massacre

Highland Park Strong


Ed note: The last section of this post – The Community – was added after the video recording was completed. Scroll down and check it out. It was a most moving ceremony.


Last Wednesday evening, the 6th of July, I attended a vigil. It was just 2 days after the Highland Park massacre. Sitting next to me in the over-crowded sanctuary was a woman who had traveled from West Rogers Park in Chicago to be with her daughter who lives in Highland Park. She had a thick Eastern European accent and fear in her eyes.

She made it clear that she feels the weight of the danger and the evil that assaulted all of us on July 4th and she asked me, “Who will save us?” I thought about her profound question for a few moments and then realized the answer. I told her, “We will.”

That isn’t new or insightful. It’s simply the way it’s always been. The cavalry isn’t going to come over the hill, so we have to save ourselves.

I wrote last Wednesday about what I believe the shooter hoped to accomplish and that topic deserves more attention. It’s reasonable to assume that he saw himself as having been victimized by people in his town. We don’t know who he imagined were his victimizers, but judging by the random nature of his shooting, it didn’t matter to him. He was quite content to shoot anybody in sight. And that makes fine pathological sense, because one of the things we know about victims is that most often they victimize others, often randomly.

He wanted to stop hearts and injure people. He accomplished that. And he wanted to break your heart so that you would suffer pain as payback for whatever grievances he holds so tightly. He accomplished that, too.

And that’s the point upon which everything turns: We have it in our power to heal our hearts and take action and thereby ensure he remains the loser.

I wrote that we must never let the bad guys win and I believe that way deep down inside. The way to make sure the bad guys don’t win is to save ourselves, to hold one another in love and community. And it’s to take action. The way for us to win and make the bad guys lose is to be what the signs and T-shirts say:

Highland Park Strong

just like

Boston Strong

just like

Waukesha Strong

and Uvalde Strong

and Buffalo Strong

and Parkland Strong

and Sandy Hook Strong

and all the rest.

I’m not at a point where I can entertain forgiveness. The hurt is too close and too strong and I’m just not that evolved. But I am definitely committed to being strong in the face of this and every mass horror – strong for myself and others, strong for our community and strong for our country. I will not let the bad guys win.

From Lee Goodman, head of Peaceful Communities, Inc:

We will seek comfort and healing, and we will support one another and our communities.

The one thing we cannot do is give up.

We are in this together. We will stand strong together and we will find safety together, including for that frightened woman from West Rogers Park. We will hold vigils and we will hold hands. And we will find the way to save ourselves from those who would hurt us. Here’s how.

Activist Nancy Kohn makes it clear that our safety will come as a result of electing people who will do the will of We The People – things like enacting laws with teeth to protect us from those who would do us harm. She wrote,

Congressman Eric Swalwell reminds us that the NRA, which he rightly calls an evil terrorist organization, doesn’t cast any votes in Congress. Senators and Representatives cast votes, and they can only do that [cast the right votes] if we elect them. In the end, our votes are the most powerful weapon we can yield. We have taken small, but important steps toward sensible gun safety laws. It’s time to elect people who will do much, much more.
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Click here for a must watch explainer.
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If you want a list of the key Senate races that need your support, contact Nancy. To read her current post and to subscribe to her NKC Occasional Update (highly recommended), click here.
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We will not give up, we will not give in. We will not let the bad guys harden our hearts or continue to use our communities as shooting galleries. And we won’t let them chip away at our country. We will vote and we will encourage others to vote and we’ll support the right candidates so that we come to be represented by people who stand for America, not the gun lobby.

The Community

Just a fraction of the community who came out – for the community

Yesterday, July 9, I attended another vigil, this one in a park in Highland Park. Maybe it was a healing. Maybe it was a grieving. For sure it was a community come together to face truth. Make no mistake, there was a lot of anger over the wrong done to so many people.

Rep.Brad Schneider (D-IL 10) called out the names of the murdered and told a bit about each of them so that we would know and remember that these weren’t statistics. These were real people who lived and loved, who were unjustly killed and who continue to live in the hearts of so many.

Rep. Schneider in the black shirt

The youngest of the injured is an 8-year-old boy, now with a severed spine. This is brutal and cruel and real stuff. So, keep the injured in your heart, too.

And keep in your heart the first responders, the police and fire, the ambulance folks, the county professionals, the Chicago specialists, and the FBI and ATF people. because they were face-to-face with the horrible truth lying in blood on the street and sidewalks. I doubt if any of those folks is sleeping well. Next time you see one of them, thank them for what they did and for what they do every day.

There are so many pieces to this ongoing threat to all of us. Most of these horrific shootings are done by 18 – 21 year olds. I don’t have any idea how to deal with this, but once again I ask, “Where the hell have the killer’s parents been for the past two decades?”

Beyond that we have so much to deal with. This is not a single solution problem. The parts include over 20 million assault weapons in America and that they are easier for an 18-year-old to buy than a pack of cigarettes; the total, undeserved protection from liability of the gun industry; our sieve-like system of background checks; the red flag laws that don’t red flag much of anything; the almost nonexistent requirement for proper firearms training and so much more.

That’s why you’re going to contact your state representative and senator and your congressional representative and senators and demand action. Contact Moms Demand Action and ask what you can do to help.

One more time: We will vote and we will encourage others to vote and we’ll support the right candidates so that we come to be represented by people who stand for America, not the gun lobby.

WE STAND HIGHLAND PARK STRONG!
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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:
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Fire the bastards!
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The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

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Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

This Isn’t The Time


Instructions

Study this material. There is a test at the end.

