Category Archives: National News

If I Don’t Make It, I Love You: Survivors in the Aftermath of School Shootings Book Review

School used to be a place in which we nurture the minds and futures of the next generation. It has in recent years, become a place of death and heartache.

If I Don’t Make It, I Love You: Survivors in the Aftermath of School Shootings, by Loren Kleinman and Amye Archer, was published in 2019. Inspired by a text sent by one of the students who survived the Parkland shooting, the book follows the history of school shootings. Interviewing survivors and family members of the victims, the reader is taken into the emotional heart of the experience and the reverberations that last long into the future.

I really enjoyed this book. It hit me in the right place. I was both angry and sad. I was angry about the lives that were lost. I was sad for the families who would never see their children grow up. What struck me was that most, if not all of the shooters fit into a certain type. They are mostly angry white males who have a grudge and turn to violence to get back at those who they feel have wronged them.

The aspect of the book that has stayed with me was the responses from those who survived Columbine and the other shooting that occurred in the late 1990s. Many of us who were on the verge of adulthood back then are now parents. Though it has been decades since they were nearly killed, hearing the news immediately took them back to that day. It is a reminder that trauma of this kind never truly leaves us, regardless of how many years have passed.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

If I Don’t Make It, I Love You: Survivors in the Aftermath of School Shootings is available wherever books are sold.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, History, National News, Politics

It is a Sad Day in America: Roe V. Wade is No More

A few months ago, we celebrated the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. When I wrote that post, I still had hope that the right of anyone with a uterus had the right to decide their own fate. That hope died this morning.

By lunchtime, the federal government had washed its hands of the issue. It is now illegal to have an abortion in America. Each state can now decide if the procedure will be allowed and to what degree. In many states, this means that will be either completely against the law or limited to saving the life of the pregnant person.

American women are officially back in the dark ages, depending on where they live. Thankfully, both my home state of New York and New Jersey are among the handful of states that put the life of the pregnant person over politics. But not everyone is so lucky.

How many women will die from back-alley abortions or putting foreign objects in their bodies? How many females of any age will be forced to give birth to their rapist’s child or carry a dead fetus to term? How many women of color who are already living under hard conditions will have another proverbial plate spinning in the air?

The overturning of Roe is the beginning of a slippery slope. According to Judge Clarence Thomas (who I loathe with a passion), this decision opens the door to taking a second look at other rulings.

Justice Clarence Thomas argued in a concurring opinion released on Friday that the Supreme Court “should reconsider” its past rulings codifying rights to contraception access, same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage.

In a similar vein, Loving v. Virginia could also be overturned. That means that his marriage to the equally loathsome Ginni Thomas could be viewed as illegal.

If they thought we would go quietly into the night, they have another thing coming.

Courtesy of Facebook

We can donate to pro-choice organizations (Planned Parenthood, NARAL, etc). We can march and let our voices be heard. We can vote in November and more importantly, vote blue. Though it is dark, the sun will rise again. We just need to fight for that sunrise.

P.S. Congress finally passed a gun control bill. It speaks volumes about this country that we confer more rights on a weapon than a living, breathing human being.

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Filed under Feminism, National News, Politics

The SCOTUS Ruling on the NY Gun Law is Wrong and Dangerous

To say that gun control is a divisive issue is an understatement. Where one stands on whether or not firearms should be regulated speaks volumes.

Earlier today, SCOTUS ruled that the highly restrictive concealed-carry handgun law in New York State was unconstitutional. In laymen’s terms, the judges said that licensed gun owners can carry their hidden weapons into public spaces.

The majority ruling stated the following:

“Because the State of New York issues public-carry licenses only when an applicant demonstrates a special need for self defense, we conclude that the State’s licensing regime violates the Constitution,”

This decision is both wrong and dangerous. At the end of the day, gun reform is about safety. The 2nd amendment is as solid as it ever was. We shouldn’t be afraid of completing day to day activities ( i.e. going to school, grocery shopping, seeing a doctor) because some politicians are beholden to their NRA donors.

The majority of Americans want reasonable gun control. The problem is that until those in power listen to the people, we will continue to lose our loved ones to unnecessary violence.

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Can Mike Pence and Liz Cheney be Redeemed?

In politics, reputation is everything. That reputation, whatever it may be, can make or break your career.

