On Our Attitude to Gun Violence
Now that America’s children have shown us the way out of the amoral morass that we call government, and have assured us that Wayne LaPierre of the NRA is ten times smaller than the toys in the closet, the honorable action expected of adults is instinctively clear.
An educated electorate would have the compassion and courage to draw the teeth of the gun lobby and privately owned politicians, at the national and state level.
Dare I defy the logic of experience and hold my breath?
I watch our political leaders float proposals that would make a comedian weep with envy. For brevity, I’ll make just three observations.
A school is neither a fortress nor a prison. It must be safer than a home. Our children are owed the good memories of study, comraderie and play. They should not have to live in a state of terror, with a policeman present and school counselors fired.
A bar, an open air concert, a classroom -are not fish barrels or caged hunting reserves. Think of the horror. This is preventable sociopathic behavior allowed by an apathetic government.
Isolating school massacres from other community violence is misguided. Perhaps ignorant. Yes, military weapons have no place in civilized society. But have we asked ourselves, why are Americans killing themselves, their families and others in record numbers ? This level of violence is peculiarly American. We don’t have to tolerate it just because people want to get elected. We do have to find out why.
After twenty years in child protective services. I thought I’d seen it all. Every kind of cruelty perpetrated on young boys and girls, I have investigated.
This post is deliberately short, only because I feel compelled to add my voice in protest concerning Alabama Republican Candidate Roy Moore. I do understand that the allegations of child sexual abuse made boldly against him are just that. Allegations! Until they are investigated.
Had a report such as that arrived at my desk, I would have been out there turning every wet stone to see if it’s just filth under there or snakes. Might even be scorpions. But I would not have rested until I had determined the veracity of the complaint AND whether Roy Moore posed a threat to any child in his care, and that would have included his own grandchildren. Is he a threat to them? Yes, I would have done all that I could. TODAY!
Had Roy Moore been an ordinary citizen, he probably would have been arrested. Had I delayed in my responsibilities, the very people in government would have been having a fit, and their convulsions would not have ceased until they took possession of my head and one from each tier above me. Rightly so.
I thought we had reached rock bottom with the election and support of Trump. Well, GOP, please tell me and my fellow citizens, how much deeper America has to fall? When did child sexual abuse become a partisan issue? Then, to rub salt in the wound, his officials who don’t have the balls or competence to do otherwise, would dare demand that the victim take a polygraph test, and yet another attempting an unbelievable parallel with a birth from two thousand years ago. I know that you, Republican officials don’t care, but do you have to be stupid too?!
Everyone has his version of the truth but seldom share it. Whether it’s the taste, the smell or whatever, the ugly thing can help you lose friends and create bitter enemies. I wonder if it’s because once acknowledged, the truth will not leave until you do or stop doing, a particular wrong. Our criminal justice system is an apt example.
Let’s take the current situation in Missouri. Not that it’s unique. Far cry. But because it is active, makes that a good example, willing to say a textbook case of what leadership is not. Step back with me a bit.
Jay Nixon was a two-term Democratic governor when Ferguson managed to make world news. That was due to the police killing of Michael Brown and the conduct of the entire criminal justice system in Missouri. As Gov Nixon and Ferguson Mayor Knowles went into hiding for four days, the police were left to “pacify” peaceful protesters. No one could have imagined police management to be that inept, or any criminal justice system is so inbred and corrupted.
The current governor Eric Greitens is a Republican. He never went into hiding, but nothing says “I don’t know what to do”, like readying the National Guard to control a relatively small number of cooperating protesters. So far, more than 150 persons have been arrested for petty misdemeanors, especially not moving when told by the police.
Both dealt with protesters as the problem. Neither appeared capable of confronting and addressing the root of the problem. But quite willing to talk tough and use force.
No civic-minded person supports lawlessness. So let’s agree conditionally: lock them up if their behaviors are imminent threats to public safety. Not because the police told them to move. Do we have a Constitution or not? If the answer is doubtful (as it’s becoming) repeat next year and the years afterward. Finally, both the state and protesters would be locked in an increasingly dysfunctional, dangerous way of life. The state CANNOT win. That would be despite being a police state, as America already is.
Right now, both Blacks and Whites, males and females are being threatened and arrested. How long do the state and local governments think that they can keep this up? I’ll hazard a guess. When you stop seeing truth as the enemy.
By Leyland A. King
July 7, 2017
No need be alarmed or outraged about the title. It really doesn’t matter anymore whether one chooses to be Democrat, Republican, or apathetic; religious zealot or palpably patriotic. It is too late! The hated Washington big government is no more, and the welfare queen has flown. Yes, the government we dismantled. No, we suffocated it. Fact is, it rotted away in plain sight while we called each other vile names and ignored the vile stench of decades-long institutional decay.
Now we can run the government as a business. A family enterprise. Hooray! It is a person with free speech and all the rights and privileges of a citizen, unconstrained by irritants like the constitution, regulations and such. Who needs voting rights anyway, Justice Scalia almost said. Free the Corporate citizen. They already have their own armies. They, in some countries, are called warlords.
Surely, we all heard of the contented frog slow-poached in a pot; about the jealous, happy frogs that prayed for a king to rule over them. The apt, belated comment might well be, they should have known. But there must be a parable somewhere, concerning the day the poor convened a meeting for super-rich men to, by the goodness of heart, discuss being kind to the poor. I can’t find one fitting, but Jonathan Swift’s satirical letter to the British, inquiring how they preferred Irish babies cooked, with what spices and accompanying dressings served, is as close as I got.
Now, like North Korean citizens ruled by a smart cookie, we’ll smile and cheer on sight of Trump, Paul Ryan, Betsie DeVos and so many, many others. Don’t ever stop cheering.
Just imagine the kind of society where this report was not necessary. But what is done is done.
Let’s now imagine a society where, having acknowledged its wrongs and flaws, actually took the report seriously, and went directly to work with the best of human resources and capital focused on fairness and justice, something like the Marshall Plan. Wow, what would America be like today?
Lastly, imagine such a dark report delivered to small, timid men, whose vision for humanity doesn’t rise beyond the walls and ceilings of their commodious offices; their loftiest dream is date-stamped on a pension, and a job held in trust for them by mysterious lobbyists.
Well, hey, time to get out of bed. Look around, nothing is there to imagine. The smell is that of wounds neglected and the body politic fast headed to mass graves. America chose that option as its destiny.
Won’t keep you with a lot of insincere reasons. Trump is now standing on the edge of a precipice and appears to have all his options closed. Behind him are a small group of unprincipled fanatics, who are determined to hurry on apocalyptic occurrences. Trump in his naivete did not foresee his predicament. All he wanted was to ride an emperor’s horse.
I think that we ought to follow the pleas of Republicans and get behind Trump. I figure that a bump or a push from us, reasonable forgiving folks, would be more that enough to get him and Bannon’s marionettes over the edge, hopefully to a river of fire below, compliments of karma.