Teachers With Guns

Here is a link to a very timely little story about guns in schools, (1) and a reminder that the solution to our gun problem is not more guns, and certainly not guns in schools, even in the hands of professionals.

Added below: 4/16/2018

Here is another link to a story about teachers with guns. (2) This time, it’s about a Parkland teacher who left his gun in a public restroom.

-George-

  1. https://nypost.com/2018/03/14/teacher-accidentally-fires-gun-in-class-while-teaching-about-gun-safety/amp/
  2. http://www.miamiherald.com/news/article208653029.html

In A Small Way, Meaningful

OK, I was wrong. The Florida Legislature did something meaningful. (1)(2) They raised the age at which one may purchase a weapon of war from 18 to 21. I concede this is, in a small way, meaningful.

Then they added a three day minimum waiting period to the purchase of firearms. That, too is, in a small way, meaningful. One will now have to wait a few days unless the they are in one of the bill’s exempted classes. If someone somewhere does his or her job within that waiting period, a gun sale to a known potential mass murderer might be stopped.

Bump stocks for semi-automatic weapons are banned. That’s meaningful, but the ban blows by the real question about the guns themselves. Let’s get rid of automatic and semi-automatic guns, all of them. No one needs them. None of them. They are not Constitutionally protected. If you don’t have one, a bump stock is a door stop. I’m sure this will happen sooner or later, although in today’s political climate exactly when probably depends more upon body counts in our schools than the use of reason. How many dead kids can we tolerate? Where is the line we cannot cross? These are good questions to ask a Florida legislator. What are the answers? Really!

As inadequate as they are, I had not expected even these small steps toward meaningful gun control legislation in Florida. If the bill stopped there, It would have been a start.

But, the Legislature also tossed in arming some school employees. This makes sense only if one has given up on a peaceful society, only if we must expect mass murderers in our schools as a normal state of affairs. For me, this single negative added to the other weak positives yields close to a zero score on the bill overall.

Even close to zero is too much for the NRA, it seems. They have already sued Florida on the new law. (3)

As a reminder to those of us who prefer advancing legislation based upon reason rather than body counts, the gun problem is about guns, nothing else. The NRA passionately wants you to think otherwise, but it’s just about guns. Don’t let their straw men distract you. Keep your focus. It’s about GUNS. You’ll know when we get meaningful legislation because the number of GUNS will go down, not up. It’s really that simple, and the facts are plainly there to convince any rational skeptic, if not an NRA evangelical. (4)

As rational and compassionate human beings determined to fix our GUN problem we can do better than Florida has done so far. Keep it up, Stoneman Douglas kids, kids everywhere. Register and vote. You are our hope and the key.

-George-

  1. https://muchado.blog/2018/02/21/let-there-be-no-more-silence/
  2. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/08/us/florida-gun-bill.html
  3. https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/09/us/nra-sues-florida-gun-law/index.html
  4. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/australia-s-mandatory-gun-buyback-inspires-u-s-activists-few-n855361

Let There Be No More Silence

Survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre went to Tallahassee yesterday to urge the State Legislature to take up an assault weapons ban. They got a moment of silence and an unceremonious rejection. (1)

Because of the unrelenting pressure they are now feeling, Florida’s legislators may painfully croak out some legislation increasing background checks and providing increased mental health services. Maybe they will do a bump-stock prohibition now that Trump has said OK.

But, they won’t do anything meaningful.

Even so, do not despair, young folks. Do not lose hope. You CAN defeat these people. Keep the ball rolling.

Let there be no more silence — ever.

-George-

  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/21/us/florida-gun-control-republicans.html

Accessories Before The Fact

Senator Marco Rubio, who has accepted $3.3 million from the NRA, (1) said Thursday that gun restrictions cannot prevent mass shootings like the one at a Parkland school in his home state. (2)

That is a lie.

