kids

What If Our Dead Kids *DO* Trump Your Gun Rights?

In the farce that was the 2008 campaign of John McCain and Sarah Palin, one of the main fools was played by Joe the Plumber. Well, his name wasn’t Joe. And he wasn’t a plumber. But that was the stage name of Samuel Wurzelbacher of Ohio. He was the hood ornament on the Fox-sponsored GOP clown car that year.

Last Friday, a deranged man went on a slashing and shooting rampage, killing six young people near the UC Santa Barbara campus. He then committed suicide, leaving behind a video and a 140-page manifesto that expresses a shockingly demented hatred of women.

Just days later, the country is still reeling from the savagery of this crime, the killer’s unhinged misogyny and the soul-numbing reality of yet another mass shooting of young people in America. But today is the day that ‘Joe the Plumber’ published an “open letter to the parents of the victims” of the Santa Barbara spree. And here is what Mr Wurzelbacher wants the parents – and all of us – to know:

“Your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.”

I was certain this was some kind of inappropriate sick satire.

But no, this is a verbatim quote from his letter published on Barbwire.com – which (naturally) boasts “a decidedly biblical worldview”. As you might imagine, this unconscionable affront to the grieving parents of murdered children has set half of the internet on fire… while the other half pours gasoline.

Wait a minute though. I think there is tremendous power in this twisted slur. Think about it. He declares something to be true: Your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights. But I think Mr Not-A-Plumber got it exactly wrong. Our dead kids DO trump your gun rights.

Our dead kids. They have names. Cassie, Steve, Corey, Kelly, Matt, Daniel, Rachel, Isaiah, John, Daniel, Lauren, Kyle, Areceli, Kristi, Shawn, Joseph, Cassandra, Susan, Justin, Kayla, Bryan, Randy, Aaron, Seth, James, Bart, Alicia, Thurlene, Chanelle, Chase, Dewayne, Emily, Naomi, Marian, Anna Mae, Lena, Mary Liz, Kirsten, Emily, Ryan, Ross, Brian, Austin, Daniel, Matthew, Caitlin, Rachel, Emily, Matthew, Jarrett, Henry, Lauren, Daniel, Erin, Michael, Julia, Mary Karen, Reema, Leslie, Maxine, Nicole, Catalina, Ryanne, Daniel, Gayle, Ryan, Chavares, Christina, Daniel, Russell, Demetrius, Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Dylan, Madeleine, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, Ana, James, Grace, Emily, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Avielle, Benjamin, Allison, Claire, Trayvon, Jordan, Katie, Chris, Veronika… and so many thousands more.

The horrifying fact is that 8 children every day are murdered with a gun in America. In the 15 years since Columbine, more than 43,800 children have been shot to death. In their homes, in their neighborhoods, in their schools, in their churches, in their cinemas and malls. Their short lives, ended, with a bullet.

There is only one way to honor the memory of our kids who have been murdered with guns. There is only one way to give them a voice. There is only one way to save a child – maybe yours – from being murdered with a gun. We must change the laws to more effectively regulate the sale and possession of firearms and ammunition in this country.

What makes this entire situation so galling is that it is a failure of political will. After the massacre of babies at Sandy Hook, various incremental and sensible gun control laws were supported by 70% to 90% of the American people. But the 535 members of the House and Senate were unable to pass anything at all. And the President caved to the political status quo. in the year-and-a-half since Newtown, there has been something on the order of 15,000 gun homicides… 4,000 of the dead are kids under 18.

My friend Peter suggests a simple yet powerful idea: a pledge. Similar to the “Taxpayer Proection Pledge” that Grover Norquist and his Americans for Tax Reform have used to successfully bludgeon politicians for 20 years now. It could be implemented immediately and at almost zero cost by an existing gun control advocacy group such as Moms Demand Action. We are in the midst of an election year. Every member of Congress is up for reelection along with 1/3 of the Senate. That is nearly 1,000 candidates for Congress, all drawn to the glare of the tv lights. Take the pledge to each of them, at every campaign stop. Democrats. Republicans. Incumbents. Challengers. Send it to all of their campaigns. Give them a week to return the signed pledge. And then, confront them. Loudly. Publicly. Notify the local media. Ask them to sign the pledge, or to explain why they won’t. It might look something like this:

kids.bulletproof.pledge

When 70% or 80% or 90% of Americans want various gun control measures, they should get done. Notwithstanding the NRA’s threats, bribes and extortion. NRA pretends to represent gun owners, but they are paid lobbyists for the gun manufacturers and sellers. Their job is to make America safe for guns. It is the job of Congress to make America safe for Americans. And we must start by defending our children’s lives.

