Monday, March 26, 2018

Cowardly "Bonespurs" Hides, While Courageous Kids Marched for Their Lives - An Assessment Of Saturday's Events

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"I can't handle facing a million kids when they know I bent over for the NRA"
People gather at the March for Our Lives Rally in Washington, DC on March 24, 2018. Galvanized by a massacre at a Florida high school, hundreds of thousands of Americans are expected to take to the streets in cities across the United States on Saturday in the biggest protest for gun control in a generation. (NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
The march in Washington was expected to draw half a million people.

An "officially" estimated throng of 800,000 kids  (I estimated closer to a million) marched in Washington, D.C. Saturday as our fearless,  would -be leader Donnie Dotard, aka  "Captain Bonespurs",  hightailed it out of town to Mar-A-Lago. There we presume he could hide and perhaps ponder Stormy Daniels dishing on him in a 60 Minutes segment.So as the students gathered, Trump was whisked by motorcade to his West Palm Beach golf club where he later tweeted support for “the victims of the horrible attack in France yesterday” (sic).  But the imp never once mentioned the rallies on Twitter.

Of course, this was a deliberate, trademark (and transparent)  Trump dodge : an expedient excuse to avoid giving any acknowledgement or respect to the student marchers in D.C. -   given he'd long since bent over for the NRA. This after a meeting in the White House when he was all bravado about "not being afraid of the NRA".  As for the tweet to "support the victims in France" let's get real. This degenerate filth cares no more about them than he cared about the dead Syrian kids from a toxic gas attack last year. He merely used it to posture-  releasing a benign cruise missile attack on a Syrian base - to impress his guest, China's President Xi at Mar-a-Lago. But this is what  he knows best how to do, just as he's used the French attack as an excuse to avoid mentioning the 'March For Our Lives.'

The NRA also predictably stayed silent  (except for a pair of burps by resident hacks on NRA-TV, see below) on the student presence and passionate speeches, prompting MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews to refer to it as their typical M.O.  "They wait until all the activity has died down and then show up a few weeks later when all is quiet."   He asked a  Parkland student nearby how one might "flush them out" in real time, but the student noted the only solution is to vote out their lackeys and puppets.

 Outside the FBI headquarters in Washington, about 30  misguided gun-rights supporters staged a 'counter-demonstration" standing quietly with signs such as ‘"Armed victims live longer” and ‘Stop violating civil rights’.  Both of which are a crock  Armed victims would be just as dead going up against an active shooter with an AR-15  unless they also had ARs, and preferably SWAT training.  Civil rights aren't being violated either. No one has any intention of taking anyone's rightfully allowed, and owned guns away, only getting rid of military style weapons which aren't protected by the 2nd amendment anyway, see e.g.

In one of the first speeches, Marjory Stoneman Douglas senior Delaney Tarr told the crowd of the students’ demands, including background checks and a ban on assault weapons.

“When you give us an inch, that bump stocks ban, we will take a mile. We are not here for breadcrumbs, we are here to lead.

Parkland student Jordan Khayyami, 15, said: “I think that legislatures should be aware that the next generation of voters is right in front of them so if they don’t want to promote change then we will vote for change.”

And give the student march organizers due credit for setting up voter registration booths, to prepare as many 18-year olds and others eligible to vote this year as possible.

The scenes of thousands of students on the streets was overwhelming to many of the victims of gun violence who attended . Mark Barden, whose seven-year-old son Daniel was one of the 20 children murdered at Sandy Hook in 2012, told a reporter from the UK Gaurdian:

“I did not expect this. I’m still astounded,. To me, it looks like our entire nation is finally on board, on the right side of this issue. It’s so inspiring and encouraging and overwhelming, and beautiful to me.”

Barden has spent five years pushing for stricter gun control laws, first with the support of Barack Obama’s White House, then continuing when  gun control again dropped off the national agenda.

At the same time in New York, Paul McCartney stood in solidarity with marchers in Central Park and referred to fellow Beatle John Lennon’s fatal shooting outside his apartment building in 1980.  He told CNN:

 “One of my best friends was killed by gun violence right around here, so it’s important to me not just to march today but to take action tomorrow and to have these people to have their voices heard,"

Meanwhile, the pundits at FOX News were complaining that one of the Parkland parents,  Andrew  "I'm really pissed!" Pollack, had not been invited to speak to the throng on Saturday. Pollack, the father of  one of the victims (Meadow),  had broken off with the student activist contingent with his own ideas (voiced at a WH meet with Trump a month ago) about school security. In the CBS documentary '39 Days'  on the evolution of the  #Never Again movement, Pollack said  that while he wished the students "the best" he believed they were "wasting their  time" with gun control. This is incredibly defeatist given the movement has already played a major role in getting the first significant gun legislation passed in Florida in 20 years, enticing Oregon and Rhode Island to tighten gun restrictions, getting giant retailers like Dick's Sporting Goods to stop selling assault type rifles and long time corporate partners ending their relationships with the NRA.

