Connect with us

America Is Sick. And It’s Not Just The Swine Flu

Published

on

Gun Violence Constitutes A National Public Health Emergency

The big news this weekend was Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s Sunday press conference during which she declared a “public health emergency” in response to a possible swine flu epidemic. In Mexico, 103 people have died. In the U.S., 20 people have contracted the virus, none are in critical condition. The great concern is the possibility of the risk of quick transmission.

Sunday morning, before the swine flu story hit the networks, I was reading the news and was struck by several separate stories of children being shot by guns. I read three that morning and another later that afternoon. Gun violence has been on my mind for a while now, so I did some digging. It turns out, 32 Americans die every day from gun violence. Eight of them are children. In the ten years since Columbine, 300,000 Americans have died from gun violence. And it’s getting worse: we’ve had several mass shootings this year, including 57 killed in the space of a month.

According to Daniel Vice of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, “In a typical weekend in the United States, more people are shot and killed than in an average year in Australia; the same is true in Britain, and other countries that have tougher gun laws.” Even accounting for differences in total populations, there is no comparison.

America needs the Matthew Shepard Act. America needs stricter gun laws. America needs to stop cowtowing to the NRA, the Religious Right, and homophobic conservatives.

On Friday, in his New York Times column, Bob Herbert wrote,

“There is no way to overstate the horror of gun violence in America. Roughly 16,000 to 17,000 Americans are murdered every year, and more than 12,000 of them, on average, are shot to death. This is an insanely violent society, and the worst of that violence is made insanely easy by the widespread availability of guns.

When the music producer Phil Spector decided, for whatever reason, to kill the actress, Lana Clarkson, all he had to do was reach for his gun — one of the 283 million privately owned firearms that are out there. When John Muhammad and his teenage accomplice, Lee Malvo, went on a killing spree that took 10 lives in the Washington area, the absolute least of their worries was how to get a semiautomatic rifle that fit their deadly mission.

We’re confiscating shampoo from carry-on luggage at airports while at the same time handing out high-powered weaponry to criminals and psychotics at gun shows.”

That’s right. Think about it. We’re confiscating bottles of shampoo and making you take off your shoes at the airport, we’re declaring (and rightly so) a “public health emergency” in response to a possible swine flu epidemic that has yet to take one life in this country (no one is saying it won’t), yet from the same weekend that the Secretary of Homeland Security announces a national public health emergency, here are some headlines:

Three shot at NYC Barbecue, 13 year old critical: “A gunman shot wildly into a crowd at an outdoor barbecue in Harlem early this morning, hitting three people and leaving a 13-year-old boy in critical condition, police said.”

3 Virginia men hurt in shooting at Hampton University: “A former Hampton University student armed with three guns followed a pizza delivery man into the student’s former dorm early Sunday, shot the delivery man and a dorm monitor, then turned the gun on himself, university officials said.”

Georgia professor sought in shooting death of wife, two others: “A University of Georgia professor who police suspect in the fatal shootings of his ex-wife and two men outside a theatre near campus on Saturday disappeared in his Jeep after dropping his children off with a neighbor, authorities said.”

Suspects Sought in Shooting of Oakland Children: “Oakland (CA) police say two girls, ages 1 and 4, and a 14-year-old boy were wounded when shooting erupted between two groups of young men around 2:15 p.m. Saturday”

12-year-old girl, man wounded in Marquette Park shooting: ” A 12-year-old girl and 19-year-old man were shot Sunday night in the (Chicago) Southwest Side’s Marquette Park neighborhood.”

Victim Shot Dead on South Side: “A 31 year-old man is dead after being shot Sunday afternoon while visiting a friend on the Far South Side.”

Sheriff: Man killed 2 deputies after being stunned: “Two deputies killed by a soldier they were trying arrest for beating his wife exchanged multiple rounds with the man who began shooting while on the ground after he was shocked with a stun gun, authorities said Sunday, a day after the men were killed.”

