Tag Archives: Gun Violence

Gabrielle Giffords Appeals to Congress: Gun Reform Legislation

In my opinion, it’s a travesty that Gabrielle Giffords should have to appeal to Congress for common sense legislation. Still, I am deeply moved by her commitment, strength and courage. She is an exceptional woman. Let’s hope they hear her…

Call to Action: Gun Safety Legislation Now

I lied, I couldn’t wait till tomorrow :).

Hopefully, you’ve had the chance to check out President Obama’s Gun proposal. No? Click here. New and more concise piece from the NY Times which includes a link to The Obama Administration Gun Proposal (see bottom of article).

I know there are alot of like minded folks who are deeply concerned and troubled by the waves of gun violence assailing our country and Newtown was the final straw. Honestly, it didn’t begin in Newtown, it began a long time ago. Gun violence has had a disproportionate effect on urban and economically disadvantaged communities for decades. As so often happens in this country, the lives of minorities and the disenfranchised are frequently devalued, so the issue was largely ignored. It’s a shame that humans often need tragedy to strike before taking action but there it is. Silence is complicity and it would seem that Newtown has finally awakened the conscience of America. That is progress.

Newtown, Aurora and Virginia Tech are symptoms of an escalating violence that is permeating our society and spiraling out of control. The facts bear this up.

In the month since 20 precious children and six brave adults were violently taken from us at Sandy Hook Elementary, more than 900 of our fellow Americans have reportedly died at the end of a gun — 900 in the past month.

And every day we wait the number will keep growing. – President Obama

Those are the facts. To say that nothing can be, or should be, done is sheer idiocy and irresponsibility. The GOP, NRA and Gun Advocates will do all they can to stop sensible legislation from being enacted. They are only concerned about their bottom line and the cost of human lives is incidental. If they succeed at obstructing the president on this issue, it will only serve to embolden the gun lobby, and they will believe they’re unstoppable. Considering the resistance we’ve seen so far, it’s clear that reform will not happen without the voice of the American people.

The president has issued a clear call to action and since I know so many of you care, please see the links below. Then, pass it on to someone else via social media, or on your blog, so that Congress understands that they work for the majority of the Americans, not the special interests, and we have had enough.

1. Stand with the President to reduce Gun Violence, click here for details.

Send a letter to the House of Representatives.

2. Contact Congress. See link for complete information on congressional contacts, phone. fax and email.

NOTE: I’m making continuous updates on my Get Involved Page with links to vital resources and articles on gun issues. If you have any info. that should be included, email me at dreamingnwords@gmail.com.

Peace.

UPDATED: Lunatics in the Hall: James Yeager

**Scroll to the bottom for the updates**
Late, late, last night when I should have been sleeping, I watched the Ed Show on MSNBC. He showed a clip of a video quickly going viral by James Yeager, CEO of Tactical Response in Tennessee. Yeager is a pro-gun advocate of the zealous persuasion. Apparently, he was so angered by VP Joe Biden’s comments that President Obama will use Executive decree to push through aspects of gun legislation, as yet undetermined, that he went ballistic. (I love deliberate puns!)

The video sparked outrage amongst the sane and undoubtedly ginned up more idiocy amongst a select few. Yeager then went back and edited the first video to walk back some of his more incendiary comments but this is 2013 and it was too late. Click here to see the original video. NOTE: Pack Your Bags Part 1 below is the edited version which Yeager posted.

These are the comments which got everyone in an uproar:

“F*** that! I’m telling you that if that happens, it’s going to spark a civil war, and I’ll be glad to fire the first shot.’

“Load your damn mags and ‘get ready to fight.”

“I’m not fucking putting up with this. I’m not letting my country be ruled by a dictator. I’m not letting anybody take my guns! If it goes one inch further, I’m going to start killing people.”

Which lead to a second video, attempting to demonstrate that he isn’t completely batshit crazy, wherein he clearly states that he is retracting none of his comments. Right. So, the second video merely serves to underscore the first. Go figure.

Upon watching the videos, I was truly flabbergasted and quite honestly, terrified. I am always amazed when people elect to let their craziest thoughts out into the light of day, but never more so than on the Internet where it can be tracked, copied, pasted and magnified ad infinitum.

His statements are so far from rational I can only conclude that he’s unhinged. What gives anyone the right to think that they can take up arms against the populace in defense of their right to bear arms? Seriously. If he meant the authorities, he should have said so but I truly doubt he gives a damn. He’s a citizen threatening to amass an army to defend against what he deems a tyrannical government, the irony of said statement should be obvious, and he’s totally unconcerned about the public good.

