Tag Archives: military

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

Romney/Ryan – You do the math

While listening to Romney’s Foreign Policy speech, I was again reminded there is a HUGE disconnect between him and the American people! It isn’t  just that speech. This occurs time and time again with speeches, “off the cuff remarks”, speaking to or avoiding the press and in his views on many topics. This is also very true with Paul Ryan, his choice for Vice President.

It does appear the two of them are trying to avoid answering many specific questions which would allow the American public to see these gaps and disconnect but the availability of video, past speeches and current speeches are always available, in full, online.

Who are Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan? What are their intentions and beliefs on topics that are very relevant to the majority of Americans?

Here is a paper Paul Ryan wrote for the Heritage Foundation in 2010, “The Cause of Life Can’t be Severed from the Cause of Freedom.“  It’s explaining his views and goals on the Rights of “Personhood”.

I am not saying that Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan are bad people. I AM saying they are disconnected from much of what is going on around them.

Their views on pro-life and abortion aren’t backed up with their views and choices in other policies? First, people aren’t PRO-abortion. People do however want to make their own decisions. Women want to be able to make a choice. The vast majority of course don’t want to have to get to the point of having to make THAT choice!

Are there more solutions? Yes, one is birth control. WAIT! Did I just hear Rush Limbaugh scream?? The words, “Birth Control” are not always wrapped in the word “FREE”. No, again, it is a choice, something that should be available. Many people have insurance that will cover theirs and others may need assistance but the fact is (and this is proven), birth control helps cut down on unplanned pregnancies and therefore the abortion rate.

There are all of those that will argue, abstinence helps cut down on pregnancy. Yes, that is true. Most everyone knows that. Now, moving on.

I think about how PRO-LIFE these two candidates SAY they are but then why are they trying to cut back on things that help everyone? They want to decrease funding in educational programs, food stamp programs, job training funds and housing subsidies. They want to cut funds going to Planned Parenthood funds and other funds aimed at helping the “poor” (not one of Romney’s strongest support groups as he sees it).

The question is why are they against the greatest healthcare accomplishment in decades that helps more people get quality care and why they want to cut funds to Planned Parenthood which provides family planning services, birth control and many preventative care services to woman. All of this would fall under Pro-Life.

They don’t want to help fund early education programs or keep job training programs strong and running. These are programs which help get people back to work or train for a better and more productive career. Again, isn’t this something Romney and Ryan run on? Getting people back to work, higher paying jobs? Or, are those just stump speeches for votes when in all actuality they plan to cut the programs that help people and put those dollars toward tax cuts for the rich?

Romney made it quite clear how he felt about those using food stamps, government aide or any type of relief funds from the government so that clears up any questions about support for those in poverty. Does he understand many people in poverty were doing well not too long ago? Does he realize a lack of healthcare can put people in poverty due to outrageous medical bills? Does he realize his lack of listening AND understanding as well as his Parties same ignorance is taking our Country through a different type of recession? While they bicker and fight and refuse to advance on helping this country move forward at an even faster rate, people are hurting. While their number one goal is to make President Obama a one term President, our country has to wait for bills to pass and things to get done.  Really?

Now, Romney and Ryan want us to put that same Party as President? He talks about how President Obama has failed our Country, failed our military and wants people to believe the only way we can fix the “mess we are in” is to bring on more of this Party and our country will get back on track?

I think one big thing Romney is hoping is people will forget about history, not remember who he was years back, months back or even days ago. He hopes voters will not listen to campaign speeches, debates and certainly don’t listen to fact checkers. He claims those are lies.

Romney talks about how America needs to regain its military leadership and how in the past we have always led the world. But, while his speeches seem to be half insult and half anger, he has yet to really acknowledge how far our country has come over this past four years. He gives very little credit to our troops in uniform or our military leaders.

This may be a political campaign to him but this is our country. For those who watch the stock market, the housing market, the job market, we can see the improvements. Of course, there is more to be done and the only way to accomplish that is to not tear down what has been accomplished with lies, implications trying to anger people across the nation and abroad, our allies and other nations but by accepting responsibility in both parties for the deceit that is currently taking place right before time of elections. Be a leader even before Election Day.

For example, in his Foreign Policy speech, Romney was speaking about countries receiving foreign aid from the U.S. He said he would stipulate they respect the rights of every citizen including women and minorities. I’m not sure which Romney was speaking but the one campaigning on TV and around the Nation is running under a Party that wants to take the rights of women’s healthcare choices and are currently making voting nearly impossible for thousands across the U.S. Both of those issues are taking our country backwards by decades and both are rights people in other countries are fighting and dying for, countries Romney was speaking about in his speech, today.

