NAN asks what’s BTG? Big Tough Guy? Bring Together?
(I admit I’m younger in the photo)
I have trouble ignoring what’s happening out there in my world. Personally, I’m starting to “lose it” at almost 87, but I cannot ignore it.
From the NY Times June 3, 2022:
Again and again
|Shootings that kill multiple people are so common in this country that they often do not even make national news. They are a regular feature of American life. Tulsa has become the latest example — yet another gun crime that seems almost ordinary here and yet would be extremely rare in any other country as wealthy as the U.S.|
|To give you a sense of how common these shootings are, we’re devoting the rest of the lead item of today’s newsletter to a list of every documented mass shooting in which a gunman has killed at least three people in the U.S. so far this year. …Every identified suspect has been a man, many under 25.|
2022, so far
|Jan. 19, Baltimore: A man who worked for a gun violence reduction program was killed in an East Baltimore neighborhood, along with two others. A fourth person was injured.|
|Jan. 23, Milwaukee: Five men and a woman were found shot to death at a Park West neighborhood home. The police believe the attack targeted specific people.|
|Jan. 23, Inglewood, Calif.: The same day, a shooting at a birthday party killed four people, including two sisters, and wounded a fifth. The shooting was gang-related, the mayor said.|
|Jan. 29, St. Louis: A shooting near an intersection killed three young men and wounded a fourth. Police said they had no suspects.|
|Feb. 5, Corsicana and Frost, Texas: A 41-year-old man murdered his mother, his stepfather, his sons and the son of his ex-girlfriend in an overnight shooting. The man later fatally shot himself.|
|Feb. 28, Sacramento: A man shot dead his three daughters and their chaperone at a church during a court-approved visit. The children’s mother had a restraining order against the shooter, who killed himself.|
|March 12, Baltimore: A shooting in Northwest Baltimore killed three men in a car and wounded a fourth.|
|March 19, Fayetteville, N.C.: A Saturday night shootout in a hotel parking lot killed three people and wounded another three. The shooting may have been linked to a fight between motorcycle gangs.|
|March 19, Norfolk, Va.: Hours later, an argument outside a bar escalated into a shooting that killed three young bystanders. One of the victims was a 25-year-old newspaper reporter whose editor called her to cover the shooting, not realizing she had been killed.|
|April 3, Sacramento: At least five shooters fired more than 100 rounds a block from the State Capitol, killing six people — three men and three women — and wounding 12. The police described the shooting as gang-related.|
|April 20, Duluth, Minn.: A 29-year-old man who said he suffered from mental illness killed his aunt, uncle, two young cousins and their dog in their sleep. He later killed himself.|
|April 21, Mountain View, Ark.: A man killed his parents, another woman and her son at two homes half a mile apart in a rural community, the police say.|
|April 27, Biloxi, Miss.: A 32-year-old man killed the owner of the Broadway Inn Express motel and two employees in an argument over money. He fled to a neighboring town and fatally shot a fourth person. Police later found the gunman dead, barricaded inside a convenience store.|
|May 8, Clarkston, Ga.: Three people were shot to death and three others were wounded at a suburban Atlanta condo complex on a Sunday night.|
|May 14, Buffalo: An 18-year-old avowed white supremacist killed 10 people and wounded three more with an assault-style weapon in a live-streamed attack at a supermarket.|
|May 24, Uvalde, Texas: An 18-year-old gunman killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School.|
|May 27, Stanwood, Mich.: A 51-year-old man allegedly killed his wife and her three young children at a home in Mecosta County before shooting himself, police said. The man remains in critical condition.|
|June 1, Tulsa, Okla.: A gunman killed his back surgeon, another doctor, a receptionist and a visitor at a medical building. He then killed himself.|
|As long as this list is, it’s also a very incomplete accounting of American gun violence. It doesn’t include the at least 60 shootings that left three people dead but don’t technically count as mass shootings (because fewer than four people were shot). It doesn’t count shootings that wounded people without killing anybody, like one in Milwaukee that injured 17 people. And it leaves out the individual gun homicides and suicides that make up a majority of the gun violence that kills more than 100 Americans on an average day.|
Six humans slaughtered.
When will the killings come to your town? They came to Philadelphia and Chattanooga yesterday…
At least three people were killed and 11 injured Saturday when multiple people opened fire on Philadelphia’s busy South Street. At least three more died in a shooting later Saturday at a club in Chattanooga, Tennessee. For the moment, none of those six victims count as victims of “mass shootings”—a FBI designation that requires four deaths in a single incident. (Mother Jones, today’s date).
I live in Ohio, and on June 13, 2022 (a week from tomorrow) a permitless carry law goes into effect in my state. Unfortunate timing, eh? Any time humans are slaughtered is unfortunate.
Moreover, the NRA (National Rifle Association) touts itself as “America’s oldest civil rights organization.”
This photo was posted on the Daniel Defense Twitter account May 16 with the caption “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Daniel Defense is in the gun selling business (via abc news) NOTE that the shooter waited until he was 18 to purchase his weapon. He was following the law permitting him to.)
Thanks to friend Eliot Kalman for permission to share this poem: Poetic protest/lament by Eliot Kalman, Copyright May 2022
MOURNING IN AMERICA
As the sun that day climbed in the Texas sky,
nineteen fourth graders got dressed to die,
nineteen mothers kissed their kids good-bye,
it’s mourning in America.
As that day the sun bore from a merciless sky,
and Uvalde recoiled, too numb even to cry,
while the cops left the bleeding to quietly die,
it’s mourning in America.
