Tag Archives: gun control

Another Day In America And Another Mass Shooting

Up until a few years ago, a mass shooting of innocent civilians was much more than the average news headline. The Columbine shooting was the first mass shooting in modern American history to shock the country and the world. These days, it is rare that a week a or a month can go by without hearing about a mass shooting.

Last night started as an ordinary night for the patrons and staff of the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California. Then a man walked in with a gun and started shooting. As of tonight, there are 13 dead. Among the dead is the accused gunman and a police officer who lost his life while trying to save the lives of those inside the bar.

 

According to news reports, the man who opened fire was a former marine who struggled with PTSD after leaving the military. Another news report states that some of the victims in this shooting survived the shooting in Las Vegas last year.

As with previous mass shooting, the same issues will arise: gun control and mental health.  How many more innocent lives will be taken before we do something? What will it take for the politicians to stop taking money from the NRA and listen to the citizens who want reasonable gun control?

I am not against the 2nd amendment. I never have been. If someone wants to buy a gun, I have no right to stop them. But when will come to our senses and realize that there is a way to respect the 2nd amendment while making sure that those who are not of sound mind cannot buy a firearm? What will it take to enact national legislation to ensure that background checks when it comes to purchasing guns?

When someone wants to drive, we don’t just hand them the keys to the car. We make sure that they are capable of driving. We give that person a license with the full knowledge that the license can be taken away if said person does not adhere to the rules of the road. If we can do this for drivers, why can’t we do this for those who want to own a fireman?

It’s another day in America and another mass shooting.

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The Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting Hits Too Close To Home

This morning started off like any morning for the members of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. At approximately 10:30 am EST, a gunman walked into the synagogue and killed 8 people with at least 4 more injured in the shooting. He stated the following as a reason for the shooting: All Jews must die.

This shooting hits too close to home for me. Other than attending services on the high holidays (and perhaps for a special occasion), I haven’t attended Saturday morning services regularly since high school. But I come from a Jewish family where attending regular Saturday morning services is a just part of the weekly calendar. I count my blessings that none of my loved ones were in that synagogue, but it also hurts like h*ll.

I am scared, angry and on the verge of tears.  Antisemitism is alive and well in America. The people who were killed were only killed because they are Jewish and happened to attend services at the Tree of Life Synagogue.

This should not be happening in 2018. We should be able to go about our business without being afraid of being killed for who we are. Religious institutions should not need to hire armed guards or security so their members can attend services and feel safe in doing so.

According to news reports, the accused gunmen was found with an AR-15 and a handgun. An AR-15 was also used in the shooting in Las Vegas and Florida.  What will it take for our government to enact reasonable gun control laws? How many will die before we come to our senses?

Of course, you know who sounded Presidential, be we all know that he is part of the problem. His antisemitic dog whistles has allowed those who believe as shooter did that they are right.

This should be classified as a hate crime and if convicted, the shooter should receive the harshest legal penalty possible.

May the memory of those killed be a blessing and may we all see each other first and foremost as human beings.

I am going end this post with Shylock’s speech from The Merchant of Venice. Though this speech was written hundreds of years ago, it feels relevant today.

I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.-Act III, scene I

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A Year Later & Nothing Has Changed

A year ago today, hundreds of fans gathered for a Jason Aldean concert in Las Vegas.

A concert is normally an event to savor. It is a few hours to sing along with your favorite artist(s) with thousands of other fans.

Most concerts end with fans going home tired, but happy to have seen their favorite artist(s) perform live. This concert ended with the death of innocent people.

Even though it is a year later, nothing has changed. Our gun laws are still being debated. Innocent people are still being killed. The school shooting in Parkland, Florida happened only months after the shooting in Las Vegas.

To the rest of us, one year is just 365 days. We lived through that night. For those who survived and those who lost loved ones, one year may still feel like one day.

May the memory those who were needlessly killed be a blessing to those who knew and loved them.

 

 

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Another Shooting In America. What Else Is New?

A wise person would say that logic plays a part in politics and how we view our fellow Americans. But a wise person would also say that logic and American politics are like oil and water.

There was another shooting in America today. This latest shooting was in Jacksonville, Florida at a video game tournament. As of 7:45 PM, EST, four people, including the shooter are dead. Nine are injured from gunshot wounds.

We have midterm elections coming up. The question is, do we as citizens, want to elect someone who cares more for their career than the country? Do we want to elect someone who takes donations from the NRA and other pro gun lobby groups while innocent civilians are killed by guns? Or do we elect someone who puts country over party and career, who understands that we, the American people are their employers, not the lobbyists?

May the memory of those killed be a blessing and may we finally elect a politician who ensures that real world, logical gun control laws are enacted.

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Thoughts On Betsy DeVos Allowing Federal Funds To Buy Guns For Teachers

When you know was running for President in 2016, he promised to hire the best people to fill out the many positions in his administration.

I don’t know about anyone else, but in my opinion Betsy DeVos is far from the best person to ensure that American children receive the best education possible.

Her latest proposal to is allow schools to use federal funds to pay for guns and gun training for school personnel.

If all previous signs have pointed to her being completely under qualified for her job, this new proposal is akin to large blinking red light flashing danger.

According to a report last year from the Pew Research Center, American children lag well behind their peers worldwide when it comes education.

