WMDs

In any alternative dialog the Las Vegas tragedy could have been headlined as “Madman employs weapons of mass destruction to murder 59 concert-goers.”

Bush used the threat of WMDs to involve us in a war in 2003 which saw nearly a half million Iraqi citizens murdered in addition to thousands of American military personnel.  Our overwhelming use of firepower did not bring resolution to the people of Iraq, our persecution and consequent prosecution of Hussein did not stop the advance of international terrorism, and our military presence in principalities controlled by centuries-old tribal disputes has not deterred madmen from doing the things which madmen are known to do.  They murder.

The American breed of madmen is encouraged by the epidemic of violence which has blackened the souls of thousands of grieving countrymen.  The American breed of madmen is assisted in his/her diabolical schemes of murderous rampage by undeterred access to weaponry designed to be used only by soldiers fighting in combat situations.  And the American breed of madmen is supported by a senseless interpretation of rights under the 2nd amendment.  This underlying creed has facilitated the unfettered growth of the NRA (National Rifle Association) into an organization which became “an avatar of white anxiety” that viewed President Obama as someone who “wanted to deprive gun-toting Americans of their constitutional right to bear arms.”NRA

“The eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end,” Trump thundered before cheering throngs at the NRA’s annual meeting in April. “You have a true friend and champion in the White House.”

Under Mr. Obama’s Presidency, annual gun production skyrocketed 239 percent and the NRA membership hit a record five million.  It poured over $30 million into Trump’s campaign and millions more to stack Congress with gun-friendly lawmakers.  All but one of the NRA backed candidates won.  NRA millions

We Americans live in a war zone.  The terrorists we truly need to fear do not face the east five times daily to pray, they are not sequestered under the leadership of a man named Kim in North Korea.  The terrorist organization in our midst is a well-funded , politically involved, 5 million-strong, violence-promoting corps of quasi-militants who gather under the auspices of the NRA.  We need to wake up. This is not the NRA which decades ago protected the rights of sportsmen to own shotguns and rifles for hunting.  This organization promotes the accumulation of WMDs under the guise of 2nd amendment rights.  It is government approved terrorism.

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Las Vegas

This will not go away anytime soon.  Too many times we have been horrified by the war zone shootings at schools, movie theaters, stadiums, nightclubs and in the streets.  Did you notice the key word in the previous sentence was “shootings”?  These are acts of violence carried out with weapons;  not just pistols, shotguns, and rifles but heavy-duty military style automatic and semi-automatic weapons which can kill scores of people in a few short minutes.

Already the NRA & WH have commented that now in the midst of this tragedy is not the time to open a dialog about gun control.  My reply is “Why the hell not?”  There is no better time than now to confront the 2nd amendment rights people who believe their right to accumulate an arsenal of guns within their homes supersedes the rights of fellow citizens who want to live in a peaceful and safe environment in their hometowns, where they work, where they go for recreation, and most of all where they send their children to learn.

The gun rights people supported by the powerful government lobby of the NRA try to convince us that it is the people, not the guns, who create havoc and grief in our neighborhoods, workplaces, and our schools.  Guess what, gun advocates?  I don’t care anymore who or what is responsible.  I just want it to stop.

We have seen that gun shop owners and vendors at flea markets are not doing a competent job of regulating who buys their guns.  We have seen that law enforcement is ineffective in regulating gun ownership, and we have seen that the federal government is unwilling to displease one of the most powerful lobbies in the country, the NRA.

People, whether they are deranged, drug driven, violent ideologues, or religious zealots, are indeed the propellant in this epidemic of violence, but their solution of choice in carrying out their diabolical schemes and madness is the unlimited array of easily available weapons.  Your 2nd amendment right does not include the freedom to randomly kill one another in order to settle an issue which in civilized countries is resolved with dialog, mental health treatment, and gun ownership restrictions.

You and your doctrines of violence are the festering sore which won’t go away,  you are the cancer which is destroying our country, you are the scourge of a society which needs to find more avenues of peaceful coexistence.  Yes, you, those of you who proclaim, “only from my dead hands will they pry my gun.”  You are directly the cause of America’s great pain today.

