Tag Archives: gun control

Jim – always in style! … McGovern Blasts House GOP For Toothless NRA-Backed Gun Bill

Following House Democrats’ Nearly 26-Hour Sit-In, McGovern Continues Call for Republicans to Act on Bipartisan Gun Legislation

Congressman Jim McGovern led this week’s floor debate for House Democrats calling for action on real legislation to address gun violence. This came less than two weeks after Speaker Paul Ryan and House Republicans abruptly adjourned the House to avoid the debate on gun legislation that Congressman McGovern and House Democrats were calling for with a nearly 26-hour sit-in on the House floor.

Congressman McGovern continued the push for action and called out House Republicans for pushing a bill written by the NRA instead of the bipartisan legislation the American people clearly support.

“The American people overwhelmingly support the No Fly, No Buy bill and universal background checks. And they’re not going to fall for the theatrics my Republican friends are now engaged in this week, which is to bring up an NRA-written bill which they’re going to say is No Fly, No Buy. But what they’re not going to tell you is that all the loopholes still exist.

“It doesn’t matter what this bill purports to do, you can still be on the terrorist watch list and go online to buy a gun. You can still be on the terrorist watch list and not be able to fly, and still be able to go to a gun show and buy a gun. It’s pathetic that the loopholes in our background checks continue to be unaddressed.

“We are not going away. This issue is too important. We are not going to be silent. We are going to continue to use every means available to us to raise our voices and to demand that the leadership of this House respect not the wishes of the Democratic minority, but respect the wishes of the vast majority of the American people, Democrats and Republicans alike.”

Text of Speech by Congressman McGovern:

“I want to thank the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Sessions, for the customary 30 minutes and I really want to thank him because after what happened two weeks ago when we in the minority were denied any debate time on the rule or the underlying bill, I know that being given the automatic 30 minutes is no longer something that we should assume.

“We’re doing three rules today that would provide for the consideration of legislation on a separation of powers bill, a health savings account bill, and a financial services bill. All three bills, I want my colleagues to know, are going nowhere. There are statements of Administration policy saying that the Administration would veto them.

“Some of these bills are so bad I’m not even sure the Senate would consider them. They’re either press releases that were written in the Republican congressional campaign committee or they are bills that are so loaded up with extraneous materials and riders on all kinds of subjects that have nothing to do with the underlying legislation that, again, we’re just sitting here, debating bills that have no future, that are going nowhere. We’re wasting the time of our colleagues, we’re wasting taxpayer money.

“What we should be debating here today is legislation that would provide for comprehensive background checks on anyone who wants to buy a gun. And also legislation that says if you are on an FBI terrorist watch list and cannot fly on an airplane, then you should not be able to go into a gun store and buy a weapon of war, or buy any gun for that matter. Those are the two pieces of legislation that we tried two weeks ago to get the Speaker of the House to give us a debate and vote on. And we still demand consideration of these two very basic, commonsense pieces of legislation that I believe will save lives in this country. And quite frankly, that’s what we should be concerned with. How we better protect our constituents. How we better protect the American people.

“The issue of gun violence is something that Democrats and Republicans alike care about. In fact, the legislation we want to bring to the floor was offered by a Republican member, the distinguished member from New York, Peter King. He’s the prime author of both these pieces of legislation. This problem is something that worries the American people, trouble the American people, but doesn’t seem to trouble the people in charge of this House.

“Listen to this statistic from PolitiFact: ‘So many people die annually from gunfire in the United States that the death toll between 1968 and 2011 eclipses all wars ever fought by the country. There were about 1.4 million firearm deaths in that period compared to 1.2 million U.S. deaths in every conflict from the War of Independence to the war in Iraq.’

“Two weeks ago, many of us came to this floor and joined with our colleague John Lewis and Katherine Clark, John Larson, Mike Thompson, and so many others in a protest, a sit-in. And the reason why we did that is because the frustration level on this side of the aisle is boiling over.

“This is supposed to be a deliberative body where important issues get debated and voted on. And instead, this has become a place where trivial issues get debated passionately and important ones not at all.

“In the aftermath of this terrible tragedy in Orlando where 49 people were killed, all we could do in this House was have a moment of silence. That was it. So that’s what that protest was all about. That’s what that protest was all about. We had exhausted every other way to try to get this legislation to the floor. And every time we tried to go through regular order we’re blocked, we’re blocked, we’re blocked. Enough.

