It's hard for me to respond compassionately to Lori Alhadeff's heartbreaking appeal to President Donald Trump to "do something" following the mass shooting which killed 17 Americans in Florida, including her 14-year-old daughter.
Only a political neophyte could possibly cling to the illusion that Trump and his fellow toxic elites are advancing the greater good. Instead of enriching themselves in the last days of a fading American empire.
We are stricken with several generations of Country Club Commandos right now who take pleasure in the suffering of working Americans and are drunk on their ability to profit from investments in the current high-speed trading climate on Wall Street. They're all about establishing themselves as the planet's new hereditary royals. Not making sacrifices for the greater good or leading by example.
That is neither the Republican truth nor the Democratic truth. It is the painful truth.
Sadly, tens of millions of decent, hardworking people just like Alhadeff unwittingly facilitate American deaths at home and overseas every day when they embrace the comforting lies and half truths of the propaganda machines controlled by these toxic elites. Like Fox News.
They do this by turning a blind eye to the suffering of their peers and the painfully obvious decay of the Republican and Democratic parties.
It's incredibly rare for the Come to Jesus Moment of these poor dupes to be publicly captured with the aching clarity that it was on Thursday, when a grieving Alhadeff screamed into a CNN microphone shortly after planning her child's funeral.
"President Trump, please do something," the heartbroken mom pleaded. "Do something. Action. We need it now. These kids need safety now."
As if Trump is a real man or even a bonafide leader. Instead of a five-time draft evader, gun lobby sellout, and lifelong con artist who is hip deep in the looting of America.
Painful Truth No. 9.8956 Gazillion: Trump is rich garbage and he ain't gonna do a goddamn thing for anyone with less than $10 million in the bank. Only a fool would think otherwise.
Sorry, I know the truth hurts, but we simply cannot afford any more of the comforting lies emanating from the corrupt Republican and Democratic political machines. The only way to save our democracy and give our kids a shot at the American Dream is to embrace painful truths again.
Trump is the same fake tough guy who signed a bill last year upending a laudable liberal prohibition on firearm sales to the mentally ill. It was enacted in response to a school shooting in New Town, Conn, which killed 27 Americans in 2012. Most of them toddlers.
Another heartbroken parent was photographed outside a Florida hospital wearing a Trump 2020 T-Shirt and searching for his 18-year-old daughter, who also died in the 30th mass shooting of 2018. He looked like the kind of guy with a safe full of firearms at home who enjoys vilifying people like me as "libtards," "bleeding hearts" and "snowflakes" because we care about others.
You get the feeling these grieving parents just didn't think the bad things they see on TV would ever happen to them. As if they were watching entertainment instead of news.
That's a great question.
One that literally boggles the mind. So much for the Golden Rule and the idea we're all in this thing called "life" together as Americans.
It's increasingly clear that Wingnuts have become a breed apart, which revels in the suffering of other Americans.
The painful truth is that some reflexive rule followers are simply too stupid to live in a modern world where toxic elites habitually lie to the masses. These intellectual weaklings are unwilling or unable to separate the lies of The Predatory 1 Percent and their "news" organizations from the painful truths of Progressive publications like The Cynical Times.
The political activists and market cheerleaders posing as journalists at places like Fox, CNBC, The New York Post, Gannett and Breitbart are lying to these gullible Americans and they're lapping it up. Solely because the comforting lies give them a sense of superiority and security.
It's like a political form of natural selection.
These useful idiots never seem to wonder why the poor and middle class are invisible in the media until a mass shooting like this; how billionaires and millionaires can represent the rest of us in our so-called "representative democracy;" or who elected our nation to be the world's policeman.
America is in the process of being hollowed out by predatory corporations like Apple, Goldman Sachs, and Apollo Global Management. Everything is for sale. From free speech to elected office to the safety of our children. Sending Iowa farmboys to kill uneducated hillbillies in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea, Iraq, Somalia and Niger isn't going to change that.
Shares of Smith & Wesson, which built the AR-15 military-style assault rifle used in the Florida shooting, rose 16 cents the day after the massacre to $10.90 each.
Pity, Trump didn't suspend trading for a week out of respect for the victims and their families. The corporate champion, who just gave Wall Street a huge tax break, was too busy sending the masses "thoughts and prayers."
School shootings, political corruption, and domestic terrorism are a great combination for the firearms industry, whose members make a habit of legally bribing the political hookers in D.C.
How much is too much?
There is no such thing among the publicly traded corporations of Wall Street. If they make record profits one year they have to make even more the next or risk losing investors and being sued under our current legal code.
Incredibly, that dynamic dictates a downward spiral of more mass shootings for the firearms industry and their ruthless political protectors.
I shit you not.
The National Rifle Association alone has spent more than $22.9 million on direct political lobbying since 1989, according to The Open Secrets website. It contributed another $27 million in outside money during the 2014 election cycle and a further $54.3 million in the 2016 election cycle.
What does the gun lobby get for that kind of legal bribery?
You're living it. It's called terror in the streets.
Mass shootings are profitable for political hookers like Trump, who sell political protection to the highest bidder. He took in $969,138 from the firearms lobby during the 2016 presidential race and was endorsed by the National Rifle Association. Trump claims he and his sons are longtime NRA members.
So, it's a safe bet that Trump works for the gun lobby. Not for decent working people like Alhadeff.
"We're getting rid of gun-free zones, I can tell you," Trump said during the 2016 election.
He also delivered the keynote address to the annual NRA convention in April 2017, two months after assuming the presidency.
"The eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end," Trump said at the convention. "You have a true friend and champion in the White House."
It's not stretching the truth to say Trump personally profited from the political climate which killed Alhadeff's daughter by insulating the firearms industry from accountability and encouraging the Right to use violence.
