Point of View Columns

There is Never Enough Death in America

In the course of one week, eighteen Americans were slain by automatic assault weapons wielded by serious deranged Americans. ISIS had nothing to do with this. Black Lives Matter had nothing to do with these killings. Even the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys had nothing to do with these killings.

The only thing that these killings had in common was the ease of access to incredibly lethal weaponry in America. And at the outset it should be a matter of settled fact that any person who picks up an automatic weapon and kills eight people in in massage parlors in Atlanta, and another who walks into a supermarket in Boulder and kills ten people in a matter of minutes are seriously deranged.

But there are seriously deranged men and women all over the world, but in America 41,000 Americans were victims of gun violence. This is a mortality rate that is exceeded only in Yemen – which is in the middle of a civil war. Over 112 Americans died from gun violence every week last year –which is the equivalent of 4 fully occupied 737 jetliners crashing every week – killing all aboard.

From the Texas Bell Tower Massacre to Sandy Hook to Parkland to Las Vegas to El Paso, weaponry has brought death and terror to America – and there is no place to hide. You can be in kindergarten, at a concert, at a movie or at a supermarket and it can be last event in your life because of the Plague of the Gun.

There are 330 million Americans and over 400 million rifles, guns and pistols in this country. Granted there are legitimate purposes for gun ownership – hunting, sport and self-defense. But there can be no rational purpose for assault weapons to be in the hands of civilians – but that is the American way.

Somehow this country has become inured to Death by Gun – somehow it is now just the price we pay for Americans. Somehow proposals for background checks and limits on weaponry are seen as attacks on the 2nd Amendment rights – even though the 2nd Amendment says nothing about gun ownership.

But somehow the carnage has been normalized. Polls show that over 90% of Americans favor some form of additional gun control – the deadly triad of the National Rifle Association, major gun manufacturers and too many politicians – Republicans and Democrats – who will trade the lives of American men, women and children for campaign dollars – this triad has managed to block any and every effort to bring common sense to this American death spiral.

After ever tragedy, and sadly there will be others, there is the expressed hope that the outrageous murder of first graders or high school students or worshippers at a synagogue or a Baptist church will finally be enough death.

There are bills pending in the Senate, already passed by the House, which would at least begin to get this country on the path of something like common sense gun control. But the Republicans in the Senate of have already declared these measures dead on arrival not realizing the horrific irony of their position.

Sadly, there will be more tragedies, especially has the COVID-19 measures are relaxed and more people will be mobile – including the heavily armed and deranged members of our national population.

There will be more deaths and more tragedies. And more hopes and prayers.

But it clear that in America – there is never enough death.

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Point of View Columns

Today We Are All Asian

Yesterday another member of the Tribe of Armed and Angry White Men decided that it would be a good thing to kill as many Asians as he could find in massage spas in and around Atlanta. He managed to kill eight people, six of whom were Asian. The other two just happened to discover that their Sell By date was yesterday.

In other words, the other two were just collateral damage in the continued hate war being waged by the Tribe of Armed and Angry White Men. And in that war anyone and everyone stands the risk of being collateral damage. In that sense, we are all Asian. Just as we are all Black. We are all LatinX. We are all Muslims. We are all Indigenous people. We are all LGBTQI members. We are all Jews.

Because in hating and targeting all of the above, the Tribe of Armed and Angry White Men doesn’t care who gets in the way. And they certainly don’t care who dies. Yesterday it was six Asian women who committed the capital crime of Being Asian and Working. About a year ago it was Armaud Arberry who committed the capital crime of Jogging While Black in an Atlanta suburb. In August 2019 it was 23 Latinos in El Paso who committed the capital crime of Being Latino in A Public Place. And in 2017 it was Heather Heyer who committed the capital crime of Demonstrating for Justice with Black People in Charlottesville. And in 2018 it was 11 Jews worshiping in a synagogue who committed the capital crime of Being Jews.

Of course the behavior which cost these men and women their lives are only capital crimes in the twisted universe of white supremacist domestic terrorists. These men (and women) have been letting us know who they are for years and the response of the public and law enforcement has been tepid at best. All of the referenced atrocities are considered isolated events and not part of the obvious pattern of white extremist violence which is committed to maintaining white minority rule in this nation, no matter the human or institutional cost.

We saw the savage combination of white supremacy and white privilege on January 6, 2020 when a mob that would have warmed the heart of the Ku Klux Klan in days gone past, stormed the capital – ostensibly to keep 45 as president – but…there were Confederate flags and Nazi paraphernalia present — clear signs that white supremacy was coursing through the veins of these so-called “good people”.