With all this talk of 2nd Amendment Rights, it seems like a great time to review the actual verbiage.

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.

How exactly does that statement justify the individual rights of citizens to bear guns for self protection? Taken in context, the right is part and parcel of a well regulated Military.

We clearly have extrapolated it to mean more. We have developed a gun culture which revolves around hunting and self protection, I get that. I am not suggesting that guns be banned although I personally would be delighted since I think that history illustrates with perfect clarity why deadly weapons do far more harm than good. But, to the point, the statement above neither states, or implies, the rights of an individual to bear arms for self protection. Nor, does it specify what kind of weapons we have a right to carry. In a 21st century world with rocket launchers and assault weapons it is time to make that distinction.

Here’s an excellent post courtesy of The Obamacrat which illustrates how the 2nd amendment is being misinterpreted.

Now, before you dismiss this as yet another crackpot using the Internet to voice stupidity, have a look at his page. Yeager has the expertise to carry out his threats with deadly accuracy. He’s ex-military and has certifications in everything from handguns to pyrotechnics. In my mind, that takes this into the realm of the terrifying.

Thank God he was stupid enough to make that public declaration because the state has quite sensibly suspended his license to carry. Unfortunately, he still has the guns, access to a veritable arsenal courtesy of his business, connections and the knowledge.

Let us hope they have him under surveillance. Things are quickly getting out of hand. People need to get a grip!

Also, he’s appearing on the Ed Show tonight at 8 PM on MSNBC. So, the coward that is James Yeager decided not to appear on the show last night. His lawyers are apparently trying to do damage control. Ha! Michael Eric Dyson appears on this video to discuss the waves of Gun Nut extremists. Definitely worth a listen.

1/15/13: Damage control, anyone? Yeager has walked back his comments and I would be you a $1,000 that I don’t have that he is insincere.

Is it no wonder that this song won’t leave my head?

Dangerously Stupid: Larry Ward Strikes Again!

Larry Ward strikes again! Have a look and laugh. The man is dangerously stupid, truly. In what alternate fantasy universe would White slavers take Blacks from Africa for enslavement and then ARM them? If they were so altruistic they could have started with the Indians. What a joke! If only he would STOP talking. I can’t believe any sane person thinks he is helping the pro-gun rights cause.

Best thing about this article? The comments say it all.

Verbal Carnage: Joy Reid & Larry Ward Discuss Gun Violence

Yesterday’s episode of Bashir Live was off da chain! Just a 10 min. spot made me grin for hours.

Joy Reid, managing editor of the Grio, is fast becoming a fixture on MSNBC’s political lineup, and she does them proud. The woman is smart as a whip. She eviscerated Larry Ward, chairman of Gun Appreciation Day, with an ease which was frightening. Then again, he was hardly what one would call a worthy opponent.

What’s that you say?

You haven’t heard of Gun Appreciation Day? January 19th, the day President Obama has called for a day of service to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, is ALSO the day when gun zealots across the country will band together to “defend” their 2nd amendment rights and decry the government’s attempts to take their guns away.

Shit gets realer by the second.

Can I say what a bad idea it is to have outraged and ARMED citizens running about with signs, like it’s a damn parade? You just have to know some of them will be packing. It’s like a molotov cocktail for crying out loud.

In any case, conspiracy theories abound, without a shred of truth, mind you. But why would anyone be interested in facts?

Yes, facts. The thing I found most humorous about the discussion on Bashir was the brief kerfuffle over facts. I’ve seen this same argument on Twitter. When confronted with facts the aggrieved party does a dodge and begins raving. Tsk tsk. The 21st century mind is devolving, people seem to believe that facts are debatable. (Let me pause for a moment to quell my hilarity.)

Um, hell no, they are not.

You can voice your OPINION on a fact but they not debatable because they are F-A-C_T-S. Just STOP. Know when you are licked and save yourself a good shellacking. Attempting to circumvent truth is a sure sign of lower intelligence, I’m just saying.

Yet, Larry Ward had no problem lying and parading IDEAS disguised as facts. He also was seemingly unable to recognize the trap set for him. It was a trap because he was ill prepared. *gasp*

How could that be? I mean he’s the chairman of GAD.

Well, apparently, he appreciates guns but is neither acquainted, interested, or able to grasp the sheer enormity of the damage they are inflicting on this country.

Allow me to digress a moment and say how truly appalled I am by the transparent efforts of the gun lobby and the NRA, henchmen and puppets of the gun industry, to derail the public conversation and the Obama administration’s efforts to craft meaningful gun safety reform. It’s a revolting spectacle without a shred of moral accountability.

