Gadfly | April 1st, 2023
By Ed Raymond
Can We Regenerate Our Country by “Rediscovering the Lost Art of Tolerance?”
Columnist Gary Abernathy says our enormous diversity of identity in our sweeping multiculturalism makes it difficult to agree with groups present in the Divided States of America.
We have hundreds of organizations, groups, and religions with which to cope, so Abernathy lists a few that may be very difficult to tolerate: Gays, MAGA Republicans, Nonbinary, Asexuals, Democratic Socialists, NRA members, Second Amendment sheriffs, Blacks, Asians, Pro-Choice, Pro-Life, Gun Control groups, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Tennessee Snake handlers, and Atheists just to name a few.
The U.S. Census says Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans will replace Whites as the majority population soon.
Abernathy sums up our problem: “As the United States grows more racially, culturally, and politically fractionalized, let’s acknowledge the obvious: our diversity does not make us stronger, as politicians, and activists sometimes proclaim, but is a major contributor to our polarization. Our best hope for civil coexistence is rediscovering the lost art of tolerance.”
Gary, are you telling me I must learn to tolerate the 30,000 lies Trump told in his four-year term as president when he actually has been lying since childhood. As a teenager, he said he was the best baseball shortstop in New York City!
Tolerate him? In Waco he went wacko and claimed the biggest threat to the nation was the United States Department of Justice along with McConnell, Pelosi, Schumer, and Biden. Tolerate him, when he claimed Nazis were “fine people” for killing six million Jews and starting a world war that killed 60 million? Tolerate him, when his nutty rocker buddy Ted Nugent said President Zelenskyy of Ukraine was a “homosexual weirdo?”
The Big Question: What Will the Two Political Parties “Tolerate?”
The Republican Party claims it is pro-life, that life begins at conception, that abortion is murder, votes against Head Start, increases in food stamps for the eligible, is opposed to Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, Medicare-for-All, children tax credits, and Women and Children’s programs (WIC). Please tell me where I can start tolerating!
The school shooting in Nashville prompts me to state what I would tolerate when it comes to firearms. As a Marine officer who commanded a heavy machine gun platoon, I see no reason for the average citizen to have firearms that have magazines or clips that carry more than six rounds. Both firearms and the ammo they use should be limited by number and type and should be carefully accounted for. Muzzle velocities should be limited to 1,000 ft/s rifles and 700 ft/s for handguns.
Ask emergency room and trauma center surgeons what happens to organs and bones when hit by rifle rounds of 3,000 ft/s, a normal bullet for an AR-15. A rifle firing a 1,000 ft/s round can easily kill a deer at 250 yards while not turning it into deerburger.
Before I continue my harangue about the gun culture, I want to cover what the Senate Chaplain Admiral Barry C. Black, who is Black, said in his prayer, opening the daily session after the Nashville mass shooting. I have listened to him several times, so I can recognize when he is chewing senator ass while using the nicest of tone and words.
He pontificated: “Lord, when babies die at a church school, it is time for us to move beyond thoughts and prayers. Remind our lawmakers of the words of the British statesman Edmund Burke. ‘All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.’ Lord, deliver our senators from the paralysis of analysis that waits for the miraculous. Use them to battle the demonic forces that seek to engulf us, we pray, to your powerful name, amen.”
I will translate for him: “Senators, forget your insidious thoughts. your diabolical prayers, and your gelatinous spines and get off your fat asses and control the gun culture.”
The senate has had chaplains since 1789, and Black is the 62nd one. A 27-year veteran of the Navy, he ended his Navy career as Chief of Chaplains, and was elected chaplain of the senate in 2003, so he knows useful and useless senators.
He reminds me of a chaplain I often played Hearts with while aboard a troop ship in the middle of the Atlantic with the 6th Marine Regiment—waiting for something serious to happen in Lebanon. The Heart game was played in the wardroom 24-7, because we lived and bunked in three shifts. Only the faces changed during this serious game.
One night when our chaplain was playing Hearts and the squawk box called: “Chaplain: Please report to the bridge for evening vespers.” He ignored it. Three minutes later came the same call. My favorite chaplain walked over to the squawk box, hit a button, and yelled: “Dammit! Put the tape on! I’m in the middle of a big Heart game!” The problem was, he hit the wrong button on the squawk box. His words went over the entire ship instead of just to the bridge. We all had a good laugh over it.
Back to the Gun Culture and Its Favorite Cash-Generating Rifle, the AR-15
I’m going to use a 2019 mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio to illustrate how a military rifle called the M-16 became the powerful political symbol of the Republican Party and the gun culture that now kills 45,000 and wounds more than 100,000 Americans each year.
This ugly combine of the National Rifle Association, the corporations that manufacture the AR-15, and the innocent hunters who pay their annual dues costs our economy an estimated $257 billion in healthcare costs each year. One would think ND “conservatives” who won’t vote to pay for school lunches for kids might think about those annual costs of being in love with a military rifle. I’m supposed to “tolerate” knuckle-dragging Neanderthals?