“The American people overwhelmingly support the No Fly, No Buy bill and universal background checks. And they’re not going to fall for the theatrics my Republican friends are now engaged in this week, which is to bring up an NRA-written bill which they’re going to say is No Fly, No Buy. But what they’re not going to tell you is that all the loopholes still exist.

“It doesn’t matter what this bill purports to do, you can still be on the terrorist watch list and go online to buy a gun. You can still be on the terrorist watch list and not be able to fly, and still be able to go to a gun show and buy a gun. It’s pathetic that the loopholes in our background checks continue to be unaddressed.

“All we’re trying to do is have our moment where we can debate this issue which, again, is a bipartisan issue. It’s not a partisan issue. The two pieces of legislation that we are trying to bring to the floor are offered by a Republican member.

“So we are not going away. This issue is too important. We are not going to be silent. We are going to continue to use every means available to us to raise our voices and to demand that the leadership of this House respect not the wishes of the Democratic minority, but respect the wishes of the vast majority of the American people, Democrats and Republicans alike.”

A concatenation of events!

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America, land of the paid lobbyist!

By Edith Morgan

This summer a concatenation of events now requires that we do more than just keep abreast of happenings: So close together we can hardly catch our collective breath we have been battered by yet another mass killing – this time in Orlando; followed by the sit-in in our House of Representatives, and now the British vote to exit the European Union. That is a lot to deal with in such a short time.

But all three events seem to be precursors of great changes, not only in our country, but also worldwide.

There are the usual emotional calls, the prayers, the handwringing, the outpourings of support, the fundraising, and the calls for “doing something.” But with so much going on, this is a time to resist quick solutions and to reason rather than to react. We always have an immediate “fight or flight” emotional reaction and then, hopefully, our brains should kick in and help us to consider the best course of action, this time based on all the available facts and a very good analysis of what the results our any action might be. Change is inevitable, but maybe this time we will not stumble blindly into actions that just make things worse.

When I came to America, I was taught that we elected people who were better than we were, more able to lead us, more statesmanlike. Yes, there were always the politicians, but statesmen and women had the interests of the people at heart and were not in office to enrich themselves and their friends or to get big jobs in the private sector.

Remember the “dollar-a-year men”? Many were “captains of industry,” lending their expertise to the government to solve our problems.

Can we begin selecting those who represent us with that in mind?

Can we stop assuming that just because there are lobbyists around all the time that everyone has to do their bidding?

Can we finally take the awful money out of our election system?

Can we limit campaigns to two months?

Can we expect those we select to do their jobs 10 months of the election year and all year when it is not an election year?

When??????

The mass killing at the Pulse night club in Orlando …

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Hate Crimes

By Gordon Davis

The mass killing at the Pulse night club in Orlando, Florida, has had a more profound impact on me than the mass shootings of 26 people in Newtown, Connecticut. In Newton, 20 of the victims are six- and seven-year-old children. The death of the children is so sad I find it hard to think of it even years later.

The greater impact of the Pulse night club killings is that it seemed to be a hate crime. As a boy, I was most afraid of someone harming me.

The fear of being harmed because of hatred of a protected class is something I still experience. The murder of the Black church goers in South Carolina and now the mass killings in Orlando have brought those feelings once again to the surface.

The mass murders based on protected class are like the lynchings of the 19th and 20th Centuries.

At least two people were a little disappointed in the vigil held Wednesday at Worcester City Hall. No one really talked about hate crimes or gun control.

The rally did send a good message that many in Worcester accept the LBGT community as a part of us. As one person once said to me, “I am here, I am queer. Get used to it.”

In Massachusetts a hate crime is defined in M.G. L. c. 265, s. 39. “Criminal conduct motivated by bias against one of the following protected classes is a hate crime, race, color, religion, national origin, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability.”

Everyone has a protected class.

There are criminal and civil penalties for hate crimes.

The Attorney General of Massachusetts has been authorized to pursue legal action against those who deprive others of their civil rights through intimidation, threats, coercion or violence. The Attorney General may file a civil injunction to enforce Massachusetts civil rights laws.

The local police and district attorneys may also add a count of hate crimes to a criminal complaint.

