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Guns for Toddlers

In response to the recent theater mass shooting in Louisiana, on the 237 Republican clowns residing in the Clown Bus came up with “More guns in civilian hands is the solution!”

How that works…

In the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting, the National Rifle Association proposed putting more guns in schools. After a racist shot up a Charleston prayer group, an NRA board member argued for more guns in church. And now predictably, politicians and gun rights advocates are calling for guns in movie theaters after a loner killed two people at a theater in Louisiana.

The notion that more guns are always the solution to gun crime is taken seriously in this country. But the research shows that more guns lead to more gun homicides — not less. And that guns are rarely used in self-defense.

Now a new study from researchers at Mount St. Mary’s University sheds some light on why people don’t use guns in self-defense very often. As it turns out, knowing when and how to apply lethal force in a potentially life-or-death situation is really difficult.

The study was commissioned by the National Gun Victims Action Council, an advocacy group devoted to enacting “sensible gun laws” that “find common ground between legal gun owners and non-gun owners that minimizes gun violence in our culture.” The study found that proper training and education are key to successfully using a firearm in self-defense: “carrying a gun in public does not provide self-defense unless the carrier is properly trained and maintains their skill level,” the authors wrote in a statement.

They recruited 77 volunteers with varying levels of firearm experience and training, and had each of them participate in simulations of three different scenarios using the firearms training simulator at the Prince George’s County Police Department in Maryland. The first scenario involved a carjacking, the second an armed robbery in a convenience store, and the third a case of suspected larceny.

They found that, perhaps unsurprisingly, people without firearms training performed poorly in the scenarios. They didn’t take cover. They didn’t attempt to issue commands to their assailants. Their trigger fingers were either too itchy — they shot innocent bystanders or unarmed people, or not itchy enough — they didn’t shoot armed assailants until they were already being shot at…More

And if you are wondering about that open carrying a gun while black thing…

Now, those of you who know BTx3 know I am not anti-gun…But I am anti-stupidity. I grew up with relatives in the mountains and farming community, who owned guns and used them in hunting. So having guns in the house was no big deal. Having guns safely stored in the house, out of the reach of the little ones was. Wasn’t unusual to see a shotgun mounted on a rack above the back door in rural homes, especially by the older folks for several reasons. One, protection of the farm animals from predators such as foxes, hawks, and snakes, second for protection from the local KKK whack jobs real or imagined threat.

Carrying a gun on the street is a whole different animal. Just as the guys in the country were better hunters than we “city-slickers”, Cops are better at it than some jumped up civilian exercising his questionable “Constitutional Rights”. The simple reason is training …Not just once in a Concealed Carry Course..But over and over again in situational mock ups. Despite all of that, Cops still make numerous mistakes. I can’t imagine the carnage some John Wayne wannabe would unleash trying to confront a crazy shooting up a movie theater.

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2015 in Domestic terrorism

 

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Domestic Terrorism By the “Protectors”…

“We aim to kill segregation or be killed by it.”

Fred Shuttlesworth

The KKK and Jim Crow survived for over 100 years on intimidation. Most people were afraid to speak faring the violent consequences.

It seems that threat hasn’t left this part of Texas in 2015…

After the death of Sandra Bland, a mysterious protest appears

PRARIE VIEW, Texas — The sign was homemade, all but two words written in black on white strips of paper attached to a wrought iron fence facing University Drive, the gateway to Prairie View A&M University.

“Signal lane change or sheriff may kill you,” it said. “Kill you” was written in red.

Sandra Bland had come to the area from Chicago for a job interview on July 9 at Prairie View, a historically black school that was her alma mater. She was stopped the next day by a state trooper for failing to signal near the entrance on University Drive, and then arrested on suspicion of assaulting the officer.

For some, the sign struck a chord.

“It was a comment about what happened,” said Mike James, 54, the former video coordinator for the Prairie View football team.

James said Bland’s traffic stop “made no sense to me. The only reason she changed lanes was to get out of the way” of the trooper. James walked to campus Friday on University Drive so he would pass a memorial erected at the site where she was stopped.

