Saturday, August 10, 2019

Race for the White House 2020 # 32

There has been much to reflect upon for many who follow the news since last Saturday in the wake of two mass shooting incidents. The topic of gun control has once again entered the political back and forth as well as larger questions about our culture and if political rhetoric contributes to acts of violence.

This Saturday though sees another breaking story as former billionaire investment mogul Jeffrey Epstein, whose federal indictment on numerous chargers of sexual abuse of minors has been mentioned on here, is now dead. He hung himself in his New York jail cell last night. As the story goes, "dead men tell no tales" and conspiracy theorists from all circles of the internet are having their Super Bowl today.

All of this is a really embarrassing incident for the Department of Justice. Why wasn't Epstein under constant suicide watch? Weeks earlier, he was found, injured in his cell which means he should have been watched much closer. Just yesterday, a story came out involving documents that were to come into play in his upcoming trial in which names were named. However, there will be no Epstein trial for the man personally. He was never getting out from behind bars and it makes perfect sense why he wanted to end his life. Good riddance to a truly horrible person, but one has to feel for the victim who are not going to get the justice they deserved.

So, in the meantime, right-wingers are saying the Clintons put a hit on Epstein and it succeeded. This is the same group of people who could not beat Donald Trump but somehow manage to have a huge "body count" going back to their days in Arkansas. I also wonder just how it is that Anthony Weiner is still alive then.

Of course, many political haters of Donald Trump think that maybe he was behind a hit, using the powers of the federal government he controls that was housing Epstein. Congressional Democrats already want this investigated and I do not blame them. Others are saying the Russians got to Epstein, to eliminate him before he could do damage to Trump.

So many plots. So many trending topics on Twitter. In any event, there is still a lot of evidence that the government has that will and should mean serious criminal trouble for anyone who ever took advantage of Epstein's evil services involving underage girls or who knew of this activity.

All the while, America has been on edge this week, perhaps since no time since the aftermath of 9/11/01. This time the fear is of white nationalist terrorists instead of Islamic jihadi ones, although I believe we have to be increasingly vigilant about both. Still, we must live our lives. The odds of any of us becoming actual victims are pretty low statistically, but that is of little comfort for those who have been afflicted, and who were likely feeling the same way. There was already a scary incident late this week in Missouri of a young man walking into a Wal-Mart with an assault rife. He was not intending to kill anyone, but to see if the store "supported the 2nd Amendment." An act of terror to those there nonetheless.

As was becoming clear late last Saturday afternoon, the young white man who killed over 20 people in El Paso, Texas was indeed targeting Latinos, in the border city, where many Mexican nationals legally cross the border every day to work or shop. This sick person drove 10 hours to El Paso simply to kill brown people. It simply cannot be denied that he bought into the message of Donald Trump and the anti-immigration voices on the right, who preceded Trump's ascent, in describing the border crossings (seemingly whether illegal or not) by Latinos as an "invasion." Considering the gun culture of Texas, many are surprised that a civilian did not fire back at the killer, ending his spree earlier. He likely knew that the Mexican and Mexican-American crowd that would be prevalent at Wal-Mart would be unarmed. So much for Trump's assertion that Mexicans coming to the U.S. are murderers, thugs, etc. You would have assumed they would have had guns to listen to Trump....

Late last Saturday night, a shooting occurred in Dayton, Ohio. The police involved quickly and killed that murderer. The death count was less but still no less horrific. This attack does not seem to be related directly to politics, although it is true that this young white man seemed to identify with the Far Left of America's politics and was supportive of Democrats. This has caused Trump defenders to want to talk about this killer much more than the other one as if this is supposed to even the "blame score" or something. These folks are also quick to point to the black on black murder rate via guns in places like Chicago as if that also means that the fear of white supremacists becoming increasingly violent and willing to act on their hatred is somehow a "hoax."

America has a lot of problems, including gang warfare in our inner cities, and violent angry left-wingers too. We also have an increasing problem with young white men who feel like they are being victimized by minorities or "the elite" and who have acted out in recent years, whether at a Wal-Mart frequented by Latinos, an historic black church in South Carolina, a synagogue in Pennsylvania, or a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin.

We can try to find the roots and causes of these problems until we all run out of breath. Many blame the guns but while I feel there are commonsense measures that should be enacted to keep guns away from the wrong people, I think that will do virtually nothing to stop the disease of hate that is infecting America. If all the guns were taken away from all the bad people, those people are still going to be bad enough to resort to other tactics, such as bombs, and the number of people they can kill at one time would only increase. Let's tread carefully when it comes to Constitutional rights. To me, the genesis of all this sociopathic behavior relates to the decades-old decline in the family structure and the moral relativism that preaches personal freedom but is unwilling to distinguish between right and wrong. How we, all of us, as either society, or as parents, raise children, needs to get a lot of examination.

Times like this require a leader and our current leader seems to be a symptom of our societal ills. Of course Donald Trump is not directly responsible for these shootings but by trafficking in white nationalism and the politics of resentment, as the guiding principle of his political career, he has contributed to this problem. I do not believe for a second that Trump, as a human, wants innocent people to be shot, or does not feel sadness about this, but he is also the guy who chuckled and shrugged off with a joke a supporter at a rally not long ago who yelled about shooting illegal immigrants. We reap what we sow. Thankfully, Trump denounced white supremacy by name this week, but still, he and those most responsible for defending him seem to downplay this problem and not understand the role they have played. White House advisor Stephen Miller would certainly never kill anyone or likely break the law in anyway, but yet when he goes on a television show and viscerally becomes so see how actively worked up he gets when discussing his dislike of immigration, the circle becomes smaller.

Needless to say the left and many talking heads on cable news overreach on these matters, as they do on many others, and the backlash to that helps Trump. A Texas Congressman (who happens to be the twin brother of one of the many fledgling Democrat Presidential candidates) tweeted out a list of Trump donors in his district. That information is technically public knowledge, but the message that "doxxing" them sends is pretty bad and could lead to tragic unintended consequences in times like this.

This week saw politicians and activists in Texas and Ohio say they did not want the President to visit their grieving cities, but of course, he and the First Lady did, and certainly the White House knows how to get good pictures of things like this. Trump knows how to be comforting to those who are in awe of his office or who may genuinely like him. He has been a celebrity for many years, but still he proceeded to talk a bit too much about himself during these times of grieving and continued to lash out against whomever on Twitter, even while meeting with victims at the hospitals.

Of course, the  marathon Presidential race continues. To a man (and woman) all the Democrat candidates (plus William Weld on the GOP side) will say they support increased gun control laws and will say that Trump is a racist or is enabling racism. Those who defend Trump will fire back against the last part, without bothering to actually see how obvious the picture is.

The gun matter is more tricky. This week, just about everyone seems more willing to adopt "red flag" laws. As he has before, Trump has said he will stand up to the NRA if necessary, but will he really? In any event, if Congress finds bipartisan consensus to pass something and it gets signed into law, it may make us feel good for a little bit, until the next shooting, and the realization that our problems go much deeper, as they relate to angry young white men and hopeless young minority men alike, and are likely to be something we have to both endure and fight back against, for just as long as we should and must fight Islamic jihadism.


At 10:51 PM, Blogger Democratic Socialist Dave said...

There seems to be some profound, endemic failure at the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

It was not too long ago that within hours of being transferred between Federal prisons that the murderer and snitch James “Whitey” Bulger was beaten to death by his new fellow inmates.


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