The National Rifle Association (NRA) and President Donald Trump have come out united in their response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting which left 17 dead and several injured. Earning the $30 million the NRA gave him during the Presidential campaign. Trump cited the very same language that NRA Vice-President Wayne LaPierre spoke the day before, wanting to “harden schools,” and arm teachers with concealed weapons. Trump suggested as many as “40%” of teachers might be armed, possibly getting bonuses to carry while most teachers are using their own money to buy classroom supplies.
In addition to all the immediate responses as to why the NRA/Trump plan is insane; teachers could be mistakenly killed by first responders who mistake an armed teacher for a shooter, teachers accidentally students in friendly fire, more accidental shootings, and teachers who handle workplace disputes with a readily available lethal remedy. There’s another reason people of color should be concerned about more guns in schools. It’s the existence in Florida and over half of America’s States, of Stand Your Ground Laws. Most of which were written and pushed by the NRA and enacted by Governor’s and state legislators, beholden to NRA campaign contributions. In those states, including Florida where the most recent school shooting took place, the teacher would be able to legally shoot someone who they believe threatens them, whether true or not.
It is already well-documented that children of color are viewed differently in our schools. They are suspended and expelled disproportionately, they are charged with criminal offenses disproportionately. With teachers carrying weapons and the only criteria is that the teacher is afraid to discharge their gun, children of color will be shot and killed disproportionately as well.
The NRA sponsored law is insidious in that the person claiming they are standing their ground is assumed to be telling the truth. The other person with a version of the incident is often dead, unable to tell their tale. Florida Governor Rick Scott (who refused to appear at the Town Hall following the Stoneman Douglas shooting) and the Republican legislature passed an amended Stand Your Ground bill further encouraging people to shoot first, but the bill was later found to be unconstitutional.
I wanted to write that we must not be governed by gun laws, written by the NRA and implemented by their paid cronies, but that ship has already sailed. What we must do, is make a stand to protect teachers, students, and particularly students of color, and reject the foolish idea of arming teachers in schools. The only way that ends is with more shootings, more deaths, and more disparity.
To the students, parents, administrators, and supporters of the #NeverAgain movement. I invite you to consider a few things as you decide how to move forward. The marches you’ve participated in, Listening Session with the President, protests at the Florida Capitol and the White House and the CNN Town Hall have all been very powerful. Yet already, people are looking to dictate to you your message, usurp it, or destroy the messengers to maintain the status quo. With that in mind, I offer a few suggestions that I hope will make your movement different than those who have come before you and quickly faded.
- Define yourselves: The media on all sides will attempt to define you for their own purposes and it’s important that you don’t become their labels. The sooner you can define yourselves in writing, stating your goals and establishing a structure. You will be better able to keep the focus on what you truly want to accomplish rather than having to pay attention to all the distractions caused by people saying who you are. The first claims that many of you were “actors” or “paid sympathizers” were laughable and immediately brushed away. Your detractors will be back and keep attempting to define you as something they can dismiss. Define yourselves and stay on message. A million-people speaking with a million voices is just noise. A million-people speaking with one voice is the beginning of a movement to be reckoned with.
- Learn your issues: The legislators and the gun lobby have been debating gun issues for years and have well-honed answers to the questions they are accustomed to being asked. They depend on you not recognizing when they change the subject when they deflect and fail to provide a straight answer. One of the questions to the NRA Spokesperson at the Town Hall related to the ability of an 18-year-old to possess an AR-15 or any type of assault weapon. The answer provided had to do with the right of someone old enough to vote or go to war to own a rifle. The need for an 18-year-old or anyone to own an assault rifle was never responded to. You must take control of the conversation and stay on point but you have to know all the issues to do so. What is unique about your movement is that politicians and industry groups find it hard to look you in the eye and explain why their profits are more important than your lives.
- Register voters: The only thing most of the politicians will respond to is whether or not you impact their ability to stay in office. They know the NRA can withhold funding or back another candidate and, in many cases, ensure their defeat. Until you possess that same type of power, you are not a threat, merely a nuisance. Start registering voters right now. Make it your first priority as some among you are already eligible to vote for the first time and others become eligible daily. Look at the restrictions in your state making it harder not only for minorities to vote but students and youth as well. The larger voting bloc you represent, the more power you’ll wield and the more you’ll be able to accomplish.
