2018-MAR-23: Attorney General Jeff Sessions issues policy statement on bump stocks:
Bump stocks are devices that are designed to fit onto a semi-automatic rifle. The latter are a.k.a. self-loading rifles, auto-loading rifles, or SLRs. As manufactured, they fire a single round each time the trigger is pulled. With a bump stock installed, they simulate the operation of a fully automatic rifle. a.k.a. machine gun. Once the trigger is pulled, the rifle sprays lead until either the trigger is released or the rifle runs out of bulllets.
Stephen Paddock used bump stock(s) on one or more rifles with great effectiveness to kill 58 and injure almost 500 concertgoers in Las Vegas during 2017-OCT-01. It was the deadliest mass shooting by a single person in U.S. history.
Sale of machine guns for civilian use were banned in 1986, but bump stocks are still legal as of 2018-MAR.
President Trump sent a memo to the Justice Department circa 2018-FEB-20 asking that bump stocks be banned for civilian use.
One day before the student "March for Our Lives" rallies across the U.S. on 2018-MAR-24, , AG Sessions issued a statement, saying, in part:
"After the senseless attack in Las Vegas, this proposed rule is a critical step in our effort to reduce the threat of gun violence that is in keeping with the Constitution and the laws passed by Congress."
His statement starts a 90 day interval for public comments before the change can become final. 1
2018-MAR-23: The largest student protest in U.S. history was held across the country:
Jim Denison of the Denison Forum described the "March for Our Lives" rallies. He wrote:
"The largest student protest in American history took place on Saturday. More than two million students and their supporters packed the streets in Washington, DC, and [at] more than 800 other events in the US and around the world.
The DC rally was funded by Oprah Winfrey, George and Amal Clooney, and other celebrities. It was led by students from Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, who vowed to make reducing gun violence the central issue of their generation. The White House issued a statement Saturday, saying:
"We applaud the many courageous young Americans exercising their First Amendment rights today. Keeping our children safe is a top priority of the President’s, which is why he urged Congress to pass the Fix NICS and STOP School Violence Acts, and signed them into law,”"
Meanwhile, other groups gathered at the nationwide marches in support of the Second Amendment. "I came to open dialogue," one participant explained. "
The "First Amendment" refers to the first section of the U.S. Constitution which guarantees freedom of speech; the second guarantees the right to own firearms. 2
Students from Chicago and Washington DC have impassioned speeches about how gun violence has impacted their lives. Naomi Wadler, 11 told the crowd:
"I am here today to acknowledge and represent the African-American girls whose stories don’t make the front page of every national newspaper."
2018-MAR-27: U.S. Department of Justice proposal to ban bump stocks:
Red Tea News reported that the Justice Department issued a proposal ATF 2017R-22 to redefine the ban on machine guns to include bump stocks. It would state:
"The term 'machinegun' includes bump-stock-type devices, i.e. devices that allow a semiautomatic firearm to shoot more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger by harnessing the recoil energy of the semiautomatic firearm to which it is affixed so that the trigger resets and continues firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the shooter." 3
There is an existing prohibition of the sale of machine guns to the general public.
The Red Tea News article urges concerned citizens to sumbit their comments to www.regulations.gov about the proposed ban. Curiously, the article does not show a picture of a bump stock, or of a semi-automatic rifle with a bump-stock attached. It shows a hand gun, which is unrelated to the topic of the article.
2018-MAR/APR: Conversations about the Parkland school shooting became both innovative and nasty:
Thousands of clear backpacks and identification badges have been handed out to the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Some students attached an orange tag with the value $1.05 printed on them, and a bar code. The amount is a reference to the National Rifle Association's (NRA) 3.3 million contribution to Senator Marco Rubio's (R-FL) campaign expressed divided among the 3.1 million students in Florida.
David Hogg, at the beginning of his speech at the March for our Lives rally in Washington, introduced the tag, saying:
"First off, I’m gonna start off by putting this price tag right here as a reminder for you guys to know how much Marco Rubio took for every student’s life in Florida. One dollar and five cents."
