Thoughts and Prayers – A Randy Rainbow Song Parody

Mass shootings have unfortunately become part and parcel of the daily news cycle. There are two responses that we have become accustomed are the following: thoughts and prayers, and demands for gun control.

Randy Rainbow‘s new video addresses this dichotomy as only he can.

Using the song Dance: Ten, Looks: Three from the musical A Chorus Line, he calls out the usual bullshit response from the right when lives are unnecessarily lost to gun violence.

We all know what needs to be done. The question is, are those in power willing to step up, or will they once more bow down to their NRA donors?

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It Wouldnt be the 4th of July Without a Mass Shooting

These days, it would appear that not a day would go by without at least one mass shooting.

Not even on our nation’s birthday are we safe.

In Highland Park, Illinois, a man opened fire during a 4th of July parade. By the time he was apprehended, six people were dead, and many more were rushed to area hospitals.

The equation is simple: common-sense gun control laws=saving lives. The purpose of this legislation is not to limit firearm access to those who are only active-duty military or law enforcement. The intention is to protect the rights of the average gun owner while making sure that those who should have access don’t get it.

But until some in this country get their heads out of the proverbial sand, we will continue to ask the same questions and mourn the unnecessary loss of life.

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

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.

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.

A 13-Year-Old Boy Walks Into a Gun Show…..

Did you hear the story of a 13-year-old who walks into a gun show?

In the wake of both the Buffalo and Texas Elementary School shootings, a very telling video from HBO‘s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. has been released.

It goes as follows: A 13-year-old boy attempts to buy the following items: alcohol, cigarettes, adult magazines, and a lottery ticket. Each attempt fails miserably.

He then walks into a gun show. With no ID and just a wad of cash in his hand, he walks out with what looks to be a hunting rifle. The salesman, without hesitation, jumps into his schpiel. Within minutes, cash has been exchanged and a child who has no business with a fireman walks out with one.

Is it any wonder why mass shootings have become the norm in the US?

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

The Shooting in Buffalo is a Shit Storm of Everything That is Wrong With This Country

Saturday morning started as out as a normal day. For the residents of Buffalo in upstate NY, it became a day marked by grief and horror. A gunman walked into a grocery store and started shooting. By the time he was apprehended, ten people were dead, and three were injured.

The accused (whose name will not be mentioned on this blog) is an eighteen-year-old Caucasian boy. According to the police, his intention was to murder as many African-Americans as he could. Only two of the victims were not POC. Upon further digging, law enforcement officials discovered a manifesto in which he also believed the antisemitic bullshit.

To make matter worse, he had previous mental health issues and was able to evade the laws that prevented him from legally buying a firearm. If that was not enough, he lived streamed the massacre. As much as I appreciate the upsides of social media, the companies that run these platforms have some serious work and soul searching to do.

Everything that is wrong with this country is represented by the event on Saturday and the person accused of perpetrating it. There are many who would have no restrictions at all when it comes to firearms, but they will do everything in their power to control a woman’s/pregnant person’s body and their right to choose if/when they become a parent. They also turn a blind eye to the hate coming out of the right-wing press and the politicians who prefer power over respecting democracy, political norms, and the rule of law.

I don’t know what it is going to take to shake us out of this dream world that we live in. I fear that when we do, it will be too late.

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

P.S. There were five mass shootings across the country this past weekend. How many people are going to die before we do something about this once and for all?

Best Movies of 2021

  1. Quo Vadis, Aida?: This harrowing tale of one woman’s choice to save her family or save as many people as she can during the Bosnian War is as powerful as a film can get.
  2. Mass: Two sets of parents meet after one of their sons has killed the other in a school shooting to figure what happened. Along the way, they are forced to answer questions that are painful and difficult.
  3. Spencer: This fictional take on Princess Diana (Kristen Stewart) and what might have occured during Christmas in the early 1990’s is a unique take on the myth of the late royal.
  4. Belfast: A young boy is growing up during the Troubles in Northern Ireland in the late 1960’s. As he starts to transition from a child to a young adult, he begins to realize that nothing is ever a simple as it seems to be.
  5. Black Widow: After ten years, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) finally gets the movie she should have gotten. Trying to atone for her past while living in the present, she must face reality and make up for mistakes.
  6. Framing Britney Spears: This Hulu documentary took viewers in the life and career of Britney Spears and how it has changed since her father took control over both.
  7. West Side Story: Steven Spielberg’s adapation of this beloved musical takes it into the 21st century while retaing its message about prejudice and lack of opportunity.
  8. The Eyes of Tammy Faye: Jessica Chastain not only brings Tammy Faye Bakker back to life, she reveals the real person behind the punchline.
  9. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: This latest addition to the MCU is more than just the first all Asian cast. It is the story of a complicated father/son relationship and a young man who cannot run from his fate.
  10. Moxie: A shy teenage girl stands up to the sexist bullshit at school and empowers her fellow female students in the process.
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This will be my last post of 2021. Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing tonight, have a safe and happy New Year. See you in 2022.

The Shooting in West Hempstead is a Little Too Close to Home

You never think that your community will be affected by a mass shooting. It’s always another town or another city.

Today, that reality came crashing down on me.

This morning, a man walked into the Shop and Stop in West Hempstead on Long Island and started shooting. Three people were shot, one was killed.

I felt my heart stop as I watched the news. I have family in the area. My first thought was that they were in the store. When I heard their voices over the phone, I sent a silent prayer of thanks to the eternal parent upstairs.

What is it going to take to do something? If we cannot stop this madness now, one of two things may happen.

  1. We will never leave our homes for anything.
  2. If we do have to go out, we will be forced to put on protective gear and go through airport style security just to complete the most mundane of tasks.

We need more than a series of executive actions from President Biden. We need Congress to stop brownnosing the NRA and think about the lives that will be saved. Personal freedom is always important, but it is meaningless if your dead.

May the memory of the person killed be a blessing. Z”l.

WTF is Happening to this Country? Adam Toledo and the Indianapolis Shooting

There is a Chinese curse which says, “May he live in interesting times.” Interesting times is one way to explain what is happening in the United States.

Last week, a 13 year old boy was shot and killed by police in Chicago. His name was Adam Toledo. He was murdered because the officers believed that he had a gun. Adding salt to the wound was the reference by Fox News host and all around asshole Sean Hannity that this child was a fully grown man. I see two issues with this story.

  1. The blood of this young man is not just on the hands of the police officers who killed him. It is on everyone who played their part to get this supposed weapon into young Mr. Toledo’s hands.
  2. Our local and national law enforcement department must be able to do their jobs. But they have to get it into their heads and their training materials that they are not avenging angels. The police are just one link in the chain of the justice system.

May the memory of this boy be a blessing and finally get us off our asses to stop police brutality against Americans of color.

On Friday morning, a former employee of a FedEx facility in Indianapolis killed eight people. According to his mother, the man who was responsible for the murders had mental health issues.

In response to the umpteenth mass shooting in the United States since March, President Biden referred to this new wave as a national embarrassment. I can’t think of a better description of this unnecessary slaughter of innocent civilians. We can fix this problem, it doesn’t take a genius to put together a national law to prevent future events of this nature. The problem is that some Republican lawmakers are blind to the idea that any national gun control legislation does not infringe on the rights of gun owners who are of sound mind and followed the laws. It is a measure that desperately needed (and has been needed for more than two decades) to save lives.

I don’t know what it will take to wake this country up, but something has to be done.

Happy Sunday.

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