Health Emergency – Gun Violence

Guns are the leading cause of death among children in this nation. Not the pandemic. Not malnutrition. Not disease. — No wonder there are more guns than people in the United States –400 million guns versus 335 million people.  No other country has even half as many guns per capita.   The suspect in the July 4th shooting  in Highland park allegedly fired more than 70 bullets from a roof of a local business through a fire escape ladder.

The U.S. constitutes 5% of the world’s population and owns 25% of all guns on the globe. The Washington Post has reported that “1 in 3 Americans say they believe violence against the government can at times be justified.”

In 2018, the Small Arms Survey reported that Americans collectively own 393 million guns. That’s more guns than America has people. The population of the United States stood at 332 million in 2021, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Every day in America, an average of 321 people are shot, according to Brady United. Since 2020, mass shootings have been on the rise, with the Washington Post noting that there have been at least four mass shootings every week in 2022.

The number of Americans killed by guns annually (about 43,000) is on par with those who die from breast cancer (43,000) and pancreatic cancer (49,000), according to the American Cancer Society. These numbers are based on five-year death averages.

The first recognized mass shooting in America occurred in 1966, when a sniper at the University of Texas killed 17 people from his perch in a clock tower. Between then and 2020, 1,449 people have been murdered in mass shootings, and an additional 2,141 have been wounded. A mass shooting is defined as one in which four or more people are shot in a single event, not including the perpetrator.

Mass shootings are on the rise.  In the 10 years from 1966 to 1975, there were 12 mass shootings; from 2011 to 2020, there were 160. About 30% of mass shootings happen in workplaces, and about 25% occur in schools.

In 2020, 44% of Americans reported that they or someone in their household owned a gun, per an annual Gallup poll on guns in America. The typical American gun owner is White, male, between the ages of 30 and 64, has a household income of less than $100,000, lives in the suburbs or a rural area and is registered to vote as a Republican.

In 2021, 45,034 people died by gunfire, while 42,915 died in motor vehicle accidents. While these numbers may seem comparable, they’re more lopsided than you might realize, since car owners far outnumber gun owners: There are an estimated 234.9 million licensed drivers—and only 81.4 million gun owners.

Violence has become so widespread that it both neutralizes the public’s sense of moral outrage and shatters their bonds of solidarity. As society is increasingly militarized under neoliberalism, violence becomes the solution for everything. This is especially dangerous for those individuals who feel isolated and lonely in a society that atomizes everything. Some of these individuals turn to the internet and social media in search of community, often to be radicalized by White supremacist conspiracy theories, as was the case with the Buffalo shooter.

Faced with other problems, Americans act sensibly. Auto accidents used to be the leading cause of death among children for decades and to deal with this, all 50 states sensibly have child safety laws for children in automobiles.  After the 1995 bombing of the  Oklahoma City  Courthouse,  the purchase of ammonium nitrate — a chemical commonly used in fertilizer and explosives – became regulated.

What sense does it make for 18-year-olds to be able to buy AR-15 assault weapons but not alcohol or cigarettes? What sense is there in states making it easier to get a gun than for women to get an abortion?

Death by gun is a massive public health emergency as deadly as the pandemic at its worst and striking those most innocent. Consider that in 2020, according to CDC mortality data, there were more than 19,000 gun homicides and 24,000 gun suicides, and more than 500 accidental gun deaths.

More guns, more deaths. Compare the states with the highest rates of gun ownership with the highest rates of gun deaths:

10 states with the highest rates of deaths per 100,000 residents by state:

 

10 states with the highest rates of gun ownership:

 

Alaska (23 per 100,000 people)

 

Alaska (64.5%)
Alabama (21.4 per 100,000 people) Wyoming (66.20%)

 

Louisiana (21.2 per 100,000 people) Montana (66.30%)

 

Mississippi (19.8 per 100,000 people)

 

Idaho (60.10%)

 

Oklahoma (19.6 per 100,000 people)

 

West Virginia (58.50%)

 

Montana (19 per 100,000 people)

 

Arkansas (57.20%)

 

Missouri (18.8 per 100,000 people)

 

Mississippi (55.80%)

 

New Mexico (18.2 per 100,000 people) Alabama (55.50%)

 

Arkansas (17.7 per 100,000 people) South Dakota (55.30%)

 

South Carolina (17.7 per 100,000 people) North Dakota (55.10%)

 

The solution to mass shootings like Uvalde hinges on a simple premise: fewer guns in fewer hands.

How can we accept 1.5 million of firearm deaths between 1968 and 2017? – this is more than the number of soldiers killed in every US conflict since the American War for Independence in 1775!

 

There have been 200 mass shootings in the U.S. so far this year, which represents a doubling since 2018, followed by 119 in 2019; 114 in 2020; 249 in 2021.

