Tag Archives: Dayton shooting

From our heartbreak, seeing signs of hope

Our hearts are broken across the land as we ponder what happened within hours of each other in two communities, in El Paso and Dayton.

Moronic madmen opened fire on innocent victims. Twenty-two of them died in El Paso, nine in Dayton; dozens more were injured. Police arrested a young man in El Paso and will charge him with multiple counts of capital murder; the cops gunned down the Dayton killer.

We grieve as a nation.

There might be a glimmer of hope arising from our sorrow. How does it present itself?

It might be occurring on the twin-track debate that has commenced.

We’re talking simultaneously about measures we might be able to enact to tighten control of gun purchasing and ownership. No, I’m not talking about watering down the Second Amendment. I stand with those who support the amendment’s guarantee that our right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

There must be a legislative remedy that withstands constitutional scrutiny. Congress hasn’t acted on it. It refuses. Donald Trump won’t take up that cudgel. The gun lobby continues to throw around its weight in the halls of power.

I am not going to join those who want Congress to return immediately from its recess to enact such legislation. Lawmakers will return and then they get to work. I want them to listen to their constituents’ concerns.

Indeed, just this morning, my congressman, freshman Republican Van Taylor, was visiting with constituents here in Princeton, where I am absolutely certain he heard from those who are concerned about the gun violence that keeps erupting around the country. He needs to keep his ears open as he travels through the Third Congressional District of Texas during his time away from Capitol Hill.

The second track is equally important. It deals with the hateful rhetoric we are hearing from politicians, namely from the top! Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric must end. He won’t acknowledge the role his statements have played in the spasm of violence. The El Paso shooter apparently acted out of hatred for Mexican immigrants. Much of a screed published just minutes before he opened fire at the Wal-Mart complex mirrors the rhetoric that Donald Trump has bellowed at campaign rallies since before he became president.

We must continue to have this debate, too, even as we enter a presidential election year.

Many of us had hoped that the Parkland, Fla., high school massacre would engender a long-standing debate. Many of those students became articulate spokesmen and women for the cause of gun reform. Their voices have faded into the background.

Now comes the latest chorus. The debate runs along dual tracks: gun violence and anti-immigrant rhetoric.

I want the debate to continue for as long as it takes, even as we seek to mend our broken hearts.

Here’s what POTUS could have added about massacres

Donald Trump today laid the blame on the mass shootings at the feet of several institutions and cultural trends.

He blamed the Internet for promoting violence, the media for their “fake news” reporting, a lack of mental health awareness and care, the preponderance of violence-ridden video games.

I’ll accept that most of those causes as valid areas of concern; the media, though, have been singled out only because of the president’s hatred and mistrust of them.

What he didn’t do was take any personal responsibility for the coarseness of the political dialogue. Therefore, if I were writing his remarks, I would have added something like this:

Finally, and most significantly, I want to call attention to the coarse rhetoric that has infected our political discourse. I also want to express my personal regret for contributing to it.

Yes, I declared my presidential candidacy in 2015 with a direct assault on Latin American immigrants who were — and still are — crossing our border illegally. However, I went too far in ascribing criminal intent to too many of them. For that I apologize.

Furthermore, from this day forward I am going to dial back my own hard-bitten rhetoric. I will pledge to work openly toward developing a more civil political climate. 

My regret runs deep and I am sorry for whatever I have done to inflame the deeply held passions to which I have referred already in the wake of the El Paso and Dayton massacres.

Why didn’t he say that? It’s simple. Donald Trump does not possess the gene that allows him to express regret for any mistake he commits. So he shrouds institutions and people all around him with blame and responsibility for matters that he –as the president of the United States — has the power to control all by himself.

He once said that “I, alone” can fix what ails the country. He ought to say that “I, alone” will demand an end to the hate-filled rhetoric that has poisoned our political atmosphere.

2nd Amendment serves as barrier to ‘slippery slope’

Now that we’re talking once again openly and relatively urgently — once again! — about gun control legislation, I want to offer an argument that I believe doesn’t get as much attention as it should.

Nearly 30 people are dead after massacres in El Paso and Dayton. Donald Trump has called for “urgent action” to stem gun violence. The nation once again is horrified at the actions of two individuals motivated apparently by vastly different reasons, but whose actions have brought untold misery and heartache to us all.

