Tag Archives: gun violence

Stop the demagoguery on guns!

(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I am on the verge of pulling my hair out!

The hysteria mounted by those who oppose legislative solutions to the national gun violence epidemic is driving me to the edge of insanity.

The gun lobby keeps yammering about how those of us who want to make it even more difficult for nut jobs to obtain firearms are actually intent on “taking guns away from law-abiding citizens.”

I can think of fewer contemporary discussion topics that are farther from the truth than that one. I know what the Second Amendment says about the right to “keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” I also know that it would be political folly for any reasonable politician to suggest that the amendment be stricken from the U.S. Constitution.

To say, though, that our intent is to disarm Americans is flat out wrong. It is frightening. It also is dangerous.

The danger comes in the form of those who believe such bullsh** and who react by storming government buildings, fully armed, threatening to do bodily harm to elected officials who are trying their level best to make us safer from the nut jobs among us.

We have witnessed such incidents in Oregon, Michigan, Texas (where my family and I live) and throughout the nation. The gun lobby has latched onto people’s fears and is exploiting it to the maximum degree. The whole lot of them are being led by the immediate past POTUS who foments the nonsense by declaring that “Democrats want to destroy the Second Amendment.”

I will not tolerate such utter trash. I remain committed to the notion that there remains a sensible legislative answer to the gun violence plague that retains the integrity of the Second Amendment. Anyone who suggests it’s all an effort to “disarm law-abiding citizens” is flat-out crazy.

A curious exception to open-carry law

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The Texas Legislature has approved a bill that allows any yahoo in Texas who wants to carry a gun to do so.

Yep. No need to take a test to prove competence with a firearm. No requirement for a license. Texas legislators say the U.S. Constitution is all the requirement anyone needs to pack heat.

Get this, though: The Legislature said you cannot carry a gun into the State Capitol Building, where legislators work! Hmm. Why is that?

I am reminded of the time back in the 1990s when a publisher with whom I worked in Amarillo questioned a state senator about a similar exception the Legislature sought when it considered its concealed-carry legislation. My boss, Garet von Netzer, quizzed the late Teel Bivins, an Amarillo Republican, why he and his colleagues won’t allow someone to “carry a six-shooter on their hip” when they walk into the Capitol. I don’t recall what Bivins said at the time, but von Netzer made a good point then … which is that if you’re going to allow Texans to arm themselves, then open it up to any venue in the state.

I only can presume that legislators have a secret fear of potential mayhem in the halls of state government when Gov. Greg Abbott signs this abomination into law.

What about those Texas pols?

(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

As we travel around the country and we tell folks that we hail from Texas, I get a certain question in various forms.

It goes something like this: What is going on in Texas, with those politicians down there?

One of the issues that drives the question deals with what they call in Austin “constitutional carry” of firearms. Gov. Greg Abbott is going to sign a bill that enables any Texan who isn’t a convicted felon to carry a firearm with any permit.

That’s right. Any yahoo who wants to pack a pistol on his hip can do so. There you go. More guns makes us a safer place, the politicians tell us.

My answer to the question is that I do not understand what rattles around in the noggins of those who think of such idiocy. I am left to utter a four-letter word or two to describe Gov. Abbott, a politicians I for whom I used to harbor positive personal feelings. Not any longer, man.

The political climate in the state where my family and I have lived for nearly 40 years is giving me the willies.

Get ready for more guns, Texas

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The organization once known as the “law and order party” is about to give Texas residents some serious pause about its commitment to the issue of, um … law and order.

On the strength of all 18 Republican Texas senators and a GOP majority of Texas House members, the Legislature is about to approve a new bill that allows Texans to pack heat wherever and whenever they want — without acquiring a mandated state-issued permit to do so.

Do you feel safer now? Hah! Me neither.

I hasten to add that this legislation is being pushed to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk over the strenuous objections of big-, middle- and small-city chiefs of police all over the state. Many of them, such as Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia, worry about a dramatic increase in armed suspects being stopped for various violations and the risk their officers face as a result.

Now it’s a matter of giving everyone who wants to carry a gun permission to do so. Yes, they have written some restrictions into it, such as disqualifying someone with a recent felony conviction.

Still, the notion that this bill takes down so-called “arbitrary restrictions” to the Second Amendment to our Constitution is foolish. Thus, that’s why it is being called “constitutional carry” legislation.