The reputations of two specific politicians, Mike Pence and Liz Cheney are going to be made or broken by the time the January 6th commission hearings are over. Will they be redeemed or go down in history for their misdeeds?

In any job, the ability to work with anyone within the organization is important. But there is a difference between knowing when to respectfully disagree and kissing ass. The former Vice President is the latter. For the entirety of the Presidency of you know who, Pence was a lapdog who did his boss’s bidding without (at least in public view) questioning his actions and motives. The only time he developed a backbone was when he did not go along with the lie that the election results were fraudulent. Now that he is back on the election circuit, Pence now claims that President Biden is one who is lying constantly.

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I have a feeling that Pence’s place in American history will not be a good one.

Liz Cheney is the American political royalty. The daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, she has been a stalwart Republican for decades. Between 2016 and 2020, she consistently voted along party lines. Then January 6th happened. Cheney is one of two members of the GOP on the committee (the other being Adam Kinziger). Though I disagree with her on many things, the fact that she has put country and the saving of our democracy over party speaks volumes.

What will future historians say about Cheney? I think the jury is still out.

We cannot predict what posterity will say about this era. But I hope that we will remember those who stood up for our nation and those who didnt.

P.S. Who else wanted to reach out through the screen and hug Wandrea “Shaye” Moss and  Ruby Freeman? The treatment they recieved is digusting, immoral, and in my opinion, unAmerican.

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Cutting SSI & Medicare Benefits is the Wrong Decision For the GOP (Unless They Want to Lose)

As we get closer to the 2022 midterm elections, politicians and those around them need to make smart decisions to ensure that they either maintain their position or win their election.

Possibly cutting SSI & Medicare benefits in five years is not a smart decision.

Last week, Senator Rick Scott of Florida proposed a bill that states that Congress has to reauthorize SSI and Medicare benefits every five years. His rationale is as follows:

“Force Congress to issue a report every year telling the public what they plan to do when Social Security and Medicare go bankrupt.”

Of course, Senator Scott is a member of the GOP from Florida (why would he not be?).

Historically, Americans of a certain age are known to vote in larger numbers than younger citizens. If these benefits are cut, how many of our elders would be on the streets and without access to medical care.

Potentially cutting off these programs is practically handing the Democrats a win in the fall. If they want to shoot themselves in the figurative foot, that’s their decision.

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My Takeaway From Last Night’s January 6th Commission Hearing

History does not happen in a vacuum. There are events that inform the present and guide us to hopefully learn from the mistakes made in the past.

Last night, more than twenty million Americans watched the first public hearings of the January 6th commission. For two hours, viewers were presented with evidence and interviews in regards to the riot that nearly broke our democracy more than a year and a half ago.

As I see it, the information is damming. There are also four important elements that both the mainstream media and the voting public must face head-on:

  1. The former President is an egotistical, two-faced, lying, con artist who cannot understand the concept of the word no. He is not above throwing his own daughter under the bus or potentially sacrificing former VP Mike Pence to the wolves.
  2. Any politician or government bureaucrat who has supported you know who in the service of their own career must either be voted out and/or revealed for the traitors that they are. A two-party system only works if both sides can work together, even when they don’t always agree.
  3. The right-wing media’s lies must also be revealed for the hypocritical bullshit that it is. In a move that surprised no one, the hearing was not broadcast on Fox News and other media companies of their ilk.
  4. Anyone who was involved that day must be brought to justice. If they are not, that sends a message that what happened is acceptable and normal.

Fifty years ago, Watergate changed the politics of this nation. Looking back after half a century, we can now see the damage that the scandal caused. My fear is that if we do not face this problem head-on, we will look back in another fifty years and ask why we did not do something when we had the opportunity.

We have one shot to correct this wrong. The question is, do we have the nerve to do so or will the American experiment that is our democracy die in a haze of violence, hatred, and choosing power over the needs of the people?

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Filed under History, National News, Politics, Television

The Only Way to Prevent Mass Shootings is to Vote

There was another mass shooting in America yesterday.

In Chattanooga Tennessee, three people were killed and fourteen were injured when someone walked into a nightclub and started shooting on Sunday. Two of the victims died by bullets and a third died after being hit by a car while trying to escape.

The only way to end this madness is to vote in the upcoming midterms. We need politicians who support common-sense gun laws while respecting the rights of lawful firearms owners.