Can we honestly say that gun violence has not reached levels of a national public health emergency also? We’re declaring a national public health emergency for the possibility of an epidemic, an epidemic for which we have on hand, millions of readily-accessible and distributable TamiFlu vaccines. If there were a disease that was killing 32 Americans every day, 8 of them children, wouldn’t we also be declaring a national public health emergency for that?

More from Herbert:

“The toll on children and teenagers is particularly heartbreaking. According to the Brady Campaign, more than 3,000 kids are shot to death in a typical year. More than 1,900 are murdered, more than 800 commit suicide, about 170 are killed accidentally and 20 or so are killed by the police.

Another 17,000 are shot but survive.”

The sad fact is that we’ve become so complacent, “blasé”, as Bob Herbert put it, that these daily deaths are nothing but daily statistics.  Gun violence is the symptom of a sickness. Acceptance of it is the illness that is clouded by right-wing Second Amendment touting teaparty terrorists who happily support an escalating murder rate in the false name of protecting their own civil rights, while denying true civil rights, the right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, to those 32 Americans who die every day. Those 32 Americans who are gunned down each day no longer have the opportunity to exercise their civil rights, those rights that proud NRA gun-toting, secessionist-threatening, teaparty sign-waving, tax-cutting crazy, Obama-hating, homophobic Conservative “patriots” pretend matter to them.

Despite what gay rights activist  Jonathan Rauch says, guns are not the answer. From his piece, “The Right Kind of Gun Rights“:

“Although gay life in America is safer today than it once was, anti-gay violence remains all too common. The FBI reports more than 7,000 anti-gay hate crimes in 2005 alone, and since 2003 at least 58 people have been murdered because of their sexual orientation. Perhaps because gay-bashings often begin in intimate settings, the home is the single most prevalent venue for anti-gay attacks. In public, of course, gay-bashers make sure that no cops are around. For that matter, sometimes the police are part of the problem, responding to gay-bashings with indifference, hostility, sometimes abuse. ”

Nine years ago, one of the first columns I wrote for National Journal told the story of Tom G. Palmer. One night some years ago in San Jose, he found himself confronting a gang of toughs, as many as 20 of them, intent on gay-bashing him. Taunted as a “faggot,” threatened with death, Palmer (and a friend) ran for their lives, only to find the gang in hot pursuit. So Palmer stopped, reached into his backpack, and produced a gun. The gang backed off.

If no gun? “There’s no question in my mind,” Palmer told me in 1999, “that my friend and I would have been at least very seriously beaten, and maybe killed.”

That may or may not be. But tell that to the friends of openly gay, 15 year-old Lawrence King. Via The New York Times:

“On the morning of Feb. 12, Lawrence was in the school’s computer lab with 24 other students, said Mr. Keith, the police spokesman. Brandon walked into the room with a gun and shot Lawrence in the head, the police said, then ran from the building. Police officers caught him a few blocks away.

Unconscious when he arrived at the hospital, Lawrence was declared brain dead the next day but kept on a ventilator to preserve his organs for donation, said the Ventura County medical examiner, Armando Chavez. He was taken off life support on Feb. 14.”

It’s time to stop the sickness that is acceptance of gun violence. The Right can scream all they want about Second Amendment rights. Or how, if everyone had a gun we wouldn’t need The Matthew Shepard Act. Who knows. Maybe 15 year-old Larry King could have easily whipped out a gun and convinced his attacker he meant business…

Pass the Hate Crimes Bill. Get the Second Amendment back in line. Go to the Framers’ intent. Get the god-damn guns off the streets. The more time we take, the more people die. When will we make it stop?

(image: Philippe Kurlapski)

Continue Reading
Click to comment
 
 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Kellyanne Conway Is Now a Religious Right Crusader Using Christianity to Attack Democrats as a Paid Fox News Contributor

Published

on

Former Trump 2016 campaign manager and Senior Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway has remade herself multiple times. A pollster who once had as a client Todd Akin – the GOP lawmaker who made the phrase, “if it’s a legitimate rape” infamous – Conway also did polling for Donald Trump when he was considering a run for New York governor.

Once inside the White House Conway was one of the newsiest officials, often appearing before the Fox News cameras almost daily.