There is a Crime Reporting Unit consisting of a joint project of the Massachusetts State Police and the Department of Justice. This reporting unit is tasked with collective data about hate crimes. The Unit is supposed to publish the report annually. The last report I could find on line was 2013.

Criminal acts based on the following biases are included in the report.

The Crimes Reporting Act covers these forms of bias:

Racial/Ethnic/National Bias:

Anti-Black
Anti-White
Anti-Asian
Anti-Hispanic
Anti-Arab
Anti-Other
Racial/Ethnic/National Group
Religious Bias:
Anti-Jewish
Anti-Catholic
Anti-Protestant
Anti-Islamic (Muslim)
Anti-Other Religion
Sexual Orientation Bias:
Anti-Gay (Male)
Anti-Lesbian
Anti-Other Sexual Orientation
Handicap Bias:
Anti-Persons with AIDS
Anti-Physically Disabled
Anti-Mentally Disabled
Gender Bias:
Anti-Female
Anti-Male
Anti-Transgender Bias

The 2013 report has the following information:

There were 491 criminal offenses reported in 2013, the most frequent offense was harassment (33%). Acts of vandalism were second (19.1%). General civil rights violations were third (18.9%) There were 18 aggravated assaults reported in 2013.

In 2013 prejudice against race/ethnicity or national origin was the most widely reported bias motivation, representing 49.8% of the total. Bias against sexual orientation is the second most frequent bias motivation, with 27.3% of the total. Religious bias was third with 19.1%.

Males were the most frequent victims (60.3%) and offenders (70.1%) of hate crimes. Females were victims in 39.7% of incidents. Females as a percentage of offenders were 29.9%. Whites were also the most frequent racial category as victims (51.4%), and also as offenders (62.7%). Black victims of both genders composed 38.0%% of the total victim population. Black offenders comprised 30.0% of offenders.

Victims were reported to have some type of injury in 21.8% of cases.

During the past 14 years, the numbers and the categories of bias motivations has remained fairly consistent. Between 2000 and 2002, approximately 500 bias motivations were reported each year. From 2003 through 2013, the number has declined to an average of about 350 bias motivations per year.

During this time period, the most frequently reported bias motivations have remained similar: anti-Black bias has consistently been most frequent (roughly 30% of the total), followed by anti-gay (19%), anti-Semitic (14%) and anti-White (10%).

Because of the Donald Trump and Michael Gaffney effects the statistics are likely to have changed significantly.

Since the time of the Nat Turner fight for freedom in the 19th century many in America have armed themselves against the periodic rebellions by enslaved and oppressed people. It is unlikely that this fear of mostly Black and Hispanic men will disappear until the time that economic disparities and racial injustice are eradicated.

Trump, Gaffney and the National Rifle Association have used this fear to divide us, gain power and make a profit.

Go, Gordon Davis, go!

Guns, abortion and the U.S. Constitution

By Gordon Davis

There are restrictions that governments have imposed on women’s bodies, especially in the constitutionally protected right of women to control their pregnancies.

I believe that a woman should have the right to decide with her doctor what is to be done – without interference from the government.

When I see the protesters at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Piedmont, in Worcester, I am not happy. I am not happy that women in our society are placed in the position of tough decisions about their health. I am working for a society that treats women and all of us in a more respectful way.

I do not believe that men have the right to kill people without government intervention and prevention.

There is no protection in the United States Constitution for our most recent massacre. The U.S. Constitution was not written to protect mass killers of any sort. The document should be amended to make this clearer.

While listening to talk radio, a caller said the same restrictions that applied to women and their health should be applied to men and their guns.  The basis for this is that almost all of the killings done by guns are done by men.

Restrictions would not be imposed on men and their guns as a public safety issue. It would be imposed as an issue of public morality.  We strive to be less of a “wild west” society and more of a country based on gun-less resolutions of problems among individuals. There is no need to justify this public morality as it is self evident.  There is no need to justify moving away from the morality of the nineteenth century to the saner morality for the Twenty First Century.

For women who are pregnant there are laws restricting Planned Parenthood and other clinics: Some clinics are required to meet the standards of a hospital for emergency admittance. There are no emergency admittances at clinics; this is just a pretext.

