Texas Mass Shooting With Editorial Cartoons

Nothing can put forth a message like a well-crafted editorial cartoon. Here, then, are some of the ones regarding the Texas massacre of 19 school children and two adults that made an impression at this blogging desk.

Front Page Of Texas Newspapers Tell Story Of National Gun Crisis, 21 Dead From Assualt Weapon

It was Tuesday in America. More gun violence. Another mass shooting.

The result of allowing this continuing assault on our children, our communities, our common sense, and our decency is now defining who we are as a nation, and a people.

The mass shootings and use of weapons designed for military purposes must be addressed in our nation. These assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines being allowed for purchase are pathetic and very much earn us the ridicule from nations around the world who have passed gun control laws so to protect their societies from what we glibly call ‘our right’.

Last night, we turned into the Late Show with Stephen Colbert as New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was a guest. The tragic alignment of events in Uvalde and her appearance on the show made for a meaningful conversation to watch.

On the program, she talked about her country instituting strict gun-control laws and a gun-buyback plan in the wake of the 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings. It was a far-right extremist who killed 51 people which alerted the nation that something was required for the safety of their society. It needs to be noted that in just weeks the nation passed a bill, with only one lawmaker out of 120 opposing, that has–and the data proves the point–curbed gun violence in the nation.

New Zealand’s elected officials did not ask any NRA goonish type organization how to proceed, or what they might do to deflect their national conversation away from the gun issue that stared them in the face. They did not whimper and kneel to gun makers and their lobbyists.

Gosh, the elected officials found their role as leaders to be paramount, and then acted.

So, it can be done.

That we do not act is shameful. The world knows that, too.

Gunmakers, NRA, Unconscionable Clowns Within GOP Need To Be Held Accountable For 19 Dead School Children

We drove back into our driveway at about 8 P.M Tuesday evening. James took some food we picked up at a local restaurant into our home and I made my way to the front of the house. Our American flag was flying at full staff and so I took it all the way down, as is proper at such times, and then brought it back up to half-staff.

Once again, our nation is forced to reckon with yet one more dastardly mass shooting. Nineteen children were blown to pieces (as of this posting), along with a school teacher because our nation has knelt down to the gun lobby, NRA, and the most unconscionable clowns who reside below the curbside within the Republican Party.

We had been out for a long afternoon drive and outing celebrating our 22nd anniversary as a couple. Sirius radio from the 50s and 60s played throughout the day, and we dodged most of the sprinkles. Life was good.

In Middleton, I had switched to AM 780, WBBM Newsradio from Chicago, thinking some early primary election returns would be reported. Instead, President Biden was speaking. Before he had finished no more than a few words, and with only the gravity of his tone to alert me, made me reach my hand out and grab James’ forearm.

Something dire had occurred.

The second-deadliest shooting at an elementary, middle, or high school on record in the United States had occurred in Uvalde, Texas.

The school children, ranging from second through fourth-graders, were in that frame of mind that we all know so well. Only a couple more days of classes, than a summer break with vacations, friends, and county fairs. The last day of school was to be Thursday.

Then a gunman wearing body armor came into the classrooms and used his assault weapon with a high-capacity magazine to shred the bodies of boys and girls sitting at their desks. The carnage and images that some children witnessed will require therapy and counseling.

Adolfo Hernandez described to the media what his nephew, who was in the building at the time of the madness, witnessed.

“He actually witnessed his little friend get shot in the face. The friend, he said, “got shot in the nose and he just went down, and my nephew was devastated.”

From the White House, President Biden reacted as the bulk of the nation is doing.

“It’s just sick,” he said regarding the insanity of allowing weapons designed for the battlefield to be able to be purchased and used by anyone who can buy one.

“Where in God’s name is our backbone, the courage to do more and then stand up to the lobbies? It’s time to turn this pain into action.”

But Biden, as much as I appreciate him, did not come anywhere near to how a very large segment of the nation feels tonight.

Our national revulsion tonight is aimed at the greedy and soulless manufacturers and merchants of deadly guns, the callous and subhuman lobbyists of the National Rifle Association, and the dregs of the Republican Party who have no other skills than to ape the nonsense they hear from their puppet masters on FOX News and conservative politicians.

Investigators say the 18-year-old gunman was able to get his hands on a handgun, an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, high-capacity magazines, and body armor.

It was also reported this evening on NPR that the NRA will hold its annual meeting in Houston starting on Friday. Not for the first time on this blog do I offer a way for the amoral members of that association to understand what they are doing to the nation.

