2nd Amendment Reality Check | Perspective

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Has the 2nd Amendment ever been debated more passionately than the past few months following the Parkland High School massacre on Valentine’s Day 2018?

It’s hard to imagine there’s a single argument that hasn’t been fully articulated about the sound reasoning in support of common sense gun laws.

Many states have begun taking small steps, passing common sense gun laws that restrict the purchase of assault rifles, require registration for assault rifles, increase the age for purchasing assault rifles. Additionally there’s been an expansion of background checks, and even ammunition purchase restrictions. It’s all very productive and encouraging. The Parkland students should feel a great sense of accomplishment for being able to transform their pain, anguish and horror into a tidal wave of awareness and lasting change.

Thank you so much!

Let’s keep going. There’s many more mountains to climb. The reality is… there’s a very compelling argument for taking common sense gun laws to the next level. The 2nd Amendment and it’s original intention is the path that will get us there.

Amendment II

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

 

Our nation’s founders did NOT believe in a standing army. Following the Revolutionary War, the Continental Army disbanded. Individual sates established “irregular militias.” There was a small National Army defending the Western Frontier following the Lewis & Clark expedition, but during the War of 1812 and the subsequent wars that followed, including the Civil War, it was the irregular state militias that defended our nation.

It wasn’t until 1917, World War I, that the United States of America created an official standing army… the National Army and “War Department.” That was only 101 years ago. Our Constitution went into effect March 4, 1789, 229 years ago.

Additionally, Madison used the term “well regulated” in the 2nd Amendment. Well regulated means exactly what it states: “well regulated.” The implication is abundantly clear: regulations MUST be placed on gun ownership to prevent rogue citizens from massacring innocent citizens in schools, movie theaters, concerts, etc.

Again, this is blatantly obvious… the first three words of the Amendment state clearly the importance of regulations.

We should now be able to easily apply the original intent to the present, a time when we now have a massive standing army. Prior to 1917, it made perfect sense for everyone to own a gun. And Americans should still be able to own guns, but there’s no Constitutional right to make this open-ended without any common sense restrictions. The 2nd Amendment mandates regulations.

It’s imperative that we continue to pass common sense gun laws in all 50 states and on the federal level as well.

The NRA will fall just like the Berlin Wall. The NRA’s position isn’t grounded in the original intent of the 2nd Amendment the way the NRA thinks it is. REALITY CHECK.

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Capitalizing on Comey’s Example | Perspective

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“Each celestial body, in fact each and every atom, produces a particular sound on account of its movement, its rhythm or vibration. All these sounds and vibrations form a universal harmony in which each element, while having its own function and character, contributes to the whole.”  ~Pythagoras

Reading Comey’s book, listening to all his interviews, processing his professionalism in the face of so many tough questions – after all, at this point, he’s hated by both Democrats and Republicans in equal measure, but simultaneously loved and admired by millions across the globe – I felt enlightened. These past few days, it appeared that the majority of news outlets wanted Comey to know how annoyed they were with him. And how much they objected to his actions regarding Clinton’s email investigation just before the election, and his creating memos while interacting with the newly sworn in Trump. I was stunned by Michael Barbaro’s seeming disdain of Comey while he interviewed him for “The Daily.” (Barbaro was far more neutral with Scott Pruitt and Steve Bannon.)

Yet, Comey maintained an even strain despite the consistent harsh antagonism. He kept plugging away at his answers… proving through his actions what real leadership looks like. I appreciated this. We need more of it. (After watching Session’s Senate Hearing where he couldn’t recall ANYTHING, and Pruitt’s grilling by the Senate EPW Committee where he couldn’t remember anything either… how refreshing that an American leader answered every single question in a public setting. Actually, it was stunning.)

It seems that this type of “step up to the plate without being asked” is the highly beneficial lemonade of Trump’s presidency. It’s the best example of what we all need to do in our own way, in our local communities, professional communities, and any other organization we’re involved with.

