August 5, 2019

Perpetual Half-Mast

I interrupt  my normal posting schedule to place this article in front of you. 


Written by R.J. Walters, at RJ's Corner, it expresses some of the outrage any human being with a functioning moral center must feel after a weekend of murders committed by domestic terrorists in El Paso and Dayton, just a week after another deadly rampage in Gilroy, CA.

Young men (mostly) with guns and hate in their hearts, have killed more Americans than died during the 9/11 attacks. Eighteen years later we remain at war with countries that had even a remote link to that event, yet, remain unable to act against our own, homegrown terrorists; there is no other term for what they are inflicting upon us.

Perpetual Half-Mast

It seems lately that almost every time a see a flag pole the flag is flying at half-mast. The lasted one here locally was for a police office who was gunned down during a traffic stop. Sadly, as a nation we pull our flag to half-mast almost weekly now.
This weekend saw two domestic terrorist massacres on the same day. Dozens were killed in public spaces just trying to live their daily lives! All one of these homegrown terrorists wanted to do was to kill those people who had invaded his country!
His country? How did we come to decide that white nationalists owned my country of 73 years? Why does he get to decide? Like most of the weekly mass shooting he likely bought his weapon of mass destruction locally from a Texas town. They likely sold him all the bullets he needed to carry out his task. And then there is the guy who decided to kill anyone who was just having a good time on a Saturday night. Surely all of us realize that this could happen in our communities!
Why are we so passive when it comes to fixing this problem. Our country, along with Iraq and Afghanistan are now known as the terrorist capitals of the world. The rest of the developed countries knew what it takes to stop the vast majority of these tragedies, why don’t we have the guts to face up to the NRA and do the same?
Is this who we are now as a nation, as a people? Are we now defined by the crazies who claim this country solely for them and others like them. All the rest need to be eliminated. It will be interesting to see if the El Paso terrorist mentions the “instigator in chief” as one of his reasons for killing those “invading” his country.
We spend millions of dollars each day to prevent one of our soldiers in the Middle East from being killed but it seems that we are unable to lift a finger to prevent the dozens of innocent deaths every week within our shores. What will it take???????
I really don’t want to spend my final years in the insanity that has now invaded our nation. Yeah, I know I should just go back where I came from. The trouble with that is that my clan came here more than a hundred years ago and I have no idea where I should be going back to…
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Thank you, R.J., for permission to use your powerful thoughts to convey even a sliver of the outrage I feel.

34 comments:

  1. I am glad you feel outrage! Anyone who thinks that killing others is a solution to society's problems is wrong. More than wrong--mentally imbalanced. They are desperately in need of help, and society should be poised to provide that help. But my concern is deeper than that. Rather than double down on mental health services, mental health research, and outreach programs, society has chosen to attack constitutionally protected rights (think 1st and 2nd amendments) as a "solution" and vilify people and ideas different from their own. In this respect, people with this point of view are no different than the people they vilify. I cite your own words--crazies, instigator in chief, terrorist, as your attempt to silence those who disagree (see the 1st amendment), and comments about firearms dealers blatantly buying and selling "weapons of mass destruction" as an attempt to accuse those who legally support another constitutional right (2nd amendment). Posts like this do more to create the problem than to fix it.

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    1. I disagree 100% but respect your right to say so.

      As long as guns are as easy to get as cell phones our citizens will continue to kill each other because of some alleged hurt or slight.

      Having an administration sow societal division, distrust, and racial hate is simply throwing fuel on the fire. No amendment supports that level of public moral collapse.

      You can have all sorts of ideas different from mine, but you do not have the "right" to shoot me.

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  2. I agree. I would like to go back to Scotland but my son and grandchildren live nearby.

    Our government has completely failed us.

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  3. I am just numb to the lack of moral courage that is needed in the Senate to take concrete steps to put an end to the killing fields, to have open debates on bills passed in the House and to hold hearings from experts in all fields so we, as a nation, can plan our way back to "normal." We need to throw everything at the problem and see what works starting with sensible gun control laws, more mental health professionals in the schools to ID kids at risk, etc. And we need a president who doesn't sleep with with White Nationals and dine with the NRA, a president who understands that his job is to unite us, not deliberately try to divide us. He maybe have read all the right words today but he'll undo them soon with a tweet.

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  4. He read words someone else had written, but he believes none of them.

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    1. Yup, he read them like a prisoner of war would read a statement.