We have long known the NRA is thy most dangerous lobbying group in America.  The bullshit response of ‘guns don’t kill, people kill’ gags the nation like rotten eggs left in a Texas car in mid-July.   Only the most severely uneducated rube or overly blind partisan would ever make such a stupid claim.

I think the top lobbyists and promoters of the NRA should be taken to this Texas school and once the bodies of the victims are removed have their noses rubbed in the mess that remains on the floor of the school.  Let them smell the results of the deranged policies they advocate.

Make those same NRA leaders attend every single funeral for the students.

Force the NRA to explain to the locals of Uvalde why gun interests are more important than the children of that community.

There is a great need in this nation to no longer allow the tail to wag the dog when it comes to gun control measures. There was a blood-letting today that will make the headlines, but the NRA is counting on most Americans to forget this horrible story by the time they finish their fifth beer on the couch Friday night. The NRA counts on not being mentioned again until another mass shooting.

And on, and on, it goes.

The NRA will continue to torpedo gun control legislation, and threaten politicians. The NRA will use the most base and clueless within the Republican Party to repeat and regurgitate the vile trite crap and use the echo chamber of conservative media to beat home the insane and factless talking points. We have seen this playbook all before.

Spring will turn to summer. Summer to fall. 2022 will blend into 2023. Folks, we have seen this bullshit before, mass shooting, after mass shooting.

More guns will continue to be sold, and countless rounds of ammunition will be bought.

Untold amounts of weapons will be fired.

And we all know that some of those will be fired into innocent kids, like what happened today.

We need to find our balls on this issue and stand up and demand from our legislators that they also find their own set!

The NRA needs to know they are no longer in charge. Our nation is too important to allow the games the NRA plays to continue.

If you think I am wrong, talk to a parent of a dead child in Uvalde.

Kyle Rittenhouse’s Rifle Buyer Arrested For Fleeing Police, Cocaine In System

The last time we left the story of Dominick Black he had pleaded no contest to contributing to the delinquency of a minor, that being Kyle Rittenhouse, who liked to dress up in a full replica police uniform as a teenager. I have often wondered if he thought that was the most effective way to entice a teenage girl for a date?

Rittenhouse would use the AR-15-style rifle he was given by Black to kill two men on the streets of Kenosha. Black agreed to a non-criminal citation in order to avoid convictions on two felonies he had been facing.

The two counts were the result of delivering a dangerous weapon to a minor which then was used to slaughter Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber.

Letting Black off easy was correctly met with derision across the nation, with many at the time commenting it was only a matter of time before he would headline again. When the justice system is easy on thugs who show disdain for law and order with gun laws we know there is a very high chance society and taxpayers will again need to pay for court time and housing.

That is because firearms offenders recidivated at a higher rate than non-firearms offenders. Over two-thirds (68.1%) of firearms offenders were rearrested for a new crime during the eight-year follow-up period compared to less than half of non-firearms offenders (46.3%).

Well, today, less than six months later, Black is back!

Though Black’s crime this time is not gun-related, his actions show a complete disregard for the orders from a police officer, and the cavalier attitude that the law does not seemingly apply to him regarding either the rules of the road or the use of illegal substances.

Dominick D. Black, 20, was charged in Kenosha County Circuit Court for fleeing a police officer this past weekend. The mayhem took place in downtown Kenosha.

A Kenosha Police Department officer observed a grey motorcycle with no registration displayed going northbound on Sixth Avenue from 52nd Street around 7 p.m. Friday, according to the criminal complaint.

The officer reportedly pulled behind the motorcycle and traveled behind it for a short time. The driver reportedly traveled northbound on Sixth Avenue from 52nd Street, then west on 50th Street from Seventh Avenue.

The driver then reportedly stopped at a red traffic light at 50th Street on Sheridan Road for an “extended period of time,” according to the complaint. The officer reported the driver also “repeatedly looked in his mirrors to see if I was still behind him after each turn or change of direction.”

While stopped at the light, the officer reportedly notified dispatch he was going to initiate a traffic stop of the driver. The driver then reportedly turned right and northbound on Sheridan Road and began accelerating above the posted speed limit of 30 miles per hour. The officer activated his emergency lights and siren while directly behind the driver in the 4900 block of Sheridan Road.

“Once I activated lights and siren, I observed the driver look in his mirror at my squad, slow briefly for a moment, before continuing at approximately 45 mph in the posted 30 mph zone for approximately one block (4900blk to 4800blk),” the officer reported in the criminal complaint. “The driver, after looking in his mirror, shook his head from side to side, as if he was shaking his head ‘no’ before rapidly accelerating away from my squad.”