“Lead, follow, or get out of the way.” ~ General Patton

Thousands and thousands of Americans are jumping in from the sidelines to lead. Hundreds of Republican leaders, who’ve alarmed the world by posing as huge barriers these past fourteen months, are now finally getting out of the way.  (Thank you! Yes, please keep resigning and retiring.) And millions are now awake, eyes open, looking for leaders to guide the way out of all this darkness.

Comey is an anomaly. Maybe that’s the true sign of a truly independent leader. What I admire the most about Comey today, Friday April 20, 2018, is that he’s very gifted, actually skilled, highly experienced at responding to stringent questions without being ruffled. He also walks the talk. I’m grateful for his expertise and his willingness to place himself under an adversary’s microscope in public and walk away without looking back. This is what I believe our founding father’s did in the late 1700’s. They spoke and wrote from the heart. It created massive convulsions in the colonies… which transformed a rough and tumble “experiment” into the bold and mighty United States of America.

Fired FBI Director James Comey has unleashed the American Spirit that has been held captive ever since Trump was elected. His book and his intrepid statements are the path forward.

Look at our American high school students. They make “step up to the plate without being asked” look so easy. They’re impassioned by strong convictions about what threatens their pursuit of happiness. They too are great examples for the country.

Nineteen years ago today, at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado, two male students massacred peers and teachers for 49 minutes – killing 13 students, 1 teacher and injuring 23 others – before putting bullets through their own heads. This was the first school massacre in modern U.S. history.

Today 170,000 students walked out of class in protest of gun violence in American schools, and in memory of the those slaughtered and injured in Columbine in 1999. These amazing students won’t stop until common sense gun laws are passed. People who truly care about others are what makes change possible. These students truly care about each other.

I couldn’t help but note the irony of Comey’s book dedication: “To my former colleagues, the career people of the Department of Justice and the FBI, whose lasting commitment to truth keeps our country great.” ~ James Comey, A Higher Loyalty

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Presence of Mind, March For Our Lives | Perspective

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“The soul becomes dyed with the colour of its thoughts.” ~ Marcus Aurelius, 177 AD

Mrs. Preston rushed through her classroom door, pulling the door handle behind her. The door swooshed shut with a muted thud as the bell sounded, announcing that class had just begun.

Mrs. Preston had a million things on her mind that morning. Her oldest son was a sophomore at the University of Chicago. He was supposed to find out any day about a summer internship. He’d been turned down twice already, so this third opportunity was now his only option. It was stressful. Her middle child Sophie, a high school junior, was suffering from extreme distress following the Parkland massacre on Valentine’s Day 2018. There was a creepy loner in her school whom everyone was nervous about, now more than ever before. Her daughter’s worrying had ratcheted up to such a degree that it was now a huge concern to both Mr. and Mrs. Preston. Sophie was gripped with constant panic at seemingly trivial things. The weekend following Parkland, Sophie had boldly insisted that she be allowed to stay home and attend high school online from now on. What could a mother possibly say in response other than, “Sure, no problem.” Mrs. Preston had scheduled an appointment with a therapist for her daughter. The first appointment was the following week.

And there was Mrs. Preston’s mother who lived thirty minutes away in a newly developed retirement community. She’d recently fallen and broken her hip and was in rehab. She called every day, two or three times in fact, asking for everything under the sun. Monday it was sunflower seeds. Tuesday, tulips. Wednesday, a book. “Please come by after school, it’ll only take a minute.”… “But Mom, I have to bring Mia to dance lessons.”… You can stop by while Mia is in her lesson.” … “No Mom, I really can’t. I’ll see you this weekend.” … “I probably won’t be alive this weekend, please come by tonight.”

