Sunday, June 12, 2016

False Flag

There is an insidious false flag operation going on in our nation.

There are people and organizations who are trying to convince you that having more guns solves the problem of gun violence.

Don't believe them.

They perpetuate the falsehood that having a gun keeps you safe. They cite how many gun owners are not the victims of crimes, failing to mention most are never involved in the perpetration of crimes.

They perpetuate the falsehood that having a gun in your home keeps you safe, failing to mention the continual rise in the number of people murdered with a gun kept in their home and the number of times the trigger is pulled by children finding unsecured weapons.

They perpetuate the falsehood that the duly-elected government cannot be trusted with information about gun ownership because it will come for their weapons, when nothing of the sort has ever happened.

They perpetuate the falsehood that "good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns," even though in many States with open carry and concealed carry, no one with a gun ever seems to step up to stop the commission of a crime before it occurs.

They perpetuate the falsehood that those who are routinely shot by others were malcontents who had it coming, especially where those people are people of color or "foreigners."

They perpetuate the falsehood that they need to be able to protect themselves from the government, even though they have filled the government with hand-picked shills who knock down every piece of legislation designed to regulate guns or gun ownership.

They perpetuate the falsehood that the Second Amendment is inviolate, even though the framers of the Constitution made sure any Amendment could be amended as time passed and society changed, and nowhere does it say anything outlined in the Constitution cannot be regulated.

They perpetuate the falsehood that guns solve the problem of crime, when they clearly only exacerbate the level of death any individual can mete out in blind fury against real or imagined slights.

They perpetuate the falsehood that only the mentally ill and the criminal use guns for ill purposes, when many who have perpetrated crimes of mass killing have not been mentally ill or criminal, and were easily able to obtain weapons to carry out their plans.

There is a well-known public facing organization that is mouthpiece for much of this, which constantly blows the horn of warning to the paranoid, delusional, and bigoted, warning them that decent Americans are their enemy, that anyone who wants to see guns properly controlled and registered is unworthy of respect. They will work to ensure that not a single step is taken to rein in the proliferation of weapons of mass death, wrapping their cause in the flag and the Constitution, both things they have desecrated with their petulant rancor and obstinacy.

Behind it all, are those who manufacture these horrid weapons, and their only motivation is greed. Bathed in the money that comes from stoking the cycle of violence, they work only to ensure the safety of their ill-gotten gains, and not the people of the nation. They know that every massacre will simply flood their coffers with more blood-soaked dollars, as the paranoia they have sown causes people to buy more guns and work harder to stem their regulation, in the name of "safety."

When anyone tells you there is a conspiracy revolving around guns, tell them you know, and tell them that the sooner gun manufacturers and their mouthpieces are dismantled, the sooner the conspiracy will end.

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Importance Of The Day

It would be easy to quote Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. today.

It would be easy to tie his actions and words to actions and words today.

It would be easy to say what he would and would not have approved of.

That's really not what today should be about.

What this holiday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, should be about is what we are going to do to make America a better nation.

There is no standard here. This is no living up to a legacy. There is no anointing a cause. There are the actions and words of a man who fought to bring a measure of equality and dignity to others of his race by challenging the system of privilege and prejudice that even The Civil War could not erase. His words, if they can be considered to have effect, are not things to be etched on glass or stone; they are missives to be taken into the heart and mind, to push the body forward to action when it sees injustice.

It would be easy to debate what the man would think of what we see today, but we cannot know. The assassin who struck him down deprived us of that opinion. To infer from what we know, is to claim a knowledge of the inner workings of the mind that is impossible to countenance. He has left us and his thoughts are free to fall where they may.

It isn't important to attempt to wind Dr. King around the events of today, only to see his influence in allowing them to happen. If "Black Lives Matter" has risen from the pain and suffering that was the death of Trayvon Martin and so many others like him, it is more important that that movement find its own voice and fly by its own power than be yoked to Dr. King. The man laid down the path, much as Jesus did, and asked us to walk it with him and to keep walking it after he was gone. That is what the day is about.