The driver then accelerated at a high rate of speed, briefly, until the the driver had to slow due to other northbound traffic on Sheridan Road. The driver also reportedly illegally passed vehicles while fleeing from the officer and rode in the middle of both northbound traffic lanes, passing vehicles on both sides and almost striking the vehicles while trying to drive between the heavy traffic to get away from the officer, according to the complaint.

Once the driver illegally passed the other northbound traffic, the driver allegedly accelerated at a high rate of speed away from the officer, who estimated it to be in excess of 80 mph in a posted 30 mph zone.

Due to the heavy traffic and endangerment of the vehicle and pedestrian traffic, the officer deactivated his lights and siren and slowed down. The officer reportedly observed the motorcycle northbound on Sheridan Road from 35th Street. However, as the motorcycle approached the intersection at Seventh Avenue, the officer lost sight of it, and he began searching the area.

About 15 minutes later, another Kenosha Police officer reportedly located the motorcycle and operator at Simmons Island, 5001 Simmons Island Drive. The driver of the motorcycle was identified as Black, who was wearing the same clothing an officer observed the motorcycle driver wearing earlier that evening.

Black was arrested and placed in a squad car. Dispatch advised that Black’s driving privileges were suspended, and Black stated the motorcycle was not registered to him at the time, according to the complaint. Black also reportedly didn’t have insurance.

While an officer was gathering information, Black reportedly began “appearing to move around more than usual” in the squad car. Black reportedly stated he was getting too hot and needed air. Black then reportedly began shaking in the back of the squad and appeared to have gone in and out of consciousness.

Black was transported to an area hospital and had blood work done. Hospital staff reported that Black had a traceable amount of cocaine in his blood, but not enough to cause impairment. Hospital staff advised Black’s symptoms appeared to be consistent with an anxiety attack or panic attack, according to the complaint.

If Black can only get the same judge that Rittenhouse had he should be in great shape!

And so it goes.

When Will Legislative Bodies Deal With Gun Violence?

On May 9th the United States Senate passed bipartisan legislation aimed to extend security protections to immediate family members of Supreme Court justices. The release of a court draft about an abortion decision is expected this spring and has unleashed much fervor in the nation, including protests at the homes of justices. The legislation would provide security similar to protections now afforded to family members of some executive and legislative branch officials.

What is striking about this matter is that the bill had only been introduced a few days prior to the Senate vote. With swift moves, the bill rocketed through the legislative process and then received unanimous support on the floor. It awaits House action.

I have no issue with the legislation, finding it totally acceptable. I have always been concerned about protesting at the home of judges or politicians. It is unseemly. Given the social climate of increasing anger about almost every issue and a willingness to cross lines of proper behavior, there is no doubt about the bill’s necessity.

What we witnessed is the ability of the Senate to act with great dispatch when it wants to, moving with clarity and resolve. But when it comes to mass shootings in the nation after ‘thoughts and prayers’ and a few lines of outrage from members of congress, the dialogue moves to other matters, and then nothing more is said.

Or more importantly, done.

Saturday’s news about the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York contained more of the horrific narratives we have come to know all too well in our nation. For those keeping track, and what a sad statistic to even know, this was the 198th mass shooting so far this year in the United States.

An 18-year-old white man unleashed a volley of bullets at a predominately Black supermarket killing 10 people and injuring three others. The investigation has already demonstrated that this was a hate crime and a case of racially motivated violent extremism.

Where Congress should jump into the matter is based on law enforcement reporting that the suspect, Payton Gendron, was investigated less than a year ago by state police after they received a report he’d made a threatening statement at his high school. He was reportedly taken into custody on June 8, 2021, and evaluated at a mental hospital. He was not charged. He was back on the streets in less than two days.

Gendron’s behavior and mental make-up should have sent red alarms up and disallowed him from buying guns, bullets, and body armor. But the laws in the states and at the national level were too lax to prevent what happened.

The suspect in the Buffalo shooting bought his assault weapon at a store in Endicott, N.Y., and said in an online manifesto that he also purchased a shotgun in Pennsylvania.

Gendron identified the firearm in his manifesto as a Bushmaster XM-15.

New York prohibits anyone under 21 from obtaining a handgun permit, but no permit is needed to buy a long gun. The state allows people to own long guns, such as rifles and shotguns, at age 16, and buy them at 18.