The most common objection is the defense of the 2nd amendment and the constitutional right to bear arms. Here’s the thing though, NO ONE is trying to take people’s guns away. At least not handguns/rifles.

Myself, I have no love for those who want to shoot Bambi but I recognize that some people find it thrilling to shoot defenseless animals and that is their right. However, there is no justifiable reason for automatic or semi-automatic weapons to be in the hands of anyone other than the military. None. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Anyone with a shred of sense, who listens to the facts of gun violence, must acknowledge that the time for more stringent gun controls was like yesterday. I can’t understand why all these avid gun owners do not realize that the gun industry has a vested interest in manufacturing baseless outrage to inflate their profit lines. It’s not rocket science and it’s sad to see people so easily manipulated. Must be something in the water.

I will not waste one moment talking about the conspiracy theory that Obama’s been thirsting to take away guns.

Ok, well just one.

The theory that Obama was going to assail the right to bear arms has flourished like wildfire since he took office. Just one, tiny fact though… In four years, he did NOTHING about them. In fact, he expanded gun rights, to the shame and horror of every Progressive I know.

In a twist that is almost laughable, people are now up in arms about this video from 2008. You can almost hear the plaintive whining, “But he said he wouldn’t take our guns away. See!!” That they didn’t believe him when he said it but are now conveniently brandishing it as proof of his tyranny is truly illustrative of stupidity.

Also? That atrocities like mass shootings are occurring almost monthly is also a paltry matter. That the US leads the way in violent homicide is apparently also of little significance. Cause you know these are facts. To hear them tell it, “Shit Happens.”

Where are the adults in the room?

How does American Exceptionalism dovetail with having no responsibility to curtail the needless deaths of the citizenry? I am genuinely curious.

Say it with me now, “F*** Morons!”

I, for one, love a good *cough cough* evisceration. You will notice that Joy rattles off the facts with a quiet, deadly swagger. The exchange reminded me of Obama’s “Please proceed Governor” moment during the Presidential debates. Gotcha! Poor Larry, I was almost embarrassed for him. Admittedly, it was hard to get past the gloating.

Your intellectual edification is my #1 goal. Read here for facts on US gun violence. on.

You can view the video here. The debate begins at the 5 minute mark.

My work here is done 🙂

On the Sandy Hook tragedy: The God we know

http://thegrio.com/2012/12/19/on-the-sandy-hook-tragedy-the-god-we-know/#like-134071

A Nation Mourns: In Memoriam – Newtown, CT Victims

Today is a somber day. All over the TV and across the pages of our nation are stories about the victims of the Newtown, CT shooting. It’s heartbreaking enough but every time I look at a show the faces of every adult; reporter, politician, education or mental health professionals, even they who have grappled with some of this nation’s worst disasters, are sad and devastated.

I think that’s because many of us feel responsible for doing nothing, for not fighting harder, for not shrugging off cynicism…or, simply for our acceptance of a world riddled with horrors that inevitably touch our offspring.

I think that responsibility lies heaviest upon our President and it is that which undergirds the tears he could not contain. No one can convince me that having spoken out against gun violence in myriad roles; Father, African-American man, Chicago Community organizer, Senator, and finally as President, that he does not feel a degree of responsibility for not backing up his speech with action.
It is one of the lamentable truths of life that one can’t realistically hope to address all the injustices which plague society. That is as true for Presidents as it is for everyday human beings. Yet, that is part and parcel of the mantle of leadership. For all his exemplary work, that which remains undone must way heavy on his heart.

That is as it should be.

Personally, I don’t blame him for the current state of affairs. Yet many are loudly and vocally doing just that. It’s unfair and disgusting to witness. The propensity to go on a witch hunt when things go wrong is one of the most predictable and unevolved of human responses. He’s president, not God.

Which leads me also to say how interesting it is to see that while many take issue with God’s existence, and use this event as further evidence, none take issue with the presence of Evil.

I believe that we, as a nation, are equally culpable and blame should be apportioned appropriately. If you were not actively fighting for gun violence reform this is the time to take personal accountability and shut the hell up about who hasn’t done what before.

What I do expect is that he will spearhead meaningful gun violence policy reform NOW, confronting inevitable and weighty opposition, as he has on myriad fronts during his term as president. To coin one of his favorite terms, failure to do so should certainly “Not be for lack of trying…”. The tipping point has been reached and the moral implications for the country as we watch these children and their courageous protectors being laid to rest is more than sufficient impetus to address what is a national tragedy…and shame.

