Make Lethal Cruelty a Criminal Act

If willful acts of lethal cruelty resulted in criminal charges, Alex Jones would be serving life with no possibility of parole. Not ever. Lethal cruelty, as evidenced by Jones’ lethal propaganda aimed directly at those who survived the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Allegiance to honesty compels me to confess that if I were to allow my emotional and physical experience of Jones to handpick the jury, my response would be written by some form of violence, and I have had enough enough enough of violence. Jones he has no conscience. He does not care that his behavior is lethal on every front. Period.

It is hard but not impossible for me to live Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s guidance., not so much live up to that, as live that.

King said: “Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”

For me this means, identify a choice that is just, and one that is not dehumanizing. Then, live it. Live the choice made.

One of the gifts life has given me is meeting and learning and knowing victims of violent crime. All forms of violence.  Loved ones of adults and children who’d been murdered.

There’s no bigotry in violence’s bloodstream.   

In late 1984, early 1985, I was attending a community meeting with actress Theresa Saldana, founder of Victims for Victims in California in 1982, at a college in New York City, allowed me one of the most powerfully intimate moment of my life. Theresa survived a knife attack by a stalker. She sustained several stab wounds. To say she barely survived is to engage in the act of understatement, and do so center stage.

If willful acts of cruelty (cruelty being a form of violence) resulted in criminal charges, Alec Jones would be serving life with no possibility of parole. Not ever. 

If I were to allow my visceral emotional and physical experience of Alec Jones to handpick the jury willful cruelty – he has no conscience. He does not care that his behavior is lethal on every front. Period. It is I tell you now hard for me to live Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s guidance.  

King said: “Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”

It is hard for me to, not so much live up to that, as live that. Meaning, identify a choice that is just and not dehumanizing. Then, live it out. Live the choice you’ve made.

One of the gifts life has given me is meeting and learning and knowing victims of violent crime. All forms of violence.  Loved ones of adults and children who’d been murdered. There’s no bigotry in violence’s bloodstream.

In late 1984, early 1985, I was attending a community meeting with actress Theresa Saldana, founder of Victims for Victims in California in 1982, at a college in New York City, allowed me one of the most powerfully intimate moment of my life. Theresa survived a knife attack by a stalker. She sustained several stab wounds. To say she barely survived is to engage in the act of understatement, and do so center stage.

The meeting was not long after the airing of the movie, “Victims for Victims: The Theresa Saldana Story” in which Theresa played herself.  It aired on NBC, Monday, November 12, 1984. spoke and at some point, we went around the room to introduce ourselves. It was up to us if we wanted to share why we were there. 

For me, being in a room with adults of all ages, individuals who each who knew trauma in merciless form was, for me, to be with people whose presence  in this country’s history I treasure. Beyond words. 

When Theresa spoke a moment arrived when she invited those in the room to introduce themselves if they’d like and if they were a crime victim or a loved one of a crime victim, you’re more than welcome to share, but you don’t have too.

Most gave their first name and most were very open about what brought them there.  Survivors of rape, assaults, muggings, stabbing, survivors of adults and children who’ve been murdered. 

When it came to the row I was in, I was sitting just to the right of a woman I’d guess was in her forties. She spoke first. She stood up, gave her first name, and said, “My son was shot and killed in a hold up this year.” Then I stood up and said, “I was held up and shot in the head this year.”

We looked at each other and hugged. No words were needed.  As I remember it, I think everyone in the room would have hugged us both at that moment. They all got it.

Which brings me back to a lethal being named Alec Jones.  Think about something for a moment. The families of the children and adults slaughtered in Sandy Hook are just like the folks I just told you about. Those who lived through the trauma. Not those, like Jones, who live off the trauma.

I wish there was a way to criminally charge Jones and those like him. Their propaganda is cruel; cruel is violence, and a threat to life in so many ways. I choose not to hate him. And, hate the behavior, not the person.  But establish a law that allows someone to be criminally charged for abetting and promoting, you name it, acts of deadly violence and hate. It if his were a medicinal poison, a deadly product he handed out, sold, he’d be arrested and charged in the blink of an eye.

Give him his room and board and no freedom for the rest of his life. Period. Take anything about him that’s of financial value, and allow its fate to be decided by the families of the children and adults that died or survived the merciless explosion of gun violence at Sandy Hook, in real time. Let them decide what happens to it.

That would be an act of justice.

Sanity First: Yes to responsible gun control

Fanatics must refrain from engaging in a relationship with objective reality in order to hold onto their beliefs. That said, anyone who does not think changes in gun regulations are part of what must happen in order to address my country’s addiction to and obsession with violence is a fanatic, utterly delusional, breathtakingly gullible, or an out and out liar.

Since the Newtown shootings I’ve seen far too many look to protect what they think is their right to own any firearm under the sun first, and, as a result, place the safety of their fellow human beings second, if at all.

The gun show loophole is essentially this. There are about 5,000 gun shows a year in this country. In 33 states people can go in and buy weapons without background checks, a fact which everyone knows (except the aforementioned fanatics’n friends) provides a feeding trough for criminals to get weapons. You can’t say you are against closing this loophole and say you want to reduce violence in the same sentence and be telling the truth.

The facts are clear. There are something like 600 deaths every month in this country from guns, more than 30,000 a year. Every reputable study documents (documents!) that the more guns there are the more death and injury by guns there are.

