Thursday, February 15, 2018

and it happened again

Wednesday, on a day supposed to be about love, the ultimate act of hate was carried out. I read about it online, then turned on my TV to see the aftermath. I felt I had to see it, to accept that the pain there is not just for those in that school and their loved ones, but for all of us and what such shootings are doing to us. 

The next morning, still angry, I read a lot of articles on what happened and its aftermath. I read how he felt empowered by his gun. How he relished the idea of killing. I read how others knew about him. I read how nothing was done. Why was nothing done? 

The school had drills for such an event and yet not all the schoolroom doors were locked allowing him in at least one of them. Apparently nobody thought that a fire alarm that anyone can trip would be a way to send students running right into the shooter. Why did the security guards at that school, there were supposed to be two, not have guns? At least one of them died trying to protect students with his own body. If he'd had a gun, the story might've ended right there. 

Why were outside doors possible to enter other than at the front of the school. Outside doors to schools should be possible to exit but not enter and solid enough to not be possible to shoot open. The fact that he could get in there with a gun means something failed at the school. It wasn't the only failure.

I am angry at the shooter, who had something mentally wrong but was not insane and should not find protection with mental health as an issue. He was sane enough to plot when to do this, set up his plan and carry it out.
I hope he gets life in prison rather than death so he can not be a martyr to the misfits who value nobody's life but their own. Let him suffer his entire life by having all his rights, except for existence, be taken from him. No education in prison. No luxuries, just let him live it out as what he is-- a human without compassion for others. 

Of course, I am angry at how many lives were taken or damaged for their rest of their lives. That wasn't just the wounded but those who saw the dead, who had to hear the shots. What kinds of invisible wounds will they forever carry. 

Doing something real
If you have read anything about this tragedy, it's clear that this guy was on a path. If he hadn't used a gun it'd have been a bomb. You can only stop someone like him by physically limiting his rights BEFORE he does something. That's where the current roadblock is at, as he was a known risk, so was the most recent church shooter in Texas, where even the military saw him as a risk; so have almost every single one of these school shooters but we protect their right and then others lose theirs-- all of us do with any desire for reasonable security when we go to a mall, school, theater, church or any public building. 

When someone is not safe to be in a school, and that was the decision they made in expelling him, they should not be permitted to own any gun period. That could be done by background checks and confiscation; but it hasn't been. We need to take away his rights before, not after, he shoots 29 innocents. 

All one side or the other can talk about is worrying about rights-- one denying the right to own any gun and the other to protect the rights of everyone to own one. Then there is the right to be mentally deranged enough to take joy in murdering others and that alone should not limit someone's freedom.

There were multiple articles today saying that the kids knew he'd be the one when something happened. He had posted on a YouTube channel that he wanted to be a professional shooter. That person went to the FBI but for some reason nothing was done. Nothing seems to ever be done. Well, now he did what he wanted and 29 people paid, 17 of them with their lives, for our inability to act before something happens.

What we should do, but we haven't, is limit who can buy a gun using strong background checks. Limit the type and I'd end guns like he used, the AR-15, which looks like a war weapon, because they have some kind of mystique attached to them. An extended magazine is intended only to blow something apart-- why do we want them sold? A gun should be seen as what it is-- a tool. It should only be in the hands of those who understand that.

Anybody who has been seen as a security risk to others should lose their right to get hold of any gun. But that's not enough because determined killers can find other ways including bombs, vehicles, and swords. We have to go further.

IF someone seems dangerous, as others see them, they should be detained, tested and let mental health officials determine if they are safe in society. IF they are not, incarcerate them before they damage other lives. Keep them locked up until or unless that risk is seen as being gone. 

Most of the parents of these shooters have tried to get help. It wasn't out there. No facilities to hold someone and treat them. Nothing really to give the parents resources. Mental illness is still the bugaboo that seems to be the word never spoken. As a culture, we went too far at one time maybe in incarcerating too many. Now we've gone too far the other way. We wait until someone innocent pays the price and then we act-- Too damned late!

Another thing I'd like to see us do but doubt it'll happen in today's disgusting partisan divide. We should stop the manufacture and the sale of those 'cool looking' assault type rifles. If we can't do that for those blessed dollar benefits and all those who think they need them to fight off their own military someday, we could at least block them to the ones who are labeled a risk-- as this shooter should have been based on the reason he was expelled from that school.

If we had the will, we could get rid of all of them that exist, like the one the Las Vegas shooter used. We could have a financial incentive to turning them in, and then a stiff fine if any are found or seen being used. We won't though because there is money involved. Life never trumps dollars in the minds of some. 