Mrs. Preston’s husband, Michael, was going though a professional midlife crisis. He’d had a successful twenty year career as a wealth manager, but now that his clients could invest on their own so easily, this industry was transforming and he’d finally decided to pursue other career opportunities. He’d been unemployed now for four months and had begun searching outside the state. Mrs. Preston had a nagging feeling in the pit of her stomach that she’d return home from work one afternoon and learn that her husband had accepted a position 1,000 miles away and they’d all be moving.

When Mrs. Preston had visited her dermatologist the week before, to have a strangely shaped mole checked, she’d received a call requesting she return to the office for a follow-up visit and an additional test. This was alarming, but she couldn’t spend too much time worrying about it or she wouldn’t be able to work. Her next visit was the following week.

The whole town was abuzz the past few days after a student in a neighboring school district had been found on campus with a loaded gun. The high school was only five miles from the middle school where Mrs. Preston taught social studies.

Immediately following Parkland, in fact the very next day, her middle school had an Active Shooter Drill. It had been on the calendar since January. The 7th grade students had been incredibly attentive during the lockdown. Mrs. Preston had been moved by their fierce determination to execute the instructions exactly as outlined. She’d never seen them so steadfast in resolve to follow directions. She herself had breathed a heavy sigh of relief that they’d all fit in her closet so neatly, and had remained quiet for the entire duration.

Mrs. Preston, pulled out her lesson plan and set it on the desk in front of her. After quickly reviewing it, she turned to the White Board and wrote in all caps, “Three Branches of Government.”

“Mrs. Preston, Mrs. Preston.”

Mrs. Preston pivoted to see who was calling her name. Oh yes, Grayson. His eyes were bulging with alarm. Actually, fear. “What is it, Grayson?” Mrs. Preston said soothingly.

“You forgot to lock the door. Remember? You can NEVER forget to lock the door.”

This is a true story from America’s heartland that outlines the reality of what “a day in the life of” an American teacher is all about. Expecting teachers to have the presence of mind to manage a loaded gun in this everyday dynamic is extremely ill-conceived.

© Copyright 2017 – 2018. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Red Flags & Triggers | Perspective

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In the past ten days, February 14 – February 24, 2018, there has been a tremendous amount of news and first hand accounts following the slaughter of innocent students in Parkland, Florida that in turn launched an emotional national discussion about gun violence, gun rights, and gun control.

This national debate culminated in an extraordinary town hall meeting on Wednesday evening February 21, 2018, where the Parkland High School community was given the opportunity to pose tough questions about guns and gun control to lawmakers, and Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, and NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch. The event was hosted by CNN.

This in turn elevated the raging national argument to an even higher level. We learned on Friday February 23, 2018 that four Broward Country deputies remained outside Parkland High School during the massacre, refusing to enter the building to neutralize the attacker who was using an AR-15 assault rifle to slaughter former classmates. It was instead the teachers who displayed extraordinary heroism, several stepping between the shooter and the students to take the bullets and protect these teenagers, three teachers losing their lives. (This reminds me of Charlottesville, August 12, 2017 when the police stood by and did nothing while White Nationalists went crazy and turned violent against the protestors, one mowing down Heather Heyer.)

The lessons to be learned from the Parkland massacre are extensive. We have to break everything down into small fragments and process the multitude of takeaways so we can develop programs and methods to protect the millions and millions of other students for decades to come.

The only thing that never changes over time is human nature – good versus evil. So spotting and interpreting red flags and triggers and creating antidotes is critical.

The January 2018 call to the FBI from what appears to be a female distant cousin, or the like (“not by blood” is how it was phrased), is one of the most remarkable calls I’ve ever read. She points out numerous RED FLAGS, and marks each, as if to code it as a “dot” to be connected to other dots. Now, reading all these and lining them up, there does seem to be another angle to this horrific traumatic event.

What was the actual trigger that made Nikolas Cruz storm his former high school on Valentine’s Day 2018 and massacre 17 students?

Why February 14, 2018 and not a day in November 2017, or even December just before the holidays when Cruz would have been missing his mom so much. (He was initially living with another family, the Deschamps, but became violent when he lost his mother’s photo, and was forced to move out of that house into the Sneads. It seems like that would have been a trigger, but it wasn’t.)

