With Democrats winning a majority of seats in the United States’ House of Representatives and Republicans retaining a majority in the Senate, a Republican-controlled Congress with an approval rating of just 21 percent entering the 2018 Midterm Elections will be split when new members of Congress are sworn in on January 3. Here are some of the bipartisan issues a split Congress could address, in order of likelihood.
It would be negligent not to acknowledge that Democrats now have the votes to impeach President Donald Trump. House Democrats already introduced five articles of impeachment in November 2017 and could again. Now that Trump has forced the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replaced him with Matthew Whitaker, the man who on CNN floated the very idea of replacing Sessions with a temporary Attorney General who could cut funding to Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s potential involvement with Russian meddling in the 2016 Presidential Election.
Sessions wasn’t well-liked by Democrats, but he did recuse himself from the Mueller investigation to the chagrin of Trump. A day after the 2018 Midterm Election, as to not adversely affect election results, Trump convinced Sessions to resign, but instead of promoting Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, to whom Mueller currently reports, Trump installed Whitaker, a Trump loyalist.
If Whitaker acts on the idea he floated on CNN, expect House Democrats to respond by filing articles of impeachment, eventually voting on those articles, and forcing Senate Republicans to decide between protecting their own political careers or that of their party’s President. Removing him would take two-thirds of all Senators.
FiveThirtyEight’s Nathaniel Rakich writes that Democrats would need to retain Doug Jones’s seat in Alabama, defeat both Susan Collins in Maine and Cory Gardner in Colorado, and pick up a seat in a red state. The best bets would be in Arizona, where Jon Kyl is not seeking reelection, and in Iowa, where Democrats flipped two House districts and came within 40,025 votes of installing a Democratic Governor. Of course, if Democrats win the Presidential Election, they’d need to win one fewer Senate seat for a majority, as the Vice President would break a tie.
The issue upon which both Congressional Democrats and Republicans can most likely agree is the nation’s need of vast infrastructure updates. U.S. infrastructure was given a D+ grade by the American Society of Structural Engineers in its latest Infrastructure Report Card, and despite efforts to address this, America hasn’t come close to making up for the estimated $2 trillion in needs over 10 years.
New House Committee Leader for Transportation and Infrastructure, Peter DeFazio, appears to be willing to work with the President to rebuild America’s roads, bridges, and subways, and perhaps expand access to high-speed internet. A blueprint for doing so has already been provided by Senate Democrats, requiring an estimated investment of $1.6 trillion.
DeFazio has suggested raising the gas tax in line with inflation to pay for some of the updates. With gas prices at their lowest in six months despite sanctions limiting Iran’s oil exports, addressing America’s crumbling infrastructure could be a means to comfortably introduce new members of Congress to Washington politics, bridge the widening gap between the parties, and deliver a win for both parties, their constituents, and the President, who promised “the biggest and boldest infrastructure investment in American history.” If Democrats and Republicans are actually going to do what they said they will after the elections and work together, infrastructure investment is probably the best place to start.
One issue for which House Democrats could get enough support from Senate Republicans is a middle class tax cut that was mostly absent from the corporate tax cut Congressional Republicans passed. At the very least, House Democrats could use their newly won majority in the underchamber of Congress to force Republicans to vote on a middle class tax cut and show where Republicans really stand and whom they really represent when it comes to taxes.
Regardless, there are probably five votes Democrats could get from Senate Republicans on a middle class tax cut if it doesn’t also include an increase in taxes for the richest Americans and corporations. Any legislation passed by House Democrats will almost certainly include a tax hike on the richest Americans and corporations, however, so the Senate will have to draft legislation agreeable to Senate Republicans and appeasing House Democrats.
Ending federal prohibition of marijuana does not require Congress, but it does require a U.S. Attorney General willing to initiate the process of executive reclassification. With Trump convincing Sessions to resign, the best opportunity for him to boost his approval ratings going into the 2020 Presidential Election might be by appointing an Attorney General willing to initiate this process so Trump can take all the credit for being the President who legalized weed...or at least tried.
Trump doesn’t seem to be considering his Attorney General appointment as an opportunity to improve his approval ratings via cannabis reform. Neither Chris Christie and Pam Bondi have expressed interest in ending marijuana prohibition, but Alexander Acosta as Labor Secretary urged employers to take a “step back” on drug testing so cannabis users could fill the many open employment opportunities.
