Posts Tagged ‘Gun Violence’

Live Free Or Die

August 29, 2021

            “Live free or die.” May be the New Hampshire state motto, but it could also be applied to the logic of many staunch anti vaxxers. In characteristic analytic gallows humor fashion, Analysis wonders if, at the funerals of anti vaxxers who have succumbed to Covid 19 (recently Caleb Wallace in addition to the previous passing of Marc Bernier, Dick Farrel, David Parker, et al.), attendees didn’t casually remark that the deceased died doing what they loved – being free. Liberty IS an oft repeated core rationale of those opposed to vaccines. “Mitt Romney to unvaccinated: ‘Your liberty affects my health.’” By Bryan Schott for The Salt Lake Tribune (8-27-21) gives one pro vax rebuttal by a former presidential candidate: “The most vocal anti-vaccine and anti-mask citizens like to point to individual liberty to justify their choices, Romney said. “People say, ‘I want my liberty.’ Well, your liberty affects my health. When that occurs, we have to come to some sort of agreement,” he said. Romney also favors vaccine mandates for private businesses. If he was still in the private sector, he said he would require his employees to be vaccinated or be responsible for getting tested every week.”CNN EXCLUSIVE ‘Something has to be done’: After decades of near-silence from the CDC, the agency’s director is speaking up about gun violence by Elizabeth Cohen, John Bonifield and Justin Lape, CNN (8-28-21) “For the first time in decades, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — the nation’s top public health agency — is speaking out forcefully about gun violence in America, calling it a “serious public health threat.” “Something has to be done about this,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in an exclusive interview with CNN. “Now is the time — it’s pedal to the metal time.” This summer alone has seen a spree of gun injuries and deaths, and the weekends have been especially violent, with an average of 200 people killed and 472 injured by guns each weekend in the United States, not including suicides, according to an analysis done by the Gun Violence Archive for CNN. That’s nearly 3.4 people shot every hour every weekend.”The scope of the problem is just bigger than we’re even hearing about, and when your heart wrenches every day you turn on the news, you’re only hearing the tip of the iceberg,” Walensky said. “We haven’t spent the time, energy and frankly the resources to understand this problem because it’s been so divided.” Kinda sounds like Walensky is talking about the same subject that Romney is. Not. Romney is on a slippery slope. He is cognizant of the rational basis of public health regulations and licensing (everything from air quality to machine safety to beauty shops) which is why he unabashedly states “your liberty affects my health.” But he is oblivious to the inadvertent kinship he forms with Walensky. After all, accounting for gun related deaths/hospitalizations, regulating ownership as well as availability, etc. is very much akin to keeping tabs on Covid deaths/hospitalization, requiring masking, vaccines and/or tests, etc. Then, again, Walensky’s low key “it’s been so divided” keeps the Republican Romney ever ready to jettison reason for the sake of maintaining ties with “live free or die.” 

Extraordinary Measures

October 4, 2016

The 10-1-16 Newark Advocate ran a Gannett article entitled “Ohio cities target vacant houses, crime havens” by Adrian Burns. As if the association of vacant homes and crime insinuated by the headline weren’t enough, the first line of the article reads: “Murder. Theft. Drug use. Sexual Assault. Vandalism. Squatting.” Followed immediately by “These are the sorts of things that go on inside vacant and abandoned homes – and Ohio’s cities are home to an estimated 100,000 of them.” Analysis isn’t much interested in the “640 such vacant or abandoned homes in Newark” that the census found in 2010. Rather, Analysis would like to consider how the entire article would read if instead of “vacant homes” being associated by correlation with “Murder. Theft. Drug use. Sexual Assault. Vandalism. Squatting.” it was guns being associated by correlation with “Murder. Theft. Drug use. Sexual Assault. Vandalism. Squatting.” One could just as glibly say “Houses don’t kill people. People kill people” as “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” After all, guns and homes share one very important aspect in common – they both are considered private property in the eyes of the law, and can be addressed as such legally. The various municipalities, land banks and conservancies described in the article bend over backwards in their legal maneuvering to employ the extraordinary measures of ridding the community of this crime associated private property. How many guns sit unused in closets, drawers, basements, etc. (originally obtained for sport purposes, self defense, etc. but over time neglected due to lack of interest)? Could municipalities, county governments and the state do more, let alone take extraordinary measures to rid the community of this crime associated property? Why haven’t they? The reluctance on the part of elected officials to do anything, let alone take extraordinary measures to deal with such private property, lies primarily with the exception made for this property as a right within the US Constitution. Something NOT given as a right within the US Constitution would be what Analysis has often referred to as “the right to look”. Though not given as a right, the “looking” aspect (through various audio/video recording devices) has created a correlation association of guns with “Murder. Theft. Drug use. Sexual Assault. Vandalism. Squatting.” Not only that, but with those held in the public trust to protect and keep that very public from “Murder. Theft. Drug use. Sexual Assault. Vandalism. Squatting.” Al Jazeera reports “NY man who filmed Eric Garner’s death heading to jail. Ramsey Orta took plea deal on unrelated charges but says police harassed him after filming officers killing his friend.” (Anealla Safdar, 10-2-16). “Garner, a father of six, was selling loose cigarettes in Staten Island, New York, when officers tackled him. His case was ruled as a homicide, meaning that his death was caused by human beings, but [NYPD officer Daniel] Pantaleo was not indicted.” A grand jury decided not to indict the police officers involved (including Pantaleo). “After filming Garner’s death, they [Orta’s lawyers] claim, he was increasingly harassed and targeted by police and was arrested at least eight times in fewer than two years.” Analysis finds these lines from the end of the article to be especially pertinent in light of the recent Midland Theatre reasoning re: Michael Moore’s presence in Newark – “In August, filmmaker David Sutcliffe wrote an open letter in favour of the “right to record”, which was signed by more than 100 documentarians, including Asif Kapadia, Laura Poitras and Nick Broomfield. “Armed only with camera phones, citizen journalists have shattered America’s myth of racial equality,” the letter said. “Instead of garnering Pulitzers and Peabodys, they have been targeted, harassed and arrested by members of the very institution whose abuses they seek to expose.”” In regards to exposure (of what is not to be seen) Robert Higgs, writing for Cleveland.com (Ohio Supreme Court considers lifting secrecy that shrouds grand jury process 9-29-16) reports: “The proposed rule changes would allow members of the public to petition for release of the proceedings in cases where the grand jury, a system enshrined in both the U.S. Constitution and Ohio Constitution, chooses not to indict.” Not exactly a right to look, but an extraordinary measure in the right direction.

