Friday, May 17, 2013
Again with Kahn? Did rebooting the Star Trek franchise mean rebooting the same old bad guys as well?
Colion Noir is an “urban gun enthusiast” and the latest spokesperson for the NRA. He is featured in a new television advertisement aimed primarily at the black community. The following snippet is the start of Mr. Noir’s spiel:
“No one wants to fight for their protection. They want the government to do it. The same government who at one point hosed us down with water, attacked us with dogs, and wouldn’t allow us to eat at their restaurants and told us we couldn’t own guns when bumbling fools with sheets on their heads were riding around burning crosses on our lawns and murdering us.”
Mr. Noir reminds people of the life of our ancestors and elders and their attempts to bring the nation’s attention to all of the racial inequality that black people had to deal with in the southern states prior to the civil rights era. Just imagine how the nation would have responded if instead of seeing peaceful black people being attacked by the white establishment intent on keeping black people in their place of second class citizenship, black people grabbed guns and started shooting it out with the white sheriffs, their deputies, and other law enforcement officers charged with keeping the peace with the weapons of their choice. Just imagine what life would have been like for the black community if they were to rise up en masse Nat Turner style and said enough was enough.
I would imagine that instead of the black community garnering national sympathy for their cause there would have been a swift and nearly universal condemnation of any black person who even looked like they participated in such civil unrest, which basically means any black person in the vicinity of the United States. In the vast majority of the public’s eyes, black people and guns is a volatile concoction that should never ever be allowed to mix. Any black person that raises a gun to defend his or her self from a white person is tempting fate whatever the circumstance. If anybody needs any convincing just ask the black John White who was convicted for murder the night he used a gun against the white seventeen year old and intoxicated Daniel Cicciaro, Jr. when the teenager got a drunken posse of four of his buddies to drive across town in order to teach Mr. White’s son Aaron a lesson for being accused of dishonoring a white girl as part of a joke that had gone totally and horribly wrong.
Black people with guns are a threat. Tell a white home owner that one of his neighbors is a black man and owns a gun and dude will probably make a beeline to the gun store to max out his Visa on all the weaponry that can fit in the back of his Ford pickup just so he can defend his self. In fact, the NRA’s executive vice president Wayne LaPierre has made statements warning law abiding people in the areas hit hardest by hurricane Sandy to prepare for a hellish world of overwhelmed if not totally collapsed law enforcement agencies and having to deal with roving gangs of armed minorities. In his eyes, it only makes sense that white people buy more guns to protect themselves from all the black people who are going to go out and buy guns. And if you don’t believe him just take a look at their new commercial featuring that black Mr. Noir.
However, Mr. Noir’s sales pitch is totally off base. A lot of people want to fight for their protection. A lot of people are fighting the good fight to keep guns out of the hands of people who should never have guns. Not every fight means you have to pick up a weapon with the intent of fighting to the death. Sometimes, the fight is one of politics, where people argue their point to convince the majority of what’s the right approach to a problem.
That’s the way our ancestors fought the good fight. It’s probably true that a lot of people wanted back in the civil rights movement wanted to meet violence with their own violence. But that would have done nothing but led to an escalation of violence that the black community, outnumbered and under armed, would have surely lost. Black people picking up guns in an attempt to inflict racial equality on a country chock full of white entitlement would have surely ended in disaster. Guns are not always the answer and many times they are the problem.
The answer for our ancestors and elders was actually government. More specifically it was a strong federal government that stepped into the picture to keep local and state government from trampling the rights of people in the black community. It was the federal government that told people stores and restaurants that they had to serve black people. It was the federal government that told the local sheriff that he couldn’t use fire hoses on black people. It was a strong federal government that passed the laws that protected black people’s right to attend schools previously reserved for white people. It was the threat of the federal government stepping in to enforce civil rights laws that made the local government step up to the plate for fear of having their authority revoked by a federal marshal. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the local heads of government could wind up under scrutiny of a federal investigation that could end with federal criminal charges.