I am going to end this post with an op-ed by the actor Matthew McConaughey. A native of Uvalde, he speaks the cold, hard truth.

May the memories of those killed be a blessing. Z”L.

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When Will it Be Enough to do Something?: Two Mass Shootings in 24 Hours

After every mass shooting, the following line is uttered by some on the right: “now is not the time to talk politics“.

When can we talk about this? When more Americans are killed because some Americans care more about their guns than saving lives?

Last week, there were two mass shootings in two different cities in a time span of 24 hours. In Tulsa, a man legally purchased an AR-15. An hour later, he walked into a hospital, killing four people. Among the dead is a doctor who had previously treated the shooter for back problems. This doctor was targeted specifically because the accused gunman (who then turned his gun on himself), believed that this man was responsible for his still lingering physical pain.

In Ames, Iowa, a man walked into a church. He killed his ex-girlfriend and another woman before also turning the gun on himself.

That tally alone is 6 innocent people killed, plus the men responsible for their deaths. How many more have to die before something is done?

I am sick and tired of this being the daily headline. Now is the time to get political. We need background checks, red flag laws, a waiting period, etc. Whatever it takes to stop this unnecessary loss of life.

P.S. One of the victims of the Brooklyn shooting is suing the company that produced the firearm. If that is what it takes, so be it.

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The Verdict in the Depp-Heard Trial is Going to Set Women and Domestic Abuse Victims Back Decades

Domestic abuse is nothing new. It has unfortunately been part of the human experience since time immemorial. What is new is that if someone is accused of abusing their spouse or significant other, they could face jail time.

For the last month or so, the defamation trial of Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard has captivated both the press and the public. On Wednesday the verdict was announced. The jury ruled in favor of Depp.

The mere thought that this trial had to happen in the first place is disturbing. What I find downright scary is that because those involved are A-list actors, it becomes acceptable. Instead of the accused abuser having their day in court, they could turn around and sue the abused for defamation. This person is given an out instead of facing justice.

Though I have not been following the trial closely, I admire Heard. She is not just standing up for herself, she is also standing up for the millions around the country and the world who are in a similar situation.

As a defense, Depp claimed that his ex-wife’s claims ruined his career. That’s bullshit. He hasn’t made a decent movie in years. If his career is in the ditch because of his choices, he has no one else to blame. Adding insult to injury, Depp’s female fans and some victim’s support groups were extremely vocal in their support of the actor. While they have every right to their opinion, they should have at the very least, listened to the evidence supporting Heard’s case.

We all know that those who are being abused by their romantic partner often remain silent instead of speaking out. The question is, who is going to believe them, and more importantly, will they be able to go to the police and get the help they need?

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Filed under Feminism, Movies, National News

How is it That Mass Shootings Have Become so Normal That They Rarely Make the Headlines?

I once heard somewhere that liking something and being used to it are two different things entirely. It can also be said that being used that same thing and learning from your mistakes are also two different things entirely.

In the last few weeks, the headlines about mass shootings in the US have been coming at us like never before. Though the events in Buffalo and Uvalde have dominated the news cycle, other shootings have happened. Over the Memorial Day weekend, there were 14 other shootings across the nation. According to news reports, 60 people were injured and 9 were killed. It boggles the mind that the cycle keeps repeating itself and we have done nothing to stop it.

It is possible to respect the rights of gun owners while keeping our citizens safe. Other nations have done it. They saw past the bullshit and enacted legislation that has saved lives. In Canada, a law is being introduced that would make it illegal to sell or import handguns. Whether or not it becomes the law of the land is to be seen. But at least the Canadian government is being proactive.

One of the facts that have come to light since last week is that the young man who is responsible for the murders in Texas was able to buy his firearms legally. I don’t know about anyone else, but an 18-year-old should not be able to buy any weapon, much less a weapon of war. The argument on the other side is that he cleared the background check. Of course, he did, he is 18!

There is a reason that when a young person gets their driver’s license, they cannot drive wherever and whenever they want to. Though the regulations vary from state to state, one does not get automatically get their drives license when they turn 16. Similarly, you cannot consume alcohol lawfully until your 21st birthday.

I hate repeating myself, but I have to. It doesn’t take a genius to understand what needs to happen. We just need to get it done and tell the NRA where it can go.

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P.S. Though the video below is from 2020, it is as timely as it has ever been. If anyone is not affected by it, their heart is made of rocks.

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