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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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Funny and/or Strange meme

Monday/Memeday: Amish + Porn = Disconnect

Maybe this is only relevant to Pennsylvania, but if any group of Americans ever needed cable, it is the Amish.

Consumed by His Natural Amish Lusts, This Young Man Forgets That the True Spirit of Amish Grace Is Staring Vacantly into the Distance for no Reason

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Commentary

Only An Idiot Thinks They’ll Take Your Guns

12004069_10153223071075197_1663245164728479242_nThese posts keep showing up in my timeline, and here’s the disclaimer: I wish I had the reserve to keep my mouth shut, because I’m passionately indifferent about gun control. It is politically untenable and pragmatically impossible. The “war on drugs” has cost us billions, with billions more to be spent, and for what: we give up (and rightly so) on demonizing marijuana and face growing problems with both methamphetamine and a buffet of misused gourmet narcotics, not to mention a shocking and disgusting epidemic of heroin use. Yeh, heroin–the drug that, when I was a kid, was identified with back alley junkies half a step removed from the walking dead, is cool.

And we want to repeat this with guns? Piffle. It is fairy tale idealism like this that makes me cringe when folks mistake me for being a liberal because I like trees better than people, and schools better than corporations. Still, the question I must ask is this: just who the hell do you think is “making us give up our guns?”

The answer is NO ONE. Oh, there are people out there who loudly express their desire for a gun free society, who desperately want harsh gun control, but it’s like I tell me kids: I want a pony, but nobody is lining up to give me one, not even for my birthday.

Now, some folks want to make it a more discerning process to get more guns, but never once has anyone with any authority or influence made any attempt to legally, systematically take away weapons from honest people. The hysteric paranoia in this regard verges on the absurd. People defend invasive government infringements on personal liberties such as “stop and frisk” by saying “if you don’t have anything to hide, you shouldn’t mind” but when someone says “maybe a longer waiting period and more exhaustive and comprehensive background checks to find out if you’re a felon or a loony” is akin to the Germans rolling on into Poland. The only people talking about taking guns away from citizens are the NRA which, it is good to remember, is legally incorporated not as a grass roots advocacy group, but as an industrial marketing and lobbying organization.

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Dumb Ass Hall of Fame: Charles Cotton

“Charles Cotton says exactly what you’d expect, yet the speed and heartlessness of it is still startling.” –Esquire Magazine.
cottonIt seemed fitting to revive my old “Dumb Ass Hall of Fame” feature from the early days of this blog, after NRA Board Member and Texas (of course) Attorney Charles Cotton pretty much forced me to do so.

It was Cotton who, in the hours following South Carolina white supremacist Dylann Roof’s execution murders of 9 worshipers at a bible study in the historic  Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, proclaimed that the deaths were not the fault of the twist gunman, but of one of the victims.  In Cotton’s view, the late South Carolina State Senator Clementa Pinckney was responsible for both his own murder but also of that of his eight companions.

“[Pinckney] voted against concealed-carry. Eight of his church members who might be alive if he had expressly allowed members to carry handguns in church are dead. Innocent people died because of his position on a political issue.”

I don’t have a problem with guns–but I think, if you’re like the guy in line at the Dairy Queen two weeks ago with the big chrome Colt holstered on your waist, you probably need way more attention than your mommy ever gave you at home.  I do have a problem with the NRA–a gun manufacturer’s lobby that pretends to be a populist organization, the ultimate goal of which is to sell more products.  The NRA seeds fear, contempt, hysteria and resentment as a way to galvanize it’s supporters, despite that fact that while the future availability of certain weapons has been greatly reduced, no government–conservative, liberal, or whatever–in the recent history of the USA had made even the slightest move to take guns from law abiding citizens.

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Thanksgiving Countdown: Day 4; Is Thanksgiving A Relic?

So, who is stoked for Thanksgiving?  Besides me.  Word has it that another of my wayward distant nephews is making the drive up from North Carolina, 9 hours each way, just to spend late afternoon and evening with us. Boo-yah.  He’s has to work Wednesday and Friday, but he’s coming–and that’s a whole lot of over the river and through the woods to deal with. We’re looking at about 90% attendance, and that rocks–and while we’re down one niece and nephew, we’ve added a niece-in-law (is that a thing?).

