The Confluence of Hate & the Lack of Gun Control: the Shooting in Colorado Springs

The purpose of going to a nightclub is to get out for a night and get away from the daily grind. Have a drink, hang out with friends, dance, and maybe meet that special someone.

Last night, a gunman opened fire in an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs. 5 people were killed and another 25 were injured. Thankfully, the accused was stopped before any more lives could be taken.

Just like the shooting at the Orlando nightclub in 2016, this location was chosen because of its patrons. The reason these people are dead is simply that they were being themselves.

I can’t help but wonder if our gun control laws were tighter if the five people who are now dead would have returned home in one piece.

But we will never know, will we?

May their memory be a blessing. Z”L.

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We Send Our Kids to School to Learn, Not to Die

When I was younger and in school, the purpose of the experience was to receive an education. It was not to be target practice for someone who had no business having access to firearms.

On Tuesday, a young man walked into a high school in St. Louis and started shooting. Two lives were lost, a teacher and a fifteen-year-old student. The shooter was killed by police.

The family of this boy claims that they did everything when it came to his mental health problems.

The point, as I see it, has once more been proven. Did this boy have a mental illness? The evidence, as we have it so far, points to yes. However, that does not preclude the fact that this tragedy and others of its ilk are and were preventable.

I would love to know why a civilian needs access to an AR-15. This is why we need common-sense gun control laws. If this child has not been able to get his hands on that weapon, then both of his victims would still be alive.

May their memories be a blessing. Z”L.

P.S. The girl who was killed was less than a month away from her 16th birthday. For anyone who thinks that we do not need to legislate against gun violence should consider this fact before stating that there is no need for measures of this kind.

The Inaction of the Uvalde Cops is Nothing Short of Involuntary Manslaughter

The basic responsibility of a police officer is to protect the lives of the average citizen. Though it is not stated upfront, we all know that being injured or killed while on the job is a possibility.

In the months since the shooting at the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, there have been questions about whether the cops did their job. A recent report has alleged some disturbing allegations. While 19 children and two of their teachers lay dying at the hands of a gunman, the police did nothing. It is nothing short of involuntary manslaughter.

Not only should every one of these cops lose their jobs and their badges, but they should lose their pensions as well. That money would be used in one of two ways: 1. help the survivors, the families, and the loved ones of the victims. 2. a memorial scholarship fund to assist the children of this community in their future academic endeavors.

No parent should go through this. No child should go through this. No American should go through this. But until we have reasonable gun control laws in place, innocent people will continue to be murdered.

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.

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.

Shooting Enough Is Enough GIF by INTO ACTION - Find & Share on GIPHY

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.

Let’s Talk About the Real Baby Killers (Hint: It’s Not Pro-Choice Activists)

We all know that children are our most precious resource. Without the next generation, our future is non-existent. As we all know, 19 of those precious resources were taken from us earlier on Tuesday in Uvalde, Texas.

Those who are pro-life and against Roe V. Wade argue that abortion is nothing more than the killing of babies. I would argue the opposite. Republicans who are vocally against gun control laws are the real baby killers.

In the three days since the murders, Texas leadership has placed the blame on every issue except one: the fact that the gunman was able to easily get access to a firearm. The only one of them to speak the truth is Beto O’Rourke. When he dared to confront public officials, he was booted out of the room and called all sorts of names.

Courtesy of Facebook.

What I find completely ironic and sad is that while Governor Greg Abbott placed at the feet of responsibility among other things, mental health, he authorized cutting millions of dollars of mental health aid from the state budget.

When I think of both of these topics entwined together, I think of the younger generation who has been traumatized by these events. Not just the kids who are hearing about this on the news or from adults, but the ones who were there. The scars of hearing and/or watching their classmates and teachers being killed will likely create scars that will stay with the survivors for decades.

I remember that right after Columbine happened, there were some who condemned the band, Marilyn Manson, for the killings. I’ve never had even an iota of interest in their music. The problem is that instead of looking inward to understand what led to the tragedy, the accused were outside actors who in reality, had nothing to do with the problem.

It’s been three days and my heart still hurts. The only silver lining is that this may be the figurative fire that finally forces us to codify legislation, both at the national and state level that stops this kind of event. The question is if our lawmakers have the balls and the backbone to do so.

P.S. The husband of one of the teachers who tried to save her students died from a heart attack, unable to deal with the grief. I can only imagine what their kids are going through, having lost both of their parents.

Z”L

Sandy Hook Part II: At Least Eighteen Children and Two Adults Killed in an Elementary School in Texas

We all remember the horror of Sandy Hook in December of 2012. The young lives lost, the adults who tried to save their students, and the heartache that will never fade.

This morning was the sequel to that day. An eighteen-year-old gunman charged into an elementary school in Texas. Among the dead are at least eighteen children and two adults.