Fox News viewers will once again get to see the former top Trump aide almost daily – this time as a paid Fox News contributor who is using her Christian faith as a sword to attack Democrats.

Conway is the latest Trump White House official to be hired by Fox News, and while she’s not Trump’s spokesperson any longer, she may wrangle the gig into getting her old one back. Puck reports she is being considered to helm Trump’s expected 2024 presidential run.

READ MORE: Watch: Herschel Walker Says if Georgia Voters Don’t Elect Him They Won’t Even ‘Have a Chance to Be Redeemed’

In fact, the two have something in common.

“I will tell you why he wants to run for president,” Conways told CBS News on Friday. “Donald Trump wants his old job back.”

Conway joins a long list of her former colleagues at what has become a far right wing media outlet catering to promoting anything Trump, while downplaying any negative news about the former president who is currently being investigated by prosecutors in Georgia and the U.S. Dept. of Justice for an array of possible felonies, reportedly including ones under the Espionage Act.

Conway will be right at home working alongside Kayleigh McEnany, Mike Pompeo, Larry Kudlow, and Trump’s daughter-in-law and former Trump campaign official Lara Trump.

READ MORE: ‘Everything Has Been a Lie’: Christian Walker Drops Damning New Video Blasting His Father’s ‘Lies’ Over Abortion

In April Vox reported that “while he hasn’t been hired by Fox, former Trump adviser Stephen Miller — known for helping to develop Trump’s nativist immigration policy — has become a fixture as a guest on Sean Hannity’s and Laura Ingraham’s shows.”

“Since the start of President Joe Biden’s term,” Media Matters reported in February, “Fox News has hired at least nine editors who previously worked for former President Donald Trump’s administration, Republican campaign offices, or Republican politicians. Many of those editors now cover politics for FoxNews.com.”

On Tuesday Conway appeared on Fox News and attacked Democrats, saying Hispanic voters “see a Democratic Party that’s openly hostile to religion. They can’t even give their thoughts and prayers when there’s a tragedy. It’s only thoughts now.”

The Washington Post‘s Philip Bump calls Conway’s analysis “overly simple and, in part, … explicitly dishonest.”

“Kellyanne Conway claimed that Democrats are hostile religion, something that will surprise the vast majority of Democrats, who are religious,” he adds on Twitter. “There’s a reason that ‘religious’ doesn’t automatically mean ‘Republican.'”

One day earlier, in a segment with a chyron that reads, “The Importance of Religion,” Conway told her former and now current colleague, Larry Kudlow on Fox Business, “People are afraid to make the sign of a cross before a meal in public, they’re afraid to express their — they actually think their religion could get them canceled now, not just their politics, and think about that.”

Conway, perhaps best known for her “alternative facts” flub, offered no proof of her claim.

Continue Reading

RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Watch: Herschel Walker Says if Georgia Voters Don’t Elect Him They Won’t Even ‘Have a Chance to Be Redeemed’

Published

on

Herschel Walker is now suggesting the souls of Georgians are in the balance, and if they don’t elect him to the U.S Senate they will not even “have a chance to be redeemed,” a Christian religious belief about being delivered from sin by God. Walker is also suggesting his right-wing son, who turned against him this week after reports he paid for an abortion, is a member of “the left.”

Appearing on Fox News Wednesday, Walker told host Brian Kilmeade, “If we vote for the people on the left, like the guy I’m running against,” Democratic U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, “you’re not going to have a chance to be redeemed. He’s a minister and he don’t believe in redemption.”

“Right now, they’re trying to destroy America, they’re trying to destroy Georgia. It ain’t gonna happen on my watch,” the Trump-endorsed GOP nominee said.

Kilmeade asked the embattled Senate GOP candidate why his son, Christian Walker, is “doing tremendous damage to you.”

READ MORE: Herschel Walker Raked in Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars Giving Paid Speeches While a Candidate for Senate: Report

Walker served up a confusing claim, suggesting his popular right wing social media influencer son is actually a liberal.

“Well, the damage he’s doing is letting people know that the left will do whatever they can to win the seat.”