In the 20-plus years since the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, more than 300,000 children have been exposed to gunfire in a school setting, resulting in a generation of children who can’t assume going to school is safe. One-third of adults say they avoid certain places due to fears of gun violence. Of those, over half fear gun violence at public events, like concerts. By comparison, since 9/11, no one has perished at the hands of terrorists on a commercial airliner.

Rather than uniting the country behind a shared vision for how to keep the public safe, the massacres, the right-wing backlash forced Rep. Chris Jacobs (R-NY) announced that he is suspending his campaign after endorsing a ban on assault weapons.

During the first year of the pandemic, the number of Americans felled by gun violence reached a level not seen since 1994, according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Increasingly, a majority of Americans view the Second Amendment as a malleable doctrine, subject to protecting people from mass shootings. 96% of Americans support universal background checks for gun purchases. 77% want families to be able to request a Red Flag intervention. 70% want police to be able to request a Red Flag intervention. 56% want gun laws strengthened. Each shooting increases those willing to curtail weaponizing America.

Dr. Mark Goulston wrote an article identifying the signs of a person to whom the Red Flag laws apply

What to LOOK for:

  • loss of temper on a daily basis
  • frequent physical fighting
  • significant vandalism or property damage
  • increase in use of drugs or alcohol
  • increase in risk-taking behavior
  • detailed plans to commit acts of violence
  • enjoying hurting animals
  • carrying a weapon
  • agitated movement – difficulty keeping still
  • easily irritated – you walk on “eggshells” around him
  • very impatient when having to wait in lines or wait to speak
  • shifty eye movements – tends to look evasively to left or right as if hiding something, if looks downward this may be a sign of submissiveness, but may then incense him later on
  • change in usual routines in terms of hobbies or exercises, etc.
  • stays to self or starts associating with “m! arginal” people
  • drawn to violent movies, newspaper stories, internet sites, television and radio shows
  • less attention to hygiene
  • paradoxical calmness in someone who has been agitated (may signal that has come up with a violent solution to his problems)

What to LISTEN for:

  • announcing threats or plans for hurting others
  • argumentative
  • becomes defensive easily
  • takes things personally that are not meant that way
  • negative comments about most things
  • complaining done with underlying agitation
  • blaming – most of what he talks about is blaming someone or something
  • sullen more than sulking– he can be silent in an intense way that doesn’t feel quiet, sulking means he’s getting some frustrations out

And if you notice the following signs over a period of time, the potential for violence exists:

  • a history of violent or aggressive behavior
  • serious drug or alcohol use
  • gang membership or a strong desire to be in a gang
  • access to or fascination with weapons, especially guns
  • threatening others regularly
  • trouble controlling feelings like anger
  • withdrawal from friends and usual activities
  • feeling rejected or alone
  • having been a victim of bullying
  • poor school performance
  • history of discipline problems or frequent run-ins with authority
  • feeling constantly disrespected
  • failing to acknowledge the feelings or rights of others

Who then owns firearms?

Former Justice John Paul Stephens said the amendment was adopted out of fear that a national standing army might pose a threat to the security of the states.

A literal reading of the Second Amendment, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” indicates Stephens was correct. President Biden stated “the Second Amendment is not absolute,” meaning it does not say anyone can carry a gun anywhere for any reason.

Who Knows People Who Have Been Shot

44% of US residents know someone who has been shot, and a higher proportion, 51% of US gun owners surveyed, know someone who was shot.

Is Gun Ownership a Right?

There is no such thing as an unconstrained right. Speech has limits.  Libel is illegal. Slander is illegal. Inciting a mob to commit an assault or murder is a crime. Sedition is illegal. The government places limits where public safety is at stake. The Supreme Court ruled in a  2008 case  District of Columbia v. Heller recognized an individual’s right to keep a gun in the home, the ruling also stated that Second Amendment rights are “not unlimited.”

Ironically, the Supreme Court is expanding gun rights in its first major Second Amendment opinion in more than ten years.  Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the deciding opinion for the 6-to-3 majority, saying that the Second Amendment allows people to carry guns outside their home for self-defense and that they should not have to “demonstrate some special need” to the government to exercise that right.

As new generations acquire political power, will subject the Supreme Court to the will of the majority of Americans? The Court is putting its independence on the line.

Americans endure more mass shootings than all other developed countries combined. It’s not even close.

For the past 20 years or so, the gun industry has been aggressively marketing military-grade munitions to the American people — with ads using social media and video streaming s invoking race-based fear, twisted notions of masculinity, and distorted ideas about “patriotism.”

Gun manufacturers appropriate social media, YouTube servers, video streaming services, and the work of YouTube influencers to attract audiences to websites that sell firearms:

One out of seven Twitter posts, 54% of YouTube videos, and nine out of ten YouTube influencer videos link to websites that facilitate gun sales.

