After the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Connecticut where 18 six and seven year-olds were shot and killed by a single armed individual, President Barack Obama took to the airwaves and we all heard his emotional condolences to other affected. Back in 2008, when Candidate Obama was being honest he said that cultural changes will make people “cling to their guns and religion”, he couldn’t have been righter. In fact some would say that the gun is a religion. The United States of America has more guns than any other ‘civilized” country in the world. We have more people in prison than any other civilized country, prison is supposed to be a deterrent–obviously what we have been doing isn’t working. It can even be argued that the violence we do abroad is merely an extension of the violence in our hearts that sometimes spills out at home…

You will hear the terms “Kids killing Kids”, “Boys will be Boys”, “Guns don’t kill people”, these are paid for slogans that turn shooting tragedies, like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School into nothing more than nursery rhymes. Nursery rhymes right along side other rhymes like “babies having babies”, “Just say no”. Slogans that make you feel better, as if someone has a handle on it enough to craft a catchy slogan for it, while another avoidable shooting becomes nothing more than a parade of faces and a footnote in history. Disregarding the warnings from these events, the media and political framework from these events have become common. They pick sides, cloud the issues only to keep the same ways of thinking in place, year after year, incident after incident, half-measure after half-measure. Why half-measure and promises, because this is the culture of violence that we have created…all of us.

You will also hear words like “troubled”, “problems” and if no on is troubled or has problems. These media slick personalities will cloud the issue by making it a mental health debate. If the individual “snapped” how an examination beforehand reveals that is beyond any psychologist. They will also turn any remedy it into a privacy issues, or a rights issue. One as arbitrary as, at 18 one can smoke and at 21 one can drink alcohol, how is that working out?  They aren’t working, they don’t work. We as a society have not revisited those issues either, but it makes us feel better that we did something, maybe not the right thing, but we did something. “But it’s our right” they’ll scream, but since 9/11 the same screamers have allowed their right to be taken and twisted and their privacy to be intruded upon, without so much as a whimper—why? Because it was for the “Greater Good”. In the case of guns, finger pointing usually follows a shooting like this, but taking money out of the pockets of elected officials can save lives.

This tragedy in Sandy Hook, Connecticut will be tied to false arguments and false conclusions, just as all the tragedies before it were. You hear the questions being asked: What happened to the shooter to make him act in this manner? This can’t be normal, he’s a monster, a monster really–so is America raising monster? This is all done to prevent us from squaring look ourselves in the face. Looking at the society we have created for ourselves and for our children to grow up in. Arbitrarily putting people on a ‘not eligible’ list, stopping the poor for getting guns, preventing minorities from getting guns, ect… none of it will work. We all know it that’s why we pray, we hold vigils, and we debate.

A week after the Sandy Hook shooting the NRA held a national press conference that blamed 1980 and 1990 era video games Splatterhouse, Bulletstorm and Mortal Kombat, and sports for America’s violent culture. The NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre urged congress to create a national database for the mentally ill, he also blamed the media for being complicity in misinforming people and President Barack Obama for cutting funds. The NRA proposes that every school in America has a police officer. The press conference was so out of touch and so sickening the only thing missing was the Wayne LaPierre brandishing a gun, and metaphorically he was. However, the NRA’s proposal seems like a great solution until the armed protector is the shooter. Make it tougher to get a gun won’t work, because the capitalist will find something else deadly to market and sell to the violence hungry masses. Scenes like the ones at Sandy Hook Elementary School have become as common as law enforcement police shooting unarmed people,and  as normal as the violence from our unmanned drone strikes in other countries. We the so-called educated masses, have lost the clarity and the fortitude to do the right thing.

How many guns does a person need? One for upstairs, one for downstairs, one for the car and one for the white tail deer. I know hunting is a way of life. Yes hunting defenseless animals with high powered weaponry for sport, is a way of life that desensitizes us to the value of life as a whole. We as a society hold the power to take life as our absolute right if someone, anyone offends us, unfortunately the taking of life is in direct conflict with the constitution the evangelist praise so highly, but just as so many religious do with their text, the constitution is left largely unread. Thinking that one right can take another right has to be a mental condition.

