Priorities

The United States Supreme Court’s priorities are all fucked up. Yesterday, as I wrote here, the six conservative justices overturned a 100 year old law in New York related to carrying guns. Today, the same six conservative justices overturned Roe v. Wade, the 50 year old decision legalizing abortions in the United States.

It seems that the Republican priorities for America are protecting the rights of gun owners and the National Rifle Association while taking away the personal rights of women to manage their own reproductive health.

What’s next? Banning contraception and gay marriage? Well, according to conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarance Thomas, the Supreme Court should reconsider rulings that protect contraception and same-sex marriage.

I don’t hate this country, but I do hate what Republicans are doing to this country.

Fandango’s Provocative Question #166

FPQ

Welcome once again to Fandango’s Provocative Question. Each week I will pose what I think is a provocative question for your consideration.

By provocative, I don’t mean a question that will cause annoyance or anger. Nor do I mean a question intended to arouse sexual desire or interest.

What I do mean is a question that is likely to get you to think, to be creative, and to provoke a response. Hopefully a positive response.

It happened again. Yesterday, another mass shooting in the United States occurred just ten days after ten people were shot and killed in a supermarket in Buffalo. As of when I’m writing this, 18 students and a teacher were killed in a mass shooting at a school in the small Texas city of Uvalde. An 18-year-old Uvalde resident entered the school with a handgun and a rifle. Inside the school, according to Texas’ pro-gun governor, Greg Abbott, the teenage gunman “shot and killed — horrifically, incomprehensibly” more than 18 children and a teacher.

The gunman, who legally bought the weapons used in the attack shortly after his 18th birthday on May 16, was shot and killed by officers responding to the scene. Abbott added, “It is being reported that the subject shot his grandmother right before he went into the school.”

This massacre was the deadliest mass shooting in the United States so far this year. The Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit organization, counted at least 215 such shootings, defined as one in which four or more people were killed or injured, through mid-May. Today is the 145th day of the year, meaning that there has been an average of almost 1.5 mass shootings a day in America this year! Ponder that for a moment.

I am so pissed that I can hardly contain my anger and frustration. State governments all across the nation are passing laws making it easier for people to get guns, allowing both open carry and concealed carry. They are liberalizing or eliminating background checks. Gun sales in the United States are at an all-time high. Gun deaths are soaring. And our elected officials — particularly the Republicans — are sitting around with their thumbs up their asses offering their thoughts and prayer.

President Biden spoke about this heinous mass shooting in Texas, saying…

“As a nation we have to ask: When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? How many scores of little children, who witnessed what happened, must see their friends die as if they’re in a battlefield?

I am sick and tired of it. We have to act. And don’t tell me we can’t have an impact on this carnage. For God’s sake, we have to have the courage to stand up to the industry.”

My provocative question this week is similar to what I asked last week after the Buffalo mass killings. I am looking for your reactions and thoughts about this kind of gun violence that is endemic in the United States.

Do you feel that President Biden’s plea to take action and to do something to stem the rising tide of gun violence in America have any impact? Or will lawmakers at both the federal and state levels do nothing more than offer their useless “thoughts and prayers,” which is all they ever do?

If you choose to participate, write a post with your response to the question. Once you are done, tag your post with #FPQ and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments. But remember to check to confirm that your pingback or your link shows up in the comments.

WDYS — My Cold, Dead Hands

I’ll give you my iPhone when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.

If this sounds familiar, let me put it into context. “I’ll give you my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands” was a slogan popularized by the National Rifle Association (NRA) on a series of bumper stickers. The phrase gained even greater popularity following the 129th NRA convention in Charlotte, North Carolina on May 20, 2000, when actor and then-president of the NRA, Charlton Heston, ended a fiery speech with, “So, as we set out this year to defeat the divisive forces that would take freedom away, I want to say those fighting words for everyone within the sound of my voice to hear and to heed, and especially for you, Mr. Gore: From my cold, dead hands!”


Written for Sadje’s What Do You See? prompt. Photo credit: 8machine@ Unsplash.

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — March 26

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 26th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on March 26, 2013 on my old blog.

Better Yet, Just Shut Up

Have you seen the claim circulating the internet that baseball bats kill more Americans every year than firearms? Yup, just go to any site that is promoted by right-wing gun nuts (or the NRA) to read statistics like 11,000 Americans were killed by baseball bats in 2010 compared with only 8,775 gun deaths. “Don’t ban guns,” they say, “ban baseball bats!”

Never mind that the FBI keeps no specific statistics for baseball bat homicides. This is just another myth being passed around on the internet and social media by those who claim to be true American patriots defending the Second Amendment.

Have you seen the statistic being touted by right-wing sources and the NRA about how hammers and knives kill more Americans than guns? Or that hammers kill half again as many Americans each year as rifles and that knives kill twice as many.

That statistic on more hammer (and other blunt objects) deaths than rifle deaths is interesting — and technically accurate. But you need to take a closer look at how the NRA spins things.

According to the FBI, there were, in fact, “only” 323 deaths by assault rifles in 2011. But what about the other 8,240 deaths by handguns and other firearms? Are those victims any less dead because they were killed by handguns rather than by rifles?

What the eye-catching, clever graphic above doesn’t tell you is that, while 496 people were killed by blunt objects, such as hammers and baseball bats, 8,583 were killed by firearms in the same year, firearms including rifles and handguns.

The FBI’s data on homicides shows quite clearly that firearms account for more than two-thirds of the homicides in the U.S. The same FBI database reports that only slightly more than 13% of homicides were committed with knives or other cutting instruments, while under 4% were done with blunt objects, including baseball bats, clubs, and hammers!

As was noted in snopes.com, in any debate about gun control, someone will inevitably make the argument that “kills more people than guns do,” where X is anything other than guns. Sure people die from cancer, heart disease, and all kinds of health matters, and even from medical malpractice. People die in car accidents, plane crashes, from poisoning, and choking. They die from old age.

But when it comes to homicides, the fact is that in America, the probability of being murdered by a gun is more than double that of being killed by all other weapons combined. And “all other weapons” includes knives, baseball bats, hammers, poison, fire, pushing someone out of a window, cars, hands and feet, explosives, drownings, narcotics, strangulation, asphyxiation, and “other” causes or method.

And these gun death statistics don’t include the more than 19,000 Americans who committed suicide with firearms in 2011. Half of all suicides in the U.S. are committed with guns.

So before you publicly quote and pass along “statistics” claiming that more people die from hammers, baseball bats, and knives than from guns, check your sources. Stop being a tool for the NRA.

Or better yet, just shut up.

A Good Guy With a Gun

B9C60C41-6B49-456E-885A-B5B31B0DE222According to the National Rifle Association (NRA) “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun.” That is unless the good guy is a black man.

Emantic “EJ” Bradford Jr. was allegedly trying to help people in a shooting incident at an Alabama mall by waving them to safety. Unfortunately for EJ, he was carrying a gun, one for which he had a carry permit. And a policeman apparently didn’t take the time to find out if EJ was a good guy with a gun or a bad guy. He saw a black man with a gun and, assuming he was a criminal, fatally shot him.

The local police department has since made a statement saying that Bradford was likely not the gunman responsible for the initial shootings. That person remains at large.

The police also offered sympathy to EJ’s family, but threw in the caveat that his decision to pull out his weapon “heightened the sense of threat at an already chaotic scene.”

When is this country going to recognize that 300 million guns in a nation of 325 million people is not a good idea? When are our legislators going to have the courage to be the real good guys and stand up to the NRA in the interest of their constituents and enact common sense gun control legislation?