Thursday, February 28, 2013

I think we need to take this one....

Recently I was listening to a pro-gun advocate and I thought of the scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, when Arthur returns to the Knights of Nee with the shrubbery.   Having completed the task they then ask him to cut down the largest tree in the wood with a herring.  The absurdity of the request is that you can’t cut down a tree with a fish.  It isn’t the right tool.  What it reminded me of was the often repeated notion that the shooters in the recent mass shooting would get access to weapons or use something else to accomplish their task.  I don’t think that is true. 

For example, pro-gun advocates cite a series of 10 attacks in China over the last 3 years.  The attacks were done in schools with knives, hammers, and cleavers.  However over the course of 10 attacks the death toll, while tragic, was only 25 and injured only 115.  Meaning that in these 10 attacks the total victims were about that of only 2 Aurora shootings, if these were done with the weapons that are being used today by mass shooters here in the US the tolls could be more like 125 dead and close to 600 injured.  The tool of choice does play a role. 

How do I also know the tool plays a role?  Because pro-gun advocates have testified to that.  Speaking to Congress and even members of Congress have said that the need of a AR-15 style weapon for self-defense is necessary if the attackers coming into one’s home are well-armed.  This suggests that Vice-President Biden’s plea to get a shotgun would not be enough.  I find it odd that a particular gun is required by these advocates because it has more killing power, but they also say a gun is just a tool and won’t kill on its own. 

But we also know that isn’t true.  Within days of the Newtown attack stories about guns were everywhere.  One shooting that struck me was a husband and wife in a crowded restaurant just having dinner.  The man carried his handgun in his pocket and while fishing for his cell phone moved the gun which went off shooting and injuring his wife.  There was no intent to fire the weapon, but it went off.  Guns fall over, get caught in something, and many other scenarios where accidents happen.  Children find their parents, grandparents and neighbors guns and they wind up firing them killing and maiming others all the time.  It is a serious issue that is made worse by hysteria that leads to people carrying when they normally don’t.  Yes, human error in each case plays a role, but the gun as a tool is dangerous in the wrong hands or even in the simply distracted hands. 

We can allow guns but maybe work on the delivery of the bullets to the chamber, making it harder to shoot off dozens of rounds without reloading.  I think the idea of limiting magazine sizes is a good one.  Again some gun advocates say that changing a magazine is as easy as breathing, it takes less than a second or two.  I know we see that in the movies, but in real life we see things differently.  When, in 1993, the LIRR shooter killed 6 people there were many more potential victims.  However, what happened was he had to reload and was jumped during the process.  Stopping to reload gives potential victims a chance and law enforcement or security an opening.  I am not sure the people on that train that day would agree that limiting access to large clips didn’t save their lives.

I am not for banning guns.  I believe that the founders understood that then, as now, guns were a right and a necessity for many.  However, I agree with the court that restrictions on certain weapons are a Constitutional step we can take.  I won’t propose where to draw the line, but I will say that beginning with background checks and holding gun owners responsible for the carnage of the weapons they buy could be a good start.  Ending straw purchases with overwhelming penalties for gun shops or gun shows that make it easy to get hands in the guns of criminals also might curb the proliferation of weapons that only can be used to kill many at a single time. 

Now I know the argument, banning those weapons means that only criminals will have them.  But here is the thing, people who are criminals can get access to guns now, putting road blocks up might not stop them but slow them down but the mass shootings are not being committed by criminals.  Take every mass shooting in the last decade and virtually every gun started as a legal purchase; there was hardly a blip on anyone’s radar to stop the guns getting into the hands of the shooters.  Enforcing any all the gun laws we have would not have stopped Aurora, Wisconsin, or Newtown.  However a simple extra step or two in the purchase of weapons might have stopped two of them. 