Bottom line is that Mr. Noir has it all wrong. A lot of people want to fight for their protection. A lot of people want to fight to make sure that the government keeps its responsibility to its citizenry. The government that protects our rights isn’t the same government that hosed black people down. And if we aren’t careful and don’t remember that fact, the governments that did abuse black people will be back. It will be like they never left.
I never did care to follow the satirical magazine The Onion. I’ve always heard, read people referring to this publication as funny and/or clever and/or genius and/or witty and/or whatever. I may have actually tried to absorb its comedy a handful of times. But I’ve always come away from my effort with the opinion that I just wasted my time. The humor of The Onion ranked right up there with the Doonesbury comic or the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson reruns. It might be good for a half hearted chuckle, but whoever thinks this was class leading funny really has a strange sense of humor.
I was never under the impression that I was a member of the target entertainment market for the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson or the Doonesbury comic strip. That kind of humor was primarily geared to white people. And so I have to assume that The Onion is so geared as well. How else would anybody take using Twitter to call a nine year old girl, a black girl caught up in the rapture that comes with being nominated for an Oscar, a cunt? Then again, this is the kind of bullshit that passes for funny at The Onion.
Now maybe it’s just a coincidence that someone would use such a vile word that is used as a reference to a woman’s most significant sexual organ, a word historically used to demean the female gender, as part of a tasteless public joke about a totally inoffensive little black girl. Maybe the author really didn’t mean to be so disgusting and thought that he or she was just participating in some clean wholesome fun. It may have been just the type of thoughtless banter that appears anonymously on the internet. But it’s also the type of thoughtless bullshit that should make people think twice about what type of company or agency or person or entity they give their blind support to.
What type of person would call a little black girl a cunt? Why would somebody give such an offensive person a platform to spew such depraved slander? Why would I want to associate myself with either? Those are the types of self reflecting questions everyone needs to be asking of his or her self.
Instead, in typical “it happened to a black person so what does it matter” fashion, people came to the defense of The Onion saying that it was only a joke so we should all just forget about it. And if that was true then we would just put it behind us. But what if the joke was about one of the children murdered in the Sandy Hook shooting, would some of us be so quick to dismiss the offense with a nonchalant wave of the hand? Some of us probably would. But I’m betting that some people who weren’t the least bit offended about the reference to Beasts of the Southern Wild star Quvenzhane Wallis would see the “joke” in a different context. Are a bunch of dead primarily white children more deserving of respect and sensitivity than a single black girl winning an Oscar? Those Sandy Hook kids are dead while Quvenzhane Wallis has to live the rest of her life with what happened to her that night.
There is little doubt that my comparison with the children of Sandy Hook will offend some. Regardless of how much I might explain that I’m not trying to be rude to anybody but am simply trying to get people to expand their sense of compassion there will be people who will be greatly offended merely by my suggestion. People will write comments about how vulgar and impolite I am. I welcome the chance to enter an intelligent dialogue if somebody is willing to discuss, but I’m sure most comments will simply be deleted.
But the point is that if such people chose they will have an opportunity to confront the author, me, about what I wrote. The writer of the original cunt joke hides behind a wall of anonymity with The Onion’s name written all over it. The powers that be at The Onion may have apologized for the “joke”, but they have also made the decision to protect the identity of the joker like the hooded white sheet protects the identity of a klan member. We simply should trust their word when they say that the joker will be appropriately disciplined. They might keep their word, but there is really no way to verify it.
If The Onion wants to make sure the author is appropriately disciplined they should out the person who wrote it. Let him or her apologize to Ms. Wallis first and foremost, let him or her apologize to their fellow employees at The Onion, and then let him or her apologize to the world for putting their sick little tweet out in the public. Let it be known that The Onion truly doesn’t tolerate such loathing even it if was meant to be disguised as comedy. Let The Onion truly take a stand for integrity and give people the ability to verify it. Otherwise, this publication will continue to look like nothing anybody should be bothering to read in a useless attempt to find something truly funny.