Demonstrate. Help. Donate. Read. Pray. Feed the hungry. Clothe the naked. Lift up the downtrodden. Demand justice. Lift your voice. Stand up. Do whatever you can, but do it. Honor Dr. King, not by reliving his life, but by living it in your own way.

He was the way. He was the light. Take up the lamp. Walk the path. He will walk with you.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Two Seconds

In two seconds, a photon of light travels over 372,000 miles.

In two seconds, a heart at its resting rate will have beat 2-3 times.

In two seconds, the worlds fastest computer performs 67,720 trillion calculations.

In two seconds, an innocent Black boy died.

His name was Tamir Rice. He was all of twelve-years-old. He lived in Cleveland and was out playing in a park with his sister and friends on a cool November day in 2014, carrying around a fake pistol, in the way most kids do. Or did.

Growing up, I can remember boys playing "War" or "Cops and Robbers" or "Cowboys and Indians" - back before we knew better - running around yards, and parks, and neighborhoods, brandishing toy pistols or rifles, or even long tree branches, playing with reckless abandon.

Tamir was no doubt doing something similar. He was young, he was having fun... and then he was dead.

Someone called 9-1-1. They reported someone running around with a gun. They made offhand remarks that it might be a fake gun. That it might be a kid. So weak were these remarks, the police dispatcher saw no need to mention them in the radio call to officers.

What happened next is on video for all the world to see. You can look it up yourself, measure the time from the moment police arrived at the park to the time of Tamir's death.

Two seconds.

Many things happen quickly in the span of two seconds, if you're a ray of light, or a computer, or even a heart. What shouldn't happen in the span of two seconds is the death of an innocent child at the hands of a person sworn to protect him and all the all other citizens of Cleveland. Two seconds is not enough time to size up a situation. Two seconds is not enough time to make the crucial decision about what action to take. Two seconds is not enough time to prepare for what may come.

It is enough time to kill an innocent boy if you have it in your mind to do it.

The officer rolled up on the scene, threw open his door, and fired, all in a span of two seconds. No thought, no analysis, no attempt to warn the subject of his machinations to drop the weapon. Car, door, shots, death.

The only way it took so little time for these actions to be accomplished was if there had been forethought about them. The officer took the report of a person possibly brandishing a weapon - from which no shots had been fired - and used that as the fuel to play "hero" in his head. He would stop this shooter before anyone could be harmed. He would save lives.

Instead, he took one.




Tamir's sister was there. Distraught over his death, the police manhandled her rather than trying to identify why she was distressed. They did not perform even rudimentary first aid on Tamir. If there had been a chance to save him, they did not take it. There he lay, and died.

And now, as if the insult and injury of the senseless murder of a child was not enough, the officers involved will face no charges. Not even for their reckless behavior or failure to render aid. No charges. Because a system, built of interlocking parts that cover each others' backs, will not condemn its own. The police, the District Attorneys, the Judges, they are woven together into a system that grants White people absolution for their crimes and anyone else "justice" in the form of a callous disregard for their life.

A White man shoots up a movie theater, or a Planned Parenthood clinic, or a Black Baptist church, and they walk away, weapons surrendered, shackled, off to meet a justice system that is more than willing to play host to the idea they simply "weren't in their right mind." That same system takes a Black boy with a toy gun, a grown man with an unpurchased rifle in a store, a man trying to bring peace to his neighborhood, a woman pulled over for not signaling, and condemns them to quick or slow death, but death all the same.

If Black people are angry, if they are upset, if they rage at the system, it is because they are allowed. They watch daily as their kind are subject to the depredations of "justice," which so often result in the death of innocents and a lack of contrition by, or accountability for, those who dole out senseless death.

