God Is Busy And No Longer Receiving Thoughts and Prayers

Another week in America, another shooting. I am not sure what I feel. Sandy Hook was the last shooting that truly shocked me. Las Vegas was shocking by the sheer numbers, but in our Ritalin deprived media environment, I feel like we all moved past that rather quickly and were on to other scandals, tragedies, and horrors. And so that brings us to a Texas church, another place to be added to the ever growing list of places to forever be associated with violence and death.

What is there to say, besides the obvious, which is mass shootings are as American as football, woven into the fabric of our culture. They’ve become ubiquitous, even if we only seem to focus on the occurrences when a shooter kills into the double digits.

To live in America is to know, and be aware of the possibility, that while at a theater, mall, school, concert, church, or some other innocuous place I have not thought to list – that you may be shot to death in cold blood. It is to know that people will offer up thoughts and prayers after your untimely and unnecessary demise and that not so long after you’re gone, it will most likely happen to someone else.

It’s sad and it’s sick.

I haven’t watched the news to get further details about this particular shooting – what would be the point? Locations and names are different and hell maybe even this person’s motivation, but at the end of the day a large number of innocent people were killed and maimed because an individual who should not have had possession of gun had one.

Now the ritual of offering thoughts and prayers begins.

Well I am sorry, but I am out of thoughts and prayers. There have been an awful lot of thoughts and prayers offered up on this issue. God’s voicemail and e-mail, or however the supposed supreme being gets messages, must be overflowing. Maybe he changed his number? Address? After all, didn’t we just go through the Las Vegas shooting with the American people sending a truckload of thoughts and prayers to God? It would appear God is busy, disinterested, or does not want to waste his time solving a problem that is uniquely American and of our own making. One must begin to wonder, perhaps we Americans need a new plan.

This is a matter of gun policy, greed, and a perverse American culture that values a twisted and wrongheaded interpretation of the 2nd Amendment over life. We’ve created the problem and we will have to fix it. God isn’t listening to our thoughts and prayers, at least not on this issue. It is incumbent upon us to solve the issue.

So, what to do?

We can honor the victims by actually doing something. We can organize and work to vote out politicians who are beholden to the NRA and continue to block sensible reforms. I want to see more Facebook statuses saying, “vote Senator so and so out of office in 2018 – he or she has an A+ rating from the NRA and is blocking sensible gun reform/background checks” for instance – or some version of that. But this requires more people to even give a damn about who their Senator or Congressperson is – so there’s that hurdle.

It’s also time to have respectful dialogue with friends and family members, no matter how frustrating it might be, to try and change hearts and minds and to get otherwise good people (trying to be positive) to understand that we have a moral imperative to do something. That the status quo is clearly isn’t working. We have to become a society again that looks to solve problems not just espouse meaningless platitudes while yet another person tonight is without a parent, sibling, friend, or loved one.

The Anti Party

Last week Speaker of the House Paul Ryan announced the House would repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood. Is anyone surprised? I mean, really, is anyone surprised? These folks are nothing if not consistent. They have been harping about the injustice of President Obama daring to provide healthcare to the poor and working poor since 2010, and whining about a woman making their own reproductive health choices seemingly since the beginning of time. The absolute horror of those two things will destroy the republic!

The Republicans are so vile, but oh so determined, and I suppose that can be commended. I respect determination. It’s like watching a soap opera where no matter the year or the month – twenty years later even – the same old characters are doing the same old shit. Victor Newman will always love Nikki Newman on The Young and the Restless and Republicans will always default back to screwing women and the poor. I suppose when you think of it like that, while we watch the trampling of woman’s choice and the snatching of people’s healthcare – we can at least be comforted that the Republicans are like a dusty old blanket crocheted by your Grandmother. The entire thing feels like home.

Republicans are much better than Democrats when it comes to truly fighting for what they believe in. How Democrats have been unable to win the health care argument and reproductive rights argument is beyond me. But, alas, here we are with the Republicans doing what they always do. Who is going to resurrect Maya Angelou so she can remind is that “when people show you who they are, believe them.”

The fact that the American people cannot be persuaded that for whatever Obamacare’s ills – is providing access to healthcare to millions of people, quite a few Trump voters by the way. Millions and millions of people who did not have it before – that’s a good thing. Are there issues with the law, yes. Should we just throw it the entire thing and start from scratch again – no. That’s like burning down your home because the roof has a leak and needs a repair.

Planned Parenthood provides so many vital services for woman’s health, such as cancer screenings but can’t get past the fact that some woman may decide an abortion is a right choice for their life – even though abortions are not funded with taxpayer dollars. The fact that the American people keep voting for old white men who keep telling women what they should do with their bodies is also disheartening.

And yet a  bunch of stupid women and stupid poor people voted these people into office against their own self-interests.

But more than that, when are we – the American people – going to wake up and realize we are being sodomized without the sodomizer at least having the decency and kindness to provide lubricant? Put healthcare and women’s reproductive rights aside for a moment and think about the fact that a political party, that is against everything – has the levers of power of the entire federal government.