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    2. Bob,
      It was easy to tell he did not write those words because the words were too organized, not violent, not calling names, and the language was more elevated than he is capable of using.

      itch McConnell has a bill that he has been holding onto since February, I think. Now, there is talk of adding bill that has a dual goal, reducing immigrants and gun control. So, Trump is going to add keeping migrants out to anything to eliminate gun crazies.

      He will never give up.

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  5. Its a very sad state of affairs. Even after the tragic murders of 20 elementary school kids at Sandy Hook, the United States political system was still unable to pass any kind of meaningful gun law changes.
    And the powerful NRA, right Wing groups etc are so quick to blame mental illness as a smoke screen instead of working together to reduce the easy availability of these assault weapons.
    Look how quickly the govt of New Zealand moved to ban assault rifles after their recent attack. It took them 6 days to pass that legislation - 6 days!
    I dont know these politicians on the wrong side of this issue can dare to speak their usual rhetoric immediately after these events ie "sending thoughts and prayers to the victims of ..... "

    Derek, in Canada.

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    1. Thanks for mentioning New Zealand. After the Christchurch massacre, the new Prime Minister managed to get more done in 6 days than we have in decades. A motivated political leader and a populus can work wonders.

      The country identified part of the problem and moved to make it so much tougher for someone to duplicate the crime...not eliminate it, just make its likelihood more remote. Wouldn't we settle for tougher to kill?

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  6. I appreciate your post as well as RJs share. To Stan I would simply say this: all rights have limits, even your right to vote. The refusal by the NRA (who buys congressfolks right and left) to set even minimal limits on gun possession has put them into this position (under attack).Should a violent felon who has been released but cannot show he has been rehabilitated have a gun? I don't think so. Should a man who has stalked his wife, beaten her and has a restraining order that he cannot follow be able to get a gun (neve rmind a machine gun?) I would nope that answer is no. Specifically, I am a veteran who has fired an AR15. I can assure you that it's only, I say again only, purpose is to kill as many people in as short a time as possible. You don't need it for target practice. You cannot hunt with it, and if you used it to protect your home, you would probably kill your kids, shoot out your windows and doors and maybe your neighbor coming to help.Secondly there is no denying that our current leadership takes joy in causing dissention between Americans. When he is talking about immigration and someone says "shoot him" and the President of the United States laughs, that makes him complicit. Beto O Rourke may be an pampered kid but he's right on this one-Of course Donald Trump is a racist. And while the people who elected him may not be, or think they aren't they elected him knowing that he was a racist, unqualified and a serial philanderer among other things. You reap what you sew.

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    1. I have nothing to add, Barb. Right on the mark.

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    2. Not only is he complicit, he incites it! I didn't vote for him and can't believe any moral person would. He treats the lives and challenges of Americans like a big game and a popularity contest. Nothing matters but how much publicity he gets.

      This is exactly what our government as a whole has become. What happened to checks and balances, the reason we have a bipartisan system? We should be helping bring out the best in each other, not crippling needed progress in every arena.

      It's a travesty.

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  7. You liberal loons should check your facts first before making fools of yourselves. There were more mass shootings and killings under Obama than Trump will ever get. You have been faked out by the lying media.
    https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/134720/which-president-has-more-mass-shootings-barack-or-trump/

    I dare you even to post my comment. R.J is a kook and a nut. The fact that you even believe his rhetoric just shows what sheep you all are.
    Oh and Bob, have fun in Canada. Don't let the door hit you in the ass as you move out.

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    1. I cm leaving your comment as a strong indication of what sane people are up against. I was beginning to wonder where the hate comments were hiding, and there you are.

      Obama was in office for 8 years, Trump for less than three. Try simple math. Can you really predict the future? Obama dealt with a Republican Senate for 4 years that wouldn't even discuss gun control. Nothing has changed under Trump.

      But, you know what, I am wasting my time. You are resorting to name calling, distorting facts, and encouraging me to leave. I'd prefer to stay and fight the mess.

      And, by the way, Canada has two gun killings per 100,000 people per year, the U.S. 13. Canada is looking better for its ability to keep its citizens from killing each other, not as a place to run to.

      One more thing: R.J. has different views than I do on some subjects. But, on this subject he is on target (to use a pun that seems appropriate). That doesn't make him a kook, it makes him a citizen exercising his First Amendment rights, which is why your comment remains.

      Have a nice night.

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  8. Bob, I am honored to have space on your blog and in your read list. Thanks for defending me on this re-post.

