Posts Tagged Guns

SOCIETAL SUICIDE: FIGHTING OVER ISSUES, RATHER THAN WORKING TOGETHER TO SOLVE THE UNDERLYING CAUSES.

Over the past couple of years, the political environment among many Americans has become heated.  Friend against friend, neighbor on neighbor, they are now embattled; but, they often know little more than the political slogans or the soundbites, and there is little focus, if any, on understanding, either the underlying causes, or finding possible solutions.

Over the next several weeks, I intend to describe some of these issues—how they appear on the surface, and what, I believe, the underlying problems might be.  If Americans wish to work together, we can possibly find workable solutions.  But first, we need to take the political boxing gloves off, and discard our biased emotions.

For some of these problems, I have already posted blogs:  the Infrastructure Scam; the impact of Immigration Policy on our economy; Institutionalized Racism in our Public Schools, etc.  But, only when we consider these issues, as part of a greater, and even more important, problem—Preventing the Destruction of America—might we possibly find solutions!

I don’t claim to have all of he answers or, perhaps, even know all of the questions.  But, if America keeps festering from within, What Will We Become?

 

 

 

 

 

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WHAT IS THE MOTIVATION BEHIND POLICE OFFICERS KILLING BLACK MEN? IS IT RACISM, OR SOMETHING ELSE?

It seems that America has continued to have many instances of police officers killing black men.  Surely, there are occasional run-ins with other minorities, even women, but it is mostly black men who are shot and killed.  And in some cases, the police officer, doing the shooting, is also black.  I have known many police officers and federal agents over the years, and they are all good men?  So, why are there all of these fatal black-white confrontations?

The law enforcement officers that I have known come mostly from the upper- working class, and are generally well-educated.  Sociologists have suggested that some members of the middle-income group, especially from families who have worked their way up, tend to be more resentful of upward-mobile members of lower-income groups.  And thus, they might carry subconscious characterizations of various minorities, even though they are not personally aware of, or perhaps ignore, that fact.  

Additionally, over the past few years, the Justice Department has been investigating certain police departments—such as Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland—to determine whether there might be some systemic reasons why blacks are treated more harshly than whites, and perhaps denied their Constitutional Rights.  But, something apparently does happen, at least when some officers put on that badge and uniform.

The recent shooting death of a black father-of-four, in Tulsa, Oklahoma is a good case in point.  Several police officers, responding to a call, came across Terrance Crutchfield, age 40, whose vehicle had stopped running in the middle of a one-lane roadway.  Several of the officers had their guns drawn, when a white female police officer fatally shot Mr. Crutchfield.  Police body cameras, from various angles, indicate that the motorist was standing in the middle of the road, and was clearly holding his empty hands high in the air.

Obviously, there are always details which are generally unknown, except to the police at this time.  Media reports, however, cited such police radio comments as:  he looks like a bad dude; he might have a gun; and he looks like he’s (high?) on something.  After the officer shot Mr. Crutchfield, she said that he didn’t get down on the ground when she told him to.   A motorist with a stalled vehicle?

Would Mr. Crutchfield, looking at several police pistols directed at him, really want to get into a gun fight—at point blank range?  What does it mean that he looks like a bad dude?  Police departments have roadside checks for DUI; but that shouldn’t result in being shot!  Also, Mr. Crutchfield does have a police record, dating back to his teenage years, and he did serve four years in prison, ending in 2001. But, that is not justification for the use of lethal force.  Isn’t there something in the “Spirit” of our laws about:  “…having paid his debt to Society?”

Consider the comment by the police officer who killed Mr. Crutchfield, after she shot him:  “He didn’t get down on the ground when I told him to!”  This is truly a case of Racial Profiling gone awfully, awfully bad. Personally, I surely wouldn’t have gotten down on the ground either, even if ordered by a police officer, when they were responding to my stalled automobile.  But, I wouldn’t be dead; because, I am white!

Surely. there are other, more capable people who are trying to get their arms around this problem—both in Tulsa and numerous other cities around the nation.  But, there also needs to be better screening of police officer applicants, to include:  psychological screening for temperament;  establish some acceptable minimum of racial and ethnic intolerance;  the ability to think rationally under stress;  investigate why an officer was fired from a prior police department;  and adequately understand an applicant’s over-enthusiasm about our Second Amendment Rights.

NOTE:  Perhaps even veteran officers need to go through such screens, say every ten years or so, to prevent burn-out and the negative results of job stress.

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DONALD J. TRUMP, THE “LAW AND ORDER PRESIDENT!”

Now, don’t laugh.  This is one of those “You just can’t make this stuff up” blog posts.  The combination of the words, Donald Trump and Law-and-Order, is somewhat of an oxymoron.  If you’ve watched any of his rallies, Trump just spews hate speech, and incites violence.  Whenever there has been police-on-civilian violence, he has stressed his unquestioned support for the police; but, he has never suggested that the black man, or woman, might have been the victim.

