Category Archives: Amendment

When will massacres matter enough to cause change?

“These neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children.” President Obama in statement made following the recent Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre killing 20 children and 6 adults in the school.

Where do Americans stand on gun laws? Gun control?

In a pew poll taken after the assassination attempt on Congresswomen Gabriella “Gabby” Giffords, the country was divided. 49% said it was “more important to protect the rights of Americans to own guns” and 46% said it was “more important to control gun ownership.”

After the shooting in the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, 76% said, “There should be some restriction on owning guns,” according to a CNN/ORC poll.

At present time, roughly half of American states allow gun owners to carry their weapon openly into public places.

Also, making more news recently is the “Stand Your Ground” law. This law really came into the public eye during the Trayvon Martin case in Florida.

There are a host of other states with very similar laws.

Florida, as well as others in this list do not have a “duty to retreat” clause which means if you can get away without harm or deadly force but shoot anyway, you can be prosecuted. Most of the states with the “Stand Your Ground” law do not have the “duty to retreat” clause. Many of these laws are written in a vague way leaving the law to be used as a “blanket way out” for many shootings.

These laws were often introduced as a way to help “victims” in cases such as domestic violence where victims often felt blocked and unable to flee or ended up shooting their attackers (which happened to be their domestic partner) and found it near impossible to defend themselves in court. When was it okay to kill someone under your own roof?

But, the law has left it open for arguments leading escalating, turning into assaults and then murder to be defended under the “Stand Your Ground” law. What would have been different if a person hadn’t had a firearm on them? What if they didn’t feel it was okay to cry “self-defense” in what would typically end up in an assault and battery case but instead, someone is dead. Has the law been a positive or a negative? Who has it actually helped more?

Guns and politics have become so entwined as the NRA has become more involved through the years with politics, legislation and politicians.

The NRA runs ads campaigning for those who promote their cause and against those standing in the way of their proposed changes in existing laws or future goals.

By funding politicians, their campaigns and having their own people in Washington, the NRA is assured of having a way to get current policies changed or new legislation passed, changed or set aside. The problem is much of this happens without knowledge of the general public both through state government and federal government.

NRA does not run the US government and does not make the choices for what is good for America. That is done through the voters. We vote who we want at both the state level and the national level. Are we listening to what these politicians are standing for and against? Who is supporting them and funding their campaigns? What are their intentions?

Ask yourself why the NRA has had nothing to say since this most recent massacre? Statements have come out from all over the world. World leaders are offering condolences. Many actors and actresses are coming forward and saying things should be done with violence in movies and TV may need to be looked at. Networks rearranged TV schedules following the massacre due to programming that may have been viewed as showing things in bad taste.

Sunday morning talk shows have done numerous interviews and Meet the Press asked any of 31 pro-gun senators to appear but none responded. Silence speaks volumes.

Using the words “gun control” is beginning to sound UN-American. I think doing nothing as we are seeing more massacres, people crying in disbelief as their loved ones are being identified, going through autopsies and realizing their last conversation was their LAST conversation… that is UN-American.

Personally, I can’t participate in ignoring an issue that is continuously being swept under the rug by groups that argue for their freedoms while others are losing their loved ones, their lives and their future or their sense of security. What about their freedom, our freedom?

Weapons used for hunting and sporting do not call for assault weapons or weapons with large magazines that can gun down numerous people (or animals) in just seconds or minutes.

Many assault weapons are not for either of these uses and are only used to promote keeping an argument going instead of coming to an agreement.

Responsible and legitimate gun owners, politicians and people across America need to give pause to this, put politics aside and be able to really look at this very serious issue, discuss it (peacefully) and deal with it.

Yes, there should be limits, laws, background checks and training required. Yes, there should be renewed proof of this at the time of license renewals for each weapon. A responsible gun owner would understand the need for this because they would only want other responsible and trained, regularly licensed gun owners having other weapons as well.

A major argument is that responsible gun owners and legally purchased guns are not the problem.

My first response is I find it amazing that each “responsible gun owner” can speak for all the other “responsible gun owners” as though they meet all the time and know each other very well.

My second response is that is not true. Legally purchased guns end up in the wrong hands more often than these “responsible gun owners” must realize. The ability to purchase guns is far too easy in far too many places. There needs to be universal laws when it comes to background checks, waiting periods, guns and ammo purchases and an assault weapon ban.

My third response is this. ”Responsible gun owners” do not come with a magic chip in them saying they are responsible, will keep their weapons locked up properly, only use their weapon in the absolute necessity that it is needed and will be in 100% tip top emotional and mental condition for the rest of their life. They also don’t have the promise no one in their family won’t get to their weapons or someone breaking into their home won’t be able to do the same. There are no guarantees.

