by John Walters
I’ll just throw out a few thoughts on El Paso and Dayton (Gilroy, we hardly knew ya’, but you gotta do better than three dead to garner and MSNBC “Nation In Crisis” special these days):
–Ignorance leads to Fear.
Fear leads to Anger.
Anger leads to Violence.
Education is the first step in combating this crisis. Curious, isn’t it, how this administration assails education and promotes “security,” i.e. the military and law enforcement?
–Under Donald Trump, this is not the USA. This is the USAndthem. From his presidential declaration (“many of them are rapists”) to the Mexican judge to “shithole countries” to “fine people on both sides” to “go back” to “an invasion” to “infestation,” he has, wittingly or unwittingly, appointed himself the face of White Supremacy.
This weekend, and not for the first time during his presidency, a mass murder took place under his name. Males, always males and almost always white, are killing innocent people who are not white or not Christian to align themselves to a movement greater than themselves. And Donald Trump is their leader, by the way he speaks in public.
The particulars between Trump and Osama bin Laden, between ISIS and White Supremacists, are different. The fundamentals are the same.
–This morning on MSNBC I heard talking faces seriously discussing a list of things to do to prevent more mass shootings, everything from background checks to more mental health awareness to restricting violent video games. Nobody mentioned the simplest answer: Love.
The values of this administration are “America First” and “Be Best.” There is no, as Jimmy Stewart’s Jefferson Smith intoned in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (a timely classic, 80 years later), “a little looking out for the other guy.” There is only fear and anger and xenophobia.
What does Donald Trump preach? Make money and do whatever you have to do to win. Screw the other guy, and screw playing fair. He’s that ugly Vic Morrow character from The Bad News Bears, the coach of the Yankees. We used to laugh at or treat with derision such jerks and bullies. Now we elect them president.
–Love won’t stop a bullet. I get it. But love is what’s missing when President Trump criticizes Baltimore, or calls Mexicans rapists, or tells Congresswomen of color “to go back.” Only a day before El Paso Trump got on Twitter and taunted a longstanding black Congressman, Elijah Cummings of Baltimore, for having had his house robbed.
–It’s not just the guns, the magazine capacity or semi-automatic/assault rifle potential. It’s WHO we are as a nation, and who we have become. This tweet illustrates that.
–On Sunday morning I tuned into all three cable news networks at around 10 a.m. CNN and MSNBC had wall-to-wall El Paso and Dayton coverage. Fox News had some milquetoast male anchor I’d never seen talking to a female about “Democratic presidential hopefuls” followed by a segment focusing on how Bill Maher had said on his program two nights earlier that he was “hoping for a recession.”
–Over the weekend in El Paso and Dayton 31 innocent people were murdered by two gunmen. You’d have to go back from this weekend to November of 1991 (nearly 28 years) to amass the same body count in the U.S.A. due to sharks. Kind of takes the bite out of Shark Week, does it not?
–Since 1949 there have been two dozen mass shootings in which at least 11 people were killed, including El Paso. In all but one of the 24 mass shootings, a lone male gunman was the perpetrator. Only in the San Bernadino massacre of 2015—14 dead—did a female take part, and only as an accomplice. Most of these gunmen were also white. And this does not include Timothy McVeigh, who killed 168 people using bombs on one day.
It’s funny. Women have to fight for control over their own bodies. Men are allowed to own profligate killing machines and damn anyone who tries to pry that gun out of his hands.
–On Halloween afternoon, 2017, an Uzbeki national got into a truck, drove it onto the Hudson River bike path, and mowed down eight cyclists/pedestrians/runners. Today, every intersection on that path from the tip of Manhattan up to 59th Street, about a five-mile stretch, has metal beams that prevent vehicles from driving onto it (except for E-bikes and scooters that travel at speeds of 35 mph and terrorize the rest of us, but that’s another issue for another blog). And he only murdered eight people. To think that if only he’d have shot those eight people to death with a high-capacity assault rifle, no changes to the bike path (or to our lives and safety) would have been made.