I believe in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I have read it zillions of times. Although I believe it is worded awkwardly and can be interpreted in any number of ways, it does say that the right to bear arms is guaranteed to all U.S. citizens.

Does that constitutional guarantee act as a barrier against what some might call a “slippery slope” argument opposing efforts to “register” firearms owners? I believe it does.

I’ve heard a bit of social media chatter about how gun registration necessarily leads to “confiscation” of firearms. I want to shoot that argument down — pun very much intended.

The Second Amendment’s language, in my view, prohibits confiscation. Thus, to allow the government to confiscate firearms would require repealing or amending the Second Amendment. Does anyone with half a brain believe that is going to happen, even in the wake of this deadly back-to-back outburst over the weekend? Of course they do not.

Therefore, I maintain my belief that there are legislative remedies available to help stem this epidemic of gun violence. Universal background checks is a start. There might be a registration component to consider as well.

As for the “slippery slope,” the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment acts as an impenetrable barrier to prevent us from sliding too far down that slope. It doesn’t preclude wise men and women in government from doing what they can to legislate a cure for the scourge that is killing too many innocent people.

‘American carnage’ continues unabated

Mr. President, I feel the overwhelming need to remind you of the signature line of your inaugural speech on Jan. 20, 2017.

It was the moment you declared that the “American carnage stops right here. Right now.”

Uh, Mr. President, it hasn’t stopped.

But you know that already. The slaughtering of 20 people in El Paso and 10 in Dayton within hours of each other speaks to the ongoing bloodletting that is occurring throughout our country.

The motive behind the El Paso massacre is coming into focus. The shooter hates immigrants, particularly Latin American immigrants. He wanted to “kill as many Mexicans as possible,” he told the cops who arrested him. The reason for the Dayton bloodbath remains a bit cloudy. I, for one, haven’t yet heard about a motive for the moron opening fire there. About all I know is that he was dressed in body armor and the police gunned him down within seconds of his firing the first rounds at his victims.

I want to return to that pledge you made.

I heard you make the statement about stopping the “American carnage,” but I don’t recall what you said at the time in front of that “record-setting” at the inaugural about how you intended to tackle this crisis. If only you had said anything else that resonated with Americans. I recall a dark, foreboding speech about the myriad crises you said you inherited from your predecessor.

It seems to me, Mr. President, that your rhetoric since taking office has had quite the opposite effect. You haven’t “ended” the carnage, but have stoked anger that only has worsened it.

Let me be clear about one point, Mr. President: I am not going to hold you personally responsible for what that moron did in El Paso. It’s been said during the day that you are no more responsible than Sen. Bernie Sanders was responsible for the pro-Bernie idiot who opened fire on Republican members of Congress practicing for that charity baseball game.

However, I am among many Americans who is distressed beyond measure at the tone of your rhetoric and what impact it might have on those who are inclined to act in the manner we witnessed in El Paso.

You promised to stop “the American carnage.” It’s not too late to make good on that pledge. What are you going to do about it?

Mr. President? Are you listening?

More guns won’t prevent carnage … period!

I am quite certain we’re going to join this debate fully in due course, but I want to inject on this blog a thought I heard this morning in the wake of the El Paso and Dayton massacres that occurred in the past 24 hours.

Thirty people are dead, many more are injured in the wake of two senseless attacks by morons intent on doing harm.

The debate to which I refer? It will involve whether putting more guns in people’s hands will make us a safer society. This morning I heard from a Texan, former San Antonio mayor and former housing secretary (and current candidate for president of the United States) Julian Castro, who made a most cogent observation.

He told “This Week” host Jon Karl that the El Paso slaughter occurred in Texas. It allegedly was carried out by a Texan, who traveled from the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex to El Paso to terrorize innocent victims.

Castro noted that Texas is known worldwide as a place where its residents carry lots of guns; he noted we have concealed carry laws, open carry laws and campus carry laws in Texas. Yet the individual who opened fire in the Wal-Mart mall likely knew of the consequence of facing return fire from firearm-packing bystanders … but it didn’t deter him in the least!

He committed his hideous, heinous and horrific act anyway.

Do more guns make us safer? Well, let’s have that debate. I am willing to argue they do not!