America doesn’t need a President who divides us but sees diversity as the quality enabling us to achieve greatness for generations to come.

If Romney wants a strong military today and tomorrow, invest in education for their children today and the recruits of tomorrow. Invest in healthcare so they know their families are taken care of just as his family is taken care of. Have programs such as the Making Home Affordable programs accessible so their families can keep their homes and soldiers have a home to return to.  Keep the job placement programs for soldiers returning home because it is the right thing to do.  Keep access to mental health programs available and practical. Continue access to student loan assistance for families as well as counseling and job placement programs available at all times.

Be aware of what surrounds each soldier.

Romney speaks about people in his stump speech but has often left them out at moments he could have shown gratitude and honor. Many of the rights our country has, our military has helped us achieve them. Our military is not something we threaten the world with but our freedom is something we hope everyone can share.

The military is not just made up of weapons, ships and soldiers. It is made up of families with individual and group needs both when they join, while they are enlisted both home and abroad and after they return home.

Our military isn’t something to be sent, used or regarded as a threat. They are and always have been people who put their lives on the line for our country and we should be willing to do the same for them at home, in Washington, at a stump speech or behind closed doors.

They are heroes. They are us. We are all Americans.

America’s road to the White House – 2012 Edition

Get out and vote!

As we countdown to the elections, there have been many moments that stand out. There are great moments, confusing moments and those moments that will be remembered forever.

There couldn’t be a more important time in America for people to come together and hear out what each side is saying at their campaign rallies, conventions, the upcoming debates and really be able to make an informed decision in November.

This is not an election of which Party to put into the White House but a choice of a leader for our Nation as we continue to work on strengthening our economy, building a better future for our children, putting quality and affordable healthcare in the reach of everyone, advancing our educational system to stay competitive in the world and making sure our service members, military families and veterans have their needs looked after from the time they enlist and each day after.

To lead America into the next 4 years, it means leading and listening to ALL Americans while respecting their lives and the diverse backgrounds many come from as well as the diversity within the United States of America. Without this diversity in our Nation, our great Country wouldn’t be what it is today. Pride in our Country starts with pride in its people.

There have been many speakers at both the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida and now the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. There has been a great deal of finger pointing, looking back at what hasn’t worked, talking to an empty chair (?) and in the Republican Convention there was a great deal of what seemed to be self promotional speeches.

The fact is, this is a time to make a point, take responsibility, state what their nominee’s plan is to move forward and nominate the person for each Party. At the end of these conventions, voters should know more about what each candidate would do to improve the lives of the American people as well as lay out some type of an idea for their overall policies. Give a glimpse into the future if they were to be the one sworn in as President of the United States in January 2013. This is not a race to win or a “family feud” of sorts. This is serious business. Can this person lead? Can this person represent the American people?

When it comes down to it, the decisions made in the past have laid down the groundwork for opportunities today.  Without strong leaders, much of what our Nation is known for would not be in existence today. Many freedoms we often take for granted would not have come about. To be a great leader means working to improve the present while also taking into account lives in the future, not taking for granted what has been fought for in the past and respecting those who have given of themselves for the freedoms we have today.

Between now and election, there will be a LOT of targeted ads running on TV. A good deal of them are being put out from special interest groups saying they “represent” one side or the other. Their point is not to give facts but to get votes. They don’t care if they are misguided votes. A vote is a vote. They have money to spend and they aren’t spending it to educate the American public.

In today’s age of technology, it has never been easier to sit down and watch a speech, debate, read a full dialogue or look up anything a person may have missed during the day or week. Why take someone’s word for what was said? See things, in full for yourself. A vote shouldn’t be made based on emails received, clips on the news, coworkers ideas or based on Party affiliation.

Each candidate has their own website and many of their speeches are posted shortly after they are given along the campaign trail. This enables voters to see for themselves what is happening as voting day gets closer.

Romney/Ryan Campaign 2012

Obama/Biden Campaign 2012

Every vote matters. Are you registered? Each state has different deadlines to register prior to elections. Check here for deadlines and registration.

Question: Have you been watching the conventions? RNC or DNC? Both? What have your favorite moments been?

Here is a video clip from the #DNC2012 of President Bill Clinton speaking. This is the first time ever a former President has nominated a President. This is a MUST SEE speech.