Tag Archives: Orlando shooting

Political correctness afflicts more than liberals


Political conservatives — and the man who’s about to become president of the United States — made a lot of noise blasting what they call “political correctness.”

They griped that liberals hid behind politically correct terms to avoid offending someone. Donald J. Trump essentially blamed political correctness for the shooting at that Orlando, Fla., nightclub where dozens of people died at the hands of a radical Islamic terrorist.

Allow me this brief retort. PCness ain’t the sole province of those on the left. Righties have fallen into the same so-called trap.

I refer to the term “alt-right.” It’s become a common phrase meant to avoid calling what those on the political fringe really represent. They represent racism, white supremacy, neo-Nazis.

I once thought the term originated on the left. I would hear left-leaning commentators using the term. It’s now shifted, as the lefties have wised up to the notion that “alt-right” has become a code for the white supremacists.

Now we hear from conservatives who have glommed on to that term. They certainly won’t identify the white supremacists among their ranks by that name. They will seek a form of refuge behind the politically correct terminology, just as they have accused liberals of doing.

And while we’re at it, let’s not refer to the lies being pushed out there as “fake news.”

Politicians get accused of lying all the time, even when they merely misspeak or say something they might not know to be lies.

This so-called “fake news” is nothing but lies. Those who put these bogus stories out there do so knowing they are lying.

Fake news? Nope. They are lies.

Alt-right? Hardly. It’s a PC version of white supremacy.

Sit-in reminds us of the old days


Democrats are still protesting on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Republicans, meanwhile, have recessed the chamber and have gone home for the next couple of weeks.

What happens now?

I’ve managed to take away a few thoughts from this extraordinary event.

First, we’ve never seen anything like it in Congress, so we have nothing with which to compare it. Democrats decided to put their collective feet down and demand a vote on gun legislation.

They are led by one of the more iconic figures of this country’s civil-rights movement, U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, who knows a thing or three about sit-ins, civil disobedience and seeking redress of his grievances against the government.

He also knows a thing or three about getting beaten to within an inch of his life by ham-handed cops intent on putting down these protests.

It’s good that nothing like that has happened on the floor of the House. In some government chambers, such a dispute might result in fists and furniture flying. Have you ever seen how, for example, it has gone in Taipei, where the Taiwanese parliament meets?

Also, House Speaker Paul Ryan shouldn’t have shut down the House while the demonstration was occurring. He ordered the cameras turned off, creating a situation where someone on the House floor violated the rules of the body by photographing the protest through ill-gotten means.

It has prompted some in the media to wonder what might be frightening to the speaker, forcing him to seek to silence the debate. Check this out from the Boston Globe:


Lewis and his fellow demonstrators want a vote on whether to enact gun legislation in the wake of the Orlando, Fla., slaughter of 49 people.

They are demanding a vote! Up or down!

House Republicans — failing to follow the lead of their Senate brethren — are refusing to allow a vote.

From where I sit, the seriously outnumbered Democratic congressional minority is making a reasonable request.

Let’s get that vote — and then carry the debate over gun legislation forward!

Bad options await GOP convention delegates


If you’re a Republican intending to take part in your party’s presidential nominating convention, you are facing at least two seriously grim options.

The Dump/Never/Anyone But Trump movement has resurfaced — more or less — in the wake of presumptive presidential nominee Donald J. Trump’s latest volley of outrageous rhetoric.

It goes like this: Convention delegates might be given a chance to opt out of voting for the candidate to whom they are pledged. Thus, the belief lingers that enough of Trump’s delegates might decide to abstain on the first ballot and then free themselves to vote for someone else on a subsequent round of balloting.

All hell would break loose.

This bodes poorly for the GOP as it prepares to face the Democratic nominee, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

So does the alternative, which is to nominate Trump.

Why the grim outlook?

Option No. 1: Nominate Trump and let him go down in flames.

Trump’s campaign is in a state of disarray. He made an empty pledge to become “more presidential,” only to revert to his insults, name-calling and innuendo. The Orlando massacre brought out the latest from Trump, when he boasted about “being right” about the threat of Islamic terrorism — while the nation was mourning the loss of 49 lives in that nightclub.