There is no reforming this system. It is diseased, so shot through with privilege and hypocrisy as to be worthless to any but the richest, Whitest citizens. It is a system built on the backs of slaves, powered by tax money of the poor and middle class, and twisted by those with power and wealth to suit their ends. It is filled with people who crave power, who see victory in court as a check-mark in the "win" column, and a handful of believers in true justice overwhelmed by a caseload they cannot keep up with, leading them to short-change defendants by encouraging them to plead guilty to crimes they did not commit, in the name of expediency.

When a system exists that allows the murder of a twelve-year-old boy in a park by law enforcement to go unchallenged, it is time for that system to be torn down.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Simply Murder

By now, you know here name: Sandra Bland.

You know what happened to her: pulled over by a police officer, he proceeded to abuse his authority, and she wound up in jail.

Then she "hung herself."


As we reel off the litany of Black people who have lost their lives unfairly and unjustly - Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Renisha McBride, Tamir Rice, Tanisha Anderson, John Crawford, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, and on and on - we should, to use Eric Garner's words, find it difficult to breathe. The constant stream of dead Black bodies being heaped at our feet cannot help but tighten the chest of any decent person. In most, if not all, cases these people were no threat to anyone, not armed, not doing anything that could be construed at the moment of their death as a threat to anyone. Some were murdered in the street, some shot in the back, some killed in their own homes, some in their cars, some running, some standing, some looking for help... and they are ALL DEAD.

DEAD. Killed in the main by law enforcement, with the occasional support of "law-abiding" citizens and racist malcontents, they have been set down in the ground and there have been outcries and protests and meetings and speeches and calls for justice...

...and still they die.

Every day.

Every day, we are greeted with the latest addition to the butcher's bill. Even since Sandra Bland's horrific arrest and subsequent death, there have been more. It is a ceaseless parade of Black people being cut down for no reason, no purpose, no need. These people are just trying to live their lives and being deprived of those lives by a callous, cruel, heartless system of endemic racism that they cannot fight. Punches are thrown, jabs are taken, blows are struck, but at the end of the day, Whiteness is still the law of the land and Blackness is marked for death.

America may remove the chains, it may fight a war, it may pass laws, but all that does nothing to stem the infernal spread of toxic bigotry that envelopes and swallows Black life at a breakneck pace. Black people, ancestors dragged from their African homes to provide free labor, continue to suffer the depredations of taskmasters who have never known the feel of the lash in their hand. Whiteness is a disease, a despicable malady, that creeps into the souls of many who suffer from it but do not realize they are infected. They see the creeping, inexorable snuffing out of Black life as something that they are not party to, for not once in generations did they or their family own slaves, as if that were the only yardstick by which to measure such galling hatred.

We, the White people, are beneficiaries of a system that was built by the sweat, toil, and blood of Black slaves to provide White people comfort, strength, and power. Whatever strides have been made, whatever battles fought, whatever ink dried, that system lives and we benefit from it still. It is not torn down, rings and all, but stands in silent reproach of those who seek to surmount it, to collapse it, to bring White masters down to the level of everyone else, to take their rightful place in American life as free and equal citizens. No sound is made as its tentacles creep out from hidden dens to strangle and snuff out Black hope. Even a Black President cannot beat it down from the seat at the heart of that power.

No matter the circumstances, the actual events, of Sandra Bland's death, we mark it murder, wicked and foul. She was Black, she was strong, she knew her rights, and it did her no good, for the White power would not recognize her simple humanity or rights. Automatically, without thought, she was reduced in the eyes of a law enforcement officer who saw her challenges as weapons as potent as knives and guns. He stepped out of the guise of peace keeper and into the well-worn suit of slave master, and proceeded to attack her as if she were no more than an animal.

Our nation may well burn, consumed in a fire set by our recalcitrant need to maintain a death grip on a past that has no purpose or place in the 21st Century. If we suffer such self-immolation, it will be well-deserved, for allowing ignorance and bigotry to flourish in a time of knowledge is a crime that only a society may be asked to pay for in its own blood. We may weep at the destruction, but as the flames lick us, we should remember well that our hands could have put out the fire, if only we had reached down to our Black brethren and brought them up to their rightful place as equals. There is yet time, but Sandra Bland is the first wisp of smoke, a signal of the fire that waits to rage among us.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

President Lincoln Was Wrong

"A house divided against itself cannot stand."

