Minneapolis Falcon Heights: Time For The NRA to Walk The Walk

160707071532-graphic-video-minnesota-police-shooting-philando-castile-ryan-young-pkg-nd-00010909-large-169Another day, and another American gunned down for having the audacity to be black. Against this latest atrocity, and apart from so much that needs to be said about sympathy for Philando Castile’s friends and loved ones, as well as the angry recriminations that should rightfully be directed at the Falcon Heights Police officer who gunned down a man who seems, from the streaming video that has swept the internet, to have been a perfectly law-abiding, upstanding citizen, this occurs to me: It is time for the NRA to spend a little less energy on defending backdoor tactics that help people to sidestep background checks, and put their effort behind seeking some justice for a law-abiding licensed gun owner who was executed for attempting to provide his registration and identification!

I very much doubt that NRA honcho Wayne LaPierre will have much to say on the subject, because I can’t imagine that would resonate with the gun marketing organization’s core demographic, which is rural white people, or its over-riding mission, which to not to protect anyone’s rights so much as it is to channel fear and hostility into gun and ammo sales. The NRA wants white folks to be afraid of black folks, because fear and suspicion stoke  sales. Stepping up for a gun owner who is black, who was murdered for politely following a white police officer’s shouted instructions, is going to muddy the water for a lot of the singular-minded firearm fetishists who feed the NRA’s coffers.

Still, I’m open to pleasant surprise. Heck, I’m quietly begging to be proven wrong. So here’s my challenge again…

Dear Wayne LaPierre and All NRA Members: prove that you aren’t all hypocrites. Demand that the full power of your organization be turned toward seeking justice for Philando Castile. Make me look like an idiot for doubting your conviction and predicting that you’ll all just sit on your hands and say, “Well, he must have been asking for it.”

#philandocastille

 

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Am I The Only One Exhausted By Twitter?

I try to me a man of the times, albeit of the “quickly aging/hell in a bucket” variety.  I have my vices (whiskey, salty snacks, pedal steel guitar music and the objectification of c1expensive trucks and all those half-dressed Russian women on Instagram) and I have my ekaterina zuevadevices–the newly acquired bad-ass desktop computer (because laptop keyboards are too small for my sausage-sized fingers, and sometimes you just can’t say no to a big old desktop monitor and 2.5 TB of Itunes music, downloaded internet images, saved emails and personal photographs). There is also a slick Samsung notepad that is great for road trips, digital literature, and the morning visit to the bathroom. I’m just not the dustbowl luddite some folks seem to think I am.

Much to the approval of my family, not to mention the shocked amazement of old friends, I also recently acquired my very first smart phone. It wasn’t really by choice. As my children approached graduation, the old land line phone started to ring incessantly, mostly with universities and colleges, but increasingly with telemarketers, unidentified robo-calls, offers of credit card refinancing (although I don’t use credit cards), free cruises and trips  to the Caribbean, and those guys call from “the imagestech support” who desperately need to access my computer to fix a terrible problem I’d yet to realize. (Nice try, guys, really).

It was time for the land line to go, and time for me to put a little effort into 1.) keeping my phone not only charged, but turned on, and 2) actually knowing where my phone is at any particular moment and carrying it around with me, and 3.) actually answering it when it makes noises.

Those noises were the tricky part. My kids fixed it up so I can access all my social media–a well-meant job, though frustrating when I realized that every web site has a different website for android, requiring and entirely fresh learning process. And it is loud. The indexdamn thing is constantly chirping and clucking with notifications, and while I could turn them off, I am trying to be more engaged with the modern world. The grumpy, contrarian, stubborn technophobe isn’t really who I am–although I’m frustrated by the constant, and usually gratuitous, upgrades and changes of our technology,  I love the access to opinion, art, literature, and thought provided by the age of the internet. I’m entranced by Instagram, beguiled by Facebook and the connectivity it gives me to friends and family despite world-weary teenagers regularly telling me “Facebook is over.” (Kids: keep the commentary to yourselves; your wisdom is just as deep as your wardrobe choices are appealling. You may be the future, but I’m still the present, and if you sneer at me again I’m going to embarrass you in front of your friends with a fierce and until now unanticipated grace and fury.