Hogg was later questioned by CNN host Alisyn Camerota who suggested that he might have gone too far in his criticism. He replied:
"No ... I don’t think it’s even provocative enough, because Marco Rubio is still supported by the NRA, which works to ensure not the safety of gun owners and [not] the safety of Americans everywhere, but to ensure that [gun manufacturers] ... sell more guns." 4
Ted Nugent, rock singer and NRA member Ted Nugent was interviewed on the Joe Pags Show. He criticized March for Our Lives organizers that he referred to as:
"... the poor, mushy brained children ..."
"The dumbing down of America is manifested in the culture deprivation of our academia that have taught these kids the lies, media that have prodded and encouraged and provided these kids lies. I really feel sorry for them because it’s not only ignorant and dangerously stupid, but it’s soulless. ..."
To attack the good, law-abiding families of America when well-known, predictable murderers commit these horrors is deep in the category of soulless. These poor children, I’m afraid to say this and it hurts me to say this, but the evidence is irrefutable, they have no soul. ... These children can't be critical of any of the propaganda that they're fed and that's just sad. ..."
"The level of ignorance goes beyond stupidity. Again, the National Rifle Association are a bunch of American families who have a voice to stand up for our God-given Constitutionally-guaranteed right to keep and bear arms. We have no blood on our hands. No NRA member have [sic] ever been involved in any mass shootings at all, in fact the National Rifle Association is the lone organization that has taught firearm safety in schools, and for law enforcement, and for military, and for children's organizations and family organizations around the country for 100 years. So once again, this poor pathetic individual is a liar." 5
Mike Lupica, writing in the New York Daily News, said:
Nugent ... is another who attacks the victims as those victims continue to be part of an uprising for gun sanity. It is the way elected officials are supposed to rise up, but can't, for fear of hitting their heads on the desks under which they're hiding. ..."
Nugent says he's the one feeling "sorry" for brave and eloquent teenagers who have the nerve to speak up about guns after watching a gun come through the doors of their school and slaughter their friends and classmates.
Nugent, who has so often been treated like some sort of serious political pundit in the louder, dumber precincts of the bullhorn media, thinks he has the right, in his own mouth-breathing way, to talk about the souls of these kids, about which he knows as much as he does about being an astronaut." 6
A visitor to the Fark.com web site posted a comment:
"Parkland school shooter is receiving a ton of fan mail in prison. Some items he's gotten are cleavage pictures, love letters, and a picture of a man driving a 1992 Nissan convertible. That car picture will surely make him reflect on his choices."
To which "Electricjebus" responded:
"... in a 300+ million population nation there are more than a few garden variety crazies who aren't yet wearing extra long sleeve jackets in a padded cell somewhere." 7
2018-APR-11: Parkland School District votes against arming teachers:
The State of Florida recently passed a school "safety" law that created the "Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program." It was named after football coach who was killed in Feb. 14 shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, FL.
School board officials are suggesting that the $67 million that the state allocated to arm teachers be redirected as additional funding for school resource officers:
Board member, Robin Bartleman, said:
"We should definitely launch a campaign to persuade the governor, for those districts who do not want to arm their employees, that they give us the money to keep kids safe in other ways."
Board member, Laurie Rich Levinson, said:
"I have not met one teacher or one student who is in favor of arming teachers in Broward County. I support arming and having these type of weapons only in the hands of our law enforcement officers." 8
2018-APR-11: Students hold pro-life/anti-abortion rallies, apparently inspired by the March for Our Lives:
Students for Life of America (SFLA) (a.k.a. Students for Life), a non-profit organization, held a "National Pro-life Walkout" on APR-11. 9 Their web site lists 191 high schools and 81 colleges where students has organized a walkout. Like the March for Our Lives on MAR-23, which advocated for gun control, the students walked out of their classes and observed 17 minutes of silence. During those 17 minutes, they estimated that Planned Parenthood would have conducted about 10 abortions. This number appears to be reasonably accurate, although the latest abortion statistics for the U.S. are for 2014, and the number of abortions has been declining since 2005. 10 Of the abortions conducted that day, about 92% were performed at 13 weeks gestation or less, 7% at 14 to 40 weeks gestation. About 1% were late-term abortions, conducted at 21 weeks gestation or later, at a time during pregnancy when many fetuses are viable. 10
The Students web site states:
