Roundup April 26, 2021

Information and my reactions of news.

I begin this roundup with my thoughts on comments from conservatives about restricting voting for those who are uninformed or ignorant of civics and issues.

An article in the Washington Post reported on comments made by an Arizona Republican member of their state legislature. State Representative John Kavanagh (R) stated, on CNN, that, “Not everybody wants to vote, and if somebody is uninterested in voting, that probably means that they’re totally uninformed on the issues. Quantity is important, but we have to look at the quality of votes, as well.” Of course, he later tried to walk back his words, but that’s to be expected from those who make ignorant statements showing the truth of their beliefs.

An article in USA Today, used in the Washington Post article, on remarks made about voting, gave some more examples. From the article, “For example, Andrew McCarthy stated in National Review: “It would be far better if the franchise were not exercised by ignorant, civics-illiterate people.” Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson, a Republican, warned of the dangers of voting by the “uninformed.” Kevin Williamson, also at National Review, asked whether America “would be better served by having fewer — but better — voters.

Who are these ignorant and civics-illiterate voters? It’s minorities and the poor who these conservatives are crying about. You know, the people who came out and voted for Joe Biden. Those votes have scared Republicans so badly that they have come out openly for voter suppression by writing and enacting laws to the advantage of Republicans in future elections.

If we use their thinking we must then examine a group overlooked by these “patriots.” That group would be the white supremacist racists, QAnon believing, Trump-loving, LGBTQ hating, REPUBLICANS! These Republicans consider themselves true patriots, defenders of the Constitution, moral and ethical Christians, and the only segment of society capable of determining the direction of American life.

They’re not educated, civics-aware voters. They can’t be. For instance, followers of QAnon are people mentally incapable of using critical reasoning skills (including Republican luminaries Representatives Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene). This is clearly demonstrated by their idiotic beliefs of the conspiracy theories espoused by QAnon. What critically thinking person could believe that Democrats are/were running a child sex ring out of the basement of a pizza restaurant in Washington, D.C.? How can “good” Christians categorize those people who deserve the love of Jesus Christ and the rest, like the LGBTQ+ community, who will burn in hell, be educated voters? How can white supremacist racists who want all minorities dead or removed, just as Hitler wanted all Jews exterminated, be educated voters (consider too the number of white people they’d kill for siding with minorities over their white America dreams)?

Certainly these Republicans should be allowed to vote. Of course, they are excused by the commenters I wrote of above. I’m sure that Republicans can’t see any problems with those voters and the democracy they’d have in power. Wait, make that dictatorship, since they want Trump and a family dynasty he’d institute.

That makes John Kavanagh, Andrew McCarthy, Michael Watson, Kevin Williamson, and others of their ilk, to be nothing short of bigoted hypocrites. Apparently they believe the U.S. Constitution doesn’t extend to all the people. Now, that’s ignorant! They and those like them should be the ones denied the right to vote if anyone should be.

Now we move on to an article on heavy.com about a Tennessee man, Sam Johnson. Johnson is the CEO of a company called VisuWell, a telemedicine platform company. It seems Johnson decided to harass an LGBTQ teen boy who chose to wear a dress to his prom. Johnson took offense at the teen’s appearance, telling the teen that he shouldn’t be wearing a dress. The teen’s boyfriend, who was recording the interaction on his phone, related that Johnson made comments, “You look disgusting, you look ridiculous, you look like an idiot…” In the end Johnson was thrown out of the hotel this occurred at, as well as being told by others to leave the teen alone.

What a bigoted sob! Where the hell do people get the idea that they have the right to harass anyone, for any reason. Obviously, they were not taught to mind their own business when they were growing up. That or they decided they could make anything their business, as Johnson clearly did in this case.

Now, Johnson told Newsweek that the was no truth the accusations. He said he was just handling “obnoxious, loud behavior by this group of teens.” Funny, that’s not what we see in the video – which Johnson says (without proof) was edited. I’m willing to bet that if you asked Johnson, he’d tell you he is a “good” Christian too. In reality, he’s a sick, twisted, coward for his inability to allow people to express themselves. To me, his petty behavior is why we have hate crime laws in America.

I wonder if he would be considered to be a person who would make an educated and responsible voter the Republicans want?

Just these two articles alone show the problem with so many people (all Republicans maybe?) in our country. Their ignorance and hatred for all they disagree with leads them to condemn others and decry the inability of those they oppose to be less human and capable than they are. Are Democrats and the left perfect? Nope, not by a long shot. But, they shine compared to the morons I’ve written about in this article. If they are so determined to force people to follow their beliefs only, then maybe they should all relocate and create their own country of bigoted, racist white people. I suggest Antarctica.