Still, executive reclassification requires the approval of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which consults the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This is where Trump’s self-proclaimed business acumen might have to reveal itself, because the DEA affirmed its hard stance against reclassifying cannabis in 2016, it seized $20.5 million dollars in assets through its Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program in 2017. But it did loosen restrictions on cannabis with regards to research.
There was yet another mass shooting resulting in the deaths of 12 people in Thousand Oaks, California, this time by a war veteran whose very actions seemed motivated by Congress’s lack of action in response to gun violence in America. In a Facebook post prior to the attack, the mass shooter wrote “"I hope people call me insane... (laughing emojis).. wouldn't that just be a big ball of irony? Yeah.. I'm insane, but the only thing you people do after these shootings is 'hopes and prayers'.. or 'keep you in my thoughts'... every time... and wonder why these keep happening.”
Democrats elected gun control candidates throughout the nation, and with a majority in the House, can finally pass gun control legislation that would force a vote on gun control legislation by Republicans in the Senate, 20 of whom are up for reelection in 2020, and perhaps more pending results of runoffs and recounts.
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“So it came to pass in the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people that were with Saul and Jonathan.” (1 Samuel 13:22)
Just recently, while taking care of business, I walked into a craft store where a woman was working. At first, I was not sure if I heard an English accent or not. She spoke again and then I was sure of it.
I asked, “Are you from England?” and she said that she was. I then asked her how disarmament was working out for the people there.
She told me that she has now lived here in America for 40 years and that her mother still lives there. She went on to say that her mother was so brainwashed that she has a wad of money rolled up in a secret compartment so when, not if but when, an intruder breaks in, she can tell them where the money is in hopes of them not bringing harm to her (Luke 11:21).
This all reminds me of Annie Hendrick and Sally Skidmore who are two women that live in England, as well. They are both in their 80’s and were beaten by intruders.
In fact, one woman was so tired of intruders breaking into her home, that she put chicken wire around her home. Once the local government found out what she did, they summoned her to court and told her that she must remove the chicken wire, lest it hurt one of the intruders.
The woman I was speaking with also told me that now with all of the Muslims coming into their country, knives have now been outlawed due to all of the stabbings and the police were disarmed in England, as well. I could not believe that a people could be so dumbed down to accept this in any country (Hosea 4:6).
I then asked her if she had seen the video of the 11 British police officers vs. one Muslim with a knife. I have never seen anything so ridiculous.
After viewing the video above, one must understand the reprobate and perverse minds of the system of injustice in England. The reason that they took the course that they did with this madman is because they said that they wanted to rehabilitate him. (Exodus 21:12) You cannot make this up friends.
On the other hand, in 1982, the town of Kennesaw, Georgia passed a law requiring all able adults, except convicts, to have a gun. They have only had one murder (From an out of state criminal with a gun) and have had no increase in crime or violence in 12 years! (Final Warning, Grant Jeffrey p. 205, 1995)
In the video below, they also interviewed local prisoners (3:12) as to why they never set Kennesaw, Georgia in their sights when committing crimes. They said, “Stay away from Kennesaw because they are an armed people.”
According to www.americagunfacts.com, 3/5 of Felons say they won’t mess with an armed victim. 200,000 times a year women use a gun to defend against sexual abuse and guns are used save thousands of lives every year. No wonder why the disarmed United Kingdom case study found them to be the most violent country in the EU.
The bottom line is,
“If a violent crime is to be curbed, it is only the intended victim who can do it. The felon does not fear the police, and he fears neither judge nor jury. Therefore what he must be taught to fear is his victim.” -Lt. Col Jeff Cooper
In ending, when you look at the Scripture found in 1 Samuel 13:22, you will notice that the children of Israel after many were killed, due to their disobedience to God’s moral law (1 Samuel 3:13), were enslaved and oppressed before the Philistines, and how did they do that? They were disarmed. See how this works?
“The main obstacle to a stable and just world order is the United States.” -George Soros
First of all, I would have you note that the headline does not suggest that because we, as a people, are armed that God is going to put an end to judging this nation (Psalm 9:16). In fact, just the opposite is true.
Yet, it is a mercy of God that we are still in a position to right the wrongs by remaining armed. America’s sin is before God (Numbers 32:23), and until America repents and turns from her wicked ways, the judgments of God are not only going to continue, they are going to increase (Leviticus 26:14-39).
With that said, the propagandists were hard at work this last week, as well as every week attempting to brainwash the American people with more anti-gun and false polling rhetoric.
