Tag Archives: violence

Compilation Of Trump Encouraging Violence, Along With The White House Lying About Him Encouraging Violence

One of the things that really chaps my hide is how brazen the Trump White House has been with their lying straight to the face of the American people.  The administration has absolutely no credibility on anything at this point.  And what’s more disturbing is the sheer number of Trump cultists that are willing to go along with the lies with nary a second thought.

It struck me a few weeks ago when White House liar Sarah Huckabee-Sanders claimed that Trump had never encouraged violence.  My bullshit meters went off the charts, so I decided to compile times when Trump has blatantly promoted and encouraged violence, either against protesters or his 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, along with the White House press conference in which it is emphatically denied.  Enjoy.

Race And Racism Influence Our Reaction To Gun Violence

So I was thinking about the recent shooting of Congressman Steve Scalise and the reaction from the media thus far, and I gotta say – it’s time for some race-baiting.

A country can reveal it’s racism and racial bias in many ways.  Not just in the obvious ways, such as the existence or prevalence of neo-Nazis or Klansmen, etc.  But also in the collective reaction of its media and the talking points that are generated after a violent incident, depending on the race of the shooter.

I have noticed a stark contrast in the conversation which happens, depending on whether the shooter is white or black, Latino or Muslim.  In general, if the perpetrator of a violent crime is a minority, the perceived threat that they and their actions pose become something external, to be kept at bay or controlled with more policing or security measures.  If he’s a Muslim, it’s terrorism – and it brings up the issue of immigrant vetting, not to mention discussion (criticism) of Islam.  If he’s a black person, the issue which makes the media rounds, in particular on state media like Fox News, becomes about “broken homes” and “thugs.”  A Mexican guy would bring up a similar conversation about immigrants and gangs.

Which brings me to the Scalise shooter, a white man named James Hodgkinson.  The discussion thus far, and the issue of what to blame for the violence, has been concerning “political rhetoric,” as well as possible mental illness.  Conservative outlets like Fox have even had the nerve to try to blame “the political Left,” but other mainstream media sources have also raised the question – is our lack of civil discourse to blame?  Is the issue one of the mentally ill having access to firearms?  Are prescription medications making us crazy?  The problem becomes one that reflects an internal societal dysfunction, rather than an externalized threat.  The blame shifts from the shooter himself to a more generalized “have we become too hostile” or “is something making us violent” scenario.

It brings to mind the differences in approach between drug epidemics, depending on the communities that are affected.  The recent problems with opiate addiction and overdose deaths from prescription painkillers are viewed and talked about in terms of a health “crisis.”  Which is not to say that it isn’t.  But look at the difference between that and the way the crack epidemic of the 80’s and 90’s and other drug problems that plague inner cities (black people) are talked about and handled.  In the case of opiates, the issue is seen as one of public health, whereas with the latter, it is a dangerous scourge, and for years has been dealt with by harsh criminal penalties.

One of the problems with talking about race and racism is that far too often, the very idea of it becomes a sort of taboo that is linked with overt and obvious perpetrators.  Nobody wants to be considered racist, and what frequently comes to mind when racism is mentioned are extreme examples, such as the aforementioned Neo-Nazis or white supremacists.  What we often forget is that racism and racial bias can be more subtle and nuanced, and reflected in not only the beliefs and words of racist people themselves, but also in our general, more indirect characterizations of people’s words and actions and how they fit into our view of the way society should function.  Any honest discussion or race should include the latter.  We shouldn’t be afraid to talk about this issue, and we need to be aware of how media can and often does shape our thinking and perceptions.

Photo credit:  Pixabay.com/IIIBlackhartIII

Here’s Why The “Slippery Slope” Anti-Gun Control Argument Doesn’t Work

If you have engaged in the often highly heated discussion on gun control in the United States, chances are that you have heard the “slippery slope” argument, which is used by pro-gun (or anti-gun control) people. Basically, this argument means that there really can be no “in-between” gun regulations or limits imposed without violating the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution. I disagree with this argument, and believe that we can and should have tougher gun restrictions without violating the Constitutional right to bear arms.

If you can imagine standing on a ledge, and that ledge represents the absolute right to bear arms, and below you there is the other extreme, which is having no right to bear any arms. The slippery-slope argument postulates that as soon as you start moving from the top level, or right to bear arms, to the lower level via gun restrictions or increased regulation, you will begin sliding down the slope and end up at the lower level, in which all guns are banned.

This argument doesn’t work for a few reasons. One reason is that there are current examples of other Constitutional rights being limited without an overall, absolute threat to the right in question. For example, the right of free speech. There are limits to this right. A person cannot expect to yell “fire!” in a crowded movie theater, for instance, without repercussions. Inciting a riot is also something that can get a person into a lot of trouble. Yet, we still have this fundamental right to free speech in America. In most circumstances, a person can say pretty much whatever they want without fear of being put in jail or worse.

