First You Pray. Then You Act.

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Any country which has made the conscious decision to defend its guns over its own children has gone mad. If you can’t get some sensible gun laws passed when they’re carrying out the bodies of slaughtered children, you’re not going to get it when they’re carrying out the bodies of slaughtered gays and lesbians.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bother to TRY.    I’m  damn tired of maniacs using the Second Amendment to shield them from scrutiny and give them the means to get assault weapons and other tools to commit mass murder.  IF we allow what happened at the Pulse nightclub to go by with nothing more than prayers and hand-wringing, we are going to see another maniac try to beat Omar Mateen’s body count.

What we do is taking it to Congress and we can start by calling and writing our U.S. Senators and demanding they answer this question:   What are YOU going to do to prevent another mass shooting like the one in Orlando?

I’ll provide the contact information for your senator at the end of this post.   Today, I came across a call to action from a man I know and respect,  Phil Martin.   Phil is the former executive director of Stonewall Columbus, a founder of the Columbus Gay Men’s Choir and a professor at North Central State College.    He is a conscientious activist, a passionate advocate and a stand-up dude and all-around damn fine human being.

I asked Phil if I could share here what he shared on Facebook and here it is:

When you get done being upset or sad…get angry!! REALLY ANGRY!!!

I’m ANGRY because our legislators are bought and paid for by the gun lobby!

I’m ANGRY because our spineless congress won’t do a God. Damn. Thing.

I’m ANGRY because this country has already said it is ok to kill first graders (Sandyhook), high school kids (Columbine), college kids (Virginia Tech), shoppers (Killeen, TX), and even soldiers (Fort Hood)…so what will it matter that a slew of young gay folks were killed??

I’m ANGRY because this will simply set a new record that someone will try to beat when they easily get their hands on these weapons of mass destruction.

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I’m ANGRY at all the politicians telling us to pray for the victims! When you’re done praying, get up off of your knees, STAND UP and demand that something be DONE for the victims!!

But most of all, I’m ANGRY because I’m TIRED OF BEING ANGRY!!!

Something MUST change!! Don’t vote for spineless politicians!! STAY ANGRY and hold our elected officials accountable!!! They have blood on their hands…and if we don’t do something, we do too!

I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I don’t want blood on my hands.   Well, maybe I want Mateen’s, but the Orlando SWAT team beat me to it.    That’s still no excuse for the 45 Senators who blocked background checks for gun purchases in the wake of the Sandy Hook rampage.   Many of them are still in Congress and every last mother’s son and daughter among them should have to answer for it now.

One of my representatives, Sherrod Brown voted correctly.  The other, Rob Portman did not and he is up for reelection in November.    Portman was considered vice-president material by Mitt Romney in 2012, but was passed over for Paul Ryan instead.   It was rumored what knocked Portman out of consideration was his vocal support for his son who had come out as a gay man.

The Orlando terrorist targeted the Pulse nightclub because it was popular with the LGBTQ community and Mateen reportedly was offended when he saw two men kissing.   Gay men like Rob Portman’s son.   Now there’s some irony in there.   Portman needs to account for his 2013 vote and what he’s going to do for the dead gay sons of other fathers gunned down in a spasm of hate and blood.

This is the phone and email information for the Senators of the 114th Congress.  Take a stand.  Ask the questions and don’t stop asking until you get the answers.

http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/

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Do not let this happen again because you did nothing now.

Prayers Are Not Enough

There have been thousands more memorials for the dead since Sandy Hook.

As opposed to the slow-to-no response from the 2016 Republican presidential candidates to the Colorado Springs shootings less than a week ago, following this week’s  the shooting spree in San Bernadino that left 14 dead, most of them reacted  quickly to get out their expressions of shock and sympathy for public consumption.

Notice any differences between the Democratic and Republicans?

“Our prayers are with the victims, their families, and the first responders in San Bernardino who willingly go into harm’s way to save others,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) tweeted.

It was remarkably similar to the response from Cruz following the shooting at a Planned Parenthood office in Colorado Springs last week.

“Praying for the loved ones of those killed, those injured & first responders who bravely got the situation under control in Colorado Springs,” Cruz tweeted at the time.

“Praying for all those victimized by the shootings in San Bernardino, California today,” tweeted New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Jeb Bush’s message was nearly identical.

“Praying for the victims, their families & the San Bernardino first responders in the wake of this tragic shooting,” he tweeted.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the shooting victims and their families in San Bernardino,” wrote Ben Carson.

Donald Trump, not surprisingly, offered a response with a bit more attitude — but it still said nothing about guns.