Instead of magnifying the law (teaching men the fear of The Lord; Proverbs 16:6) against the crime, you have the media and politicians magnifying the crime and blaming the law abider for the crimes of the transgressors.
One headline in Minneapolis was “Majority of Americans want tighter gun legislation.”
Really? A majority of Americans want tighter gun legislation? I do not care if 100% of the American people want to disarm themselves before their enemies, America is a Constitutional Republic (Article 4, Section 4), not a democracy. We are ruled by Law, not the opinion of any media-contrived polling of the majority of people in this country.
Yes, friends, these polls are bought and paid for. Just ask those corporations that attempt to rule the roost through deception. These are the same CIA-controlled, anti-gun media outlets, though they are separate companies, which are pushing the same propaganda on the American people on a daily basis.
To prove the point, look at the facts!
According to the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey – the leading source of international public information about firearms – the U.S. has the best-armed civilian population in the world, with an estimated 270 million total guns.
That’s an average of 89 firearms for every 100 residents.
Do the math.
Furthermore, it is interesting to note that whenever more gun legislation is broadcasted, gun sales skyrocket.
And if the media cannot convince you that a majority of Americans want more gun legislation through deceptive measures, then they will have some appointed, unelected, black-robed tyrant who sits on the Supreme Court pervert what we all clearly understand when it comes to our right to keep and bear arms.
“Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will and subverted the Constitution, have perverted which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.” –James Madison, the 4th President of the United States
On October 20th, 2017, the National Rifle Association reported,
“This week it was announced that hedge fund billionaire and radical left-wing activist George Soros has infused his Open Society Foundations with a gift of $18 billion.”
According to a New York Times report, Soros funneled the money to the organization over the course of several years. The paper also called the Hungarian immigrant’s gift, “One of the largest transfers of wealth ever made by a private donor to a single foundation,” and pointed out that Open Society is now the second largest “philanthropic” organization in the U.S.
Gun owners will likely find the New York Times’ characterization of Soros’ political arm generous, given that the organization has routinely targeted Americans’ Second Amendment rights. Further, the group’s global reach has imperiled gun owners throughout the world.
On the domestic front, in 2000, Open Society published a widely circulated report entitled, “Gun Control in the United States.” The publication called for a host of new federal and state gun restrictions.
Americans have known for years what George Soros and others are all about, and still they stand by and act as if he has a lawful right to attempt to strip Americans of their right to keep and bear arms. If Americans do not want to know any better by educating themselves, then they simply will be disarmed (Hosea 4:6). Either you deal with the corrupt politicians (Which will close the door and enforce the law against the George Soros’ of the USA) or you will be disarmed.
"The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms." - Samuel Adams, Massachusetts Ratifying Convention, 1788
With all of that is going on with these anti gunner politicians (surrounded by armed security detail) working hard for their special interest groups, rather than upholding the US Constitution, the US Constitution which they swore an oath to uphold, instead, and in using the tactic of “necessity” based off of some tragedy or massacre, which, in many cases, are induced false flag events (conspired black ops Jeremiah 11:9), one must understand the methods and the language of their enemies.
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves." - William Pitt (the Younger), Speech in the House of Commons, November 18, 1783
"I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery." - Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, January 30, 1787
Furthermore, when you look to the anti-gunner corrupt politicians and their methods one must ask where did they derive their delegated authority to encroach upon the God-given RIGHTS of the American people? I cannot find it! Why? Because it isn’t there (Hosea 4:6).
Americans must come to terms that corrupt politicians are not the type that you can help or rehabilitate; they are the type that you must lawfully remove, or you will lose your God-given RIGHTS! (Article 2, Section 4, US Constitution)
“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” – President Thomas Jefferson
You must fight for your God-given RIGHTS! (Deuteronomy 1:8; James 2:14-26)
It is the difference between a FREE people, and an enslaved people there are no in-between (Luke 11:2).
"To disarm the people...[i]s the most effectual way to enslave them."
- George Mason, referencing advice given to the British Parliament by Pennsylvania governor Sir William Keith, The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, June 14, 1788
Therefore, it might be well for you to take a couple of minutes and read what our forefathers had said in their writings during the ratifications to establish gun rights to Americans as a whole, namely the Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights. Who knows better what the Second Amendment means than the Founding Fathers that established our God-given rights?
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.
First, who are the militia?