Top manufacturers of domestic firearms received 98 million channel views, compared with 6.1 billion channel views received by the remaining top 12 YouTube influencers.

Advertisements use women in efforts to market handguns and pistols for the purpose of protection. Videos with women 2.5 times more often than videos without women.

YouTube and Twitter subsidize gun advertising by offering server and streaming services at no cost to gun manufacturers, to the commercial benefit of Google and Twitter’s corporate ownership.

This has fed some deadly trends:

  • The number of guns manufactured in America has nearly tripled over the past two decades, from 3.9 million in 2000 to 11.3 million in 2020.
  • We endure more mass shootings than all other developed countries combined. It’s not even close.
  • Guns unlike light bulbs, refrigerators, and cars don’t wear out.  Every gun sold may be around for a century or more. The frequency — and body count — of mass shootings has increased as well.13 of the 20 deadliest mass shootings since 1982 happened in just the past decade.

Credit LA Times2022 — 21 people killed at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

2022 — 10 people killed at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York.

2021 — 10 people killed at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado.

2019 — 23 people killed at a big-box store in El Paso, Texas.

2019 — 12 people killed at a municipal building in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

2018 — 12 people killed at a bar and grill in Thousand Oaks, California.

2018 — 11 people killed at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

2018 — 17 people killed at high school in Parkland, Florida.

2017 — 26 people killed at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

2017 — 60 people killed at a music festival in Paradise, Nevada.

2016 — 49 people killed at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

2015 — 14 people killed at a conference center in San Bernardino, California.

2012 — 27 people killed at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

2012 — 12 people killed at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.

Below is a list of school shootings, not including nightclubs or businesses or anything else, just schools from 1998 to today:

Thurston High School
Columbine High School
Heritage High School
Deming Middle School
Fort Gibson Middle School
Buell Elementary School
Lake Worth Middle School
University of Arkansas
Junipero Serra High School
Santana High School
Bishop Neumann High School
Pacific Lutheran University
Granite Hills High School
Lew Wallace High School
Martin Luther King, Jr High School
Appalachian School of Law
Washington High School
Conception Abbey
Benjamin Tasker Middle School
University of Arizona
Lincoln High School
John McDonogh High School
Red Lion Area Junior High School
Case Western Reserve University
Rocori High School
Ballou High School
Randallstown High School
Bowen High School
Red Lake Senior High School
Harlan Community Academy High School
Campbell County High School
Milwee Middle School
Roseburg High School
Pine Middle School
Essex Elementary School
Duquesne University
Platte Canyon High School
Weston High School
West Nickel Mines School
Joplin Memorial Middle School
Henry Foss High School
Compton Centennial High School
Virginia Tech
Success Tech Academy
Miami Carol City Senior High School
Hamilton High School
Louisiana Technical College
Mitchell High School
EO Green Junior High School
Northern Illinois University
Lakota Middle School
Knoxville Central High School
Willoughby South High School
Henry Ford High School
University of Central Arkansas
Dillard High School
Dunbar High School
Hampton University
Harvard College
Larose-Cut Off Middle School
International Studies Academy
Skyline College
Discovery Middle School
University of Alabama
DeKalb School
Deer Creek Middle School
Ohio State University
Mumford High School
University of Texas
Kelly Elementary School
Marinette High School
Aurora Central High School
Millard South High School
Martinsville West Middle School
Worthing High School
Millard South High School
Highlands Intermediate School
Cape Fear High School
Chardon High School
Episcopal School of Jacksonville
Oikos University
Hamilton High School
Perry Hall School
Normal Community High School
University of South Alabama
Banner Academy South
University of Southern California
Sandy Hook Elementary School
Apostolic Revival Center Christian School
Taft Union High School
Osborn High School
Stevens Institute of Business and Arts
Hazard Community and Technical College
Chicago State University
Lone Star College-North
Cesar Chavez High School
Price Middle School
University of Central Florida
New River Community College
Grambling State University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ossie Ware Mitchell Middle School
Ronald E McNair Discovery Academy
North Panola High School
Carver High School
Agape Christian Academy
Sparks Middle School
North Carolina A&T State University
Stephenson High School
Brashear High School
West Orange High School
Arapahoe High School
Edison High School
Liberty Technology Magnet High School
Hillhouse High School
Berrendo Middle School
Purdue University
South Carolina State University
Los Angeles Valley College
Charles F Brush High School
University of Southern California
Georgia Regents University
Academy of Knowledge Preschool
Benjamin Banneker High School
D H Conley High School
East English Village Preparatory Academy
Paine College
Georgia Gwinnett College
John F Kennedy High School
Seattle Pacific University
Reynolds High School
Indiana State University
Albemarle High School
Fern Creek Traditional High School
Langston Hughes High School
Marysville Pilchuck High School
Florida State University
Miami Carol City High School
Rogers State University
Rosemary Anderson High School
Wisconsin Lutheran High School
Frederick High School
Tenaya Middle School
Bethune-Cookman University
Pershing Elementary School
Wayne Community College
JB Martin Middle School
Southwestern Classical Academy
Savannah State University
Harrisburg High School
Umpqua Community College
Northern Arizona University
Texas Southern University
Tennessee State University
Winston-Salem State University
Mojave High School
Lawrence Central High School
Franklin High School
Muskegon Heights High School
Independence High School
Madison High School
Antigo High School
University of California-Los Angeles
Jeremiah Burke High School
Alpine High School
Townville Elementary School
Vigor High School
Linden McKinley STEM Academy
June Jordan High School for Equity
Union Middle School
Mueller Park Junior High School
West Liberty-Salem High School
University of Washington
King City High School
North Park Elementary School
North Lake College
Freeman High School
Mattoon High School
Rancho Tehama Elementary School
Aztec High School
Wake Forest University
Italy High School
NET Charter High School
Marshall County High School
Sal Castro Middle School
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
Great Mills High School
Central Michigan University
Huffman High School
Frederick Douglass High School
Forest High School
Highland High School
Dixon High School
Santa Fe High School
Noblesville West Middle School
University of North Carolina Charlotte
STEM School Highlands Ranch
Edgewood High School
Palm Beach Central High School
Providence Career & Technical Academy
Fairley High School (school bus)
Canyon Springs High School
Dennis Intermediate School
Florida International University
Central Elementary School
Cascade Middle School
Davidson High School
Prairie View A & M University
Altascocita High School
Central Academy of Excellence
Cleveland High School
Robert E Lee High School
Cheyenne South High School
Grambling State University
Blountsville Elementary School
Holmes County, Mississippi (school bus)
Prescott High School
College of the Mainland
Wynbrooke Elementary School
UNC Charlotte
Riverview Florida (school bus)
Second Chance High School
Carman-Ainsworth High School
Williwaw Elementary School
Monroe Clark Middle School
Central Catholic High School
Jeanette High School
Eastern Hills High School
DeAnza High School
Ridgway High School
Reginald F Lewis High School
Saugus High School
Pleasantville High School
Waukesha South High School
Oshkosh High School
Catholic Academy of New Haven
Bellaire High School
North Crowley High School
McAuliffe Elementary School
South Oak Cliff High School
Texas A&M University-Commerce
Sonora High School
Western Illinois University
Oxford High School
Robb Elementary School