Bland, 28, was found dead in her cell July 13 at the jail run by the Waller County sheriff’s office about 60 miles northwest of Houston, hanging from a partition by a plastic bag. Her death was ruled a suicide in an autopsy released Friday.

A photograph of the sign went viral after it was posted online Tuesday, retweeted thousands of times.

But later Tuesday, the sign had disappeared.

“I don’t know why they took it down,” James said. But then he added, “This is a Democratic, black area surrounded by white Republican people. They’re afraid of the political repercussions.”

The home behind the fence where the sign was posted is like many in the surrounding Alta Vista subdivision: a battered single-story brick ranch house.

The young African American mother who answered the door Friday had red eyes and said she had grown tired of dealing with the sign. She did not want to give her name, worried about retaliation.

When the sign first appeared a week after Bland’s death, she feared for her family’s safety. She was upset at whoever put it there, saying she thought: “You just put a target on our backs.”

She pulled it down. By Tuesday, someone had posted the sign again.

“So I cut it down,” she said.

No one at neighboring businesses seemed to know whose idea the sign was.

“Whoever did it, they’re crying out,” said Audrey Saul, who was cleaning out her Saul’s Wheel’m & Deal antique shop down the street.

Saul, 50, admired the sign-maker’s bravery. But she also understood the fear of the young mother who took it down. “Until people get the fear out of them …,” Saul said as she stood outside her shop in the afternoon heat, shaking her head.

“Let’s move forward and rise up. Exposure is the only thing that’s going to help now,” she said, setting off to ask neighboring businesses and bystanders about the sign.

She tried a barbershop. But the owner had not seen the sign, nor had he ventured out when Bland was stopped across the street, where her memorial now stands at the foot of an oak tree.

“They are so afraid in this town. They don’t want any retaliation. Like the barber said: He didn’t go out,” Saul said as she left.

She tried nearby PV Grocery. The owner had not seen the sign. In the parking lot, she spotted her former brother-in-law, who made some calls to friends around town, but got nowhere.

She called the Rev. Walter Pendleton of Pendleton Chapel Baptist Church in nearby Hempstead, and then walked to the memorial to wait for him, saying, “He probably knows. I bet he did some investigating.”

She passed a small white wood frame church, Hope AME. After the pastor, the Rev. Lenora Dabney, spoke at Bland’s memorial on campus Tuesday, she said, she received threats.

By the time Saul reached the memorial, an older African American man from Georgia was snapping photos with his phone. Bland’s photograph was affixed to the tree trunk, surrounded by fabric roses, many yellow, and a heart-shaped barrier of white stones.

David Levell, 62, of Atlanta had come to visit his grandson at the university, and brought him to see the memorial.

“They talk about it all over Georgia,” the postal worker said of the case, adding that it resonates with him.

“I’ve been pulled over myself, stopped unnecessarily. I’ve had them stop me and ask where I’m going” — even in his postal uniform, he said.

“I think he abused his authority,” Saul said of the trooper.

“I do too,” Levell said. But, he added, “nothing will come of it.”

Just then, Pendleton and his wife arrived in matching red shorts and white T-shirts. No word on the sign-maker, he said: Residents are concerned about speaking up, even leaders.

“We couldn’t get these local pastors here,” Pendleton said.

“People are so afraid,” Saul said.

“They can’t shut me up!” Pendleton said, adding that he wants the district attorney removed, accusing him of selective prosecution.

Saul crossed the street to question a man in a Chicago Bulls jersey smoking in front of Amistad Bookplace. Chris Benard, 34, never saw the sign, but he agreed with its message.

“People got to realize we are all targets,” said Benard, who grew up in South Los Angeles and now works as a cook at the university.

Like others here, he doesn’t trust local and state investigators who, he said, “are going to protect their own.” Saul told him she’s waiting for the results of an independent autopsy the family’s lawyer has said they will pursue.

But even with an independent autopsy, Benard said, Bland still “can’t speak for herself.”

“A lot of the truth we won’t ever know,” he said.