"We will no longer tolerate legal abortion in our nation, which has killed more than a fourth of our generation. We will no longer watch as our leaders in Washington continue to fund our nation’s largest abortion vendor, Planned Parenthood, with more than $500 million of our taxpayer dollars. We will no longer permit Planned Parenthood and their allies in the abortion industry to target our peers for their predatory business cycle." 10
The current generation is referred to as "Generation Z." They were born between the years 1994 and 2010. At the time of the march, members of "Gen Z" would be 8 to 24 years of age, and currently range from Grade 3 students to recent college graduates. Mediakix estimates that, by 2020, within the US, Gen Z will number 84.7 million. 11
The Students for Life of America's estimate that abortions have killed more than 25% of their generation would imply that the average abortion rate exceeded 333 abortions per 1000 live births between 1994 and 2010. The 25% figure might be slightly inflated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the abortion ratio in 2014 was"
"... 186 abortions per 1,000 live births. ... From 2005 to 2014, the ... ratio of reported abortions ... decreased 21% [from 234 abortions per 1000 live births]" 12
The students' goals may be counterproductive. Most of Planned Parenthood activities are in the area of contraceptive education, and both STD and cancer detection. Zero government money supports abortion procedures at Planned Parenthood. If their clinics were defunded and closed, then the unwanted conception rate would significantly increase, as well as the abortion rate and number of abortions. Some suggest that a better way to reduce abortion rates would be to make comprehensive sex-education compulsory in the U.S.
Life Site News reported that the "Media ignores pro-life student walkout, while fully covering gun control walkout." They said:
"On Wednesday, the three broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) never once mentioned the pro-life walkout during their news shows on the night of the event, April 11. In contrast, the same evening shows devoted more than 10 minutes to the gun walkout the day it happened. ... the networks covered the March for Our Lives 13 times more than the pro-life March for Life."
Kristan Hawkins, the president of Students for Life of America, said:
"No one is surprised that media bias is so obvious when it comes to abortion. People who are passionate about the life issue, about mothers and their preborn infants, know that the media doesn't like to cover this human rights atrocity. ..."
"Most major media will pretend it didn't happen. They will hope, by their actions, to hide the reality that people care about lives lost to abortion just as they care about lives lost to gun violence." 13
2018-MAY-05: "Shine" sung by by Parkland FL students: Sawyer Garrity & Andrea Peña:
"Shine," was written and sung by Stoneman Douglas students Sawyer Garrity and Andrea Peña in response to the tragic shooting at their school on 2018-FEB-14 to inspire unity, hope, and change. MSD alum Brittani Kagan collaborated with students and faculty to create this music video to honor the victims and the school. All proceeds from downloads & views go to Shine MSD, a non-profit created by MSD families to support programs that provide healing through the arts. To donate, go to www.ShineMSD.org
2018-MAY-18: Santa Fe, TX: Another Mass school shooting.
Santa Fe is a city with about 15,000 people located about 20 miles northwest of Galveston and 30 miles southeast of Houston, TX.
Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, a student at Santa Fe High School allegedly entered an art class shortly before 8 AM, with his father's shotgun and.38 calibre revolver to murder substitute teacher Cynthia Tisdale and nine fellow students. A teacher activated the fire alarm to evacuate the building. Two law enforcement officers were wounded and a total of 13 individuals have been hospitalized. Pagourtzis has been charged with multiple capital murders and aggravated assault on a public servant. 15
Christian DuChateau, writing for CNN, said:
"Photos posted on Facebook on April 30, 2018 show [Pagourtzis wearing] a T-shirt emblazoned with the words, "BORN TO KILL," as well as a black duster jacket with Nazi, communist, fascist and religious symbols. Also, the background image of his profile page is the album cover of "Dangerous Days" by French electronic music artist "Perturbator." A song on that album is called "Humans Are Such Easy Prey."
A second person, believed to be an 18 year-old student, is in custody may be a accomplice but not a shooter.
Information found on Pagourtizis computer, cell phone, and diary indicated that he intended to kill himself after the attack. However, according to Governor Abbot:
"He gave himself up [because] he didn't have the courage to commit ... suicide."
An unidentified student said:
"He’s been picked on by coaches before for smelling bad and stuff like that and he doesn’t really talk to very many people, either. He keeps to himself. He wears a trench coat every day and it’s like 90 degrees out here. I heard that he wore a shirt today and it said ‘Born to Kill.’ I don’t even know how the school can allow that. ..."
