Roy Blunt and the NRA: Married on the way to the bank

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According to The New York Times Roy Blunt is one of the top ten “career”recipients of NRA largess in the congress. His take: $4,551,146. That’s right. Our boy got himself over four million of those NRA dollars. And I don’t think anyone would disagree that he’s done himself proud when it comes to earning his fee.

All of which prompts one to ask what he has to say about the latest mass shooting event at a school, a spree that took 17 lives and wounded at least 12 other children. The Sedalia Democrat offers the following quote:

In an interview, Blunt said that “I don’t think we have enough information yet to know that a change in any law would have impacted what happened in Florida.” But, referring to reports that the FBI had been warned by threats that the killer had made on social media, Blunt added: “Whether it is bizarre anti-social behavior or terrorist activity, when people see something they should say something.”You have got a guy parading around in a gas mask with weapons making threats and putting that on social media; that needs to be reported,” Blunt, R-Mo., said. “And the people that is [sic] reported to need to respond to that report.”

Blunt echoed the president in his imputation that the correct way to protect against mass school shootings would be for the “normal” folks to report aberrant behavior on the part of troubled individuals. Happened here, didn’t work, not going to work, just stigmatizes folks with emotional problems.

In the past Blunt has resorted overtly to the tack taken by Donald Trump today which is that it is mental illness that kills people, not guns – in spite of the fact that those suffering mental illness have been shown to more often suffer violence than they are to commit violent acts,  that when they do act out violently, they themselves have frequently been previously victimized, and they are more likely to do so within institutional settings rather than in public.

All of this is just a way to frame the simple-minded NRA bumper sticker that says in one variant or another that “people kill people, not guns.” If Kim Jong-un, who may or may not be mentally unstable, doesn’t realize that he’s dealing with a possible mental case in the White House, push comes to shove, and hundreds of folks, possibly in the U.S. as well as North Korea, South Korea, Japan, China and Russia are killed, will Republicans excuse the holocaust with a similar slogan: Crazy people kill people, not bombs? Funny that. Or not.

Of course, the real thrust of Blunt’s response was that he just doesn’t have enough facts to say anything substantive. While I know he’s unlikely to read this screed, I’d sill like to supply him with a few hard and fast facts:

  1. A disturbed young man, who, incidentally, had been reported and investigated by the authorities, was able to legally buy a military-grade weapon.
  2. President Trump, in his haste to destroy any remnants of Obama-style common-sense regulation, stopped a rule that would have made it more difficult for the mentally-ill to buy firearms.
  3. Republicans like Blunt have consistently refused to vote for legislation that regulated civilian acquisition of military-grade weapons in spite of the fact that they seem to be the weapon of choice for mass shooters.
  4. A conservative analysis by The Washington Post tells us that “more than 150,000 students attending at least 170 primary or secondary schools have experienced a shooting on campus since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999.”
  5. In the first 45 days of this year there have been six school shootings that have injured students.
  6. States are skint. They aren’t willing or able to pay to supply the school security officers that schools are requesting. Florida schools, scene of the most recent shooting, are among those that have experienced growing enrollments but have received less money to pay for necessities like increased security for which they have requested funding.
  7. A spate of studies report that states – and developed countries – with more guns have more homicide deaths and suicides. States and countries with better regulated gun ownership have fewer.

There are lots more facts like these. And I’m willing to bet that Blunt knows a few of them already. He just doesn’t care.

Nor, as Blunt’s GOP pals like to claim, do these facts suggest that gun ownership should be illegal; nobody’s 2nd amendment rights should be violated. But we have to be clear that the Supreme Court ruling, District of Columbia v. Heller, authored by conservative, gun-loving Judge Antonin Scalia, specifies that that the right to own firearms is subject to regulation, specifically in the case of “prohibiting the carrying of ‘dangerous and unusual weapons’.”

So what’s keeping the pot boiling for a dangerously out of control NRA, an organization that wants to persuade us that even talking dirty about guns is not only a violation of a poorly understood 2nd amendment, but an invitation to “jack-booted government thugs” to steal our liberties? Look no further than Senator Roy Blunt and an NRA-whipped GOP.

But hey! Four million dollars is one heckava payout. And Blunt wasn’t even number one on the list.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D): while knowing a thing or two about thinking and praying…

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…also knows that it’s not enough.

Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D) [2018 file photo].

This morning, via Twitter, from Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D):

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver‏ @repcleaver
One of your first actions as president was to make it easier for people with mental illness to buy a gun. Stop blaming the students and start protecting our kids.

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump
So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!

