Thoughts and Prayers: Yeah, That Works
We need more thoughts and prayers
Maybe if we pray longer and harder, genuflect here and there, light up some incense, speak in tongues and slap around a few rattle snakes, we can end this epidemic of gun violence. Actually, it is more probable that all of us dancing naked in the streets to some Eurythmics hits will end the gun violence. But Sweet Dreams these are not.
This message was on a social media meme, from Danielle Moodie: “Please stop acting like arming the teachers is the answer. You don’t even trust us to pick out books for your children.”
Moodie also has a great definition of what it means to be “woke.
What does it mean to be woke?!? Well, allow me to retort😏 #WokeAF pic.twitter.com/8YKxbPa1jf
— Danielle Moodie (@DeeTwoCents) March 15, 2023
For years I have been cynically saying things like “At least the shooter’s Second Amendment rights weren’t infringed upon.” On Tuesday East Tennessee congressman, Tim Burchett — Republican congressman — boldly told reporters, “Three precious little kids lost their lives, and I believe three adults, I believe, and the shooter of course, lost their life too. So, it’s a horrible, horrible situation. And, we’re not gonna fix it,” Seriously? Is he saying the quiet part out loud? “Criminals are gonna be criminals” he added. “ don’t see any real role that we could do other than mess things up, honestly, because of the situation.”
Seriously? We can’t do anything? What are the congressman’s thoughts about protecting his small child in Tennessee? “Well, we home school her.”
The mass shootings — gun violence in general — can’t be slowed down because a nut bar’s right to own war weapons like the AR-15’s used in Monday’s attack on small children, is more important than protecting kids in their own classrooms. The right to own these weapons that were designed to kill as many people as possible in a short few seconds is more important than a child’s right to attend school safely, more important than a person’s right to go shopping safely, more important than the right to go into places of worship safely. Those rights take a back seat to owning any types of firearms.
But I have to show some respect for Burchett’s comments. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy refused to say anything about the Tennessee mass murders. He wouldn’t even offer up “thoughts and prayers.” McCarthy ran from reporters who asked him about the shooting. What a coward.
There are people that own things like hand grenades, fully automatic firearms, body armor and high capacity magazines. Those clips make it possible for mass murderers to kill more of their victims without having to stop and reload as often as 10 and 20-round magazines require.
It’s no secret I’m proud of my time in the U.S. Marine Corps and being able to attain an expert rating at the rifle ranges; being able to hit “bullseyes” at 500 yards. I ain’t gonna lie, it is a big rush to see that ten-out-of-ten bullseye score at 500 yards. That means I could lay there in the prone position and put ten rounds very accurately into the body-shaped target 500 yards away from the firing line — without a scope, you uniformed pansies who use the M4 with that cute little ACOG and now TANGO6T. We old school jarheads did it using only the iron sights on the M-16.
Now snipers use the Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifle, the M82, which is not fully automatic and was initially designed for piercing armor to kill the enemy. The language used to describe these weapons would be comical if mass murderers weren’t killing hundreds of people every week. The “SASR,” which stands for Special Applications Scoped Rifle, is described as an “anti-material rifle” or an “explosive ordinance disposal tool.”
See? It’s all good. It ain’t meant for killing people. It’s meant for penetrating armor and used as a tool for disposing explosive ordinance. That’s laughably inadequate language to describe what these weapons of war were designed to do in a combat environment. But — and this is always the gun nut enthusiasts favorite but — It is legal for civilians to buy one of these rifles in most states. In the hands of a trained sniper the Barrett is lethal for up to 1.5 miles. Even if the sniper misses the head shot, hitting the torso will still kill the targeted person. In the hands of a slightly trained civilian, I’m not even going to speculate. Maybe lucky for us the Barrett is a very heavy weapon and so is not used, and should not be used, as an assault weapon.
Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, signed a bill making it illegal to buy or own the .50-cal sniper rifle, just as AR-15s and AK-47 assault rifles.