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Click me to view the Gun Violence Archive

I know that this isn’t the time, because after each horrific mass shooting in America Mitch McConnell tells us that yet again. He said that after Sandy Hook. He said that after Parkland. He said that after the Pulse Nightclub and Sugar Land and Mother Emanuel AME Church and Aurora and Poway and Tree of Life Synagogue and El Paso and I’m pretty sure he’s going to say it now, after the Buffalo and Laguna Woods church shootings last weekend.

Yesterday, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), third-ranking Republican in the House, said, “It is not the time to politicize this tragedy,” yet she paid for ads pushing the replacement lie. Just another day in HypocrisyLand.

It seems that it’s never time to talk about doing anything to stop our American massacres. And it’s not because they happen infrequently. In fact, there have been 27 mass shootings this month alone and it’s only the 18th. Actually, we’re pretty good at murdering one another and we’re steadfast in doing nothing to make us safer.

For decades over 80% of Americans – that includes over 72% of NRA members – have wanted strict, universal background checks prior to the sale of any firearm. The vast majority of us want assault weapons to be prohibited. Same for large capacity magazines, bump stocks and both concealed and open carry. How’s that working out for We The Majority?

It was just a short time after those twenty little 6- and 7-year-old kids and their six teachers and staff were slaughtered at Sandy Hook Elementary School that Wayne LaPierre of the NRA began to insult this country with, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” I have to admit that was a most excellent, chest-thumping marketing ploy for selling more guns.

There are way more guns in this country than people, so there must be a lot of good guys with guns. But how many bad guy murderous rampages have been stopped by a good guy with a gun? Can you think of even one? Neither can I.

Can you imagine a good guy with a gun at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in a shoot out with the bad guy as the halls were full of kids between class periods?

I’m not running for office and I don’t care who I upset by saying this:

  1. I want universal background checks before the sale or transfer of any firearm. That includes Grandpa giving his favorite hunting rifle to his grandson. That grandson just might be named Dylann Roof or Nicholas Cruz or  Eric Harris or Dylan Klebold or Omar Mateen or Robert Gregory Bowers or Adam Lonza. He might be mentally ill or he might be a White Supremacist, hate-filled homicidal maniac like the Buffalo murderer. I don’t want that grandson to get his hands on any firearm.
  2. I want assault weapons to be illegal. These are so-called “man guns” with which our over-testosteroned, angry, under-educated, morally deficient people get their “man card reissued.” Yes, that was the advertising for the Bushmaster assault rifle, the murder machine used at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
  3. I want absolutely no large capacity magazines or bump stocks or automatic firearms of any kind to be allowed anywhere. Alternatively, Americans to have the right to own as many muskets and musket balls as they want, just as the Founders intended when they wrote the Second Amendment.
  4. I want all new firearms sold to have an interlock so that only the owner can fire it. That will help to stop the theft of guns and their subsequent use to kill you and me. If technology makes it possible, I want all existing firearms to be retrofitted with that same technology.
  5. I don’t want any civilian walking my streets carrying a firearm, whether concealed or open carried. And I don’t want anyone to have a gun in the passenger compartment of their vehicle, just like we don’t allow open containers of alcoholic beverages in cars. We don’t need homicidal road rage any more than we need drunk drivers.
  6. I want a full semester of civics taught to every 8th grade school kid, whether in public or private school. Then I want every high school senior to take two semesters of civics classes. Graduation should be contingent upon successfully completing those classes. Maybe that will help to establish a sense of responsibility in our young citizens. They might even grow up to be responsible older citizens. That would be a refreshing change for our country.

Until I’m in charge you better make your voice heard. Otherwise, you’ll once again hear McConnell tell us this is not the time to talk about ways to stop the bleeding and the dying. You’ll have to endure chorus after chorus of “thoughts and prayers” from our jellyfish elected officials. You can identify them as those occasionally somber looking people with special lapel pins and who haven’t the courage to sneeze without first getting permission from their Party leaders, from the hate spewers and from the gun crazies.

If you and I don’t stand up and speak up there will be lots more dead fellow citizens who did nothing worse than go to school or go to an outdoor concert or go to church or have the audacity to go grocery shopping while Black.

Test

Answer each question to the best of your ability. If you find yourself stuck on any question, go on to the next one. When you circle back to the unanswered questions, if you find you still need help, you may use the Hint and the Explainers below.

Questions

  1. Why isn’t this already fixed?
  2. How is it possible that our circumstances have become far worse?
  3. What have we become?

    Click for the video – but be prepared with some tissues.

  4. Story Problem:

    On Monday Victor Blackwell of CNN interviewed survivors of the slaughter rampage in Buffalo last weekend. Two women he talked with had been on their way to the Tops supermarket. Their aunt was already there and was killed by that White supremacist gunman. One of the women was entirely distraught and the other was, as she described herself, devastated. Their pain was so palpable that Blackwell could barely keep himself together.

    At last he turned to the camera and to his anchor in the studio and said,

    “I was counting in the car, talking with my producer  .  .  .  I’ve done 15 of these – at least the ones I can count. And we keep having the conversation about Democrats will say guns, Republicans will say mental health, and nothing will change.

    “And I’ll probably do another one this year. Family after family, having nowhere to go with their grief.

    “We’ll get into a political conversation later, but is this the way we’re supposed to live? Are we destined to just keep doing this, city after city? Have we just resigned that this is what we’re going to be?”

    Q. What are your answers for Victor Blackwell?

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Hint

   The answer to questions 1 – 3 (and maybe #4) can be found in one word: Apathy.

Explainers

  1. The behavior we tolerate is the behavior we get.
  2. If we always do what we’ve always done, we’ll always get what we always got.
  3. Unless something changes, nothing will change.
Joke of the Week

This is humorous, but it’s sadly related in style to our present reality, including our domestic terrorism.

Fox News anchors stole engines #3 & 4 from the right wing of several large airplanes, then blamed it on a left wing conspiracy.

Many thanks to MA for this.

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The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

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