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2015 in Domestic terrorism

 

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NYC Activist Takes on Bill O’Reilly

This is a fun one. Bill the O’Bigot gets a lesson on stereotyping from New York Civil Rights Coalition president Michael Meyers. Michael Meyers called Bill O’Reilly and his network out to his face on Monday, accusing Fox News of engaging in a pattern of demonizing black men “You are painting black men as society’s moral monsters,” said Meyers…

Another Bill the Bigot lesson was given in December of last year by Russell Simmons on the show:

Simmons and Murray make a key point, thet the creation of the carceral state more than any other cause is the source of many maladies affecting poor black communities – Best summed up in Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics, by Marie Gottschalk and described in this review

 Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics – Pathology of the Carceral State

For 40 years now the United States has been creating a vast and unprecedented carceral machine. Its size and reach stagger the imagination: jails and prisons, immigration detention and deportation centers, parole and probation offices, digital, electronic, and human surveillance. Its human costs are enormous — federal and state prisons and jails hold over 2 million people in custody at any time; if you include those under parole, probation, or other forms of government surveillance for crime the number exceeds 8 million. Tens of millions of Americans have some form of criminal record. Their families are drawn in to the reach of the carceral state along with them. In global terms the United States stands alone. It has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Its penal practices are brutal compared to Europe. It deepens the racial divide in the country. It distorts the economy and polity. Above all it degrades lives and the country as a whole.

To understand this machine means holding a series of seemingly contradictory notions at once. Mass incarceration extends long-standing tendencies in American penal history while being a bold departure from previous practice; it has at its core a system of racial subordination, although race is now arguably less important than previously; it has marked an expansion in state power but is driven in important ways by the search for private profit; it is an instrument of law and order that operates in arbitrary and uncontrolled ways. Incarceration, originally justified as a defense of human dignity against the bodily brutality of ancien regime punishments, has now become the site of physical and psychological torture. And there is no end in sight to either mass incarceration or the wounds it imposes on human beings and American society…

The broad history of mass incarceration is well known. Prior to the 1980s the size and reach of imprisonment in the United States was not significantly different from its western European counterparts. For most of the 20th century the United States sent slightly more than 100 per 100,000 people to prison. (That number is now over 500 in prison and over 700 if you include jails.) The death penalty had been in long secular decline and the Supreme Court suspended it in 1972. Courts began to take steps to ensure minimal constitutional standards for prisons and protections for prisoners. Serious criminological and legal opinion believed that there was a real possibility that the prison would soon fade away.

Of course past is not always prologue. At precisely the moment when the country’s use of imprisonment appeared to face the possibility of serious reduction, states began a new expensive spree of prison construction. In 1976 the Supreme Court approved the restart of the death penalty. A bipartisan move toward determinate sentences (supported by liberals who thought it would curb the arbitrary authority of prison officials and by conservatives who aimed to curb the power of judges), combined with increasing lengths in mandated sentences, helped trigger vast expansion. Prison officials drew upon fears of riots and “revolutionary” inmates such as California’s George Jackson to justify intensified control over their prisons and increased use of solitary confinement. In the early 1980s the “war on drugs” took off and with it not only a rise in the size of the federal prison system but also the exacerbation of extreme racial inequities in sentences and prosecutions…

These developments, to be sure, did not emerge out of thin air. Instead they built upon initiatives begun earlier under the Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Carter administrations. In particular Johnson’s signing of 1968’s Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act dramatically increased federal engagement with local policing and punishment. One effect of the act was to encourage the growing militarization of police forces, primarily through the Law Enforcement and Assistance Administration. Johnson and his allies may have thought that by imposing new federal standards they would help protect minorities from local abuses (as well as preempt more radical conservative proposals) but as Naomi Murakawa has argued, this liberal emphasis on procedure and uniform standards helped legitimate the idea that new regulations could justify and control the expansion of the prison state. As the continual revelations of prison abuses show, this hope was a false one…(…More…)

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2015 in Domestic terrorism

 

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What Martin Luther King Actually Accomplished

“The negro has no rights which the white man is bound to respect”

March 6, 1857, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, of the United States Supreme Court This article talks a bit about the horrors of the Jim Crow era in America.