Until next time

It’s Not Even a Bandaid

Police reform isn’t likely for minorities in America

The jury has convicted Derek Chauvin on all counts for murdering George Floyd. Chauvin faces a maximum sentence of 12 1/2 years on the most serious count, unless the DA can show aggravating circumstances. While Chauvin is being held to account for his actions as a police officer, it isn’t even a bandaid in the field of police reform. In fact, during his trial other acts of police have caused injury and death to others. One only has to look to the suburb of Minneapolis, Brooklyn Center.

There a 25 plus year veteran officer shot and killed Duante Wright, a Black man, over what started out as a traffic stop for expired registration. It seems, according to the Brooklyn Police ex-chief, that ex-officer Kim Potter supposedly mistook her firearm for the Taser she carried. That seems absurd considering the great differences in weight, and design of the two items, but that fight is for another day. The Hennepin County DA’s Office quickly charged Potter the day after she resigned from the police department.

Duante Wright’s murder was just another example of police operating with a superiority complex. Yes, reportedly Mr Wright had an outstanding warrant, but the officer should have considered other options for taking Mr Wright into custody. It’s just a case of an officer refusing to be stopped from making an arrest. It’s become endemic within policing that an officer ignored is an officer enraged at the audacity that a person refuses to follow the authority of the officer.

Also, consider the case of the 13-year old boy shot and killed by a Chicago Police officer. Adam Toledo was shot after following the orders of Officer Eric Stillman to drop the gun Toledo appeared to be holding and to raise his hands. After raising his hands he was shot by Officer Stillman. If Adam Toledo was complying, why was he shot? Once Adam’s empty hands were raised he wasn’t presenting an immediate threat to Officer Stillman or the public. At that point Officer Stillman had options for taking Adam into custody, but failed to exercise any of them. Has policing become so skewed in this country that police now believe themselves incapable of doing anything less than using deadly force?

The conviction of Derek Chauvin is being celebrated by many, but others are standing on the other side of the jury’s verdict. Take Fox News extreme right mouthpiece Tucker Carlson. His take on the jury verdict is that the jury voted to convict because they (the jurors) didn’t want to be attacked by mobs if they acquitted Derek Chauvin.

The jury in the Derek Chauvin trial came to a unanimous and unequivocal verdict this afternoon: Please Don’t Hurt Us,” he said on his show, according to Raw Story’s article.

Now, we know Tucker Carlson peddles the outrageous. If any behavior is to be maligned or twisted, Tucker is likely the one to spout off to his viewers. His commentary shouldn’t be considered to be actual news of any kind. Even his own network argued that viewers should be skeptical of Carlson’s comments and a federal judge agreed when tossing out a lawsuit against Carlson. That said, too many on the far right look to Carlson for their understanding of the activities he “reports” on. To the American people, perception is reality. By his comments Carlson appears to think that the police are always right. Of course, he’s not the only talking head at Fox News who pander to extremist right viewers.

According to the Washington Post, there have been 984 fatal shootings by police in the last year. While only a small percentage of fatal shootings by police are classified as unjustifiable, it’s not the only evidence of the attitude of police towards the very citizens they are exercising authority over. While deadly force is the worst case, other interactions by police show their contempt for the general public and minorities especially.

A NJ.com article reports that Perth Amboy police in New Jersey stopped a group of teens, mostly Black and Latino, riding bicycles in the city. Now these teens were seen to be riding their bikes in traffic, at times causing a hazard to traffic. When the group stopped for officers, one officer told the teens that their bikes “are supposed to have licenses and all that kind of stuff.” The unidentified officer went on to promise the teens that their bikes would not be confiscated by police. That didn’t last. Another officer, reportedly a Sergeant, ordered the six officers at the scene to confiscate the bikes. When one of the teens argued with this second officer, he was arrested, handcuffed, and placed in a patrol car. Was this the way to appropriately handle this situation? Wasn’t the verbal warning by the first officer sufficient? Apparently not since the second officer decided that they needed to be showed who’s boss in Perth Amboy.

Policing is not a profession for people incapable of using good judgment and discretion. It’s a tough job and a dangerous job at times. However, it’s also a job that hardened officers against the citizenry and brought them to the position of believing they hold unaccountable authority over everyone. Derek Chavin’s conviction will no more bring positive change to policing across America than did other cases of excessive/deadly force by police.

The ultimate responsibility for the failure to bring nationwide change to the policing of this country falls on the public. Those Americans who are agitating for change aren’t enough. The great majority must join their voices to the demands for change. Unfortunately, this will not likely happen since most citizens either agree with the police, or are afraid of standing out on the “wrong” side of this issue.