Thanksgiving 1The only thing that comes close to the excitement of seeing all these little kids who have suddenly grown into young men and women is the sight of a blunderbuss-toting, hyperopic ballerina ia a french maid outfit hunting vainly for next Thursday’s dinner.  Family love is great and wonderful and all, but the right to a well-armed ballerina is one of the basic tenants of our Great Union. That and the right to run cattle on public land.

But I digress.  (It’s not like you thought that I wounldn’t–digress, I mean).  I recently participated, albeit somewhat tangentially, in a discussion over at coldhandboyack following the host’s blog asserting that “Thanksgiving is dead,” a depressing but well-reasoned consideration of the changes and social trends that have led to a marked diminution of the holiday from sacred family event to pre-Christmas commercial opportunity.  I agree with his assertions; however, my own opinions are considerably more bitter, cynical, and nostalgic.  I’m not ready to see Thanksgiving fade off into that good night, replaced by the vapid superficiality of something like Halloween.  In these regards, I fully embrace a conservative stance, the irony being that pro-commerce conservatives would like nothing better, I think, than to keep nothing about Thanksgiving except for the idea of the thing, as a scaffolding upon which to hang brighter and ever-gaudier solicitations to endless heights of consumerism.

Well, fuck that.  For many years our ears were pummeled politicians droning on about “family values,” despite our nation’s collective rejection of some of the most traditional and visible markers of those values.  Now granted, the commercialization of Thanksgiving isn’t the same as inequities in wages, healthcare, housing, and so forth, but it’s a big glowing example of our priorities.  It was pointed out over at Boyack’s page that it’s all about shopping, but that social media hasn’t helped either, what with texts and tweets and even email relieving some of the longing for contact with loved ones we once had, while providing the illusion of interaction.  A tweet does not a turkey dinner make, however.

black-friday-walmart-620jt111512Another interesting point someone made was that Thanksgiving has had a commercial element for the better part of a century, serving as a practical gateway to Christmas, and I concur.  I’ll be writing in a few weeks about my family’s Christmas traditions and youthful memories, one of which was a trip to the “big city” where they had this wonderful place called a mall, an indoor sort of main street in which we could take off our coats and cross folks off our Christmas lists in perfect, 72 degree comfort.  Black Friday, the commenter observed, isn’t about buying thoughtful gifts for others, it has become about scoring awesome cool crap for bargain prices for ourselves. 

Now, I’m not a religious man by any stretch of the word.  When I step into a church the paint peels off the walls and my shoes leave smoking footprrints on the carpet, but I know sins, and what we’ve done with Thanksgiving is a sin.  Indeed, I’d argue that it is three–envy, greed, and gluttony. Not to mention the complete and total abandonment of any semblance of pride.  Look at the photo above: I would never, ever, run for the opportunity to save a little money on crap I don’t need.  It’s grotesque, there’s nothing else to say.

4126841964_2ee5bce3cf_o-1There is no reason why a holiday like Thanksgiving should dissolve–although many people instill it with religious overtones, the seeds of the season are cooperation (however exaggerated), perseverance, gratitude for what we have, and ultimately the establishment of our nascent country.  No one who lives here, or loves the USA and it’s promise, has any excuse not to embrace it.  Even indiginous, Native Americans could make a case for honoring the generosity and benevolence of their ancestors.

I would go futher in arguing that we MUST struggle to reclaim the simple, supposedly archaic values reflected in ths stodgy old chestnut of a holiday as a starting place from reclaiming the essence of what we can be.  Melodramtic?  Sure it is.  That doesn’t make it bad.  Now to do this, we need more than silly photos of our grandmothers’ generation posing in underwear with poultry, and I’ll have more to say about that tomorrow.

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Commentary Funny and/or Strange Photo I Like

America Not So Unlike Rest of World

We flatter ourselves by holding ourselves aloof, but there isn’t much difference between American and the rest of the world.  Not when you take into account what is truly important.

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The only things they lack in Thailand is sappy country music and Coors Extra LIght With the Extra Shiny Can.  Which picture in Thailand and which is the USA?  It’s almost impossible to tell.

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Funny and/or Strange Uncategorized

Welcome To Night Vale on Poetry Genius

Here’s something fun.  Something weird and cool and fun…

http://poetry.rapgenius.com/Welcome-to-night-vale-pilot-annotated#note-2515385

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Random Found Photo: Spring Frolic, With Automatic Weapons

Before you ask, I have no idea….

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About these posts and the photos in ’em: http://wp.me/p3AOvB-FN