The Core Issue

From STAT, August 21, 2023:

More children are dying from guns, and disparities are deepening

In 2020 guns caused the most deaths among U.S. children and adolescents, for the first time surpassing motor vehicle deaths. In 2021, it got worse. A new analysis of CDC data in Pediatrics shows that from 2018 to 2021, the death rate climbed by 41.6%. “With the unexpected sharp uptick of pediatric firearm deaths noted in 2020, rates did not return to prepandemic levels in 2021, but rather continued to increase and surpassed initial pandemic levels,” the authors write.

The breakdown of children who died:

– In 2021, 84.8% were male, 49.9% were Black, 82.6% were 15 to 19 years-old, and 64.3% died by homicide.

– Black children accounted for 67.3% of firearm homicides and white children for 78.4% of firearm suicides.

– From 2020-2021, the suicide rate increased among Black and white children but decreased among American Indian or Alaskan Native children.

– Higher poverty correlated with higher gun-related deaths.

Our obsessive craziness and lethality over guns is a core issue of mine. With over 27,000 gun deaths already this year, it should be a core issue for all of us. The sad truth is that we will never confront and stop this travesty if we continue down the path of ceding our rights to those who fight against what should be common sense. Indeed, we will never tackle any of the issues that the majority of us care about if we cede our rights to those who fight against what we want. That leads us to an uncomfortable reality. Steve Sheffey nails it in his post of August 20:

Democracy must be our new litmus test. We all have non-negotiable issues but democracy must come first and foremost because only in a democracy can we advocate for the other issues we care about and only in a democracy are our other freedoms protected. Under the old paradigm, we could take for granted that both parties shared a fundamental commitment to democracy and the rule of law.

But it’s different now. Here’s the necessary action piece, also from Sheffey:

Only the Democratic Party respects democratic norms today, which means that only the Democratic Party deserves our support. That’s not what we want to hear because it deprives us of agency. But if we support democracy then that means the GOP fails our litmus test and if we believe what we are saying, we have to vote Democratic. That’s not easy to accept but it is reality.

Steve Schmidt weighed in on the core issue of democracy in his post of August 20,

Democracy dies in the plain light of day

The masthead of The Washington Post has read “Democracy Dies in Darkness” for the last six years. It stands as a daily monument of naïveté, smug self-seriousness and delusion that will be a beacon to our descendants in the task of unraveling how the country became so lost in this moment. What will be most obvious is that democracy dies at noon, in the plain light of day, slowly and painfully over many long tedious years.

Never one to mince words, in another post Schmidt offered,

There is no fringe in the MAGA majority. It is an undulating blob of layered imbecility, cowardice, vice, extremism, ignorance, ambition, incompetence and scheming, bubbling and gurgling together in a ceaseless assault against democracy. The fringe and its middle are identical. MAGA is round and without edges.

The proposition at hand for the country is whether a majority will tolerate the lies, corruption, malice and cruelty offered by the MAGA GOP because of the imperfections of the Democratic Party. There is no comparison between the two in terms of comportment, ethics and political morality. MAGA tried to overthrow the government, and is running on a scorched earth platform of revenge and retribution. Alongside the confederacy, Jim Crow and McCarthyism, MAGA is amongst the most odious concoctions ever created from the fumes of American nativism and know- nothingness. It is a pestilence.

We are seeing the alt-right assault on democracy happening every day in ways that are far larger than they might seem at first and it’s only coming from what used to be called conservatives.

But they are not conservative.

Today’s alt-righties are promoting a scheme to grab all of your power, your voice and your money. They have been actively working to steal from you and to destroy our democracy for decades and have gained enormous traction in today’s pugilistic, fantasy-driven politics.

Their power grab is what makes protecting and defending democracy the core issue of our time. It overrides everything.

That is why I’ve become active in The Union, the only issue of which is to protect and defend our democracy. Check it out.

Just For Fun

The Behr Paint Company has announced its color of the year for 2024. It’s


From the official Behr color palette

The Behr marketing folks would have you know that,

“Cracked Pepper is a versatile soft black that elevates any room and the way you feel in it.”


“As we look into 2024, creating a sense of comfort and belonging will continue to drive design decisions—but now, as life returns to its more familiar rhythms, it’s time to allow our senses to come alive,” says Erika Woelfel, Vice President of Color and Creative Services at Behr Paint Company. “From heightening the aromas of a dining room to feeling the softness of a living area, Cracked Pepper enhances the natural expression in any space.”

What does an “elevated room” look like and how does paint do that? How does their product “allow our senses to come alive” and “height[en] the aromas of a dining room?”

C’mon, man. It’s just paint that’s almost black. Seriously, who comes up with descriptions like this for paint? And what are they smoking?

  • Today is a good day to be the light


  • Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
  • Fire the bastards!
  • The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

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3 Responses to The Core Issue
  1. Jim Altschuler Reply

    I have never voted by party. I have always evaluated the people running for an office and voted for the one I determined to be best suited to represent me and my beliefs. Admittedly that has usually been a Democrat but, as stated, that vote was based on the person not the party. That said, given the stance and the direction of the Republicans, I don’t see any of these R sheep who I would be comfortable voting for to represent MY America. I guess the choices for every office are, therefore, limited to Democrats … unless a Republican candidate suddenly appears in the next 15 months who can and will stand up to the destructive Rs.

  2. Joan Lindgren Reply

    In no way would I not think guns are killing our young kids in our society. I want to add….besides guns…..the Republicans under Trump added a new dimension to cruelty of how we are not taking care of our children and that is, the Republican NON-support for poor children. He cut food stamp programs (SNAP) to the tune of $193B, slashed $5.8B from the budget of the Children Health Insurance Program which serves 9 M children and the poor. If children don’t get what they need, there will be more shooting in the streets as these children grow up.

    • Jack Altschuler Reply

      Hmmm . . . Do you suppose if we blow off kids today that they might grow up with an attitude? That they might want to strike out at those who hurt them when they needed help?

      Sadly, that is the way of today’s Republicans. Perhaps most sad are the Republicans who want to do the right thing but they are cowards, making them tacit endorsers of the cruelty.