Where Credit Is Due

July 11, 2016

The news out of South Africa in the past half year is of public demonstrations, some of which have turned violent. The demonstrations are instigated by the perceived inequality, or lack of equal opportunity within the population. It primarily centers around the increase in the cost of public higher education, which in theory is to be available to all. The Zuma administration has met these protests with a censorship program based on a policy of “to show violence is to encourage it” resulting in a ban on news coverage of these demonstrations. This fueled a popular response, “Right2Know”, which in turn has ramped up even more demonstrations. Readers of this blog will recognize that the South African “right to know” appears quite akin to the “right to look” requisite for Analysis. Such measures to quell public unrest, and violence, would fail here in the US. The horse would never leave the gate. No, not because of opposition from the ACLU. “To show violence is to encourage it” underlies the nuanced, unmentionable marketing of the NRA and US gun manufacturers (“unmentionable” making for a twisted kind of self censorship). Sales of firearms (and the stock of their producers) are rising. Guns aren’t marketed like new cars or cell phones. Their marketing strategy is more like that of the Trump presidential campaign, reliant on current events and subtle insinuations (such and so MAY be…). Having the CDC study guns as a source of death, as a public health concern is a subtle encroachment of the constitution’s 2nd amendment (so celebrate your 2nd amendment rights by buying a gun. Hint, hint). The police themselves are under continuous imminent threat for their own safety. It is the citizen’s duty to help in keeping us all protected (purchasing a gun would contribute to public safety. Hint, hint). If only those good people victimized by mass shootings had each been carrying, the carnage would have been stemmed immediately (the only recourse to a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun. Hint, hint). A “show violence but don’t encourage it” campaign would be of no consequence. It is the current status quo. “Just say no” (to showing or encouraging) was what Nancy Reagan championed with regards to the drug epidemic, and probably would be of equal effectiveness with gun violence. Analysis finds the last option, “to not show violence but encourage it”, to be the most intriguing. It almost sounds un-American. Scrutiny reveals it has the closest real life applications within US culture, primarily when it comes to marketing. “Don’t show it but encourage it” is almost the attitude toward pornography, gambling or bankruptcy. No need to look historically at the heady days of the Bush economy with its sub prime bundled securities and derivatives (all variations on don’t show but encourage). A recent Newark Advocate article (North Park Place project receives $250K in tax credits, Kent Mallett, 7-5-16) sheds light on the “don’t show but encourage” practice right here in downtown Newark. “Sarah Wallace, board chairwoman of First Federal Savings, and her husband, John, join Teri and Fred Lowinger, of Chicago, as building owners and partners in the project. Teri Lowinger’s grandfather was Herman L. Art, founder of nearby business H.L. Art Jewelers. “The tax credits make it possible for the numbers to work, to renovate these older buildings,” Sarah Wallace said. “My motivation is what can I do, personally, to help move Newark further forward.”” “Teri Lowinger grew up in Newark and wants to restore the building her grandfather once owned. The upper floors have been vacant for decades. “Teri is very excited about keeping the building,” Sarah Wallace said.” One aspect of the right to look is the right to entertain the question of why were these properties derelict and left neglected over the past 30 years? Aren’t the owners of these self same properties the very civic leaders who continuously championed Newark, and resented any criticism during this same time? If these self same properties had been left neglected and derelict within a residential neighborhood, like cars up on blocks or vacant houses and apartments (with “potential” value in their owners’ dreamed of future), would they still be around, let alone qualify for public funding and tax credits to “realize their potential” after 30 years? The reality with regard to the neighborhood, like that of the “endless” campaign to stem gun violence, is no. Public money would be found to demolish the structure and/or clean up the site (the self same public money that “demolishes” any restraints on gun ownership). What Analysis finds to be the insidious not shown, unseen here, is the certainty that many of these business (and civic) leader landlords who today celebrate their downtown revitalization (thanks to credits and breaks) promoted the development of Newark’s margins over the last 30 years. Their downtown holdings remained neglected and derelict while they hedged their bets. These self same likewise owned a stake in developing condominiums, housing and medical offices on the west side, and big box stores with strip malls on the north. Uptown, downtown, all around the town, credit is given to those who don’t show but encourage.