Last week, Trump promised that he would be the Law-and-Order President, when he spoke in Wisconsin.  I was surprised, because he had just been there for a rally recently. Also, between his two trips, there had been another black man killed in Milwaukee, by a black police officer.  As Trump spoke, however, his motivation became apparent.  And the following day, staunch Trump supporter, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani further convinced me.

In the Law-and-Order speech that evening, Trump also promised that he would win 95% of the Black vote.  Now, there’s just 80 days until the Election, and with him currently polling at just one percent of the demographic, that boast surely borders on lunacy! Giuliani said that Trump went to a dangerous area to give that speech.  Well, Donald Trump actually gave his Law-and-Order speech, in which he also extended a desperate appeal to the Black Community, in a town that is 95% White, and is 40 miles away from Milwaukee.  Was he really speaking to the Black Community?

I believe that Donald Trump was primarily speaking to the Republican Party Establishment, and to the White Community.  He was demonstrating to the GOP, which is leery about controlling him, that he can truly act “Presidential”.  At the same time, Whites recognized the absurdity of a Trumpian epiphany, and his befriending Blacks, or any of the other groups that he has previously denigrated on a regular basis.  But, in the end, Donald will be Donald!

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WHO, OR WHAT, ARE “SECOND AMENDMENT PEOPLE”?

By now, virtually anyone who can read or watch television is aware of GOP Presidential Nominee Donald J. Trump’s comments, yesterday in Wilmington, N. C.  As noted in the linked story, from The New Yorker, he said: “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” while considering the horror of a Hillary Clinton Presidency.  But, he continued, “Although, the Second Amendment People—maybe there is, I don’t know.”   That article is linked, as follows: http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/why-gun-owners-should-reject-trumps-call-to-second-amendment-people?intcid=mod-latest.

“Second Amendment People” appears to be a new “dog whistle,” or code, for the fringe gun-owners who seem to believe that it is their right to own and carry arms, regardless of the time and place, or any infringement on other people’s rights of “…life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  The danger of such comments—such assertions—is far beyond what the speaker might have meant.  And, maybe not!   The result of those words, however, is what truly matters—in the end.

Yesterday, Trump Surrogate and former NYC Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, tried to explain the comments as Trump invoking some mythical “Power of Unification,” the combined voting power of SAP.  And last night, House Speaker Paul Ryan said that it was probably “…just a joke gone bad.”  Really, I’m not making this up!   Are they really suggesting that Trump was calling for his loyalists to vote?  When in 2020?  A bad joke, just like the recent sarcasm in exhorting Putin?  Or maybe, just Donald being Donald?

Cheri Shalev, a Correspondent for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, provided some excellent perspective regarding his interpretation of the recent RNC Convention, linked as follows: http://www.haaretz.com/world-news/u-s-election-2016/1.732387.  Mr. Shalev compares the political tone of that convention with events, which actually played-out, in Israel, in 1995, in which he wrote: “…words can kill.”

Shalev cites the hateful rhetoric that was hurled at Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, in the wake of the Oslo Accords.  Mr. Shalev went on to say that there are enough people, who are inclined to violence, and cannot separate political diatribes from practical exhortations.  And after it was reported that Rabin’s assassin, Yigal Amir, acted on what he (thought he) had heard, the inciters washed their hands and denied responsibility.

The Republican Leadership—if there is, indeed, any such thing—needs to find a way out of this mess.  They have created their Monster, and only they can pull the plug on Donald Trump. T hey should rightfully not shed any tears on what they will become after 2016.  As the preponderance of rational Americans view it: the Ship pf Fools has already sailed.  But at least, clean-up your mess—for the Good of the Country!

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POLICE OFFICERS HAVE A COMPLEX AND DIFFICULT JOB—AND NOW THERE IS A CALL FOR AUTISM TRAINING, AS WELL!

You might have seen a video of a police officer wounding a man, who is a caregiver for another man who is autistic.  At the time he was shot, the caregiver was lying prone, with his hands raised in the air.  Luckily, the gunshot was only in his leg, and he reportedly has already been released from the hospital.  That incident occurred in North Miami, here in South Florida, and it was “filmed” by a bystander on his phone.

The 27 year-old patient wandered out of a neighborhood group home and decided to sit down in the middle of an intersection to play with a toy truck.  According to the National Autism Association, profoundly autistic people cannot process verbal commands from police, and they often cannot respond to verbal commands either.

An additional reason for concern in this case is the number of recent shootings of black men by police officers, for whatever reason.  Although the unnamed autistic man is apparently white Hispanic, the caregiver, Charles Kinsey, is black.  Luckily, this situation did not escalate any further.

Several years back, there had been several incidents where police had approached persons with various disabilities.  In one instance, a man with Down Syndrome was Tasered and, in another, an unruly, but severely autistic man, died when his heart stopped after police hog-tied him.  Miami-Dade County, however, chose to address this ongoing problem with education.

The County now offers a course in dealing with autistic persons, which is taught by two local police officers who have autistic children themselves.  Additionally, the executive director of the Autistic Society of Florida assists in these classes administering these classes. The National Autism Association, however, is calling for Federal funding for such courses nationwide, and it has also recommended that caregivers take autistic people to visit local police departments.

