America’s fascination with guns takes ridiculous turns


Two news items I ran across today reveal a bizarre fascination Americans, particularly civilians, have with firearms.

AZ Minuteman points AR-15 rifle at sheriff’s deputy

An Arizona Minuteman scouting for drug runners and undocumented immigrants allegedly pointed his rifle at a Maricopa County sheriff’s deputy after he mistook him for a drug smuggler, court paperwork stated.

Richard Malley, 49, and two other militia members were in a section of Interstate 8 commonly used by drug smugglers. Richard Malley

Two sheriff’s deputies were checking mile markers in the same area and as they approached mile marker 140 Saturday night, the deputy flashed his lights and honked his horn. He said that’s a common practice for him while attempting to get drug smugglers to run their vehicles up to his.

Malley appeared from the side of the road armed with an AR-15 rifle, a .45-caliber pistol and a fixed-blade knife, according to the probable cause statement. The two other militia members also emerged from the bushes and identified themselves as Robert Deatherage, 48, and Robert Crooks, 63.

Malley raised his rifle up and pointed it and a flashlight at the deputy, according to court paperwork.

The deputy identified himself as a law enforcement officer while Malley continued to aim the weapon at him and asked for identification, court documents said.

Malley identified himself as a militia minuteman and said he didn’t carry any identification because he feared cartel members would find out he was a Minuteman, court paperwork stated.

The deputy showed Malley the patches on his sleeves, the word “sheriff” across his chest and his badge and told him to lay down his firearms. Malley refused, according to the probable cause statement.

The deputy then told several people there he wanted to wait for additional units to arrive before taking anyone’s firearms for fear of making the situation more complicated.

Malley later said he felt threatened in the middle of the desert and believed the uniformed deputy was a drug smuggler working for a cartel, the court document stated.

Malley stated he felt he had the right to point his rifle at the deputy because he had reasonable suspicion to believe a crime was being committed, according to the court document.

In today’s ‘stand your ground climate I guess it’s ok for people to point guns at one another, and perhaps even shoot each other.  What is even stranger is civilians can point guns at law enforcement officers, refuse to obey those officers’ instructions and NOT get shot!!

Pastor Terry Holcomb

Pastor Terry Holcomb

In the second instance a “preacher”, “pastor” has taken to wondering around the halls of Huntsville, Texas establishments with an AR-15 slung across his back.  Pastor Terry Holcomb of Huntsville claims the reason for his armed intrusion into Huntsville businesses is because he wants to “protest a Texas law which permits gun owners to openly carry long rifles but not handguns, which must be concealed and can only be carried by individuals with valid concealed carry permits.” Yes, I don’t understand that rationale either….he wants to be able to carry a handgun openly but because he can’t he’s carrying a military styled rifle openly instead?!?  If you want you can see his trek through a local Wal-Mart below.  In today’s political climate where we’re told the Obama administration is out to take Americans’ firearms from them,  far too many Americans are brandishing their firearms in provocative, intimidating ways that seem to invite government to do just that.

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Scared yet? You shouldn’t be!


scared_faceThere’s good news on the horizon for all of you who have believed the news pounded in the Nation’s subconscious since 911 that there’s some sort of Muslim plot to terrorize the homeland into submission.  We’ve always said such notions simply don’t exist among Muslim citizens of America and each year we’ve been proven right.  Well the trend keeps supporting that notion, with the latest news describing the prospects of terror from America’s Muslims as “nil”.

Try as al-Qaida might to encourage them, American Muslims still aren’t committing acts of terrorism. Only 14 people out of a population of millions were indicted for their involvement in violent terrorist plots in 2012, a decline from 2011′s 21. The plots themselves hit the single digits last year.

So much for a widespread stereotype. According to data tracked by the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security in North Carolina and released Friday (.PDF), there were nine terrorist plots involving American Muslims in 2012. Only one of them, the attempted bombing of a Social Security office in Arizona, actually led to any violence. There were no casualties in that or any other incident. And the Triangle study tracks indictments, not convictions.

……The sample of Muslim Americans turning to terror is “vanishingly small,” Kurzman tells Danger Room…..Yet the scrutiny by law enforcement and homeland security on American Muslims has not similarly abated. The FBI tracks “geomaps” of areas where Muslims live and work, regardless of their involvement in any crime. The Patriot Act and other post-9/11 restrictions on government surveillance remain in place.