The movement obviously hasn't yet achieved its primary goal - a ban on all military- style weapons- but give them time. They are playing the long game which Pollack ought to appreciate.

What then is Andrew Pollack's solution? He prefers outfitting schools like security fortresses or airports,  with special electrified gates, metal detectors, and so on  - which is plain nuts.

As one of the most passionate student speakers, Edna Chavez, 17, from Manual Arts high school in Los Angeles, declared:

"Security systems and electric barricades won't work! Metal detectors won't work! These will just criminalize students!"

She observed it will be mainly the "black and brown skinned students" singled out. Thus, it was a good idea not to  have Pollack speak, which would basically dilute and divide the message. I also believe he wouldn't want to speak because he grasped it would be like a wrong note sounding in a symphony. When he comes around, as I believe he eventually will, then he can put in his two cents and join Delaney Tarr, David Hogg, Cameron Kasky, Emma  Gonzalez et al in a righteous movement that has a hell of a lot more chance succeeding than turning all our public schools into gated, high security "Super Max" prisons. (Bear in mind when you lock out bad guys you also lock in good kids.)

Then there is the other clueless NRA tool making the talk show rounds on behalf of the gunrunners and 2nd amendment phonies. That would be Kyle Kashuv, e.g.

Who actually tweeted the following ding on his fellow Parkland  students:

No one's feelings are hurt by a group of people who Don't have a basic understanding of US case law and are fighting to get existing laws passed.

Which is total balderdash.

In fact it's Kashuv who lacks a basic understanding of U.S. case law pertaining to the 2nd amendment given he is blissfully unaware there is NO  "existing law" that currently bans military grade weapons like the AR-15 which is one of the provisions his classmates want passed.

Nor is he aware of the D..C. vs. Heller  Supreme Court decision that clearly does not include ownership of  such weapons as a  2nd amendment right, see e.g. the previous link.

As conservative Joe Scarborough put it regarding those unaware of the Heller ruling:

Go back and read Heller, 2008, what Scalia and the Supreme Court said. You're right, you can have handguns in your home, and shotguns to protect your family. But the court has allowed states  - like Maryland (2017)  to ban assault style weapons.  They let this and other laws stand   - without challenge - as constitutional ."


If you want to make the argument that the Supreme Court should protect your rights to have military style weapons, that's legitimate.  But if you say it is your God-given constitutional right to have an AR-15 that is not what the second amendment says. And it's not what Justice Scalia says or the Supreme Court says.

Of course, Janice has a more succinct take: "He's not articulate! He just knows how to parrot what his parents told him about guns and the NRA. Big deal!"   Ouch!

Clearly, Kashuv's classmates are vastly more in tune with the actual 2nd amendment and its limits than he is. (Which is also why I suggest here the kids also demand: a) stricter gun licensing laws such as Massachusetts, which require not only passing a state -approved gun safety course first, but also being licensed - as one would if getting a car - as well as fingerprinted, and b) abolition of all state "concealed carry" laws -  which new research - reported in the latest TIME with Parkland kids on the cover-  see 13- 15 percent increased homicides within 10 years of being enacted.)

 As for Kashuv's latest prominence, hey, it was inevitable!  He realized quickly that his contrarian and conservative stance is a terrific way to grab center stage on gun issues - separating himself relative to the Parkland activists. This gets him the limelight on sundry cable shows, and even a special one- on -one with Trump in the Oval Office. Oh yeah, and with Melania too. ("Gee, she was just so maternal!") After all,  the mostly clueless media is clearly eager for "balance" and here's a willing tool...errr...kid, to provide it. What's not to like? Plus he's become as big a "hero" to the righties as Blaine Gaskill.

 Hell, the kid's  singular PR "pro-gun" profile especially  works if  one day he might be looking to replace Dana Loesch as the main voice for the biggest gun lobby in the world. Just sayin'.

Loesch herself reprised her role as the heartless harpy  (as before in the CNN town hall)  when she insisted - on NRA -TV   - that the marching students were willing pawns for a "PR stunt". Well, if anyone knows PR stunts it is certainly "the beet juice lady", and maybe she could teach some of her tactics to Kashuv as her willing understudy.

Then there was the NRA's token black man, also appearing on NRA-TV,  who goes under the pseudonym, "Colion Noir" (real name: Collins Iyare Idehen Jr.) He thought he was brilliant by lashing the Parkland kids as hypocrites, e.g.:

"They hate machines that cause death except, hold on, you ain't never gonna take their cars away."

A totally imbecilic accusation that mixes apples and oranges given that cars are machines designed expressly for transport that may (in the case of accidents) incidentally result in death. Whereas military grade rifles like the AR-15 are specifically designed for mass death -- which is why they were once considered as replacements for the M-16 in Vietnam. (The M-16, as shown in the Ken Burns documentary on the Vietnam War, often jammed.)