Mary Turner 1918 Eight Months Pregnant Mobs lynched Mary Turner on May 17, 1918 in Lowndes County. Georgia because she vowed to have those responsible for killing her husband arrested. Her husband was arrested in connection with the shooting and killing Hampton Smith, a white farmer for whom the couple had worked, and wounding his wife. Sidney Johnson. a Black, apparently killed Smith because he was tired of the farmer’s abuse. Unable to find Johnson. the killers lynched eight other Blacks Including Hayes Turner and his wife Mary. The mob hanged Mary by her feet, poured gasoline and oil on her and set fire to her body. One white man sliced her open and Mrs. Turner’s baby tumbled to the ground with a “little cry” and the mob stomped the baby to death and sprayed bullets into Mary Turner.  

So…One of the things MLK did was to finally put the skids, if not the end to this sort of “domestic terrorism”, against black folks. Now, our black conservative Uncle Toms would like you believe that liberals are using the past as an excuse for everything. But do you see the Jewish people forgetting the Holocaust? Black conservatives, and white conservative racists they support are big on black on black violence. But the thing hy won’t tell you, and you will never find in their pseudo-scientific statistics is that 92% of the men locked up or child sexual abuse …Are white. During Jim Crow white men were free to rape, sodomize and brutalize not only black women…But black children. While lynchings were sometimes reported, these other categories of violence and sexual predation were entirely swept under the rug.

The second thing they lie about is the violence statistics. Sexually abusing a child in the FBI’s version of the violent crime world doesn’t qualify as a “violent crime” – and thus is excludes from the statistics which include murder, and the rape of adult women (or men). We are going to count veggies, but green tomatoes don’t count.

Back to that pre-Civil Rights time – there was little or no hope of actually prosecuting these white criminals in the southern “Justice” system. Laying the groundwork of why black folk will never trust the conservative judges the right is so desperate to appoint.

Gaining the right to walk down the street unmolested may not seem like that big a deal solely from a cynical intellectual viewpoint – but it is pretty freaking important if it is you trying to get down the street.

Most of you have no idea what Martin Luther King actually did

This will be a very short diary.  It will not contain any links or any scholarly references.  It is about a very narrow topic, from a very personal, subjective perspective.

The topic at hand is what Martin Luther King actually did, what it was that he actually accomplished.

The reason I’m posting this is because there were dueling diaries over the weekend about Dr. King’s legacy, and there is a diary up now (not on the rec list but on the recent list) entitled, “Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Dream Not Yet Realized.”  I’m sure the diarist means well as did the others.  But what most people who reference Dr. King seem not to know is how Dr. King actually changed the subjective experience of life in the United States for African Americans.  And yeah, I said for African Americans, not for Americans, because his main impact was his effect on the lives of African Americans, not on Americans in general.  His main impactwas not to make white people nicer or fairer.  That’s why some of us who are African Americans get a bit possessive about his legacy.  Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy, despite what our civil religion tells us, is not color blind.

I remember that many years ago, when I was a smart ass home from first year of college, I was standing in the kitchen arguing with my father.  My head was full of newly discovered political ideologies and black nationalism, and I had just read the Autobiography of Malcolm X, probably for the second time.

A bit of context.  My father was from a background, which if we were talking about Europe or Latin America, we would call, “peasant” origin, although he had risen solidly into the working-middle class.  He was from rural Virginia and his parents had been tobacco farmers.  I spent two weeks or so every summer on the farm of my grandmother and step grandfather.  They had no running water, no gas, a wood burning stove, no bathtubs or toilets but an outhouse, pot belly stoves for heat in the winter, a giant wood pile, a smoke house where hams and bacon hung, chickens, pigs, semi wild housecats that lived outdoors, no tractor or car, but an old plow horse and plows and other horse drawn implements, and electricity only after I was about 8 years old.  The area did not have high schools for blacks and my father went as far as the seventh grade in a one room schoolhouse.  All four of his grandparents, whom he had known as a child, had been born slaves.  It was mainly because of World War II and urbanization that my father left that life.