Now I know the argument that if we would have stopped all sales of the AR-15 or other weapons used in the attacks the people involved would have bought them on a black market.  While again the Wisconsin shooter would have had access to illegal weapons through his white supremacy contacts that kid in Aurora, Newtown and other places likely could not have found who to turn to for such a weapon.  Would you know where to go in your town to buy a weapon you can’t buy at a gun store, outdoor store or even Wal-Mart?  Seriously, these guys weren’t hardened criminals or evil geniuses; they were angry kids with a vendetta against real or imagined slights in life.  Like Presidential assassins and guys like the Unabomber they are reacting to a world they feel has no place for them and want to leave a mark.  They are the least likely to prepare for and most likely to surprise us by their actions.  How many of you have dreamed of opening up on those that have hurt you in life?  Made fun of you for being different?  Took something you thought was meant for you?  When the fantasy crosses over is when we become dangerous.  How do we stop that?

I, again reiterate, don’t think gun ownership is the problem, nor do I think private ownership should be banned.  But I do feel that we as a country have the responsibility to do what we can to make sure guns of any kind do not find their way into the hands of the wrong people.  We have the legal authority, the 2nd amendment is not written to totally tie the hands of the government as the court has told us.  It is where we make the stand that is important.  Visions of a post-apocalyptic landscape as painted by some in the gun lobby do not help the conversation, nor do the lies on the right or the hysteria on the left.  We need a comprehensive approach to this.  But let’s start with the idea that guns are designed to kill and some are designed to kill a lot of people very quickly.   Let’s include in the discussion the reality of issues of self-defense and that for some a gun is a tool needed for protection or sustenance.  However if the argument from the pro-gun lobby is only more guns, if the argument is that the government is corrupt and coming to get us, if the argument is that guns are evil and should all be melted down to make statues of angels, then we are all lost and the arguments go nowhere.  Congress is debating this with testimony from interested parties.  From what I have seen of this I have very little hope.  But if we being either gun owners or anti-gun advocates come together and make a proposal that makes sense, if our conversations are real, honest and open, and if we listen, truly listen to the other side we can truly make a difference and teach our political leaders something.  I see shades of it.  I would like to see this done before the next special report happens. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Another week another series of observations.

