, theirs were ‘invaders’ and rapers and looters.  I grew up hearing that ‘gentlemen’ like Robert E. Lee were good, and William Tecumseh Sherman, who burned much of the South, was bad.

I visited Confederate cemeteries and remember feeling sorry that they had died.

It seemed all so black and white…

Except that it isn’t.

As I have grown older, I have realized that instead of being black and white that the world, even the South is grey.  Not Confederate grey, but ‘life’ grey.  In my bubble, I never realized that the very monuments, symbols, cemeteries, that I was taught or at least exposed to in order to revere, were hateful reminders to minorities and persons of color.

But what I’m struggling with is the cognizance of a scenario where everything about your heritage was, if not a lie, but supremely hurtful to the very people who later in life that I have sworn to protect, befriend and ally with.

How do I reconcile my Southernness?  How do I reconcile being a product of a hateful heritage?  How do I reconcile being reared amongst intrinsic ignorance?  Specifically, how do I reconcile being born in a place where 90% of its residents believe that Donald Trump is an amazing honorable man a day after he tweeted that we should bury Muslims with pigs, because ‘that will show them’?

I currently live in Arizona, which many do not know was once a Confederate territory. There are mountains here named after Confederate generals and there are even a few monuments.  I’ve blogged previously on the fact that often I feel like I am always running.  Frankly, I feel that there is no escape.

I’ve had people tell me that I need to get over ‘white guilt’.  It’s not even that, it’s that for someone like me who for goodness sakes majored in politics and minored in history, what in the world do you do when all your heroes become villains through wisdom and moral clarity?

It’s hard to find new heroes, especially today.

I need one, badly.