This is just a short tangent: You want to know why AK-47s are so popular around the world? They are simple to use and will stand up to the harshest of conditions in any battle space on Earth. The other reason is the round, the bullet, is the famous — or notorious — 7.62x39mm. They can be manufactured and sold by the millions to any government or violent entity that needs that type of ammunition. Gun nut enthusiasts prefer the M4-looking variant of the AR-15 because it looks so damn cool and makes the gun nut enthusiasts, in their fantasy-filled minds, look like real soldiers or marines. Just ignore that fat torsos under the body armor.
If we’re gonna be real, let’s be accurate. Let’s be even more honest: Not every gun nut enthusiast is a fat slob. It’s also true I could be considered a fat slob, even after losing over 40 pounds. Decades ago I had to come to grips with the fact that I would never be able to finish the required 3-mile run in the USMC physical fitness test (PFT) due to the damage to my feet and knees from a motorcycle accident, And that, my friends, is the top reason I didn’t go for a 20 or 30-year career in my Corps.
Those tangents are way off the trail of this post, and if I had a good editor, like I had with the Crazy Shepherd and Shepherd Express they would have deleted all of that first. Luckily for me, and maybe sadly for you, I do not have a Bill Lueders or Julie Wichman sitting at their computers waiting to clean up my copy. My heartfelt thanks to both of them and others, who helped mold my writing style. And, rest in peace Julie. She was one of the kindest and most disciplined people I have known. We even attended a couple of Grateful Dead shows together.
I should also give a big shout out to the other founders of the Crazy Shepherd, some 41 years ago: Jim McCarter, Karen Gerrity, Peter Kotz and Kurt Buss. Their legacies continue through myself and many other writers, freelance and otherwise.
At any rate, more thoughts and prayers … or not. The U.S. Senate chaplain had in his opening prayer “When babies die at a church school, it is time for us to move beyond thoughts and prayers.” Rear Admiral Barry C. Black also included in his prayer the famous Edmund Burke quote, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing,”
Actually Burke said “good men” instead of “good people,” but Black’s point is correct and Congress is famous for doing nothing when it comes to gun violence. The gun safety proposals that 90% of Americans support, the GOP — bought and owned be the NRA and gun manufacturers — will not support. Instead they fall in line with Congressman Tim Burchett, “… we’re not gonna fix it,” and “Criminals are gonna be criminals” and, “[I] don’t see any real role that we could do other than mess things up.”
Let’s not mess things up by making it more difficult for mass murderers to acquire weapons of war. We should be banning books and gay pride stuff because gosh, that sort of stuff could harm the tender sensibilities of the children. We shouldn’t allow children to read the true life story of African American activist and student, Ruby Bridges, one of the first children to enter newly desegregated schools of New Orleans.
In Florida, where tolerance and common sense go to die, a Disney movie about Bridges was banned because, as the complaint goes, it could lead young children to believe that White people hate Black people. Ah, duh … Why do we still have to explain civil rights and the racist Jim Crow policies in the 21st century? That’s a rhetorical question. Trump made being a racist popular again.
The right to own and carry firearms everywhere is more important than the right of children to attend school safely, even if some of what they are learning is shabby, at best. Let’s all kiss the ass of the gun manufacturers for making these weapons of war for civilians.
I find this little factoid eye opening: Mexico is suing American gun manufacturers for the automatic guns and now the Barret .50-cal that are used by the drug cartels. But you know, that’s Mexico. Build the effin’ wall. Just don’t mess with my rights to own weapons of war.
••• •••• ••••• •••• ••••
UPDATE: Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy eventually did speak with the media about the Nashville massacre. “There’s not one person in America who doesn’t want to try to solve all this,” which is incorrect. His colleague Tim Burchett of Tennessee doesn’t want to solve this, so that’s at least one. McCarthy also wants to make sure we’re taking all the information.
He doesn’t believe one piece of legislation will fix the problem, that we need to, “…have a severe conversation here with this country. We’ve got to deal with mental illness.”
He’s waiting for more facts before he decides on any gun control legislation, including comprehensive background checks.. At least he spoke to the media about the shooting in the same week..
Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the elected government officials and business were so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that.