On an August Saturday night, a killer with an AR-15 with a 100-round drum fired 41 shots in 32 seconds and killed nine and wounded 15 in a downtown Dayton bar area. One observer said: “The bullets ripped into people’s heads chests, backs, arms, and legs as they ran from the carnage.”
“Tolerate” this? Make a deal with these killers? Watch these people strut in the streets, capitol buildings, grocery stores, bars, and Walmart wearing tactical stuff, helmets, body armor, vests loaded with 30-round magazines, and an AR-15 on their shoulders? No way.
Ban all conceal and carry. That’s “intolerable.” This ain’t Tombstone. Remember Sandy Hook? The killer with a Bushmaster AR-15 fired 154 rounds in less than five minutes, killing 20 first graders and six adults. One first grader was hit with 11 bullets. Think about what was left for the parents to bury.
While I’m on firearms, congresspersons, why do you allow the sale of assault-style pistols, street-sweeping 12-gauge shotguns with 12-round magazines, and .50 caliber spotting rifles that can destroy an engine block a mile away?
Here Is the World Champion Mass Shooting Star of the US Gun Culture and NRA
In 2017 I yelled at my wife Corky when I was watching Stephen Paddock kill 59 and wound more than 800 in the Las Vegas mass shooting: “This guy has machine guns!” As a Marine commander of a heavy machine gun platoon, I was acutely aware of a sound I hadn’t heard for almost 60 years, the distinctive sounds of a machine gun.
He fired 1,100 rounds from his hotel room at 20,000 people attending a Harvest Festival concert in a huge parking lot. In one 31-second trigger pull, he fired 280 rounds. In his hotel room he had 23 rifles, one handgun, and thousands of rounds of ammunition. He had modified some of the AR-15 models with bump stocks which turned them into automatics.
Here was another mass shooting that only rated Republican thoughts and prayers. I wonder what the funeral and healthcare costs will amount to after all the victims are dead. Anyone care to estimate how many hundreds of billions of dollars that could have gone to safety nets for our society from this one mass shooting?
The Washington Post has done the country a great service by printing important aspects of its investigation of AR-15 military-style weapons. First, I want to quote Dr. Joseph Sakran, who is not only a gunshot survivor, he’s a trauma surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He often spends his days operating on gunshot victims.
He says this about high-velocity bullets. They can eviscerate several people in seconds with bursts of 30 to 100 bullets. A single bullet lands with a shock wave so intense it can blow up a skull or demolish vital organs. Dr. Sakran: “It (military round) literally can pulverize bones, it can shatter your liver, and body tissue just crumbles into your hand.”
This is why rifles with magazines of more than six rounds that fire rounds over 1,000 ft/s should be banned. Who needs bullets that travel over nine football fields in less than a second?
Josh Sugarmann of the Violence Policy Center, a non-profit that advocates for gun controls, states the current positions of the manufacturers and the NRA: “Across the board, every manufacturer has some type of assault weapon that they offer. What the industry has done is to embrace heightened lethality as the foundation of their marketing efforts, and we are seeing the end result in terms of more deaths and wounds on a daily basis. Their dominance in US gun sales has been achieved quite consciously by an industry that has become militarized.”
Republican lawmakers, in a wet dream, have said they are not for banning the AR-15 because it has become the “national gun of America.” Some Republicans even wear AR-15 lapel pins next to the Christian crosses hanging around their necks.
If we had any sense, we would collect all the AR-15 military types and turn them into gardening tools like the Christ Episcopal Church in Guilford, Connecticut does every Saturday with old firearms and parts. The members have a good time with forge and hammers.
Republicans want to name the AR-15 the “National Gun of America.” The Post reporters say that about 20 million AR-15s have been sold in this love fest and 16 million people own them.
One million Americans have been sacrificed on the altar of the misinterpreted Second Amendment, so, as our problems multiply, I would imagine the 45,000 Ks and the 100,000 wounded will continue to increase each year as the faithful continue their lovefest with the gun culture instead of with that guy on the cross.
This Is What I Will Tolerate About Guns
(1) pass all the background check, red flag, storage, and ghost gun bills that should have been passed 40 years ago,
(2) ban all magazines and clips that hold more than six rounds, and make it a felony with five years prison time to possess larger capacity mags,
(3) allow the government to manufacture six-round magazines that fit all rifles and handguns and provide a period to trade in all banned for new magazines,
(4) register all weapons on a national base,
(5) limit the manufacture and sale of ammo to 1,000 ft/s for rifles and 700 ft/s for handguns—and no “cop killer” bullets or shotgun street sweepers—and limit the amount of ammo sold to one person.
These are cures for a public health crisis of 146 mass shootings in the last 88 days.
Congress: do what your chaplain tells you to do!
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