Australia (3) and the United Kingdom, (4) both cultures quite like our own, and both in the wake of tragedies like Parkwood, have demonstrated convincingly that strict gun laws work very well. They work there and they can work here. We can outlaw classes of weapons within the framework of an obsolete and misinterpreted 2nd Amendment to our Constitution. Rubio can sponsor a bill to do that today instead of wringing his hands.

No one needs automatic or semiautomatic weapons of any kind for any reason. Gather them up and destroy them. All of them. We can evaluate, test, and license gun owner/operators as we do for motor vehicles. These actions alone would bring the frequency of incidents like that at Parkwood sharply down and save many, many innocent lives. After those easy things we can begin the tougher process of bringing our country’s highest and most outdated law into harmony with the reality of modern life.

Whatever NRA sponsored elected officials do, offering up prayers and sympathy after murders like Parkland is nothing but an insult. Pointing to the “sanctity” of a constitution they were elected to manage, (5) is a cop-out by an accessory before the fact.

It’s time to stop putting accessories before the fact in Congress.

Vote.

-George-

  1. https://www.thewrap.com/sen-marco-rubio-called-nra-money-tweeting-florida-shooting/
    http://money.cnn.com/2018/02/15/media/bess-kalb-kimmel-gop-shooting/index.html
  2. https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/15/politics/marco-rubio-senate-floor-florida-shooting/index.html
  3. https://www.loc.gov/law/help/firearms-control/australia.php
    https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/strict-gun-laws-ended-mass-shootings-australia
    https://www.cnn.com/2015/06/19/world/us-australia-gun-control/index.html
  4. https://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/06/02/uk.england.gun.control/index.html
  5. The Constitution is a law that can be amended. That’s what congressmen are supposed to do.

No Time For Patience

Well, we had another AR-15 mass murder yesterday. 17 dead in a Florida school so far. We’ll probably hear more crap like Bill O’Reilly’s, “This is the price of freedom.” comment on the Las Vegas shooting. (1) Of course, Bill was and is completely wrong about that. My freedom in absolutely no way depends upon the senselessly spilled blood of 17 students and teachers. Nobody’s freedom depends upon that, and it is a price no one should have to pay. We will hear more garbage like Bill’s for a while now. I suspect nothing from the NRA as it hides until the outrage blows over.

Think about that: until the outrage blows over.

Bob Gabordi, Florida Today, (2) urges us to mourn the lost children in Florida before turning this latest tragedy political. I’m sorry Bob. We need to turn this thing political now and not let up. We need to raise holy hell now — before the NRA slithers out of its hidey-hole and starts throwing more money at politicians (3) to leave things alone, or perhaps to arm all of our kids. Then we need to keep that holy hell raised until the guns are where they belong, melted down and reformed into plowshares.

This is no time to wax philosophical or be patient. This country has a real problem with guns.

-George-

  1. http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-las-vegas-shooting-live-updates-bill-o-reilly-calls-mass-shootings-the-1506980448htmlstory.html
  2. https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/nation-now/2018/02/15/parkland-florida-high-school-shooting-brevard-marjory-stoneman-douglas-column/340283002/
  3. http://money.cnn.com/2018/02/15/media/bess-kalb-kimmel-gop-shooting/index.html

Not Much More To Say

Jesuit James Martin tweeted succinctly yesterday (1):

“Why are we having all these people from sh#*hole countries come here?”
1) They are our brothers and sisters in need.
2) They are often fleeing war, violence or famine.
3) There are children among them.
4) It’s the right thing to do.
5) That’s who we are.

There’s not much more to say about what’s wrong with Mr. Trump’s “shithole” remarks (plural (2)), except that if we can’t see the validity of each and every one of Martin’s points, we really do have a problem.

-George-

  1. https://twitter.com/JamesMartinSJ
  2. https://www.cnn.com/2018/01/12/politics/dick-durbin-trump-shithole-reaction/index.html

Kidnap Norwegians?