It’s way past time for the nation’s officials to be held accountable and I’m heartened to hear the courageous and seemingly heartfelt words of many who have begun to speak out. Still, I am less concerned about what they say than what we demand they do.

Movement has begun, he met with his cabinet today. Also, if you missed President Obama’s comments at the Newtown memorial, you can see them here.

Pray for the victims and their families that they can make some sense of this horrible tragedy, that they get the support and strength they need and we finally have the courage to pull together and change this one thing…for all our children.

This beautiful poem, On Children by Kahlil Gibran, was quoted Saturday on the Melissa Harris Perry show:

ON CHILDREN

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable

Updated: Gun Violence in America – Take Action

March And Vigil Remember Chicago Student Beaten To Death Near Community Ctr

I’ve been sitting glued to my TV and tweeting for two hours as I’ve watched the unfolding tragedy of the Newtown, CT shooting. I had to come write and expel some of the horror and outrage that is sitting in my gut. I keep telling myself that it will do no good to cry, yet the tears leak out anyway as my soul will not be quiet.

As necessary as those tears are, they will not bring back the lives of the 18 children and 9 adults, so far reported, who died needlessly today. The wrongness and evilness of human actions sits on my chest like a weight.

Imagine the families who’ve lost children going home to their empty houses tonight, greeted by a void of silence where there children’s voice should be, or standing in the doorway of their empty children’s rooms. Think of the Christmas presents that will never be opened, the lost potential of human lives and the dreams and hopes of their parents lost in a tidal wave of grief. I can and my heart breaks a little more every time I think of it.

Yet for all my imaginings and empathy, I am not a parent. My heart is not walking around outside my body and some lunatic has not just changed my life, irrevocably, in the space of minutes. Whatever I might imagine, the reality of it is likely to be many, many times worse.

People have glibly and conveniently stated that this is not the time for talking politics, that it is a time to grieve and heal. There is truth in that but, as so often is the case, it is not the whole truth. It is more a convenient lie meant to silence us and run from the issue. These acts of mass violence are preventable and we have failed in our collective responsibility as a society to take what steps we can to minimize gun violence. The best time to talk about it is NOW while the tragedy is staring us in the face.

These escalating acts of violence are made all the easier by lax gun laws. We do our children and ourselves a great disservice by being complicit in the silence that has allowed the NRA to proliferate guns to any moron with an itchy finger. I don’t believe that more rigorous background checks are the sole answer to this problem. Automatic weapons should be banned, as a federal measure. The cost of ammunition should be prohibitively expensive and strict regulatory control is desperately needed. However, I will take anything as a starting point over where we are now.

As quiet as it’s kept, the reality of gun violence is not limited to mass killings. Murder happens every day in our cities, particularly in urban communities of color. Look at the epidemic of violence in Chicago. The sheer number of posts on the Huffington Post is sure to blow your mind. It has been happening for such a long time that it is now de facto and unchallenged. Cause, you know, Blacks are just violent and perpetrating this madness all on their own. bullshit. How wrong is that?

Politicians have considered it political suicide to tackle the issue of gun violence. Either that, or they are in the pockets of the NRA. Between the complicity, corruption and gun advocates raving about their 2nd amendment rights… We’ve landed HERE. STOP. Do not pass Go as your life may be forfeit.

This speaks volumes about the state of our so called civilized society. Is this epidemic of violence civilized? Must we continue to debate about the responsibilities of the individual when the collective is suffering heavy casualties, the loss of human life?

We’re not doing it right.

Something must be done and it is our responsibility to demand change. It can not be that the corporations have taken hold of this country and continually screw the masses out of decent wages, affordable food, safe drinking water, affordable utilities, housing and our very lives. Not if we stand together and call for change. They said the corporations would win the elections with the billions donated by special interests and they were wrong. Let’s make them wrong again.

Take heart, save someone’s life and make your voice heard. If you take action, you’ll not only feel better but you will honor the victims.

**Updated: Please read the following piece by Golide Taylor. I admire her tremendously for her veracity and courage. Gun violence affects in so many ways and her story is one of many.**

1. Facts about US gun violence

2. Who’s in the NRA’s pocket?

3. The Brady Campaign

Go to http://www.bradycampaign.org to see how you can help.

4. Sign a White House Petition

There are a bunch of petitions on the White House site. I chose this one: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/immediately-address-issue-gun-control-through-introduction-legislation-congress/2tgcXzQC?utm_source=wh.gov&utm_medium=shorturl&utm_campaign=shorturl