Monday, November 6, 2017

Enough Is Enough Already! (Again)

On November 5, yet another horrible mass shooting occurred.  A gunman armed with the obligatory AR-15 shot up a church in the small town of Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing 26 and injuring many others.   All because--wait for it---his estranged mother-in-law happened to attend that particular church.  Yes, really.  I mean, how evil can one get?  Seems that mass shootings have become an almost daily occurrence in recent years--in the USA at least.  But the rest of the industrialized world doesn't really seem to have this kind of problem.  Why is that?  Well, there's always....


America is the land of 300 million guns, and combined with a culture that is crazier and more violent than most other "developed" countries, and much more extreme inequality, it is a very lethal combination indeed.  Of course, the biggest elephant in the room is the fact that at least 98% of mass shooters are MEN.  Thanks to the patriarchy and the sort of "toxic masculinity" that it creates, combined with the above factors, too many men end up resorting to violence.  Like the Iron Maiden song says, "a briefcase, a lunch, and a man on the edge".  With a gun. I mean, what could possibly go wrong, right?

There should be no doubt at this point that something needs to be done.  However, we do not believe that banning all guns for everyone, or adopting British or European-style gun laws, is the solution, as the genie is already out of the bottle, and there is also that whole Constitution thingy as well.  Thus, the TSAP recommends that the following measures be taken:

  1. Bring back a new and improved 1994 assault-weapons ban yesterday, this time with more teeth.  This time, include all rapid-fire devices and all magazines with more than ten rounds in the ban as well as the previously-banned types of semi-automatic rifles and their knockoffs.
  2. Remove the 20-year ban on gun violence research, yesterday. 
  3. End the gun-show loophole and implement universal background checks, yesterday.
  4. Put a significant excise tax on all bullets/ammo, like Chris Rock recommended. (Seriously)
  5. Treat ammo sales the same as gun sales.  Or better yet, treat bullets like Sudafed:  must show ID, limit on the number that one can buy, the number bought would be recorded, and if you do buy too many, you will be investigated.
  6. Pass a "one gun a month" law at the federal level.  And consider perhaps putting a limit on the number of guns that an individual can own at a given time, except for antiques/relics/curios.
  7. Require reporting of lost or stolen guns.
  8. Regulate firearms like other consumer products in terms of health and safety standards--currently such standards are nonexistent.
  9. Improve enforcement of existing gun laws, which tend not to be enforced very well these days, and improve state reporting of prohibited persons to NICS.  Also, prohibit anyone on the terrorism watch list from buying any guns, period. (Believe it or not, this shooter should have been prohibited due to domestic violence, but due to an error in the system he was able to get an AR-15 assault rifle anyway.)
  10. Consider a massive gun buyback program, one that pays significantly more than what the guns are worth on the street.  Voluntary for any still-legal weapons, mandatory for any newly-banned ones. 
  11. And last but not least, improve our woefully-inadequate mental healthcare system.
Of course, to truly solve our gun violence problem would require a fundamental overhaul and transformation of our society, which the TSAP clearly supports.  We need to go from being what Riane Eisler calls a "dominator" society to more of a "partnership" society, as the latter kind is far less violent overall.   And for what it's worth, one of the things we do know about this mass murderer is that he had a history of domestic violence and possibly even rape--a textbook example of the sort of toxic masculinity that so many mass killers seem to share, and is part and parcel of the "dominator" model (i.e. patriarchy and the larger kyriarchy). But in the meantime, the aforementioned recommendations would go a long way towards taking the dangerous edge off of the problem. 

In fact, let's put this as bluntly as possible.  The monster who did this heinous and cowardly act was in fact a wife-beater, a baby-beater, and an animal abuser.  He was even kicked out of the Air Force for his previous misdeeds.  Later, he was also accused of and investigated for rape as well.  And yet, somehow he still managed to not only get off fairly easy for it all, but he was even able to get his hands on a military-style killing machine.  Let that sink in.

In this particular shooting, a deadly combination of toxic masculinity, readily-available weapons of war, and a history of violence against women and children ultimately led to the deaths of 26 innocent people and the injuries of many others as well.   And yet supposedly no one saw it coming, at least under the current broken system.  If that's not the all-time KING of wake-up calls, I honestly don't know what is.

I don't know about you, but my favorite part of the Second Amendment is where it says "well-regulated".  Too bad so many Republican Congresscritters who are bought and paid for by the NRA can't seem to read the first half of the freaking sentence.  Oh, and nevermind that when it was written, guns at that time fired at most one round per minute, not 600+ per minute like so many of today's killing machines.  Not like the gun lobby and their lackeys really do nuance.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Donald Is Going Down

First, the TSAP would like to give our deepest condolences to the victims of the horrible terrorist attack in downtown Manhattan (NYC) on October 31.  Regardless of what was going through his head when he did it, the monster who did such a cowardly and despicable act needs to be brought to justice.

As for Trump, he basically did what he does best--exploit a tragedy for his own gain and/or to push his toxic and racist agenda.  Yes, this attack was an act of radical Islamic terrorism (by a "lone wolf" inspired by what's left of ISIL aka the Daesh-bags), and the first known one on US soil since the Donald was inaugurated in January.  But this was NOT the first terrorist attack that occurred on his watch.  There were indeed several other attacks, some of them extremely deadly (Las Vegas shooting, hello!), committed largely (and predictably) by white American males.  And many of these attacks were done by white supremacists to one degree or another.  But Trump was predictably silent about these attacks for the most part, and sometimes even seemed to be praising (or at least tacitly condoning) the Alt-Reich terrorists.  And he practically goes out of his way to NOT use the word "terrorism" to describe such heinous acts, as long as they are committed by white, non-Muslim Americans.  Seriously.

Fortunately for us all, if there is any sort of silver lining to be found in such a horrible tragedy, the Manhattan terrorist attack occurred after the ignominious indictments of his buddies Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, as well as George Papadopoulos' infamous guilty plea.  That is, what would have likely been a major rallying point for Trump's base, and even many fence-sitters, essentially came two days too late for him.  And at this point, there is really no salvaging his presidency, no matter how hard he tries in vain to "wag the dog" or sweep the ever-growing Russiagate scandal under the rug.

He has already had his Benghazi (twice), his Katrina (three times), and now his 9/11 (in the same city no less, albeit on a much smaller scale).  And what will ultimately go down in history as his own personal Watergate on steroids will make even the original Tricky Dick himself look like a saint by comparison.  And his first year isn't even done yet.

The jig is up, Donald.  Please do us all a YUUUUGE favor and RESIGN.   Yesterday.