I had expressed some hope that the Senate would resist approving this nutty notion. My hope rested on my friend state Sen. Kel Seliger, an Amarillo Republican, who resisted it saying that the concealed carry permit restrictions were sufficient and that they did not infringe on the Second Amendment’s guarantee of firearm ownership.

I guess Seliger caved. That disappoints me.

As for the Republican legislative majority, I will presume that they all have said at least once during their political career how they support our law enforcement community. Hell, so do I!

If so, then why are they pushing back against the resistance of state’s cops?

Ridiculous.

Listen to us, legislators!

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

What gives with our elected representation in Austin?

They are charting legislative courses that, according to public opinion surveys, go directly against the wishes of the people for whom they work. That us, folks! You and me! And perhaps even our neighbors and family members.

Here’s a case in point.

The Texas Legislature is moving toward enacting a law that allows Texans to pack heat on their hips — a pistol in the open — without having to undergo a simple course and exam to prove they know how to handle the shootin’ iron.

Legislators, led by the Republican majority, call it “constitutional carry.” So, what do rank-and-file Texans think of it? They are opposed to letting our neighbors pack heat into the grocery store, or to park, or the gasoline service station.

The latest poll from the Texas Tribune/University of Texas says that 59 percent of Texans oppose “constitutional carry” of firearms. According to the Tribune: A solid majority of Texas voters don’t think adults should be allowed to carry handguns in public places without permits or licenses, though the idea is popular with a 56% majority of Republicans. Overall, 59% oppose unlicensed carry — a number driven up by the 85% of Democrats who oppose it. On the Republican side, the gun questions revealed a gender gap. Among Republican men, 70% said they support unlicensed carry; 49% of Republican women oppose that position.

So, my question is this: Who in the hell are the 181 state senators and House members, plus Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick — who runs the Senate — listening to?

Texas voters on “constitutional carry,” abortion bans and more in UT/TT Poll | The Texas Tribune

If we are to believe the Tribune/UT poll, they ain’t listening to their bosses, those of us who have to live with the laws they approve.

Shameful. Just shameful.

Gun hysteria is frightening

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The hysteria coming from the right wing of the political spectrum over gun safety, gun rights and gun related violence is scaring the bejabbers out of me.

I keep hearing the same mantra. Those who want to regulate gun purchases are intending to “take away your guns.” They want to disarm law-abiding Americans. They want to “toss out the Constitution’s Second Amendment” and they want us to create a passive population that does whatever the hell the government tells us to do.

How about that? Do you believe any of it? I don’t. Neither should you or anyone else.

The Second Amendment, which I contend was written poorly by the founders, does not mean that government must not regulate the purchase of firearms. The “well-regulated Militia” part of the amendment, of course, causes me some confusion as well.

Still, no serious politician that I have heard has said a word about taking guns away from those who keep them for legitimate purposes. You know, hunters, target shooters, those who want to protect their homes and their loved ones from robbers or others who want to harm them.

Good grief, man. There’s not a damn thing wrong with any of that.

Just so you know, we have two rifles in our home. I keep them hidden away. No one is going to take them from me. Nor do I ever expect government goons to bust down my door to seize them.

The gun debate has devolved into the worst form of demagoguery possible.

Gun violence remains a crisis in this country. We elect members of Congress to represent our interests. I believe they should heed their “bosses” demand that they do more to protect us against those who want to harm us.

Paranoia? Don’t think so!

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Paranoia is not part of my emotional composition.

However, while walking through the neighborhood with Toby the Puppy on leash, a horrifying thought raced through my mind as we walked along a busy boulevard bordering our ‘hood.

I must preface my thought by noting the rash of gun violence we have experienced in this country for, oh, the past 20 years or so.

The thought? What in the world would I do were I to hear gunshots dangerously close by? What’s worse, the thought crossed my mind about what I would do were I actually hit by a stray bullet.

Has such a thought ever crossed your mind? Don’t answer that. I am speaking only for myself.

The truth is I don’t scare easily. I am not particularly “scared” right now. My noodle occasionally dances around with some strange thoughts. It did so this afternoon while I was walking our precious puppy through our wonderful, quiet neighborhood. I do not expect anything of the kind of violence we have witnessed in far-off places to erupt near us.

It’s just that the spate of gun violence, particularly in the past few days and weeks, has injected my brain with thoughts that give me some concern.