I think this might become a bit of a trend for me, instead of ranting or raving about one thing I might just hit a few at a time.  You know like a Whitman’s Sampler of my random thoughts.  Who knows, should be a good thing.   Especially in the week that was.
We have lots to work with but I will start with the Pope.  Pope Benedict is stepping down.  Yes he is leaving the Papacy and going into retirement where he is said he will write.  It appears that while the Vatican said this was all a recent decision, it has been talked about since the leader of the church struck his head on a trip to Mexico City.  The Vatican has many secrets and I will give them a pass on keeping this one close to the vestments.  There were three things about the coverage and social media on this story that struck me.  Now here is a confession, I check my Twitter feed upon waking up.  My phone is my alarm and it is a simple flick of the thumb.  Usually it is just to get the latest headlines or such.  So before I left my bed I heard the Pope had stepped down so I quickly checked Google for the last time that happened.  Thought it was cool that it hadn’t and went downstairs to turn on Morning Joe to discover that the team at MSNBC was still struggling with the question of whether the pope’s resignation was possible.  Seriously, a news organization, owned by COMCAST, can’t get on the net and find this hours after the resignation so they do 10 minutes on TV about it.  Wow.  I guess they need a one-Ipad man as they are all blind.  Second were the questions of what happens next.  There have been 4 popes in my lifetime and a new one just seven years ago.  I think the process which is almost 2000 is easy to remember.  Reporting on it shouldn’t be a huge chore.  Yet there we were listening to what would be called banter about it on so-called news programs.  It seems journalists have forgotten what reporting means.  You gather the information, make it concise and tell the people.  Not get on air and ask questions like the answer will be a consensus of the people who Tweet.   I was hoping that one guy was going to wonder who Catholics would vote for.  And lastly was the social media taking a chance to kick the Pope on his way out the door.  The sheer vitriol vomited onto the net since Monday is stunning.  Now I know the Pope has a dicey past, he also is part of a movement in the Church that longs for old ways and of course has accomplished little to expand the Church in his tenure, but now is not the time for this.  I thought the attacks were mostly cheap and the legitimate questions should have come up when he was in the Chair of St. Peter.
For me, election night is my Superbowl, so Tuesday State of the Union was the All-Star Game.  The President headed to Congress and gave a progressive, assertive, and at times rehashed speech to a livelier but more polite body.  Though some new Tea Party members tried to make it a circus of fools inviting the likes of Ted Nugget, seriously, the draft dodging nut who has threatened the President and Hillary Clinton and was investigated by the Secret Service.   The most memorable moment of the President’s speech was the calling for a vote, just a vote, on gun legislation and highlighting a 102 year old woman who took 6 hours to get the point to vote.  With victims of gun violence in the room, including a hero police officer and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, the President painted a picture of real Americans the importance that the Congress has on these two fundamental issues.  Voting rights and safety.  It didn’t take long for the right wing noise machine to mock both but they of course are on the wrong side of history and the President really pointed that out.  Oh and they had one other problem.  You see the party out of power always responds to the speech of the President as in recent years it has become a political dance.  The GOP, once again, couldn’t stay focused and that two responses.  One from the newest right wing messiah, Marco Rubio.  To call his speech a disaster is kind and not because he was parched throughout and leaned off to the side to get the tiniest bottle of water I have ever seen, but because the speech he delivered was a series of right wing talking points apparently written for the Romney campaign that was just laying around.  It was like he hadn’t even read or listened to the President’s speech or the last 4 years of anything.  More Invisible Obama stuff but while Fox News in its delicious way of being said the President’s speech was just another attempt to buy votes, the President is never ever running for anything else ever.  He doesn’t need to garner any more votes.  In fact his speech showed that.  But Marco Rubio was apparently running against him already.  It was sad and frankly I hate to see Rubio become the next Bobby Jindal, but he’s young and if the politics things don’t work out, Poland Springs will put him on their board.  Oh and one more thing.  He suggested he was not rich, yet he paid off $100,000 in student loans in a few years and bought a $750,000 house.  The only people I know who claim poverty in those situations are swindlers and members of the mob (allegedly).  So?
The media took a big hit this week with two stories, one everyone was into and the other was a CNN made for TV drama.  The first was the police officer who killed two people and maybe more in California and went on the run.  I am still trying to figure out why this was a national story and why there was wall-to-wall coverage of this man on all the networks up to 10 minutes before the State of the Union.  I imagine with all the murders in the country going on, this one had something but I just couldn’t follow the story.  I must be jaded to the idea that that this is too common to spark my interest.  But I have a question, how do you stop a good guy with a gun doing bad things with a gun who is now a bad guy with a gun.  Apparently it is fire because the cabin he was in burned and I got to watch it like a Yule log live, for an hour, flipping channels, trying to find anyone who would talk about the future of the country and not the future of a man looking to party with Charlie Sheen. 
The other story was horrible but again CNN made it their own.  A cruise ship broke down.  Now I have never been on a cruise but I use to watch the Love Boat so I think we can call me an expert right?  Well for CNN’s purposes.  Anyway we were given the graphic details of backed up toilets, lack of real food, the long journey back to the US and of course at one point someone on CNN compared the horrors on the boat to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  While I never want to walk down finely upholstered hallways through a sea of human excrement it wasn’t dead bodies in your livingroom.  The people on the boat weren’t abandoned they were without power.  It seemed excessive in the coverage and Jon Stewart pointed that out, but so did some of the passengers who basically acted like it was terrible for them but they were going back home.  The people of Katrina, not so much.  I have toyed with taking a cruise, I always imagine it is Vegas with the same people over and over again so you can’t laugh at them as much.   But I balk at it now thanks to CNN’s description, I am just glad I didn’t see a Voyage of the Damned reference though that would have made for good theatre on web.  (for those who need Google it, or ask someone at MSNBC). 
Lastly I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that in the last couple of days an Asteroid passed remarkably close to Earth, inside the orbits of some of our own satellites.  A rock the size of the White House it was described as, gave us a few minutes of concern.  But I have to ask, how many people think about size in terms of the White House.  Anyway that was punctuated by two meteors actually hitting the earth, one in Russia and one in San Francisco.  I think that it was a perfect end to the week as it reminded us that on the grand scheme of things in the universe, we still are at the mercy of random rocks flying around the cosmos running into things.  That shouldn’t depress you, it should make you want to dance.  

