Sunday, July 15, 2018

SPEAKING ON SCHOOL SHOOTINGS AND GUN VIOLENCE



I will be speaking to the Northumberland County Democrats on July 19th at 7:00 p.m. at the Northumberland Public Library in Heathsville, Virginia. I have been asked to speak about my books on school shootings and what steps can be taken to reduce or prevent the carnage.  The public is invited.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

OPEN MIC--KILMARNOCK, VA

OPEN MIC

Poets, playwrights, and writers of all kinds are urged to participate in the an Open Mic afternoon from 1 to 3 p.m. on July 21st at the Lancaster Community Library, 16 Town Centre Drive, Kilmarnock, Virginia.


Bring a piece of original work to share or come by to listen and enjoy the creative genius of friends and neighbors. Sponsored by the Writers Guild of Virginia, the Open Mic is free and open to all.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

A SEAT ON THE U.S. SUPREME COURT COSTS $1 BILLION

Below is a letter-to-the-editor written by a friend:

Now we know:  A seat on the U. S. Supreme Court will cost you $1 billion.

In the late 1980's Donald Trump was broke.  Because of his long history of bankruptcies and stiffing creditors, every major Wall Street bank cut him off.  Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley are just a few of the banks who told Trump in 1988 they would no longer work with him.  A Goldman Sachs official told reporters "bankers know better than to pitch” a Trump-related deal.

Trump spent most of the 1990's searching for money.  He found it in Russia where Russian mobsters and wealthy Russian businessmen -- all with close personal and financial ties to Putin -- were looking for places to park their millions. 

After the Russian economy collapsed in 1998, wealthy Russians sought to stash their money in international real estate. The Trump Organization offered an appealing haven, mainly because of Trump's reputation for lax reporting (Trump has paid multiple record-breaking fines for ignoring anti-money-laundering laws).  As a result, several Trump-branded projects from 1998 onward received significant financing from sources with ties to Russia, most notably the shadowy Bayrock Group and Deutsche Bank, which is one of the few major financial institutions to still lend to Trump.  

Much of the Russian money that flowed to Trump was channeled through the Special Client Division of Deutsche Bank. 

To date, Trump has obtained around $1 BILLION in loans from Russia through Deutsche Bank.  For the past ten years, one Deutsche Bank official, Justin Kennedy, has served as Trump's personal banker.  Justin Kennedy's father is -- retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Justice Kennedy's retirement enables Trump to control the Supreme Court for the next fifty years.

The price of a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court:  $1 billion in laundered Russian money.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

SHOOTINGS: WHAT WILL IT TAKE?


What will it take stop the increase in gun violence on school grounds and begin to reverse the numbers of shooting incidents?

Quite simply it begins with good people speaking out against extreme gun-rights advocates.  Specifically, actions such as the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) excursion into paranoid lunacy—a world of complete unfettered access to all guns.

The NRA’s latest excursion into mind control and violation of the constitutional right of freedom of speech centers on their efforts to get states to adopt laws that make it illegal for doctors to ask patients if they have a gun at home. According to USA Today, three states are considering laws that would penalize doctors and other health care providers for asking patients or their parents whether they have a gun at home.

 “The National Rifle Association and other pro-gun interest groups argue that doctors violate patients; second amendment right to keep and bear arms by inquiring about gun ownership. Doctors say they ask only because of safety concerns. Prohibiting them from asking about guns violates the first amendment, at least one constitutional law expert says.”

What about the right of any doctor to ask any patient any question pertaining to the patient’s wellbeing? Apparently the NRA believes there is only one amendment in the Bill of Rights and that is the Second Amendment. If you are going to apply order of importance to the amendments, then it is not unreasonable to think that the most important consideration on the founding fathers’ minds was freedom of speech. The last time I counted “one” came before “two.”

What a shame if the power of the gun lobby, coupled with the cowardice of the politicians, rewrites history and interprets the Constitution to the benefit of the paranoid few and the profits of gun manufacturers and the NRA.

What will it take to stop the blood baths on our school grounds? As a beginning, it will take people such as you demanding action along the lines outlined in this poar. (To Be Continued)




Monday, June 11, 2018

REMINDER: OPEN MIC--KILMARNOCK, VA


Poets, playwrights, and writers of all kinds are urged to participate in the an Open Mic afternoon from 1 to 3 p.m. on June 16 at the Lancaster Community Library, 16 Town Centre Drive, Kilmarnock, Virginia.

Bring a piece of original work to share or come by to listen and enjoy the creative genius of friends and neighbors. Sponsored by the Writers Guild of Virginia, the Open Mic is free and open to all

SCHOOL SHOOTINGS: THE FLAW IS THE HUMAN FACTOR


The state of Virginia points to the millions of dollars it has spent on security systems as proof Virginia schools are safe. Yes, Richmond has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on electronic security systems; yes, it has developed new security procedures. What Virginia officials don’t say is that everything was in place on April 16, 2007 to prevent the slaughter of 30 people and wounding of 17 others in Norris Hall. No new electronic security system was needed.

What Virginia state officials fail to mention is that no one was ever held accountable for incompetence—specifically for failing to initiate the warning and lockdown.

No matter how much is spent on security, it always boils down to the human factor, and until someone is held accountable for his or her actions or inactions leading to mass murder, the state’s schools will not be measurably safer. The flaw is always the human factor.

So, what should be done in Virginia to prevent another Appalachian School of Law slaughter or a repeat of the April 16, 2007 tragedy at Blacksburg? A great deal, and here are three places to start:

First, the Virginia legislature should adopt a law stating that if a faculty or staff member identifies a student as mentally unbalanced and potentially violent, the student must be referred to mental health authorities for evaluation. At the same time an alert should be issued to all gun stores banning the sale of weapons and ammunition to that individual. Any person selling a gun to someone for whom a warning has been issued should serve a mandatory, long jail sentence.

Second—and by law—all educational facilities in Virginia, both public and private, should have in place a mandatory emergency plan. All presidents of the state’s colleges and universities should be required to annually read and understand their school’s security plans, and to sign that they have done so

Third, in the event of any shooting on or near school grounds, the school should immediately lockdown. Police should be called and posted around the facility until it is clear that the shooter has been captured. (To be continued)