He is likely to continue railing, ranting and raving. He suggested the president of the United States might have some nefarious motive in refusing to identify the threat as coming from “radical Islamic terrorists.”

Trump’s hideous innuendo has managed to anger many within his party. Some key officeholders have pulled their endorsements. House Speaker Paul Ryan has told members of Congress they are welcome to “vote their conscience.”

Some of then actually might let their conscience support someone else, which might also carry over to their constituents out here in Voterland.

Option No. 2: Let the delegates pick someone else.

This is highly unlikely to happen. The reason might be the reality that Trump won more delegates than anyone else, by a mile, during the primary season. He collected a record number of GOP-primary votes. He won 38 states fairly and squarely.

To deny him the nomination after he won the war of attrition against 16 primary foes would be seen as a serious slap against those who voted for him.

If the delegates mount their coup and deny Trump his nomination, well, then you’re talking about a serious revolt occurring with the Republican Party.

The first option look bad for Republicans, given the nature of Trump’s temperament.

The second option looks even worse, given the reaction that would occur from those who have backed him to the hilt.

Good luck, GOP convention delegates. You’ll need it.

No Muslim, no terrorist


Crises have this way of turning normally rational people into jittery jive talkers.

Americans were reeling this past weekend from the news out of Orlando, Fla., where someone opened fire in a nightclub and killed 49 people in the worst mass murder in U.S. history.

The police killed the gunman.

It turns out the monster who did this deed was an American, born in New York state. He was a Muslim. His parents were Afghan immigrants. He supposedly pledged allegiance to the Islamic State before committing his horrendous act.

Two days later, a guy walks into an Amarillo Walmart store, takes a couple of hostages, fires a gun into the ceiling and then is shot to death by Amarillo Police Department SWAT officers.

How did the hair-trigger rumor mill handle this? It went wild.

The gunman was “identified” — by whom remains unclear, I guess — as a Somali Muslim immigrant. I would bet anyone some real American money that a lot of Amarillo residents suspected the guy had terrorist leanings.

He didn’t. It turns out he wasn’t from Somalia. He was from Iran. He wasn’t even a Muslim. He was a Baha’i, which is one of the most peaceful religions on the planet.

Mohammad Sadegh Moghaddam left Iran in 2003. He came to the United States to start a new life. He fled the repression and terror of his homeland. He was married; he had children. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen.

This man worked at Walmart. But he got into a dispute with a store manager. Something snapped.


The tragedy in Orlando won’t wash away anytime soon. Americans are fearful of what might happen in their communities, no matter where they live.

Amarillo is not immune from that fear, as we learned from the incident at Walmart and the reaction in its immediate aftermath.

That fear, though, mustn’t consume us and lead us toward erroneous conclusions about those who react badly to circumstances that lead to violence.


Lower the flags, fella!


Tucker Dorsey needs to have his head examined.

He might be certifiably … well, let’s just say he’s as wrong as he can be.

Dorsey chairs the Baldwin County, Ala., commission. He has refused to order flags on county buildings lowered to half-staff in honor of the 49 people slaughtered this past weekend in Orlando, Fla., per orders from President Obama and Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley.

What passes for Dorsey’s “reasoning” defies logic, common sense and several basic tenets of human decency.


According to CBSNews.com: “Once again I have to copy this post regarding lowering the flags because another follower of Islam decided to shoot up a bunch of innocents in a place where they didn’t have the chance to defend themselves or flee,” Dorsey began a Facebook post explaining the decision. “When are we going to acknowledge the truth? When will we stop the PC and identify the enemy?”

I’m a bit slow on the uptake at times, but someone’s got to explain what political correctness and “identifying the enemy” has to do with honoring the memories of those who died at the hands of a madman.

There’s more. Again, from CBSNews.com:

“When the flag is at half-staff, our country’s head is figuratively held low, and quite frankly, I am not willing to hang my head down because of a terrorist attack against our people and our allies,” Dorsey said. “I am not willing to hang my head down because evil shoots up a church, school, or movie theater. We need more than a gesture as a response. I want us, as Americans, to stand tall, courageously, and fight back against the forces of evil, and let’s fight like we intend to win.”