"I ask who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers." - George Mason, Address to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 4, 1788
"The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country."
- James Madison, I Annals of Congress 434, June 8, 1789
“A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves…and include, according to the past and general usuage of the states, all men capable of bearing arms… "To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
- Richard Henry Lee, Federal Farmer No. 18, January 25, 1788
"What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty .... Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins."
- Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, I Annals of Congress 750, August 17, 1789
Second, look to our American forefathers and how what they established contradicts the corruptions in the face of the present day criminal politicians (Psalm 94:20; Luke 22:48; John 8:44).
"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed, as they are in almost every country in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops." - Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, October 10, 1787
"A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined..."
- George Washington, First Annual Address, to both House of Congress, January 8, 1790
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms."
- Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Constitution, Draft 1, 1776
"What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms." - Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, December 20, 1787
"The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes.... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." - Thomas Jefferson, Commonplace Book (quoting 18th century criminologist Cesare Beccaria), 1774-1776
"A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks." - Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, August 19, 1785
"The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed." - Thomas Jefferson, letter to to John Cartwright, 5 June 1824
"On every occasion [of Constitutional interpretation] let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying [to force] what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, [instead let us] conform to the probable one in which it was passed." - Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Johnson, 12 June 1823
"Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of." - James Madison, Federalist No. 46, January 29, 1788
"This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty.... The right of self-defense is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction." - St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1803
"The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand, arms, like law, discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. The balance of power is the scale of peace. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside. And while a single nation refuses to lay them down, it is proper that all should keep them up. Horrid mischief would ensue were one-half the world deprived of the use of them; for while avarice and ambition have a place in the heart of man, the weak will become a prey to the strong. The history of every age and nation establishes these truths, and facts need but little arguments when they prove themselves."
- Thomas Paine, "Thoughts on Defensive War" in Pennsylvania Magazine, July 1775
"The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them."
- Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, 1833
"For it is a truth, which the experience of ages has attested, that the people are always most in danger when the means of injuring their rights are in the possession of those of whom they entertain the least suspicion." - Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 25, December 21, 1787
"If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual state. In a single state, if the persons entrusted with supreme power become usurpers, the different parcels, subdivisions, or districts of which it consists, having no distinct government in each, can take no regular measures for defense. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair."
- Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 28
"As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms."
- Tench Coxe, Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789
"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined.... The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able might have a gun." - Patrick Henry, Speech to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 5, 1778
We have heard over and over from criminal anti-gunner politicians that we do not need 30 round magazines when it comes to our ability to protect ourselves.
Just a reminder to all, we do not need 30 rounds to hunt with, correct, but the Second Amendment was not written in case the deer turn against us, it was given in case our government does.
“The beauty of the second amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it!”
On Monday, while speaking about gun control to a gathering of US governors at the White House, President Trump claimed he would have rushed into Stoneman Douglas High School (FL) to stop shooter Nikolas Cruz from attacking his former school and killing 17. “I really believe I’d run in there, even if I didn’t have a weapon, and I think most of the people in this room would have done that too,” Trump told the governors.
Rich, safe, white man Donald Trump would SO NOT have run into that school. The very comment makes me eye roll to Pluto. Donald Trump actually had a chance to show combat bravery during the Vietnam war. He was in the draft. And now he’s being called “Five deferment draft dodger Donald Trump” by military members, some of whom now serve in Congress and the Senate.
If you are unfamiliar with President Trump’s case, he, like many other (mostly white) middle to upper class men had plenty of legal ways to opt out of the Vietnam draft. President Trump received four student deferments while he attended University of Pennsylvania Wharton School and a fifth medical deferment for “bone spurs in his heels.”
Um, okay. His recent White House medical examination, which passed him with flying colors - don’t mention any bone spurs in the President’s heels but, whatever.
Rich, white male easily dodges draft - nothing new.
In a 2017 interview with the ladies of The View, Sen. John McCain threw some shade at President Trump’s deferments saying that Trump, “found a doctor that would say that he had a bone spur,” to avoid the draft.
Later in the interview he followed up, “I don’t consider him so much a draft dodger as I feel the systems was so wrong that certain Americans could evade their responsibilities to serve the country.”
In a separate interview a few days after, McCain further clarified. “One aspect of the conflict, by the way, that I will never ever countenance is that we drafted the lowest-income level of America, and the highest-income level found they had a bone spur. That is wrong. That is wrong. If we are going to ask every American to serve, every American should serve.”