Abraham Lincoln uttered those words at the Republican State Convention in Springfield, Illinois on June 16, 1858. He was accepting the nomination of his party to run for the Senate. It was a radical speech for its time and perhaps led to Lincoln eventually becoming President. Based on Biblical scripture, it was a simple enough idea: dividing the nation over the idea of slavery would destroy both halves. Union, above all else, was paramount.

157 years later and as I read the speech, then look at the horrible deed done by the 21-year-old Charleston Terrorist, I must point out to Mr. Lincoln that, while a fine speech, it was wrong.

While true, that breaking apart the structure of a house causes damage, the damage can be repaired, if attention is put to the details. A home, otherwise wrecked, can be rebuilt stronger and sturdier for having been heinously damaged or even rent asunder. However, it does no good to reconnect a divided structure, where part of said structure festers with rot and decay.

THAT, is the Union we live in now. A "united" nation stitched together by iron and blood one hundred fifty years ago, that is still shot through with the fetid stink of racism and the rotting timbers of "heritage." The forcible re-connection of the Union seemed a good idea at the time, but recent events lead me to believe that reuniting a home so pervasively rotten simply allowed that disease to spread too far.

It was not enough to so vanquish the Confederacy as to make them feel the pain of their stubborn pride rattling deep in their bones. Crushing armies and torching cities could only leave physical scars that would be easily wiped away; those same crushed armies and burnt cities, would leave deep, resonant scars that simply mingled with that wounded pride, to make a people even more resistant to change. There would be no beating down the South. Absorbed back into the Union, the former Confederate States would not so quietly resume their status as Americans.

The Civil War may have reassembled the map of a nation and its political structure, but could not easily erase centuries of racism. Southerners were not predisposed to believe that Blacks were anything other than property, wrested from them by a pitiless, self-indulgent North. They might no longer have them as slaves, but Southerners would not automatically elevate Blacks to the level of persons. They would make their displeasure felt via the Klu Klux Klan, poll taxes, Jim Crow laws, lynching, and the destruction of Black churches. No loss of a war would tarnish the South to a degree that they would simply drop the matter.

So it goes.

In this day, we still live in a nation divided along lines thought erased those one hundred fifty years ago. The South is still a seething cauldron of hate, a spirit broken but unbowed by a "war of Northern Aggression" it still sees as a fundamental violation of the rights of States. No amount of progress in our world has tapped out the rich vein racism in the core of the former Confederacy. That vein continues to be mined, its products disseminated among the impressionable minds that know only poverty and blame their lot, not on a lack of industriousness or investment, but on Blacks - and other minorities - who seem to be "taking" all that is supposed to be theirs. The same self-indulgent ignorance is repeated as law in households far and wide, sowing the seeds of racism in a new generation.

Invariably, this leads to events like the Charleston Terrorist Shooting, where a young White man, inculcated in the ways and means of hate, takes it upon himself to single-handedly launch a new war, hoping to eliminate the Black race and magically restore the honor of the beatified Confederacy. He walks into a storied Black church, observes the love and tolerance shown there, and still allows the darkness of his soul to envelop the lives of nine innocent people.

This pervasive, systemic racism, this dark stain on the American nation is no longer allowable. It is no longer tolerable. It can no longer be allowed to lie furtively, striking at Black Americans with a singular will. Bigotry can no longer be coddled. We have left it to sink into the foundation of our once divided house, and now the whole house threatens to crumble. A house divided against itself cannot stand, but a house left un-maintained will as surely and as easily fall. We have let the maintenance go a hundred and fifty years and can no longer sit idly by and watch it crumble. It is time to pry up and cut away the rot.