Living Large in Carson City – Wacko Gun Nut Edition

Huffington Post has an article up that is both frightening and revealing of the American mindset when it comes to how ordinary citizens and the media view gun violence. The article, 80 Dead, talks about how Americans have become inured to the reality of the number of people killed on a daily basis in states across the country. With the latest mass murder in Isla Vista where six young people lost their lives at the hands of the disturbed young man, Elliot Rodger, the nation became fixated on the latest of a long line of tragedies. The article’s authors note that in today’s world of mass killings, the media tends to gravitate to high profile shootings that carry national news interest. Yet, as they note, this tendency tends to play down the severity of the issue of gun violence:

“But instances such as the one at UC Santa Barbara are rare in respect to gun-related homicides. In fact, FBI data shows that there were 900 people who died in mass shootings from 2006 through 2012. By contrast, firearms were used in 11,078 homicides in 2010 alone, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

The article graphically details the fact that in the week preceding Rodger’s rampage eighty people across the nation died from gunshot wounds with a detailed list of a state by state tally (California and New Orleans the leaders). This goes on week after week, yet the media still ignores the cumulative impact these numbers have on society and families across the country. So, why do “high profile” incidents get the lion’s share of national coverage? The article states,

“And for those on the frontline of the gun control debate, it’s a bit of a head-scratcher as to how the press tends to cover instances of violence.

There’s a grim calculus in the heads of journalists about what makes a shooting newsworthy,” said Mark Glaze, executive director of the Bloomberg-backed Everytown for Gun Safety. “The total number killed and injured tends to be variable one. The role of young people as perpetrators or victims is a close number two.” Glaze argued that press coverage was actually becoming more comprehensive, with reporters “actually paying more attention to the 33 daily gun murders in America than they did five or 10 years ago.”

That may be true. But, unlike with Rodger’s killing spree, there was no national news coverage for the killings in New Orleans. Indeed, unless the shooting involved an athlete or a TV star, the only media that covered gun-related killings the week before Rodger took up arms was in the communities affected.”

The FBI designates a mass murder as four or more killings in a contained area where the deaths can be attributed to one or more gunmen, as opposed to serial killings which can cover a good deal of time and range far afield. When children are thrown into the mix as occurred in Sandy Hook or young people in the case of Virginia Tech, the “gruesome” effect hits home to a greater number of citizens who are more likely to relate to the loss of their own children.

Yet, eighty people died nationwide the week before Rodger gunned down (and knifed) six people in his horrific killing spree. This begs the question of what have we become as a society when we allow the deaths of so many to go unnoticed, yet stayed glued to the television set to see the airing of a madman’s manifesto and hear the latest spin pundits put on his actions.

This is not to say that the six dead students and their families do not deserve all of the heartfelt pity and empathy our society can offer. They, like the eighty anonymous souls lost across the nation the week before, are victims of a society that sensationalizes the big picture, yet turns a blind eye to the microcosm of our inner cities and small town tragedies that happen every day, day in day out, year after year.

So, it goes. Yet, the gun nuts, NRA and pro-gun lobbyists won’t be moved to enact sensible gun regulations. They are often too busy being kicked out of restaurants for showing up armed to the teeth to exercise their First Amendment right to bear arms, even when they scare the hell out of families and their children who have to sit in booths directly across from them.

Then there is Joe the Plumber, and his open letter to the families of the victims of Elliot Rodger. In the letter he stated:

“I am sorry you lost your child. I myself have a son and daughter and the one thing I never want to go through, is what you are going through now. But:

As harsh as this sounds – your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.”

“Your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights” – How comforting that must sound to the families of the dead students as they bury them to say nothing about eighty other families across the country dealing with the loss of their loved ones.


Living Large Watching Ted Cruz Take a Lickin’ . . . by his own kind, no less


Image from the Huffington Post

In regard to my previous post about Ted Cruz’s wildly false accusations that the Dems would try to repeal the First Amendment last week, here is what some Texas voters and an Internet site had to say about the fibber Cruz:

John Coby

And here:

Right Wing Watch

Cruz may think that no one actually listens to what he has to say. For the most part, this  is probably true except for a select few Tea Party diehards. However, most people of this ilk are smart enough to understand that statements like the ones Cruz made about this issue, not only harm their cause, but sadly, make them look like supporters of buffoons with little relevance on the national political playing field. 

If past performance is any indication (Politifact), this isn’t the end of Cruz’s outlandish statements. With a dearth of ideas, his only hope is to grasp at straws by making idiotic statements to call attention to himself. This probably worked for him in grade school, but it’s time he grew up and shut up or start telling the truth. 

Living Large in Carson City and Ted Cruz’s Idiotocracy

Ted Cruz drops bombshell: Senate Democrats to ‘repeal the First Amendment’ this year (via Raw Story )

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) drew audible gasps Thursday when he told gathering of Christian conservatives that Democrats intended to amend the Constitution to limit free speech. “When you think it can’t get any worse, it does,” Cruz warned at the Watchmen…

Continue reading Living Large in Carson City and Ted Cruz’s Idiotocracy

Living Large with Scofflaw Cliven Bundy

On Delusions, Terrorists and Old White Guys with Racists Views

Nevadans and Americans across the country have done a lot of head scratching and ruminating over the Cliven Bundy spectacle playing out in southwestern Nevada over the past couple of weeks. For most sane people, it comes down to a cut and dried case of a cantankerous, old codger of a scofflaw refusing to pay fees for the right to graze his cattle on BLM land unlike his fellow ranchers. The facts show this is the case. End of story, right? Everyone knows the answer to that one. In the wake of the BLM/Bundy encounter, however, Bundy has proven himself to be a liar, cheat, and bigoted racist.