- Smiling faces: Everyone that reaches out their hand will not be your friend. Some will want to control you, some weaken you, others destroy you. You will be offered support, money, and advice. While you may well need all of the above, what will be the cost? Pick your friends wisely, they are there for a reason, possibly a mutually advantageously one, but a reason all the same.
- Keep your eye on the prize: Once you’ve defined your goals, never forget what they are. There will be opportunities to get caught up in organizational and power struggles, the lure of new goals, and the pull in different directions. Remember your goals and the reasons you chose them. Stay true to your mission and continually remind your members of what that message is.
- Plan for the next time: While #NeverAgain is a wonderful goal, until laws and behavior change, there will be an again, and again, and again. It will not mean you have failed, but that your job is not yet done. Be prepared to assist new communities. Show them how you made it through and how they can too. Point out the laws that need changing. Make yourselves heard. Require politicians to face you in public settings, and continue to register new voters, ultimately voting out those who choose to support the NRA and their own needs over the lives of youth.
You will constantly be offered “thoughts and prayers,” which have never proved enough in the past and mean nothing now. Demand action, register voters, then take action. Until #NeverAgain is more than just a hashtag but a reality.
I have a process when I write a blog post. Something crosses my mind… and I write about it. Sometimes I’m spurred by the news or something I read. Other times I’m out and about and may text myself the thought so that I don’t lose it. Half the time the post is pretty much worked out in my head before I sit at the computer and start typing. The other half, I have what I imagine is a brilliant idea like, “What if Melania were Black?” But think better of it as I start to work out what I would write. These are some of the half-baked thoughts that didn’t make it to the publishing stage:
- What If Melania Were Black? This one would have been about Melania’s reaction to all the allegations her husband has racked up before and since their marriage. There would have been a fictitious conversation between the two about his sexual harassment, porn stars, child rape, walking through dressing rooms of underage girls because he can. It would have described the confrontation he would get from a black woman. Ultimately, I decided against it and while I thought it would have been very funny. It would have involved stereotyping black women and it wasn’t worth it just to mock Trump and get a few laughs.
- Why Republican Congressmen Choose Russia Over America? I could have spent time talking about the Republicans who are doing everything they can to protect Trump from prosecution and Impeachment, by placing Russian desires above America’s. I decided against it because I had nothing new to say. The whole country already knows, the question is, “What are we going to do about it?”
- How Could Anyone Work For This White House? The answer was too simple, they sold their soul.
- Will Omarosa Make A Comeback? I don’t think anyone truly cares.
- Who Will Be Indicted First; Jared Or Don, Jr? I’m rooting for a tie!
- Who Is The Least Hateful Person In The White House? There is no demon rating system. They all are leading us down a path to destruction. Anyone that didn’t leave… sucks!
- Does Ivanka Have Jungle Fever? Inquiring minds do want to know after Quincy Jones gave an interview indicating Ivanka invited him on a date. The information provided by Jones wasn’t enough to say what her intention was whether it was a business dinner of if they went out more than once. With a little more data, I’ll be all over this one.
- Did Omarosa Offer To Hook-Up With Piers Morgan On Celebrity Apprentice? Even bloggers need to have some standards. I’ll let someone else run with that one.
Sometimes I table a thought but I come up with another take on something or new information comes out to give me a story when it didn’t exist before. There’s a Stormy Daniels story in me somewhere but the accompanying visual of a naked Donald Trump keeps killing the idea.
“If you feel like leaving you know you can go”
Baby hair with a woman’s eyes
I can feel you watching in the night
All alone with me and we’re waiting for the sunlight
When I feel cold, you warm me
And when I feel I can’t go on, you come and hold me
It’s you and me forever
Oh, won’t you smile awhile for me, Sarah?
If you feel like leaving you know you can go
But why don’t you stay until tomorrow?
And if you want to be free
You know all you got to do is say so
When you feel cold, I’ll warm you
And when you feel you can’t go on, I’ll come and hold you
It’s you and me forever
The FBI has been under attack from the Trump White House, its surrogates, and Fox News, in an ongoing attempt to discredit and/or end the Mueller investigation bearing down on the President. In the last year, Director James Comey was fired and several other officials have been fired, forced out, or resigned because of what they knew, or failure to pledge loyalty to the wannabe Emperor Trump.