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Another note to my Mom

My mother is back in the hospital again and while she is better and getting out tomorrow it was another respiratory event.  So I am writing another letter to my mother.
Dear Mom,
Having 8 kids in the house meant we often vied for your attention.  I know that when I was really small you were either pregnant or taking care of a baby.  Dad was always the one to put us to bed, singing songs while lying on the bed.  Dad made his alone time with us, but you had to fight for it.  But there was one year where I remember your alone time with me.  It was the year I went to Kindergarten.  I don’t know if you remember but I went to afternoon Kindergarten.  So early in the morning the house woke up, the older kids went to school as dad went to work.  I don’t remember where Pat and Mary Jane were but they were small and you probably dealt with them as I watched Captain Kangaroo, a science show on CJOH, and Sesame Street.  But when Family Affair came on, with that Kaleidoscope at the start we spent the next half-hour together.  You would get me dressed as we watched the show, you would sing to me during commercials, including your re-write of the Georgie Girl song by The Seekers from the movie in the 60s.  You knew that for the first 5 years of my life I was Eddie at home, but when I went to school I had a choice and I chose to be called by my real name, George, not my nickname.  You started calling me George long before any of the other kids or even dad did.  I was happy for the new name and it made me feel grown up.  But those moments I remember, just us, chatting, you telling me about how important school, the singing, and of course our connection to Buffy and Jodie.  You let me have the TV for the morning and when your soap opera came on I knew it was time for me to go the corner and walk the one block to school.  Thank you for those moments that 40 years later still make me smile.  You made me feel special in the chaos that was our home.  I hope that those moments were special to you too.  

Friday, February 8, 2013

Food is not toy

Walk into any preschool or elementary school in this country and chances are there is an art project on the wall using food as one of its media.  It is common for teachers of young children to take familiar foods and turn them into art materials.  I have done it and it has its uses.  For children under the age of two this makes sense, as children that age explore they will bring much of their world to their mouths.  Safety requires that the material be non-toxic and food products will do that.  However after that age I have a real moral question about it. 

You see this came into my mind over a discussion of a game for Purim where you roll a raw egg over a rough surface; the winner is the one whose egg doesn’t break.  I wondered if at a festival celebration in a synagogue that we should be so comfortable using food as a toy.  You see a lot of people see an egg as a good source of nutrition for the day.  If you went through only two dozen eggs it might be the equivalent of almost two weeks of breakfast for a child who has little or nothing.  To us it might seem cheap, around $4-5.  But to a child in poverty eggs can be treasures.   I learned this from one such child.

More years ago than I choose to acknowledge I was running an after-school program in inner-city Syracuse.  The goal was to enhance language skills in early elementary school kids, many of whom English was not the home vernacular.  I had the brilliant idea of using alphabet noodles to make placards for each with a slogan.  I found one child filling her pocket with the noodles, when I looked at her she simply said, “This is food.”    I was struck.  Here I was a taking what she saw as sustenance and rendering it inedible for a lesson.  On that day I modified how I used food in the classroom. 

It is always odd when confronted with a situation such as this.  I was a college student who saw an endless supply of food as part of my college experience.   While I even grew up at times in poverty, there was always food on the table.  My mother made sure that we had the ability to get three square meals a day.  I even had the luxury of not eating when it was something I didn’t like because I knew the morning would bring something else.   I wanted for things, especially after my dad died, but food was never really one of them.  So here I was a kid who thought he knew what it was like to be poor watching an 8 year old girl taking uncooked pasta in the pocket of her jeans home for to add to her families supply.  How could I ever look at food the same way?

