From a distance, it may seem that democracy does not need tending to. Once established, it can survive on its own. The truth is that it requires all of us to pay attention, specifically when it could go to h*ll in a handbasket.
Earlier this week, in response to the school shooting in Nashville, protestors swarmed the state capitol. Supporting them were three state representatives who are on the blue side of the aisle. One is a Caucasian woman (Gloria Johnson) and two are men of color (Justin Jones and Justin Pearce). The leadership wanted them out. In a telling reaction, Ms. Johnson retained her position. But Mr. Jones and Mr. Pearce were expelled from their seats.
This does not happen in a country with a thriving and respected democracy. This happens in a fascist government where the wants and the needs of the average person on the street are ignored by those in power whose only concern is staying in power.
Meanwhile, Marjorie Taylor Greene once more proved why she is unfit for office. When she came to New York City earlier this week to support the former guy, she was swamped by protestors. What she experienced this week (and what Ted Cruz also experienced last year) is that we are loud, proud, and not afraid to shit on you if you shit on us.
For some reason, someone at 60 Minutes thought it was a good idea to interview the Congresswoman and air the interview.
I don’t know whose bright idea this was or the reason for the conversation. Either way, it was dumb and gave this woman a platform that was unwarranted. What is worse is that instead of the hard hitting questions that I would have expected from this OG television news program, softball questions were lobbed at her. This is the type of content that I expect from Fox News, not a respected and established show like 60 Minutes.
These people should not be in government. I beg with, I plead with my fellow citizens to get them out of the office before this country goes down the tubes for good.
Since school shootings have become the norm, there have been numerous questions about what leads to them and what can prevent them. The answer (as anyone with a brain would realize) is gun control laws.
Yesterday morning started as normal for the staff and students at the Covenant School in Nashville. By the time the school bell would have rung to announce the end of the day, three children and three adults were dead. The accused killer (whose name will not be used on this blog and who took their own life) is transgender.
Though the Republicans can point to any number of reasons: drag queens, being gay, banned books, etc, the truth is that these are smoke screens. It has everything to do with the fact they care more about their NRAoverlords’ donors than the lives of the next generation. This includes their “outrage” about the ATF‘s possible creation of a national gun registry.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand what needs to be done. What it does take is those at the top valuing the lives of everyday Americans (and their children) over those who line their pockets.
P.S. Did you hear about Marjorie Taylor Greene‘s attempt to stop an ATF official from doing their job and inspecting a gun store? If we require drivers to earn a license before getting behind the wheel and send health inspectors into restaurants to ensure that the kitchen is sanitary, why can’t we do the same for establishments that sell firearms?
The separation between church and state is one of the foundational ideals of American democracy. The idea that one’s religion (if they have one) is divided from the government was and still is earth-shattering.
“Don’t tell me about no separation of church and state. State is the body; church is the heart. You take the heart out of the body, the body dies,” he told religious leaders at the event held at the main branch of the New York Public Library.
“I can’t separate my belief because I’m an elected official. When I walk, I walk with God. When I talk, I talk with God. When I put policies in place, I put them in with a God-like approach to them ― that’s who I am,” he said, later adding that “when we took prayers out of schools, guns came into schools.”
I get it, his audience was clergy from various faith groups. While he is entitled to pray to whatever higher entity he prays to, he does not have the right to force his beliefs on others.
What is more concerning was the proposition that had there been prayers in school, a litany of societal issues would be non-existent. Specifically, mass shootings that take place within educational settings. Two points stick out. The first is whose prayers are said if they are said at all? Given the diversity in this city, the mere thought of this question is contentious from the start. The second is that the only way to prevent school shootings is to enact sensible and national gun control laws.
Every politician puts their foot in their mouth at least once in a while. I guess this is Mayor Adam’s time.
Anniversaries are a funny thing. They tell us that it has been x amount of years since a certain event happened. Though it would be nice if every anniversary was a happy one, the truth is that they can’t be.
December 14th, 2012 is a day that is burned into my memory. It was an ordinary day, and I was at work when the news made its way around the office. I remember that one of the women I worked with at the time mentioned something about the firearm that was used. Like all of us that day, I was glued to the television when I got home. The loss of 26 innocent souls, most of them young children is a feeling that I never want to experience.
I can’t help but wonder who those kids might have become. What teenage antics would they be up to? Where would they be applying to college? What future careers would they be dreaming of? It still hurts that we will never have the answers to these questions.
What kills me is that ten years later, we are still debating gun control laws. There is nothing (in my mind) to debate about. Do we want to keep our kids safe? Do we want to send them to school, unafraid that they will come home at the end of the day? The answer should always be yes. To make that yes a reality, we need our legislators to do their part. Otherwise, Sandy Hook and every other school shooting will become just another statistic.
Unfortunately, there are too many in this country who will say no.
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.
School shootings have unfortunately become a standard headline in America these days.
American Morning, is a short film written, starring, and produced by Stephen Dexter. It is the story of Connor Mathis, a music teacher who survived a school shooting and was able to save all but one of his students. Two years after the fact, Connor is living with his father (played by Richard Schiff) and still reeling from the consequences of his actions. Plagued by nightmares and grief, he decides to make a statement when he sees that those in power are doing nothing.
My first reaction was wow. The mental health aspects of living through an event of this nature are so in your face that it is impossible to ignore. The choice he makes (which I will not give away, just watch to the end), speaks to the helplessness that I think many of us feel.
If you are not heartbroken and blown away by this short film, then I don’t know what to say.
Art and artists have a unique way of revealing truths about the world.
Earlier this week, Pink released her new video “Irrelevant“. In the video, she claps back at the haters while speaking about the crap that we are dealing with at the moment. Women’s rights, abortion, school shootings, January 6th, etc are all spoken of in the manner that only Pink can.
I could go on, but I will let the music speak for itself.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Eyes of Tammy Faye: Jessica Chastain not only brings Tammy Faye Bakker back to life, she reveals the real person behind the punchline.
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.
Moxie: A shy teenage girl stands up to the sexist bullshit at school and empowers her fellow female students in the process.
On Tuesday, a 15-year-old boy (who shall not be named in this post) walked into Oxford High School in Michigan and started shooting. He killed four classmates and wounded seven others.
This firearm was given to him by his parents as an early Christmas present less than a week before the massacre. His parents have been charged with four counts of homicide involuntary manslaughter. As of yesterday afternoon, they were absent from their court appearance.
Ryan Busse, a former executive from a major gun company, published his memoir recently. Introduced to weapons as a young man by his parents, he received a message very early on how dangerous they could be.
Though forcing the shooter’s parents into court will not bring back the teenagers who were killed, I am hoping that it sets a moral and legal precedent. They could have made it absolutely clear that there were caveats and responsibilities attached to this gift. Just as a sixteen-year-old is limited to where they can drive once they get their license, the rules about where and when he could use it should have been crystal clear.
Instead, his parents gave him carte blanche to do as he wanted and as a result, the lives of four families will never be the same.
Maybe the memories of these innocent souls forever be a blessing.
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