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.

obama grief

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.

Murder In the Morning

Alison Parker and Adam Ward: R.I.P.

If you’re looking for videos of two journalists being gunned down, look elsewhere. It’s not here.

If you’re looking for a link to a madman’s manifesto, you’re outta luck. It’s not here either.

If you think I’m going to obsess over the killer of Alison Parker and Adam Ward and why he did it, you’ve got another think coming.   I don’t care why the killer did it.    I’m glad he’s too dead to ever do it again.

If you want someone to be sympathetic to Vester Flanagan, the TV reporter turned psycho killer turned maker of ISIS-style bloody porn videos,  there’s no sympathy for the devil here.

I was actually hoping they would take Mr. Flanagan alive but it didn’t ruin my day when he decided wanted to be taken dead.

I’ve seen a thousand pretty young reporters like Alison Parker doing stand-ups on television a thousand times. These are usually the softball, slice of life, non-news stories every station uses to fill time between the hard stuff, weather and sports.

I’ve seen ’em a thousand times. I’ve never seen a pretty young reporter murdered on live television. I’ve never seen a cameraman’s last act is film his killer.

Whenever you think you’ve seen it all you get a nasty reminder you haven’t seen anything yet.

Fuck Vester and fuck his fucking “manifesto.”

I don’t want to read his manifesto. I don’t want to know his sob story. I don’t care about his petty little grudges and bullshit beefs. I never knew “Bryce Williams” OR Vester Flanagan existed before today and I will NOT give this psycho turd the recognition in death he never got in life.

Vester Flanagan a.k.a “Bryce Williams” a.k.a. Dead Guy.

These chicken shit assholes and their murder-suicides. Why can’t they reverse the order and spare us all their bloody insanity? They always have to reach out and drag someone down with them.

Goddamn coward. Burn forever and in agony, Vester. You worthless, godless, evil, twisted little FUCK.

Maybe it’s because we’ve been here so many times before when the kill zone was a school, an office, a shopping center, a church or anywhere human beings/targets can be found. We’ve seen the blood, the bullet holes, the corpses and the terrible aftermath of a killing spree. We’ve even seen the deadly slaughter play out in real-time.

But this…this is different.

I can’t say I have ever seen a young woman murdered as we watch in horror and revulsion. I can’t say I have seen a murderer exult in his kill by triumphantly posting it all over social media. I can’t say I have seen two people die like this before my disbelieving eyes.

Now I can say I have seen all this and it makes me sick to my stomach and saddened to the core of my soul.

This isn’t about Vester Flanagan being a Black gay man who believed his ex-employer didn’t treat him nicely. I don’t know what his grievances were and I don’t care to know. He’s just an asshole and he’d STILL be an asshole no matter what his race or sexual orientation or gender or religion was.

A comment from Gawker summed up what, if anything Flanagan’s rampage “means.”

Tthis is a cultural problem. Flanagan belongs to a community that prides itself on wanton violence, theft, and brutality. people need to open their eyes to this ongoing trend of American male-on-American crime

That might be too subtle for some so I’lll be blunt.  This is not a Black thing or a White thing. It’s an asshole thing and now that Flanagan is a dead asshole, the world is better now that he’s no longer in it.   If only it had happened one day sooner Parker and Ward would still be alive.

Alison Parker w/ Adam Ward - WDBJ7 reporter and cameraman.

Alison Parker w/ Adam Ward – WDBJ7 reporter and cameraman.

No Safety. No Sanctuary.

Emanuel AME Church: Peace was stilled with gunfire.

There is no sanctuary.  There is no safety.  There is no mercy.    We were once again reminded when nine members of the Emanuel  A.M.E. church in Charleston, S.C. had gathered in a place of worship and were slain by  a 21-year-old gunman with White supremacist ties who turned it into a gory slaughterhouse.

I think the world has gone mad. We amuse ourselves with b.s. trivialities, pseudo-celebrities and media-manufactured “scandals” until something evil comes creeping out of the dark to rudely remind us nothing is sacred, nowhere is safe, and everyone is a target.

There’s a special place in hell for someone who would commit mass murder in a church.

Police say the suspect, pictured in the surveillance photograph above, sat in on a prayer group at the Emanuel AME Church for at least an hour before initiating the shooting.

At least nine people—six women and three men—were killed in the mayhem. That count reportedly includes State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, who also acted as the church’s pastor. According to an NAACP official interviewed by the Post and Courier, the shooter told one female survivor “he was letting her live so she could tell everyone else what happened.”

Pinckney’s cousin tells MSNBC witnesses say the gunman’s message was clear:

“He just said ‘I have to do it.’ He said, ‘You rape our women, and you’re taking over our country, and you have to go’.”

Dylan Roof: The wolf stalks the flock.

Those chilling words as well as the deed itself made it clear:  this was a hate crime and the congregation was deliberately targeted.

President Obama has made far too many remarks following mass shootings after the Gabby Giffords was critically wounded and two more were gunned down in Arizona, the Aurora movie theater massacre and the Sandy Hook school shootings and today he made another one.

At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency. And it is in our power to do something about it.

I say that recognizing the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now. But it would be wrong for us not to acknowledge it. And at some point it’s going to be important for the American people to come to grips with it, and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively.

Wherever there is blood spilled there’s America’s Most Trusted Name in Right-Wing News on the spot to offer  yet another Obama-bashing talking point and  Bill O’Reilly used his opening monologue to say sympathetic things about the nine slain parishioners, but not without calling the President “misguided”  for pointing out the frequency of shooting sprees in America.

O’Reilly is too egotistical to bother with a little thing like getting his facts straight.  He’d have to pull his head out of his ass first,  but even this swaggering braggart should be able to do the research Slate did and come up with 27 acts of racially-motivated slaughter and domestic terrorism since the Oklahoma City bombing  which killed 168 in 1995.

