The Widdershins

Archive for the ‘gun violence’ Category

So many shootings in our country, Widdershins. So very, very many. And up until now, thanks to the moral bankruptcy and death worship of the Rethuglican Party, we have done nothing about it.

“In addition to a moment of silence, I would like to ask for a moment of action,” said Senator Dick Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, and the chairman of the committee. “A moment of real caring. A moment when we don’t allow others to do what we need to do. Prayer leaders have their important place in this, but we are Senate leaders. What are we doing?”

Even before the recent shootings, Democrats had already begun advancing stricter gun control measures that face long odds in the 50-50 Senate. House Democrats passed two bills this month aimed at expanding and strengthening background checks for gun buyers, by applying them to all gun buyers and extending the time the F.B.I. has to vet those flagged by the national instant check system.

Let me just stress that universal background checks have the support of 84% of the American public. and an assault weapons ban had 67% support in 2019. So this is quite a lot of bipartisan support from our citizens. Yet because of Republican death cultists in Colorado, the assault weapons ban Boulder tried to impose was blocked ten days before the mass shooting.

The city of Boulder, Colo., barred assault weapons in 2018 as a way to prevent mass shootings like the one that killed 17 at a high school in Parkland., Fla., earlier that year.

But 10 days after that ban was blocked in court this month, the city was rocked by its own tragedy: Ten people were killed at a supermarket Monday after a gunman opened fire, law enforcement officials said.

In announcing the arrest Tuesday of the suspected 21-year-old gunman — who has been charged with 10 counts of murder in the first degree — investigators determined that the suspect had purchased a Ruger AR-556 pistol on March 16, according to the arrest affidavit.

Between the Republican death cultists who refuse to mandate masks and created a Covid-19 crisis of monstrous proportions, and the Republican death cultists who would rather see us slaughtered as we go to school, to houses of worship and to shop for food than to control access to weapons of mass destruction, we Americans have been in Republican crosshairs for decades. And all they do when innocents are murdered in cold blood by domestic terrorists is mouth the once-magic words, “thoughts and prayers.”

It’s a wonder any of us have survived. But we have, and we managed to take control of the government for a brief shining moment. I know we can do better.

We must do better.

Open thread as always.

Droopy Dawg

Yesterday, the Supreme Court upheld the right of LGBTQ workers to equal protection under the law. THIS Supreme Court! The decision was 6-3. The usual assholes dissented: Alito, Kavanaugh and Thomas. (I hear Kavanaugh was seen crying into a beer afterwards, whereas Thomas had his usual Coke.)

This would be enough amazingly and shockingly good news for one day in this hellscape of a year. But wait, there’s more!

Justice Neil M. Gorsuch and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joined the court’s liberals in the 6-to-3 ruling. They said Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination “because of sex,” includes gay and transgender employees.

The decision was a surprise, and not the only one of the day. Even though the court’s conservative majority has been strengthened, it announced Monday that it was turning down a batch of challenges from gun rights groups eager to expand Second Amendment rights. And it rejected the Trump administration’s request to review California’s attempts to provide sanctuary to undocumented immigrants.

Between this, and Suddenly Swing State Ohio set to send out absentee mail-in ballot applications to all registered voters for the November election, and the fact that Joe Biden took in over $80M last month (the biggest haul ever), well…it feels like the avalanche of sh*t that happens every day in 2020 just paused, briefly, for a shining sh*t-free moment.

Tawk amongst yerselves!

Good morning, Widdershins. What a horrific weekend we all had in America, as the two mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio created twin waves of terror both locally, and throughout the United States. We grieve desperately for the victims and their loved ones and, once again, our sense of safety “outside” is eroded bit by bit, day by day.

If only these were the first, or last, of these mass shootings in our country. According to CBS News, there have been more than one per day since January 1, 2019.

As of Sunday, which was the 216th day of the year, there have been 251 mass shootings in the U.S., according to data from the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive, which tracks every mass shooting in the country. The Gun Violence Archive defines a mass shooting as any incident in which at least four people were shot, excluding the shooter.

The toll of 251 mass shootings include five high-profile rampages in the past eight days, in which more than 100 people were shot [bolding mine]:

*A shooting in a historic district of Dayton, Ohio, with 9 people killed and 27 injured.

*A shooting at Walmart in El Paso, Texas, with 20 people killed and 26 wounded. It was the deadliest shooting of the year.

*A shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in the San Francisco Bay Area, with three people killed and 15 injured.

*A shooting at a Brooklyn block party, with one person killed and 11 injured.

*A shooting at a Walmart in Southaven, Mississippi, with two people killed and two injured.

As an ENTJ, I deal with my feelings through thinking. Figuring out how we can stop this from happening is my way of processing these senseless and terrible attacks. I hope, then, you will indulge me as I go step-by-step through the conclusions that led me to the title and point of my post.