Obviously, Donald Trump is not the only person to take student deferments but the point being - he was not going to go to a war zone and risk his life and so he found a legal way out of the draft.
And yet, for some reason - we should expect he would rush - unarmed - into a school during an active shooting?
I call bullshit.
I mean, did you hear that there was an actual “good guy with a gun” at the school? Apparently, there was an armed sheriff at the school while the shooting was active. The sheriff took up position outside the building, but never entered. The trained, armed, armored sheriff who was stationed at the school didn’t run into the building during the attack (he has since resigned)! That’s right, the oft repeated, “All you need to stop a bad buy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” took a slap to the face.
If trained armed folk won’t rush into a building while an active shooting is happening, I find it doubtful, and frankly, insulting to my intelligence, that President Trump expects us to believe he would rush into a building where bullets are flying.
Don’t get me wrong - I’m not surprised President Trump made the claim! He is, after all, by self admission - pretty much the best at everything. And stable. And really intelligent. And we know this because he reminds us every chance he gets. Again, I'm not surprised he made the claim - but there is no way in hell he would ever actually do it.
Anyway. The sheriff on site is being vilified as a coward. Anyone with reason and common sense knows exactly why that sheriff didn’t enter the building - fear. Yes, he should have gone in to help! That’s exactly why he was stationed there. But he feared for his life. And perhaps he thought about his family and he didn't want his own family to grow up without a father / husband. And so he didn’t go in.
President Trump, armed or not, would feel the same fear - and run the opposite direction.
Any by the way, did you know that the police do not have a constitutional duty to protect you? True story, man. Google that sad news up. The police do not have to help you if you are in danger! Which means said sheriff, who did not enter the building to assist those kids - did nothing illegal.
Despite that, I’m willing to suspect most of us are on the same page, - the sheriff on site should have gone inside and killed the hell out of the shooter. Or died trying.
But that’s easy for us to say from the comfort of our couch.
The law may not require police to assist people in danger but they should do it anyway, and many of them do - because it’s moral, and just and right.
And those kids needed help. The onsite sheriff failed them. And President Donald Trump wouldn't have helped them, either.
On this date 13 years ago, renowned writer and creator of “Gonzo” journalism, Hunter S. Thompson shot himself in the head because football season was over, he couldn’t walk or swim, he was always “bitchy” and had lived 17 more years than he needed or wanted to. His succinct suicide note was in keeping with Hunter’s writing style. He made dents, not first impressions.
The one thing Hunter could do in his old age was fire guns, and boy did he love his guns. Apparently not enough to continue living, though. He would probably have a lot to say about our constant debate on gun control in this country. Or maybe he’d have little to say, like “You can control my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.”
I know the man a little better than that, though. In fact, I think the only fact he accepted while alive was “the best fiction is far more true than any kind of journalism.” While I never met him, I spent roughly four years of my life researching his life and works, which culminated in a Master’s professional paper entitled “How Hunter S. Thompson Built Fox News and What We Can Do About It.”
Hunter was my hero going into that research, but my opinion of him changed dramatically as I began to realize how much he influenced journalism of today and made it more acceptable for journalists to insert themselves as the heroes of their stories, but more importantly, editorialize the news. Journalists are telling us how to feel about the news instead of simply reporting it, and Hunter’s success is a big reason for that.
Hunter’s blending of fact and fiction to convey deep meaning through news is a triumphant failure with unintended, lasting effects. Hunter’s most read work, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, was what Hunter called “a failed experiment in Gonzo journalism” because his intent was to send his publisher his notes as his final copy -- without editing. That’s what he saw as Gonzo journalism.
“True Gonzo reporting needs the talents of a master journalist, the eye of an artist/photographer and the heavy balls of an actor. Because the writer must be a participant in the scene, while he’s writing it—or at least taping it, or even sketching it. Or all three. Probably the closest analogy to the ideal would be a film director/producer who writes his own scripts, does his own camera work and somehow manages to film himself in action, as the protagonist or at least a main character.”
Now we have journalists live on the scene reacting to the news as it occurs thanks to mobile phones and the Internet -- and a lot of those journalists are really just actors. Hunter didn’t need to act. He was simply a character. The man was even more interesting than his greatest creation. He reportedly nearly drowned Bill Murray in his pool when they first met prior to Murray portraying Hunter on screen in Where the Buffalo Roam. The story goes that Hunter tied Murray to a chair and told him, “If you can get out of this, I can trust you,” and kicked the chair and actor into the pool. They became fast friends.