So while you don’t have anything to fear from your Muslim neighbors, you still have an intrusive, bloated, super secret, covert government that is finding ways to insert itself into your daily routines at your expense.  What the government and most Americans fail to realize is America’s Muslims are busy living their lives and finding their niche on this multi-cultural landscape like this Muslim American8424302590_8c1284e1c2 , Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first Muslim woman to compete on behalf of the United States in international competition.

Ibtihaj, a two-time U.S. National Fencing Champion and a member of the U.S. National Fencing Team since 2009, began fencing at the age of 13. She was raised in an athletic household with four siblings and played many recreational sports growing up. After searching for a sport that would enable her to comply with the Muslim requirement of modesty by remaining fully covered, her mother pointed out students fencing in full body uniforms while driving by their local school. Muhammad said because of this chance moment, “I’d like to think fencing found me.” Reminding students again of the ability to find a passion regardless of circumstance she added, “Don’t let anyone tell you no. There’s nothing you can’t achieve.”

America, it’s time to throw off your shackles of fear and embrace those who make up a part of the American fabric, albeit with different names and clothing than your own, but who are your equal in their fealty to the rule of law and the pursuit of happiness.  You can do it America if you stop being afraid.

Hat tip to @ZahraBillo

The false notions of conservatives, tea partiers and the GOP


Seal of Maricopa County, Arizona

Seal of Maricopa County, Arizona (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Arizona passed  SB 1070 obligates police to make an attempt,  during a “lawful stop, detention or arrest”,to determine a person’s immigration status if there is reasonable suspicion that the person is an illegal alien amidst a lot of justifiable opposition to the measure. Of course it opens the door to racial profiling, despite what the proponents say and what happened to Briseira Torres is a testament to the lie

Recently, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office alleged Briseira Torres, a shy, 31-year-old single mom from Glendale, was here illegally and that Briseira Torres was not her real name.

She was accused of three counts of forgery, in part because her driver’s license had her real name on it, which the MCAO thought was bogus. Following her arrest, she was held without bond in Estrella Jail for 4 1/2 months.

Torres lost her home and car because she couldn’t make the payments as she endured Estrella’s harsh conditions, lousy food, and detention officers.

Worst of all, she was separated from her 14-year-old daughter, who stayed with Torres’ friend Amy Diaz while her mom was behind bars.

(Delia ) Salvatierra, a well-known immigration attorney, along with the aid of criminal attorney Antonio Bustamante and Johnny Sinodis, a counsel in Salvatierra’s office, went to battle on Torres’ behalf.

In the pile of paperwork they provided to the court, to the prosecutor, and to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was a silver bullet: a sworn statement from Arizona’s Office of Vital Records attesting to the legitimacy of documents on file for Torres.

Among these docs is Torres’ birth certificate, showing she was born August 14, 1981, in Avondale.

Salvatierra asked the court to remand the case back to the grand jury.

Judge Carolyn Passamonte did just this, noting in her minute entry that Torres’ long-form birth certificate was “clearly exculpatory evidence that should have been presented to the grand jury.”

The judge remarked that the documents on file with Vital Records had been “available to the state,” and in oral arguments, the prosecutor had to admit that he’d never bothered to pull the file and inspect it.

More troubling still was Passamonte’s observation that the MCAO’s lone witness, Detective Chris Oberly of the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General, told the grand jury this:

In 1999, Vital Records discovered that Torres’ birth certificate, in his words, had been “falsely created” by Torres’ mother and so the department “canceled it.”

This was not true, according to Vital Records. Torres’ birth certificate never was canceled and remains as valid as the day it was issued.

Facing a hearing regarding Torres’ bond status that he was bound to lose, Deputy County Attorney Daniel Strange moved to dismiss the case “without prejudice,” meaning he could, hypothetically, bring back the charges at a later date.

In other words an American citizen was profiled and as a result asked to prove she was an American.   Her proof, legitimate and legal, was not accepted because someone thought based on how she looked she didn’t belong in America.  She was locked up in jail and subsequently lost everything she had. Despite the fact she was a lawful citizen and did everything she was required to do by law, she still lost her right to due process until the bitter end.  This is the justice of America’s conservatives and particularly the GOP.  This is simply not good enough America!

 

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Alaska Governor Sarah Palin on June 2, 2007.