I’m sure investigators have been asking themselves for the past 10 days what exactly triggered Cruz. They most likely have already pieced it together because they’ve been speaking with Cruz. We’re the ones who don’t know. And this makes me that much more intrigued. Knowing “why” is everything.

So Cruz was a very troubled teen. Years and years of documented evidence. One would think that getting thrown out of Parkland would have provoked Cruz. Or his mom’s death on November 1, 2017 would have caused him to become unglued and kill.

We’ve read in the news that Cruz would get violently upset about certain topics, but the articles never mentioned what the topics were. The January 911 caller points out that a main trigger for Cruz was discussing the $25,000 he would receive following his mother’s death. (Apparently he was to receive $800,000 when he turned 25.)

Cruz initially took money from his mom’s bank account shortly after her death to buy the many guns and knives he owned. But the 911 caller explained about the life insurance check that would soon arrive. She voiced strong concerns about the family Cruz had moved in with. Explaining how “…He also said, when Nikolas gets his money, his $25,000. This man will invest it for him.” The 911 caller referred to Mr. Snead’s plan to invest Cruz’ $25,000 s a “another flag.”

“He doesn’t know Nikolas from a hole in the wall. And I don’t know who he’s going to invest it with or what’s going to happen but I do know, and this is a fact, when you ask Nikolas for money, he goes up one rule and down another. He gets crazy, because he will not give anyone his money. Matter of fact, he thinks anything he [UI] the bank is all [h]is, you know, to hell with everybody else including his brother. So, and I have th-the, uh, man’s name who uh-I-we’ve, the family ad I have tried to call this gentleman and he refuses to return any phone calls, but I got his name and his address if you’d like it.”

“Yes, that’s the man’s supposed to be staying with. And um, an aunt of his has, had called him. Another woman who was taking care of Nikolas, uh, who has already spoken to him tried to call him. I tried to call him just to find out how Nikolas was and to make sure he understood the problems of this. he has. And he just doesn’t return my phone calls, which, if you’re going to help somebody and you know there’s family involved, at least return the phone calls and talk to them about it. Or, you know, return the phone call and say mind your own business. Yeah, something.”

So the 911 caller outlined red flags that were causing her great anxiety to the point she needed to have a clear conscience if Cruz “explodes” (I admire this girl so much). There was much talk about Instagram and the gun photos and his “I want to kill” statements. But the red flags that surprised me because the news didn’t necessarily cover them:

  • Cruz doesn’t have the mental capacity to properly reason through and solve problems or conflicts. “He’s only 18 but has the mental capacity of a 12 to a 14 year old.”
  • This $25,000 was of monumental importance to Cruz. He seemed to process it as the only thing that made him feel secure after his mother’s death. He didn’t have a high school diploma. Only a low paying job. No friends. No real family. So again, it seems this money was his anchor. His only real safety net.
  • The 911 caller implied that she didn’t trust Mr. James Snead. She seemed frightened about what might happen if he took Cruz’s money and invested it.

Investigators are surely looking into this. Mr. Snead’s version of events seems quite different from the 911 caller’s. “Didn’t notice anything,” … “Nikolas said his life had never been better.”

Yet something in fact triggered Cruz’ on February 14, 2018.

Maybe it really was ISIS. The 911 caller mentions her alarm over Cruz’s fascination with ISIS and his new love of Arabic. “..he-he dresses up like a ninja or a, or a-a-a ISIS guy.”

…I can totally picture ISIS wanting to massacre US children on Valentine’s Day.

Or perhaps it was the White Supremacist influence. Jordan Jereb of the Republic of Florida claimed Cruz was a member of their organization (but later walked this back). Initially however, he stated Cruz “participated in paramilitary drills” with them. Is Richard Spencer associated with ROF? Richard Spencer is definitely associated with hearts (Richard Spencer had a significant role in the Charlottesville violence on August 12, 2018 – Virginia is for Lovers). Hearts are definitely connected with Valentine’s Day.