And all the while, gun industry profits have exploded.

Here are the companies profiting:

Aero Precision LLC

Aero Precision, Aero Precision LLC

Anderson Manufacturing, WM C Anderson Inc

Armscor

ArmscorRIA,

Beretta USA Corp

Browning Arms Company

Colt Manufacturing Co

CZUSA, CZ

Diamondback Firearms, Diamondback Firearms LLC (owned by Taurus)

Fn America, LLC

Glock Inc

Henry Repeating Arms, Henry RAC Holding Corp

Heritage Manufacturing IncSturm, Ruger & Company

Hi-Point, Strassells Machine Inc (also known as Hi-Point Firearms)

Kel-Tec, Kel Tec CNC Industries Inc

Kimber Firearms, Kimber Mfg Inc

Maverick Arms, Inc (subsidiary of Mossberg & Sons)

MKE (also known as Zenith Firearms)

Mossberg, Maverick Arms, Inc (subsidiary of Mossberg & Sons)

Palmetto State Armory, Palmetto State Armory, LLC

Radical Firearms LLC

Remington Arms, Remington Arms Company LLC

SCCY Firearms, Sccy Industries LLC

Sig Sauer Inc

Smith & Wesson Corp

Springfield Armory, Springfield Inc

Strassells Machine Inc (also known as Hi-Point Firearms)

Sturm, Ruger and Co

Taurus International Manufacturing Inc

WM C Anderson Inc

Zenith Firearms, MKE (also known as Zenith Firearms)

What Can Be Done

Ban the sale of assault weapons. Both the Uvalde shooter and the accused Buffalo shooter were 18 when they bought assault weapons.  The Highland Park shooter also used an assault weapon for the massacre in July, 2022.

Does banning assault weapons work?   In the years after the assault weapons ban went into effect, the number of deaths from mass shootings fell, and the increase in the annual number of incidents slowed down. Even including 1999’s Columbine High School massacre – the deadliest mass shooting during the period of the ban – the 1994 to 2004 period saw lower average annual rates of both mass shootings and deaths resulting from such incidents than before the ban’s inception.

