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Donald Trump And The NRA

April 25, 2017

In 2014 this country scored a victory when Dr. Vivek Murthy was confirmed to serve as Surgeon General of the United States.  That did not come easy as many of my readers may recall.  To get the win the gun lobby had to be pushed back to allow for the members of congress to do the right thing.  In the senate the fight for the nomination was hard and unrelenting as the gun lobby and those they bought tried to stall the vote.

The reason for all this was due to Murthy daring to say that gun violence was a public health issue in the United States. Well duh!

So though it was upsetting it was not surprising that this past week when few people were paying attention–in other words late Friday night — Trump relieved Dr. Murthy of his duties. That’s a dirty shame.

But as you know from following politics, and perhaps by reading this blog, the actions of those controlled by the NRA are predictable.  The loss of Murthy took place on the eve of the corporate gun lobby’s national convention.  Who could be shocked?

Now as we land in the week when Trump is to address that convention we are again confronted with the reality that the public health issue of gun violence in the United States needs to be addressed.  I understand the political reality of this speech.  It’s another return on the corporate gun lobby’s investment after they spent millions on Trump’s behalf when large swaths of the Republican Party were slow to embrace him. Trump loves those who kiss his ring and bow and spit-shine his shoes.  And he returns the favors.

But lets not forget that Trump has already paid those bastards at the NRA back many times over already.  Since his election he has tapped their man to serve on the Supreme Court, he made it easier for people with mental illness to get their hands on guns, and then fired Murthy.

But there is never enough when it comes to making it easier for people to own too many guns, accumulate ammo like it was going to become scarce, and spray bullets that make for daily headlines.   Like many others who also follow politics I too know when it comes to Trump and the gun lobby it is likely they are just getting started.

Perhaps the NRA could be kind enough to push for a tax credit for the purchase of coffins for those who die from gun violence.  The very guns they advocate for.

  1. May 1, 2017 12:05 PM

    There are studies far and wide about this issue that can be spun from both directions. We both know that. Common sense would instruct us that putting those substances into our body is not wise. In fact, they have been proven to be counter-productive. If you read this blog over the long term you will know the drinking culture that has been openly embraced allows for drunk drivers to create destruction, college campuses needing to deal with binge drinking, families requiring help due to alcoholism. When just thinking about pot legalization one of my continuing concerns is how this will add another layer of unsoundness to communities that already have higher risks of all sorts of problems from jobs to crime. Add in other drugs that flourish and there is no need to ponder further. .

    The need in this country is for sound mental health programs. If we had those in place the feeling for a need to ‘escape’, which is often heard from youth as to why drugs are used, could be greatly reduced. And the sad consequences from using those substances would decline too.

    As to your question to me about guns let me state up front that I do believe there is a direct link between drug sales, users, and crime. Gang activity often centers around drugs and guns. Madison Police, sadly, have to point that out almost every week. So do not think there is in my mind any doubt about that fact. What I strongly advocate for is not allowing this new norm to go without blowback. There are reasons Chicago, as an example, has too many guns even with local regulations and that is due to adjoining states not having tougher laws. National responses are required.

    What I said to you in eralier comment was “How are the school shootings linked to stopping drugs from impacting our society? How would the men who shoot their wives over custody of the kids be curtailed if we let the aimless shoot a needle up their arm?” My questions remain. The daily carnage in places like Chicago where two are shot on the south side in the morning and one in the evening does add up. But the link to the drug war and the NewTown shooting has no link. That was my point.

    I also note that due to the high numbers of gun deaths the term for what now constitutues a mass shooting has been lowered to meet the headlines in the morning papers. That fact alone should trouble us to no end.

    You do add in your Mass Tracker portion of your comment “Though difficult to quantify due to inconsistent reporting…” I want to point out it was the NRA who pushed congress to change and downgrade the amount of information able to be gathered on a whole host of gun issues and how reports are made and released. Doctors are not even allowed to ask patients about guns as a health issue during appointments.

    My reading and thinking about this issue has never altered from where I started as a freshman in high school in a mock debate. I took the position that using drugs were not a sound choice and made for problems in our society. As I write this comment today, and thinking back among my classmates, if anyone needed to ‘escape’ it was I. Bullied beyond believe as was my best friend who committed suicide as a result. But never once did I try pot or anything else. I still have not smoked one pull on a regular cigarette. My first can of beer was drunk when I was almost 20. I do not add this for some attempt to show anything other than there are quiet people who live lots of experiences and do not resort to destructive behavior.

    Making drugs even more available and deemed ‘OK’ by society will only produce more troubled people which then the larger society will need to deal with in expensive ways.

