Impeachment, The NRA, Fox News, And The Coming Racial Storm

Impeachment is on the horizon, neither as near as some would like or as far as others hope but it’s coming. There are a multitude of financial crimes to choose from among others and Mueller is steadily documenting them all. The road will be rough, I predict rather than go gently into the night, Trump will fire Mueller and the nation will be torn asunder. There may be pardons followed by prosecutions by states like New York, already prepared for such an event. Congress will test the prevailing winds before eventually concluding what honor demands. But Impeachment will come, and Trump will go, what then?

There will be that percentage of the Trump base that will never accept any findings against Trump. They latched onto him in part due to their anger about what America had not done for them, seeing him literally as the Great White Hope that would restore their steel mills, bring back their factories, reopen the coal mines, enact bans and build walls. They hardly noticed when his only moves were to make the rich richer, make health care more expensive, and earn the $30 million the NRA purchased his loyalty for. He talked of many things regarding guns, promising much to all, but ultimately did the NRA’s bidding like a loyal puppy should.

Many of the same people that support Trump no matter his crimes, are the same ones that own assault weapons, buy additional guns after each mass shooting in fear someone will ban them and they won’t have enough. They run to Walmart to but ten more cases of bullets every time there’s a rumor of a shortage. The NRA has been stoking their fears, preparing them for the day the Second Amendment will be repealed, the government will take away their guns, and more subtly, when black and brown people revolt against them to take what’s theirs. They know an AR-15 isn’t required for hunting, they imagine themselves fending off legions of modern day Nat Turner’s, coming for what’s theirs.

When the day comes that Trump is removed, they will be angrier than before, and still have all those guns. Fox News, Breitbart, InfoWars, and others will tell them that the verdict was false. Your leader has been taken from you. The “Deep State” has taken control. They will enrage them into a frenzy, telling them to demand Trump’s return. Trump all the while tweeting injustice and indignation until all his appeals have run out and they take him and his phone away.

They will look for an outlet for their rage and eventually black and brown people… they will blame you. Some came to the Trump movement already skinheads, Klansmen, Neo-Nazi’s and White Nationalists. They won’t take much convincing that people of color are the root of all evil. Their regular targets of Hillary and Obama will be blamed as well, but they are heavily protected by Secret Service and hard to get to. They will see the celebrations and the “Good Riddance Parties” with black people dancing about the removal of Trump who proved they did have something to lose under his stewardship of the nation. Fox will depict them as “un-American” because they despised this con man, and some will agree, while angry, and stockpiling guns.

The racial violence will not begin with the revolt they always imagined, but with angry white people imagining they are defending their liberty, angry about changing demographics eroding their power, angry about Affirmative Action which they believe stole their rights and their jobs, angry about political correctness, illegal immigration, the label of hate crimes, restraint on free speech, and the prospect of gun laws. The violence will present itself in random attacks at black churches, mosques, nightclubs, and streets in minority neighborhoods. These will not be martyr’s using suicide bombs but cowards looking to escape into the night and brag to their friends.

When the violence comes, the nation will be tested in its response. Will it look the other way as it did for decades with the KKK, or will they wait until the inevitable retaliation? America, what are you going to do? What are you going to do?

When Teachers With Guns Meets Stand Your Ground Laws

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

An Open Letter To #NeverAgain. Make A Difference!

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.