Good grief, dude. You grieve for the lives lost. Then you resolve to do what you must to eradicate the evil that resulted in this tragedy.

What is so difficult about doing that?

And despite what this guy says, lowering the flags to half-staff to mourn these national tragedies is quite consistent with long-standing tradition.

‘Stuff’ now rolls uphill, not down

I’ve always thought that “s*** rolls downhill.”

I learned it in the Army a few decades ago. When things went badly — which they did on occasion — the brass would make the rest of us down the line pay for the mistakes they might have made.

U.S. Sen. John McCain, though, sees it differently … I reckon.

He’s now blaming President Obama’s policies for the terror attack in Orlando, Fla., although his initial statement on that matter seemed to suggest that the president was even more directly responsible than that.


Sen. McCain more or less backed away from the statement, saying that the president’s “direct” responsibility is more a function of his decision to pull U.S. combat troops out of Iraq.

The absence of U.S. forces in Iraq, McCain said, brought about the birth of the Islamic State, which then spread to Syria and which has spread even farther into the Middle East — and which is now capable of striking the United States.

My head is spinning over this assertion.

McCain now says he “misspoke.” He didn’t take any of it back, though.

Look, the monster who slaughtered those 49 people in Orlando did it on his own. He reportedly was “inspired” by ISIS propaganda, but the American-born individual acted on his own in a fit of rage over something that has yet to be determined fully.

The blame game is getting tiresome. Sure, Democrats have taken no small amount of pleasure in ascribing blame to President Bush for all manner of things — including the Iraq War and its aftermath. It’s wrong to keep trying to pass the blame around to someone else.

The Huffington Post, though, reported this tidbit: “In 2010, McCain actually referred to it as a ‘victory’ when Obama pulled troops out of Iraq, though he said President George W. Bush deserved credit for the moment, too.”

Let’s get real here. Let’s also deal in the present day with these crises as they arise.

Laying blame on presidents of the other party — be they Democrat or Republican — only makes for snappy patter.

Oh … the politics of it all.


Filibuster ends; now, let’s go on the record on guns

Chris Murphy has declared a form of victory in his effort to enact gun-control legislation.

The junior U.S. senator from Connecticut, though, likely won’t be able to win the proverbial “war” against his colleagues who oppose him.

He spoke for 15 hours on the floor of the Senate, ending his filibuster at 2 a.m. As he yielded the floor to Republicans, he said he received assurance that the Senate will vote on whether to approve expanded background checks and to ban gun sales to suspected terrorists.

I will concede that the background check idea is a bit problematical for the Democratic senator. Opponents of expanding those checks contend that those who buy guns already are subjected to them.

It’s the other one, the terrorist element, that puzzles me.


Congressional Republicans so far have opposed the ban on gun sales to individuals on federal no-fly lists. That’s right. Someone who isn’t allowed to board a commercial airliner because of suspected terrorist affiliation can purchase a gun. Wow, man.

Murphy was moved, obviously, by the slaughter in Orlando, Fla., this past weekend — and by the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School four years ago in his home state of Connecticut.

I own two weapons. I understand what the Second Amendment says — I think. I hesitate only because, in my view, the Founders wrote it badly.

Sen. Murphy’s filibuster is supposed to lead now to a Senate vote on these two critical issues: background checks and no-fly list bans.

He isn’t likely to win the day on these votes, given that the Senate is controlled by Republicans who, in turn, appear to be controlled by the gun lobby.

President Barack Obama acknowledged the other day that these measures won’t stop all future acts of gun violence. They might prevent some of them. Isn’t there some value in that?

Let’s put all senators on the record. Do you favor these measures that, in my view, retain the Second Amendment right to gun ownership, or do you oppose them?

Terrorism begets frayed nerves


Tragedies such as what occurred in Orlando, Fla., over the weekend have a sobering impact on all of us.

We’re all on edge. The nation has been shaken.

Then something happens closer to home — a lot closer to home, in fact — and your hair stands straight up in a manner it otherwise might not had the earlier tragedy not occurred.