We won't even do what could have stopped this guy before he killed so many and maimed more emotionally and physically. We won't because each side has to go for broke and they end up leaving monsters like him out there for more days like Valentine's Day 2018. Unless we get a backbone, unless we get realistic, there will be more. There will be those thinking it's cool what he did. They are out there. Do we have the will to do something BEFORE they do? 

To me, as horrifying as the loss of life was this week, it is equally so that we are so helpless as a nation to do anything about the really serious issues facing us that we can only act after something happens.

It is all about cause and effect and being able to get over this partisan divide to enact laws that might change things. When someone executing little children wasn't enough, I don't honestly know what would be. Maybe when we all get mad enough that we keep voting against everyone in office until we get those there willing to do what is best for the country not their own power and pocketbooks.

In short-- meaningful background checks and mental health evaluations-- all with teeth. And frankly, getting rid of the mystique that some guns are cool and make their user powerful. All they do is destroy.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Two issues

This week several things happened that don't really matter and yet became 'the' story-- like the little broom that could, they just kept on giving. The first one is the question of whether it matters when a government employee, particularly in the White House, was previously accused of partner abuse? The left says yes and it should cause Trump to lose his Chief of Staff and ideally find him impeached because he didn't fire the guy when it was first learned of his history of mistreating women.

The guy denies he abused the women even with one having a picture of her with a black eye, which she said he gave her on a vacation. He says that was an accident. I'd guess she ran into his fist when it was raised? It seems to me when three women have the same story, the guy is guilty. That means women who consider him boyfriend material should seriously reconsider-- like Hope Hicks. I don't care how handsome someone is, abuse doesn't get better, and he hasn't evidently dealt with his anger issues.

I have a personal story of that with one of my aunts. She married a successful, handsome man who was so loving to her while she was recovering from hepatitis. When she recovered, he became an abuser who at one point lifted her up and threw her out of her own home. Sometimes a woman (or a man as it can go both ways) gets in a relationship with an abuser and doesn't know ahead of time. Always, with the first punch it should be the end of the relationship and get far away fast as it can be worse.

BUT does that mean such a man should not be a staff secretary to the White House? Does that mean he might be a security risk? The argument is that he might be blackmailed... except since it was out there, how would he hide it? I don't see him being a security risk at all, but that's not why the left is going after this. They are doing it because they control the media and they can. They keep throwing things at Trump, things usually unrelated to the issues and hope something sticks. I wonder if it won't all bounce back on them.

The second issue, which to me is significant, is suggesting that some families on food stamps would be given boxes of food instead of a card. The food would all be nutritious and was compared to Blue Apron, where people pay money to get boxes of food that will make delicious meals. The boxes would not be all the families would get as their card would still have some cash value.

As you can see on the chart, 42.6 million were on the program as of July '17  at an average of $125.51 per family member. That is a sizeable population (14%) to be impacted by whatever is done.  Despite SNAP benefits costing $70.9 billion in '16, it is claimed that hunger is still an issue for many children, with 13.6 million families having days where children go to bed hungry. 

This says to me that what we are doing is not working. What are we willing to try that would fix that? The answer on the left is not much. They have gone after the idea of food boxes as though it was an injustice. To make someone have nutritious food instead of say cookies is unfair. There is nothing I've read from the left that suggests a solution-- just this is a horrible idea.

Now, the fact that it's known statistically that poor families have poorer nutrition and more obesity is not a consideration-- even after Michelle Obama trying to make good nutrition a key issue as First Lady (where the right found fault with her for being unjust).

To me, it seems a box of good food-- assuming it was good-- would be a benefit to poor families. Instead of having to take time shopping, they would have the food at their doorstep. More time could go into preparing. Parents who weren't educated as to what nutritious food should be, could get food that taught them.

Another argument the left quickly threw out is there were bound to be some companies supplying the food that would profit. Well, what if it was competitive and the ones offering the best deal got the contracts (for nutritious food).

Someone else protected that some families have allergies. Well, then don't have them on the boxes. There are easy fixes to this idea, which, it is claimed, would save money, since the food would have been purchased wholesale instead of retail. 

This though is not about whether the poor need better ways of getting nutritious food, it's about blocking anything that might work.

I should add that I am old enough to remember before food stamps when families went to buildings, stood in line, to get cheese and other needed items from surplus food storage buildings. So those families didn't have it delivered but they could not use stamps to buy junk food instead of the kind of food that builds healthy bodies. 

There is currently no control over what a SNAP card can be used for-- except no alcohol or cigarettes. Except, probably everybody reading here has seen someone in checkout get their food and walk straight over to use their cash to buy cigarettes. There really is no way to make people eat healthy, Michelle Obama's goal for school lunches, but when people don't, it hurts the economy in more ways than dollars. 

The bird at the top is an immature Harris Hawk taken at our Arizona home. He has to get all his food after his parents decided he was mature enough to do it-- watch out birds, rodents and bunnies.