10:01 AM – 15 Feb 2018

You tell him.

Previously:

Become a single issue voter (February 14, 2018)

Become a single issue voter

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Florida. We may not be able stop this. We can still try. After Sandy Hook we know that the republican controlled Congress never will.

From Jason Kander (D), via Twitter:

Jason Kander‏ @JasonKander
The leadership of the @NRA has an agenda and it ain’t got a damn thing to do with gun rights. It’s 100% about gun sales. This Republican Congress is trading the lives of children for campaign contributions.

We will win. This will not go on forever.
6:04 PM – 14 Feb 2018

Do something because the NRA owned Congress won’t.

If a candidate gets an NRA endorsement, don’t vote for them. Actively oppose them. If a candidate is mealy mouthed about keeping guns away from people who shouldn’t have them, don’t vote for them. Actively oppose them. If a candidate only offers “thoughts and prayers” as a solution, don’t vote for them. If you’re at a local political event and a candidate starts spouting NRA spin challenge them directly. Don’t vote for them. Actively oppose them.

Make political support from the NRA toxic. Become a single issue voter. Make them own this misery.

Immigration: on DACA – Kansas City – February 11, 2018

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The Trump administration. Fear.

Gabby – February 11, 2018.

Sunday afternoon the KC Metro Immigration Alliance sponsored an event in Kansas City at All Souls Unitarian Univeralist Church, focusing on the plight of Syed Jamal and individuals who, like him, are in immigration crisis exacerbated by the policies of the Trump administration. Activists in the community came to speak to the family of Syed Jamal and over one hundred others who attended.

Gabby, a DACA recipient:

Gabby: Hello, everbody.

Our families are currently under attack. I want to tell you more about my family. My family is made of mixed status. My five children are all U.S.A. citizens. On the other hand, my husband is undocumented. He came across the desert…when he was only a teenager. For myself, it’s a different story. I was brought to the states as a young child.

I hardly have any memories of what it was when we lived in Mexico. I am currently under the DAC [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] status, counting down the days I have left. Only two hundred eighty days left under my status. Every day I wake up thinking about this number. As the days go by this number becomes smaller.

Every day I ask myself if I can continue to live this way. With the fear of losing my family, my home, my jobs. Also, with the uncertainty of my husband, husband getting pulled over by the police and not being able to provide a valid state license will be enough for him to be arrested and sent to an immigration jail.

At this time there’s no more options. He has to work and continue to provide for our family.

A few nights ago at the dinner table I had to approach the conversation with my children about Immigration and what to do if they show up at the front door. My children are afraid. I am, I am, too.

In the [inaudible] of this sinister administration we are being threatened with the possibility of being separated and ripped apart. We need a resolution to this crisis. We need it now. We need to pass a clean Dream ACT. We demand family reunification.

We’ve come this far today to be united and seek integrity and demand accountability for all of our elected officials.

We refuse to go back to the shadows.

We ask for you that are here to become our allies in the fight for justice.

Thank you. [applause]

“Support DACA”

Previously:

Immigration: Syed Ahmed Jamal and many other stories like his (February 11, 2018)

Immigration: Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D) – Press Q and A – Kansas City – February 11, 2018 (February 12, 2018)

Immigration: Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D) – Kansas City – February 11, 2018 (February 12, 2018)

Immigration: Rev. Eleanor McCormick – Kansas City – February 11, 2018 (February 13, 2018)

Immigration: Rev. Eleanor McCormick – Kansas City – February 11, 2018

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Syed Jamal. Immigration. ICE.

Reverend Eleanor McCormick – February 11, 2018.

Sunday afternoon the KC Metro Immigration Alliance sponsored an event in Kansas City at All Souls Unitarian Univeralist Church, focusing on the plight of Syed Jamal and individuals who, like him, are in immigration crisis exacerbated by the policies of the Trump administration. Activists in the community came to speak to the family of Syed Jamal and over one hundred others who attended.

Reverend Eleanor McCormick, Associate Pastor, Plymouth Congregational Church (UCC), Lawrence, Kansas:

Reverend McCormick: Thank you to the KC Metro Immigration Alliance for organizing this event and for all of you joining us today both in person and online.

It is my belief that the legal perspective on Syed’s case matters. It is also my belief that the moral perspective matters. As a woman of faith I am here to speak out on Syed’s behalf, and on behalf of his three beautiful children […]. And also his beloved wife, Angela, and his devoted brothers, on behalf of the entire Jamal family.

I do so because the biblical command to protect immigrants is unambiguous. Because the radical rabbi from Nazareth, whom I have chosen to follow, Jesus himself, was an immigrant.