Friday, Mar 8, 2013
At an official rate of 7.7% the latest numbers show that the unemployment rate continues to fall.
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is a very disgusting man. The country was cursed to suffer this man on our highest court by no other than the pope of conservatism, President Ronald Reagan, in 1986 and has been doing his best to roll back every social gain achieved by this country in the past half century. Mr. Scalia was never one to hide his disdain for minorities or for anybody who needed advocating on their behalf. He prefers a strict interpretation of the country’s Constitution. In this small man’s opinion, if the founding fathers were okay with it, it’s good enough for the rest of us almost two and a half centuries later. And if the founding fathers thought it was okay for the people of African descent to be less than human or considered white people’s property, it is reasonable to assume that it is Mr. Scalia’s expert justice opinion that the black people of today are just going to have to learn to deal with second class citizenship as their lot in life in the United States.
It has been said that Mr. Scalia is the type of justice that revels in his ability to illicit a shocking reaction to his outlandish statements. He loves the attention it garners. Leave it to Mr. Scalia to say something kooky enough to take the nation, if not the world, aback.
But Mr. Scalia’s latest statement for the sake of shock and awe appears to have crossed the line of reasonably acceptable for a justice. Mr. Scalia made the comment that a key provision of the Voting Rights Act was a perpetuation of racial entitlement. The law that protected black people’s right to vote, because that right was being routinely sabotaged by white people intent on keeping black people from being able to vote, was a form of perpetual racial entitlement. Mr. Scalia went on to say that, “Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes.”
Now a sense of political entitlement is an assumption of political privileges that don’t apply to everyone. Racial minorities having their rights protected because some, notably state politicians with an overblown sense of white privilege, wanted to unfairly eviscerate the voting rights of black people, leaving that right as a privilege of being white. So in a sense, without even realizing how appropriate his words were, Mr. Scalia hit the racial nail on the racial head when he said that it is difficult for a society that adopts racial entitlements to get out of them through the political process.
From the very moment white people felt entitled to lord over black people it has been a fight for them to relinquish that sense of entitlement. The problem isn’t protecting black people’s right to vote. Anybody who cares to look at this country’s history of institutionalized racial discrimination will know that people across the racial spectrum had to fight and die for black people to be recognized as white people’s equal. From the very moment black people were injected into this country’s social makeup against their will, white people had assumed, had adopted a sense of racial entitlement and privilege. Too many people have adopted the idea that black people wanting what white people have claimed as their own is an attempt to change the status quo and skew our social construct into black people’s favor. Anything that challenges white people’s sense of racial entitlement is in itself racial entitlement.
This closed circuit circular argument of illogic is the root of Mr. Scalia’s thinking. In his attempt to point a damning finger at people who understand the need to protect people from the racist whims of state legislators who would have no qualms about using their position of authority to run roughshod over the rights of some for the benefit of others, Mr. Scalia bares his gnarled skewed soul for the world to see. And to their credit, many people are aghast to see the new depth of injustice that lies at the pit of this man’s heart.
Any other justice in any other court in this country would have the good sense or, at the very minimum, the responsibility to their job to recues his or her self from the trial in question if they had vocalized such a totally biased statement. But it should be obvious by now that Mr. Scalia has no true sense or understanding of justice. Or, if there is some kernel of legal propriety within his comprehension, it takes a way back of the bus seat to his need to perpetuate his racial entitlement. It would be no surprise to see the Voting Rights Act go down in flames under the whim of this current version of our high court. Indeed, it would be surprising to see the Voting Rights Act survive in its intended form to protect the rights of all people to influence their government in a fair election process. It will be no surprise to see Mr. Scalia leading Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, John Roberts, and Anthony Kennedy to undo one of the pillars that actually gives meaning to our pledge of justice for all. If there was ever a case for term limits being given on our Supreme Court, Mr. Scalia has made the case most ineloquently as any single person could. God deliver us from such small minded people.
Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013
It’s been a year and still no justice for Trayvon Martin.
People really need to understand the fact that video games don’t kill people. People kill people. That’s a spin on the mantra by many that say guns don’t kill people. So if it’s true about guns and that’s been an argument for forever, then it’s even truer about video games. In fact, unlike a gun a video game isn’t even a reliable tool to be used to kill a person. So the idea of more regulation of video games as a solution to end gun violence really sounds somewhat pathetic.
Nuclear weapons don’t kill people. People kill people. And yet, somehow many of us work off of the premise that nuclear weapons shouldn’t be doled out around the world to all of the good guys to keep the bad guys with nuclear weapons in check. Most people shun the idea of nuclear proliferation to anybody who wants one as long as they have a good character rating. Does anybody really want to see a nuclear bomb under Kuwait’s control just in case one of their neighbor’s wants to do another invasion? But that’s the logic of some people who say that the only way to keep a bad guy with a gun in check is to give the good guys a gun.
But the public’s right to have guns is protected under the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution and any legislation, regulation, litigation, or nomination to infringe upon that right is the first step down a slippery slope that will have us living under a tyrannical government. Some of us will even argue the point that the founding fathers would never allow the government to even regulate guns or require people to register their guns.
You know what else is protected by our well respected Constitution? The right to vote. And many of the same people who now say that the Constitution protects their right to bear arms didn’t have a problem when so many states were passing new voter identification laws under the premise of protecting the integrity of the voting process. Proponents of voter identification restrictions laws were very quick to say that the integrity of the voting process was so sacrosanct that it was worth the risk of disentrancing millions of legal voters despite the fact that the right to vote is constitutionally protected. If we can handle millions of people going through hoops to maintain their right to vote, I’m pretty sure we can handle millions of gun owners being inconvenienced to maintain their right to bear arms.
A gun is not a video game. A gun is not a constitutionally protected right for people to exercise influence over their government. A gun is not a benign tool. A gun has the primary single purpose to kill. A knife has more uses. A gun being used to hunt is a gun being used to kill animals. They key word is “kill”. It is true that some people use their guns for target practice. But that’s only to make them better and more efficient killers when they make the decision to kill.
Once we understand and accept the primary purpose for guns then we can better accept what we have to do in order to protect ourselves from our neighbors with guns. The idea of protecting people’s rights to obtain as many guns as possible with the capacity to mow down people with just the pull of a finger is a retarded proposition that does nothing to protect anybody. We need to put limits on the number of rounds in the weapons of the average joe. The argument that smaller round capacities do nothing to curb gun violence is an argument to deny reality. Chances are that if someone had a musket that shot just one round before needing to be reloaded that person would need a lot more time to shoot a crowd of people than the guy with today’s large capacity assault rifle. And the more time it takes to shoot people, the more time to put a stop to the shooting before everyone gets killed. It’s not rocket science.
Guns are killing machines that need to be regulated. They need to be registered so that government knows who has them and how many. The killing machine should not be given a pass simply because it gets a mention in the Constitution. People have to register their automobiles if they plan to buy them, sell them, or use them. And automobiles kill far less people than guns. And if that’s not enough to put things into perspective, keep in mind those automobile related deaths are usually accidents that happen as a result of the automobile performing its job of transporting. Gun related deaths are the result of somebody putting their killing machine to its intended purpose. There is a big difference.
Thankfully, more people are now beginning to see the light and coming to the realization that we need to do more to curb gun violence. It’s no longer fashionable to say that we can’t do anything to stop gun violence. We are not so impotent that we can’t defend ourselves from people who want to kill or from people who want to protect people who might want to kill. People have the right to bear arms. People also have the right to regulate what arms to bear.