The NRA makes it seem as though guns are the answer to protection and the government and its laws are trying to take that away from people.

For those trying to hide behind the 2nd amendment, they aren’t the ones who control this discussion. The idea however of more guns being the answer has proven to be wrong, dead wrong.

This is a must read article by:  Mother Jones, “More guns, more mass shootings – coincidence?” Their team put together a lot of facts about guns, violent crimes, laws and changes through a lot of investigating on their part. I urge you to look at the numbers.

Also, looking at some graphs put together by Simon Rogers with the Guardian, America is well armed compared to other societies around the world (88 per 100) and our gun violence speaks for approximately 60% of all homicides.

Another argument is not only guns take lives.

True. It isn’t just a weapon that ends a life. It is a person who believes they have a justified reason to do so.

As humans we react many times out of emotion. In many of these cases, there are feelings of anger, hate, revenge, defeat, entrapment and many times nobody knows what set a person off to commit such violent crimes.

The right thing to do, if a person is thinking rationally is to walk away, take some time to think things over, seek some advice or maybe get more details. A lot of times people are going through situations where counseling is needed and has been needed but either they didn’t know it, didn’t seek it or it wasn’t available.

Too often, a gun is too easily available to pick up, steal or purchase.

Not everyone committing these horrible murders/suicides, massacres and violent crimes were “monsters” before these acts. Many times, no one noticed any signs of behavior change, isolation, depression or signs of mental illness. Other times, it was noticed but they were unable to get help or convince the person to get help.

Does that mean people with emotional or mental illnesses are “monsters”? No. It means people with problems need to be able to seek help, get the proper diagnosis, counseling, medications and not be labeled with a stigma as being “crazy”.

If a person in need of help seeks help and receives help, this is definitely not “crazy”. That is the right thing to do and it should definitely be available to anyone in need of these services.

Many people with emotional and mental illnesses can live fulfilling lives alongside everyone else if they are able to get the medical and emotional help necessary. This important issue in our society cannot continue to be ignored. This is a huge gap in our healthcare system leading to economic and many other life issues. It is easier for Americans to access guns than mental health care. Without truly dealing with this, we can’t move forward on dealing with these murder/suicides, massacres and violent crimes.

There are two sides to be focused on immediately without involving political favors, campaigning, lobbyist and self-promotions.

1)      Too many weapons without just purpose or place in our society (other than within our military)

2)      Not enough available care and treatments for those with emotional and mental needs and disabilities.

For those who can’t clearly see these needs, they aren’t focusing on the real problems. They are standing in the way of what needs to lead to a drastic change.

We can’t just cover the cracks or kick the can down the road.

Our biggest war is going on here at home and our children and loved ones are the victims.

What is the difference between these recent massacres and 9/11? We are part of the blame. We vote. We have voices and if the issue isn’t being addressed, keep pursuing the issues.

These victims didn’t have a choice and now their voices have been silenced.

20 children silenced (ages 6 – 7) and 6 adults (their principal, school psychologist, two teachers, and teaching assistants)

This is our country, our communities and our neighborhoods. Those teachers are our teachers and those children are our children.

Speak up.

UPDATE: President Obama speaks at Newtown High School

Must see video below:

Video Tribute “Lives cut short by school shooting” – by: Anderson Cooper and the AC360 Team

 

Add on: “Balloons released to Heaven Among the Stars” Remembering Sandy Hook Elementary, Newtown, CT.

With love, 

Tribute to Sandy Hook, Newtown CT December 14, 2012

Who is dividing our Nation?

Just this past weekend, Glenn Beck was holding a “Restoring Honor” rally in Washington D.C. which according to most counts drew just under 100,000 attendees. Why a rally? What was the purpose behind the rally? What were people supposed to walk away with or walk away feeling? Is Glenn Beck’s radio show going to take on a new “image” now?

This rally had been in the news and drawing quite a bit of attention as the day approached mainly due to the fact this rally was on the 47th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Glenn Beck said he did not know this when setting the date and location but when he found out, he did not make any changes which upset quite a large number of people and caused a lot of media attention.

A Fox colleague, Greta Van Susteren, said he should move his event for sensitivity reasons. Just because a person can do something doesn’t mean they should do something.

A similar argument is going on in New York and around the world about the building of an Islamic Center in New York City near the World Trade Center site, and whether by doing that would be insensitive. Although it may be legal to do this, it may not be sensitive to the families and others involved in the 9/11 tragedies.

