Friday, April 5, 2013

Gun Crazy

Yesterday, I read an article about Liberty University considering a rule to allow the carrying of guns on campus and in classrooms.  Liberty University is the Rev. Jerry Falwell's creation and of course it is a Bible college.  I find it quite paradoxical that a religious institution would endorse the carrying of instruments of death on its campus.  I also find it ludicrous that ministers around the country are allying themselves with the NRA in this over the top era of gun craziness.  I cannot imagine attending a college class where the students are "carrying."  Even worse, I cannot imagine teaching a college class where the students are "carrying." 

Americans have become obsessed with guns and the mistaken idea that carrying a weapon makes one safe.  In reality it probably makes one less safe, because it induces a bravado that otherwise wouldn't reveal itself.  I have heard more than one person remark, after hearing of a shooting, that they surely wished they had been there.  They would have handled it with their trusty sidearm.  Yeah, cowboy, you would have handled it all right.  Probably directly into the grave.  You aren't a character in that book you just read or the movie you saw on TV last night. More friends and relatives are killed by these gunslingers than bad guys.

Carrying a weapon does not guarantee safety.  Ask all of those police officers, who have died in recent years. Ask the officer in Mississippi or the sheriff in West Virginia both of  whom died a couple of days ago.. A shooter may be able to consistently make head shots on the range, but the target doesn't shoot back  That target also doesn't carry a fully automatic assault rifle with a high capacity magazine.  When those rounds start flying in a college classroom or hallway, the armed student will be diving for cover and wetting his pants, hoping his gun doesn't go flying across the room, when he fumbles to get it out of the holster.  If he's lucky he'll survive at least for a moment or two.  Long enough to pray if he is so inclined.

The NRA, the mouthpiece of the gun manufacturing industry, spews its propaganda to work paranoid gun owners into a frenzy of weapons and ammo buying.  The government is coming to take your guns it says.  Yet the government has never advocated such nor will it. Who profits?  The NRA and the gun manufacturers.  I have friends who hang on every word that NRA publishes and will defend that organization, it seems, to the death.  Common sense be hanged.

In recent years there has been an increasing number of young children, spouses, and others who have died at the hands of a family member.  On an almost weekly basis one reads of the death of a child at the hands of another child.  A husband kills a wife whom he mistakes for a burglar, or a father kills a son or daughter for the same reason.  A father kills a son with a gun he thought was empty or that he was "cleaning."  It is an epidemic.  Teenagers, mimicking adults, carry guns around the neighborhood gunning for someone who "dissed" them.

The country has become a killing field.  At the current rate, gun deaths will soon outnumber deaths from automobile accidents.  Yet, we require licensing  and registration of automobiles and drivers and education and testing is required in order to receive a license to operate an automobile.  In most states one can purchase a gun with no requirements for education or testing.  Background checks are required for the purchase of a gun, but only if one purchases it from a store.  Large numbers of weapons are sold at gun shows throughout the country with no background checks whatsoever.  Preachers, politicians, and gun owners decry the regulation of firearms, yet they readily succumb to the regulation of automobiles and the licensing of drivers.

I don't know where this will end.  What I do know is that common sense has been thrown out the window as far as firearms are concerned.  Thousands of adults, teens, and children are being slaughtered throughout this country each year with firearms, and there is little concern.  "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."  People with guns kill people and with guns they can and do kill large numbers of people in a very few minutes.  We are crazy about our guns, but we could care less about our fellow humans.    

Friday, November 11, 2011

Heman Cain's Wedgies

As the GOP road show for the presidential nomination continues to unfold I have tried to analyze Herman Cain's support, which continues to remain strong regardless of the gaffes, the scandals, and the lack of real substance. What is it about this man that demands such support from a segment of the voting public? His supporters appear to be primarily those who attach themselves to the so-called tea party group. Yet, this group has generally shown itself to be quite racist and not one that would easily support an African American. So why would those of this ilk be so supportive?

A few days ago I was involved in a debate thread on a friend's Facebook page, concerning Cain. A self proclaimed tea bagger and Cain supporter suddenly lifted a comment out of context and went on a rant about the writer's anti-semitism. The other commenters, like myself, were astounded because the rant was totally off topic and seemingly made no sense. The writer stated that he was a dues paying member of two or three pro-Jewish/Israel organizations, although a Christian himself. He tried to equate the Occupy Movement with Naziism. He went on to say that most tea bagger supporters of Cain are also very pro-Israeli.

Since several of the writer's comments about Cain had been quite racist, although he defended Cain at the same time, I had been confused. Why would such a person support an African American candidate so ardently? Once he went off about anti-semitism the clouds began to clear. Cain has been very outspoken about his extremist anti-Muslim feelings. In recent years, extremist Christians have gravitated toward support for Israel as they have perceived a Muslim threat toward Christianity. As recently as 60 years ago, right wing Christan's would have quietly nodded approval of the bombing of Jewish temples. Today support for Israel is a part of their vehement anti-Muslim hatred.

Hatred of Muslims easily trumps the Cain negatives. Sexual harassment, a lack of knowledge of economics, world politics and U.S. History, even his moderate statements on abortion, and the fact that Cain is an African American pale in comparison to the threat that Islam poses to this country in their minds. Tea Party pols throughout the country have proposed anti Sharia legislation in their state legislatures as they continue to fight that windmill. Although he has retreated a bit from his harsh anti-Muslim statements, Cain continues to be the only Republican candidate, who has spoken to the hearts of those who would rid the country of all things Muslim. In the fog of their hatred of Islam they would like nothing better than to have their man, regardless of his race or his lack of substance, in the White House with his hand on the button that could vanquish Islam with the stroke of a pen.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Cancer of the Southern Baptist Convention

This article appeared in the Atlanta Journal this weekend. Shorter University has always been a respected institution of higher learning in Georgia, but now, under the iron fisted rule of the now right wing Southern Baptist Convention, it may very well begin losing its prestigious standing. "Pledges" have become the weapon of choice for right wing nuts to use against their followers to attempt to keep them under "control." They mean little, but easily serve as a tool of retribution against anyone who might fall out of favor.

This kind of regressive thinking is beginning to permeate the SBC and its institutions of higher learning. Some very prestigious schools, including Wake Forest and, Mercer Universities, have managed to assert their independence from this cancer that is spreading fast. Others, like Shorter haven't been so fortunate. A relative of mine, a science professor, was recently terminated from a position at a small SBC school in southern GA, as the school fights for its life amidst a switch from liberal arts to the hard line Bible rhetoric that the SBC is adopting. A nearby small Baptist school recently touted its new creationist research center.

It will probably be only a matter of time before these schools adopt even harsher codes of conduct, prompting students to begin reporting on each other and staff. Even worse they will begin witch hunts to "cleanse" gays and lesbians from the campus, along with anyone else that they determine to be a "non Christian."

It is sad to see good institutions fall under the spell of such Dark Ages thinking. In the end the institution will be the loser along with graduates, who may very well become ashamed to admit being an alumnus.