Aiden McCarthy Should Not be an Orphan

The thing about death is that we all understand the concept in theory. At some point, our bodies will stop working and our souls will go wherever they go. When we lose someone we love as adults, death is hard to compute. I cannot even fathom how a child would absorb that idea, especially when they are still learning the basics of life.

Two of the victims of the massacre in Highland Park on Monday were a married couple, Kevin and Irina McCarthy. They are survived by their toddler son, Aiden. Kevin died protecting his son.

I am both heartbroken and furious at the same time. Because we have people who are more concerned with their guns and protecting the NRA/the gun lobby, a little boy has lost his parents. Though I am sure that his grandparents will give him everything they can, nothing can make up for the loss of his mother and father.

The young man (who shall not be named in this post) who has been accused of the shooting had no reason to gain access to any firearm, much less a high-powered one. According to the news outlets, he did not wake up on Monday and thought that it was a good day to kill innocent strangers. This plan was several weeks in the making. He also passed several background checks and red flags laws (which would have saved lives, had someone done their homework) and was proudly part of the MAGA movement.

We have too many reasons to pass gun control laws. I’d like to add one more reason to the list: Aiden McCarthy is the last child who loses a parent due because someone with a gun decided that they have the right to play G-d.

May their memories be a blessing. Z”L.

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.

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.

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.

The Price of Freedom Movie Review

Change starts with a conversation. But first, we must be able to have that conversation, which is sometimes easier said than done.

The new CNN movie, The Price of Freedom, is about the battle for gun control and the measures both sides have taken to win the hearts and minds of both the public and those in the halls of power. It examines the power that the NRA holds over certain sectors in this country and its unchanging belief in the 2nd amendment. On the other side, family members of victims, survivors, and pro-gun control politicians plead for being reasonable and coming to the table to compromise.

I enjoyed this film. The filmmakers did a good job of letting both sides make their case and let the viewer decide where they land. They also provided a historical background to this topic, giving a greater grasp of the topic beyond the last few decades. Though it did not change my mind, it is a good start in bringing both sides and their beliefs to the table. Hopefully, it opens the door to a dialogue and perhaps understanding one another.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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.

Two Years After the Parkland Shooting, Nothing Has Changed

Since the massacre at Columbine High School in 1999, politicians and multiple Presidential administrations have spoken of, but have not enacted reasonable gun control laws. The result of this inaction is far too many gun massacres since then and an incomparable loss of life.

Today is the second anniversary of the Parkland shooting. When my generation went through Columbine, we were too shocked and sad to do anything. The kids from Parkland, though shocked and sad, did something.

They demanded change. They stood up for their murdered classmates and teachers. They did not back down from politicians who gave them lip service about gun control and the lack of gun control laws. They called out the NRA and the politicians who are in the back pocket of the NRA.

I wish that my generation had been able to use our collective voices as the kids from Parkland and this current generation has. Perhaps things might have been different. But we cannot go back, we can only go forward. Only then we can honor the memory of those lost and protect others from what these kids have experienced.

May the memories of those murdered that day be a blessing to us all. Z”l.

While Kendrick Castillo and Riley Howell Stood Up, Many of Our Politicians Quivered In Fear

A hero is one who puts the needs of others over their needs.

Kendrick Castillo and Riley Howell are heroes in every sense of the word. When gunman entered their respective schools and started shooting, Castillo and Howell ran in the direction of the shooting instead of running to safety. They gave their lives in service of their schools, saving the lives of their fellow students.

While these young men stood up against gun voice, many of our politicians quiver in fear. Instead of doing their jobs and protecting our young people by enacting common sense gun laws, they allow these shooting to happen while repeating the standard response of “thoughts and prayers”.

They accept money from the NRA and other special interest groups without question, but when our children die in school because of guns, their response is as weak as a limp noodle.

We have a Presidential election coming up next fall. I have a challenge for the Democrats who are running: come up with common sense gun control laws. Don’t just say what you think we want to hear. Tell me, as a voter, how you will protect us from gun violence while respecting those who are responsible gun owners.

Our children and our future depends on it.


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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