Image via Wikipedia

President Reagan said, “We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.” Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle, not with law-abiding citizens who respectfully exercise their First Amendment rights at campaign rallies, not with those who proudly voted in the last election.

Sarah Palin

Clearly that concept doesn’t extend to Muslims, does it Sarah?  Is anyone home in her head?

Now I know why Sharron Angle is as crazy as she is


I don’t mean to single her out, but she’s the most prominent ‘tea bagger’ Republican from west of the Mississippi who gained any national prominence….J.D. Hayworth tried as hard as he might, notwithstanding.  The tea baggers of Arizona are over the top in insanity.  They are, after Donald Rumsfeld and his cronies at the Pentagon during the Bush Administration, the worse America has to offer humanity.  Tea bagger members are steeped in racism and xenophobia, and Arizona has turned out to be the perfect breeding ground for them.  What else can account for this headline?

A local Arizona Republican Party official resigned from his post after Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot out of concern for his and his family’s safety.

Anthony Miller, a GOP district chairman and former campaign aide to Sen. John McCain, told The Arizona Republic: I don’t want to take a bullet for anyone.”

Miller, the first African American to hold the post, was recently re-elected to a one-year term as chairman of the Legislative District 20 Republicans.

He told the newspaper that verbal abuse after his election and Internet postings by Tea Party supporters had him concerned for his safety.

Now before you go off calling me crazy…….here’s what else is said about Anthony

One critic referred to him derogatorily as “McCain’s boy,” Miller said. Other language was even less ambiguous. At an event in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., Miller said someone called out, “There’s Anthony, get a rope.”

This guy is a Republican, worked for a Republican and has earned his Republican bonafides but that’s still not good enough for tea bagger/partiers?  I guess bleaching cream and the straightening comb are the only things left that Miller could do to gain acceptance.  We are in such denial…… even people who worked with Miller asked the question, ‘I’ve never understood why they had this hatred for him….’ when the answer is as clear as the skin color on Anthony Miller’s body.  Wake up America.

Angle was able to escape the scathing rhetoric of the racists in her party by acting as fringe in her statements as they…but how will Allen West, the black Republican from Florida who used violence drenched metaphors and employed people to do the same, fare?  The Republican party is being pulled increasingly towards a fringe that leads towards civil war.  I admire Miller for his service to his country and his dignity, even though I think his Party is ruined, and I wish him well, but when you hear the word Republican Party, run.  Your life might depend on it.

Can I get a hell yeah!


2 Reps. Say They’ll Now Carry Guns In Their Home Districts

In the wake of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and 19 others in Arizona this weekend, Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Heath Shuler (D-NC) say that they will carry firearms when in their home districts.

“You never think something like this will happen, but then it does,” Shuler told Politico “After the elections, I let my guard down. Now I know I need to have [my gun] on me. We’re going to need to do a much better job of with security at these events.”

According to Politico, each lawmakers holds a conceal and carry permit, and Shuler is encouraging his staffers to get their own.

Chaffetz also suggested U.S. Marshalls should guard members during events.

“Perhaps they could better assess threats in the home district,” he said. “It certainly ought to be on the table.”

Chaffetz added that he may ask local police to attend his town halls more often. Neither lawmaker plans to carry a weapon while in Washington DC.

I like the idea of self-reliance coming from two civil servants.  I hope they are as adamant about the rights of their constituents to personal safety as they are for themselves.  Moreover, I hope they don’t see this as an us vs. them dilemma where they have to protect themselves from the voters, only from the criminals among them.  I take note of the bipartisanship in this initiative and hope it’s catching in more ways than one.  I like this senator’s approach to the issue of personal safety and wish more thought like him.

Terrorism strikes again


Six people, as of this writing, were killed in a terrorist attack against federal officials in Arizona on Saturday.  That’s probably how the news would read if the attacker(s) were Muslim, but instead the “attack” is invariably called a “shooting spree” or merely a “shooting” and any notion that this was politically motivated is even further dispelled with descriptions of the shooter being mentally unstable, deranged, almost apolitical or so crazy that one cannot make any political sense out of what he did.

