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Posts Tagged ‘gun violence’

Bear ArmsYou may be calling this “trampling on the Constitution” and yet, it’s not meant to be. Almost three years ago I wrote this about the right to bear arms in this post:

When the Second Amendment was ratified, the United States was an agrarian nation with 3,929,214 people, according to the 1790 census, of which 694,280 were slaves.

 

 

The Second Amendment states this:

  1. a practical purpose, to protect people from thieves, bandits, Native Americans, and slave uprisings
  2. a political purpose, to remind the rest of the world that the United States is well-armed

I don’t think the founders of our little agrarian nation the size of modern Oregon in population had any idea what they were doing with regards to assault weapons. They were afraid of the fact that one in five people in the country were slaves and they could  easily overcome them, should they find the will. They needed to curb highway robbery.

Today don’t need weapons to protect ourselves from thieves, bandits and Native Americans. We’re not traveling back country roads by horse or on foot anymore where highway robbery was rampant. There haven’t been any slave uprisings in a while. I don’t think that France, Spain, England and perhaps Portugal are a political threat to the United States anymore, and the guns in our closets make no difference to their attitudes. Political enemies like ISIS actually benefit from our gun-based society.

And seriously, our armed citizens are not up to defending themselves against the U.S. military, should it turn against the people. We’d need F-35s for that.

Worldwide evidence is clear. The more guns there are in the populace, the more gun violence there is. You want less violence, you need to have less guns.

We need another amendment to the Constitution to fix this. It should make assault rifles illegal for ordinary citizens. Only law enforcement and the military should have those.

And what’s this issue with not having everyone that owns a gun have a background check? We have mandatory background checks for childcare providers!

And what’s the problem with a national registry of gun owners? We have national registries for credit card owners!

Seriously, I am not trying to “take your guns away.” But I am saying that it should be way, way, way more difficult for you to obtain a gun.

And here is the good part – this WILL happen. It’s just a matter of time. The will of the people shall overcome the political obstacles currently in the way. We’ll just vote them out of office.

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In the aftermath of yesterday’s tragic shooting in San Bernardino, where three shooters, one woman and two men, wearing fatigues, possible body-armor, and ski masks shot people at random, killing 14 and wounding another 17, officials said the following:

Terrorism cannot be ruled out

How in the world was this not terrorism? We have a word to describe three people committing premeditated mass murder at a facility for disabled people. That word is “Terrorism.”

Maybe it was not Islamic jihadist terrorism, but it was terrorism nonetheless.

The Colorado Springs shooter a few days ago was a Christian. The media didn’t call that terrorism either. Sorry folks. That, also, was terrorism, perpetrated by a Christian. I hate to say it. We have such a thing as Christian terrorism, and atheist terrorism, and batshit crazy nutcase terrorism.

But let’s all agree to calling it what it is:

Terrorism

 

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Guns and Abortions

Found this on my Facebook feed – makes total sense to me:

How about we treat every young man who wants to buy a gun like every woman who wants to get an abortion:

  • Mandatory 48-hour waiting period
  • Parental permission
  • A note from his doctor proving he understands what he’s about to do
  • Make him watch a video about the effects of gun violence

Then we close down all gun shops we can, so he has to travel hundreds of miles, take time off from work, just to get a gun. He’ll have to walk through gauntlets of people holding photos of loved ones who got killed in mass shootings. They’ll call him a murderer, beg him not to buy a gun, just because he is there.

It makes more sense to do this with gun buyers than with abortion seekers. No woman seeking an abortion has ever killed a room full of people in seconds.

 

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When I listen to the NRA’s Wayne Lapierre, he always talks about gun owners being law-abiding citizens, and they should not be bothered with background checks or other pesky restrictions like magazines in assault rifles that can only have 10 rounds at a time.

I know lots of gun owners, and they are all law-abiding citizens.

However, look at the statistics just quoted by John Hickenlooper, the governor of Colorado:

Background checks in Colorado stopped 38 people from buying guns who were convicted of homicides, 600 burglars, 1300 who had committed felonious assaults. In addition 400 had existing restraining orders and were stopped, 236 showed up to pick up their guns but were arrested because of existing warrants for violent felonies.