Hunger is a world problem, but we have the resources to feed people if we applied them.  I have seen real hunger, in big cities in our country, in rural villages in Kenya and among populations like the elderly too proud to ask for help.  As someone who works for a synagogue and has close ties with organizations dedicated to ending hunger I see alarming statistics from my own country and worldwide.  I also see statistics that in the US we throw out about 40% of our food, due to rot, disinterest and just to clean up.  Imagine how much more food is produced that winds up glued to construction paper that is now under the back seat of a thousand minivans all over the country.  Where you see colourful counting tools I can’t but help to see calories that could help a child sleep better, do better at school or maybe even live another day.

Yes I know that it is dramatic.  But in the end the message we send when we turn food into a plaything is powerful.  As a culture we have become so far removed from the production of our food there are children’s books that say chickens come from megamarts and juice from a bottle.  We hate when someone tears down the curtain on what we actually are eating, be it genetically enhanced tomatoes or the use of what is referred to as meat glue in many products.  Recently a beef supplier was caught using horse meat in their raw product even selling to Burger King in England.  The irony is that horse, while horrific to some, is a delicacy in France and claims a big price.  But it was so easy for these things to quietly flow through our culture because most people do not connect to the production of their food. 

Food is abundant, easy to obtain, and plentiful if you have a middle class income.   Farmers are a quaint archetype that lends itself to a Superbowl commercial but in fact most food comes from factory farms owned by a few companies.  We don’t have to chase, raise, slaughter, and in some cases even prepare our food.  It is as ubiquitous for many as dust and though it has lost the reverence we once had for it.  One of the ways I battle against my own failings in this is by keeping Kosher.  For me Kashrut isn’t about a biblical imperative, but it makes every act of eating something I have to think about, something that I have to actually focus a thought on.   Even if I chose to eat something that is non-kosher I will have spent the time making that choice.  This is true for anyone on a diet counting points, carbs, calories, or sugar.  Even more so for those who see the alphabet noodles not as a toy but as a meal.

So here is my thought.  The next time you are using marshmallows to make a snow picture with texture, Cheerios to count the number of days you have been in school, or eggs to roll for kicks think about the last time you had a food drive and why.  Think about the message it is sending kids, and maybe wonder if one of the children in your class has wanted a marshmallow just once in the last few months but it is a luxury their parent can’t afford.  I can honestly tell you, you will see food differently.  

Monday, February 4, 2013

Its Been One Week.

So this past week I found many things interesting in my world and I wanted to write about them all.  So instead of fretting about each I have decided to write briefly about many.  It has been a bit of a week. 

I often go after the right wing of our country and I won’t disappoint later in this rant but there is a group of people I encounter on occasion that really have more arrogance and live in a much deeper fantasy than any on the right:  Ignorant atheists.  These are the guys who read Hitchens and Dawkins and think they have all the answers.  Often this plays out in misquoting Bible passages, misunderstanding both Jewish and Christian law, and rewriting history to diminish the role or religion in the development of both Eastern and Western culture.  Most recently someone suggested that religion has done nothing for the betterment of the human condition and has solved no human problems.  I didn’t understand this as religions have helped organize culture, built cities, and were the inspiration for law so I asked for an example.  He replied the curing of small pox, citing how the church stood in the way of many scientific advances.  Now there is no doubt that the church stood in the way of many scientific advances but they also promoted them, and I know this because the university where Edward Jenner developed the vaccine was founded by the Catholic Church.  Later spoke of the Interfaith Hunger Initiative and the Global Interfaith Partnership in Indianapolis, both of which feed children.  The motivation for this, of course, is the religious imperative in virtually every faith to feed the hungry.   The response was that it was individuals not religion.  I weep for this kind of thinking.  Religion gets blamed for everything bad done in its name and yet atheists like this give no credit for the good religion has done.  I will be the first to be critical of how some use the Bible as a hammer to beat down others.  But some have used the teachings as an elevator for all, and frankly I think that helps the human condition.

