Last Saturday, May 6, another mass shooting occurred; this one in Allen, Texas, just north of Dallas. I live relatively close to Allen in another Dallas suburb. The gunmen, Mauricio Garcia, slaughtered 8 people, including 3 children, before an Allen police officer who just happened to be on the scene responding to another call killed him. The incident was the 202nd mass shooting in the U.S. so far this year; meaning we’ve experienced more such events than there have been days in the year.
In response President Joe Biden ordered American flags to be flown at half-mast. I thought to myself – just keep them there. At the rate we’re going they should never be raised again – certainly not any time soon.
In his own convoluted reaction to the tragedy, Texas Governor Greg Abbott stated he sees no need for any kind of gun control, but emphasized the need for mental health care. He’s right about the mental health issue. Part of the problem is right-wing morons like him still maintain that more guns equals a safer society. Using that “logic”, the U.S. would be the safest country Earth, as we have more firearms than people. If that type of convoluted thinking doesn’t count as mental illness, I don’t know what does.
In the immediate aftermath of the Allen massacre, however, Texas State Rep. Tracy King proposed a bill in the state legislature to raise the minimum age to purchase semi-automatic weapons from 18 to 21. (The legislature meets every other year.) But this year’s session is coming to a close, so the bill won’t make it to a vote. And I’m sure, even if it could, the gang of far-right extremists that dominate the legislature would smack it down faster than they would a drag show.
The Allen gunman would probably be happy to see that happen. He’s joined that dubious pantheon of angry White males who – aside from being afflicted with pencil penis syndrome – are obviously too stupid to address serious issues with conversation, so he breaks out his gun. Garcia turned out to be a White supremacist who had Nazi regalia tattooed onto his torso, as photos he posted to social media prove. And, like most White supremacists, he zeroed in on the usual targets: Blacks, Jews, Muslims, immigrants and queers. Enraged about (unable to cope with) an increasingly diverse America, he opted for the Hitleresque solution – just wipe out as many of “those people” as quickly as possible.
I feel that America has become almost jaded in the face of these massacres. I just know that more of them loom on the dark horizon. More helpless people will fall victim to the wrath of angry and/or mentally unstable individuals, which will only prompt more of the “thoughts-and-prayers” bullshit regurgitated by conservative officials who place the value of guns over that of human lives.
So just keep that flag at half mast, Mr. President. I see no real change in the future, except more bodies.
Earlier this week New México police arrested a failed Republican congressional candidate and charged him with hiring some men to shoot up the homes of Democratic opponents. Solomon Peña allegedly was dissatisfied with the results of his race last year and decided to seek revenge in the worst possible way: through violence. Like his idol, former President Donald Trump, Peña is an election denier and claimed fraud in his own run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. He lost to his Democratic opponent by more than 3,600 votes.
In the U.S. many elected officials – mostly Democrat and liberal – have been the targets of political violence over the past 5 or 6 years; which (not surprisingly) coincides with the rise of Trump. The animosity reached a feverish crescendo on January 6, 2021, when a mob of Trump loyalists stormed the U.S. Capitol Building in a failed attempt to undermine the 2020 presidential election, as well as democracy itself. I’m still angry at the sight of hundreds storming into the building and even angrier at those who continue to support Trump and dismiss the severity of that day. Like most Americans, the rampage reminded me of images of developing countries in the throes of political chaos. While various groups in the U.S. have threatened to inflict such carnage over previous decades, no one really thought it would happen.
We have Donald Trump to thank for that.
Threatening election officials and taking out opponents with bullets is what used to happen in places like Colombia and the Philippines. Even as recently as 1995, Israel experienced political violence when Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated. The act stunned the international community and roiled the only truly democratic state in the Middle East.
Americans have always had a love-hate relationship with their elected officials, whether or not they actually voted for them, or even voted at all. But I’ve always believed the Watergate fiasco was a major turning point in our nation’s disillusionment with politicians overall. That a sitting president would seek to gain an advantage over his adversaries by concocting a burglary scheme shocked most people. They always sort of knew politicians weren’t necessarily the most moral of individuals, but an actual break-in?
A greater sense of partisanship began to take hold in the ensuing decade and became more pronounced in the 1990s, as Republicans did everything they could – and failed – to undermine Bill Clinton’s agenda. The scandalous (and genuinely corrupt) 2000 presidential election widened the chasm of discontent. The GOP’s blatant disrespect for President Barack Obama was even more egregious and appalling – but not really unexpected from conservatives, as far as I was concerned.
Then came Donald Trump, and the haters suddenly had a license to lash out with unabashed vigor. All the social upheavals of the 1960s were the result of tensions that had been brewing for decades; people had grown tired of just waiting for change and hoping for the best. In a similar, yet twisted manner, the right-wing extremism that exploded under Trump also had been fomenting in the souls of angry (mostly White male) conservatives for years; that is, since…well, since the 1960s. Ronald Reagan once said he wanted to return America to the time before the 60s screwed up everything. As a relic of his past, he naturally didn’t understand we can’t go backwards in time. That’s science fiction. But that’s why I call most conservatives preservatives – they want to preserve the old ways of life; ways that were good for them, of course, but not everyone else.
