Category Archives: guns

The US coughs and Canada catches cold

 

Some ask why I talk so much about the United States. “What about Canada?” The fact is that the United States is a very important country. It is not just in economics that the claim “The United States coughs and Canada catches a cold,” is true. It is also, sadly, often true in social matters too. So I will continue to comment on what happens there, but never forgetting that usually Canada is in the same position, though as a junior partner.

Recently, on the August long weekend, 2 mass killings occurred in the United States. One in Dayton Ohio and the other in El Paso Texas. After the killings, Donald Trump uttered some fine words, clearly saying that racism and hatred were unacceptable. His words could not be faulted as in other cases, but were his words adequate for the moment? Democratic rival Cory Booker called them “bullshit soup.”

As Alexander Burns pointed out in the New York Times, “President Trump faced intense new criticism and scrutiny for the plain echoes of his rhetoric in the El Paso gunman’s anti-immigrant manifesto.” According to Burns, “Democratic challengers blamed him explicitly for giving succor to extremists.” The leading Democratic contender at the time, Joe Biden, said Trump was guilty of trying “to encourage and embolden white supremacy.” Another contender, Elizabeth Warren, captured the situation well when she said that Trump had repeatedly been “amplifying these deadly ideologies.

What is clear is that Trump is no innocent bystander here. In recent weeks he has been loudly speaking out at rallies about 4 American Congresswomen of colour that they should go back to the rat infested countries from which they came. This was so even though 3 of them were born in the United States. I am not sure what a trope is or a dog whistle, but it is clear that such statement have made over and over again by blatant racists in the past.  Then at rallies he basked in the glow of hearing his audience loudly chant “Send them back; send them back.” In such circumstances “amplifying these deadly ideologies” is hardly an exaggeration. That is exactly what he has been doing.

In contrast to that, President Obama has been the voice of empathy and dignity. This is what he said, as quoted in the New York Times,  former President Obama wrote, “We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments, leaders who demonize those who don’t look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as subhuman, or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people.” That is exactly what we should do–reject them.

The fact is that Donald Trump is not really the issue. The real issue, I submit, is that the United States, with Canada following right behind, is a country deeply infused with violence. It takes very little to light that fuse. Almost any crackpot can do it. I believe this is the legacy of a racial bias that runs so deep and came so early to that country and to Canada that it  led to genocide against the original inhabitants of this hemisphere and the subsequent enslavement of African people numbering in the millions in the US and less in Canada. Then we added male supremacy and visions of human superiority over all of nature to that already toxic stew is. It is hardly surprising that we are in a lethal mess. It is probably inevitable.

Just a Garden Variety Drive-by Shooting

 

Chris and I intended to have our car obtain an oil change at Walmart but it was much too busy. We could not get in. The place was too busy as a result of the fact that at the other Walmart nearby, where we went for an oil change last year, someone was shot “multiple times.” That was how the police described it. Glad we were not there. It was  a drive-by shooting. I guess that is just a garden variety shooting around here.  Just goes to show how close we might be to violence here in Arizona. There are a lot of shootings in this country. That is a little disconcerting. Well,  I guess it was not that disconcerting. When we could not get in for an oil change we went to Starbucks for a latte and macchiato. No big deal. In After all, in Arizona shootings are no big deal.

All guns Matter

 

One day in Arizona, I saw 2  interesting T-shirts. The first  was emblazoned with a graphic image of an AR-15 automatic rifle and the caption: “All guns matter.” To many in America this is true, but this image was disturbing. It appropriates the line of an important social movement–Black Lives Matter–and turns it on its head. That movement was inspired to revolt against the continuous undervaluing of black lives in America especially by White Policemen who shoot them without justification at a deeply disturbing rate.

But I saw a better T-shirt too. It had a graphic of a fisherman with the caption: Fish Whisperer.  That gentle philosophy is more to my liking.

My Country tis of thy people you’re dying

 

On the way home from the theatre 2 days ago, we heard reports on the radio about young students from the school in Parkland Florida where 17 students were killed, allegedly by a young man with an AR-15. They had heard President Trump’s assurances that “they were safe” and were “loved” by people who would do “everything” to protect them. Lies in other words. Fake news. They also heard him offer once again his “thoughts and prayers,” but also noticed that in his talk the word “guns” was never spoken. After all it was not for nothing that the NRA had contributed $30 million to his presidential campaign! It appears that was money well spent.

The newspapers had also reported to the students that “their” Florida Senator Marco Rubio and “their” Florida Governor Rick Scott had both scored A+ in the rating released by the National Rifle Association about the quality of politicians from their perspective. A+ ratings are reserved by them for “legislators who have excellent voting records on 2nd Amendment issues and who vigorously fight to promote and defend the right to keep and bear arms.” I wonder how the students would have ranked them? I believe Rubio and Scott each received $3 million for their last election campaigns. Again money well spent from the perspective of the NRA. From the perspective of the students not so much.

In fact after the 2016 mass shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando Governor Scott said, “The second Amendment never killed anybody. Evil did.” So his solution for mass shootings is to allow evil to arm itself to the teeth with automatic rifles? Or is it to allow young people to buy them before they can vote or drive a car.

One of the 17-year old students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida, that was interviewed said that Senator Rubio “had blood on his hands.” I concur.

Many of us thought that after the massacre at Sandy Hook School in Newtown Connecticut in December 2012, when Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children between six and seven years old, as well as six adult staff members, something would be done in the United States to control gun violence besides thoughts and prayers. After all what could be worse than that? We were sadly mistaken. Nothing was done except to make gun ownership easier.

The Florida students who have been casting blame on their politicians who have put campaign financing ahead of the safety of school children have got it right. They do have blood on their hands.

We also heard a college professor talking on National Public Radio. He has written previously on this subject. He says that Americans can expect changes in gun control laws in the next year. I was shocked to hear that. But I had not heard it all. He added, “Americans can expect changes to gun control laws that will make it easier to get guns with silencers.”

On the day of the Florida massacre the school Superintendant said “Today we saw the worst of humanity; tomorrow we will see the best as we move forward together.” I strongly disagree. If nothing is done once again, this is not the best of humanity; this is the stupidest.

How can one deny that this country is sick? It reminds me of what Buffy Sainte-Marie sang “My country ’tis of thy people you’re dying.”