For men who own or want to buy guns there should be laws restricting gun stores standards of sale – including updated electronic data bases for non-eligible purchasers of guns and ammunition. There should be created a cause for civil action for harm done by any weapon sold to a purchaser who was not eligible for a purchase of guns and ammunition.

The other requirements for men should be:

1.    Mandatory safety training every two years, including watching a video of harm done by guns.

2.   Proof of proper storage capacity, including locked cabinets and trigger locks.

3.   Proof the purchaser is not a danger to himself or to others. This would be a  certificate from a doctor that the purchaser is not suffering from impulse control issues of any sort.

4.  Proof of no violent criminal activity in the last 10 years, including arrests.

5.   A waiting period consisting of the gun store verification of certificates and  proof and the local police verification of the same documents.

6.  A tax on guns and ammunition dedicated to the mitigation of harm of gun violence victims and guns safety programs, etc.

7.  Criminal penalties for the falsification of specific documents and the failure of gun shops to properly apply certificates and waiting periods.

The new gun range in Worcester should check the certificates and proof of eligibility for each gun owner using the facility.

What comes to mind is the old saying: “What is good for the goose is good for the gander.” The morality of gun restriction is self evidently good for us all – except the gunmen.

HOME OF THE BRAVE

By Edith Morgan

We all have an opinion about weapons: How many, what type, who should have them, where to use them, etc. Our country is awash in guns, assault weapons, and ammunition. Our movies and television programs extol weapon-wielding “heroes” who are presented to our children as the “good guys.” Many of grew up to believe that these brave heroes solve their (and our) problems by shooting the bad guys and thus making us safe. But do we actually feel safer? Do all the motion detectors, alarms, guns under pillows and in drawers, foot patrols, surveillance cameras, deadbolts, and the myriad other defensive devices really make us feel safer?  How much more “protection will we need to feel safe?

Perhaps our problem lies in our definition of “Safe.” Cowards are always afraid. Brave people much less so. The persons who will go down in history as having accomplished great things and influenced millions to do better, have stood up UNARMED , against well-armed enemies, and won. Think of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Moses, Jesus, Buddha – and numerous others like them.

Much closer to home, we all know real ”heroes and heroines” who took risks , and unarmed, convinced others to follow their better selves.

For example: her home never had a weapon in it; but when a young Nazi lieutenant came to her door in the middle  of the night to arrest her husband, she had the courage to demand to see the paperwork, and asked the name of his commanding officer. The young recruit, unaccustomed to being questioned, retreated to get the paperwork, giving the family time to get help and make plans. That same woman, on vacation in Paris, walked up to a group of young American students in the hotel lobby where she and her husband were staying, and asked them to take their feet off the glass-topped table, then proceeded to lecture them on how to behave as representatives of their mutual country, America. Back home, this remarkable lady, while on her daily walk with her husband, found their way obstructed by a group  of teenagers loitering on the corner. She marched up to the group and asked them to make way on the public sidewalk so she and her husband could pass. Miraculously, they did. That woman was my mother – who saved our family many times during the difficult days of WW II.

If we look around our neighborhood, I think we could find people who display that kind of bravery every day: parents, teachers, friends, neighbors – who stand up for what is right, armed only with the courage of their convictions, They should be the real heroes to whom we pay homage. And sometimes, we are smart enough to elect such a person to represent us – a person who speaks truth to power again and again, does not enrich himself at our expense, and bravely forges on despite the odds.

 

 

Meet up with me on Sat., March 23!

By filmmaker Michael Moore

The response to my Newtown letter this week has been overwhelming. It is so very clear to everyone that the majority of Americans have had itwith how we as a country have recklessly allowed the NRA and the gun manufacturers to get away, literally, with murder.

That, right now, is going to come to an end.

The “tipping point” against the gun madness has taken place because of the tragic slaughter of 20 little children in Connecticut. This time, the shock and horror didn’t subside after a few weeks, as it did after the 30+ massacres since Columbine. This time we haven’t been able to shake it from our collective consciousness. This time – and the NRA knows this – this time we the people aren’t going to quiet down. We are demanding real action.

In the past few days, a number of people and grassroots groups have suggested to me that we do something to use ‘Bowling for Columbine’ to rally thousands – millions – to come together and kick off a massive spring action to get gun control laws passed. I love this idea and I have agreed to participate in helping to launch it.