There are many creative minds within government and academia that surely could cultivate a plan worthy of passage where local law enforcement, and mental health providers, using government data systems could find a much more determined path forward to deal with these types of people who may become mass shooters. Clearly, the existing procedures that allow for someone like Gendron to be added to the background system are seriouly flawed. That is obvious as the type of person who made headlines Saturday is the very type that the FBI and DHS have been warning the American people about for the last several years.

Yet, the threat made by Gendron at his school was not recorded for gun background checks.

We know that the white ‘lone wolf’ has been described for years by federal agencies as one who will use extreme violence as a way to express his anger. We also know that these types are radicalized by extremist content found on some media sites and also on obscure and extremist sources online. Surely there is a mechanism we, as a nation, can find to rein in such sites and deprive troubled people of feeling emboldened.

In addition, given the political upside for members of Congress to look tough on terrorism, and make no mistake mass shootings are indeed terrorism, striking hard at online content which is often placed there by foreign intelligence and terrorist organizations is a winning hand. First with public safety, but also with applause from voters. It is imperative that those with a murderous and deeply racist mindset such as Gendron not find validation for their horrific views online.

The purpose of our collective search for workable ideas and then implementing them into laws is to stem the tide of gun violence. Given the national gun culture that has dwarfed reasoning the best we can hope for at this point is to look for narrow slices of action that legislative bodies can take.

But those legislative bodies must now step up and do the people’s business.

How many more mass shootings should the nation need to endure before the ones who took on the responsibility of public leadership does the work that the public requires.

And so it goes.

White Man Kills Ten In Racially Motivated Mass Shooting, Leaves Manifesto Linking Thoughts With Tucker Carlson’s ‘White Replacement Theory’

So, just another Saturday in America. An angry white man with easy access to weapons.

N-word could be seen written on the front sight of gunman’s automatic rifle.

Ten people were killed and three more were wounded when a man opened fire at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, authorities said Saturday. Police said the shooter, who is now in custody, has been charged with murder in what officials are calling a hate crime and a case of racially motivated violent extremism. 

“This was pure evil,” said Erie County Sheriff John Garcia. “This was a straight-up racially motivated hate crime from somebody outside of our community.”

At approximately 2:30 p.m., an 18-year-old white man exited his vehicle at a Tops Friendly Market, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said at a news conference. The suspect was “very heavily armed” and had a tactical helmet and gear, Gramaglia said. Police said he also had a camera and was live-streaming the shooting. 

The suspect shot four people in the parking lot, killing three, before entering the store, he said. Once he walked inside, he encountered a “beloved” retired Buffalo police officer working in the store as a security guard. The guard fired multiple shots that hit the suspect, but they did not impact him due to his tactical gear, Gramaglia said. The suspect then killed the guard, who has not been named.

The suspect eventually returned to the front of the store and encountered police, Gramaglia said. He put a gun to his neck when he saw police, but officers talked him into putting it down and surrendering, Gramaglia said. He was then taken into custody.

The horrific story gets more sinister and dark as we learn about Payton Gendron, the killer.

He left a manifesto in which he talks about the incendiary theory that Fox News’ Tucker Carlson is constantly talking about on his show. This is known as the ‘white replacement theory’, which goes directly against diversity in the country and perpetuates white supremacy. Inside this manifesto, you will find several talking points that Tucker often mentions in his program.

When will the people in this nation rise up and tell the NRA puppets in Congress and statehouses that we are tired of this bloodshed and carnage from gun manufacturers?

And so it goes.

Donald Trump’s Operation Legend In Chicago Regarding Guns Did Work

I believe one needs to head back to April 2018 on this blog to find the last time I was able to find something in which I could agree with Donald Trump. At that time it was the decision by the United States to send missiles into Syria for that nation’s use of chemical weapons. Though a limited and symbolic rebuke to President Assad’s putrid behavior at breaking international law, it was nonetheless the correct response to the dictator.

Today, with data to back me up, I can agree with another action that was the result of Trump’s four years in office. The Chicago Sun-Times best known as “the hardest-working paper in America,” reported the following about Operation Legend, a short-lived effort looking to make people arrested for crimes involving guns face tougher federal penalties than they might if prosecuted in this case–by Cook County courts.

We all should be able to agree on policies designed to rein in gun violence.

Authorities have said that at least 170 people were arrested in the Chicago area in Operation Legend, including 130 on gun charges and 40 on drug charges.

For context, Chicago recorded more than 770 killings that year and thousands of nonfatal shootings.

The average federal sentence of nearly four years in the cases the Chicago Sun-Times reviewed was far higher than what’s typically seen in the Cook County courts.