What our children (and their teachers by extension) need is not guns on campus. They need books, computers, school buildings that are not falling apart, etc. Many of our students may reach high school or college and need remedial classes to catch up academically to their classmates.  A brand new high school student should not be starting 9th grade with a reading level of a fifth grader, but the reality is that many students walk into high school academically unprepared to succeed.

This inane proposal also bring the issue of gun control back into the spotlight. We should not spending tax dollars on arming teachers, we should be writing laws that protect innocent civilians while respecting the rights of responsible gun owners.

From my perspective, the idea of spending federal tax dollars to arm teachers is just another reason why you know who and his administration are taking this country down a path that I fear we may never come from.

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Thoughts On The 3D Gun Debate

One would have to live under a rock these days to not at least catch a soundbite or two about the debate in regards to guns and gun violence in America.

According to a CNN poll taken earlier this year, American citizens are not only more likely to own a firearm, but to die from gun violence than their compatriots living in other countries.

The latest twist on this debate is the introduction of 3D guns to the market and the federal judge who last night granted a temporary restraining order against publishing the instructions online of how to create the guns.

 

Cody Wilson, the gentlemen who was temporarily barred from the publishing only hours before they were supposed to go online, has claimed that his First Amendment/freedom of speech rights have been violated by the ruling.

While I am all for freedom of speech, the fact is that Mr. Wilson is creating 3D firearms that are undetectable by metal detectors, making them even more lethal that traditional weapons that are made of metal and detectable by metal detectors. In addition, these firearms can also be made cheaper and easier than traditional firearms, allowing those with ill intentions to bypass state and federal laws when it comes to who can buy a gun and when they can buy it.

From my perspective, this is just another reason why we need sensible gun control laws in this country. I believe that is possible to respect the  2nd amendment while crafting gun laws that keep Americans safe. It is just a matter coming together and doing what is right for the country instead of doing what is right for the party.

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Thoughts On The Capital Gazette Shooting-Is Freedom Of The Press At Risk?

Freedom of the press is the corner-stone of any legitimate democracy. It is also one of the first freedoms to be curtailed or removed completely when a dictator or an autocrat comes into power.

On Thursday, a gunman killed five employees of the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland. According to the news reports, the accused gunman held a grudge against the newspaper. In 2011, the gunman, Jarrod Ramos was accused of stalking a former high school classmate. As any newsroom would do, they reported the story for their readers.

While this story again brings up the issue of gun control and mental health, I think the bigger issue is the question of the security of freedom of the press. It’s not exactly a secret that you know who openly disdains and criticizes the press with the exception of a few newspapers or channels that cater to his views.

While the accused certainly has blood on his hands, I have to wonder if the open war on the press is in a small way, partly to blame for the murders of five innocent people.

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When Has School Shootings Become Normal?

Friday morning started off as an ordinary day at Noblesville West Middle School in Indiana. Then one of the students walked into a classroom with a gun and the day went from ordinary to life changing.

By the grace of G-d and the heroism of teacher Jason Seaman, there were only two injured: Mr. Seaman and a female student. There were no fatalities.

When did school shooting become normal? I’ve stated in previous posts about being in high school when the Columbine shooting occurred. Back then, school shootings were major news because they didn’t happen. When they did happen, not only was it major news, but the surge of grief and anger was paid attention to by politicians and those in the government.

Today, school shooting are just another news bulletin that holds our attention all too briefly. First there is the anger/grief, the calls for gun control reform. Then there is lip service of thoughts and prayers/”it’s not the right time” comment from our politicians. Finally the story fades into the background until another school shooting occurs and the cycle starts all over again.

How many innocent people will be hurt or killed  before this mania stops? When will our children and those who teach our children be more important than a gun?

More importantly, why have school shootings become normal?

 

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Same Sh*t, Different Day-Another School Shooting In America

School used to be defined by the three R’s-reading, writing and arithmetic. Over the last twenty years or so, an SS need to be added to the three R’s- school shooting.

On Friday morning, Dimitrios Pagourtzis walked into a classroom at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas and starting shooting at classmates. When the shooting finally stopped, eight students and two teacher were dead. 10 more are wounded.

According to news reports, the young man accused of the murders used the guns his father purchased legally.

Once again, the argument comes down to one thing: gun control, Now granted, the weapons belonged to the boy’s father and were purchased through proper legal channels. However, that does not condone that murder of 10 innocent people.

As usual, the message from our government will be the same lip service: thoughts, prayers and empty promises.

How many kids will die before those in power actually do something about gun control? Or will it take a future shooting close to home for our government to actually do something that will once and for all and stop the killing of children who have just begun to live?

 

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We’ve Failed Our Kids

As adults, it is our job to protect our children and make sure that they have everything that they need, physically, socially and emotionally to become thriving, responsible adults.

I’ve come to the conclusion that no matter what side one is on the issue of gun control and the shooting in Parkland in February, we failed our kids. Law enforcement failed to do their due diligence and make sure that the shooter was preventing from harming others. Both Democrats and Republicans were so focused on partisan politics that they forgot that their job to serve the voting public and not the lobbyists/wealthy corporations that write large checks towards to help in the next election cycle.

I hate to be blunt, but we need to do better for our kids. While what is already done cannot be undone, we must do better going forward. We need reasonable gun control laws, we need to ensure that those suffering from mental health issues receive the help they need and our politics need to remember to whom they are beholden to.

We cannot fail our kids again.

 

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