This is the third mass shooting to make national news in the last seven days. The third occurred in a church in Orange County in California. Five people were injured and one man was killed. Closer to home, a man was killed by a stranger carrying a gun on the Q train on Sunday in New York City. The accused was caught today. When did we become so desensitized that this unnecessary loss of life that it is nothing more than another headline?

I keep thinking that it is going to get to the point in which we have to wear bulletproof vests as part of our regular wardrobe and go through airport-style security to complete simple errands.

I blame the NRA. I blame the Republicans who are more concerned with their careers and lining their own pockets than doing what is right for the country. I blame all of our politicians who are too chicken shit to speak up and save lives. I blame Fox News and other right-wing media organizations who knowingly peddle lies. I blame those who are more concerned with the unborn than the current members of the young generation. I blame those who use mental health as an excuse instead of looking for real-world solutions and once more create a sense of shame around needing help.

We need rock-solid gun control laws now. We needed them in 2012 and we needed them after Columbine 23 years ago. I don’t know what it is going to take to get this legislation on the books. How many of our children will die before we do something about it?

If you have children, hug them and tell them that you love them. It may be the last time you say it to them.

The only thing I can think of right is to vote in November. Regardless of party or affiliation, if a candidate or incumbent does not support gun control, do not vote for them. Send the message that lives are more important than power.

May the memory of those murdered today be a blessing and finally be the impetus needed to get off our asses and fix this problem for good. Z”L.

P.S. I have no doubt that certain members of the press will use the fact that the allegation that the accused crossed the border illegally to once more further their own agenda.

P.P.S The fact that the shooting in the church in California is news to me tells me everything I need to know about where this nation is going.

The Gun Crime in NYC is a Symptom of a Much Larger Problem

The last few weeks in New York City have brought nothing but heartache and tears.

Two heroic cops were murdered when they responded to a domestic violence call. An eleven-month-old baby girl was shot by a stray bullet while sitting in the family car.

The problem, as I see it, is not the gun laws that exist within New York’s borders. It is the rest of the country. The reason we have a gun control problem is the patchwork of laws. One could legally buy a firearm in one state that has laxer laws and use it to injure or hurt someone in another state with stricter laws.

There are many that will argue that the states have the right to make their own laws. While I agree with that sentiment, for the most part, I disagree when it comes to gun control laws. We need one national standard when it comes to guns. It won’t wholly prevent unnecessary loss of life, but it will hopefully keep more people alive and out of the hospital.

May the memory of those officers forever be a blessing to their families, the department, and the city.

Gunfight: My Battle Against the Industry that Radicalized America Book Review

Our childhood has a powerful effect on who we are when we reach adulthood. However, it does not mean that it is predetermined who we are and what we will accomplish.

Firearms have been part of Ryan Busse‘s life for as long as he could remember. Raised in a hunting family, it was natural that he would find a career in the gun industry. In his new memoir, Gunfight: My Battle Against the Industry that Radicalized America, he goes into great detail about his decades-long career and how it turned into one that was nearly unrecognizable. When he was starting out, the purpose of the job was to cater to their customers while ensuring that all safety precautions were followed. Over the years, there was a slow shift to a more radical perspective that politically veers away from democracy and towards another form of government that can only be described as concerning.

For anyone in this nation that is worried about the gun rights issue, this book is a must-read. Busse does not leave anything on the table, taking the reader on a ride that by the end should force us to ask questions. By no means is he calling for the 2nd Amendment to be abolished or the complete removal of all firearms from anyone who is not in the military or law enforcement. He is challenging those who are still in the industry to use common sense, which would solve many problems if it was used.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Misfire: Inside the Downfall of the NRA Book Review

From the outside, it appears that the NRA is one of the most powerful non-profit and lobbying intuitions in the United States. But, like any image, what we see may not always be the complete truth.

Misfire: Inside the Downfall of the NRA, by Tim Mak, was published earlier this month. Back in the day, the NRA was simply a grassroots organization whose goal was to encourage gun safety among its members. But over time, it morphed into a company that has had a stranglehold over the nation and any attempt by those in power to enact reasonable gun control laws. Led by Wayne LaPierre, the book reveals internal conflict, misuse of funds by those at the top, and the idea that they are above legal and legislative reproach.

The first break in the chain came right after the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012. Instead of working with the powers that be, LaPierre and the NRA doubled down on their perspective on gun rights and gun control. This opened the door to the revelations about how low it would sink to retain power. Even if that meant working with Russian spies and manipulating those at the top of the political food chain.

It has been said that the bigger they are, the harder they fall. To say that this fall is spectacular is an understatement. If we are to balance the rights of gun owners while protecting the lives of Americans, the NRA must be dismantled. Mak’s book, I believe, makes this clear. If we don’t, we will continue to be a fractured nation that is continually grieving over loved ones lost to gun violence.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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