So, next Saturday, March the 23rd, on the 10th anniversary of the evening that ‘Bowling for Columbine’ won the Academy Award, MoveOn.org is sponsoring a screening with me in New York City and other groups are joining together to ask you and thousands of others to host a nationwide gathering in your homes where you invite friends and neighbors to come over and watch the movie together – and then, afterward, I will join you LIVE, via the Web, in your living rooms to talk to you, take your questions/suggestions and decide what we are all going to do.

I am asking the nearly five million of you who receive this email, plus my 1.5 million followers on Twitter and my nearly 800,000 Facebook friends, to set aside next Saturday night, March 23rd, and invite people over to your home to watch my movie and have a talk with me and others who will lead this mass movement for gun control action.

Over the next few days I will send you more details, but I just wanted to get the word out today, after so many thousands of you have written me via email and Twitter, and ask you to hold the date for next Saturday and start to get the word around to your friends and family. I’ll let you know the easiest ways to get a copy of the film for free or nearly free so you can show it in your living rooms. And I’ll let you know how to “beam me in” when the movie is over. By the end of that night, my hope is that we will have a peaceful but fierce army of millions making their voices heard to those who represent us on Capitol Hill. We will, instantly, vastly outnumber the NRA and the gun lobby.

And for the sake of our children and the future of this great country, we will win.

Let everyone know – next Saturday, March 23rd, we’re all getting together to watch ‘Bowling for Columbine’ in thousands of “house parties” across America, and I will be there with you, thanks to the wonders of 21st century technology.

See you on the 23rd in your living room! Now is the moment to make this happen.

America, you must not look away (How to finish off the NRA)

By Michael Moore, filmmaker

The year was 1955. Emmett Till was a young African American boy from Chicago visiting relatives in Mississippi. One day Emmett was seen “flirting” with a white woman in town, and for that he was mutilated and murdered at the age of fourteen. He was found with part of a cotton gin tied around his neck with a string of barbed wire. His killers, two white men, had shot him in the head before they dumped him in the river.

Emmett Till’s body was found and returned to Chicago. To the shock of many, his mother insisted on an open casket at his funeral so that the public could see what happens to a little boy’s body when bigots decide he is less than human. She wanted photographers to take pictures of her mutilated son and freely publish them. More than 10,000 mourners came to the funeral home, and the photo of Emmett Till appeared in newspapers and magazines across the nation.

“I just wanted the world to see,” she said. “I just wanted the world to see.”

The world did see, and nothing was ever the same again for the white supremacists of the United States of America. Because of Emmett Till, because of that shocking photograph of this little dead boy, just a few months later, “the revolt officially began on December 1, 1955” (from Eyes on the Prize) when Rosa Parks decided not to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. The historic bus boycott began and, with the images of Emmett Till still fresh in the minds of many Americans, there was no turning back.

In March of 1965, the police of Selma, Alabama, brutally beat, hosed and tear-gassed a group of African Americans for simply trying to cross a bridge during a protest march. The nation was shocked by images of blacks viciously maimed and injured. So, too, was the President. Just one week later, Lyndon Johnson called for a gathering of the U.S. Congress and he went and stood before them in joint session and told them to pass a bill he was introducing that night – the Voting Rights Act of 1965. And, just five months later, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law.

In March, 1968, U.S. soldiers massacred 500 civilians at My Lai in Vietnam. A year and a half later, the world finally saw the photographs – of mounds of dead peasants covered in blood, a terrified toddler seconds before he was gunned down, and a woman with her brains literally blown out of her head. (These photos would join other Vietnam War photos, including a naked girl burned by napalm running down the road, and a South Vietnamese general walking up to a handcuffed suspect, taking out his handgun, and blowing the guy’s brains out on the NBC Nightly News.)

With this avalanche of horrid images, the American public turned against the Vietnam War. Our realization of what we were capable of rattled us so deeply it became very hard for future presidents (until George W. Bush) to outright invade a sovereign nation and go to war there for a decade.

Bush was able to pull it off because his handlers, Misters Cheney and Rumsfeld, knew that the most important thing to do from the get-go was to control the images of the war, to guarantee that nothing like a My Lai-style photograph ever appeared in the U.S. press.

And that is why you never see a picture any more of the kind of death and destruction that might make you get up off your couch and run out of the house screaming bloody murder at those responsible for these atrocities.