They lived in a valley or hollow or “holler” in which all the landowners and tenants were black.  In the morning if you wanted to talk to cousin Taft, you would walk down to behind the outhouse and yell across the valley, “Heeeyyyy Taaaaft,” and you could see him far, far in the distance, come out of his cabin and yell back.

On the one hand, this was a pleasant situation because they lived in isolation from white people.  On the other hand, they did have to leave the valley to go to town where all the rigid rules of Jim Crow applied.  By the time I was little, my people had been in this country for six generations (going back, according to oral rendering of our genealogy, to Africa Jones and Mama Suki), much more under slavery than under freedom, and all of it under some form of racial terrorism, which had inculcated many humiliating behavior patterns.

Anyway that’s background.  I think we were kind of typical as African Americans in the pre Civil Rights era went.

So anyway, I was having this argument with my father about Martin Luther King and how his message was too conservative compared to Malcolm X’s message.  My father got really angry at me.  It wasn’t that he disliked Malcolm X, but his point was that Malcolm X hadn’t accomplished anything as Dr. King had.

I was kind of sarcastic and asked something like, so what did Martin Luther King accomplish other than giving his “I have a dream speech.”

Before I tell you what my father told me, I want to digress.  Because at this point in our amnesiac national existence, my question pretty much reflects the national civic religion view of what Dr. King accomplished.  He gave this great speech.  Or some people say, “he marched.”  I was so angry at Mrs. Clinton during the primaries when she said that Dr. King marched, but it was LBJ who delivered the Civil Rights Act.

At this point, I would like to remind everyone exactly what Martin Luther King did, and it wasn’t that he “marched” or gave a great speech.

My father told me with a sort of cold fury, “Dr. King ended the terror of living in the south.”

Please let this sink in and and take my word and the word of my late father on this.  If you are a white person who has always lived in the U.S. and never under a brutal dictatorship, you probably don’t know what my father was talking about.

But this is what the great Dr. Martin Luther King accomplished.  Not that he marched, nor that he gave speeches.

He ended the terror of living as a black person, especially in the south.

I’m guessing that most of you, especially those having come fresh from seeing “The Help,” may not understand what this was all about.  But living in the south (and in parts of the mid west and in many ghettos of the north) was living under terrorism.

It wasn’t that black people had to use a separate drinking fountain or couldn’t sit at lunch counters, or had to sit in the back of the bus.

You really must disabuse yourself of this idea.  Lunch counters and buses were crucial symbolic planes of struggle that the civil rights movement decided to use to dramatize the issue, but the main suffering in the south did not come from our inability to drink from the same fountain, ride in the front of the bus or eat lunch at Woolworth’s.

It was that white people, mostly white men, occasionally went berserk, and grabbed random black people, usually men, and lynched them.  You all know about lynching.  But you may forget or not know that white people also randomly beat black people, and the black people could not fight back, for fear of even worse punishment.

This constant low level dread of atavistic violence is what kept the system running.  It made life miserable, stressful and terrifying for black people.

White people also occasionally tried black people, especially black men, for crimes for which they could not conceivably be guilty.  With the willing participation of white women, they often accused black men of “assault,” which could be anything from rape to not taking off one’s hat, to “reckless eyeballing.”

This is going to sound awful and perhaps a stain on my late father’s memory, but when I was little, before the civil rights movement, my father taught me many, many humiliating practices in order to prevent the random, terroristic, berserk behavior of white people.  The one I remember most is that when walking down the street in New York City side by side, hand in hand with my hero-father, if a white woman approached on the same sidewalk, I was to take off my hat and walk behind my father, because he had been taught in the south that black males for some reason were supposed to walk single file in the presence of any white lady.

This was just one of many humiliating practices we were taught to prevent white people from going berserk.

I remember a huge family reunion one August with my aunts and uncles and cousins gathered around my grandparent’s vast breakfast table laden with food from the farm, and the state troopers drove up to the house with a car full of rifles and shotguns, and everyone went kind of weirdly blank.  They put on the masks that black people used back then to not provoke white berserkness.  My strong, valiant, self educated, articulate uncles, whom I adored, became shuffling, Step-N-Fetchits to avoid provoking the white men.  Fortunately the troopers were only looking for an escaped convict.  Afterward, the women, my aunts, were furious at the humiliating performance of the men, and said so, something that even a child could understand.