History shows quite clearly how this country responds when it perceives a domestic threat. Look at what happened to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and Paul Robeson among thousands of others accused of being part of some Russian conspiracy to overthrow the government.

Look at what happened to the Black Panther Party when its members asserted the constitutional right of Black people to exercise their Second Amendment rights (the irony is apparent). And look what happened to Martin Luther King, Jr. when the Federal Bureau of Investigation considered him to be “the greatest domestic threat” in the country.

A Black man preaching nonviolence in the quest for justice is a domestic threat. A tribe of white supremacist domestic terrorists are considered to be either misunderstood or misguided, but certainly not a national threat.

Attorney General Merrick Garland has stated that he considers domestic terrorism to be a national threat. But he needs to be more specific – it is white supremacist domestic terrorism that is a true national threat. And unless and until this nation confronts this danger from within, every American citizen is in danger of being in the cross hairs of this renegade tribe.

And that is why today we are all Asian.

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Point of View Columns

Beware of Shiny Objects

As the planet enters the second year of the pandemic there is a natural tendency to want to look away – at least for a moment, at least for something like respite. Shiny objects sparkle in the storm of news and it is understandable that people will be distracted. And that is very dangerous.

Consider that the nation – and the United Kingdom – were literally transfixed by the Oprah Winfrey interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – a.k.a. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. In the middle of a global storm the American public took time to listen to the travails of two very privileged individuals who were shocked – shocked – to discover that racism was alive and well in the English monarchy.

What is shocking is that anyone should be shocked since England is the fountainhead for the entire phenomenon of white supremacy. If racism and white supremacy is a vile Nile River, then England – and the monarchy – are Lake Victoria (irony is duly noted). So why are the Duke and Duchess shocked? And why do so many Americans care enough to watch the shiny object of their distress?

Watching the Oprah interview can be considered a harmless distraction. But while the shiny object of celebrity trauma distracts the rolling miasma of New Age Racism rolls across the land. And this time there are no hoods or burning crosses because we are now witness to the Rise of James Crow – the only son of Jim Crow.

James Crow (or Joanne Crow) now wears a suit and tie and has attended schools like Harvard and Yale and Dartmouth. James Crow doesn’t lurk in the woods, noose in hand, looking to lynch yet another unsuspecting Black man or woman like his father did. James Crow doesn’t print up No Colored signs in the manner of his dad.

James Crow is now a governor, or a state assemblywoman or a United States Senator. James Crow isn’t worried about Black people moving into his neighborhood because decades of redlining and unspoken segregated development have made his neighborhood. Joanne Crow doesn’t worry about denying the vote to Black American citizens, she just makes sure that it is so damn difficult that the number of Black voters is substantially reduced – no muss and no fuss.

As this is being written some 43 states have passed bills, or have legislation under consideration, that will substantially make voting more difficult – limiting polling sites, setting more obstacles to absentee voting – and that’s just for starters. What we are actually watching is the rearmament of Jim Crow era voting rights restrictions so that this country will remain a white minority rule nation for years to come.

The John Lewis Voting Rights Act which is now before the House could, if passed by the Senate, become a weapon against this theft of democracy. But it is very clear that James and Joanne Crow are not going anywhere and that minority rule will be their aspiration for as long as they live.

The moral of course is that it is dangerous to be distracted by bright shiny news objects when democracy in this nation is under serious attack.

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Point of View Columns

Another Five Days in the Life of America

February 27, 2021

28,552,577-511,983 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

As the pandemic continues to continue its deadly path across the country there continues to be a debate regarding the Biden-Harris stimulus bill. And the question stands…what is there to debate?

The local economies across this country have been eviscerated by the pandemic and the countermeasures. More families are in jeopardy of hunger – hunger in the richest country in the world – since the Great Depression. Without federal aid, in massive amounts, a recovery from the pandemic won’t mean much when all that is left is shards and ashes of what was the United States.

And yet there is a debate.

And the debate appears to be centered on opposition which has articulated that the proposed bill might be too much help.

And what would be the problem with too much? Would that be a worst consequence than too little?

Or is the answer obvious?

February 28, 2021

28,554,724-511,998 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

45 appeared at CPAC and failed to surprise – failure being no stranger to all things 45. He continued to lie about losing the election – he won. He continued to lie about voter fraud – there was plenty of voter fraud. He continued the lie that he was denied the presidency by the perfidy of Republicans who he named like some kind of political death warrant – not even close to being true.

He wallowed in lies and the adoring crowd loved it. Amazingly CPAC adherents rolled out a golden statue of 45 before which at least one MAGA citizen kneeled and prayed – presumably.