The Pentagon, as it creeps toward the 21st century, is opening up combat to women.  This led to outrage on the right.  Somehow they thought inviting people to try out for something means that it will lower the standards for all.  Of course that is not true.  The most ridiculous thing was a 5’6” 40somthing said he should get a shot at the NBA.  If fact he can try out, he can show his skills, if they don’t match up then he doesn’t get the gig.  In the military women couldn’t even get the opportunity to show their skills, yet have served on the front lines. You see what is important about this is that while women already serve in forward units they do not get the same credit for combat duty.  That means pay, promotion, and ability to move up in the ranks.  It makes sense that you don’t want Colonels and Generals leading combat troops who have never been in combat.  This opens the door to qualified women who can both physically and intellectually prosecute a war and it allows them to add their talents to the cause.   Recently elected Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth is a double amputee after her helicopter was shot down in Iraq.  When asked about it said something to the effect that women were already in combat saying “I didn’t get my wounds in a bar fight”.  But the sexist claptrap that comes out of the mouths of people, many who avoided service in the military, was loud and proud.  Funny the right wing war on women extends to not allowing them to develop as warriors, I wonder why?

In more doors opening news a trial balloon was sent up by the Boy Scouts to allow gay scouts and leaders to serve openly.  There have always been gay scouts and scout leaders.  But they had to hide the truth of who they were to participate in an organization that values honesty.   It appears that in the near future the Boy Scouts will be about continue to there slow but steady growth as they reflect the changing norms of society.  One thing the scouts have always prided themselves on is a strong moral code.  That code has always taken its lead from the culture.  While bigots have responded with loud and stunningly ignorant responses including the continued equating of homosexuality with pedophilia, the Boy Scouts have shown a willingness to grow as they have throughout their history, we can only hope that many others will follow suit. 

However the Indiana state legislature isn’t one of the groups that are changing.  They plan to pass an anti-gay marriage amendment to the state Constitution.  Of course there will be a fight, as the United States Supreme Court will be taking up the issue this year with two cases it will hear.  I still can’t figure out how two people who love each other and say so publically will have any impact on me and my family.  I just can’t comprehend how there can be such a strong fight against gay people being able to openly enjoy the same rights as straight people.  I mean I don’t see how two people who share a life together can hurt me in any way.  However there are so many people willing to stand up for the rights of gun owners to be able to kill as many people as possible in a short amount of time.  To me that is something we should be trying figure out, but there are those who would hate to even have the conversation. Case and point:  

The NRA continues its parade of lunacy, bringing it to Fox News on Sunday.  I won’t get into the debate much here, but if Fox News calls you on lies about the President it is time to reassess your position.  We also learned this week the Wayne LaPierre got a deferment from Vietnam for a “nervous condition”, isn’t that a mental illness that would require that we take the gun out of your hand sir?

Speaking briefly of guns the family of Chris Kyle, known to Iraqi insurgents as the Demon of Ramadi was murdered this weekend.  He was shot by a fellow veteran who he was trying to help get over Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Kyle, a Navy Seal and sniper with 150 kills in the Iraq war was considered by many an American hero.  He wrote a book about his experiences and gave some insight into the mind of a warrior.  However you feel about the war, Kyle saw his duty and did it.  If the civilian leadership screwed up and I believe they did, Kyle and his comrades where there cleaning up the mess.  Two narratives exploded in cyberspace.  One more disgusting than the other.  The first was that it was Karma that his killing led to his death.  The second was that the government did it to further promote gun control.  People, I beg you, stop.  It is hurtful, idiotic and frankly cowardly.  I hated the idea of the Iraq war, I thought it was a ginned up reason to go, I knew we would not be seen as liberators, I knew that we would be fighting insurgents and tribal in-fighting would put lives in danger and I knew that we would not find any of the weapons that Rumsfeld assured us he knew existed and where they were.  But to call this Karma or to say that government forces did this belittles the memory of a hero.  Rest in Peace sir, I am sorry your country let you down.

So it was quite a week and the new one has started.  Who knows what is next. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

I am again disgusted....