This is the climate of fear that Dr. King ended.

If you didn’t get taught such things, let alone experience them, I caution you against invoking the memory of Dr. King as though he belongs exclusively to you and not primarily to African Americans.

The question is, how did Dr. King do this — and of course, he didn’t do it alone.

(Of all the other civil rights leaders who helped Dr. King end this reign of terror, I think the most under appreciated is James Farmer, who founded the Congress of Racial Equality and was a leader of non-violent resistance, and taught the practices of non violent resistance.)

So what did they do?

They told us: — whatever you are most afraid of doing vis a vis white people, go do it.  Go ahead down to city hall and try to register to vote, even if they say no, even if they take your name down.

Go ahead sit at that lunch counter.  Sue the local school board.  All things that most black people would have said back then, without exaggeration, were stark raving insane and would get you killed.

If we do it all together, we’ll be OK.

They made black people experience the worst of the worst, collectively, that white people could dish out, and discover that it wasn’t that bad.  They taught black people how to take a beating — from the southern cops, from police dogs, from fire department hoses.  They actually coached young people how to crouch, cover their heads with their arms and take the beating.  They taught people how to go to jail, which terrified most decent people.

And you know what?  The worst of the worst, wasn’t that bad.

Once people had been beaten, had dogs sicked on them, had fire hoses sprayed on them, and been thrown in jail, you know what happened?

These magnificent young black people began singing freedom songs in jail.

That, my friends, is what ended the terrorism of the south.  Confronting your worst fears, living through it, and breaking out in a deep throated freedom song.  The jailers knew they had lost when they beat the crap out of these young Negroes and the jailed, beaten young people began to sing joyously, first in one town then in another.  This is what the writer, James Baldwin, captured like no other writer of the era.

Please let this sink in.  It wasn’t marches or speeches.  It was taking a severe beating, surviving and realizing that our fears were mostly illusory and that we were free.

So yes, Dr. King had many other goals, many other more transcendent, non-racial, policy goals, goals that apply to white people too, like ending poverty, reducing the war like aspects of our foreign policy, promoting the New Deal goal of universal employment, and so on.  But his main accomplishment was ending 200 years of racial terrorism, by getting black people to confront their fears.  So please don’t tell me that Martin Luther King’s dream has not been achieved, unless you knew what racial terrorism was like back then and can make a convincing case you still feel it today.  If you did not go through that transition, you’re not qualified to say that the dream was not accomplished.

That is what Dr. King did — not march, not give good speeches.  He crisscrossed the south organizing people, helping them not be afraid, and encouraging them, like Gandhi did in India, to take the beating that they had been trying to avoid all their lives.

Once the beating was over, we were free.

It wasn’t the Civil Rights Act, or the Voting Rights Act or the Fair Housing Act that freed us.  It was taking the beating and thereafter not being afraid.  So, sorry Mrs. Clinton, as much as I admire you, you were wrong on this one.  Our people freed ourselves and those Acts, as important as they were, were only white people officially recognizing what we had done.

PS.  I really shouldn’t have to add this but please — don’t ever confuse someone criticizing you or telling you bad things over the internet with what happened to people during the civil rights movement.  Don’t.  Just don’t do it.  Don’t go there.

PSS  Weird, but it kind of sounds like what V did to Evie.

UPDATE:  There is a major, major hole in this essay as pointed out by FrankAletha downthread — While I was focusing on the effect on black men, she points out that similarly randomized sexual violence against black women was as severe and common and probably more so, because while violence against black men was ritualistic, violence against black women was routine.

UPDATE 2: Rec list — I’m honored!!!

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2014 in Black History, The Post-Racial Life

 

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“Killer” George Zimmerman Arrested For Pulling A Gun…Again

You know – all the conservative bigots and racist who supported this guy, must be feeling like complete toilet wipes about now.

So how many more people does this scumbag have to murder before the police in Florida get the courage to lock him up?