Here is what you won’t hear.

There have been 28 mass shootings since Columbine and 19 mass shooting since the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, 30,000 gun deaths yearly, 100,000 people get shot yearly, 18,000 people commit  gun suicides each year, yet there has been no meaningful change in the gun laws or the gun debate. Unfortunately, American citizens will fork over trillions of dollars and  the wherewith all for wars, but they no longer have the guts to do the right thing here at home. Any of these numbers should have indicated that our culture is in crisis, has been in crisis and every decision we make stems from the bad ones before it. This time, this incident in Connecticut, involved so many children and females in particular involved that the assault weapons ban might get a national tweak, might.  What if the next mass shooter’s are girls would that be enough to make us think? Probably not.

“The issue is not just violence in the media but the construction of violent masculinity as a cultural norm. From rock and rap music and videos, Hollywood action films, professional and college sports, the culture produces a stream of images of violent, abusive men and promotes characteristics such as dominance, power, and control as means of establishing or maintaining manhood.”

For one segment of American society the gun itself is a symbol of honor, human mastery over nature, authority, individual self-sufficiency and history. To that segment by opposing gun control affirm the value of those symbolic meanings and the vision of the good society that the gun helped to construct. However, to the other segment of  society guns perpetuate illicit social hierarchies, the elevation of force over reason, the expression of collective indifference to the well-being of strangers, and the only way the the fearful can sleep at night. To this segment supporting gun control means repudiation these things, meanwhile one sides interest’s are realized at the detriment to the other side. The truth is that injecting partisan cultural values into this debate are inappropriate. People have a tendency to adopt views shared by others of their cultural orientation, this is self-reinforcing. We need a new vocabulary, we need new voices on the matter and no compromise, or middle ground solution will remedy this. We must change our thinking completely.

What would the forefathers think? Where is congress on the matter? Who is paying who? It’s too much for the busy citizenry to deal with, right? So lets put it to a vote, and watch every year as the numbers for a ban grow, but that’s when the real violence will happen. The shooter could have used an SUV and ran down just as many young victims crossing the street to school. Why didn’t he? Because guns and ammunition are far cheaper and more effective ways to kill, when you are killing for power. So why not make guns more costly, but then only the wealthy would have them. We could make it into War on Guns, but how have the wars on Terror, Drugs and Gangs turned out? Why not just ban the firearm and keep the 2nd amendment, which is doable, but the capitalist would never allow that.

The numbers and our actions just don’t add up, what would happen if we as a society were to take firearms out of the equation?

MG Hardie

During the process for writing my new book I had the privileged and opportunity to speak with hundreds of diverse people. I spoke to many immigrants illegal and naturalized.  I had numerous conversations with many Hispanics on the issue of immigration, but more importantly on the issue of  illegal immigration. What these many individuals imparted to me, for my book, was enlightening to say the least. I won’t say that the Arizona Bill is right or wrong, but here is what I will say. The Media has been all over this topic reporting this, investigating that, showing numbers and stats. And we, the masses,  are tuning in and posting. Even our “leaders” and elected officials, who haven’t done anything of note in their city and who we haven’t seen or heard from in months, have also chimed in with their own share of face time about SB 1070. Even Los Angeles’ misguided Mayor Antonio Villarigosa convinced the city of Los Angeles to have all businesses boycott Arizona, but somehow the boycott didn’t extend to businesses, colleges or professional sports teams.

There is so much misinformation on both sides of this issue. Are illegal immigrants employed in the low tedious work that a lot of Americans don’t want to do? Yeap. Is there a difference between illegal immigrant and an immigrant? Yeap. Why does the media and spokespeople seem to put them all in the same barrel? Coalition politics. The fact of the matter is that America, like it or not, is a nation of immigrants. And what that means is that the person next to you, the person you call friend, the person you know and love maybe an immigrant. However, the immigrants who have legally come to the U.S. do have a problem with the illegal immigrants from the Western border…and rightly so.