I don’t intend to act on it, tempting as it might seem to be.

We live in crazy, chaotic and kooky times. They are giving me thoughts I never imagined thinking when I was a boy or even as a much younger adult, other than when I drove through Da Nang, South Vietnam after the sun went down back in the old days. Hey, that was war, man. I certainly hope we aren’t heading in that direction here at home.

Assault weapons have their place, but …

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

This picture showed up overnight on my Facebook news feed and by golly it pretty much sums up what I believe about assault weapons.

They have their place. They belong in the hands of fighting men and women who are in battle against enemies of the state. They are built to kill lots of people in rapid fashion. Should our military personnel carry them? Abso(freakin’)lutely, man!

What role does a weapon that packs dozens of rounds of ammo have in civilized civilian society? None. Zero. They are used too often by lunatics to kill innocent human beings in fits of rage.

So it is that this debate has been joined once again in the wake of the Indianapolis massacre at the FedEx facility. Eight people died in that mayhem before the lunatic shooter killed himself with the weapon he used against his victims.

Gun-rights enthusiasts/fanatics continue to harp on the notion that the Second Amendment guarantees their right to own whatever weapon they want to own. Even those that carry high-capacity magazines that the weapon can empty in seconds. For what purpose?

As the sign I posted with this blog item declares, it ain’t to kill lots of critters in the forest. Their intent is to kill human beings in short order.

I’ll be clear on this point: We shouldn’t hold our breath waiting for Congress to exhibit any semblance of sanity by banning these weapons. Nor should we expect any sign of courage among those who are willing to stand strongly against the gun lobby that keeps lying about what the Second Amendment allows.

Not ‘too soon’ to debate gun violence

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Eight more Americans died this week in a shooting that erupted in Indianapolis, Ind., and once again we’re sending our “thoughts and prayers” to the victims’ loved ones.

A solution to the gun violence remains a mystery. President Biden, though, is trying to appeal to our sense of national shame. He said, according to RealClearPolitics.com:

“This has to end. It is a national embarrassment … Every single day, there’s a mass shooting in the United States,” President Biden continued. “Who in God’s name needs a weapon that can hold 40 rounds?”

Biden said: “Congress has to step up to act and pass bills on gun reform. We need to ban assault weapons. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t also be working on COVID and the economy.”

Joe Biden on Gun Violence: Mass Shootings “Every Day” Are “A National Embarrassment” And “It Has To End” | Video | RealClearPolitics

The president is preaching to the proverbial choir here, man. But the ongoing spasm of gun violence is a “national embarrassment.” I have difficulty explaining to my overseas friends how American politicians can allow this to continue.

I do my best, though, to explain to them foreigners the nuance contained in the Second Amendment to our Constitution. It reads: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The one element of that Amendment that I cannot explain is the construction of the single sentence, which seems to contain a couple of non-sequiturs. I cannot connect the part about the “well-regulated Militia” with the “right of the people to keep and bear Arms.”

But it’s written into our nation’s founding government document. That makes it virtually impossible to trifle with.

However, I shudder at the thought of all this violence. I have trouble facing down my overseas friends who challenge the idea that our political leaders cannot find a solution that keeps faith with what our founders carved out.

OK, so here we are. Eight more victims have been slain by a madman. We need to ramp up the debate right now over how we can eliminate this “national embarrassment.”

‘Violence must end’ … do ya think?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Vice President Kamala Harris spoke for millions of us.

As The Hill reported: “Yet again we have families in our country that are grieving the loss of their family members because of gun violence,” Harris told reporters as she greeted Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. “There is no question that this violence must end and we are thinking of the families that lost their loved ones.”

Eight people died in a massacre at the FedEx distribution center in Indianapolis. The shooter then killed himself.

Harris on Indianapolis shooting: ‘This violence must end’ | TheHill

I won’t identify the lunatic on this blog. I choose to keep his name to myself; besides, you probably already know it.

I don’t know about you, but I am running out of ways to express my outrage over this kind of violence. I am left to throw up my hands, to shake my noggin back and forth, to offer a quiet prayer for the families of those latest victims of this madness.

President Biden has called on Congress to enact laws tightening background checks. He has issued an executive order banning “ghost guns” that have no serial numbers. He and others are imploring Congress to step up. I join them in that effort.

My hope is giving way to a cynical belief that we are being governed by cowards. Shame on them. Shame on those among us for putting them in power.