When the ban ended, there was an immediate and steep rise in mass shooting deaths. Calculations show the risk of a person in the U.S. dying in a mass shooting was 70% lower during the period in which the assault weapons ban was active. The proportion of overall gun homicides resulting from mass shootings was also down, with nine fewer mass-shooting-related fatalities per 10,000 shooting deaths.

Expand background checks to include online sales and gun shows: The House has passed a universal background-check bill, but Senate Democrats know that Republicans will oppose anything that requires background checks for family members selling guns to one another.

Ban high-capacity magazines: The Washington Post Fact Checker’s Glenn Kessler has reported that this could make mass shootings when they do happen, less deadly.

Crackdown on ‘ghost guns’: These weapons are often sold in kits that the buyer puts together at home. They don’t have to have a serial number, and the buyer doesn’t have to pass a background check to buy one. In his only executive order on guns, President Biden made it easier for law enforcement to trace these guns. But Democrats in Congress want to turn this into law so the next president can’t overturn it.

Red-flag laws: These allow family members, community members or police to petition a judge to temporarily take away someone’s firearms if they appear to be a risk to themselves or others.

The big takeaway for me from the Illinois experience, as is the case for so many of these mass shootings and quite frankly so many of the shootings and deaths that don’t capture national attention, is implementation,” Frattaroli said.

Nineteen states and Washington, D.C., have red flag laws, including GOP-led states like Florida and Indiana. The new federal law includes $750 million to incentivize other states to pass them.

Yet even with a stronger national model and better implementation, Eugene Volokh, the University of California-Los Angeles’s expert in firearms regulation policy, argued that the black market for firearm purchases provides a loophole that is not easy to crack down on.

“People ask could this have been stopped with a red flag law? And the answer is nobody could be sure if it could be stopped. At most, what a red flag does it is causes the seizure of a weapon and prevents somebody from lawfully buying a weapon in the future,” he said, adding that someone could then just go buy a gun illegally.

Proponents of the red-flag laws argue that if properly implemented, they could have stopped Monday’s shooting in Highland Park.

“The fact is red flag laws do work, we have a mountain of evidence that shows that, but it’s an imperfect tool,” said Noah Lumbantobing, spokesperson for March for Our Lives. “You’ve got to train local officials on its use, you’ve got to make the public aware that it’s a tool available to them if they’re worried about the safety of a loved one.”

At the same time, many advocates say the best way to really reduce mass shootings would be for the government to reimpose an assault weapons ban or impose controls on large capacity magazines and ammunition.

“In our view, it’s clear a nationwide assault weapons ban would have prevented this,” Lumbantobing said.

Large capacity magazines can be put into handguns to allow the shooter to fire more rounds. The suspect on Monday allegedly fired more than 70 bullets from a roof of a local business through a fire escape ladder.

The big takeaway for me from the Illinois experience, as is the case for so many of these mass shootings and quite frankly so many of the shootings and deaths that don’t capture national attention, is implementation,” Frattaroli said.

Nineteen states and Washington, D.C., have red flag laws, including GOP-led states like Florida and Indiana. The new federal law includes $750 million to incentivize other states to pass them.

Branas argued that national action towards red flag laws would be better than leaving them to the states. He also called for a similar model across the country.

Yet even with a stronger national model and better implementation, Eugene Volokh, the University of California-Los Angeles’s expert in firearms regulation policy, argued that the black market for firearm purchases provides a loophole that is not easy to crack down on.

“People ask could this have been stopped with a red flag law? And the answer is nobody could be sure if it could be stopped. At most, what a red flag does it is causes the seizure of a weapon and prevents somebody from lawfully buying a weapon in the future,” he said, adding that someone could then just go buy a gun illegally.

“You can’t really stop someone simply by this kind of proceeding,” he added.

Proponents of the red-flag laws argue that if properly implemented, they could have stopped Monday’s shooting in Highland Park.

“The fact is red flag laws do work, we have a mountain of evidence that shows that, but it’s an imperfect tool,” said Noah Lumbantobing, spokesperson for March for Our Lives. “You’ve got to train local officials on its use, you’ve got to make the public aware that it’s a tool available to them if they’re worried about the safety of a loved one.”

Red-flag laws can be critical tools in lowering the number of suicides, experts say.

At the same time, many advocates say the best way to really reduce mass shootings would be for the government to reimpose an assault weapons ban or impose controls on large-capacity magazines and ammunition.

The bottom line, say gun control groups, is that the nation’s laws are simply too weak to really stop gun violence, even with the new gun safety measure and more red-flag laws.

“I think what’s really important to remember is our federal gun laws are extremely weak. The bipartisan bill is absolutely a concrete important, critical step forward on that but there’s a lot of work to be done on that,” said Robin Lloyd, Giffords’ managing director.