–I was thinking of this very thought below as I listened to Rick Santorum mansplain for the umpteenth time on CNN on Sunday morning why more stringent gun laws would not have stopped the latest mass murder. It’s an idea that needs to be put to use:
–Seriously, WTF here? He’s sniffing up a storm and he’s READING FROM A TELEPROMPTER and he still gets the name of the city wrong?
Trump has made similar errors so often when it comes to misfortune befalling anyone who is not white that it’s not entirely crazy to assume this is code from Stephen Miller to his neo-Nazi base, as if to say, “Don’t worry, he doesn’t really mean what he’s saying here. It’s just what he has to do to make this go away faster. But here’s this little Easter Egg, by way of a blatant misstatement, to remind you that we’re on your side.”
Either that or this president is just unfathomably clueless and stupid. These are the kind of shameful, unforced errors Fox News would have stabbed Obama with for the next year of his presidency. Too bad he never made them.
–Stick To Sports? Okay. When was the last time a starting nine in baseball, or a starting 11 on offense or defense in the NFL, or on a Top 25 college football team, much less a starting five in the NBA, was all white? I cannot think of one, but I imagine you’d have to travel back in time at least 50 years.
White Supremacy is a myth. As is White Decency. If you read your history, you know that just one generation after landing in Plymouth (the Pilgrims first went ashore on Cape Cod but that doesn’t get much historical play), the sons of those Pilgrims were waging war against the Native Americans and driving them out of Rhode Island and eastern Massachusetts, off of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.
Only 40 years after the Pilgrims arrived seeking, what was that again, freedom to pursue their religious beliefs, three people were hanged in public in Boston Common for defying a law that banned Quakers from Massachusetts Bay Colony. They were literally executed for pursuing their own religious beliefs, which was supposedly the reason the Puritans (Pilgrims) fled England.
And then, of course, there’s slavery.
A long time ago a group of white men got together and—with Tom Jefferson being their Michael Jordan and the rest of them the Bulls (maybe Adams was Scottie Pippen?)—drafted the Constitution of the United States, a document that is the apotheosis of the Age of Enlightenment. So, yes, good for them and good for us.
But the myth of White Supremacy is exactly that. As sports demonstrates daily. Two of my favorite basketball teams were the early 2000s Spurs, whose Hall of Fame trio hailed from Argentina, France and the Virgin Islands, and the “:07 or Less” Phoenix Suns, whose core group featured a Canadian (Steve Nash), a Brazilian (Leandro Barbosa), a Frenchman (Boris Diaw) and a Virgin Islander (Raja Bell).
–By my unofficial count, via their Twitter feeds, Rachel Maddow invited 30 GOP lawmakers onto her show tonight and none accepted. Jake Tapper invited 50 GOP lawmakers onto his show and just one accepted. Which leads us to this illuminating clip from Nicolle Wallace’s program:
“Beat ’em. Beat every single one of ’em.” –David Jolly
–Perhaps the only happy political/national news of the weekend was that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell fell and fractured his shoulder at home. If only he’d fallen from a higher distance.
–I asked a few GOP friends of mine today, people I’ve know since before I had a driver’s license: For everything that turns you off about the Democratic Party (and I don’t consider myself a true believer of either party, FWIW), how can you continue to support a party that either sits on its hands or actively promotes the unlimited availability of high-capacity firearms and blatant racism? What is so offensive about the other side that you’d rather stand on this side of the, pardon the term, wall?
–When I hear that “first responders” were on the scene in El Paso in six minutes and in Dayton in just 32 seconds, doubtless saving many lives, yes, I’m heartened by that news. I also wonder what might happen, from a longview perspective, if an active shooter were to be able to be more prolific? What if he could take out 200 lives with one gun in one incident? How many dead would it take to finally compel the Senate to move on the issue of gun safety? Sadly, I don’t think 200 would be enough. I also think there’s someone out there who’s hoping to be the first one to get a body count of at least 100, to be immortal.
–What are you thinking, New York Times?
And then, three hours later…