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    1. This is a critical topic for discussion and, more importantly, action. Thank you for allowing me to spread your thoughts.

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  9. Thank you Bob for re-posting the article as I don't read RJ's blog as frequently as yours. And thank you RJ for writing it. I read a NY Times article about bulletproof backpacks for students and ask myself, how did we ever get to a place where we need to even think about bulletproof backpacks for school age children? Like many of our problems, solutions are not easy but we sure need to start trying.

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    1. My grandkids tell me they have lived with the possibility of a school shooting every day of their young lives. That sickens me.

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  10. There were over 17,200 murders I believe in 2017 (latest year I could find stats on). As sad and appalling the mass shootings are (ones the media gets profits from over exposing which in turn is a contributor to more "copycat" killings it would seem), the bigger story is the murder rates afflicting our inner cities. Most of these murders are from people who either know or are acquainted with the person(s) they murder. The mass shootings make up less than 1% from my calculations of the murders in this country each year. I do not own any firearms nor do I plan to carry any (my choice). We need to find a way to stem the violent element within our society. There appears to be a tie between poverty and the murder rate in impoverished neighborhoods. I saw a comment earlier about Canada having a lower murder rate. I also believe Canada has a much lover rate of poverty. It's not an apples to apples comparison between the USA and Canada in this area. Banning firearms will mainly affect those people who are law abiding citizens. Criminals and anyone who really wants to secure any type of firearm will simply procure one from the black market (look at our illegal drug epidemic as a prime example). The political rhetoric and blame game will continue no matter which political party is in any branch of government which is what is stoking a lot of the poor behavior being published by people and lack of good, open dialog about the issues and how to address them. Wish I had answers for how to reduce these murders but I do not. All I do know is that there is a lot of "knee jerking" going on within the media and our political establishments about the topic. I suspect our law enforcement people have a very good idea of how to address but many of our politicians and over half our country feel law enforcement is corrupt. Just my 2 cents worth.

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    1. Every time this subject comes up someone pulls out the "ban all weapons" red herring. The conversation is about banning assault style weapons and multiple round magazines, the combination designed to kill dozens at a time.

      Inner city crime is horrific, but usually involving pistols, not machine guns. To point to that type of shooting as a justification for keeping assault weapons is just plain wrong.

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    2. Just to clarify, I did not say I support or oppose tighter restrictions on firearms. I merely stated the belief by at least half of our society in this country (as shown by the polls) that placing a ban on any type of firearm is just going to cause that type of firearm to move to the black market and will still be readily available to non law abiding citizens. If someone wishes to inflict mass murder, there are other readily available materials that can be used to construct all sorts of weapons (not firearms) - see Oklahoma City mass murder as am example. My point is that we need to come together as a society, better understand the driving forces behind these acts, and work to address those areas in addition to any near term actions we can take. Again, what does law enforcement recommend for near term actions as they are the ones closest to all these murders? I understand there is a lot of anger and frustration out there and people are becoming so alienated from hearing and actually contemplating other points of view as the politicians and media fan the flames of discord versus coming together to propose solutions that are supported by the majority of citizens of this country. I sincerely appreciate your comments and respect you for sharing your thoughts and ideas with us on these topics. Thanks for posting by the way.

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  11. RJ is spot on IMO. I can't imagine what kind of mind games it takes to justify this level of violence so someone can own an assault weapon. For what? As Barb said, they are weapons of war. And yes, our President has been inciting this for a long time. Who laughs at the suggestion of shooting migrants? He is depraved. And he looks like he's in a hostage video every time he is forced to read some disingenuous statement from the teleprompter. All he really wants is the own the news cycle, and he's an evil genius at that task.

    The fact that McConnell is sitting on a gun control bill that he won't even bring to a vote because he's running for re-election tells you a lot about him - not that we didn't already know he is bought and paid for.

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    1. Mr. McConnell is the most craven political animal...one that protects his job over the well being of the country and his little corner of it. Our "thoughts and prayets" are for a defeat next year for him and anyone else who places self above common good and morality

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  12. Another question for us to ponder: what is the difference between foreign and domestic terrorists? Both use religion, perceived slights,loss of power and influence and social media to try to accomplish their goals.

    Is it well passed time we declare war on domestic terrorism?