Jared Loughner, right,  is the man and there’s nothing about his identity to lead people to suspect anything other than the obvious…he quite simply is a murderer, like so many who’ve gone before him in this country.  What’s special about him is not the crime…..America is as violent as apple pie; we are a Nation steeped in violence and in many cases we inflict it on others.  Just ask the Iraqis.  What’s special about Loughner is he committed this crime at a time when we have politicized murder and led the country to believe that only a certain group of people are able to carry it out; that they lie in wait to unleash it against us and that all of our efforts should be aimed at this group of individuals exclusively to identify them, flush them out and bring them to justice.  It didn’t help that tangential notions like places of worship, choices of food, articles of clothing, ballot initiatives in Oklahoma, etc.,  got put into the mix to further confuse and infuriate us our goal was shortsighted and pretty damn near illegal.

In 2009 after Obama came into office and HIS Department of Homeland Security came into power and identified the treat to the homeland as being from right wing extremism, a hue and cry went up from those on the right lambasting government for targeting them….in much the same way as Homeland Security targeted others before Obama and it’s been denial ever since.  Perhaps even today, with the identity of this latest terrorist, captured alive I might add, there is every effort to distance him from the ideology or way of thinking he embraced. I opined somewhere that perhaps we might waterboard this captured shooter to know the extent of his act; whether he was helped in any way by others who might be ready to pounce on the next government official, since for now such a notion is likely,  and I was half joking.  Remember when “waterboarding” was considered appropriate for some in our not too distant past?

Why we aren’t more honest with one another during hard times is a case study for psychologists. Speaking of which I would like to mention one who I think has nailed down what ails us today.  In a piece entitled ‘Rudeness is a Neurotoxin’, Dr. Douglas Fields says we are a product of our environment and today’s environment is one of ‘profane language, hostilities and stress from which we adults, raised a generation ago, were carefully shielded.’  In other words the lack of civil discourse, the in-your-face, put-on-your-man pants attitude is the blowback which causes us, Americans,  to be terrorist and makes it perfectly acceptable in our minds, or rather the minds of those so affected, to kill men, women and children….there was a six year old girl killed yesterday.  After being battered for the last 10 years about the power of words and how important they are in giving ‘aid and comfort’ to the enemy when many of us rallied against government intrusion into our lives and the lives of others who were of no threat to us or our interest, we no doubt will be told how the words that rang in the ears of this latest terrorist are of no importance in talking about his heinous crime, and that, no doubt, will make us all feel better about what happened.

But really folks, what we have is an American terrorist, a murderer….all murder, especially against an unsuspecting victim is terror isn’t it?  He even used the tools of terrorism…..his suicidal confessional on his My Space page and Youtube were some of the trappings he had in common with other terrorists but he’s distinct from them in he’s more acceptable as a murderer than as a terrorist, because terrorists have a special place in the American psyche that only people of certain persuasions can occupy and therein lies the problem.  We have made race, religion, the standard by which we make things legal or illegal or how we categorize crime and criminals.  Once again, despite all the trappings of being an advanced society, mature and wiser after  all these over 230 years, we still have the inclination to either raise or lower the bar depending on who the perpetrator/victim is.  Jared Loughner is either a terrorist or a murderer, and Major Hassan Nidal is either a terrorist or a murder and they both belong on the same page in American history with the same designation applied to them and if they’re not then we still too color conscious to be just.  It’s our call America.

 

UPDATE

One has to wonder whether the news that this attempted assassination was religiously inspired, anti-Semitic in origin might make the “terrorist” label more palatable.

A U.S. Department of Homeland Security memo reportedly notes that Gabriel Giffords is Jewish in describing the motives of the Arizona congresswoman’s alleged assailant.The memo, obtained by Fox News Channel, says that Jared Lee Loughner mentioned American Renaissance, an extremist anti-immigrant group, in some of his own postings.

“The group’s ideology is anti-government, anti-immigration, anti-ZOG (Zionist Occupational Government), anti-Semitic,” says the memo sent to law enforcement, which also notes that Giffords, a Democrat, was the first Jewish congresswoman from Arizona.

In this writer’s opinion, however, all of that is irrelevant.  It is now what it was then, an act of premeditated terror which resulted in the deaths of 6 humans and the maiming of many more.  Are the parents of the 9 year old girl killed by the assassin any more relieved from their anguish and grief that because one of the survivor’s of his terror was Jewish, therefore the crime which killed their daughter should be considered an act of terrorism?   Hardly!  The broadest most inclusive definition, ‘any actions that endanger human life or violate U.S. laws’ is indeed the best.  Not that it would mean anything more in terms of a punishment, but it removes the racist element of the term and hopefully makes truly combating and solving terrorism more urgent.