In the last couple weeks, the FBI’s pleas to not disclose the Nunes memo which they indicated posed “grave concerns” was ignored by the White House. Then they were used as the excuse for why the Democratic response could not be released, because of “concerns from the FBI.”
More recently, when it came out that Staff Secretary Rob Porter had physically abused his two ex-wives and then a picture was released forcing his resignation. Sarah Huckabee Sanders the White House spokesperson, basically blamed the FBI for not wrapping up their investigation and providing timely information to the White House.
Today, in a Select Senate Committee discussing World Threats. Senators got to directly ask the leaders of the FBI, CIA, DNI, and NSA among others. FBI Director Chris Wray blew up Sanders version of what happened when. He indicated they provided a preliminary report in March (something that usually only happens when disturbing information is uncovered and usually leads to a dismissal) and then provided a final report in July 2017. After requests from the White House filed two follow-up reports and finally closed out the file administratively in January 2018. The White House has been referring to “new allegations” and suggesting they never saw the pictures that the FBI had for over a year.
Tired of being used as a scapegoat, lied about and mischaracterized by the White House and Republicans in Congress. Wray took the opportunity to strike back with this big fuck you to the White House. He could have not answered the question, preferring to discuss it in the afternoon closed session conducted in secret. Instead, he called out the White House, leaving them with a whole lot of explaining to do. The FBI has been taking blows steadily from the Trump administration, today they issued a beat down.
There are three minimum requirements to become President of the United States:
- One must be at least 35 years of age.
- One shall have resided within the United States for 14 years.
- One must be a “natural born Citizen.”
There should be a fourth; 4. One should be able to read with comprehension. We have a President that cannot read.
While he reads well enough to realize that Spot is running and can differentiate between Dick and Jane. He is basically semi-literate, and the world knows.
When left alone with the four-page Republican memo, he had to be interrupted three hours later because he hadn’t finished. His recent State of The Union speech was the longest ever. Not because of its great length or amount of applause. He was reading as best he could from the teleprompter, remembering what he could from “Hooked on Phonics,” to plod his way through.
We recently learned he’s the first President in modern history that doesn’t read his daily briefing about what’s going on in the world. He likes pictures and graphs. He said himself, “I like bullets or I like as little as possible. I don’t need, you know, 200-page reports on something that can be handled on a page. That I can tell you!” Think about that.
He gets his information from, “Fox & Friends,” “Hannity,” his rich friends, and several of those he had to let go from the Administration because of their misconduct but still remains close to anyway.
Donald Trump is what happens when a perfect storm of social promotion in schools, rich parent donors, and a willfully obtuse political party allows this dunce to become, and remain, President of the United States.
While there is a mechanism grinding along to rid us of this menace (the Mueller investigation). We still need to act in a responsible manner to make sure our next Presidents have the basic capacity to read with comprehension, putting some minimum standard in place in order to attain the highest office in the land. Let’s Make America Read Again, starting with the President.
In his first public statement about Rob Porter after his resignation when reports of physical violence against his two ex-wives and a third unnamed person who reported an incident to the White House Counsel. Trump said, “He says he’s innocent, and I think you have to remember that. He said very strongly yesterday that he’s innocent.”
In November he said about accused pedophile Roy Moore, “He totally denies it!” When asked by a reporter whether electing a “child molester” was better than electing a Democrat? Trump insisted Moore denied the charges against him.
When then Campaign Chairman was accused of violently assaulting a female reporter at a campaign event. Trump said, “How do you know those bruises weren’t there before?” After being confronted by photos.
In August of 2016, reports of Steve Bannon’s assault of his ex-wife became public including police reports. Trump made no statement about it and Bannon stayed on with the campaign/administration for another year before being fired for unrelated reasons.
As for Trump himself, he’s been accused by his ex-wife Ivana of sexual abuse and rape. And of course, there are the other 18 women that have come forward alleging a variety of sex-related charges including harassment, violence, and rape. Trump claims he’s innocent and the women are all liars.
Starting to see a pattern?