“California shooting looks very bad. Good luck to law enforcement and God bless. This is when our police are so appreciated!” Trump tweeted.

The Democratic hopefuls struck a strikingly different tone.

“I refuse to accept this as normal. We must take action to stop gun violence now,” Hillary Clinton tweeted.

“Mass shootings are becoming an almost everyday occurrence in this country,” Bernie Sanders tweeted. “This sickening and senseless gun violence must stop.”

Martin O’Malley called out the National Rifle Association by name.

“Horrifying news out of #SanBernardino. Enough is enough: it’s time to stand up to the @NRA and enact meaningful gun safety laws.”
Prayers are no substitute for taking action. The Democrats say something must be done but lack the will or votes to do anything. The Republicans say a prayer and do nothing.

My reply? God helps those who help themselves.

Not sure which “meaningful gun safety laws” could be enacted to address rampant gun violence in America, but one thing clear to me is prayers aren’t working.

Prayers are no substitute for action.

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There may be value in prayer and I’m not knocking it, but if God is busy at a football game or something, I don’t leave it all in His hands. More has to be done than sending up prayers to a God who may not be there or may not be interested in getting involved.

I prayed for change.
I prayed after Sandy Hook.
I prayed after Charleston.
I prayed after Paris.
I prayed after Colorado Springs.
I prayed time and time again after senseless acts of violence here in America, in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and around this troubled globe.

I pray and nothing changes.   If we have learned nothing from Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Columbine, Aurora, Colorado,  and now San Bernardino it’s that grief is not enough, tears are not enough, prayers are not enough.

This says to me maybe I should pray less and do more.

Republican Enablers Make Attacks on Abortion Providers Possible. Democratic Wimps Make It Inevitable.

Colorado Springs shooting suspect Robert Lewis Dear of North Carolina is seen in undated photos provided by the El Paso County Sheriff's Office. A gunman burst into a Planned Parenthood clinic Friday, Nov. 27, 2015 and opened fire, launching several gunbattles and an hourslong standoff with police as patients and staff took cover. By the time the shooter surrendered, at least three people were killed, including a police officer and at least nine others were wounded, authorities said. (El Paso County Sheriff's Office via AP)

Colorado Springs shooting suspect Robert Lewis Dear of North Carolina: the latest American Psycho

“We can’t let it become normal. If we truly care about this — if we’re going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience — then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them. Period. Enough is enough.”
~ President Obama in response to the shootings at a Planned Parenthood clinic

I’m going to engage in speculation here, but I feel certain it isn’t reckless or irresponsible speculation.   The motives and motivations of Robert Dear, the suspect in the Colorado Springs shooting spree  which left three dead and nine wounded, are yet unknown.   What his political leanings were or party affiliation was is also still in doubt, but here’s what I believe isn’t in doubt:  this one is on the Republicans.

I’m not going to lay the blame on conservatism as a whole, but specifically the fault goes to the Republicans. Between Fox News, right-wing radio and opportunistic G.O.P. politicians in cheap suits making Planned Parenthood part of their Axis of Evil, it was only a matter of time before some asshole got their grubby mitts on a gun and started shooting up a clinic. “I’m going to kill cops, patients, nurses and doctors to save the babies because I’m Pro-Life!”

It wasn’t just Carly Fiorina lying her Botoxed face off with a phony video slamming Planned Parenthood as a baby body parts merchant. Fiorina was the one to lie and keep lying after she got caught lying. Fuck the truth and fuck the facts. ARE YOU NOT OUTRAGED?

It’s a goddamn travesty it is even necessary to have police guarding clinics for a woman to undergo a medical procedure.

That’s the Republicans for you. They light the fire, throw gasoline on it, push you in and claim you were clumsy and fell in, then demand an apology for being accused. There is always a chance this Angry White Man could turn out to be a Pro-Choicer who staged a false flag covert op to gin up sympathy for abortion clinics and the movement. We know that’s bullshit, right?

Dr. George Tiller: murdered by an anti-abortion terrorist in 2009.

It is completely acceptable to blame the Republican Party for an abortion clinic terrorist when they have created the political climate in the U.S. that emboldens and then sympathizes with this sort of domestic terrorist action. If wasn’t for the fact a cop was among the slain the GOP would be as sympathetic as they were when Dr. George Tiller was murdered in Kansas by another Angry White Man with a gun.