That is why now, after the children’s massacre in Newtown, the absolute last thing the National Rifle Association wants out there in the public domain is ANY images of what happened that tragic day.

But I have a prediction. I believe someone in Newtown, Connecticut – a grieving parent, an upset law enforcement officer, a citizen who has seen enough of this carnage in our country – somebody, someday soon, is going to leak the crime scene photos of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. And when the American people see what bullets from an assault rifle fired at close range do to a little child’s body, that’s the day the jig will be up for the NRA. It will be the day the debate on gun control will come to an end. There will be nothing left to argue over. It will just be over. And every sane American will demand action.

Of course, there will be a sanctimonious hue and cry from the pundits who will decry the publication of these gruesome pictures. Those who do publish or post them will be called “shameful” and “disgraceful” and “sick.” How could a media outlet be so insensitive to the families of the dead children! Someone will then start a boycott of the magazine or website that publishes them.

But this will be a false outrage. Because the real truth is this: We do not want to be confronted with what the actual results of a violent society looks like. Of what a society that starts illegal wars, that executes criminals (or supposed criminals), that strikes or beats one of its women every 15 seconds, and shoots 30 of its own citizens every single day looks like. Oh, no, please – DO NOT MAKE US LOOK AT THAT!

Because if we were to seriously look at the 20 slaughtered children – I mean really look at them, with their bodies blown apart, many of them so unrecognizable the only way their parents could identify them was by the clothes they were wearing – what would be our excuse not to act? Now. Right now. This very instant! How on earth could anyone not spring into action the very next moment after seeing the bullet-riddled bodies of these little boys and girls?

We don’t know exactly what those Newtown photographs show. But I want you – yes, you, the person reading this right now – to think about what we do know:

The six-year and seven-year-old children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School were each hit up to eleven times by a Bushmaster AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. The muzzle velocity of a rifle like the AR-15 is about three times that of a handgun. And because the kinetic energy of a bullet equals one-half of the bullet’s mass multiplied by its velocity squared, the potential destructive power of a bullet fired from a rifle is about nine times more than that of a similar bullet fired from a handgun.

Nine times more. I spoke to Dr. Victor Weedn, chairman of the Department of Forensic Sciences at George Washington University, who told me that chest x-rays of a person shot with a rifle will often look like a “snowstorm” because their bones will have been shattered into fragments. This happens not just because of the bullet’s direct impact, but because each bullet sends a shock wave through the body’s soft organs – one so powerful it can break bones even when the bullet didn’t hit them. A video here shows what the shock wave looks like in the “ballistic gelatin” used by experts to simulate human tissue. (Would Gabby Giffords have survived if shot by a rifle rather than a Glock pistol? Probably not, says Dr. Weedn; the shock wave would have damaged the most critical parts of her brain.)

As horrifying as this is, there’s more; much more. Dr. Cyril Wecht, past president of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, told me this:

The kind of ammunition used by the Newtown killer would have produced very extensive, severe and mutilating injuries of the head and face in these small victims. Depending on the number of shots striking a child’s head, substantial portions of the head would be literally blasted away. The underlying brain tissue would be extensively lacerated with portions of hemorrhagic brain tissue protruding through the fractured calvarium and basilar skull, some of which would remain on portions of the face…actual physical identification of each child would have been extremely difficult, and in many instances impossible, even by the parents of any particular child.

We also know this, according to Dr. Wecht:

In one case, the parents have commented publicly upon the damage to their child, reporting that his chin and left hand were missing. Most probably, this child had brought his hand up to his face in shock and for protection and had the hand blasted away along with the lower part of his face.

Veronique Pozner, the mother of Noah, the six-year-old boy described by Dr. Wecht, insisted that the Governor of Connecticut look at Noah in an open casket. “I needed it to be real to him,” she said. The Governor wept.

The pictures showing all this exist right now, somewhere in the police and medical examiner’s files in Connecticut. And as of right now, we’ve somehow all decided together that we don’t need to look, that in some way we’re okay with what’s in those pictures (after all, over 2,600 Americans have been killed by guns since Newtown) – just as long as we don’t have to look at the pictures ourselves.

