Drugs, history, and the Presidency.

Almost any day now, President Trump will declare a national opioid epidemic.

Or not.

I’d like to take a moment to reflect on Obama breaking into an amazing spontaneous cover of “Amazing Graze” at the funeral of South Carolina State Senator Clementa Pinckney. In doing so, he called down grace on the nation reminding us to look beyond our own skin. He embiggened¹ us all. (Reminder: Pinckney was killed when the terroriam² Dylann Roof shot up the prayer service at the Emanual African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charlottesville.)

Meanwhile P.T. Rump offered solace to a grieving widow by way of an observation that the soldier, Sgt. La David T. Johnson, “must’ve known what he signed up for.” And to those horrified by Trump’s far from Presidential behavior, I would offer that unlike Sgt. Johnson, he had no idea what he signed up for. He is a displaced grifter. He didn’t know the audience watching center ring of the political circus expects results!

Aside: Gaslight, gaslight, gaslight, gaslight. Four (4) servicemen were killed in Niger on October 4 and due to the ongoing cage match between P. T. Rump and the office of the President of the US, or due to our collective lack of focus, or due to the daily deluge of <insert horror here news>, the Niger imbroglio was a passing blip in my news feed.

But back to drugs.

President Obama? Our very own Jimmy Carter on steroids.

Followed by President Trump. Our very own Ronald Reagan on meth.

And I really wish that comparison was funny.


¹Embiggen(v.)/embiggened(v.)/embiggening(n.): (a word mash-up of em-, big, and -en): The act of inflating items to be perceptibly larger. Especially useful when referring to esoteric and abstract embiggenings. (Hat Tip: Mr. Viva. Thank you.)

Em (prefix): ” ‘come into a certain state.’ Created to expand meanings. Can be used with many words to form new words.”

Big: of considerable size, extent or intensity

-En: forming verbs

Example: Sentencing terroriam² Dylann Roof to nine (9) consecutive life sentences without possibility for parole embiggens the hope in us that once in a while justice happens.

²Terroriam(s) (a pejorative adjective or noun, pronounced terror-AYE-am): a person (or persons) who uses unlawful violence and intimidation to impart extreme fear in pursuit of egotistical embiggening.²

Example: Terroriam Dylann Roof was given nine consecutive life sentences without possibility for parole.

There are all kinds of reasons Dylann Roof wasn’t called a terrorist.  The qualifier ‘in the pursuit of political aims‘ is present in the noun and adjective forms of terrorism. Even though Mr. Roof’s stated goal was a race war which to me seems political, according to legal scholars and white bullshit artists, his was a hate crime and he was not the picture of a terrorist.

However, as the definition of terror is extreme fear and Dylann Roof took a whole lot of time to inflict extreme fear, next to the definition of terroriam in the expanding Viva dictionary is a picture of Dylann Roof.

 

Sandra Bland, July 2015.

July 10, 2015, the police dashcam video of Sandra Bland’s arrest. (After an exchange with another driver, the action starts at 1:20 mark followed by several minutes of inaction. Return to exchange with police at 8:30 mark, escalates very quickly at 9:30.)

Sandra Bland. An African-American woman stopped by police for a traffic violation. Three days later, Ms. Bland was found hanging in a police holding cell.

Dead.

Death by traffic violation. Not in a traffic accident.  A traffic violation. Let that sink in.

Ms. Bland’s auto maneuvers look like my driving.  At 8:50 when Ms. Bland explained her speeding up and pulling over, I agreed.  “Yep, that’s what I’d do too.  Get out of the way of the flashing lights on the way to catch a criminal or help someone in need somewhere or maintain the peace. This is me getting out of your way!”

And then it turns out I am the pursued. I am the violator, the target of rollers. Well, I would be incredulous too. “What!? Me? Huh?” Up to that moment, the preamble of events, I could be the driver. I could be Sandra Bland.

But the story takes a dark, unexpected turn at the 9:30 mark. Escalation to resisting arrest for a failure to signal? A failure to douse her cigarette? She was not in a posted no-smoking zone. She was in her car. Her car. Her own car.

Failure to signal. Resisting arrest. Three days in a jail cell. Dead. Sandra Bland breaks me. Sandra Bland was an African-American woman.

I am white.

Dollars to donuts that by the 9:45 mark, smoking or not, I would have been signaling to pull onto the road. Driving along my little way a little more careful.  Ticketed or not.

Alive.

Gun control, statistics, & media click-bait.

Hmmm, so okay. I read Leah Libresco’s opinion piece because of her chops and because of its catchy title. “I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise.“¹

Leah Libresco is a statistician and I have invested mightily in statistics and big data these last few years in the form of college tuition for Frood.² With great interest I wondered what Ms. Libresco & her cohorts at FiveThirtyEight had uncovered in the three (3) months of analysis on the 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States.

Her conclusion that the majority of gun deaths need to be addressed on a case-by-case basis reads like an NRA apologetic-not-apologetic explainer. And I wonder at the analysis that took three months for very smart people to reach a fairly obvious conclusion, but whatevs.