On the issue of lying, The Nation magazine ran a story titled, On Cliven Bundy’s ‘Ancestral Rights’ which stated:

Bundy has repeatedly trumpeted his “ancestral rights” to have his cattle graze on land administered by the federal Bureau of Land Management without paying taxes for the past twenty years. “My forefathers,” he has said, “have been up and down the Virgin Valley here ever since 1877. All these rights that I claim have been created through pre-emptive rights and beneficial use of the forage and the water and the access and range improvements.” A simple search of Clark county property records by KLAS-TV, a Las Vegas television station, however, revealed that his family had purchased the ranch in 1948 and had only begun grazing cattle on it in 1954—eight years after the founding of the BLM. KLAS reporters also received a map from the Moapa band of Paiute Indians showing how the land the Bundy ranch is on was promised to them by federal treaty. The Nation

So, with the ancestral rights myth debunked, the lying charge seems valid. As to the cheating charge, The Washington Post’s Jamie Fuller wrote an excellent article titled “Everything you need to know about the long fight between Cliven Bundy and the federal government” in which Fuller begins in 1989 and traces the circuitous path from regulation to confrontation in April of this year. One line, however, sums up Bundy’s dilemma. Fuller writes, “Bundy has repeatedly been fined for grazing his cattle on the protected land, fines he has not paid since 1993. The Bureau of Land Management, which oversees about 800 grazing areas in Nevada, responded by revoking his permit. Bundy has not applied for a new one.Washington Post: Fuller So, yes, Bundy is a cheat.

As for the issue of  Bundy’s racist comments, they are what they are and dredging them up seems silly at this point when the news cycle is awash with the ignorant remarks of Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, that came to light earlier this week. Did some celestial event occur that caused old white men to suddenly forget the Civil Rights Movement’s successes over the past fifty years? If readers need confirmation of Bundy’s Neanderthal views on race, go to Business Insider for details.

So, the saga of Cliven Bundy really comes down to an old, egocentric white man willing to sully the name of his family, cheat the government and racially offend people he only sees occasionally on their doorsteps from the window of his pickup when he goes to Las Vegas. Case closed? Not by a long shot.

The real issue, and the most frightening and serious one, can be found in an article by Paul Waldman of the Washington Post. Waldman reveals statements Bundy made like this gem as highlighted in the article:

The fundamental fact of the case is that Bundy was stealing from the federal government. Whether you think the government shouldn’t own so much land in Nevada, or whether you think grazing fees are unfair, you can’t just decide, as Bundy did, that you’ll send your cattle on to government land to graze, then refuse to pay the fees. That’s what Bundy has been doing for a couple of decades, because, as he said in another interview, “I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing.” The Washington Post Waldman

Okay, liar, cheat, racist and delusional anarchist seems like a dubious resume to hold forth to the world. If we consider Andy Warhol’s statement, “In the future everyone will have their fifteen minutes of fame”, Bundy must be pushing the clock around 14:58 in his fifteen minutes of fame allotment. It would seem so in a sane world, but this is Nevada after all.

The almost instant materialization of a ban of wacked out, homegrown militia types at the Bundy ranch just prior to the BLM confrontation, however, has extended the Bundy story further than it should have been. Bundy can believe what he likes about the United States, but when armed homegrown terrorist begin drawing down on federal officials from the tops of overpasses, things got a lot weirder. These are the type of people who brought us Randy Weaver and Ruby Ridge, the Branch Davidian’s Waco debacle, and the Oklahoma bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building courtesy of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, two homegrown terrorist not unlike those now squatting on the Bundy ranch land right now.

On April 30 the Associated Press carried this story, Congressman says armed militia scaring residents near Bundy ranch. Reports of armed militia thugs setting up road blocks to interrogate locals about their “right” to be in the neighborhood are disturbing and unsettling to say the least. The congressman referred to in the article, Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford, asked the local sheriff to investigate the allegations to determine if facts on the ground supported them. Here is the Sheriff’s department response to Horsford’s inquiry from the article as printed by the Standard-Examiner of Ogden, Utah:

A spokeswoman for Clark County Sheriff Douglas Gillespie said Tuesday that while police are looking into Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford’s request, there hasn’t been a criminal allegation to investigate.

“We would need a victim to come forward and file a complaint,” said Officer Laura Meltzer, department spokeswoman. AP/S-E

All Americans should be tripping over themselves to be the first to step forward. The presence of people like the terrorists supporting Bundy are both offensive and a threat to our American way of life. The actions of Bundy and his ilk are not to be taken lightly and affect us all. The fact that these wackos have gotten so much press is both galling and depressing. America should not, and cannot, allow disaffected and armed terrorist the opportunity to push America farther down the road to a fragmented society. The old saying, “United we stand, divided we fall” has never been more true.