To determine that, the Sun-Times examined a decade of Cook County sentences in cases in which the most serious charge was illegal gun possession. The average prison sentence was less than a year — 254 days — in the approximately 4,000 cases filed between 2011 and the end of 2021. About 2,300 other cases resulted in probation, according to a Cook County database.

What one can absolutely disagree with, however, was the political timing of the larger plan by the Trump White House. Using law and order for election purposes Trump trotted out Operation Legend after a year of growing social pressure on police tactics in the nation. But we know the need to curtail guns was raging in places like Chicago in 2017 when Trump was inaugurated. And St. Loius. And Baltimore. And…

What riled so many at the time Trump sent federal agents to cities in July 202o was that it fit into the larger narrative about his autocratic moves. It did provoke deep concern when sending in federal forces to major cities with Democratic mayors—in an election year. And after the attempted insurrection with Trump’s support and backing on January 6th at the nation’s Capitol, the federal move in hindsight by Trump that summer seems even darker.

Now I certainly understand how in many presidential election years the GOP has spasms and urgings to show how tough they are and how patriotic they can be.  George H.W. Bush, who often gets respect for international policy on this blog, was nonetheless going for the gutter when he used the flag for his bid for the Oval Office, just as Richard Nixon is to be harangued for stoking the middle-class angst over cultural discord in the 1968 election.

So, it is clear that Trump was playing to his election base of white male voters in mid-2020 and was not truly interested in curtailing gun violence. The desire to look tough and act autocratically has long been the default for Trump. That he hungered and slavishly sought the favorable nods and ‘love letters’ from dictators worldwide was not lost on a swath of the nation.

But having said all of that there is no way to not recognize the bold type steps–such as Operation Legend–that will be required to stem the gun culture which creates daily death and bloodshed in the nation.

I would have advised the Biden White House to not have ended the program, but rather tweaked the policy so ‘the locals’ did not feel like the ‘the feds’ were running roughshod. There is much, much merit in getting as many guns…and the misfits who carry them–off the streets. Who can deny that fact?

What probably goes without saying is that even at the time Trump was correct he was so inept that he bungled that, too.

I can not fathom a third Trump action or policy that I will be able to agree with. After all, even a broken clock can be right only twice, come morning and night.

And so it goes.

Madison’s Freedom Inc. Should Not Make Demands Of Judges

Anyone who reads this blog for only a few weeks knows that the proliferation of guns, and the increasing deaths and injuries from these weapons, is a continuing theme. The gun culture has exploded and the price for society is too darn high.

So it comes as no surprise that when a person shoots and kills someone with a gun that was not legal to own I then support the legal process that renders justice. One of the common-sense themes I emphasize is that the laws and statutes that are on the books need to be enforced. That is one way to stem gun crimes.

This brings me to Kenyairra Gadson, a woman who made news earlier this year for the trial regarding her shooting and killing Steven Villegas. She contended in her trial it was a matter of self-defense.

…a jury returned a guilty verdict on January 26, convicting Gadson of first degree reckless homicide and illegal possession of a firearm. Dane County Circuit Court Judge Chris Taylor, a former Democratic state legislator, will determine a sentence on May 6. Gadson faces up to 65 years in prison. 

This story would not make for any more front-page headlines if not for Freedom Inc. and Gadson’s advocates…demanding that Taylor sentence Gadson to the time she has already served over the course of the case.

In other words, allowing for Gadson to be released on May 6th.

I have found it troubling in the past for huge rallies and powerful interest groups to protest at the United States Supreme Court. Putting undue pressure on judges or trying to manipulate the justice system is unseemly and runs counter to the more elevated nature we need and want justice to have in the nation.

And in Dane County.

I still hope for younger generations to take a deep dive into civics and better grasp why certain foundations and fundamentals must exist in our judicial process. Clearly, that is not the case when Freedom Inc demands anything from a judge.

The legal procedures from any arrest to trial have a very precise and process-driven set of steps. I believe those were followed in this case, and the jury verdict following this trial concluded as the evidence demonstrated.

If this jury’s verdict can be so easily dismissed, and a judge flippantly undermines the work of the men and women who took the time to do their jury duties, then what credibility does any jury have in the future? Freedom Inc. and Gadson’s advocates need to understand that the process they scorn now and try to undermine is the same process that will allow them in another case to have their day in court and the protection from the system.

It really is not a difficult argument to comprehend.

As such, there is no rational judge who will toss aside all the evidence and the work of a jury following a trial for the ‘demands’ from the ones who lost in court. No judge will be so disdainful about law and order in society.

Because law and order do matter.

And so it goes.