Not all people seeking to buy guns are law-abiding citizens, and some get stopped. If the right one had gotten stopped in Connecticut, just maybe 20 children in Newtown would be eating their breakfast cereals before going to school this morning.

About 30,000 people die from guns every year in the United States. 18,000 of those may be law-abiding but somehow so depressed, so torn down, that they use their guns to take their own lives.

The remaining 12,000 die from being shot by others. Some of those others are law-abiding citizens who do things like show off their guns at a party, leave them on the bed and have their 4-year-olds pick them up and shoot somebody. But others are plain murderers, who kill for money, drugs, organized crime, sex, or simply in rage while in a domestic dispute.

The 30,000 deaths I just listed are only the deaths. These numbers do not include the near misses, the light and serious injuries, and the debilitating and maiming injuries that occur due to gun violence every day.

The inconvenience of background checks is a very small price to pay for some innocent lives saved. I am law-abiding and I don’t mind. COME AND CHECK MY BACKGROUND!

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DjangoDjango Unchained is a masterpiece. It is the best movie I have seen in five years, and I knew it within the first half hour of watching.

Django (Jamie Foxx) is a slave in chains in 1858, a few years before the outbreak of the Civil War. During a chance encounter on a trail somewhere in Texas, a German-born dentist turned bounty hunter by the name of Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) buys Django to help him find a few wanted men.

The odd couple soon start trusting each other. Django helps the Doctor find and kill bad guys for money. Eventually, the Doctor decides to help Django find his wife, Brunhilde, a slave that was sold away from him in Mississippi.

They find her at a large southern plantation named Candieland, owned by Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), who is a renowned and feared slave owner, and, as we find out, a sadist.

Candieland is run by Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson), a slave himself, who, as southern irony would have it, loves his young master like a father, or – like a slave driver of the worst kind himself. He will do anything to keep the system intact, and he runs the estate with an iron fist.

This is the most brutal film ever made by Quentin Tarantino. The violence is staggering. People are constantly getting killed. Guns blast huge holes into people, who all seem to be gushing blood. I didn’t know people could bleed that violently, and I will never know if they really do. But it works in this film. Django Unchained is an unmitigated, uncompromising, offensive and repulsive blood bath from beginning to end.

The film portrays the institution of slavery in America in the south unlike anything I have experienced reading Gone with the Wind or Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Tarantino throws the abuse of human beings by society as a whole at us with relentless ferocity. We witness dogs tearing apart a slave who tried to run away. We see a woman thrown naked in a cage in the ground to stew for ten days. We see men running after horses in chains, barefoot, all night. We see other men killing each other with hammers in the living room in front of the fire-place to the amusement of the white overlords who own them. We see stupidity and human degeneration in the white trash that feeds off this system like rats off a corpse.

To tell this horrific story and to make it possible that we can bear sitting there for 2 hours and 43 minutes of non-stop killing, torture and injustice, Tarantino dishes out humor in just the right proportions, at just the right times. The humor is never base, ugly, stupid or slapsticky. It works like a perfect machine, keeping the viewer engaged, almost like passing out rewards of candy after particularly atrocious scenes. “It’s okay, viewer, I know this was hard. Hang in there with me. This story is worth telling.”

Good and evil are grotesquely contrasted. The good guys are brutal gunfighters and cold-blooded murderers who think nothing of blowing the head off an innocent woman just to make their case. But the evil is so deep, fed and institutionalized by the system of slavery, that we root for these murderers and feel good for all their little successes against all odds.

The work by all the major actors is superb. I was there in the woods, or on the plantation with them. It was all real. The musical score perfectly engaged and accentuated the violence.

Critics might accuse this film of glorified gun violence, especially at this time when guns and related violence are on the forefront of the national debate. There are a lot of guns in this movie, yes, but there is nothing glorifying about them. Guns, whips and brutality are what the oppressors, who were in the minority, used in the south of slavery to keep their victims in chains.

I walked out of Django Unchained completely convinced I had just watched an absolute masterpiece. A story that needs telling, packaged perfectly and engaging all the senses and emotions.

My rating system stops at four stars.

**** 1/2

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