Many immigrants that have come to the U.S. by boat or by plane and they had to wait in line, or they had a work/school visa. Many of them have taken naturalization classes and fulfilled all of the necessary steps to becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States of America. The fact is that most immigrants are white collar workers and and thus pay a large amount of taxes.

The majority of American’s either supported the Arizona bill or something legislation close to it. There have been many assertions concerning potential police abuse, but doesn’t every law have the same potential? If you don’t trust law enforcement officials, then why trust them on anything. Why pass a bill at all? Why not just make the federal government enforce what is already the law? They are elected by us, so that means that they work for us. We don’t want them on television, we don’t want the sound bites and we damn sure don’t want the politics. What Americans want, not let me rephrase that, what Americans demand is action. Politicians will use the public emotions to get elected and then do nothing about the issue.  Arizona appears to simply be one of the many battle grounds for a much larger American issue.

What if the Arizona Legislature were to pass a law saying that Arizona would be an “English Only State”? And by English only no non-English store signs, no DMV with 11 languages printed forms, no banks using your money to print things in who knows how many languages, would that be divisive or unifying? President Bush sent 6,000 troops to the border and the problem became worse, so why is President Obama is sending 1200 troops to the border? Politics, and  to generate good headlines that galvanize the base and Hispanic voter incase of a low voter turn out election.  The United States deports over 1000 people per day, so even if immigration reform were done, it would only be part of the solution. The DREAM act, would provide amnesty for many illegal immigrants living in this country, has been tabled by congress. As other states follow Arizona’s lead the federal government waste tax payer monies by filing a lawsuit against Arizona. The bill wont solve Arizona’s problem, if anything SB 1070 is a cry for help.

Now here is the Truth. The border and immigration issue will nver be properly addressed because many non-latino illegal immigrants, who are in America have families with deep pockets. This is especially true on the East Coast, which enjoys a healthly amount of illegal immigrants from Europe. Also many illegal immigrants come from Asian countries and now live hear with their well-to-do children. The media chooses to focus on the Hispanic community because they have the least amount of in-country power. There are many illegal immigrants in America and only 70% of them are hispanic. The most important reason the border issues with not be resolved is because the FAA does not track airplane flights below a certain height. This means that if your airplane is below that height you are not tracked, don’t need to have a flight log and do not have to register your flight with the FAA. This is how the majority of human trafficking and drugs gets into the country. This is one of America’s dirty little secrets… The Border Issue extends to the sky. As long as the powers that be can keep the citizens and congress focused on what is happening on the ground, the skies are and have been wide open. The FAA has admitted that they have not been about to track 120,000 planes in the United States, but somehow news agencies always reports the one commerical flight that has a problem. I don’t think that the people we see being  arrested on T.V. and running through fields own a single plane, do you?  While Home Land Security puts out warning and squeezes the average traveller putting them through invasive pat downs, making them wait in long lines, scanning them with radiation and repeated questions and searches, they have been letting those who own planes come and go as they please. I was shocked when I discovered this fact during the course of research for my book It Ain’t Just the Size. Furthermore, all of the immigrants legal and not that I honestly spoked to advocated Closing the Western Border, for a limited time period, “it’s chaos, if they don’t vote to close it then you know who they really work for”.

That's Mr. President to you...

I am sorry for all of the negative things I have said regarding your policies and possibly you personally. But you know me I have to comment on America’s newest favorite pasttime… Politics. I have to comment on the political moves of the week, the day, the minute. I am obligated to shed light on issues and things that may be overlooked, but that is what I do. Sure there are things I wish you would have done and things I wish you hadn’t done. You have your critics, but you also have your supporters. In all honesty, you are presiding over America at a time of true change. At time of divison and progress. You made us push forward when it would have been much easier to turn back. I want you to know that whether I was critical or supportive of your decisions it was not because I am black, or to become popular, or gain a following or even to use controversy as a platform. However, I can only apologize for myself I can not do so for others, they should take it upon themselves to come out of their glass houses and be counted, but most likely they wont.

