Tag: gun violence

The End of All the Horribleness?

If there is one thing that the candidacy of Donald Trump has taught us, it is to never count him — or his followers — out.

The man emerged as a joke candidate last summer, who was supposed to have collapsed into his own hubris by August… or October… or Christmas at the latest… but certainly no later than spring 2016… right?

Well, despite recent troubled times for his campaign, Trump is still the unquestioned frontrunner for the GOP nomination.

Therefore, we must be skeptical of the latest analysis that “without an extraordinary reversal — or the total collapse of whoever becomes his general-election opponent — Mr. Trump could be hard-pressed to win more than 200 of the 270 electoral votes required to win.”

However, let’s assume that sanity will finally grip the American people, and they will decline to elect a megalomaniacal racist with misogynistic tendencies who has no idea of how the government actually works.

Whew — that was a close one!

But then we will have to confront another issue, which is “where will all that anger, which has been slowly building among America’s white working class for half a century, go once it is left without a viable political outlet?”

It’s a valid question, and one that has led some commentators to theorize that “we may already be getting a chilling preview of a possible post-Trump future in the spasms of seemingly random gun violence” and that we may be forced to endure “a flood of white violence and anger” starting in 2017.

skinheads

OK, that doesn’t sound so good.

Unfortunately, it’s also quite possible. As we know, Trump rallies are to violence what Taco Bell is to college students with late-night munchies.

And when it comes to guns, studies show that “racial prejudice influences white opinion regarding gun regulation,” implying that bigoted people are more likely to be carrying.

So will we see hordes of angry racists strolling around cities, taking shots at ethnic minorities?

Maybe, but probably not.

You see, another possibility — the far more optimistic one — is that we are witnessing the final pathetic spasms of overt bigotry in American life, or at least prejudice on a grand scale.

Yes, racism will always be with us. Trump losing isn’t going to make it magically disappear.

But I’m talking about the death of right-wing demagoguery that baldly appeals to Americans’ worst natures. After Trump’s expected flameout, will any other candidate seize upon the man’s failed ploy to inflame racial tensions? More likely, the GOP will finally listen to the advice of political experts who point out that the infamous Southern Strategy has reached the end of its obnoxious lifespan.

With the GOP of 2020 playing nice, right-wingers may finally realize that the game is over, and that all their efforts to “take America back” are futile.

Once they see they are outnumbered and cannot win elections against moderates and those damn liberals, they may finally give up and accept a changed America, albeit with an angry and sullen fury that makes teenage girls seem like calm and rational debaters. Reduced to a dwindling demographic of cranky elderly people who miss the good old days, they will, with each passing year and each fresh batch of multiethnic babies, become less relevant, to the point of political and cultural impotence.

It bears repeating, of course, that most of Trump’s supporters aren’t racists. But the man’s appeal to white supremacists is undeniable, as is his connection to Americans who have issues with blacks… and Latinos… and Muslims… and a few others.

It is those individuals, the proudly prejudiced and the so-called politically incorrect, who will pack up their Make America Great Again signs and whimper off into oblivion.

Well, that’s the hope, anyway.

 


A Cynic’s Dream

I must admit that I thought, ok, surely this man will be found guilty of something. Maybe not first-degree murder, but certainly a guy who defies police orders, grabs a gun, leaves the safety of his surroundings, and accosts a total stranger who is minding his own business — ultimately gunning that stranger down — well, he clearly did something wrong.

But not in Florida.

zimmerman

I’m not saying the jurors were morons, or the prosecution botched the case, or the law is messed up. It might be all or none of those things. I’m saying that somewhere along society’s sutures, there is a fundamental flaw that allows things like this to happen.

As for Zimmerman supporters, well, it’s one thing to say that legally the guy should not have been convicted. Perhaps you can make a case.

It’s another to smugly prance around with a sign saying, “Self-defense is a basic human right,” while completely (and shockingly) ignoring the fact that this principle should apply to Trayvon Martin just as much, if not more so, than to the adult packing heat who goes out of his way to provoke confrontation.