In the early days of the internet the two fastest growing segments were the porn industry and the hate groups. While porn was often purely a mercantile venture, hate was an attempt at giving voice to what had become impolite in our evolving society.  The anonymity of the medium allowed people to say whatever they had in mind and put it out there.   Finding like minded people became easy and entire virtual communities developed based on hate.  Message boards gave way to chat rooms then social media exploded with new ways for people to connect in real time with strangers.  While hate groups are near their saturation point their brand of nasty language and attack voices have become main stream for some.  For example on Twitter where small minded people, ginned up by members of the right wing noise machine elite,  attack anyone who dares challenge their warped view of the world. 

Sandra Fluke has become a favorite.  The woman who was originally banned from testifying to Congress on contraceptive drugs in health care plans in favor of an all male witness list has been the target of a nasty and orchestrated attack pattern by the minions of Rush Limbaugh.  Fluke was called a slut by Limbaugh on his radio show in an attempt to remain relevant.  The outcry, the loss of sponsors and the subsequent showing that America has for the most part left Limbaugh at the last rest stop has called out a backlash that is just short of pathetic.  Ignorance, when married to anonymity and hate leads to people calling her a prostitute and other unsavory things.  In fact they actively seek her out to do this.  A form of cyber-stalking.  The ignorance is fed by the noise machine that lies so blatantly about virtually everything that some fact-checkers have given up, concluding there is no point to fact check fiction.  But while there is no doubt that the right wing noise machine has started to sputter and shake, it still has a following and so as it gets nastier and more hate driven we will see more attacks.  Some beyond anything one would imagine in appropriate discourse. 

Sandra Fluke put herself out there and is a strong adult.  She need not worry about most of the things said about her.  While she has had death threats, most is just some person who has not lived up to their dreams of their own self-worth and striking out.  They appear to be jealous failures who hate the fact that a smart, active and attractive woman could do so much damage to their hero.  It is sad really.  But this week we were visited by a series of hateful and downright disgusting tweets that even surprised me. 

Gabby Giffords testified in front of Congress on gun legislation.  Giffords was the Arizona Congresswoman who was shot in the head in an assassination attempt.  A moderate Democrat and strongly pro-gun her story riveted the country for a few weeks as we saw her recover and watched the suffering of those families who lost loved ones, including a nine year old.  Giffords recovered since the 2011 shooting but resigned her seat in Congress.  Earlier this week she spoke to Congress.  Having not recovered from her injuries completely she read a statement, slowly and with difficulty announcing her interest in controlling access to certain types of weapons and accessories that are designed to simply kill people. 
Almost immediately the Twitter world exploded with statements like:  Retarded Democrat Gabrielle Giffords Exploiting her Shooting Tragedy to Force Americans to Accept Tougher Gun Control Laws!  Michelle Malkin, a woman who seems to think she is doing journalism, attacked Giffords and the press because there was a report that the hand written notes used by Giffords to testify were written by her when in fact they were written by her speech therapist.  Giffords brain does not function as well as it did before a man with a legally purchased weapon put a bullet through it, but that didn’t stop Malkin and her minions from saying such hateful things about her.  Malkin seemed to think it was a ploy for sympathy to post the notes.  I don’t know, I think there was plenty of sympathy for Giffords who spoke with conviction while reminded the panel that she and her husband are legal gun owners and have been long adocates of gun-rights.   But Malkin and others felt it was fine to attack a woman who was shot in an assassination attempt for the reason she disagrees with their view of the universe and does so by attacking her disability that was the result of her being shot.

This is not okay, spin on policy, questioning of certain people’s motives and  even negative rhetoric in a campaign all have a long history in our country’s political landscape.  But attacking a person who fought against all odds to find a solution to a growing problem and bring it to her former colleagues only to be attack as a “retard” or “dumb bitch” by small people is not okay.  The NRA and other gun advocates should denounce these pathetic and disgusting statements publically or I will just have to assume that they are part of what they believe.  In that case we should all pity them for their serious lack of compassion and manners and they have no place in our society.  Also I wonder if it isn’t a mental disorder driving this and well, should you really own a gun? 

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