Conclusion 1: White supremacy is now a national security threat, and white supremacists are terrorists. Since most shootings are carried out by white men with white supremacist views, we need to start treating white supremacy like other terrorist ideologies and organizations. This means not only prosecuting white supremacists as domestic terrorists, but also shutting down the forums where they organize online.

The big picture: In addition to the El Paso shooter, extremist killers from the deadly attacks on two mosques in New Zealand and a San Diego-area synagogue previewed their acts of terror on 8chan. “Once again a terrorist used 8chan to spread his message as he knew people would save it and spread it,” said founder Fredrick Brennan, who stopped working with the site’s current owners in December. “The board is a receptive audience for domestic terrorists.”

Many experts agree that domestic terrorism is inspired by white supremacy, including the head of the FBI, Christopher Wray – who, ironically, was appointed by the Nazi-in-Chief, Der Drumpfenfuhrer. And speaking of that feces-throwing orangutan squatting in the Oval Office…

Conclusion 2: With their racist words and constant talk of violence against immigrants and other people of color, Drumpf and the Republicans are encouraging white supremacy, and are therefore enabling domestic terrorism. As I wrote in October of 2018, after the attacks on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh:

I am writing today’s post with tears in my eyes and fury in my heart.  For over three years now, we’ve seen the horrific evil of the worst of America become ascendant, and the media deliberately turn a blind eye to it; in fact, we’ve seen them refuse to call it by its name.

Let’s be very, very clear. The modern Republican party, once home to noble public servants like Abraham Lincoln and Dwight D. Eisenhower, has become a refuge for the most deplorable sub-human creatures that ever crawled upon the surface of the earth.

There is no longer any difference between Republicans and Nazis.

It is taking a long time for the realization to percolate through our culture, but this weekend we are seeing the political world begin to focus its wrath on the people who deserve it. Writes the incomparable Jennifer Rubin in the Washington Post:

For decades now, Republicans have insisted mass murders with semiautomatic weapons are not reflective of a gun problem. I can no longer comprehend how such a ludicrous assertion is remotely acceptable. But in one sense they are right: It’s not merely Republicans’ indulgence of the National Rifle Association that puts Americans’ lives in jeopardy; it is the support and enabling of a president that inspires white nationalist terrorists — and even denies white nationalism is a problem.

[snip]

…we are awash in hate crimes and white nationalist-inspired mass murders. We have a president whose words inspire and bolster perpetrators of these heinous acts. That makes Trump not only a moral abomination, which no policy outcome can offset, but a threat to national security. Those encouraged by his words in recent years kill more Americans than Islamist terrorists. If that is not justification for bipartisan repudiation of this president and removal from office at the earliest possible moment I don’t know what is. Those who countenance and support this president for his white-grievance mongering are not merely “deplorable” but dangerous.

As I write this, Democrats have taken to the airwaves and Twitter to demand #MoscowMitch recall the Senate and put the gun control measures the House passed FIVE MONTHS AGO to a vote. (Note: McConnell has allegedly fractured his shoulder. If true, thoughts and prayers, Mitch.) For those who have been yelling at Nancy Pelosi for months saying she isn’t doing enough and her strategy sucks, she was right all along. This is EXACTLY how to win against the Rethugs and Drumpf. Show your priorities. Show that you keep your promises. And if you don’t get your way, show the contrast between your actions and those of the Rethugs. Which leads me to my final conclusion…

Conclusion 3: Spend your time on voter registration efforts before the 2020 election. For far too long, there has been a “bothsides” epidemic on gun control. The truth is, when Democrats are in charge, we get legislation like the assault weapons ban in 1994; when Republicans are in charge, we get the overturning of the assault weapons ban, the loosening of laws against mentally ill people getting access to guns, open carry laws…the list goes on and on. This obvious truth has been obscured by a psy-ops campaign against the American people, led by the NRA and its enablers (now including Russia, as we know!).

In 2020, we need to both keep the House, and take the Senate and the Presidency. The Republicans’ white supremacist-enabling inaction on gun control is literally killing hundreds of thousands of people, both at the border and here at home. Let’s do our best to make sure everyone votes blue next November. Our lives depend on it.

This is an open thread.

Washington, DC on 3/24/18

Last weekend was an astonishingly successful demonstration of the power of those beautiful, heartbreaking and inspiring kids from Generation Z. Their words and, in Emma Gonzalez’ case, hersilence, were devastating.

Since we live in America, the kids cannot now rest on their laurels and congratulate themselves for the incredible work they have done. Instead, they have to eternally answer the same question from the pundits, “Do you REALLY think what you’re doing makes any difference?”

To this question, the Parkland students replied, “We’re going to vote.”

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a historic groundswell of youth activism, hundreds of thousands of teenagers and their supporters rallied across the U.S. against gun violence Saturday, vowing to transform fear and grief into a “vote-them-out” movement and tougher laws against weapons and ammo.