Hunter also left the heart of an elk on his neighbor’s doorstep as a birthday gift. In the morning, Jack Nicholson awoke to an entryway covered in blood.
By the time I finished writing my paper, Hunter was more a villain than a hero to me, and I set out to become a journalist and attempt to do the boring, objective journalism of my new hero, Edward R. Murrow, better than anyone ever had, citing vast amounts of reputable sources and changing minds with facts instead of feelings. My attempts lasted six years, and I still wrote a weekly column in the vein of Gonzo journalism, connecting sports and politics like Hunter did for ESPN’s “Page 2” -- some of my favorite work of Hunter’s. I still can’t escape that theme it seems. It’s become an addiction of mine.
I lived my life for a long time based on how I thought Hunter would. “What would Hunter do,” I often asked myself. “Indulge,” was most often the answer. I found myself asking the same question with regard to the gun control debate, but the answer is more complicated.
I don’t own a gun. I never have. I grew up firing guns, though. My grandfather on my mother’s side taught me to shoot a BB gun growing up, and he taught me well. I was one of the best shots in my hunter education class, and the first deer I shot I hit through the neck as it was running away from me. I have a pretty poor sense of distance, but I’d say the shot was between 50 and 100 yards. I haven’t hunted since that season. It’s just not for me. I didn’t feel like I was playing fair. I still enjoy a little target practice, though, which is why when I wrote about what I thought reasonable, sensible gun control looks like I didn’t include a ban on assault rifles.
I watched a man, teary-eyed, saw an assault rifle in half on social media yesterday because he never wants to worry about his gun taking a life, even in the hands of another gun owner. He reminded me that all these mass murderers were simply legal gun owners prior to becoming mass murderers, but I still don’t think banning assault rifles is necessary. Hunter wouldn’t either. That would surely get his blood boiling.
I’m sure Hunter would agree that the mentally ill shouldn’t be allowed to own guns, and while he would likely hate it, he would have a mental health evaluation conducted in order to own a gun if it was required. I’m sure he’d agree that every aspiring gun owner should have to pass a criminal background check, too. And I’m sure he’d agree that taxpayers should never have to pay the emergency room bill of an uninsured gun owner who shoots him- or herself. I’m sure he’d have no problem waiting 10 days or so to buy a gun, but he might take issue with my recommendation of raising the minimum age to own a gun to 21. He probably thinks the drinking age should be 18 again. I can see him saying, “If you're old enough to die for your country, you’re old enough to drink.” If that’s the only issue that brilliant gun nut takes with my attempt at adopting reasonable, sensible gun control policies, I’d say they should be agreeable to most every gun nut.
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Another 17 children are dead after a mass shooting at a South Florida high school -- another avoidable tragedy allegedly perpetrated by a teenager with an assault weapon who left the following YouTube comment a year ago: "I'm going to be a professional school shooter."
Nikolas Cruz, 19, who was expelled from the school and not allowed on campus with a backpack after being found with bullets on campus, is in custody and charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. But we saw it coming and still couldn’t stop it. Why? Because it’s way too damn easy to get a gun in this country.
There are more guns than Americans in the United States. There are 112.6 guns per 100 residents. Next on the list is Serbia at 75.6 guns per 100 residents. But addressing the number of guns available is problematic given the gun lobbyists and Conservatives clutching their firearms until death do they part.
The typical Conservative will tell you there isn’t much difference between the number of mass shootings in America compared to, say, Europe, citing statistics from the Right-leaning, often erroneous and mostly fraudulent Crime Prevention Research Center. They are, of course, wrong. On average, there is more than one mass shooting for each day in America, and there are 29.7 homicides by firearm per one million Americans, according to 2012 numbers. The next most is 7.7 homicides per one million Switzerland residents.
But how do we keep these tragedies from happening? How do we keep guns out of the hands of people like Cruz? Addressing the ease of access to guns is easy. Here’s what I think reasonable, sensible gun control looks like.
The only teenagers owning firearms should be members of the military. If 18 is too young to drink or use cannabis recreationally, then it’s too young to own a gun. Both drinking and using cannabis are less dangerous than firearms. Firearm-related deaths are the third leading cause of injury-related deaths in the United States, and young people are more likely to injure themselves with a gun accidentally. Over 1,300 victims of unintentional shootings from 2005 to 2010 were under 25 years of age, and “such injuries were approximately nine times more common among male than female patients and highest among males ages 20-24.”