This time “innocent George” pulled a shotgun on his (new?) girlfriend…Who is pregnant!

He has gotten away with murder before…

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2013 in Domestic terrorism, The New Jim Crow

 

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McBride Killer to Be Tried

There is an old cultural myth in the South, of a farmer protecting his fields from theft by kids with a shotgun loaded with rock salt.  Of course this was in the times before the NRA armed every moron in America with lethal weapons or mass murder, and the racist right terrorized the public into committing, what has become genocide. The farmer certainly realized the loss of a couple of ears of corn wasn’t worth taking someones life, and was seeking to install a moral lesson by way of a painful warning.

As a kid growing up in an area which still had a fair amount of rural expanse – I can certainly remember a few times when a motorist knocked on the door in need of a phone to call for help due to a breakdown or accident. This was the days before we all (or anyone) had cell phones, little ones. As an aside, I can remember as a really little guy of about 5 or 6 visiting my Uncle’s farm in the country, and they had Party Lines. Of course in those days before the terror induced by he gun crazies, the first response to someone knocking on the front door, wasn’t to grab you gun and shoot the visitor.

Now, I have been a gun owner since I was 7, and with relatives who lived in rural areas of the Tidewater and mountains, grew up with folks where hunting and fishing was a way of life. In those days before the Tea Bagged Reich created the Jim Crow “Stand Your Ground” excuse for murder, we had what was called a “Threshold Law”. Ergo, if some Republican decided to dance buck naked on your porch and howl at the moon – it was a matter for law enforcement. If same Republican forced their way into your house (across the threshold) then you were within your rights to use deadly force if necessary. Of course a pot of hot water, or the Al Green Treatment (a pan full of hot grits) would likely prove to be a sufficient enough re-education lesson for all but the most “Cruz”esque of intruders…

But then, in the fast-food infected modern America, a pot of hot water might be pretty hard to come by.

Why are black murder victims put on trial?

Renisha McBride’s toxicology report is out and now we know the 19-year-old had a blood-alcohol level that was more than twice the legal limit for driving. This would explain why, according to her family, she was involved in a single-car accident.

However, it does not explain why Theodore Wafer shot her in the face.

McBride’s family says she was seeking help after the crash and knocked on the door of Wafer’s house in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. The 54-year-old Wafer, who is white, told investigators he feared McBride, who is black, was trying to break in.

There are too many unanswered questions to know exactly what happened that night. But we do know this: If a black man told police officers “self-defense” was the reason why he shot an unarmed white teenage girl in the face with his shotgun, it would not have taken protests, national media attention and nearly two weeks for authorities to reject that excuse.

And this is why McBride’s death — ruled a homicide after protests and national media attention — draws comparisons to that of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teen shot and killed by George Zimmerman, who is of white and Latino heritage, last year. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2013 in Domestic terrorism

 

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Oakland, Tired of Gun Murders – Tries Gun Control

The NRA has a new target – Oakland, California. Unfortunately for the NRA, this one isn’t as easy as Colorado.

Backing the city’s approach a recent study

A new study of gun violence published by the American Journal of Public Health found that states with greater levels of gun ownership tend to have higher rates of gun-related murder.

The study, conducted by Boston University professor Michael Siegel and coauthors Craig S. Ross and Charles King III, examines this relationship in all 50 states from 1981 to 2010. The researchers found that “for each percentage point increase in gun ownership, the firearm homicide rate increased by 0.9 percent.”

The authors note that, though they can’t prove a causal relationship between higher levels of gun ownership and homicide, “states with higher rates of gun ownership had disproportionately large numbers of deaths from firearm-related homicides.”

Their findings echo past studies about the relationship between gun ownership and homicide, though Siegel, Ross and King look at the relationship over a larger window of time than previous research.

According to a fact sheet from the Harvard School of Public Health:

Our review of the academic literature found that a broad array of evidence indicates that gun availability is a risk factor for homicide, both in the United States and across high-income countries. Case-control studies, ecological time-series and cross-sectional studies indicate that in homes, cities, states and regions in the US, where there are more guns, both men and women are at higher risk for homicide, particularly firearm homicide.