(snip)

“If you listen real close, you can hear the people in power shaking,” Parkland survivor David Hogg said to roars from the protesters packing Pennsylvania Avenue from the stage near the Capitol many blocks back toward the White House. “We’re going to take this to every election, to every state and every city. We’re going to make sure the best people get in our elections to run, not as politicians but as Americans.

“Because this,” he said, pointing behind him to the Capitol dome, “this is not cutting it.”

The #MSDStrong kids have drawn a bright connection between dots that have stayed unconnected for decades by tens of millions of adults: By golly, in order to make change, you have to vote. (May I just add a “duh f*cking duh” there?!) They are shaming the generations before them, who sat out election after election, or numbly voted as they felt they should, without critical thinking, without bothering to inform themselves, like animals being led to slaughter.

Literally.

Even worse, the (so-called) adults, by not voting responsibly, have left the rest of us vulnerable to mass shootings; in theaters, at concerts, on the streets, in our backyards, in church and yes, in schools. And by these adults’ inaction, they have allowed the cancer of the NRA to metastasize to such a horrifying degree that now it, a private organization is controlling the discourse on gun violence, silencing the voices of elected officials, and terrifying ordinary people into submission. And still, till these kids stepped up, there were few news reports on the NRA; each mass shooting was reported without the NRA context; thoughts and prayers were duly sent; and everyone knew, just KNEW, that nothing would change. Meanwhile, an average of 96 people a day continue to die from gun violence.

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas kids, and all of us whom they’ve inspired, don’t see any reason to accept the unacceptable, or believe they should limit their voices just because politicians would rather send thoughts and prayers than to act. They don’t fear or care about the NRA. They have a concrete list of demands, and they won’t rest until they’ve gotten everything they want. It’s such a simple approach, and that’s why it works. It’s, dare I say, common sense! And everywhere they go, they register more and more kids to vote in November. Talk about turning your rage and grief into action!

It’s estimated that by the time the mid-terms come around, there will be 8 million Generation Z voters who could turn out. Given the passion we’ve seen so far, I think most of them will show up, don’t you? They say they will only vote for politicians with F ratings from the NRA. Hmmm…which Party gets the most F ratings from the NRA again? 😉

We may just be underestimating that #bluetsunami after all.

This is an open thread.

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of PBS

The school is the last expenditure upon which America should be willing to economize.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Hello and happy Tuesday, Widdershins! Who know what infobombs will drop before this post is published? Perhaps via the Democrats (whose memo debunking the Nunes lie-fest was released in the evening on Saturday) or Mango Meerkat nemesis Mueller?

Regardless of what else is going on, I am quite sure that the “March for Our Lives” movement, which has sprung organically from the activism of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas mass shooting survivors, will still be in the news. (Have you signed up for a sister march? They’re being set up across the country. Check it out here! I’m excited for the one in NYC.)

The effectiveness of this movement, led with moral clarity and ustified outrage is growing daily. Calling out the way the NRA has been buying Congresscritters’ inaction on any gun-control initiatives was a brilliant strategic move. Corporations who used to offer discounts or other benefits to NRA members, are running away from the now-toxic organization. As of today, here’s the list of companies that have jumped off the NRA ship.

  • First National Bank of Omaha
  • Delta Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • Allied Van Lines
  • North American Van Lines
  • Avis
  • Hertz
  • Alamo
  • Enterprise
  • National
  • Starkey Hearing Technologies
  • MetLife
  • Chubb
  • TrueCar
  • SimpliSafe
  • Symantec

This movement is only 11 days old. What might it become as it becomes stronger and gains support?

It’s having ripple effects beyond any that the kids could have imagined. A huge voter registration effort is under way; Florida Republicans are running scared; and Drumpf is promising action, although we all know what his promises are worth – and the NRA is already pushing back. Between the fierceness of the Parkland activists and the supreme professionalism and skills of Team Mueller, life is going to be getting more and more uncomfortable for Drumpf, the GOP, the gun nuts of the NRA, and the alt-right enablers attacking the movement and issuing death threats to kids…who have already survived death. Deplorables, all.

I tie this all back to the Women’s March on January 21, 2017. The March was underestimated by the media and even those of us who participated – we had no idea what we were starting – but now, over a year later, #TheResistance has grown into an enormous countrywide presence, with chapters in every state. We are organized, active and we make a difference. And now, kids and teachers are joining in with single-issue focus.

I am hopeful in a way I haven’t been in a long time. This movement is bigger than Drumpf, bigger than the GOP, and bigger than the NRA. It’s about citizens forcing leaders to go the way they want. It’s about engagement, caring and passion. And it’s an amazing thing to see.

I must follow the people. Am I not their leader?
– Benjamin Disraeli

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.
—Margaret Mead

This is an open thread.


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