This is for every teacher who refuses to be blamed for the failure of our society to erase poverty and inequality, and refuses to accept assessments, tests and evaluations imposed by those who have contempt for real teaching and learning.
Florida Shooter’s Strongest Ally Was The American Gun Lobby
By: Steven Singer, Director BATs Research and BloggingOriginally published on his blog https://gadflyonthewallblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/13/florida-shooters-strongest-ally-was-the-american-gun-lobby/
Since Sandy Hook, the firearm debate has stagnated. Most people seem to think if we aren't going to take action after the shooting deaths of 20 little children in school, we're never going to. But after yesterday's mass shooting, the largest yet in our country's history, many of us have been shaken awake. We can't give in to complacency. We must do something to make our country safe for our children. We can have safe gun ownership while not allowing firearms into the hands of the mentally ill and suspected terrorists. That shouldn't be controversial. It's an education issue, a child safety issue, an American issue.
“America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms. You can go down to a gun show at the local convention center and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle, without a background check, and most likely without having to show an identification card. So what are you waiting for?”
He wanted to make that clear to posterity before ending a shooting rampage he initiated in Florida yesterday that left 50 dead and dozens more injured – the worst mass shooting in U.S. history (so far).
Now that the shooter’s gone, just as he would have wished, pundits are making a lot of this phone call. Though his family claims he wasn’t particularly religious, media talking heads are seizing upon this one action by an unhinged young man in order todenigrate all American Muslims.
No. I don’t meant to say they are working hand-in-hand with international terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda and ISIS.
But they might as well be.
Our lax gun laws are the direct result of the lobbying efforts of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and other organizations closely associated with the gun industry. Those laws are being exploited by individuals like Mateen bent on murdering as many American civilians as possible.
Mateen might have found it much more difficult to carry out this terrorist attack without the help he received from the NRA and so-called conservative lawmakers.
But don’t take my word for it.
Gadahn (quoted above) was killed in a drone strike in 2015, but he was not the only terrorist praising the efforts of the American gun lobby.
A six-page recruiting pamphlet found in terrorist safe houses in Kabul, Afghanistan, called “How Can I Train Myself for Jihad” instructs would-be terrorists “on the advantages the United States offers for firearms training and advises readers on how to exploit them.”
Maybe that’s why a measure like that recently defeated in the Senate to stop suspected terrorists from accessing guns was strongly supported by the George W. Bush administration.
It’s strange. Bush pushed the PATRIOT Act as an invaluable tool to keep America safe from terrorism despite the concerns that it trampled civil liberties. If lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are willing to weaken the 4th amendment’s provisions against unreasonable search and seizures in order to stop terrorism, then why do they oppose much more reasonable restrictions on the 2nd? What makes the right to bear arms so much more important than other privileges enumerated in the Bill of Rights?
In truth, it’s not a philosophical debate. It’s an economic one.
There is simply too much money being made by gun manufacturers – and thus being funneled into political campaigns – to allow for sane firearm policy.
As such, there have been calls to reinstitute the federal assault weapons ban from 1994 – 2004. Some claim that the ban was ineffective, allowing too many loopholes. Others say despite weaknesses it resulted in less people being killed by these types of weapons during the time of the ban.
Though several attempts have been made to reinstitute the ban, it has been stalled by the gun industry largely because of wordplay and minutiae.
They claim the term “assault weapons” is inaccurate at best and propaganda at worst. (Never mind that it was coined by the gun manufacturers, themselves, to increase sales.)
Rifles designated as “assault weapons” are not easily distinguishable from other kinds of rifles, they say, so banning them would lead to a slippery slope of banning all guns.
The most basic difference is the firearm’s ability to expel multiple rounds quickly. Because of this, the rifles included under assault weapons bans are usually semiautomatic – a new round is automatically reloaded into the chamber but is not fired until the trigger is squeezed again. The weapons also have detachable magazines, allowing them to fire 10, 20, 30 rounds or more without the need to reload.
However, bans often include “military style” rifles that are not necessarily semiautomatic. Gun advocates claim these rifles are similar to firearms excluded from bans except for cosmetic features to make them appear more militaristic.
Those could include features like a pistol grip, designed to allow a weapon to be fired from the hip; a collapsible or folding stock, which allows the weapon to be shortened and concealed; a flash suppressor, which keeps the shooter from being blinded by muzzle flashes; a muzzle brake, which helps decrease recoil; and a threaded barrel, which can accept a silencer or a suppressor. Bayonet lugs or grenade launchers are also sometimes included.
But are these features truly just cosmetic? Or do they actually make these rifles much more dangerous? No one needs a grenade launcher to hunt for game or protect their home.
When people call for gun regulations, they aren’t necessarily calling for a ban on all guns.
In point of fact, there was an armed police officer working security yesterday at the gay club when Mateen sprayed the crowd with bullets. Though he traded fire with Mateen, he was unable to stop the carnage.
It’s absurd. The people who initiate mass shootings rarely survive them. They don’t care about being killed. They only care about spreading death and terror.