As nineteen children went to their eternal rest,
with a bullet in their head or lodged in their chest,
and the sun went down in the bloody-red West,
it’s mourning in America.
As tears of woe fell in the waning light,
and dirges were played through the long plaintive night,
while the citizenry cried out, “It just can’t be right!”
it’s mourning in America.
With one fewer afternoon school bus stops to be met,
and one fewer dinner places to ever be set,
and one fewer eager family pets
to joyously be met,
it’s mourning in America.
As the moon that night shone on nineteen empty beds,
and the bereaved faced their losses with inconsolable heads,
while the NRA inexplicably ignored all the wounded and dead,
alas, it’s mourning in America.
Filling it with new names seems to be the only action we’re capable of
|By Jay Caspian Kang
|At some point in the past decade or so, our response to mass shootings turned into a series of memes. As the body count rises, the same, recycled tweets, Instagram posts and fiery speeches from the last massacre make their dutiful rounds through online spaces.|
|We see the Onion headline, “‘No Way to Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.” We see the tweet, “In retrospect Sandy Hook marked the end of the U.S. gun control debate. Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over.” We see statistics about N.R.A. campaign contributions; references to the effectiveness of Australia’s National Firearms Agreement, signed in the aftermath of a mass shooting there that killed 35 people; and polls about the popularity of gun control measures in the U.S.|
|At some point, someone — in this instance, Steve Kerr, the head coach of the Golden State Warriors — gives the speech that allows us to share in a needed moment of catharsis and rage. And then the photos of the deceased start to show up on television, online news sites and social media feeds.|
|We have created a museum of unbearable sorrow. With each tragedy, it gets a bit denser with new names, new unsatisfying explanations and new photos of the deceased. The term “meme” here should not suggest a lack of seriousness or insincerity. Quite the opposite: The endless recalling of these bits of information and their proliferation throughout every channel of communication embed them even deeper into our consciousness. When we’re grasping for something to say, they are the things we touch.|
|The memes are also inert, but not for our lack of trying to break through to actually do something about the slaughter. The Parkland kids organized nationwide marches. State legislatures proposed expanded background checks, some of which even passed. But as time has gone on and the shootings haven’t stopped, those actions also get placed into the museum as reminders of just how hopeless all this feels. The next time this happens, we will all watch Kerr’s speech again.|
|What does it mean to constantly relive tragedy in this way? The names of places just pile up: Columbine, Virginia Tech, El Paso, Buffalo, Parkland, Las Vegas, Orlando, Roseburg, Marysville, Newtown and now Uvalde. There is the expectation that Uvalde will not be the last name on that list.|
|Museums and monuments, of course, commemorate the past. What I don’t know is if the museum of mass shooting memes suggests that we, also, have moved on to the task of just honoring the dead of the past, present and inevitable future.|
|Our response to these unthinkable tragedies almost feels reflexive at this point, rather than rooted in any actual belief that things can change. We witness the horrors of the present in which these massacres seem to happen every week, and while we still feel the pressing, manic need to do something, we also now know that nothing will be done. The desire for action, then, drags behind us — it is still with us but has lost its utility.|
|Helplessness is the sense that we will keep reliving the brutality of history over and over again. Tuesday night, while talking to my family, friends and colleagues about the 19 dead children and two dead teachers, I heard a despair that isn’t new but has increased in volume over the past few years. Nobody thought we could do anything about any of this; nobody even bothered to offer up a theory on how things might change. It was as if we were collectively giving up.|
|The brief spark of hope we might have felt watching the Parkland kids march or hearing earlier iterations of the Kerr speech, whether it was delivered by President Barack Obama after Newtown or by Richard Martinez, the father of Christopher Michaels-Martinez, a college student shot dead at U.C. Santa Barbara, felt impossible to revive.|
|This is a dereliction of duty to the dead, which is why so much of the sadness of the past two days has been mixed with the guilt that we, who live in the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world, cannot protect our children. As I type this, more photos of the dead have shown up in newspapers and 17 names confirmed, according to The Times, with four more to inevitably come: Eva Mireles, Irma Garcia, Amerie Jo Garza, Annabelle Rodriguez, Eliahana Torres, Ellie Garcia, Jackie Cazares, Jose Flores, Nevaeh Bravo, Rojelio Torres, Uziyah Garcia, Xavier Lopez, Lexi Rubio, Jailah Silguero, Jayce Luevanos, Makenna Lee Elrod and Tess Mata. Reciting them here, of course, does nothing except move them closer to history.|
|Perhaps there is some solace in knowing their photos and their names will be recalled the next time there’s a Newtown or Parkland or Uvalde. But just like the calls for action, they will ultimately get crowded out by all the new faces and new names that keep coming. As is the case with the engravings in black granite at Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the specific names are meaningful to the people who loved them, but for the rest of us, they will eventually look like indistinguishable entries in an overwhelming litany of senseless, mass death.|
|It is crucial that we, as a society, don’t allow ourselves simply to accept these deaths, but for the life of me, I can’t come up with a single reason this time will be different.|
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Trump addressing the NRA members:
“With your activism, you helped to safeguard the freedoms of our soldiers who have bled and died for us on the battlefields. And I know we have many veterans in the audience today, and we want to give them a big, big beautiful round of applause.”
(Trump speaking to NRA, assuming carrying concealed weapons–even in a school or park zone–is helping those who died on the battlefield for us,)
Photo by Nancy Romans
NOTQUITEOLD ♦ – Nancy Romans