Our "brilliant" TV star Collins also failed to note that - according to the Harvard School of Public Health - it's easier to get an AR-15 than to get a license to drive a car.

"Noir" further babbled over the NRA's  airwaves:

"To all the kids from Parkland getting ready to use your first amendment rights to attack everyone else's second amendment rights at your march..."

Forgetting that the kids from Parkland were not attacking anyone's "second amendment rights". They were proposing reasonable curbs using universal background checks - which 90 percent of Americans support, limiting high capacity magazines, and banning military -grade rifles like the AR-15 which are NOT protected under the 2nd amendment, again by way of the D.C. vs. Heller SC ruling. 

He also went on to yap:

"I wish a hero like Blaine Gaskill had been at Marjory Douglas High School last month because your classmates would still be alive. And no one would know your names because the media would have utterly ignored your story."

Which is total rubbish that I already skewered in  a prior post:

In fact, the most likely outcome - had Gaskill tried the same tactic at Stoneman Douglas - is that even more kids would have been killed, most likely as collateral damage from misfires out of Gaskill's gun. There's also a high probability Gaskill himself would have ended up a statistic.

As for Andrew Pollack, I don't believe he's actually a right wing gun zealot,(though he's appeared with Kyle Kashuv on a number of cable shows) just a desperate  father seeking solutions.  I just hope he eventually grasps that converting each school into a mini-Supermax is not a solution. It never will be, any more than arming teachers. See e.g.

Even as scenes of the student march played out, The Denver Post Saturday edition featured two articles of note including one that cited these AP poll results (p. 10 A):

- 7 in 10 Americans want a nationwide ban on bump stocks

- 6 in 10 Americans demand a nationwide ban on Ar-15 style rifles

The same piece quoted a 50 year old Miramar FL gun owner, John Karnosh, who expressed dismay so little change has come about since Columbine, adding (ibid.):

"I see what these kids are doing. If anyone can drive a movement for change, these kids will do it."

One page later, there appeared an article on CDC findings pertaining to gun deaths, in which we learned:

- 26,000 deaths of children (under the age of 18) killed by guns from 1999- 2016

- Among the world's wealthy nations the U.S. accounts for 91 percent of all firearm deaths of children under age 15

- Factor in as well, 1, 678 children under 5 years of age killed between 1999- 2016

- The preceding include 184 infants, under one year old,  223 1-year olds, and 294 two year olds.

As Maryland student Matt Post put in an interview on 'AM Joy' yesterday morning:

"Is your love of these guns really worth all the carnage they've caused?"

 There is something seriously wrong with any nation bearing these stats. It leads me to quote a former soldier (Army sergeant)  who had a letter published in the local Indie paper after the Parkland massacre. Paraphrasing his words:

"Okay, let's say the military-  style weapons are not the cause of the mass shootings. But we have to at least admit they are the meansSo let's deal with controlling the means right now and we will deal with the cause later."

In other words, cease the endless back and forth about  the 2nd amendment  - when it emphatically excludes owning military style rifles as a special right.  So, we ban these weapons like the UK did after the Dunblane (Scotland)  massacre, and Australia did after their Port Arthur massacre. (Note: it is true these weapons are responsible for only 5 percent of all homicides, but given each mass murder event is the de facto equivalent of a terror attack - and indeed instills terror - it is not overreach to ban these rifles.)

It's time this nation take similar steps now. The previous stats cited are a blight not only on our history but on our people and their understanding of the Second Amendment and the nature of rights.  Which entail responsibilities as well as the exercise of limited rights.

I suspect it also means the gunnies cease "wearing their guns on their sleeves" to use Denver Post editor Chuck Plunkett's phrase from his column yesterday.  What Plunkett was arguing for is altering one's identity in the use of guns - especially long rifles - to what it was a generation ago, i.e.

"If you went hunting you were praised for how few rounds you used to bring down a wild turkey, not how many."

Indeed. And if you used more you'd be encouraged to take up a different pastime.  But as he also notes, in today's warped cultural environment everything is based on excess  and worse for 2nd amendment absolutists this excess becomes a matter of identity, e.g.

"Gun ownership has become a religion, it's in our faces everywhere, on hats, T-shirts, bumper stickers, flags and social media profiles."

This is what the student movement's leaders must grasp: they are facing not only recalcitrant politicians - who btw are more terrified of the voting power of NRA members than the money they receive or don't- but also those afflicted with the gun identity syndrome.

The students have to figure out how to break that tribal identity connection to guns, especially the military assault variety. One recent letter writer to The Colorado Springs Independent  proposed the following quirky solution predicated on diluting the hyper-macho B.S. associated with gun ownership, especially of assault weapons:

Somehow, I don't believe coloring all these rifles pink will quite work. Anyway these kids are energized and organizing a call for Town Halls on April 7, as well as another mass walkout on April 20th and an ongoing voter registration campaign.  

See also:


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