According to the Washington Post, our Moron-In-Chief let his true nature shine through a crack in his usually  solid alt-fact distortion field today:

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to these people, referring to African countries and Haiti. He then suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries like Norway, whose prime minister he met Wednesday. (1)

I suppose we don’t get more Norwegians because those folks live in the happiest country in the world, (2,3) which is also a democracy in which the people elect as leaders those who get the most votes, not the least. How would Mr. Trump “bring more” of these people here from their country – tell them a bunch of lies? Hey, fourteenth (the USA) is better than first! Maybe kidnap them?

I think I know where the “shithole” is, and it ain’t in African countries or Haiti. It’s at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

-George-

  1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-attacks-protections-for-immigrants-from-shithole-countries-in-oval-office-meeting/2018/01/11/bfc0725c-f711-11e7-91af-31ac729add94_story.html?utm_term=.5158180a5162
  2. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/20/world/worlds-happiest-countries.html
  3. https://www.cnn.com/videos/travel/2017/11/10/norwegian-royals-happiest-country.cnn/video/playlists/travel/

GO ‘BAMA! 

Last night Alabama did itself proud. It put country before party, something we all must do in the future if we are to save what’s left of this country’s democracy. I say, “save what’s left” because very serious damage has been done to our democratic institutions in recent years largely by the influence of conservative evangelist media like Limbaugh, Breitbart, Fox, and others, leading to the resultant general election disaster of 2016. But Alabama has done what few expected and offered up the first stone to lay in a new foundation for the restoration of reason in United States politics. Now we must each day never fail to lay our own stones. We must resist the haters. We must take the time to understand political issues. We must speak the truth as it is, not as we wish it was. We must all remember country before party, and we must never, never fail to vote in an election.

GO ‘BAMA!

Thank you.

-George-

Expensive Tires

Last Saturday I went to Sam’s Club to get new tires for the front of our new used Spark EV. The Spark is a torquey critter, you know, and the front tires can be scraped clean of tread fairly easily. The back tires looked like new while the fronts were worn out at about 12,000 miles. We will try to keep from smoking them as much as the previous owner.

While the tires were being mounted, I checked out a deeply discounted HP Envy 13.3 inch laptop on the computer display table, the display model only. I had been looking for a good Linux laptop, and had fairly well decided to get a Dell XPS 13 if a meaningful sale ever occurred at Dellsville, but this Envy looked really good. It had a high resolution touch screen, 8G RAM, 256G SSD, a 2.7GHz Intel i7-7500U processor, and an aluminum case. All the major components seemed to be on the approved list for Linux. A little waiting room browsing on the phone said this machine might be a very cut-rate XPS 13. Half the cost. Bought it.

On Sunday, I connected up a DVD drive and installed Linux Mint 18.1, blowing away the Windows 10 installation. Risky, but there were no hitches whatsoever. Absolutely everything I use worked as it should. (1) The high resolution touch screen required tweaking settings in the system preferences and in some apps, but the knobs were there to do that. The Linux Mint Envy is the now fastest and most delightful computer I own.

Expensive tires.

-George-

  1. I do not use suspend and hibernate, so I have not tried those functions.

Powerful Words

Michelle Goldman has assumed a columnist position at the New York Times. Gail Collins interviewed her today, September 25, in The Conversation (1). In an exchange related to the possibility that Trump may choose to follow a path to war, Goldman said:

Yeah, I think we’re learning that the Constitution may, in fact, be a suicide pact. It’s a source of constant astonishment to me that the country has handed over the means to destroy civilization on this planet to an unhinged lunatic who lost the popular vote and was installed with the aid of a hostile foreign power. It’s such an epic institutional failure that it calls everything we thought we knew about this country’s stability into question.

Very Powerful Words. It’s time for a constitutional convention, as scary as that may be in a country full of people and legislators that can put a person like Donald Trump in its top job.

Must read her first column tomorrow. (2)

-George-

  1. https://www.nytimes.com/column/the-conversation
  2.  Did. Wow.