Dr. Tiller had been singled out by Bill O’ Reilly as “Tiller the Baby Killer” and mentioned him 28 times on his top-rated program. After Tiller was gunned down by Scott Roeder, O’Reilly expressed his sympathy–for his own demagoguery and Fox News’ demonetization of Tiller:

When I heard about Tiller’s murder, I knew pro-abortion zealots and Fox News haters would attempt to blame us for the crime, and that’s exactly what has happened. […]

No backpedaling here, madam [Mary Mapes]. Unlike you, I report honestly. Every single thing we said about Tiller was true, and my analysis was based on those facts. […]

Now, it’s clear that the far left is exploiting — exploiting — the death of the doctor. Those vicious individuals want to stifle any criticism of people like Tiller. That — and hating Fox News — is the real agenda here. Finally, if these people are soooo compassionate — so very compassionate, so concerned for the rights and welfare of others — maybe they might have written something, one thing, about the 60,000 fetuses that will never become American citizens. Or am I wrong?

O’Reilly was wrong but no high-profile Republican calling him out for being wrong.

Be clear on this: I am blaming the far-Right, the right-wing noise machine and the Republican Party’s craven opportunism and pandering to the anti-abortion zealots in general and the mendacity of Carly Fiorina specifically. So-called “Democrats” and “liberals” who had nothing to say about the GOP’s propaganda then are useless enabling dupes with nothing of relevance to say now that people are dead.

You can’t play footsie with sort of fanaticism the way Republicans have and then claim it has nothing to do with anything when some nut takes fighting words and turns them into bloody action.

Denial of the pro-life militancy poison the Republicans have injected into the American body politics supersedes any claim of supposed liberal bona fides. Is it polarizing and impolitic to say the Republican Party has enabled and all but abetted this sort of bloody violence against abortion providers and Planned Parenthood? Sure it is, but so is the rhetoric spewed by the GOP for a long time now and if that didn’t honk off these so-called “liberals”, I could not care less if they don’t like it being said.

The Republicans love to bang on President Obama for not using the term “Radical Islam” in response to international terrorism. When the Republicans call what Robert Dear did in Colorado Springs an act of domestic terrorism, they’ll have a point instead of just a talking point.

The timidity of politicians and the refusal of citizens to call this act of violence by its rightful name: domestic terrorism is denying what happens here in the United States is the same damned thing as what happens on distant shores. A day has passed since the attack in Colorado Springs and only two out of 14 GOP presidential candidates have responded to the shootings, so if before gets offended I’ve namechecked the Republican Party, save some of that righteous wrath on the men and woman who want to be your next Commander-in-Chief yet have nothing to say when yet another city becomes a killing field.

Chances Robert Dear was part of some armed anti-abortion resistance like The Army of God are small, but even if he was the latest in a never-ending series of “lone wolves” hard to detect and harder to stop that should be worrisome to all sides of the abortion argument.

As a writer and journalist, I know how much words mean.  Words matter and words like “baby-killer” and “abortion mill” only polarize.  They can’t facilitate reasoned discussion, but they can push an already mentally unstable person to pick up a gun and go off on a mission to kill the baby killers and when one political party specializes in that sort of hate speech they own the consequences of the chaos it creates.

The passivity of consensus-seeing liberals in the face of concerted conservative enabling of ferocious anti-abortion extremism has not and will not elevate the debate to a higher plane of civility. It’s only abandoning women–and mostly poor women–to the non-existent mercies of maniacs like Robert Dear.

Another city. Another rampage. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Another city. Another rampage. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The reproductive rights of women are literally under attack from anti-abortion fanatics enabled and abetted by the Republican Party. That may not pleasant to read, but it’s far less harmful to the ego than a crazed gunman’s bullets are to the body of a cop, client or staff of an abortion clinic. Republican lawmakers have done all they can to limit, prohibit, restrict and legislate abortion out of existence until they get another Supreme Court justice in place to outlaw it entirely. By this time next year they may well be in position to do just that.

The ramifications of a Republican president returning to the Oval Office is too slow and uncertain for the domestic terrorists who don’t want to wait. The radical extremists targeting abortion providers are hoping their atrocities will be minimized and marginalized as nothing more than one nut’s unhinged act of violence. The Left loves to pin a Good Conduct medal on their shirt for being on the “right” side of women’s issues, but when it comes to putting any teeth to the talk, they opt not to offend the Republicans who have fed this Frankenstein monster since Roe v. Wade.

Liberals and Democrats are selling women out under the vain hope by not being blunt about the enablers Republicans have been to abortion extremist they are going to move them to a more moderate middle ground on abortion and all that is doing is getting people killed. This is the flip side of the argument conservatives have so successfully made against the Left over international terrorism but they aren’t anywhere as reticent about hurting the feelings of liberals and Democrats.