As with many confusing inter-personal situations, some understanding, as well as some direct familiarity, might keep minor incidents from becoming just another statistic on the nightly news/ 


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DONALD J. TRUMP’S ACCEPTANCE SPEECH—NO FACTS OR CONTEXT—JUST ASSERTIONS, INNUENDO AND LIES. IN ESSENCE, THE LATEST ITERATION OF SNAKE OIL!

Happily, tomorrow will be just another day, and one that I won’t have to endure the Republican National Committee’s Convention.  The list of speakers—political hacks, has-been actors, a racist police chief and, of course, the Trumpie kid of each day—just started to blur.  And through it all, Donald J. Trump seems to have been everywhere.  But, if one considers the haphazard way that the four days seem to have been organized, and the ineffective cover-up of Melania’s “borrowed” speech highlights, I wonder if this is how a Trump Administration would function?

There were constant reminders of the police officers who were killed in Dallas, Texas, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; however, there was not one mention of the number of black men, and some women, who have been killed at the hands of police officers.  Trump’s entire Agenda, since he announced his candidacy, has been underscored by racism, hatred and violence.  Inciting divisiveness is not a rational solution to racial problems!

Just to point-out some of the mendacity in Trump’s acceptance speech, I would focus on three of the most often-cited points that he asserts were caused by President Barack Obama and Secretary Hillary Clinton.  These are: trade deals were the cause for the decline in manufacturing jobs; the deaths of four Americans at the State Department outpost in Benghazi, Libya; and Obama caused the formation of the Islamic State.

Manufacturing jobs have been on the decline since the 1940s, as America has transformed from a manufacturing to a service economy, and more recently to a digital one.  The several GOP-majority committees to investigate Benghazi, which were established to “destroy” Hillary Clinton’s Presidential aspirations; never found any evidence of a link, behind the deaths to either Obama or Clinton.  And, ISIS is the outgrowth of al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula, which was formed at the end of the Bush Administration.  It had previously been smoldering, for several years in Iraq, and Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s disbanding of Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi Army just strengthened it further, especially in providing military leadership.

Tomorrow’s newspapers should be a great read.  But, I intend to focus on the Fact Checkers.  The Washington Post had a copy of Trump’s speech—at least on the on-line version—at 6:40 PM today.  So, they are already lighting the proverbial midnight oil, as I write this.

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IS “BLACK LIVES MATTER!” A RACIST TERM?

“Black Lives Matter” seems to be a movement, which was started by people who feel that they have been left behind.  Left out of enjoying many of the benefits that America has to offer.  Whether that particular phrase is racist or not depends upon how a person, or group of people, cares to perceive it.

On one of last Sunday’s talk shows, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, an early supporter of Donald Trump for President, called Black Lives Matter a racist term.  Trump recently proclaimed that America is the most racist that it has ever been.  Furthermore, Mr. Trump has expressed sorrow for the deaths of police officers who have been killed recently, in several instances.  He has not once, however, expressed similar sadness for the numerous black lives lost at the hands of police officers, under questionable circumstances.  Might some of those deaths–on both sides– have potentially been connected?

Why emphasize Black Lives?  Surely All Lives Matter!  Many of the descendants of the African slaves, who were brought to our shores beginning in the 1600s, bound in chains, seem to be the forgotten people.  Over the past couple of hundred years, numerous waves of immigrants have arrived here, from various countries.  They faced discrimination at first, segregation, and then they eventually were assimilated into American society.  That same scenario hasn’t played-out for many of the blacks, and some of the Latinos.  They have just not enjoyed that last, necessary step—assimilation.  And that means equal protection under the law!

Many blacks and Latinos have continued to live in a vicious cycle of:  poverty; ghetto life; insufficiently funded schools; poor health care; discrimination in the labor force, etc.  And their children seem to be destined to follow in this same path.  Oftentimes, the younger generation’s only “role models” are parents laboring at minimum wage jobs, local gang members, or the drug dealers and pimps in the ghettos.  So, think of “Black Lives Matter” as just being another way of saying: “We are People Too!”

The Police and People of Dallas, Texas, recently demonstrated how race relations should be carried out, and maintained at their very highest level of true cooperation and understanding.  Several weeks ago, there was a peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstration on the streets of Dallas.  Police Officers, wearing their everyday uniforms—and without riot gear—mingled amicably with the demonstrators.  Unfortunately, one lone shooter, a non-participant with a rifle, shot and killed five white Dallas P. D. Officers.  Those officers’ lives mattered too!

The whole City seemed to feel the grief!  On the day after the officers were killed, there was a public mourning, and a demonstration protesting the massacre.  Marchers seemed to represent all segments of Dallas society, and there was strong representation from the surrounding area.

Immediately, there was a call for support of Blue Lives Matter in many parts of America.  When we focus too much on any one segment of our society, however, aren’t we just putting the others down?  Dallas seems to have taken the high ground on this.

In the end, we should all agree that: “Life Matters!”

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