The Republican Party is a political party that on the whole does not believe in climate change, environmental protection,  healthcare, funding public education, women’s reproductive rights, any common sense gun control,  or immigration reform. I am sure I am leaving something out. This party generally believes that government is the problem on every issue unless we’re discussing the military at which point it can solve all the world’s ills.

The Republican Party is no longer a political party about the business of bringing positive change to this country. It is a party that is against any sort of progress, it is an anti-government and anti-progress party. The philosophy can really be broken down into two categories. Number One – a no government needed policy and number two – the market can handle everything.

So on issues of guns and gun control – the government should stand back –  millions of people, unrestrained by any common sense laws, can handle deadly weapons. No need for government or sound policy.

On issues like regulating Wall Street, public education, privatizing Medicare and Social Security and dealing with business and the environment –  get out of the way and let the private sector handle it. What could possibly go wrong? Nothing is sacred and if people can make money even better. The market unregulated and unrestrained always works for the people. Giving corporations the ability to do as they please has always been great for the American worker and the country. Sheesh!

So I am not shocked by this past week’s events and either, should you. We have seen this movie before, and we are watching the same script, and for the most part, minus Trump, the same old characters. I suppose it’s a sad sequel at this point.


All I want for Christmas is a Beretta Shotgun…

Said no one ever. Well unless you’re a hunter maybe or come from an avid hunting family with a history of gun ownership or some other logical reason, but apparently this is the gift you just give to your offensive line if you are Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.

Let me say, I believe in the 2nd Amendment if for no other reason than it’s baked in the cake that is the Constitution. Out of all the amendments, it’s not particularly my favorite, but I respect the history, and like Prego – “it’s in there.”

As amendments go, the 2nd is not terribly important to me. I am partial to the 1st, 4th, 5th – and as a black man some others not originally in the Bill of Rights like the 13th, 14th, and 15th for instance.

But back to the 2nd,  I don’t fear a British Invasion. I am not part of a militia and IF I had to fight off the government, I personally believe I would be out droned, out tanked, out nuked, and out manned – so a shit load of guns in my little home probably wont matter much – just my view. I suppose the idea of a gun for personal protection in my home from the would be intruder makes sense, but there is still no guarantee I’d get to the gun in time (depending on the circumstances) and I don’t intend to carry a gun on my hip at all times while I am grinding my coffee beans for the morning or sitting on the sofa watching crap on BRAVO. I just don’t live in that much of a state of fear.  The point is that I don’t have any qualms about the right to bear arms being a right, but I think there is an unnecessary obsession about this particular right. AND…AND…how could I forget this, President Obama is leaving and a few weeks and everyone still has their guns and Number 45 is coming in so now there is really nothing to worry about in terms of gun confiscation!

What I don’t understand is the glorification and romanticizing of gun ownership. This man really went out and purchased a shotgun for his offensive line? Who does that? What happened to buying everyone a tie or a nice watch? Cuff links? An order of Omaha steaks? How about some of that tired wretched cologne that wafts out of Abercrombie and Fitch in every mall in America? (Honestly, can we get a new scent? Who do I need to talk to so that happens?)

Look, at the end of the day guns are used to kill people or animals. I suppose they are used for target practice too – so you have better aim at killing something down the line – but they are designed and for the purpose of killing. Oh wait, no, people purchase guns with the intent to shoot up their homes and to put little circular bullet patters into their drywall when they decide to redecorate! Please! And don’t give me any of that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people crap.” By that logic, cars don’t kill people either – people driving them do. However, despite the fact that cars technically don’t kill people as we as people operate them after all, as a reasonable society we have still enacted laws around the wearing of seat belts, and speed limits – which vary upon location. We have designed air bags and have laws prohibiting driving while under the influence, etc. Oh, and you have to get a license and pass a damn test. I think responsible people should own guns – whatever the style and make – and that gun ownership should be taken seriously. You don’t give out guns as gifts like they’re Skittles to employees or a gaggle of football players on your offensive line.

Which brings me back to the Philadelphia Eagles. Do all of the the teammates have a license? He purchased a gun for 11 other people – really? Do you need a license in Pennsylvania? In the event that you don’t, why aren’t more people appalled by that? Do these fools even know how to shoot? Are all of the players living in such dangerous conditions that they fear for their safety and need a shotgun for immediate protection? Are they all avid hunters? Like, for real, who does this and thinks it cute?

I suppose the good news is that at least it’s just a shotgun and not an AK-47 or some other ridiculous gun. The entire thing just strikes me as irresponsible and flippant and potential dangerous. Maybe one day, all the 2nd Amendment loving, everyone needs a gun believing people of the world, will remember that other oft forgotten line within this particular amendment about the “well regulated militia.” Until them, let’s hope this entire offensive line will be taught how to shoot and safely store a shotgun.