Not long after the Newtown shootings some argued knives are more dangerous than guns. Wrong. But here’s what I’ll say. If people start committing mass murder by knife, then I’m all for talking about responsible knife control. But that is not what’s happening. People are choosing guns to kill.

And then, of course, there was this bit of asinine foolishness from, not surprisingly, fools. I can think of no better representative for this group than Glenn Beck who pounced on those calling the Bushmaster AR-15 an assault rifle (by definition it’s not).  The AR-15 is one of the weapons Adam Lanza used to kill the 20 children and six adults. beck said, “Make a promise to yourself that you will stop calling rifles ‘assault weapons.’” This sick twisted twit is getting all ants-in-the-pants because someone didn’t use precisely the right terms to describe the semi-automatic weapon that, according to Bushmaster is used by more than 100 police departments and the military in 50 nations? Like I said, guns before people in the minds of some, like Beck.

Universal background checks, a ban an assault weapons and semi-automatic weapons like the AR-15, lower capacity magazines, will help save lives. President Obama and others have set the right tone.

Lastly (for now), it is utterly mind-blowing that the president had to lift a ban on federal research into gun violence. The ban itself is beyond-a-reasonable-doubt evidence that many are invested in maintaining the violence because it means more gun sales and for these creatures, it is profit before people.

As for those who think they need to stockpile weapons because some day the government is going to attack them, all I can say is this, move to another country, though God knows who would be willing to accept you.

NRA admits to country’s gun problem

By proposing a program of armed guards for the nation’s schools, the National Rifle Association’s executive vice-president Wayne LaPierre today acknowledged there is a problem with the proliferation of guns in today’s society. After all, you can’t proclaim a need for armed guards in the nation’s schools and deny there’s a gun problem in the same breath.

In proposing the National School Shield Program, LaPierre, who would not take questions from the press, said, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

Not surprisingly, LaPierre did not address how easy it is for the “bad guys” to get guns. He uttered not a syllable about the country’s lax gun law’s nor did he say a word about the gun show loophole, itself a major resource for the “bad guys” when it comes to buying weaponry. There are an estimated  5,000 gun shows a year; in 33 states private gun owners can sell guns and buyers are not required to undergo federal background checks.

Now why, given that gun shows are an easy way for the “bad guys” to get guns, did LaPierre not say anything? Because, for the NRA leadership (and the gun manufacturers they worship), access to guns for anyone and everyone, “good guy” or “bad guy,” is more important than the safety of our citizens, including our most precious citizens, our children.

How LaPierre remained straight-faced when he said, “The truth is that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters, people that are so deranged, so evil, so possessed by voices and driven by demons that no sane person can ever possibly comprehend them,” while at the same time knowing the NRA is perhaps the leading perpetrator in blocking any reasonable effort to make it harder for the so-called evil people to get guns is beyond me.

Bill Moyer’s was right when he said, “The NRA is a killer instinct’s best friend.” Let’s not forget that the NRA opposed a bill that sought to block the sale of Teflon (cop-killing) piercing bullets to the general public.

There is no question a tapestry response is needed to address the underlying causes (violent video games and movies) for mass murders like the one in Newtown, Connecticut. But to do so without addressing the need for responsible gun control measures is like trying to address the challenge of lung cancer without addressing (or mentioning) smoking.

The NRA does not seem to care about facts, only posturing, and any excuse under the sun to add more guns to an already gun-drenched society.

If our leaders show a tenth of the courage the staff of the Sandy Hook Elementary School did in protecting the children with their lives, then perhaps responsible gun control measures, like a real assault weapons ban, closing the gun show loophole, and limiting the number of rounds a magazine can hold, to name three, might come to pass. If not, there will be many more Newtowns.

With Love for Newtown, Ct – Children First

Four times I’ve faced a gun at close range.  In 1984 the trigger was pulled. I was shot in the head. The bullet is lodged in my brain. I do all I can not to remember the terror before the trigger was pulled and before, in the other instances, I escaped.

I’ve tried with all my heart and soul not to think (feel) about what those last moments were like for those innocent  people (20 children!) in Newtown, Connecticut.  I’ve tried and I failed. It dawned on me, as I was writing to a close friend this morning, that this may be a healthy thing. If we as people, people!, don’t really digest this horror, and decide that first and foremost we must do all we can to protect our children, nothing will happen, nothing will change, and we will all be accomplices in maintaining the heartbeat of this gun-soaked addicted-to-violence society we live in.

The lack of responsible gun control in this country plays a lead role in the 30,000 deaths a year by gun. As Nicholas Kristoff of the New York Times recently pointed out, “More Americans die in gun homicides and suicides in six months than have died in the last 25 years in every terrorist attack and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.”

One of the tragedies in all this is the instinct of some to protect guns before protecting children. As some have already pointed out,  if members of congress and community leaders and every citizen displayed a fraction of the courage the teachers and principal and school psychologist in Newtown displayed trying to protect the students of Sandy Hook Elementary School, what a difference we could make.

Connecticut Medical Examiner Dr. Wayne Carver said every one of the seven children he examined was shot from three to 11 times, some were shot while clinging to each other!  We must put children before guns. We must do something,  now. If we don’t, more children will die.