But I am telling you now, that moment will come with the Newtown photos – and you will have to look. You will have to look at who and what we are, and what we’ve allowed to happen. At the end of World War II, General Eisenhower ordered that thousands of German civilians be forced to march through the concentration camps so they could witness what was happening just down the road from them during the years that they turned their gaze away, or didn’t ask, or didn’t do anything to stop the murder of millions.

We’ve done nothing since Columbine – nothing – and as a result there have been over 30 other mass shootings since then. Our inaction means that we are all, on some level, responsible – and therefore, because of our burying our heads in the sand, we must be forced to look at the 20 dead children at Sandy Hook Elementary.

The people we’ve voted for since Columbine – with the exception of Michael Bloomberg – almost none of them, Democrat or Republican, dared to speak out against the NRA before Newtown – and yet we, the people, continued to vote for them. And for that we are responsible, and that is why we must look at the 20 dead children.

Most of us continue to say we “support the Second Amendment” as if it were written by God (or we’re just afraid of being seen as anti-American). But this amendment was written by the same white men who thought a Negro was only 3/5 human. We’ve done nothing to revise or repeal this – and that makes us responsible, and that is why we must look at the pictures of the 20 dead children laying with what’s left of their bodies on the classroom floor in Newtown, Connecticut.

And while you’re looking at the heinous photographs, try saying those words out loud: “I support the Second Amendment!” Something, I’m guessing, won’t feel right.

Yes, someday a Sandy Hook mother – or a Columbine mother, or an Aurora mother, or a mother from massacres yet to come – will say, like the mother of Emmett Till, “I just want the world to see.” And then nothing about guns in this country will ever be the same again.

Pack your bags, NRA – you’re about to be shown the door. Because we refuse to let another child die in this manner. Got it? I hope so.

All you can do now is hope no one releases those photos.

Rethinking the second amendment

By Edith Morgan

I always thought I had a good grasp of the meaning of the second amendment:”A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” The first, modifying phrase seemed to say that in the absence of a regular army, citizens must be ready to answer the call to defend their country. But it actually does not say that, as elsewhere in the Constitution the new country is not called a State, and there is reference to land and naval forces –clearly NOT militias… But I thought that since we now have so many well-armed “Militias”( Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, National Guard, Secret Service, T-men, G-men, etc..) as well as police and myriad other local, state and federal groups with police powers, – all armed! – that I am well enough protected by so-many weapon-bearing groups trained to protect me here and abroad. So I never felt the need to arm myself, and as long as we have the vote and can exert control over those who govern us. (Of course the original Constitution did not allow me the right to vote but reserved that right to men of property and who were white. But we did fix that, though many years and many battles later…).

But a recent article in Truthout.org , purporting to trace the history of that amendment, explained the use of the term “militias” and State: the amendment was added as a sop to a southern State, where militias organized by white plantation slave holders with the specific job of hunting down runaway slaves, or putting down such rebellions (which were frequent and bloody in those days before the Civil War.) That would seem to explain the strange wording….

My experience with war in WWII Europe as a civilian taught me that individual weapons are no match for the armed hordes of dictators, and that paranoia, suspicion of neighbors and fellow-citizens offer no protection against the mayhem that peaceful men, women and children deserve (review Nazi Germany, Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, Russia under Stalin, ad infinitum) In the end, the only real weapons against such brutalities are an informed, thinking population, with universal access to fact-based media, and who not only vote regularly, but keep in touch with those they have chosen to lead, and inform them regularly of as to what they want done on their behalf.

In all the debate about the second amendment, no one has suggested that legitimate hunters be disarmed – and hunters themselves have not required military assault weapons, nor do they need to be able to fire off hundreds of rounds – no sportsman has to fire at a deer hundreds of times . Diplomatic couriers or bank security services may require a gun to protect what is obviously valuable material. But they have never needed to fire off hundreds of bullets, nor does the ordinary homeowner need to shoot up hundreds of people when faced with a robber or home invader. And women under threat of rape or other attack are usually facing a single attacker, which, with a bit of training, can be overcome.