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    1. No difference. One just happens to be a US citizen and the other a non US citizen. The challenge is how much of our civil liberties and freedoms are we willing to relinquish for increased internal USA surveillance, profiling, tracking, and so forth to try to proactively prevent these senseless attacks? Where does freedom of speech and expression end? Who makes the determination of what is considered speech and expression that is dangerous? If someone opposes someone else's belief of a topic does that make them an internal terrorist? It's a very slippery slope to try to navigate. Thoughts?

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    2. We spend billion of dollars and thousands of lives on fighting terrorism that is 10,000 miles away. What are we doing to fight "home-grown" terrorists whether it is the ISIS or White Supremacy (or any other) variety?

      I think most reasonable people can distinguish between expressing a belief (no matter how hateful and twisted) and acting on that belief. That said, allowing hate speech to spread via social media is an area that must be addressed, since it helps feed the beast. The First Amendment does not permit me to threaten public figures or suggest killing certain segments of society, no matter how much they seem to be making my life harder.

      As someone said on Facebook yesterday, if an immigrant travels 2,000 miles, doesn't speak the language, arrives with few skills or support systems, and still "takes" your job, then you need to spend less time on Twitter and more time improving your skills.

      Driving drunk is against the law. Is a breathalyzer test an infringement on someone's rights to privacy and freedom. I doubt anyone would argue in the affirmative. The line between what protects society and what harms freedoms is rarely very blurry.

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    3. Threatening someone's life to me is different than what some people categorize as hate speech. How do we determine what is categorized as hate speech that could lead to someone being threatened with harm by another person? What if I don't like the rhetoric coming from a particular person or organization? What if I "feel" threatened by that rhetoric even though I was never once threatened personally? Should I and people who feel the same as me about that particular rhetoric have the power to classify that rhetoric and group as "hate" and censor what mediums they can share ideas and communicate their beliefs? This area is where I struggle with where to draw that line in the sand hence my questions above. I read into your comments that you believe that a majority of people believe that we need to censor certain freedoms of speech and that the line of where that censoring occurs is rarely blurry. I do not subscribe to that belief (if I understood it correctly). That general approach of censorship is what is prevalent in China, Russia, and many other countries that have horrible human rights and freedom records. I for one, want to be sure we avoid going down that path. Where does prevention end and loss of freedoms begin? My mother used to always tell me when I was upset as a child about someone being mean to me verbally, "Sticks and stones can break your bones but words will never hurt you (meaning physically)".

      We have to be careful as a nation not to allow a small fraction of people with ill intent towards others to impede upon the freedoms of the majority who are not promoting ill will towards others. I am not subscribing that we don't need to make changes to address these issues; I am just stating we need to carefully consider what impacts proposed changes will have and keep ourselves from making rash decisions in a time of fear, disbelief, and mental anguish. Same advise I have seen so many times from personal finance and retirement experts when changes occur that you, as an individual, were not planning to happen.

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    4. Thank you for your thoughtful explanation of your position. I think you and I are closer in our reaction to our problems than you may believe.

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    5. I think we spend a lot more on this issue than you think we do. I know lots of people working on these issues. if the defense contractors would simply let us move out of the Middle East....

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  13. As I am a conservative, Christian, republican, I am saddened to read so many comments with which I disagree. I seriously support president Trump and sincerely believe he is the best president we have ever had. I'm an educated senior citizen and want the best for our country. How is it we can so disagree? I support the 2nd amendment and gun rights. Not just because guns are fun to shoot or because I want to g0 bird hunting some day. I will fight for my right to own an AR15 and have a bucket of bullets because I know government that is not apposed will one day become tyrannical. History shows that the be the case. Are we to believe that people here are so good so different that our government would never turn against us. Many are flirting with socialism, even communism and that is proof enough that many are ready to be ruled, just as the people of Venezuela were. I don't know how to stop mass shootings. I think it is the result of the break up of the home and marriage, and the marginalization of the white man. None the less, I know things will get worse and worse and we will never make things better.

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    1. I disagree with virtually every point you make, especially when you use phrases like "marginalization of the white man." The Jesus I believe in would never utter such words. They express an us versus them mindset that is the antithesis of love your neighbor as you love yourself.

      Even so, I am pleased you felt free to explain your beliefs. I support your right to express them, even if I disagree with them.

      If more of us could talk about what separates us maybe we could agree about those things that unite us.

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  14. Everybody needs to WORK HARD locally for the 2020 elections and start getting new Congressional leadership that reflects our true American values. Are you ready?

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  15. As Canadians, we do not like to travel to the USA because it has become such a violent place.

    Jude

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