“Our federal gun laws are so riddled with loopholes,” she added. “It doesn’t have to be this way but in order for this not to be this way, we have to do a lot.”

The bottom line, say gun control groups, is that the nation’s laws are simply too weak to really stop gun violence, even with the new gun safety measure and more red-flag laws.

“I think what’s really important to remember is our federal gun laws are extremely weak. The bipartisan bill is absolutely a concrete important, critical step forward on that but there’s a lot of work to be done on that,” said Robin Lloyd, Giffords’ managing director.

 

The everyday deadliness and frequency of gun violence have given rise to an increasing number of partisans who think violence can be justified to achieve a political end.  What happened on January 6 was a manifestation of this, as well as the young man carrying a Glock 17 pistol, burglary tools, and zip ties, telling an FBI agent what had inspired him to travel from California to assassinate the conservative Supreme Court Justice. Kavanaugh.

I don’t think it is a coincidence that the Kavanaugh incident galvanized Republicans to want to do something about gun violence, though they stopped short of allowing truly effective measures like eliminating assault rifles and high-capacity magazines.

How many more deaths can this country endure? How many more innocent children will be killed before a mass movement arises that can bring this brutal social disease to an end?

The House on July 29 passed a bill to ban assault weapons,  marking the first time lawmakers have approved a prohibition on the popular firearms in more than two decades. The legislation, titled the Assault Weapons Ban of 2022, cleared the chamber in a 217-213 vote. Let’s hope for success in the Senate! Showing how divisive this issue is, five Democrats voted against the ban alongside 208 Republicans were Reps. Henry Cuellar of Texas, Jared Golden of Maine, Vicente Gonzalez of Texas, Ron Kind of Wisconsin, and Kurt Schrader of Oregon.

In New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. vs. Bruen, the Supreme Court not only ruled that broad limits against people carrying firearms in states like New York and California were unconstitutional, but that other restrictions on firearms that aren’t deeply rooted in early American history — or at least analogous to some historical rule — would likewise violate the 2nd Amendment.

In less than a month, the Bruen decision has reinvigorated an already robust legal war on California’s gun laws and forced lower courts to begin reconsidering a whole host of legal challenges — with potentially massive stakes in a country devastated by gun violence on a daily basis.

To get around the filibuster rule in the Senate, 10 Republican senators would need to join Democrats. With shootings happening at any time and in any setting – shopping, banking, walking in a shopping mall – is it too much to ask if this is not an American problem – not one to be decided along party lines.

Striking numbers of people  have begun mobilizing against gun violence and the climate crisis. At this moment, as well, we seem to be witnessing the rise of a new labor movement, with workers already organizing at Starbucks, Dollar General stores, and Walmart, among other places. The Christian nationalist movement relies on a divide-and-conquer strategy and single-issue organizing.

People advocating compassionate politics have multiple ways of relating to people.

The Fascists are in our Midst – on Your Block, in Your Neighborhood, in a Car Driving Down the Street

They are closer than you think. In a community a few miles from where I live, ruffians robbed and desecrated a health food store, painting swastikas and profanity on the walls. The Coffee Cantina has been a community gathering place that has recently changed hands.

Meanwhile, two men have been charged in an alleged plot to firebomb the California Democratic Party’s headquarters in Sacramento, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday. These men, Ian Benjamin Rogers and Jarrod Copeland were “prompted by the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election” and believed their attack would spark a “movement.

In July, the components for 50 homemade bombs were found in Virginia in the home of a man who stormed the Capitol on January 6th. In Long BeachCalifornia, police are investigating graffiti on a statue Martin Luther King Jr. statue as a hate crime. (CNN).

A Danish man armed with a bow and arrow killed five people in a Norwegian town in what’s classified as a “terrorist act.”

The pandemic worked as a boon for right-wing extremists. Researchers are finding that as the pandemic put more people online for greater periods of time, the recruitment pool for extremists grew. Capitalizing on the “environment of heightened anxiety,” communities formed on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, 4chan, Gab, Iron March, and Fascist social media channels.

These acts are part of an alarming rise in domestic extremist violence in the United States. According to a Washington Post analysis of data compiled by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the number of domestic terrorism incidents hit an all-time high in 2020, with right-wing extremist attacks and plots greatly eclipsing those from the far left and causing more deaths.

Just before 11 a.m. on January 6, Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer told the crowd “Let’s have trial by combat.” The ensuing assault left five people dead, and nearly 140 officers were attacked with ax handles, bats, metal batons, wooden poles, hockey sticks, and other weapons. You can see this vicious attempt to overthrow the government on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=january+6+insurrection.

We now know that our worst fears were also held by people at the helm of our military. Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff saw parallels between Trump’s rhetoric about election fraud and Adolf Hitler’s insistence to his followers at the Nuremberg rallies that he was both a victim and their savior. “This is a Reichstag moment,” Milley told aides. “The gospel of the Führer.” This is chronicled in a new book on Trump’s last year in office by Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig entitled

I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year.