Because Jesus said, Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence. This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second that we must set alongside it. Love others as well as you love yourself. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Syed is a good neighbor. America needs more neighbors like Syed. And Syed deserves good neighbors to stand with him and to stand with his family today. In fact, all immigrants, neighbor or stranger, deserve good neighbors who are willing to lift up their voices, pick up their phones, take to the streets, and take their convictions to the ballot box.

My hope is that churches and houses of worship across theological spectrums will continue to come together with a loud clarion call to justice. Justice for Jesus in Phoenix. Justice for Audy in Ohio. Justice for Ravi in New York. Justice for Syed in Lawrence, Kansas. Justice for the names we do not know and the children we refuse to see. Justice for Dreamers from sea to sea.

For the media that are here with us today, thank you. My hope and my prayer is that you will help to tell the stories that are too often forgotten. The stories that can be a should be bipartisan.

Now, white people who are here today, and listening. Speaking to you as a white woman, my hope and prayer is that you will amplify the stories that are too often forgotten, using your unearned privilege to transform a broken system and to give back power to the least of these.

All people, my hope and prayer is that you will join me in a prayer for the leaders of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, that they might see the humanity of those they target. For today, Immigration Enforcement agents and our Immigration judges have discretion. And so, my personal prayer is that they will do the right thing and they will keep families together.

We know full well that Syed’s family was not the first to be torn apart. And we know that this family was not and will not be the last. For as of just yesterday anther Church of Christ congregation opened up its sanctuary to be a sanctuary in Phoenix, Arizona.

As an ordained woman in the United Church of Christ I have promised to stand with those who risk their personal well being because of actions taken in response to their moral convictions. I will continue to stand with you, Christians and non-Christians alike, as you risk personal well being to create a just world for all.

Amen.

[applause]

“Free Syed”

Previously:

Immigration: Syed Ahmed Jamal and many other stories like his (February 11, 2018)

Immigration: Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D) – Press Q and A – Kansas City – February 11, 2018 (February 12, 2018)

Immigration: Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D) – Kansas City – February 11, 2018 (February 12, 2018)

Immigration: Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D) – Kansas City – February 11, 2018

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Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D) – February 11, 2018.

Yesterday afternoon the KC Metro Immigration Alliance sponsored an event in Kansas City at All Souls Unitarian Univeralist Church. Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D) came to speak to the family of Syed Jamal and over one hundred others, driving to the church directly from the airport, after having visited him in detention in Texas. Representative Cleaver’s remarks:


Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D) – Immigration – February 11, 2018.

Part 2:


Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D) – Immigration – February 11, 2018.

Previously:

Immigration: Syed Ahmed Jamal and many other stories like his (February 11, 2018)

Immigration: Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D) – Press Q and A – Kansas City – February 11, 2018 (February 12, 2018)

Immigration: Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D) – Press Q and A – Kansas City – February 11, 2018

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Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D) – Press Q and A – Immigration – February 11, 2018.

Yesterday afternoon the KC Metro Immigration Alliance sponsored an event in Kansas City at All Souls Unitarian Univeralist Church. Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D) came to speak to the family of Syed Jamal and over one hundred others, driving to the church directly from the airport, after having visited him in detention in Texas. Representative Cleaver spoke to the press before the start of the event:


Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D) – Press Q and A – Immigration – February 11, 2018

Previously:

Immigration: Syed Ahmed Jamal and many other stories like his (February 11, 2018)

Immigration: Syed Ahmed Jamal and many other stories like his

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These are all stories about fear.

Syed Jamal, a thirty year resident of the Kansas City area and the father of three children who are American citizens, is currently in Immigration detention eighty-eight miles outside of El Paso, Texas. He was arrested by ICE in front of his children while on the way to drive his daughter to school. By every account Syed Jamal is a hard working, contributing member of society.

This afternoon the KC Metro Immigration Alliance sponsored an event in Kansas City at All Souls Unitarian Univeralist Church. Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D) came to speak to the family of Syed Jamal and over one hundred others, driving to the church directly from the airport, after having visited him in detention in Texas.

Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D) – February 11, 2018

The children of Syed Jamal with Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D).

The family of Syed Jamal.

“Free Syed”

The family of Syed Jamal.

From 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. immigration activists, faith leaders, friends of Syed Jamal, other families affected by the same policy implementation and uncertainty, a DACA recipient, and Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D) spoke of the inhumanity of our current immigration system. This exacerbated by Donald Trump’s (r) immigration policy priorities and his assault on DACA and Dreamers.

The insanity, absurdity and inhumanity of the current administration on immigration cannot stand.