The attitudes of police in general won’t change until the public forces that change.

Until next time

More on the Second Amendment

Discussing differing views

On March 24, 2021, I wrote my article called “Dark Ages of the Second Amendment”, which you can read here. To give a quick recap of the article, I wrote that reasonable gun laws are not an infringement of a person’s Second Amendment rights. Firearms being outlawed completely would certainly be an infringement, but since we can own firearms (and I do), reasonable laws can, and should be enacted. Nor would I ever support the confiscation of all firearms in the United States, whether or not the Second Amendment existed.

I received a comment that same day from a person identified as Alan Sexton. In his comment he stated that my views of the Second Amendment were totally irrelevant. He believes any gun law is an infringement. He went on to say that “to the chagrin of the anti-gun crowd, many folks on the political left hold the same view as folks on the right.

I wrote a long comment in reply to his second comment that any laws are an infringement, but for some reason WordPress failed to post the comment. So, I’m going to recreate the my comment as an article instead.

Let me begin by saying that I once held the same beliefs as Alan, for over 20 years. But, as I saw more and more murders (from individual killings to the mass killings) happening I came to change my views on the Second Amendment. I was also a conservative of the Republican Party during that period as well. Now, either “party” are anathema to me since neither party serves the people.

In my reply, I asked some questions that I hope Alan will read here and give substantive answers to in the comment section of this article. I also offer Alan the opportunity to write an article that I will post on this blog. I guarantee that I will not edit your article in any way. The opportunity is yours to educate people on your Second Amendment beliefs in detail. My email link is listed on my Contact page.

Okay, so off I go.

The Second Amendment reads, “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.

We will dispense with the part about a well regulated militia, since I (likely as Alan does) believe that is totally separate from the second part dealing with “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”. The discussion comes down to what law(s) infringe on the people’s right.

My first question to Alan was that if any firearm law/restriction can not be enacted, then why has the Supreme Court not handed down a ruling that states that no laws may be enacted?

Next, by your beliefs are you stating that:

  • Firearms should not have serial numbers (Gun Control Act of 1968)?
  • Federal Firearm Licenses are illegal?
  • Convicted felons can purchase, possess, and carry any firearm they desire?
  • People with serious mental illness can purchase, possess, and carry any firearm they desire?
  • There should be no age limit on the purchase, possession, and carrying of a firearm?
  • People can possess and carry firearms (whether concealed or openly) into any state legislative building, the US Capitol, any court (including the US Supreme Court), any police station, any jail or prison, any place of worship, any bar/tavern/lounge, any primary or secondary school, any hospital, and so on?
  • People can purchase any possess firearms like the M240 machine gun, the M249 SAW, the M2 .50 caliber machine gun, a grenade launcher (M79 or M203 as examples), etc…?

My next question Alan is, how do you propose to deal with the mass shooting incidents that have caused multiple deaths (Atlanta, Boulder, and – just last night – the FedEx building in Indianapolis as examples)? There have been so many that this is a reasonable question. Now, I concede that no law will stop all of these types of incidents, but some could be deterred with reasonable firearms laws. Is America just suppose to shrug our collective shoulders and say “that’s life”?

Alan, how do you propose the removal of any and all firearm laws/restrictions to attain your belief in the Second Amendment?

When the founders wrote the Second Amendment the firearms of the day were black powder, single shot, weapons. Are those then the weapons allowed to the people? Plus, many states wrote laws prohibiting slaves from owning/possessing firearms. Were those laws unconstitutional? Whiles slaves were counted as only 3/5th’s of a person for determining representation, they were classified as people. Also, in 1837 the State of Georgia enacted law to prohibit the carrying of small firearms, concealed or openly. In 1845, the Georgia Supreme Court, using the Second Amendment to reach it’s decision, overturned the portion of the law prohibiting the open carrying of a firearm. The Court left intact the portion of the law prohibiting the concealed carrying of a firearm.

I’m seriously interested in hearing your reasoning on each of the questions I have asked. By answers, I don’t mean just the mantra that the Second Amendment prohibits any infringement (laws or restrictions) on the right to keep and bear arms. This is your opportunity (or anyone else’s who is interested) to educate everyone on the Second Amendment. I also encourage people who are pro-gun control to articulate their reasoning as well.

I hopefully await your comments Alan.

Until next time

Roundup April 13, 2021

Information and my reactions of news.

