By Ed Raymond
Murder, Inc., Owned by Trumplicans, NRA, and Gun Culture, Is in All States
Large cities used to be the center of firearm murders. That’s where most of the guns were. Not anymore. With uncounted, unregistered hundreds of millions of guns sifting out into tiny towns in every state, in the possession of millions of people who should not have them, no one is safe from bullets.
We are also involved with three pandemics at the same time: COVID-19 and variants, economic inequality, and guns. With millions strutting around dressed in “tactical” gear and armor with semi-automatic assault rifles and/or “conceal and carry” handguns of every description, murders occur daily at joyful occasions, in caustic routine exchanges and trivial encounters. Many innocents become murderers because they are stressed out by their lives, politicians, and ideologies.
The FBI has released figures indicating that homicides increased a startling 30% in 2020, setting a new record for annual increase. Some 5,000 more Americans were murdered in 2020—more than American deaths in the entire Iraq War. Hospital visits for children wounded by firearms went up 40% in 2020--over 800 children in the first six months.
The gun culture keeps setting records other than murder. 23 million firearms were sold in 2020, January setting the monthly record with 4.3 million. Between March and April 15 of 2020 we had 45 mass shootings. We had 48,000 suicides in 2019, half by firearms.
Other facts that affect firearm use: (1) only 11.5 million people hunt each year, (2) less than 10% own more than five firearms, (3) only six percent of firearms are semi-automatic rifles, (4) In 2017, 4.5 million women were threatened by gun-wielding partners.
Now we have a major problem with do-it-yourself firearms made by buying parts on the internet. They have no serial numbers so they cannot be traced. These “ghost” guns are becoming the weapon of choice of bad guys. San Francisco has recovered 164 ghosts used in crimes, San Diego 211, New York City 150. The Best Congress Money Can Buy (BCMCB) is already bought by the gun culture to do nothing about ghosts. Individual states are attempting to ban them.
Here we are in the middle of a firearm pandemic because the BCMCB has been bought to sell guns instead of having the facts on the issue. We kill and wound over 150,000 children and adults a year, but we have no federal money to study the reasons and the tremendous cost to families and the economy. Gun violence is the second leading cause of death among young Americans, but we spent only $12 million in the last dozen years on the issue while spending $335 million a year on studying cancer! Finally in 2019, BCMCB approved a paltry $25 million to study the firearm pandemic.
What’s Happening in a Divided Country Flooded With Half a Billion Firearms?
A baby shower in a Pennsylvania suburb turned into a shootout over who would take care of the shower gifts. After a fistfight, the father-to-be pulled out a Glock and wounded three “friends” at the shower. Guns have been fired at Major League Baseball games and high school football games, wounding fans. A woman cutting into a gas station line in Louisiana was shot and killed. A dispute over a parking spot at a Walgreens ended in a firearm death. A supermarket clerk in Georgia was shot and killed when she told a customer to put on a mask.
What would have happened in the air if we had not banned firearms on passenger jets long ago? We have had over 4,000 incidents of flight attendants being attacked by passengers while flying, 75% involving mask-wearing.
Two nine-year old kids in Washington, D.C. had a shootout but the guns kicked back too much. In a Philly’s Pat’s Steak, a shooting over steaks killed one customer. That was the second gun death over the meat in the restaurant in 2020. A toddler found a gun in a bedroom drawer while his mother was on Zoom and killed her. A University of Utah football player was shot and killed and a woman was wounded at a house party in Salt Lake City after a football game. A four-year-old girl in Washington, D.C. was shot and seriously wounded by her seven-year-old brother who was given a Glock by a nine-year-old boy down the hall. If she lives, doctors say it will take millions to take care of her. An eight-year old girl was killed and three other children wounded when a gunfight broke out at a Southern football game. In a Walmart in Idaho, a mother was shot and killed by her two-year old son who took her firearm out of her purse.
A lot of deadly bullets are flying around the world. When the last American plane left the Kabul airport, the Taliban fighters fired their automatic and semi-automatic weapons into the air in celebration. When the bullets fell to earth, 17 Afghans were killed and 41 were wounded. Life can be tough if you don’t understand the science of physics.
There Is No Longer ‘We,’ It’s ‘Us’ and ‘Them’
This carnage has come about because too many Americans are concealing, carrying, and using guns in incidents that clearly call for discussion, compromise, and understanding, not firepower.
But forty million Americans bought guns in 2020, and the pace has not slackened in 2021. That’s a gun culture’s dream and a nation’s nightmare. If the FBI figures hold true for 2021, 440 babies, children, and adults will be shot every day, killing 160 and wounding 280.
What is the Second Amendment worth? A well-regulated militia? My ass. Over 500 Americans are killed each year by firearm “accidents.”
Dan Rather has written a marvelous paragraph describing why people are reaching for guns without considering the consequences: “We are living in a period of particular rancor, when anger, fear, and despair are widespread, and for good reason. We can see selfishness run amok, a selfishness that is proving deadly in a time of a pandemic and increasingly with our climate crisis. We can see cruelty towards others take hold, fueled by a toxic brew of ignorance and hatred centuries in the making. We are witnessing lies weaponized into an assault on our ideals of a pluralistic democracy. We see women being denied agency over their own bodies. We see historical truths being denied and false narratives flourishing. In such a state it is natural to try to sort ourselves between “us” and “them.”