That day in his speech on the Ellipse, Trump said, “Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore, and that’s what this is all about. To use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will ‘stop the steal.’ Today I will lay out just some of the evidence proving that we won this election, and we won it by a landslide. We’re going to try and give our Republicans — the weak ones because the strong ones don’t need any of our help — we’re going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.”   These are the words of a would-be tyrant.

The officer who shot January 6 insurrectionist Ashli Babbitt as she tried to break through a broken window in the Capitol building did nothing wrong. An internal Capitol Police review not only found that the officer didn’t violate internal policy but that his actions almost certainly saved the lives of lawmakers and staffers. By shooting Babbitt, the officer might have l kept the insurrection from spiraling completely out of control.

Threats and disinformation spread across the country in the wake of the Capitol siege, shaking the underpinnings of American democracy.

Upstanding Republicans are decrying this behavior. We have to hope the police, the national guard, the sheriffs across the country care more for the Constitution and basic human decency to provide us protection against this fifth column, numbering more than the original Revolutionary Army. What we are experiencing is eerily like the scenes in paranoid thrillers and conspiratorial dramas like The Manchurian Candidate, Seven Days In May, The Parallax View, The Conversation, Three Days of the Condor, Marathon Man, Blow Out, Absolute Power, Wag the Dog, The X-Files, and Enemy of the State, among others.

The pandemic worked as a boon for right-wing extremists. The pandemic put more people online for greater periods of time, the recruitment pool for extremists grew. Capitalizing on the “environment of heightened anxiety,” communities formed on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, 4chan, Gab, Iron March, and Fascist social media channels. Minority communities—in particular Asians—have been subject to increased hate crimes and harassment.  Right-wing groups are connected into a broader international English language extremist ecosystem.

ThCapitol Hill bomb threat in August suggests January 6 siege was a beta test of more to come.  Reports of other acts both in the U.S. and in Europe are coming to light.

Major social media platforms are failing to block 84 percent of antisemitic content that was reported to them through their own measurement tools.  Facebook and Twitter, in particular, showed the “poorest rate of enforcement action.”Rumble has emerged over the last year as one of the most prominent video sites for right-wing viewers. It has positioned itself as the right-wing alternative to YouTube.  It refuses to remove false medical misinformation such as casting doubt on vaccines during a pandemic that has killed more than 4 million people around the world.

Social media platforms need to do much more than they already have to curtail the festering of right-wing hate and violence.

We tell ourselves it could not happen here. Polls tell us 30 percent of Republicans actually believe that the government put microchips inside the coronavirus vaccines to track and otherwise control the American people.  But as the testimony from officers who protected the Capitol on January 6 has come in, we know it can. Officer Daniel Hodges, a white member of the Metropolitan Police Dept. “It was absolutely my pleasure to crush a white nationalist insurrection.” Another testified, “It was an attempted coup that was happening at the Capitol that day, and if it had been in another country, the U.S. would have had sent help.”

Here is a sampling of bald-faced lies coming from right-wing radio  One America News (OAN

  • COVID-19 vaccines have killed 10,000 to 12,000 people and can make you magnetic.1,2
  • President Biden is a “brain-dead zombie puppet” being controlled by George Soros and the Chinese Communist Party.3
  • The participants in the deadly white supremacist attempted coup on January 6 were actually the victims of a “setup.”4
  • That Black people fighting for civil rights are “race hustlers.”5
  • That the LGBTQ community is “perverted” and that Pride Month should be replaced by a celebration of “white history month.”6

Domestic extremists are adapting their online strategies to push disinformation and conspiracies despite a crackdown by social media platforms in the year since the attack by a pro-Trump mob on the Capitol.

Online extremist groups, such as Parler, Gab, and Telegram. The Department of Homeland Security also warned far-right influencers are using more coded language to slip through gaps in mainstream content moderation enforcement.  Activity on alternative platforms has risen in popularity since the January 6, 2021 riot.

The road to fascism is lined with people telling you to stop overreacting. The latest subpoenas show the Jan. 6 probe is ‘rapidly becoming a criminal investigation’: MSNBC analyst

I guess the Republican National Committee considers the January 6 insurrection that included smearing feces on walls as “ legitimate political discourse.”  Can you remember any time when a tragedy has been so minimalized?

Since the Capitol insurrection, the Department of Justice has arrested more than 725 defendants in relation to the storming of the building. Federal prosecutors have charged 225 with assaulting, resisting, or impeding police officers, including over 75 charged with using a deadly or dangerous weapon or causing serious bodily harm to an officer. This includes Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, who coordinated for weeks with key organizers of the protest.