I realize investigators rarely share what they learn with the public. But this time, I wish they would. The vast majority of us have consumed gigantic amounts of information on the subject. I’ve been researching red flags and triggers that lead to killings for many years, this in the hopes of learning techniques to defuse someone who goes ballistic wanting to commit a mass atrocity. Since it appears we can’t always rely on police, and there’s so many potential perpetrators out there, the more we know as individuals about red flags, triggers, and ways to defuse, the safer we’ll be.

 

Copyright 2017 – 2018. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Parkland, Congressional Hearings, Virginia Foxx | Perspective

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US Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Chairwoman of the House Education & Workfare Committee, has yet to provide a Press Release following the slaughter of American children on Valentine’s Day in Parkland High School, Florida.

Instead, Foxx’ Congressional website glows with support of NRA causes:

  • Foxx Press Release, December 6, 2017 – Foxx Supports Second Amendment, the deceptious phrasing for the controversial federal bill H.R. 38, Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017.
  • Foxx Press Release June 23, 2016 – North Carolina Democrats join sit-in for gun law changes. In fact, it was 170 Democratic House Reps who held a sit-in for nearly 26 hours trying to urge Republican leadership to pass the “No fly, No buy” bill. Foxx claimed to agree with Speaker Ryan that the bill was a “publicity stunt” following the massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando eleven days earlier of June 12, 2016.
  • Foxx Press Release February 26, 2106 – Foxx Votes to Expand Americans’ Access to Federal Lands for Outdoor Sporting Activities (AKA hunting & shooting). The law also limits the EPA from “regulating ammunition, angling lures and other hunting equipment.”
  • Foxx Press Release January 13, 2016 – Local Figures weigh in on gun legislation. Foxx was reacting to President Obama’s Gun Control Executive Orders following his State of the Union Address.

On Thursday February 15, 2018, the day after the Parkland High School slaughter of 17 students, Education Secretary Betsy Devos stated during an interview with a conservative host, that school shootings were Congress’s responsibility, and urged Congress to “lead on this,” insisting that Congresswoman Foxx hold Congressional hearings.

It’s been a full week. Congressional Chairwoman of the Education Committee Virginia Foxx has gone completely silent on this explosive subject. Googling “Virginia Foxx” and “Parkland” nets the article about DeVos, nothing more. Complete 0. In fact, the Foxx tweets below, and the gap between the two bookend tweets, Wednesday 2/14 – Wednesday 2/21, show precisely how beholden Foxx is to the NRA and her detachment to the slaughtering of 17 children with an AR-15:

gallantBLOGFoxxTexts

This appears to be what Parkland High School students are enraged about. This type of dehumanized indifference over the massacre of friends, siblings and teachers in their American school.

Step 1 in protecting American children from being annihilated while trying to get an education is to REMOVE Virginia Foxx as Chair of the Education Committee. At what point does indifference and inaction in an elected representative become criminal?

Copyright 2017 – 2018. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Corruption is the Root of Sensible Gun Control Inaction | Perspective

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To not be moved to the core of our beings over the senseless slaughter of 17 American school children on a bright and beautiful, cheerful February 14th – the universal day of LOVE – is a litmus test that measures the depth of corruption in the GOP.

The fact that GOP lawmakers are more beholden to the NRA than they are to their own children, reveals how dehumanizing corruption is.

The GOP gladly accepted $17,384,437 from the NRA in the 2015-2016 election cycle. Trump was funneled $21 million from the NRA.

We’ve seen the way rotten trees fall in a vicious storm. The Oak may look high and mighty from the outside. But when the forceful winds howl, and consistent pressure is applied against the weakened trunk…that tree will fall. And when it does, the rotten center becomes visible.