It’s worth remembering that Zimmerman’s family intentionally played down his Hispanic roots. That’s ok. I doubt many Latinos were insulted, as few of us really want to be associated with him.

Of course, Zimmerman will get his gun back. And now he’s learned he can use it on whomever he wants (especially unarmed teenagers) without fear of legal consequences. It’s apparently his right as an American.

 


Another Round

So there I was, blasting away at the bull’s-eye with a .22 rifle. When I was done, I handed the gun back to its owner and wondered if I should feel exhilarated or manly or something. But I just felt indifferent.

I was fourteen, and that’s the only time I’ve ever fired a gun. In the decades since, I’ve had no desire to repeat the experience.

I don’t own a gun, a fact that aligns with a larger statistic. We Latinos are the ethnic group least likely to own a firearm. Just 18 percent of us are packing heat. In contrast, more than one-third of white people (and a sky-high 61 percent of Southern white men) are armed.

To continue reading this post, please click here.

 


Bang and Blame

I’ve written before about the fact that people who own guns are more likely to use them on themselves or a loved one than for self-defense.

And I’ve also written before about the tendency of Americans to make up imaginary assailants to cover up their real crimes. Invariably, the fictitious thug is black or Hispanic.

Well, these disparate elements combined this week in Texas, when “police in San Antonio say a group of friends panicked after one of them accidentally shot another in the back, and tried to pin the whole thing on a Hispanic male who never existed.”

Apparently, a 19-year-old kid, who had no problem getting a handgun (this is America, after all), was “handling the weapon in a reckless manner when it suddenly went off.” One of the ace marksman’s friends was hit, and although nobody died, they had to come up with a story when they hit the emergency room.

Naturally, they said a Latino tried to carjack them. The cops, to their credit, didn’t buy it, and the teen hotshot has been arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and evading arrest.

So what have we learned from this fiasco? Well, for starters, it shows that many Americans still believe nothing is more plausible than a Latino or black man popping up out of nowhere to rob and shoot you. But it also shows that this particular racist trope is pretty much played out.

So as service to you readers who trying to cover up your own botched shootings and/or self-inflicted stupidity, let me offer some advice.

You’re going to have to get creative when you talk to the cops. That means no more “a big scary Latino guy did it!”

To fool the cops, you need to describe your imaginary assailant as such:

“He was half Chinese, half Finnish, with some black Irish on his mother’s side and a smattering of Chilean blood. He was left-handed with a limp, and he had a dueling scar in the shape of a mermaid across his chin. He carried the discrete sadness of enduring multiple heartbreaks, combined with the air of a former military man. His lower-class status belied his bourgouis ambitions, and his racial and ethnic makeup are the perfect encapsulation of America’s changing demographics.”

Then add, “Oh yeah. And he had a gun. Yup.”

Let’s see how that one works.

 


The Tyranny of…Well, Something or Other

Recently, I wrote about America’s love affair with guns. One argument that Second Amendment proponents use, to great effect, is that an armed citizenry prevents government tyranny.

Indeed, there are many Americans who believe that a “disarmed society is an obedient society…in which, at the extreme, people obey their own government’s orders to follow the line into the gas chambers.”

Well, that certainly is an unpleasant image.

To continue reading this post, please click here.

 


Bang

A few weeks ago, the head of the NYPD criticized Latinos and blacks for tolerating gun violence. Commissioner Ray Kelly’s timing could not have been more exquisite, for as we all know, some nut in Colorado has decided to take part in that most American of activities: the mass shooting of strangers.

Although it’s true that “America’s Hispanic population suffers from firearm violence at rates far greater than the U.S. population overall,” the idea that Latinos are more accepting of violence is darkly hilarious. After all, most of the mass shootings that grab headlines have taken place in predominately white small towns and suburbs.

To continue reading this post, please click here. 

 

 


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