Gun Control in the US, may well break down into Urban versus Rural laws – based on the reality that cities tend to have more violent crime. To make this work may take some creative thinking, beyond just the knee-jerk reaction of either side of the argument. Control of guns has a long history in the US, where it wasn’t uncommon for the local Sheriff to confiscate guns within the city limits to protect the relative peace of the community.

Perhaps, instead of some sort of outright ban – that could be a solution for cities. Regulated, privately owned arsenals operating at the city limit, which would keep or store firearms for city residents or visitors until they leave the urban confines of city. It isn’t clear at this point whether this type of nuanced approach is acceptable to either side.

It will be interesting to see where this one goes, as if it is successful – it may be a model for other cities.

Pallbearers carry the casket of Alaysha Carradine, 8, who was shot to death at a slumber party in Oakland in July. A 7-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy were wounded. Last year, 12 children were among the city’s 130 homicides — 90% of them gun-related.

Oakland, reeling from gun violence, aims for unprecedented solution

City seeks exemption from the California law that bars local governments from regulating the registration or licensing of firearms.

As a City Council member here, Libby Schaaf is notified each time someone is shot. That, it turns out, occurs several times each day.

It is a relentless reminder of Oakland’s sweeping public safety crisis: So far this year there have been 3,026 gun crimes in this city just shy of 400,000 residents, which tops the list of the state’s most dangerous.

Extreme conditions, reasoned Schaaf — among the public officials who recently attended the wrenching funeral of an 8-year-old girl strafed with gunfire at a slumber party — require exceptional measures.

And so was born an unprecedented effort to seek an exemption from the California law that bars local governments from regulating the registration or licensing of firearms.

“Since the moment I came into office I’ve been on a quest to understand … the tools that Oakland could use to reduce the bloodshed in any way,” said Schaaf, who tapped academics in criminology and law for ideas.

The legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) has passed both legislative chambers and is sitting on the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown, an Oakland resident and two-term mayor here. It joins a dozen other gun control measures awaiting the governor’s decision, including bills that would outlaw the sale of rifles with detachable magazines, expand the list of crimes that result in a possession ban and crack down on straw purchasers of firearms.

No municipality has previously received such an exemption, yet Bonta called the “targeted approach” to hand this regulatory decision-making to local officials “good policy,” noting that 12 children were among Oakland’s 130 homicides last year — 90% of them gun-related.

This year has also seen the slaying of several children, among them Alaysha Carradine. Known to her family as “Ladybug,” she was slain at a July slumber party when an unknown suspect knocked on the door and opened fire. A 7-year-old girl and 4-year-old boy were wounded.

California does not require registration per se but rather a “dealer record of sale,” provided to the state Department of Justice at the point of purchase. That data can quickly become out of date.

Oakland officials say a city licensing and registration program would help police better track local gun patterns, including thefts; locate straw purchasers; remove firearms promptly from the hands of those barred from possessing them; and allow for better gun safety education.

The gun lobby is opposed, saying the state Department of Justice already tracks gun purchases and that local interference would layer undue costs on law-abiding firearms owners.

“The bill does nothing useful and is just going to make it more difficult for poor people in Oakland to defend themselves and their families,” said Brandon Combs, president of the California Assn. of Federal Firearms Licensees, which lodged its formal opposition to the bill.

But some experts say Oakland could prove a worthy test case for local control for larger cities, such as Los Angeles, which tend to face the greatest crime concentrations. Home rule, they note, allows faster local access to better data in high-crime areas without imposing the same controls on rural areas, which would likely fight them most and arguably need them least.

“It doesn’t isolate the big cities in California, it isolates one city in California,” said UC Berkeley law professor and criminologist Franklin Zimring. “It says, ‘OK, Oakland, you’ve got a big problem now, let’s see what you want to add to the existing California policy that responds to the nature of firearms violence Oakland-style.'”

The Oakland experiment, Zimring said, could serve to “test the waters of local control and to see whether the political process that produces city-level gun policy can get inclusive and responsible, and whether it can get specific and selective in ways that can solve the problem.”…

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2013 in American Genocide

 

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