A central reason for the “us” and “them” atmosphere today is the seven years of the rude, crude, cruel language of the foul-mouthed, psychopathic, malignant narcissist nutcase elected to the Oval Office which was constantly repeated by the 24/7 press looking for the inevitable “BREAKING NEWS!” He castigated, criticized, ridiculed, and used cruel taunts, describing the “enemy-of-the-people” press, “shithole” countries, and physically handicapped people who had difficulty controlling their bodies. Many of his 74 million voters have followed his lead, creating vicious confrontation, racial attacks, childish tantrums, and attacks on laws and order.
Why Are So Many Children and Adults Throwing Tantrums?
The “Chosen One” is one of a myriad of reasons for tantrums, physical and racial assaults of every kind, and the use of firearms as the first or second response. We are in the middle of a civil war about to enter its 157th year. We are in the middle of a number of international pandemics: economic inequality, firearms, race, world-wide immigration and migration forced by poverty, starvation and climate change, and the ravages of COVID and all of its variants killing millions. We are not close to “over.”
The American Consumer Satisfaction Index is at its lowest since 2005 and is exposing unusual high levels of crankiness. Customers are “prickly and demanding.” Airlines are carrying drunks and anti-mask bullies who attack flight attendants (4,000 incidents so far). What sane person wants to sit next to one of those?
A recent poll of food servers and other restaurant staff says 80% have had to deal with hostile behavior of patrons. They are tired and discouraged about being mask police and receiving complaints and smaller tips. One restaurant finally put a sign on the door: “If you cannot be kind, you cannot dine.”
School boards and members all over the country have been faced with harassment, assaults, shouting matches, and have been forced to close meetings because of protests by anti-maskers, Critical Race Theory opponents, social studies standards, and White supremacist death threats.
A news article in the Star Tribune started with this sentence: ”A scuffle broke out during the Eastern Carver County school board meeting Monday night, prompting district leaders to call for civility and announce an increased police presence at future meetings.” Board members were accused of being Nazis for extending masking requirements. In Missouri a number of fistfights broke out in a school parking lot after a meeting—and death threats were hurled at board members.
As a teacher, administrator, and after retirement an elected member of the Fargo School Board, I attended thousands of regular and special school board and committee meetings in my 41 years of service. I do not recall a single uncivil exchange. The times they are a’changin’ -- particularly after reading about the uncivil reactions at recent Fargo School Board meetings involving masks and other subjects.
It’s Time Billionaires Living in America but Filing in Tax Havens Become Citizens
In 2021 we have 15.3 million millionaires and 724 billionaires living in the United States. It’s time they renew their citizenship vows so they can help un-divide the Divided States of America. While their numbers have dramatically increased over the last half century, they have decimated the poor and the middle class by destroying unions, absolutely refusing to pay living wages to the people who have made millions and billions for them, refused to raise the minimum wage, refused to accept universal health care as a right of citizenship, refused to accept the fact they did not make their fortunes all on their own, have refused to support the infrastructure that all taxpayers paid for over the years, and often oppose efforts to control climate change and the environment to save Planet Earth.
They don’t even accept the fact that the only profit in death is an overpriced casket. They love the stock market which has made them richer than Midas. They love real estate because it has increased in value as they fight and bid over mansions by the seas, Central Park, bison ranches, and farmland in Middle America. They are way overdue in sharing and helping America become the real United States of America after 157 years of division, instead of the Divided States of America.
A Note for Those Yelling About Critical Race Theory
A White woman proclaimed she did not want her daughter to hear about Black history from the 1619 Project because “it would make her feel ashamed about being White.” Evidently she feels Black children are not affected by 400 years of slavery and Jim Crow I and II. Every White should feel ashamed of how minorities have been treated in the “land of the free and the home of the brave.”
By John Showalter firstname.lastname@example.orgEveryone knows that dogs are often referred to as “man’s best friend.” It’s no mystery why. During…
By Olivia Slyteroslyter@cord.eduFalcon Gott, Sapotaweyak Cree Nation member and filmmaker/photographer, was recently named North Dakota Human Rights Film Festival Native American Programs Director, and has many projects in store…
By Greg Carlsongregcarlson1@gmail.comMaster filmmaker Jane Campion, notching a fresh Silver Lion win for Best Direction at the recent Venice Film Festival, returns to the screen after a twelve-year absence with “The Power of the…
By Alicia Underlee Nelsonalicia@hpr1.comCreative Moorhead is injecting new life into Moorhead’s art scene and revitalizing its downtown spaces. Artistic or handy people with a connection to the city are encouraged to connect with…
by Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comAdam Quesnell's last show at The Cellar beneath the Front Street Taproom in Fargo was in early September of 2018. He was embarking on a seminal move from Minneapolis to LA. As always, his comedy was…
By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comSpring is here (mostly), and our area is buzzing with people eager to get back out and about -- many newly vaccinated and feeling a bit safer. Partnering with Jade Events, Fargo Brewing is just…
By Theresa L. Goodrichsubmit@hpr1.comIt was day ten of our epic southwest road trip and we’d made it to Arizona. After camping in Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, and New Mexico, we were exhausted, but fortunately our night in…