  2. May 1, 2017 4:11 AM

    Are you rejecting it because you’ve actually studied the issue and decided that the experts are actually wrong? Or have you reached your opinion due to a “gut feeling” that the drug war has no ties whatsoever to firearm violence? Not trying to be snarky, just wonder if you’ve given this issue more than just a causal glance…’cause it is pretty cut&dried (pun intended! lol) from what I can see….

    “It’s Black Markets 101, experts said: Drug prohibition breeds gun violence. A prohibited substance, especially an addictive one, can yield tremendous profits for organizations that can afford the many costs associated with smuggling. By definition, you can’t get legal protections to sell an illegal product. And when high profits are at stake and the courts are out of the picture, justice is often administered through violence.”

    “Legal bans on drug sales lead to a vacuum in legal regulation; instead of going to court, drug suppliers settle their disputes by shooting each other. Meanwhile, interdiction efforts raise the price of drugs by curbing supply, making local drug supply monopolies (i.e., gang turf) a rich prize to be fought over. And stuffing our overcrowded prisons full of harmless, hapless drug addicts forces us to give accelerated parole to hardened killers.

    Ending the drug war would involve reducing all of these incentives to murder. Treating addicts in hospitals and rehab centers, instead of sticking them in prisons, would reduce demand for drugs, lowering the price and starving gangs of income while reducing their incentive to wage turf wars. Decriminalization would relieve pressure on our prison system, allowing us to focus on keeping violent people off the streets instead of pointlessly punishing drug users for destroying their own health. And full legalization of recreational marijuana — which is already proceeding quickly among the states, but is still foolishly opposed by the Obama administration — is an obvious first step.”

    “The drug market is a major contributor to the Nation’s homicide rate. Indeed, the peak in homicides during the mid-1980’s was directly related to the saturation of urban areas with the crack cocaine drug trade. Methamphetamine — more powerful, more addictive, and easier to produce than crack cocaine — is becoming a major drug of choice in urban, suburban, and rural communities. If the methamphetamine trade results in drug wars on the same scale as those of the 1980’s, it is possible that homicide rates will begin to climb once more, as drug dealers are among those most likely to carry weapons.”

    “According to Mass Shooting Tracker, in 2014 mass shooting incidents resulted in the deaths of 383 people—about 3 percent of total gun homicides for the year. By comparison, the violence caused by the drug war overshadows the bloodshed of mass shootings. Though difficult to quantify due to inconsistent reporting, estimates of drug-related homicides reach as high as 50 percent of the total homicides in the United States.

    Though recent tragic events shock the collective conscious, it is important to consider them in perspective: specifically, what is truly killing so many people. The war on drugs is less of a spectacle than these mass shootings; instead, it is a slow-killing, institutionalized type of violence.”

    “Illicit drug proceeds are the lifeblood of gang behavior, and competition over market “turf” is the primary driver of gang violence. The government estimates that more than 2,000 homicides a year are gang-related. That’s two orders of magnitude higher than mass shootings, which on average take around 30 to 40 people’s lives a year nationwide.

    America has been down this violent road before. During alcohol Prohibition in the 1920s and ’30s, violent crime, murder and killings of police officers skyrocketed as criminal cartels seized urban streets. After Prohibition ended, the murder rate declined for 11 consecutive years.

    Having learned nothing from the failed experiment in Prohibition, policymakers turned their attention to banning other illegal drugs, and the streets were once again lost to criminal distribution networks.

    A study commissioned by the White House in 2012 estimated that illegal American sales of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine alone amount to roughly $100 billion annually. That’s $100 billion changing hands without access to any of the official, legal mechanisms for protecting commerce or peacefully resolving disputes.

    Under such circumstances, violence is inevitable. When distributors can’t rely on the law to settle disputes and deliver product, they take matters into their own hands. In the 1920s, competitors relied on tommy guns and Molotov cocktails. Today, handguns are the weapon of choice, but the violence has the same purpose.”

    Seems like common sense to me….but am curious to know why you think there is not a connection between the illegal drug trade and gun violence.

  3. April 26, 2017 9:23 AM

    I simply reject that argument. How are the school shootings linked to stopping drugs from impacting our society? How would the men who shoot their wives over custody of the kids be curtailed if we let the aimless shoot a needle up their arm?

  4. April 26, 2017 12:04 AM

    One can not be against “gun violence” and in favor of the War on Drugs at the same time…the two go hand-in-hand, and as long as we have the latter then the former will be a huge problem.

    History shows this to be true – shootouts in the streets were at an all-time high when booze was outlawed. Gun violence also reached a peak during the cocaine crackdown (pun intended) during the 1980s.

    Quickest way to stop people from shooting at each other in the streets is to end the war that the gov’t is waging in the streets. Anything else is simply an exercise in futility.

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