Of all the social media, Twitter is the format I just can’t seem to abide. While I’ll be the first to praise its unrivaled value in the transmission and early coverage of breaking news, I’ve written elsewhere about the derogatory effect that Tweet-based communication and culture, which are purposefully superficial, projects onto our culture. For a while, when it seemed that a significant portion of young people were gleaning their news from Twitter, I feared for the future.  Occasional profundity through brevity is stomped on by the obscene lack of nuance.  One needs only think of Donald Trump and his one word proclamations.  “Sad.” and “Corrupt.” Declarative proclamations punctuating venal opinion stated as fact, as parodied here:
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I am confident that Trump owes his rise as much to the trend of news as infotainment, and the era of putting page hits ahead of integrity in media. I would go further by saying that in a world without Twitter, Donald Trump would not be the phenomena that he is today,  not only because it is an ideal platform for his simplistic, unformed rants and half-formed “policy” but because the very nature of Twitter has prepared us to accept such.

Just as frustrating is the inherent chaos of Twitter–in order to keep up with even my modest list of a few hundred followed Tweeters  (far less than my “follows” on WordPress), constant vigilance is essential lest I fall hopelessly behind and miss an actually interesting post. I don’t have time for it, and miss far more than I see.  Adding insult to an already difficult task are the serial retweeters who place hit counts over quality. You know, the ones who show up throughout the day with two dozen or more re-tweets in a row? Is selectivity no longer a thing? Is liking a post not enough?

It is little wonder to me that Twitter is supposedly twitching and and gasping on life support. Unless one has no life outside a device, or a life so dry and quiet that one can devote significant attention to scrolling the tsunami of static roaring across the Twitter feed, the format is a mess. The only value I find in it is that other folks, with seemingly more time, energy, and resources than I, somehow find a way to sift through the detritus for rare clumps of value which they can package for the rest of us to consider and enjoy as I did with the faux Trump quote above.  As far as its value in carrying my own words to readers, I rate it as a few rungs higher than attaching notes to balloons and releasing them into the wind.

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Be Batman

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Or not.

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Bad Kids Books: Choking Chicken

It is time to regale you with an amusing onslaught of altered–or totally made up–and absolutely inappropriate children’s book covers, because they are apparently a thing, and they’re crazy funny. Mostly. Some are a little disturbing, most are offensive. If you in any way were under the illusion that I take this blog seriously, this should nip that in the bud–or butt–once and for all. And yes, some of pretty much all of these are offensive in one way or another, so if you don’t get annoyed, outraged, or scandalized right away, be patient: your turn is coming.
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Bad Kids Books: Fire!

It is time to regale you with an amusing onslaught of altered–or totally made up–and absolutely inappropriate children’s book covers, because they are apparently a thing, and they’re crazy funny. Mostly. Some are a little disturbing, most are offensive. If you in any way were under the illusion that I take this blog seriously, this should nip that in the bud–or butt–once and for all. And yes, some of pretty much all of these are offensive in one way or another, so if you don’t get annoyed, outraged, or scandalized right away, be patient: your turn in coming.
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Bad Kids Books: Billy

It is time to regale you with an amusing onslaught of altered–or totally made up–and absolutely inappropriate children’s book covers, because they are apparently a thing, and they’re crazy funny. Mostly. Some are a little disturbing, most are offensive. If you in any way were under the illusion that I take this blog seriously, this should nip that in the bud–or butt–once and for all. And yes, some of pretty much all of these are offensive in one way or another, so if you don’t get annoyed, outraged, or scandalized right away, be patient: your turn in coming.
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Bad Kids Book: You Didn’t See….

It is time to regale you with an amusing onslaught of altered–or totally made up–and absolutely inappropriate children’s book covers, because they are apparently a thing, and they’re crazy funny. Mostly. Some are a little disturbing, most are offensive. If you in any way were under the illusion that I take this blog seriously, this should nip that in the bud–or butt–once and for all. And yes, some of  pretty much all of these are offensive in one way or another, so if you don’t get annoyed, outraged, or scandalized right away, be patient: your turn in coming.
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