Tuesday, September 19, 2017

BASTROP, TEXAS--SADLY, IT'S NOT A JOKE


When I saw newspaper stories in the Boston Globe and Chicago Tribune in the spring and summer of 2015 reporting the people of Bastrop, Texas believed the Obama Administration and the U.S. military were coming to take their weapons, I thought it was a joke. Sadly, it was not.

Some politicians in Bastrop, Texas warned their fellow citizens to prepare; the U.S. government was coming to seize their weapons in connection with a large-scale military exercise covering several western states.  Yes, the U.S. military was preparing to conduct the largest multi-state exercises in its history. Yes, the exercises were and did take place from July 15 to September 15, 2015. No, the government did not confiscate anybody’s weapons.

Before the exercise, the press quoted a right-wing politician as saying that a U.S. military’s exercise was part of an Obama Administration “plan to spy on them, confiscate their guns and ultimately establish martial law.”

Just how paranoid can people be? Are there that many people who are emotionally disturbed who would believe these absurdities?  

According to the press, Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape tried to reassure the county’s approximately 78,000 citizens that the federal government was not coming to take their guns. He tried to reason that the exercise was routine. But his efforts were met with placards reading, “No Gestapo in Bastropo.”

Really? Has anyone told the people of Bastrop that the U.S. government has heavy artillery, drones, and nuclear weapons? The U.S. government is coming after Bastrop, Texas? Bastrop residents are going to take rifles and pistols to a drone and missile fight?

And then there is the question, why would anyone (outside of the town residents), especially the U.S. government, care about Bastrop? The President and Washington politicians have to worry about al Qa’ida, ISIL, the Greek financial crisis, the North Korean nuclear threat, drug trafficking, growing strains with Russia, this country’s huge China debt, closing the earnings gap in this country, and a truck load of other major economic and political problems. Does anyone really believe that President Obama and Washington politicians were willing to put those problems on the back burner so they can concentrate on Bastrop, Texas? Does anyone outside of Bastrop even know where the town is? 

Then there is the question of just how many enemies do these people in Bastrop have that they need to be armed to be teeth?

The people of Bastrop should not be afraid of Washington; they should be afraid of some of their neighbors who appear to be hell-bent on living in an armed world of self-aggrandizing paranoia. Furthermore, some of Bastrop’s politicians appear to be 40-watt appliance bulbs—they are the real threat to public safety and citizen’s rights, not the politicians in Washington.


Bastrop has become an advertisement for the importance of heavy spending on better education and mental health care. (To be continued)

Sunday, September 17, 2017

SHOOTINGS: MANIPULATING PATRIOTISM


The Second Amendment advocates appear oblivious to the fact that there are other Amendments to the Constitution and all of them have limitations. There are limits on my freedom of speech. I cannot slander someone or go around using foul or offensive language without paying a price.

Those who play the patriotism game don’t stop to consider what weapons were available in the latter half of the 18th century. For the founding fathers, muskets were the state of the art guns. It is impossible to carry out a mass killing with a musket. The founding fathers, in their wildest dreams, could not have imagined today’s guns.


The Second Amendment advocates don’t realize they are being manipulated. The word games and lies are being used against them to make the gun manufacturers rich. The NRA and gun manufacturers promote fear that the government is coming to get everyone’s guns. This isn’t a word game; it is a lie. (To be continued)

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

SHOOTINGS: THE PATRIOTISM GAME


Then there is the patriotism game. The Second Amendment advocates, more often than not, call themselves “patriots.” This is particularly odious because they have delegated to themselves the right to determine who is and who is not a patriot. I would ask, “How can you call yourself a patriot when you militate for the unfettered access to all guns, giving a green light to terrorists, criminals, and those who are a danger of harming themselves and others to buy guns anywhere at any time. It doesn’t dawn on them that terrorist groups such as al Qa’ida could direct their operatives in the U.S. saying, “Go to a gun show in Virginia, buy as many guns as you want. There will be no background check.”


It doesn’t sound patriotic to me to take a position that is tantamount to defending the right of Adam Lanza, Seung Hui Cho or James Holmes to own guns and massacre innocent students, teachers or theatergoers. (To be continued)

Sunday, September 10, 2017

SHELL GAMES AND LIES


One excuse after another is all you get when you ask why can’t something be done to stop the gun violence; why something cannot be done to prevent our schools from being turned into shooting galleries.
As noted in the previous postings, the most common excuse for inaction is we need to enforce the laws we have. That is true, we do need to enforce existing laws. But the gun advocates stop there; they don’t want any laws with a bite in them. They won’t agree to enforcing laws that hold people accountable. The bottom line is, when it comes to guns, the Second Amendment people want absolutely no restrictions on gun ownership, and laws with little or no accountability.

Some gun advocates are so extreme in their laissez-faire attitudes that if you follow their line of reasoning to its ultimate conclusion, they would end up defending Adam Lanza’s right to own as many guns as he wanted.

Second Amendment

Second Amendment advocates engage in a variety of word and phrase shell games. The most common game centers on the argument that guns don’t kill, people do. Of course guns don’t kill; they are inanimate objects. Inanimate objects only kill in people’s hands—that is the point. 


Keeping guns out of the hands of convicted felons, terrorists, people who are a threat to themselves, and others, is critical to keeping all of us safe. Yet when you suggest some sort of background check to identify these people, the gun advocates cry foul. They claim such a check would violate people’s civil rights. I never hear them talk about the civil rights of students and theatergoers who have been killed or wounded. (To be continued)

Thursday, September 7, 2017

SHOOTINGS: NO DIALOGUE--NO SOLUTIONS


Politicians in the U.S. at all levels—federal, state, and local—rarely will they listen or even discuss the problems of gun violence and school shootings. There can be no resolution of the problem without talk, but raise the subject with many politicians and they hide under their desks.

Following the shooting at Newtown, Connecticut, then-Speaker of the House John Boehner said, “Now is not the time” to discuss these shootings. I would argue what better time to begin a serious dialog than after the hideous massacre of first graders and their teachers?


You hear that phrase time and time again, “now is not the time.” Ok, if not now, when? Tell us and we will be there. Not only that, we will come armed with proposals to keep guns out of the hands of those who are a threat to themselves and others: We will come prepared to discuss mental health issues, ways to identify and remove mediocre university and college officials, and any subject that will help end this violence. (To be continued)