This is going to be a new thing here. Each week (not necessarily on the same day of the week) I’m going to do a roundup of some of the crazy stories I’ve read or heard and write my thoughts and reactions to them.

From the Idaho State Journal we have an article, written by an Associated Press reporter, describing a pitch to state lawmakers to add about 3/4ths of the Oregon to Idaho. A group called Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho is behind this fantasy. The people supporting such stupidity say it’s because all the rural Oregonians are dominated by liberal Portland and that they would rather join conservative Idaho. This group also looks to annexing parts of southeastern Washington and northern California in the future hopefully. Hell, maybe they should save some of the rural Canadians north of the border too (can you see me rolling my eyes?)?

Now this plan has a less than a hope in hell of ever succeeding. I find it somewhat hard to believe that these screwy Idahoans are doing this out of the goodness of their hearts for those unlucky conservative Oregonians. First of all, who says all those rural dwellers are conservatives? I live in a rural area in my state and I can damn sure tell you I’m no damn conservative (though this county is overwhelmingly made up of Trump loving conservatives)!

Secondly, since – as this Idaho group states – both Oregon and the U.S. Government would also have to agree, the likelihood of Oregon to give up territory and the income from that territory to a Idaho makes no sense at all. But,l since when has that thought stopped crazy ideas from being pursued in America?

As Forrest Gump says, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

Next up we move to troubled Minnesota, where yet again a Black man has been shot and killed by a Minnesota cop from the Brooklyn Center Police Department. A story from CNBC says that the cop involved in the killing can not be charged with a crime, according to Civil Rights attorney David Henderson. Also in the story, the police chief – Tim Gannon – that he thought this was an accident, that this senior officer meant to use her Taser, not her firearm.

Let’s look at the information we know. One, Mr Duante Wright, was stopped by the cop for either having an air freshener hanging from the rear view mirror or for expired registration (whichever you choose to believe). Two, it’s reported in news sources that Mr Wright had an outstanding arrest warrant and that he fled when police tried to take him into custody. Three, cops wear Tasers on the opposite side from their firearms on their duty belts. Fourth the feel and weight differences alone should have altered the cop that she had her firearm in her hand, not her Taser. Fifth, this cop – identified in an Insider article – as Kimberley A Potter, a 26-year-veteran of the police force.

Now I worked in law enforcement and corrections. I’ve carried both a firearm and a Taser (not at the same time though), so I know what I speak of. The size, feel, and weight differences are blatantly noticeable. How did this veteran cop, who has had training in the carrying of these weapons, grab the wrong one and not know it? Was the outstanding warrant of so serious a nature that this veteran cop was overcome with adrenaline during the attempted arrest that she “accidentally” pulled the wrong weapon and killed Mr Wright?

It seems pretty clear to me that this veteran cop was incapable of keeping a clear head. If she had, Mr Wright would be alive right now. Since she apparently isn’t able to handle situations, then what in the hell is she doing on patrol? Seems she should have duties that do not require her to use either weapon.

As for the thought that she can’t be charged with a crime, why not? In my military service (as a cop) had I ever shot someone with my duty weapon, I would have to stand court-martial to determine if the shooting was justifiable. With the number of police related shootings in America, let cops have to have a jury determine if the shooting is justifiable or not. It’s outrageous that this cop may well be protected by state law. At the least, would this not be negligent discharge of a firearm – whether or not it was a mistake by this veteran cop?

Lastly on this topic, was there no other way to handle this? Since the cop supposedly meant to pull and use her Taser, this says to me this wasn’t a life threatening situation. It seems to me the cop could have let Mr Wright leave the scene and arranged for his arrest at a later point, since they obviously had identified him. It seems clear there was some poor decision making by this veteran cop.

Her employment as a police officer needs to be terminated. She can no longer be trusted to make good judgment calls.

Lastly today I want to speak to the “battle” going on among U.S. Senators over the filibuster rule used by senators to stop votes on bills before them. Since when does the Constitution they so value allow them to refuse to represent the citizens of their state? The filibuster rule is nothing more than obstructionism to stop the Senate from doing their duty for the public. The idea that there is need for 60 votes just to get legislation voted on is criminally negligent. “We the people” don’t send you fools to Congress to find ways to avoid fulfilling your responsibilities. Bills in either chamber of Congress should be voted on and a simple majority should determine the outcome. Senator’s like Mitch McConnell and the tactics he used as Majority Leader and those he now uses as Minority Leader shows his contempt for the American people.

The filibuster rule needs to be done away with. While we are at it, a term limits amendment needs to be added to the U.S. Constitution to keep these lifelong, corporate and billionaire’s toadies from subverting the will of the people.