I thought that congress acted stupidly when you saved the country three trillion dollars on the budget and then you asked for one trillion six months later to fund health care and they just told you No. You did the right thing you and expected them to act in kind. Yes, I chided you on repeatedly using these prime time speeches to get your point across. And privately I wondered if your constant emails to me could be considered Spam. Yes, I believe that you should have gotten rid of the blood sucking insurance companies all together and socialize health care. It looks all good now, but I still think you should have let the banks and automakers fail. If they were using predator lending practices, why are they not up on charges or fined. And the car has been obsolete for years, we should have moved on. I called you out on the call bring the troops home, which looks more like a move to relocate the troops. When California started issuing I.O.U.’s and saying that it was broke, I wanted you to do something! I wanted you to say that you would send those accountants in The White House to Sacramento to officially let everyone know, that it’s all a lie. I wanted you to say something about the Jena 6. When a policeman in Oakland California shot an unarmed black man, who was faced down, and Oakland residents rioted I wanted you to say something. When that officer was sentence to 2 years in prison the entire black community wanted you to say something. I wanted you not to pay attention to radio hosts who don’t write their own material or read. I wanted you to bankrupt BP for that oil spill. I didn’t want you to play politics in Washington. I wanted you to call out everyone one in congress who thinks that politics is a game and believe me Big O (if I can call you that) I am not the only one, but that would take all year.

I will say what most likely no one else will, Barack you’ve got guts! Not those quarterback we celebrate, Not the athletes that are on our children’s walls. Most of these so-called pundits can comment and afford to be wrong, but Barack in addition to your job as The Leader of the Free World and you have the unenvied honor of being member of a disenfranchised group of people. There are many African-Americans who want you to get rid of decades if not hundreds of years of oppression, injustice, and pain. Aside from that you have Whites watching you, looking for any hint of bias. Not many of the previous Commander in Chief’s ever have cared about minorities. For this reason you have been scrutinized and polled Ad nauseam and it wont stop now. I now realize that although you are a Black Man, and that these injustices and incidents must really, really eat at you, you can not be a Black Man in the White House. You are not a Black Leader. You are The President of the United States and from the way it looks apparently you can’t have any friends.

 All I have to say is that Barack you’ve got the hardest job in the entire 1st World and the fact that you are a Black Man makes that job harder than any other President before you. No one really wanted to be President at a time when America was so torn emotionally and economically. Yes, the Democrats pretended and the Republicans postured and derided you, but all of them are glad you won! They really are. Think about it they can target you all they want and offer no real alternative plan, no solution at all… and that has to be the biggest giggle in Congress. They wanted you to win as evidenced by the candidacy of McCain and the selection of Palin, privately they knew that no one wanted the job. If McCain had won when you be occupying Iran and North Korea right now and that’s no joke. He would have personally kicked all the gays out of the military. Bristol would have won Dancing with the Stars and no minority would have healthcare. Whew, the wool wasn’t pulled over my eyes that’s for sure. No one had the balls. No one had the guts. No one except Barack. Well Barack this is my apology to you, and I don’t do this often, but I am sorry for not realizing that your job is a hell of a lot harder than any of us will ever know…

You should be able to be human. You should be able to misspeak. It takes a very big person to give an apology and an even bigger one to actually mean it. Meaning things is a practice that has been lost in our society. It was not long ago it seemed that law enforcement were allowed to break one black man per week, alright sometimes two, or three, but where are we as a people now? That’s the question we all should be asking each other before be ask The President. We are the ones that should be inviting each other for beers.  Yes, this is clearly a learning and teaching moment, but not for you Mr. President, no sir, you’ve got bigger things to worry about. Barack you may not need it, but I will tell you what my grandmother told me long ago, … she said “Baby, you can’t please everybody.” Hey you’ve got a job to do, a job that no one else has… the job of running the country and I for one appreciate it because we are the ones who sat here and let it get messed up in the first place. On a side note I will be waiting on my beer invite to The White House.

Oh yeah, I will be calling you out again sometime in the future.

MG

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