Should our politicians be held to account on gun control issues through the use of a pledge like this? Is there a better way to do it? I’m only interested in constructive ideas. You can spout off about your 2nd Amendment rights… but you should really go do that somewhere else. It’ll never see the light of day on this page.

kids.bulletproof

The End (so far)

 

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[049] Of Fountains And Fuckwads

pdc.fountain.2Gentle Reader… You know that I have recently begun walking to and from the pool for my daily swim. And you’ve seen the results of my snapaholic tendencies with my phone/camera sur la route. It was just getting dark as I left the pool this evening, when a flash of red light caught my eye and drew me across the street to the Pacific Design Center. There’s a great fountain in the plaza there. The pool is dark and the jets glow with a deep red illumination. Sometimes the fountain dances, but tonight it was just a steady upwelling of molten lava-water.

There is a stepped, grassy amphitheater between the street and the plaza, and halfway down I got myself in a prone position to steady the camera on the concrete edge. There was a professional photographer in another corner of the plaza shooting pix of a model in some serious couture. As I risked laying down in god-knows-what to get the shot, I felt a kinship with my fellow fotog. Click, click, dozens of clicks. Instead of changing positions (I was lazy), I just fiddled with the various filters on the camera app, I’ll spare you most of the results, but here are a few fun ones.

pdc.fountain.aqua

The “aqua” filter is a blue-tinted sepia setting. I like the way it takes down the glare of the illumination and shows more of the structure of the individual water jets.

pdc.fountain.dots

And then there is the “dots” filter. I am drawn to this pixelation effect like ants to a picnic. In fact, I think the first post I did in this series of #100happydays was a dots treatment of the full moon over another part of the PDC. If I’m repeating myself a bit, I hope it’s not boring!

pdc.fountain.negative

How about a color negative? That’ll blow some sunshine up yer skirt, eh?! Turns dark/light contrast inside-out. Gives the palms – which are all but invisible in the positive mode – a ghostly presence. And funnily enough, the water turns… blue.

As I hauled my waterlogged (but happy) carcass back up the mountain – hey! it’s a +300-foot change in elevation, which is almost just exactly sort of the same as climbing a 30-story building thankyouverymuch – I felt satisfied in sharing my fountain fotos with you as today’s entry in the #100happydays death march series.

But having checked the interweb machine when I got home, I now can close this post with a much bigger slice of happy pie. I mean, fountains are nice and all… but the defeat of hate-filled bigoted ignoramuses trumps all the other news of the day. Here’s the headline from tonight’s breaking news:

breaking-AB1266 repeal fails

(San Francisco, CA, February 24, 2014)—Today, the effort to repeal the School Success and Opportunity Act—California’s new law ensuring that all children have opportunities to do well in school—failed to qualify for the ballot.

Long story short: Last year the California Assembly passed and Governor Brown signed into law the School Success and Opportunity Act which was mostly a re-focusing of existing laws designed to protect transgender students and provide public school administrators and teachers with the tools needed to provide all kids with safety and fairness in schools. It’s the kind of law that makes me proud to call California home.

And like clockwork, they came crawling out of the woodwork like a biblical plague of insects: the professional hate mongers. Same folks who brought us Prop 8. They prey on the church folk, getting them all whipped into a frenzy noh8with lies, innuendo, distortions and fear. Everything but the truth. And most of them do it just to fill their coffers and line their own pockets. It’s not new. It’s just surprising that people fall for it, every blessed time.

They once again tried to hijack California’s referendum process with a ballot measure to repeal this law. They vilified the very kids the law is designed to protect – and for that alone, I hope they all end up in their celestial woodchipper. They needed 500,000 signatures to put the repeal measure on the ballot this November. They turned in more than 600,000 signatures and started high-fiving each other from here to eternity.

Funny thing about all those signatures though… turns out 130,000 of them are invalid. Tsk tsk. Isn’t there something in their magik books about not lying or cheating or stealing? Hmmmmm. Or maybe they just can’t read? Or maybe they have been exposed, AGAIN, as the frauds they are. If they can’t win, they cheat. And when they get caught cheating they lie. And then they scurry back into the dark crevices until they find someone else to attack.

If you’d like to learn more about this law and the issues it addresses, you can start here:

http://www.supportallstudents.org/

So, Kind Intelligent Fair-minded Reader, I give you a beautiful fountain and a bunch of defeated fuckwads for today’s ray of sunshine. Day 049 #100happydays

And I’m Living Proof Of This…

Largest Study Of Children Raised By Same-Sex Parents Shows They’re Healthier Than Their Peers | The New Civil Rights Movement.

omg.leftbabyonbus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m a survivor of opposite-sex parents. But just barely.