Or perhaps Ms. Libresco can be given a pass for having insufficient data. Since 1996, the CDC has suspended research on gun violence since federal monies cannot be used to “advocate for or promote gun control.” Academia holds hush-hush meetings to discuss a public health problem of the same magnitude as hypertension and liver disease²  while the NRA actively puts its dollars in the pockets of pols to ensure its role as silencer for an open discussion of gun violence as a public health problem.

Meanwhile, data on gun violence for the last 21 years has gone missing. On purpose.

Or perhaps Ms. Libresco, in concert with the Washington Post and the New Hampshire Union Leader took advantage of the Las Vegas shooting to publish a paper that diverts the discussion of assault weaponry and gun control back to singular deaths due to gun violence.  Nice redirection away from the issue at hand. I hope the click-bait traffic was worth it.  You had our attention.

Yes, we’re keen on the methods that can be used to curb individual gun deaths and violence, but after the bullets raining down from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay casino by a lone gunman armed with assault rifles and bump stock boosters, the questions we need answered look like “Isn’t it a bit too easy to procure weapons of mass destruction posing as ‘guns’?” and “Isn’t there something we could do to make it least as hard to obtain firearms and firearm swag as it is to obtain a driver’s license or buy a car?”


It is not legal for me to operate my car without insurance. Sure I can drive my car as long as I don’t get caught, but woe is me if I do.  Could the insurance industry help us out here? Perhaps gun owners need to have additional insurance to carry a gun.

I’m sending up a flare, but insurance isn’t mentioned in the 2nd amendment. Since gun violence and mass shootings are a tax on all of us, it would seem that gun owners should carry insurance to hold against the possibility of running a red-light so to speak. Accidentally breaking the law. Shooting the wrong dude. Shooting oneself in the foot.

My taxes pay for gun owners right to carry in the form of the 33,000 lives lost to gun deaths every year. Why do I have to subsidize your right to bear arms?*

Insurance to cover gun ownership. Hmmm, we’re back to statistics with dollars.

I just might be able to get behind that.


In answer to the question: Was the Las Vegas shooting the worst in US history?  the Washington Post unhelpfully posts a video with information on the East St. Louis Race Riots of 1917 and the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890. The implication is that these events are analogous to, and possibly worse than Sandy Hook, the Pulse nightclub, the Las Vegas Rte 91 Harvest Festival shootings and all the other mass shootings. Ugh.

Shame on you Washington Post! Just stop. Just.stop.it.

These two events and the deaths cited were not due to an individual lone gunman acting alone using rapid fire assault weapons. The East St. Louis Race Riots and the Wounded Knee Massacre were clashes between groups of people.


¹Libresco, Leah. “I used to think gun control was the answer; my research told me otherwise.” New Hampshire Union Leader. 07 October 2017 11:13 PM. Web. 10 October 2017.

² Frood. Not her real name but she knows where her towel is.

² Schatz, Bryan. “Congress Gutted Researchers’ Ability to Study Gun Violence. Now They’re Fighting Back.” Mother Jones. 20 January 2017. Web. 10 October 2017.

*This is a similar argument to the mens and religious organizations who don’t want to pay for birth control for women. It’s a stoopid argument, but I’m willing to put it forth for gun control if it would get some traction and action.  Just sayin.’

Baby bump stocks.

The game show Wheel of Fortune features the category ‘Before & After.’

I’ll play. Baby bump stocks.

Baby bump is the swell of a woman’s abdomen during pregnancy.

In an effort to quash any demon spawn evidence of carnival carnal knowledge or resulting offspring requiring 18+ years of housing, food, clothing, healthcare, education, love, hugs, parenting, Representative Tim Murphy, a strident anti-abortion advocate, encouraged his extramarital squeeze to terminate her pregnancy.  Evidently Rep. Murphy is unaware battle plans are great until the first encounter with the enemy. I hate that “enemy” is an unwanted pregnancy, but there you have it.

Bump stocks. In my news feed, I read “Bump stocks are selling briskly” and my first thoughts were “am I am invested in any bump stocks? what is a bump stock? is this an accessory to bit coin?”

Then I read the entire headline.

“Bump stocks are selling briskly since attack.” The day after a gun souped up to be a weapon of mass destruction rained down terror on high from the Mandalay Bay casino into the crowd of concert goers in Las Vegas, I learned bump stocks are a gun part and not a classification of stock traded on Wall Street.

So here we are at the end of the week. In concert with the NRA the GOP has determined that bump stocks are “out” and baby bumps older than 20 weeks will also be “out” as in, “in” all the way to pregnancy end.


After the murder of Dr. George Tiller in 2009, Andrew Sullivan at the Daily Dish ran a thread on late term abortions called “It’s So Personal.”

I recommend reading the entire thread. It exposes the anguish and heartache of couples and individuals faced with a late-term pregnancy gone awry. Quoting the first reader: “It’s easy to take sides on abortion in the abstract because we only think of healthy babies.”