“I told you when I got into this race, I’m gonna win this seat,” Walker continued, as he played the religion card. “People see someone seated here in front of you right now that have been redeemed. And I want America to know, I’m living proof that you can make mistakes and get up and keep going forward. But you can only do it in this country right here. But you can only do it, if we get this election correct this coming November.”

Christian Walker, once his top supporter, this week blasted his father in several online videos and tweets after The Daily Beast reported the former NFL star turned Trump-endorsed MAGA politician had paid for an abortion for one of his girlfriends.

READ MORE: ‘Everything Has Been a Lie’: Christian Walker Drops Damning New Video Blasting His Father’s ‘Lies’ Over Abortion

Kilmeade asked Walker if his son’s allegations – including forcing him and his mother to move to six different homes in six months, going out and sleeping with other women, and never being home to raise his own son – were true.

Walker never answered, instead, telling Fox News viewers he loves is son “unconditionally,” as Fox News repeatedly play a clip of Walker giving his son a hug and kiss at an event.

In a video posted to twitter Tuesday, Christian Walker blasted his father, saying, “I stayed silent as the atrocities committed against my mom were downplayed, I stayed silent when it came out that my father, Herschel Walker, had all these random kids across the country, none of whom he raised.”

“And you know, my favorite issue to talk about is father absence – surprise – ’cause it affected me. That’s why I talk about it all the time, because it affected me.”

“You have no idea what I’ve been through in my life,” Christian Walker added. “You have no idea what me and my mom have survived. We could have ended this on day one. We haven’t. I haven’t told any stories. I’m just saying don’t lie. Don’t lie on my mom. Don’t lie on me. Don’t lie on the lives you’ve destroyed and act like you’re some moral family man. Y’all should care about that, conservatives.”

“Family Values people: He has four kids, four different women, wasn’t in the house raising one of them,” Walker said about his father Herschel. “He was out having sex with other women. Do you care about family values? I was silent lie after lie after lie. The  abortion card drops yesterday – it’s literally his handwriting in the card. They say they have receipts, whatever. He gets on Twitter, he likes about it. Okay, I’m done.”

Watch Herschel Walker’s Fox News interview below or at this link.

Continue Reading

RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Experts Sound Alarm as ‘Urgent and Heated’ Threats of Civil War Ramp Up Before Midterm Election

Published

on

According to a report from the New York Times, analysts and experts who follow online trends with regard to threats of political violence are warning the U.S. is moving into dangerous territory as the 2022 midterm election day grows closer.

As the Times’ Ken Bensinger and Sheera Frenkel wrote, there have been upticks in calls for a civil war since the FBI initiated a search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort seeking stolen government documents and then again when President Joe Biden called the former president and “MAGA Republicans” a threat to “the very foundations of our republic.”

Following the Mar-a-Lago search, “civil war’ talk on conservative social media platforms more than doubled and now “experts are bracing for renewed discussions of civil war, as the Nov. 8 midterm elections approach and political talk grows more urgent and heated.”

“Polling, social media studies and a rise in threats suggest that a growing number of Americans are anticipating, or even welcoming, the possibility of sustained political violence, researchers studying extremism say. What was once the subject of serious discussion only on the political periphery has migrated closer to the mainstream,” the report states before adding, “Social media platforms are rife with groups and boards dedicated to discussions of civil war. One, on Gab, describes itself as a place for ‘action reports,’ ‘combat vids’ and reports of killed in action in ‘the civil war that is also looking to be a 2nd American Revolution.'”

IN OTHER NEWS: ‘This isn’t going to work out’: Legal expert throws cold water on Trump’s latest effort to stall Mar-a-Lago probe

According to Robert Pape, a political science professor at the University of Chicago, “What you’re seeing is a narrative that was limited to the fringe going into the mainstream.”

Kurt Braddock, an American University professor who studies the recruitment techniques of fringe groups claimed the former president is not helping matters.

“Ideas go into echo chambers and it’s the only voice that’s heard; there are no voices of dissent,” he explained before warning, “The statements Trump makes are not overt calls to action, but when you have a huge and devoted following, the chances that one or more people are activated by that are high.”

You can read more here.

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.