Although these two situations are quite different, they both require taking other people’s feelings into consideration and looking at the overall end result. Is it really necessary to go through with the initial plans or would a simple change and some compromise bring the same end result with a better overall showing of tolerance and respect?

At the “Restoring Honor” rally, an organizer said it wouldn’t be about politics but to pay tribute to military personnel and others “who embody our nation’s founding principles of integrity, truth and honor.” There were funds raised for a group in Tampa, Florida – Special Operations Warrior Foundation. Nearly 5 million dollars was raised and more can be donated online for this Foundation by visiting their website.

The rally attendees appeared to enjoy the speakers and the overall event. There were people waving flags, wearing patriotic shirts and there were different times of applause including the playing of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Glenn Beck talked about the fact that even though people have different political views, for the sake of the Nation, Americans should focus on their principles and values. He urged Americans to turn to God and reminded people that change begins with each individual.

That is what Glenn Beck was saying at the “Restoring Honor” rally on Saturday.

In an interview with Fox on Sunday following the rally, Beck decided to go after Obama’s religion once again to claim that Obama “is a guy who understands the world through liberation theology, which is oppressor and victim.”

“People aren’t recognizing his version of Christianity,” Beck added.

Beck said that liberation theology is at the core of Obama’s “belief structure”.

“You see, it’s all about victims and victimhood; oppressors and the oppressed; reparations, not repentance; collectivism, not individual salvation. I don’t know what it is, other than it’s not Muslim, it’s not Christian. It’s a perversion of the gospel of Jesus Christ as most Christians know it,” Beck said.

As the Nation once again approaches another anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, the U.S. seems to be more divided than ever.

As much as people talk about the need for the leaders in Washington to work together and children and teens getting along, it seems the average, everyday citizen is not passing along that message in their actions.

The problems of intolerance, hate and violence against those of different racial, ethnic and religious groups shows how this is not only a reoccurring problem but a growing trend. And, the fact a younger generation is showing these signs of intolerance as well, is a signal this will continue yet again into the following generations if nothing is done.

If a voter wants their leaders in Washington to be bipartisan, then demand that of them or don’t re-elect them. If they continue to get re-elected, then it shows them their constituents are okay with their behavior. It also shows the world that the Americans are okay with this behavior from their leaders.

If a person is showing unacceptable behavior such as bullying, racism, sexism or abuse of any kind, this is not okay and should be dealt with immediately. If it isn’t, then it appears to be okay.

If a child is seeing this from their parents, teachers, adults or those around them, then they are going to pick this up. If this is being seen through the television, then turn it off. Children have to know this is unacceptable behavior and it’s not tolerated.

When people in the media are daily insulting the President, the leader of our Country or saying demeaning things about people of different races or religions, belittling people in our society and it appears Americans are okay with this because they are tuning into their shows on a daily basis, they will continue the same behavior and sponsors will continue to pay for their programs.

Yes, there is a First Amendment Right for freedom of speech but that doesn’t mean people have to listen.

This is a country built on freedoms and rights for everyone and a lot of people have fought and died for those freedoms.

There is also the Second Amendment for the right to bear arms. The fact of a person having the right to have a gun is taken differently by different people. Some people want the right to have a gun in their house to protect their family. Others want the right to have a gun on them when they are out in public. The fact of a person having a gun in a public place makes people very uncomfortable and yet, this is something that the Second Amendment is looked to for a person to argue this case.

If everyone only worried about their freedoms and rights and not about what that did to another person’s freedoms and rights, then this country would not be free at all. People would be living in fear and afraid to say anything to anybody. Just because people have freedoms and rights shouldn’t mean they hinder or threaten another person or make another person feel demeaned or belittled.

To come together as a country, it isn’t about judging the other person and tearing down another person’s rights to make sure our own rights aren’t touched. There always has to be people looking out for the freedoms and rights of others.

It is about putting our Nation first which means looking out for one another. It means making sure the freedoms and rights that so many people fought for and died for are honored.

It means the Christian community needs to stop judging whether our President who has publicly said he is a Christian, really is a Christian. Do they judge each other in the same way or is that judgment reserved specifically for President Obama? As a Christian community, there are a great number of things that could be done with the time and effort they have put into trying to tear down the President’s faith. There are many people in need during these hard economic times. There are a great number of struggling families.

If Glenn Beck really wants to help “restore honor”, he can do it daily via his radio show and his show on Fox News instead of daily attacking the President of the Country he calls home. If a person wants to restore something, build on it. Don’t attack it and try to tear it down.

Life is not always about politics and politics is not always about Republicans and Democrats.

The focus needs to be put back on the individuals that make up this Nation, this great Nation, the UNITED States of America.