Monday Reads: When will it Ever End?Posted: August 19, 2019
Good Morning Sky Dancers
USA Today‘s Ryan Miller writes “3 mass shooting plots stopped around the country in separate incidents, police say”.
Three mass shooting plots were thwarted in recent days with the arrests of three men in unrelated cases, authorities in Connecticut, Florida and Ohio said.
Tips from the public aided in the three arrests, which occurred from Thursday and Friday. Police in each case said the men, all white and in their 20s, posted online or sent text messages with threats of committing mass shootings.
The arrests come amid renewed cries for legislation to change the country’s gun laws in the wake of mass shootings in California, Texas and Ohio. Multiple false alarm and hoax shooting scares have also kept the nation on edge in recent weeks.
From Alexander Ma at Insider we find out “Police arrested 3 men in their 20s in Ohio, Florida, and Connecticut last week on suspicion of planning mass shootings”. Guess their race?
Details of the cases show apparent similarities with recent actual mass shootings, in the US and elsewhere, which go beyond the demographics of the suspects.
One man is suspected of building his own rifle, another of trying to “break a world record for longest confirmed kill ever,” and the third of threatening on Instagram to attack a Jewish community center.
Think about that. There could have been three more mass shootings had the police not stopped the shooters via CNN. At least one is part of the extremist White Nationalist movement riled up by the occupant of the White House.
… in Ohio, 20-year-old James Patrick Reardon was arrested for allegedly threatening to carry out a shooting at a Youngstown Jewish community center.
An Instagram account belonging to Reardon shared a video that showed a man firing a gun, New Middletown Police Chief Vincent D’Egidio told CNN. The post — which was shown to an officer out on an unrelated call — tagged the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown, D’Egidio said.
It’s unclear whether the man shooting the gun was Reardon or someone else.
Andy Lipkin, the executive vice-president of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation, said the post was accompanied by a caption that read, “Police identified the Youngstown Jewish Family Community shooter as local white nationalist Seamus O’Rearedon” — Seamus being a Gaelic version of Reardon’s name.
The rest of the Instagram account contained anti-Semitic comments, white nationalist content, and images of Reardon or someone else shooting guns, D’Egidio said.
A search warrant was executed and authorities found a cache of weapons and ammunition, D’Egidio told CNN.
The Occupant of the White House’s response to questions about the arrests was pure word salad.
Meanwhile, an important demographic key to Republican success in 2020 is beginning to turn on their agenda. Taegan Goddard’s Politic Wire Reports that a” Big Majority of Suburban Women Back Stricter Gun Control”. What parent would want to send their child about in a world like we have now?
A new Public Opinion Strategies (R) survey finds that 72% of suburban women think gun laws should be stricter, compared to 4% percent who said they should be less strict and 23% who said they should be kept as they are now.
In addition, 55% said they think stricter gun laws would help prevent gun violence. And 90% support requiring universal background checks for gun purchases at gun shows or other private sales, which would require all gun owners to file with a national firearms registry.
Furthermore, 76% said they would ban the purchase and use of semi-automatic assault-style weapons like the AK-47 and the AR-15.
It might be time to take note of the artist I found today and the gallery of the collection “Women, Guns, Oil, Paintings”. This artist is beyond talented with eyes and brush. There’s some inner voice that connects beauty to the pain of living in a world of wars and other causes of human suffering. Please go explore the gallery. It’s totally worth your time. The narrative of each painting is by the artist.
The BBC reports today on “How online extremists are shaping the minds of white teens”.
In an age where anyone can access just about anything on the internet, white boys in the US seem particularly at risk from dangerous radicalisation online.
Many mass shooting suspects in the US have three things in common: They are young, white and male.
The suspect behind the El Paso shooting that killed 22 people in Texas is believed to have posted a racist manifesto online.
Police investigating a deadly attack in Dayton the following day said the gunman was influenced by a “violent ideology”, although no motive has been disclosed.
The dangers of the internet are not a novel talking point for parents and teachers, but these most recent tragedies have sparked renewed debate over what families can – and should – do when it comes to raising white boys in America.
“The red flags started going up for us when, a year or so ago, [our kids] started asking questions that felt like they came directly from alt-right talking points,” says Joanna Schroeder, a Los Angeles-based writer, media critic and mother of three.
She tells the BBC one of her two sons began to argue “‘jokey’-toned alt right positions”, asking questions like why black people could “copy white culture but white people can’t copy black culture”. She began learning about how other boys their age were sharing sexist and racist memes – likely spreading from online forums.
Last week, Ms Schroeder’s Twitter thread about parenting white boys in a world rife with easy access to extremist viewpoints by monitoring their social media and teaching empathy became a widespread talking point, amassing nearly 180,000 likes, 8,500 comments and shares across social platforms.
Is there any hope for sensible gun control laws in September? Axios reports that this may be a deadine if anything is to occur prior to the 2020 elections cycle.
If new gun legislation doesn’t pass in September, it won’t get done before the 2020 election, sources involved in the talks between the White House and Capitol Hill tell Axios.