This morning I was driving home from an assignment in Pampa, Texas. My phone rang; I answered it using the Bluetooth device in my truck. It’s my wife.

“Where are you?” she asked. I tell her I’m on Amarillo Boulevard about to turn south onto Loop 335.

“Don’t go near Interstate 27 and Georgia Street,” she instructed me. “The police have it blocked off. There’s a shooter.”

Holy s***!

It turns out that someone was holding someone else hostage inside the Walmart store at that intersection. Police had cordoned off the area. They were negotiating with the gunman.

I got home and watched the news. Not much time after returning home came word that law enforcement officers had shot the gunman to death. The hostage is OK.

The crisis is over. Now comes the investigation into what happened and why.

Then it occurred to me. This is what acts of terror do to people. The gunman in Orlando might have committed that horrific act for any number of reasons.

The bottom line is this: He terrorized that community and in the process put the rest of this very large and powerful nation on edge.

Suffering the symptoms of fear as a result of a terrorist act is no fun at all.

Quite obviously, I’m glad the crisis is over and that the Amarillo Police Department, the Randall County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety, which I know to be run by dedicated professionals, did their jobs.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for keeping us safe.

We all can breathe again.


Flag takes on more significance


This flag is flying in front of our home this morning.

We fly it for all the “patriotic holidays.” An Amarillo Boy Scout troop puts the flag up for us and we display it until the Scouts — and/or their parents — remove it at the end of the day.

Given that today is Flag Day, we’re displaying Old Glory in all its splendor.

This year, in light of recent tragic events half a continent away, it seems more appropriate and fitting than ever to salute the flag and what it means.

I refer, of course, to the massacre in Orlando, where 49 people were gunned down by a monstrous murderer, who then was killed by police. (As an aside, I’m going to follow the lead of several media outlets and from now on decline to mention the gunman’s name — out of respect for his victims.)

The flag stands for many principles. One of them is especially poignant today. It’s diversity.

The nation came into existence because people risked all they had — including their very lives — to escape repression. They came to our shores and established a New World dedicated to the notion that they could be whatever they chose to be without interference from a higher government authority.

They celebrated their true independence by creating a nation dedicated to that, and other, founding principles.

We are still looking for answers as to why the gunman did that terrible act in Florida. Did he hate his victims because they were gay, given that they were dancing in a gay nightclub? Did he act out of some allegiance to a perversion of a great religion?

I don’t know.

I do know — as we all do — that our country has been stained once again by senseless bloodshed.

With that all said, today we fly our flag in honor of the principles that created our great nation. Our spirit has been bloodied, but we must always remain strong and resolute against hate … no matter its form.


Abbott makes simple statement of solidarity

gov mansion

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott flew the flag at the Governor’s Mansion.

It was the Florida state flag, which he unfurled to honor the victims of the Orlando nightclub massacre, the worst such event in U.S. history.

He offered a statement calling on Texans to pray for the victims of the shooting. I applaud the governor’s simple statement of support for those who were killed and injured and for the loved ones who are grieving or praying for the victims’ complete recovery.

Then he lost me … almost.

Abbott used the occasion to make a statement that we need to do more to stamp out radical Islamic terrorism.

The gunman, an American, swore fealty to the Islamic State before opening fire at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, which caters to the city’s gay community. FBI director James Comey, though, has suggested that his agency cannot find any indication that the shooter was acting as part of an ISIS master plot; he was a lone wolf, a guy acting on his own.

My question tonight is this: How does the federal government stop a lone madman?

It’s a no-brainer to suggest that the government needs to do more to combat terrorism. Any act taken committed against us — whether it’s on a 9/11-type scale or anything less audacious — always means we need to “do more.”

Before we get too worked up about this latest attack, let’s remember what every expert the media could corral after 9/11 told us: There should be no doubt that we’ll get hit again by terrorists.

As for the latest incident, the best law enforcement minds on Earth are trying to ascertain whether the shooter was acting out of hatred for gay people or whether he was acting as a radical Islamic terrorist.

I’m glad the governor flew the Florida flag at Governor’s Mansion. The politicization? It seems a bit premature.