“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar with his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the heart of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic to that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.” ~ Cicero, 50 BC

So that’s where we’re at today, Sunday February 18, 2018. Corruption rots the body politic and becomes treasonous. We can either succumb and lose our country, or keep resisting to the max with everything we have within us.

Every corrupt GOP (any who received NRA $ that are now refusing to bring to the floor sensible gun laws) MUST be removed from office. Again, their corruption has become treasonous. And until they can be replaced, they must be quarantined so they can’t infect.

The only sensible next step following the #Parkland massacre is to reinstate the assault rifle ban…by March 1, 2018!

© Copyright 2017 – 2018. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Newton’s 1st Law of Motion – Passing Common Sense Gun Laws | Perspective

perspectiveNewton’s 1st Law of Motion – the Law of Inertia

“An object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction, unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”

The heart-wrenching trauma of a violent massacre in a suburban American high school in Parkland, Florida – the “safest town in Florida” – on Valentine’s day 2018 that left 17 innocent heroic Americans dead MUST be the turning of the tides.

Gun Violence, specifically massacres in American schools, has to stop immediately.

Reading and watching the first-hand accounts of students, dads, moms, teachers in Parkland brought me to tears. It’s the most powerful instrument for prodding inert lawmakers into action and passing common sense gun laws.

There are no adequate words to express the anger I feel toward cement-headed GOP who rationalize away all legitimate arguments for stemming gun violence. Their indifference to the trauma they inflict is the ultimate testament to the fallout of their altered reality. The fact that it’s the GOP lawmakers who have succumbed to this strange and surreal existence in an imagined universe, lawmakers who directly influence our quality of life, is a forceful wake-up call for all of us. We don’t have to settle for this. We can make sure they’re REMOVED from office.

If the Berlin wall can fall, so can the NRA and the GOP. They are NOT a permanent barrier to gun safety.

The final straw for me yesterday, Thursday February 15, 2018, the day after the Parkland High School massacre, when all the first-hand stories began pouring onto Social Media, was the student who in the midst of the chaos and fear and mayhem, slipped on the bullet proof vest that his dad had stuffed into his backpack. THIS, in the safest community in Florida.

A decade ago, the only thing that mattered was making sure our children had an iPod. Then we elevated to making sure our child had his or her iPhone. Now parents are running out and buying bullet-proof vests for their child’s backpack. GOP, WAKE-UP! And worst of all, the student actually had to rush to use it one beautiful cheerful afternoon, February 14, 2018.

GOP lawmakers hide behind their protective security checks installed in every Legislative Office building in every state, making them immune to their own inertia. All security checks must come down until common sense gun laws are passed. GOP lawmakers don’t get to hide while we get slaughtered.

Of course we Americans can own guns. The majority are NOT against that. But as with everything since the beginning of time, gun ownership must evolve. The answer is in the middle.

COMMON SENSE GUN LAWS, one step at a time, in order:

(1) Immediate ban on assault rifles, specifically AR-15. This ban was in force for a decade, 1994-2004. The GOP allowed is to sunset during all the chaos following 9/11, the War in Iraq, the War in Afghanistan, and all eyes on Guantanamo. Senator Feinstein revived the ban, creating a new Bill on November 8, 2017. It’s collecting dust on a GOP desk somewhere. We MUST demand it be debated, passed and enforced.

(2) Firearm ownership must have appropriate safety protocols: training/education, testing, licensing, and mandatory insurance. There’s no reasonable argument that can block this. It’s rudimentary.

(3) Ban bump stocks. Rudimentary.

(4) Close all loopholes in existing gun laws. Rudimentary.

(5) Limit all magazines to 10 bullets or less. Rudimentary.

(6) Reverse GOP’s new concealed carry reciprocity. Unconstitutional.

(7) Gun violence research. New Trump administration canceled the existing Gun Violence research being conducted by CDC.

Done. Basic. Simple. Easy. We MUST Make America Safe Again!

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