The new generation of leaders

The Friday Photo

Decatur High School, Decatur, GA

Students walked out or took a knee on Wednesday because #enoughisenough. I stood with them and for them.

The needle hasn’t moved much since last year

This was originally posted last year on September 11. We continue to be a badly broken country in too many ways. No photo today.

How we have failed since September 11, 2001

Tonight President Obama will address the nation about ISIS and any actions that we may take in response to the horrific murders of Americans and innocent civilians at the hands of terrorists.

Tomorrow there will be an observance in my community, and many others, to honor the thousands of lives lost to hate and terrorism, and to support the families and friends who knew someone they loved would never return home again.

Since September 11, 2001 we as a country have talked a lot about being kinder to one another and being a better country. Yet 13 years later this is what consumes us as a country:

  • fighting about allowing two consenting adults of the same-sex to legally marry each
  • failing to take care of the thousands of veterans who have defended our country, many of whom returned with horrible wounds from the Middle East since September 2001
  • allowing private corporations to decided which forms of legal birth control they will cover for employees through company based health insurance because some corporations should have the same privileges as churches
  • granting corporations the same rights as citizens so businesses can pour money into elections and our representatives’ pockets
  • making it harder for citizens to exercise their right to vote
  • subsidizing corporations with huge tax breaks while their employees working full-time never earn enough to break the poverty barrier
  • denying the hard facts of science because profits should come before cleaning up the mess we’ve made of the entire planet
  • deporting children
  • complaining about failing schools while slashing teacher pay and testing our children to death
  • sitting by silently while racism and sexism are displayed proudly
  • being sure we can take our assault rifles into the grocery store
  • we pay for and support violence on playing fields, in the movies we watch, video games we buy, music we listen to, and television shows we watch, but we react with horror when students are sprayed with bullets in their classrooms, women are drug from elevators by their hair, students are bullied, children and women are raped as well as being forced into prostitution
  • too many among us are convinced that their brand of faith should be followed above all others, and if necessary the rights of other citizens should be denied because they choose to worship differently, or not at all

We absolutely should remember and honor the victims of September 11th’s violence. I’m just not convinced we are a country that is a better reflection of the democratic values and freedoms which terrorists intended to destroy 13 years ago.

Bobby Jindal doesn’t have much of an imagination

The Friday Photo
July 24, 2015

Gringos, Milledgeville, GA
Gringos, Milledgeville, GA

I posted this photo as a Friday Photo on August 29, 2014, almost two months after Georgia’s Open Carry (Guns Everywhere) law, passed by the Georgia General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal, went into effect.

Last night nine innocent people out for a night at the movies in Lafayette, Louisiana, became the victims of a shooting. Two victims died, seven are wounded.

Republican Presidential candidate and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who has signed over 12 bills increasing access to guns and where they can be carried in his state, told the media, “We never imagined this would happen in Louisiana.” Brushing off a reporter’s question about gun control after last night’s shooting rampage and murders, Jindal said the thing to do to do now is pray.

Governor Jindal doesn’t have much of an imagination.

As for prayers? How about praying for reduced access to guns, thorough background checks, removing banning the sale of assault weapons, and serious limits on where guns can be carried?

Bring your library card and your gun

Georgia’s Guns Everywhere law went into effect at 12:01 this morning. A few weeks ago I made some calls to businesses I frequent to find out if they would allow guns beginning today. A coffee shop I really like reacted like I was making a prank call. I doubled back today. They were honest and said they just didn’t know much about it, but would hustle now and get an answer back to me. They serve beer and wine, so they can’t stay on the fence on this one.

Alcohol and guns didn’t mix in Georgia, until now. Guns Everywhere means patrons at any guns and alcoholestablishment serving alcohol can bring a gun in, unless the business posts a sign telling patrons they can’t bring a gun in.

As of midnight last night, the Rosa M Tarbutton Memorial Library, a beautiful library in Washington County used by everyone in the community, will have to allow guns in the building. My county, like many others, can’t afford the additional security staff or detectors required to keep guns out of the building. All the county buildings in my community, with the exception of the courthouse, where they are adding additional staff for security, will have to allow citizens to bring guns inside.

The Georgia General Assembly and Governor Deal think we need more guns in public places but less funding for mental health services and public schools. Do legislators expect them to have a bake sale to cover their costs?

At a glance, February 21, 2014

The Atlantic covers a Brookings Institute report on income inequality in 50 of America’s cities. Atlanta leads the list.

Got water? Centerville resident Bill Ferguson says SB 213, the Flint River bill, isn’t a good idea. He explains why in today’s Macon Telegraph.

Rep Mike Dudgeon’s HB 874, which would have made solar power much more affordable for Georgians, has just about seen the sun set on it. Dave Williams at the Atlanta Business Chronicle covers it.

Freshly sworn in to the Georgia House of Representatives, Rep Sam Moore, R-Macedonia, thinks:

Would it be a good idea to remove coal ash waste from places where there is groundwater and surface water contamination? “You don’t need to be Joe Chemist to figure that out.” says Avner Vengosh at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University.

At least 194

I don’t like guns. I’ve never fired one and I don’t care if I ever do.

I can appreciate the hand and eye coordination in shooting a target because some days I can barely thread a needle when wearing my readers.

I get the issues around hunting to provide food for families (Hunting is violent, but I don’t think Contained Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs, are any more humane than killing an animal with a single shot.)

What I don’t get is why AT LEAST 194 children have died in our country since Newtown. One hundred ninety-four. 10 x 19 +4.  AT LEAST that many.

We don’t keep good data on gun deaths and children, so 194 is on the conservative side. Why don’t we have uniform reporting on children who die because they are shot? Who doesn’t want us to know how many children are dying because of guns in the country we say is the greatest in the world?

A year ago today we were stunned into silence as a nation while we waited for the students and teachers to emerge from Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Yesterday we waited for the body count at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado.

Shame on us for waiting to learn the body count at another school shooting.

Shame on us.

It took 10 years to get the Brady Bill passed after Jim Brady and Ronald Reagan were shot. 10 years.

Using the conservative data we have, are we willing, as Americans, to let 1,940 more children die while the NRA, the members of Congress that they own, chest-thumping state’s rights legislators, and gun waving citizens, prevent background checks and bans on assault weapons?

I am asking my fellow rural Americans who own guns and think enough children have died just since Newtown to do something about it.

The next time you buy bullets for hunting, put 194 individual bullets on the counter.

194 bullets

Ask the people standing there with you if they think 194 children shot and killed since Newtown is enough. Ask them why we need to be able to buy assault weapons and rigorous background checks aren’t the law. If they say “because of the Second Amendment,” ask them about the last time their home was invaded by an entire Army division. Owning an assault weapon is over-kill. No pun intended.

If you think speaking up for gun control isn’t “your thing,” ask any one of the 194 families who won’t open birthday presents with their daughter, son, sister, or brother, in 2014, why speaking up shouldn’t be “your thing.”

They can give you one reason why you should.