Along with millions of others world-wide, I am sad and grieving over the toll in Las Vegas of 59 dead and over 500 injured.  But, I have grieved too often.  The children at Columbine and Sandy Hook, the gays at Orlando, the prayer group at Charleston, the policemen in Dallas are speaking to us now pleading to stop the insanity of the proliferation of guns in America.  The statistics of death by guns shame us, a society which claims the largest Christian population on earth.  America, where are your values and the morals which define your faith?

No, now is the time to be angry and press the gun control dialog.  If our representatives in government continue to sandbag us while pocketing NRA and munitions/arms manufacturers’ money, we must replace them with others who see the long-term necessity for a society free of weapons of mass destruction as used in Las Vegas.  2018 and 2020 elections are just around the corner.  Get to know your candidates and their position on gun control and the 2nd amendment.  Do not believe the cynics who say we don’t have the power to effect changes.  As our illustrious President Obama said, “Yes, we can.”

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God, guns, guts

As a young man growing up in rural Pennsylvania one of the anticipations of the autumn aside from harvest, football, and hay rides was hunting.  It was a time of brotherly camaraderie, enjoying the fall colors in the woods, sipping hot cider on frosty mornings.  We hunted squirrel, rabbit, pheasants, turkey, and deer.  Every kill was taken home, dressed and put into a stew or into the freezer for future use.  Never was the bounty of the land wasted or taken for granted.  Wild game was another crop which the farmer harvested, gave thanks for, and used wisely.

As a young man growing up in rural Pennsylvania we all had at least one shotgun and rifle.  I had a 20 gauge and a 35 caliber, learned to use them safely, and appreciated the trust bestowed in me to hunt with other sportsmen.  I knew of no one who possessed or carried a pistol, revolver or any other small arms except for the local constable.  Absolutely no one in my community had a need for a military style weapon, especially law enforcement.

As a young man growing up in rural Pennsylvania we held a respect for one another that would preclude any actions of violence against our brothers and sisters.  It was not taught, it was not learned.  It was a part of who we were on the day we were born.  We called ourselves pacifists, but even more, we practiced nonviolence.  Pacifism is an attitude or mindset.  Nonviolence is an active pursuit.

Sadly, life in America today isn’t rural Pennsylvania 60 years ago.  Our viewing screens are plastered with the violence we level upon one another; Columbine, NYC, Sandy Hook, Orlando, Dallas, Charleston, and now Las Vegas.  Its an epidemic of violence fueled by fringe ideology with one common denominator: access to high powered, military style weaponry.

Many of those who claim a right to guns are no longer sport hunters who harvest the bounty of the land.  They have become instead proponents of the 2 nd Amendment accumulating enough arms to start a world war in their own backyards and they are supported by the power of the NRA, an association which began as a voice for the rights of hunters.

The perpetrators of the acts of violence which we see on our screens and in the newspapers are usually declared as mentally deranged.  Matters not.  The supporters of NRA claim that their right to possess military style weapons supersedes the rights of fellow Americans and their families to live safely in peaceful neighborhoods, communities, and cities.

In Florida, the state laws favor the gun owner who claims a right to carry at all times.  The illusion is that they want the ability to protect themselves in case of a deranged shooter engaging in a confrontation.  Hey, folks, it’s the OK Corral in your local WalMart, aisle 6.

“Who’s the good guy, who’s the bad guy….I dunno, just get the hell out of the crossfire.”

They say it’s for protection.  Guess what?  I feel safer hiking through the nearby woods with the alligators, the water moccasins, the bears, and the occasional homeless guy than I do shopping at my local grocery store.  That’s the depth of moral deprivation into which our society has slid.

Next time you see or hear “God, guns, and guts” think about it.  Give the association of those three words in the same sentence some serious thought.  As the proud proponents of gun rights often proclaim:

“They’ll have to pry my gun out of my dead hands.”  Well, then so be it.  It’s your choice. But, don’t kill me or my loved ones  in the process.

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