The bottom line: “It’s September or bust,” said a source involved in the discussions. “We’ll either have everything ready for when Congress returns, drop it on the floor, vote on it and move on — or we blow it.”
The state of play: The president genuinely wants to expand background checks, according to White House and Hill officials. He’s directed the Domestic Policy Council and Office of Legislative Affairs to provide him with options for a reform package, these sources said.
- As of now, Trump has expressed support for big, vague ideas — including tougher background checks and restrictions on firearms access to the mentally ill — but on the gun issue, consensus typically evaporates when lawmakers dive into the details.
- It’s also still unclear whether House Democrats, who have already passed a bill to extend background checks to all gun purchases, would support a slimmer package.
WAPO’s Amber Phillips believes that “It sounds as if Trump has no intention of pushing for gun-control laws.”
We’ve reached an inflection point on the gun debate, with Republicans openly talking about passing laws to limit people’s access. That doesn’t mean that will happen. There’s only one person who can push the party to support gun-control laws, and it’s President Trump.
And as the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, fade into the background, it seems as if Trump has little appetite for taking on such a heavy lift, and every intention of resuming his position in line with the National Rifle Association: no new gun-control laws.
Two comments Trump made recently make that evident:
On Sunday, while talking to reporters in New Jersey, he was asked where gun control stands. His answer indicated that he’s not really involved in these negotiations.
So, Congress is working on that. They have bipartisan committees working on background checks and various other things. And we’ll see. I don’t want people to forget that this is a mental health problem. I don’t want them to forget that, because it is. It’s a mental health problem. And as I say — and I said the other night in New Hampshire; we had an incredible evening — I said: It’s the people that pull the trigger.
The problem with that, from the perspective of those who want expanded background checks and red-flag laws, is that Congress hasn’t passed gun-control laws in more than two decades. Democrats have come around recently to prioritizing gun-control laws. A package of background-check bills was one of the first things the newly Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed earlier this year.
But not Republicans. They need a president to lead them before taking on such a politically perilous endeavor. Otherwise, their leaders are just as happy to set this debate aside. A key player in letting gun-control laws pass the Senate is a politician who is up for reelection next year in a pro-gun state, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
Maybe Trump was being noncommittal in public and is in extensive talks in private with Republican leaders on gun control. But if that’s the case, these talks are unusually secretive.
This is most of the problem in all of this. The Republicans enable Trump and do not question his judgement or actions. They simply do nothing. Paul Waldman writes this in The America Prospect: “There Will Be No Justice for Trump’s Enablers”.
There is Trumpite here or there who has really suffered from their identification with this president, like Sanders’s predecessor, Sean Spicer. What got Spicer in such trouble, however, was the fact that he felt shame for his service to Trump. Everyone knew he was lying whenever he went before the cameras, and he obviously knew that everyone knew, and felt bad about it. That’s what made his brief tenure so embarrassing, and why he’s one of the few that left the White House with his reputation having suffered the proper degree of damage.
There are others who fared as poorly, if they pled guilty to crimes, or were accusedof domestic abuse, or undertook a spree of penny-ante corruption. But they’re still the exceptions, when true justice would demand that every last one of them be ostracized and denounced. Sure, one sees the occasional story about something like young Trump staffers complaining that no one wants to date them. But there will be no truth and reconciliation commission, no universal condemnation, no shunning of even the worst offenders.
The reason is that the entire Republican Party will make sure it doesn’t happen, because nearly all of them are implicated.
Consider someone like Stephen Miller, probably the most villainous figure in the administration. The latest revelation about Miller is that he tried for some time to find a way to get states to bar undocumented immigrant children from going to school; he was thwarted not because other officials said, “My god, what kind of monster are you?” (they didn’t) but because the scheme was obviously illegal.
Now try to imagine the Heritage Foundation or the American Enterprise Institute saying to Miller in 2021, “We’re sorry, but we cannot offer you a senior fellow position, because your actions during the last four years were so morally abhorrent that we do not wish to associate ourselves with you.” The very idea is ridiculous. We know what will happen: Heritage, AEI, and any number of other prominent conservative organizations will fall all over themselves to offer Miller a comfortable sinecure from which he can continue to advocate a whiter future for America.
In fact, they’ll undertake a massive project of historical revisionism to convince the country that what we just lived through was all a figment of our imagination. “Just remember: What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening,” Trump said last year, and this project will attempt to convince us that what we saw, read, and experienced never actually happened. Donald Trump was a fine and responsible president, they’ll say, and even if he might have gotten a little silly on Twitter from time to time, anyone who supported him should take pride in their service to the GOP and to America.
And since the entire Republican Party will repeat this line again and again and again, it will become, if not conventional wisdom, at the very least a respectable position to hold. At worst, if Trump leaves office in disgrace Republicans will say what they did when George W. Bush slinked off in 2009 with the two wars he started still dragging on and the country experiencing the worst economic crisis in 80 years: I never liked him anyway. He wasn’t a real conservative. And of course I didn’t figure that out until it was all over, so don’t blame me.
Voters must hold every one public official accountable in November 2020.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?