"I think it’s stupid, the coaches can’t talk to students like that and make fun of them. That’s their fault, and strictly their fault. Not the kid’s fault, but their fault. No one has talked to him or tried to be nice to him." 18
Bombs made out of pipes and pressure cookers were found at the school.
Governor Greg Abbott (R) offered sympathies to the surviving victims. He deviated from the simple "thoughts and prayers" reaction heard so often from political leaders after similar recent mass murders. Instead, he said:
We need to do more than just pray for the victims and their families. It's time in Texas that we take action to step up and make sure this tragedy is never repeated ever again in the history of the state of Texas."
He plans to convene "roundtable discussions" later in the month that will bring together lawmakers and community members with a wide array of perspectives.
"Beginning immediately, I'm going to be working with members of the Texas Legislature but also members of our communities across the entire state of Texas, to begin with roundtable discussions beginning next week where we will assemble all stakeholders to begin to work immediately on swift solutions to prevent tragedies like this from ever happening again. ..."
"We want to hear from everybody who has an interest in what has happened today, so we can work together on putting together laws that will protect Second Amendment rights but at the same time ensure that our communities and especially our schools are safer places." 16
President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos commented on the shooting but are not reported as having suggested any specific action to prevent future mass murders.
Mike Rawlings (D), the Mayor of Dallas, made a comment to politicians who were not taking real action:
"Spare us your thoughts and prayers and do your job. ... History will not look kindly upon those elected officials who failed to act in the face of repeated mass murders of our children." 17
Art Acevedo, the Police Chief of Houston, TX posted a gun control statement on his Facebook page:
"I am not interested in your views as it pertains to [gun control]. Please do not post anything about guns aren’t the problem and there’s little we can do. My feelings won’t be hurt if you de-friend me and I hope yours won’t be if you decide to post about your views and I de-friend you.
The hatred being spewed in our country and the new norms we, so-called people of faith are accepting, is as much to blame for so much of the violence in our once pragmatic Nation.
This isn’t a time for prayers, and study and Inaction, it’s a time for prayers, action and the asking of God’s forgiveness for our inaction (especially the elected officials that ran to the cameras today, acted in a solemn manner, called for prayers, and will once again do absolutely nothing).
I have never accepted the status-quo in anything I do and I’ve never accepted defeat. And I won’t do it now. I will continue to speak up and will stand up for what my heart and my God commands me to do, and I assure you he hasn’t instructed me to believe that gun-rights are bestowed by him." 19
On MAY-17, the National Rifle Association (NRA) tweeted:
"#IDontTrustPeopleThat want to ban all guns, repeal ... [the Second Amendment], and/or infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear Arms."
On MAY-19, Jimmy Kimmel blamed the Santa Fe shooting on President Trump and U.S. lawmakers. He said:
"I’m getting very, very tired of this. ... Once again our leaders are sending their thoughts and prayers. President Trump said he is with the people of Santa Fe in this tragic hour and will be with them forever, except when it comes time to do something, then he will not be with them and neither will any of the congress people or governors who don’t ever do anything because they’re fearful it will hurt them politically. They know the truth. They know this has gone too far. But they’re too cowardly to do the right thing. They care more about the support of the NRA than they do about children. So they sit there, with their hands in their pockets, pockets that are full of gun money and they do nothing. They just wait for the outrage to pass because it didn’t happen to their children. There’s only one way to look at this. How would you feel and what would you do if these were your children?"
This is widely reported in the media as being the 18th school shooting during 2018. Although this number is accurate, it includes mass shootings, accidental shootings, suicides at school, and shootings on school property.
2018-JUN-03: Jimmy Fallon gives suprise speech at high school commencement:
The graduating seniors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL -- the location of a recent major school shooting -- were surprised by Jimmy Fallon, the host of the Tonight Show. He delivered the commencement speech. He urged students to move forward and:
"... don't let anything stop you. ... You are not just the future, you are the present. Keep changing the world. Keep making us proud. ... When something feels hard, remember that it gets better. Choose to move forward. Don't let anything stop you."
Members of four families received the graduation diplomas that had been earned by murder victims.
The death toll at the shooting totaled 14 students and 3 staff members. Seventeen others were wounded. Former student, Nikolas Cruz, 19, has been charged. 20