Rev. Clementa Pinckney: Pastor, Politician, Victim.

You might think…you would hope…in the midst of a still-developing story where critical facts and vitally important details are still forthcoming, a sober and responsible media would tread carefully and avoid superimposing their own agendas and biases to a tragedy.

Fox News is neither sober nor responsible.  There is nothing—literally NOTHING—that is bad which Fox News can’t make WORSE.

On “Fox & Friends” Thursday morning, co-host Steve Doocy said it was “extraordinary” that Police Chief Gregory Mullen referred to the massacre of nine black churchgoers by a young white male as a “hate crime.”

The segment began with Bishop E.W. Jackson, the senior pastor at Hope Christian Church, opining that he was concerned that this wasn’t a racially motivated crime, but a religiously motivated one. “There does seem to be a rising hostility against Christians in this country because of our biblical views,” he said.

“I would urge pastors in these churches to prepare to defend themselves,” Bishop Jackson added. “It’s sad, but I think that we have to arm ourselves.”

Pastors packing heat in the pulpit?    Anywhere else in the civilized word that would be considered an insane thing to say.   On  Fox it makes sense.    I bet Dylan Root spent a lot of time watching Fox News.

Doesn’t Fox have any decency?   No.  They really don’t.

So it’s not a race thing, okay, folks? Just another common, garden variety mass shooting spree and nothing to get hyped about by calling it a hate crime. I can’t wait for Fox  to explain how it’s all Obama’s fault.

A far more sensitive and thoughtful was provided by came  from Beyonce’s sister, Solange Knowles on Twitter.

Was already weary. Was already heavy-hearted. Was already tired.Where can we be safe? Where can we be free? Where can we be black?

Nowhere.   There is no sanctuary. There is no mercy.  Not even in  God’s House.

The meek will inherit nothing.    Only death from a racist’s gun.    Our pain is unrelenting.  Our prayers are with the grieving in Charleston and for the soul of a deeply sick America as well.

How many more times must the President try to console a traumatized nation?

How Not To Talk About Mass Murder.

Welcome to the chalk outline. Mind the blood stains.

I’ve fed my inner right-winger pretty thoroughly with all this death penalty stuff, but along comes this month’s regularly scheduled mass shooting spree.  America averages a mass killing every two weeks which are different from shooting sprees.  By now, you already know more than you wanted to about the latest one as details about the killer (if not his victims) continue to flood out.

Here’s what I’m not going to do.  I’m not going to mention the shooter’s name.  I’m not going to watch his creepy video or read his even creepier “manifesto.”   I will the skip the armchair sleuthing for motives and amateur psychoanalysis for possible motives.  That’s the territory of the cable TV “experts” and I don’t want to horn in on their act.
This is the Internet.  You don’t need a blog to tell you more of what you already know.

This murderer was unknown to me a few days ago.  I will deny recognizing his existence a while longer.

I am confident the Bill of Rights is resilient enough to survive this latest “gutting” of it the NRA and gun fanatics fret over in much the same way it has every previous mass shooting in America. The organized stalwarts of the Second Amendment have been quite efficient in controlling the sort of conversations we the people have about mass murder and the use of firearms in these tragic, but all too common, events.

We seem to have fallen into an automatic response to these sort of things. First things first: let’s name the shooter, speculate on what his motives might be, (because it nearly always is a male).

Later we can get to the mundane little details like who our shooter killed in his rampage and much later we just might get around to what the efficacy and effectiveness is of using a gun when you absolutely positively want to kill a lot of human beings in as little time as possible.

This is how Americans deal with mass shooting events.

1. Speculate and theorize in the absence of facts.
2. Emphasize how terrible this is and how sympathetic we are to the wounded and the slain.
3. Do NOT bring up guns. It’s too soon.

Remember Columbine? Or would you rather forget?

If those three fast and easy rules to discussing mass shooting events are too much to remember, then remember this:

BLAME THE SHOOTER. DON’T BLAME THE GUNS HE SHOT PEOPLE WITH!
BLAME THE SHOOTER. DON’T BLAME THE GUNS HE SHOT PEOPLE WITH!
BLAME THE SHOOTER. DON’T BLAME THE GUNS HE SHOT PEOPLE WITH!
BLAME THE SHOOTER. DON’T BLAME THE GUNS HE SHOT PEOPLE WITH!
BLAME THE SHOOTER. DON’T BLAME THE GUNS HE SHOT PEOPLE WITH!
BLAME THE SHOOTER. DON’T BLAME THE GUNS HE SHOT PEOPLE WITH!
BLAME THE SHOOTER. DON’T BLAME THE GUNS HE SHOT PEOPLE WITH!

If you’re in some undemocratic country without a Bill of Rights like China reading this please translate this to read “Blame the stabber. Don’t blame the knives he stabbed people with!”

Me? I multitask. I BLAME THE SHOOTER. AND THE GUNS HE SHOT PEOPLE WITH TOO!

When it comes right down to it, I don’t care why these guys go off.   Their backgrounds and motives and reasons are only interesting as far as understanding their crimes.  But understanding why mass murderers commit murder doesn’t seem to be preventing or stopping them from murdering.  There are a lot of dudes just like this one who have poor self-image issues who can’t attract the ladies who don’t go out and slaughter innocents.  ALL and I do mean ALL of the attention is given over to the killer and his issues, motives sad feelings and staggering narcissism and days later we get a blurb or two about the victims.

It’s no wonder so many of these loners/losers lash out this way. At long last the world is finally paying attention to them. It shouldn’t.

We learn a lot about these killers. less about their victims and nothing about how to prevent the next mass killing.   We’ll be back here again and sooner, rather than later.

jaredloughner

Different names. Same kind of crazy.

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