Another reason the slippery slope argument doesn’t work is that, frankly, if it were true, it would already be happening. There are already regulations and limits pertaining to what kinds of weapons a person can own. A person doesn’t have the right to make nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction, for instance. Why not? It’s an “arm” to bear, isn’t it? The logic behind it is that such weapons are likely to cause great harm to other people than those that are being protected by them. While fully automatic AK-47’s and Uzi’s are in fact legal in some states, you need to jump through a lot of hoops and pay the appropriate fees to own one. So there are already examples of us having tougher regulations with certain specific kinds of assault rifles, without the overall right to bear arms being violated.

Instead of thinking of it as a slippery slope between the untouched right to bear arms and the other extreme of all guns being banned, it is better to think of it as a staircase. Meaning, you can go down a few levels without sliding all the way to the lower extreme. With the concept of a staircase, we can impose certain regulations and restrict certain specific weapons without endangering the overall right to own guns and defend your life and property.

So, the next time you are in a gun control argument and you hear someone say it’s a “slippery slope,” tell ’em “Not true! We can build a staircase!”

Photo credit – www.freedigitalphotos.net – vectorolie

Baltimore Explodes

Riots and looting have broken out in Baltimore, after the funeral of Freddie Gray, who died after sustaining a nearly severed spinal cord while in police custody.  Property has been damaged, fires have been set and several police officers have been injured in the destructive rage that has spread throughout the city.

When things like this happen, people often try to find things to blame – be it the “race-baiting” media, or our “race-baiting” president, or just the fact that rioters are no-good “looters” and “thugs.”  

My view of the violence is that no, it is not right.  And I feel for those who have been injured or whose property or livelihoods have been damaged or destroyed by it.  Unfortunately, it happens.  But I would ask of people who are inconvenienced or bothered by the violence – what else should be expected?  A strongly worded letter?  Harsh language?  It might not win hearts over for the cause, and might actually backfire in the minds and hearts of some people who might have been on the fence on the issue at hand, but it certainly gets people’s attention, doesn’t it?  

Change happens slowly, and these incidents don’t just happen overnight.  This is not just about Freddie Gray.  It’s about Eric Garner, and Trayvon Martin, and Tamir Rice, and any number of the other people whose deaths happened without repercussions for their killers, be they authority figures or just wannabe-cops.  I look at situations like this as an inevitable by-product of a violent culture’s justice system, which serves an economically disparate society that sadly disenfranchises many, and has for years.  Face it, Americans are violent.  Our police and criminals are violent.  Patience and restraint are not really our forte.  Hell, the founding of our country was rooted in violent uprising.  And when you have people that don’t have much, with not much in terms of future prospects, and who are left to feel like society as a whole does not value them at all, that powder keg is bound to explode at some point.  True, there are opportunists and people just looking for an excuse to satiate their appetite and propensity for destruction.  But those people alone wouldn’t be able to start and maintain such widespread unrest. 

I wish things like this didn’t have to happen, and I wish they would stop.  But unfortunately that’s not the way people work, especially when they are at the end of their rope.  And ultimately, that’s what it boils down to.  When collectively held down and pummeled long enough, people are bound to reflexively and instinctually lurch back with resistance at some point.  Even if it’s just an involuntary, defensive motion, and a small part of the larger picture of attempted survival in the face of attack.

Photo credit – Pixabay.com – OpenClips

Are We Becoming Immune To Police Brutality?

Nearly 25 years ago, the videotaped beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles Police officers caused outrage in Los Angeles and throughout the nation. The video became a singular, notorious representation of the use of force by police. The case came to represent a hotbed of racial tension, and the officers’ subsequent acquittal of criminal charges lead to the outbreak of the Los Angeles riots in 1992.

Flash forward to the present day, there are high-quality video cameras on countless types of mobile devices and phones. In addition, the advent of portable video recorders has lead some police departments to equip officers with cameras that record the arrests they make and the people that they encounter. As a result, there have been more and more incidents of questionable (at minimum) police uses of force that have been captured on video that, with the advent of the internet, are readily available to the public in an instant. However, there seems to be significantly less outrage these days when incidents similar to the Rodney King beating occur.

Case in point, the recent video of a CHP officer repeatedly punching a black grandmother in the face and head along a Los Angeles freeway. The video has gone viral on social media, but it does not seem to have the galvanizing power that the Rodney King incident did in the 1990’s. Perhaps it is because the officer is using his fists instead of batons. Maybe.

But even beatings that result in death do not seem to enrage the community or the nation as they did with the King beating.  In Orange County in 2011, Kelly Thomas was severely beaten by two Fullerton Police officers and later died of his injuries.  The incident generated some local protests, but it was not national news on the level of the King beating.  However, like the King case, the officers involved were later acquitted of murder charges, much to the disdain of many who followed the case.

Perhaps we have simply become desensitized to real-life violent imagery, made accessible largely through social media and the web. In an age of videotaped beheadings and other forms of extreme torture and murder easily accessed on shock websites at the click of a button, acts of brutality (whether by the police or not) sadly become a little more mundane. Violence has become digitally watered down in the public’s consciousness, and public sensitivity has waned as a result. Ironically, the more cameras and outlets that have become available as objective witnesses to police use of force, the less people seem to care.