Trump revised that futile dream with his “Make America Great Again” mantra; claiming he wanted to “take America back”. Back to where, those of us with more than half a brain asked, and how far? Back to the Civil War? Back to the Gilded Age?
Peña is just one cog in the wheel of America’s political vitriol. Think of this for a few moments. Acting like a drug cartel leader, Peña (who already had a felony criminal record) hired some thugs to fire gun shots into the homes of people he thought had snatched victory from him. At least one of those bullets ended up in a child’s bedroom. Just as with drug cartels, Peña and his henchmen cared nothing about their intended victims and any collateral damage – i.e., innocent bystanders. Drug lords only care about their profits; everyone and everything else be damned. Peña only cared about exacting personal revenge over what he perceived to be a corrupt system. We’re not supposed to do that in civilized societies.
But that is Trump’s legacy. That is what he’s done to the overall concept of democracy.
“So, why didn’t anyone raise an alarm? Well, maybe because he didn’t stand out. Maybe because there are a lot of young men in America who suddenly look and act a lot like this guy. And of course, they’re angry. They know that their lives will not be better than their parents’. They’ll be worse. That’s all but guaranteed. They know that. They’re not that stupid. And yet the authorities in their lives – mostly women – never stop lecturing them about their so-called privilege. ‘You’re male, you’re privileged!’”
“The Highland Park shooting, unbelievable. Unbelievable. They just passed this law, didn’t they? 18 to 21 year olds couldn’t buy rifles and all kinds of other kinds of things in this law that we told you wouldn’t matter. They don’t matter. And they’re not going to matter. We’ve got a huge problem in this country and it’s a cultural decay. That’s what’s going on in this country. Cultural decay, the decay of the civil society, the war on cops, the way that human life is viewed, whether it’s abortion, infanticide, whatever the issue.”
Eric Greitens, a U.S. Senate candidate from Missouri, has a strange sense of humor. But he’s a conservative Republican, so who’s surprised? In an online campaign ad, he suggests fellow conservatives “go out and hunt” so-called RINOs – an acronym for “Republicans in Name Only”. It’s meant as a derogatory term for any Republican political candidate who’s even slightly left of far right, or one step to the left of Adolf Hitler.
With its strong violent overtones, the ad speaks for itself and what the contemporary Republican Party is all about.
Griswold, Lawrence and Obergefell are three of the most seminal decisions the Supreme Court has made. Liberals and moderates are already warning that these and other rulings are now under threat from the Court’s conservative majority.
“The deal on ‘Gun Control’ currently being structured and pushed in the Senate by the Radical Left Democrats, with the help of Mitch McConnell, RINO Senator John Cornyn of Texas, and others, will go down in history as the first step in the movement to TAKE YOUR GUNS AWAY. Republicans, be careful what you wish for!!!”
“With sorrow – for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection – we dissent.”
U.S. Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan in their dissent of the decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade
The trio warned that abortion opponents now could pursue a nationwide ban “from the moment of conception and without exceptions for rape or incest.”
“Thirty years, murder after murder, suicide after suicide, mass shooting after mass shooting, Congress did nothing. This week we have a chance to break this 30-year period of silence with a bill that changes our laws in a way that will save thousands of lives.”
“Look, maybe if we heard more prayers from leaders of this country instead of taking God’s name in vain, we wouldn’t have the mass killings like we didn’t have before prayer was eliminated from school.”
“If I lost one of my children I’d be pretty devastated, especially in a way that is so senseless and seemingly has no purpose. I think … I would just have to say, if I had the opportunity to talk to the people I’d have to say, look, there’s always a plan. I believe God always has a plan. Life is short no matter what it is. And certainly, we’re not going to make sense of, you know, a young child being shot and killed way before their life expectancy.”
“In the coming months, we expect the threat environment to become more dynamic as several high-profile events could be exploited to justify acts of violence against a range of possible targets.”
U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in a bulletin released June 8, warning about a potential increase in extremist violence fueled by recent mass shootings, including the massacre in Uvalde last month; an expected Supreme Court ruling on abortion rights; and November’s midterm elections
“There is not a Democratic or Republican value in one single act of these shooters. But people in power have failed to act. So we’re asking you and I’m asking you … can both sides rise above? Can both sides see beyond the political problem at hand and admit that we have a life-preservation problem on our hands? We got a chance right now to reach for and to grasp a higher ground above our political affiliations.”
“Despite their alleged fealty to the Constitution, the founding document that lethalists enshrine and claim to be “original,” they rejoice in the shredding of longstanding precedents in order to enforce their parochial views. Decades of thoughtful, settled Second Amendment rulings have crumbled like eighteenth-century parchment, transforming an obligation to the community into the sanctification of each individual’s right to brandish automatic weapons and flaunt their capacity to kill. Rather than act to ban or seize the assault rifles that can kill schoolchildren and innocent Americans trying to intervene, the lethalists post photos of themselves, their spouses, and their own indoctrinated offspring bearing the same kind of weapon – trigger fingers impatiently on pause, more a warning than a precaution – until they, too, will have to fight off the battalions of replacement Americans who will violate their suburban lawns.”