In all the talk about the right to own as many and as powerful weapons as some people feel entitled to have, no one has considered MY right to be able to walk freely in my neighborhood, my city, my nation, without having to fear for my life constantly. What good is my freedom, if I have to live in constant fear of being picked off by some over-armed, paranoid, drugged out or just irritated person who may not like the way I looked at him, or who wanted my parking space? I realize there is a thriving industry built around frightening us all into buying all kinds of “protection”, but why should I have to go broke making my home into a fortress? There is no absolute freedom in any area ( remember_ for example that your right to free speech does not extend to yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater, nor does it allow slander and libel so why should there be an untrammeled right to acquire weapons of mass murder, just because you can afford it?). I grew up believing that every individual’s freedom ends where the other’s begins.

I grew up believing that the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” is nearly absolute, and therefore, if I were armed, I would hesitate to fire the first shot, therefore giving the other the advantage… I believe most decent people would experience that moment of delay, and with weapon in hand, would force the opponent to shoot. The only time I would have an advantage would be against an unarmed assailant.

We need to examine the reasons that another group is pushing for unlimited possession of arms: a small group of Americans are anarchists at heart, want to reduce and eventually destroy the government, and need to be armed and ready…These groups sometimes parade as secessionists, “free marketers”or Libertarians, and follow the ideas of Ayn Rand, or every man for himself.

An examination of history would very quickly demonstrate that anarchy can not work, especially in our modern world.

“What do we do?” There will always be someone with a bigger gun, more ammo, more force. But I prefer to live in a world where we know our neighbors, help each other, build communities, cooperate, and value each life and preserve this fragile little planet so that our descendants can also enjoy it.

Gun found in child’s backpack at Queens elementary school

From The New York Times.  – R. T.

This .22-caliber pistol was in a boy's backpack.

New York Police Department. This .22-caliber pistol was in a boy’s backpack.

By WENDY RUDERMAN and CHRISTOPHER MAAG
Published: January 18, 2013

A handgun was found in the backpack of a 7-year-old student at a public elementary school in Queens on Thursday morning, New York City officials said, leading to a tense few hours as the school was placed on lockdown while the police made sure there was no danger.

It remained unclear how the gun, a .22-caliber semiautomatic pistol, ended up in the boy’s backpack. The police said that a magazine, separated from the pistol but loaded with 10 bullets, and a plastic bag with 7 to 10 additional rounds of ammunition were also found in the boy’s bag. Officials had yet to determine whether there was a bullet in the gun’s chamber, Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman, said on Thursday, but the weapon was not fired.

“The question of whether the child saw” the gun and ammunition “and put it in his backpack, or an older brother hid it there, is still under investigation,” Mr. Browne said.

The boy, a second grader, arrived at Wave Preparatory Elementary School in Far Rockaway about 7:30 a.m. About two hours later, the boy’s mother learned that he had the gun and she raced to the school. She told administrators that she needed to take him out of school for a dentist appointment, Mr. Browne said.

“Initially, it would appear that her intention was just to get the gun back and get it out of the school,” Mr. Browne said.

But after the mother asked her son if he had a gun in his bag, he told her that he had given the weapon to a classmate, prompting her to alert the principal. The school was placed on lockdown just after 10 a.m., Mr. Browne said. …

to read more, click on the link below:

Governor Deval Patrick …

By Rosalie Tirella

… should follow the great advice of Boston Mayor Tom Menino: Appoint a GUN-CONTROL ADVOCATE AS INTERIM SENATOR to replace John Kerry, soon to be US Secretary of State. President Obama is gonna need all the help he can muster to get Congress to pass his sensible gun control legislation.

The NRA has promised The Fight of the Century when it comes to even the most common sense gun control, like universal background checks, banning weapons of war, limiting the amount of ammo in a round.

The massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School only took 10 minutes to carry out! Ten minutes to slaughter 20 children and six adults. Ten minutes! Because of the type of gun Lanza, the murderer, used. It only took a few pulls of the gun trigger and hundreds of bullets ripped into the flesh of babies. Gangland bloodbath. That’s what America experienced at Newtown, Conn.

News reports stated there were at least three bullets in each dead child. Maybe if the murderer had a less lethal weapon, a weapon that forced him to stop after 10 bullets, stop to reload, some adult could have jumped him, tried to stop the carnage. One adult did throw herself in front of the gunman to protect the little kids. A totally selfless act of love.

THIS WILL ALL HAPPEN AGAIN, AT ANOTHER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL if we don’t enact sensible gun control laws.

Listen to Tom Menino, Governor Patrick: Appoint a gun control advocate