I have no problem with children learning how to properly handle, respect and fire a gun or hunt with their fathers and grandfathers. Hell, shooting was one of my favorite pastimes growing up, too, but I was always in the presence of a drinking-aged adult -- even with a BB gun. That should remain the case for those 18 to 20 years of age.
A recent study released by three researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in October 2017, found the yearly charges associated with treating gunshot patients in American hospitals is nearly $3 billion.
American taxpayers should not have to flip the bill for any uninsured American who shoots him- or herself or someone else unintentionally. As of the 2010 census, there were 234,564,071 Americans over the age of 18. As of 2015, a third of Americans said they owned a gun. That gives us roughly 77,406,143 gun owners in America, and if the current rate of uninsured Americans is 11.3 percent, then roughly 8,746,894 American gun owners are uninsured. Everyday, 46 people are shot unintentionally in America. If 11.3 percent of the responsible parties are uninsured, at $900 per uninsured hospital visit, it results in over $1.7 million taxpayers have to cover annually.
Since health insurance is now a prerequisite for gun ownership, it shouldn’t be a problem for aspiring gun owners to undergo a mental health evaluation to prove they are not mentally ill or a substance abuser. This would make it more difficult for the mentally ill to obtain firearms and likely lower suicide rates, as “suicide rates are much higher in states with higher rates of gun ownership, even after controlling for differences among states for poverty, urbanization, unemployment, mental illness, and alcohol or drug abuse,” according to the Center for Injury Research and Prevention.
Since the passage of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act in 2008, also known as the Mental Health Parity Law, health insurers are mandated to treat mental health and substance abuse coverage comparably to physical health coverage, so the cost to the aspiring gun owner would be modest.
Just 12 states and Washington, D.C. mandate background checks for the sale of all firearms, including private sales that occur at gun shows and transfers between family members or friends. Another six only require background checks for the private purchase of handguns. The other 32 do not require a background check to purchase a gun at a gun show or from a private dealer.
Mandating that all states require criminal background checks to be conducted prior to the private sale of firearms would make it more difficult for those with a history of violent crime to obtain firearms.
I wrote about this back in October, but in summation, the process of adopting a pet is more thoroughly vetted by adoption agencies than the gun ownership process. Some adoption agencies will request the medical history of every pet you’ve ever had to make sure you’re not an abuser. They’ll ask if you’re gainfully employed, and some will even conduct in-home investigations to determine if your home is a safe place for the pet. Gun retailers aren’t coming to your home to make sure you have a gun safe or even asking if you own a gun lock. They’re not concerned about whether you have a job or a criminal history or the state of your mental health. They just want to sell you a gun.
Obtaining a gun just after the Second Amendment was ratified in 1791 wasn’t easy -- even for the federal government. There were reportedly just two American armories back then. “In an attempt to equip the militias sufficiently to protect the newly independent country, Congress ordered the purchase of 7,000 muskets in 1793. A year later, it had managed to buy only 400,” according to a story in The Economist based on the works of Michael Bellesiles. So back in the day it took almost an entire day just to produce a gun, and that’s combining the production of every gun manufacturer in the country. By 1808, one factory would produce 50,000 barrels, locks, rammers, and bayonets per year in Britain.
When the Second Amendment was ratified, the American forefathers certainly didn’t think assault weapons and rocket launchers would be possible, but they were also working with a knowledge that guns take a long time to produce. They certainly didn’t think there would come a day where there were more guns than Americans.
Since aspiring gun owners would be required to have a mental health evaluation and criminal background check conducted, a 10-day wait period would give them and the seller an opportunity to fulfill those prerequisites. It would also result in fewer crimes of passion, as those without guns looking to acquire guns in a fit of rage would have 10 days to think about the consequences of their intended actions.
Reasonable, sensible gun control starts with enforcing the current laws on the books. This will be easy once the infrastructure is created to allow law enforcement to view whether the gun owner has fulfilled all the prerequisites for gun ownership.
If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows:The Costa Report, Free Talk Live, Flow of Wisdom, America’s First News, America Tonight, Bill Martinez Live, Korelin Economics Report, The KrisAnne Hall Show, Radio Night Live, The Real Side, World Crisis Radio, Lock ‘n Load