It was interesting to hear 45 bellow out his enemies list of Republicans who either voted for his impeachment or did not sufficiently oppose it. It will be interesting to find out how many members of that hit list decide to wear that designation as a badge of honor.

If there was any doubt that the Republican Party was now the Tpublican Party and that it would stay that way for the foreseeable future. The fact that under the banner of 45, the Republican Party has lost the vote for the presidency twice, the vote for the majority of House of Representatives twice and lost the Senate once – seems to be irrelevant to the Cult of 45.

Meanwhile, being the venal, vile and predatory creature that he is, 45 did remind the adoring crowd to send money to his fund and not the Republican Party.

Ironically, after 74 years, 45 may have finally found a way to not lose money in a venture.

March 1, 2021

28,605,937-513,093 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

We now see the absurd theater of well-fed and well-paid and well-housed and secure senators debating – debating!!!! – as to whether or not to vote for a stimulus bill that will help hundreds of millions of Americans who are in need.

What is there to debate?

The House and the Senate have 13 days to put a bill on President Biden’s desk before current benefits run out. The fact that not one Republican voted for the stimulus bill in the House and that at this moment not one Republican is slated to support the bill, should please the ghosts of Marie Antoinette and Ayn Rand, but in their vision it is o.k. for Americans to be starving and homeless…. literally.

We already have seen Medicines Sans Frontieres – Doctors Without Borders – being deployed to the richest country in the history of planet instead of Niger and the Democratic Republic of the Congo where an Ebola outbreak has blossomed.

And that is where the United States is as part of the Legacy of 45 – one more mismanaged and disadvantaged nation that is a global charity case.

Yet the debate continues.

March 2, 2021

28,664,604-514,660 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

We begin to realize that we have been sliding into an abyss of anesthetized sensibilities when the news that only 1500 Americans dies yesterday is good news. A healthy dose of Wake Me Up is to realize that on March 2, 2020 such a statistic would have been a cause for justifiable mass panic.

And it is that desensitized state that may be more dangerous than the COVID-19 virus itself as we see states like Massachusetts and Florida, to name a few, opening bars and restaurants to something like full capacity even though we know, we really know, that bars and restaurants are like recreation centers for the virus.

But, since only 1500 Americans are dying daily, it is time to go back to normal. Never realizing that whatever becomes normal will never be like it was on March 2, 2020.

Meanwhile, the news from yesterday is that 45 and his wife were vaccinated for the virus in January while they were still living in the White House. Also, while 45 was either ignoring or minimizing the pandemic. Also, while thousands of Americans were dying every day. Also, while his adherents, apostles and followers refused vaccinations because they thought that is what the Dear Leader wanted.

Clearly 45 is a natural born leader of lemmings.

Meanwhile, Christopher Wray, the Director of the FBI appeared before a Senate Committee and testified to two very important facts:

  1. There was no Antifa participation in the 1.6.21 insurrection at the Capitol. Not very little. Not minimal. None.
  2. There was no voter fraud in the 2020 national election. None.

Keep in mind that Mr. Wray was appointed by 45. And keep in mind that Mr. Wray had sworn to tell the truth.

And of course, the truth is something with which 45 and his lap dogs like Cruz, Hawley and McCarthy have only a nodding acquaintance.

Indeed, this country is dancing on the razor’s edge.

March 3, 2021

28,719,654-516,616 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

And it turns out that since November 3rd of last year 43 states have been considering and getting ready to pass over 250 proposed laws that have voter suppression as their goal. Clearly the Republican strategy is that if they cannot win the support of the majority of voters they will shrink the majority and seek to continue as a ruling minority party.

This news comes as the Supreme Court considers a case that would virtually obliterate the tattered remains of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. And it would be good to remember two things – first, the Voting Rights Act was the culmination of decades of effort by Black Americans and many others of good will. The Voting Rights Act was meant to finally institutionalize the rights and citizenship and humanity of Black Americans in a way that the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution had not been able to accomplish.

Ever since 1965 white right wing legal terrorists have sought to dismantle this iconic legislation and 48 years later they won a major victory with the Shelby v. Holder Supreme Court decision which gutted the Voting Rights Act. And now, a rock solid 6-3 conservative majority Supreme Court is deciding whether or not to give the Voting Rights Act its last rites.

But the 43 legislatures across the country are not waiting – indeed they are moving at warp speed to further entrench white minority rule in America.

Congress has yet to consider the John Lewis Voting Rights Act which would resurrect its 1965 antecedent. Someone better tell the Democrats in Congress and the Biden-Harris administration that time is not on their side.

And finally, Congress will be closed on March 4th due to credible fears that the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys and other white supremacists are planning to attack the Capitol as 45 returns to claim his rightful place as president.

This is a waking nightmare for America.

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