In the last few years, we’ve been told that using Hitler analogies was taking it too far but then bad actors on the right slipped in behind us and started equating vaccine mandates with Nazi tactics and themselves with Jews in concentration camps. Dr. Fauci has been compared to Josef Mengele, the Nazi doctor who conducted unimaginably cruel experiments on Jews with a special focus on twins. I think that’s part of the problem—much of what the Nazis did was unimaginable, just as much of what whites did to the Blacks they enslaved was unimaginable, that most of us just can’t quite wrap our heads around the seriousness of what we’re facing. Ignorance makes this possible and this malign forces on the right know this.

I used to wonder if the people who wielded swastikas and Confederate flags understood what the symbols they embraced really stood for. Now I have no doubt. They know the Confederate flag stands not for the nobility of Southern heritage (which never existed), but for support of those who believed in their right to enslave, torture, and, in some cases, murder the Black people they enslaved.  The insurrectionists who wore “6MWE”(Six Million Wasn’t Enough”) t-shirts on January 6th, 2021 know they’re championing the annihilation of Jews.

The subpoenas being issued by the House select committee investigating the Capitol insurrection suggests that the probe is “rapidly becoming a criminal investigation,” according to former acting U.S. solicitor general Neal Katyal.

The committee subpoenaed retired Army Col. Phil Waldron, the author of an infamous PowerPoint presentation outlining how former President Donald Trump could stay in power despite losing the 2020 election. The PowerPoint presentation was handed over to the committee by former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

However, Katyal told MSNBC that the committee’s decision to subpoena Waldron is about more than the PowerPoint presentation, which has been likened to “a blueprint for a coup.”

“I think the documents are really important, but I think it’s a lot more than the documents,” Katyal said. “Actually, what this suggests to me is they are now circling around key individuals in power, both in Congress, the White House, and most specifically, Mark Meadows.”

Katyal noted that the letter from the committee to Waldron states that, according to public reporting, he claims to have visited the White House on multiple occasions, spoken to Meadows eight to ten times, and briefed members of Congress on election fraud theories.

“What Congress is doing here is they are really trying to get information not about Waldron per se, but about Waldron’s contacts with Trump, with Meadows, and with members of Congress, and any of those individuals could violate that criminal statute … obstruction of an official proceeding,” Katyal said, adding that the letter also references language from the statute.

“So this is now rapidly becoming a criminal investigation, and a criminal investigation that looks not just at some of these low-level kooks, but people in positions of power,” he added.

The attempted insurrection wasn’t simply financed by Republican donors (like Clarence Thomas’ wife), it was meticulously planned. There are memos laying out legal justifications for overturning the results of a free and fair election.

There were pressure campaigns against Mike Pence, and now the existence of a PowerPoint presentation has come to light. In addition, we’ve just found out that former chief of staff Mark Meadows—using his personal email and phone—wrote to an unnamed individual that, according to the Committee’s report, on January 6th, “the National Guard would be present to ‘protect pro-Trump people’ and that many more would be available on standby.” Separately and together these are above-the-fold, 80-point font stories. But, yes, let’s do keep talking about inflation and how it’s going to destroy Joe Biden’s presidency.

Former President Donald Trump has announced suggested he will pardon the rioters charged in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol if he is elected president in 2024.

Trump, who has teased but not confirmed another run for president, has repeatedly criticized the prosecution of individuals who violently stormed the Capitol to protest the certification of Joe Biden’s election as president. But his comments at a Texas rally on Saturday marked the first time he dangled pardons, an escalation of his broader effort to downplay the deadly events of Jan. 6.

Some of those involved in the riot held out hope for a Trump pardon before he left office 14 days later, but none were granted.

The Ottawa roadblocks at the Canadian border make clear that extreme elements supporting fascism and white nationalism are  visible in the appearance of neo-Nazi and Confederate flags and an abundance of QAnon logos emblazoned on trucks, signs, and stickers.  Over $8 million as of February 7, may have come from right-wing sources in the United States.  Funding from interests in the United States has so alarmed members of the New Democratic Party that they have called it “an attack on Canada’s democracy” and have asked the U.S. ambassador “to testify before the House of Commons foreign affairs committee.   A similar attempt at a trucker demonstration in Washington, D.C. fizzed with only about six vehicles driving the D.C. freeways.

The House select panel on the Jan. 6 attacks meets to consider criminal contempt charges against Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino, who worked for former President Trump. It is hoped the committee will Ginni Thomas, activist wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, to testify as part of the investigation.

How to Talk to Voters

How to persuade voters in a changing economy.

How to persuade voters in a changing economy. How different generations differ from one each other and how to pitch your campaign so voters of all ages will hear and understand your message. This video is dedicated to people who want to restore the American Dream through the political process