Clearly, she had no idea who she was addressing.
"President Trump, you say 'what can you do?' " Alhadeff said. "You can stop the guns from getting into these children's hands... You can do a lot. This is not fair to our families."
Uh, yeah, no. That's not going to happen.
Too many hardworking Americans just like Alhadeff continue to believe we still elect real leaders in this nation - which recorded 2,239 wounded and 437 dead in mass shootings in 2017 - instead of scoundrels.
Guess how many people died in terrorist attacks in Israel during the same period?
The answer is 20. That's means 22 Americans were killed in mass shootings in 2017 for every Israeli killed by terrorists in a bellicose nation surrounded by potential enemies.
Think about that for just a second.
Unlike Israel, we are surrounded by friendly nations on every border. So why are our people dying in such great numbers here at home?
Because we're besieged by internal enemies.
The weapon of choice in U.S. mass shootings continues to be the AR-15.
In addition to being used in Florida yesterday the civilian variant of the M-16 assault rifle was also employed in the mass shooting that wounded 58 and killed 12 in Aurora, Colorado, in June 2012; the elementary school shooting which killed 27 in Newtown, Conn., in December 2012; the Orlando nightclub shooting that killed 49 and wounded 50 in June 2016; the Las Vegas shooting that killed 58 and wounded 851 in October; and the Texas church shooting that claimed 26 lives in November 2017.
Gee, it sure is a good thing we're "winning" The War on Terror overseas given all the Americans being killed by mentally unhinged neighbors here at home. I know I'm stoked.
When does it stop?
When you stop voting for scoundrels, stop treating firearms like fashion accessories, and stop making them look like toys. Case in point, this pink Hello Kitty pistol.
What child would ever imagine that it drills holes through skulls?
There are an estimated 300 million firearms in American hands, which is far more than any other nation on Planet Earth and double the number we had in the mythical "good old days" of 1968. Our society was also coming apart at the seams back then due to the combination of needless wars, corporate greed, and the innate cruelty of reflexive rule followers.
That equates to a per capita ownership rate of one firearm for each of the 323 million people who live in the USA today.
Not one firearm per adult, mind you, but one per American. Meaning each of the toddlers shredded in Newtown and each of the teens gunned down in Florida by a 19-year-old classmate who had recently been suspended from school for being a dick.
Firearms are not just for shooting other people. They're also the leading cause of suicide.
According to the latest suicide data from The Centers for Disease Control, 42,826 Americans took their own lives in 2010 and firearms accounted for 21,386 of them.
The vast majority of those self killers are Wingnuts, who often own dozens of firearms each. Losers like the lonely stags of Open Carry Texas, who are so desperate for attention and personal affirmation they open carry loaded assault rifles into restaurants and grocery stores. But not into combat zones or rough neighborhoods where these posers would have to fight for their own survival.
Might as well hang a sign around your neck that says "I Like to Pretend I'm Kind of a Somebody."
The firearms suicide rate is roughly the same as the death rate for the MRSA super bug pandemic. And with any luck it will one day surpass the 37,000 annual deaths in U.S. auto accidents.
Meaning that if self preservation is an instinct you possess as a Wingnut you need to stop voting for rich liars and stop buying firearms. Lest they help you personally fulfill the old United Negro College Fund mantra about a brain being "a terrible thing to waste."
Republicans are going to try to ride out this political storm of public outrage as they did after the bloodlettings in Las Vegas and Newtown.
Alhadeff is fairly attractive, which means Trump is going to want to have his photo taken consoling her. His staffers are already checking to see if she's "manageable," as in willing to compromise her own grief to curry favor with a world famous imbecile.
Look for Trump to send some emergency funds to Florida to pay for more metal detectors and police in schools, create a Blue Ribbon Panel to study the problem of school shootings, and pass some Wingnut stupidity like a counter-productive law allowing teachers to carry firearms on school property.
What he and Congress will not do is pass any law enacting meaningful restrictions on assault rifle sales by their paymasters in the firearms industry.
The visible suffering of white Republican voters in Florida is likely to impact Trump's dismal approval rating a lot more than a similar mass shooting in a Blue State, or in an inner city school. If for no other reason than because those of us with a clue already despise this charlatan.
I would not be surprised to see Trump's approval rating finally sink below 30 percent this week.
The Wall Street sellouts of the Democratic political crime family will try to capitalize on this tragedy by presenting their Republican competitors as mean-spirited, while simultaneously insulating their own Wall Street patrons in banking and healthcare from accountability and meaningful reform.
What joy, huh?
The painful truth is that our kids are dying needlessly overseas because our military empire is profitable for defense contractors like Halliburton and General Dynamics. And they're dying needlessly here at home because it's profitable for firearms manufacturers, healthcare, finance and corrupt politicians.
What's the answer?
Step No. 1: Stop voting Democrat or Republican until they cease these political protection rackets and start giving us middle class candidates who are willing to rein in Wall Street greed.
That means no more for-profit medicine, no payday lending, no off-shoring of American jobs, no more for-profit colleges, no charter schools, and no assault rifles in civilian hands. It also means limiting corporate money in politics by upending the Citizens United ruling and voting for Independent candidates like Bernie Sanders, Progressives, and Democratic Socialists (think Sweden, Germany and France - not Russia.)
Step No. 2: Stop treating news as entertainment and stop watching lying programs like Fox News. We need to resurrect the Fairness Doctrine which required equal time for all political viewpoints, breakup Facebook, and rebuild our free press by getting private equity out of news.
Step. No. 3: It's time to get business out of government. We get enough of the Profits-Over-People crowd at work. That means upgrading misleading economic indicators like "unemployment" and imposing nationalized medicine to bring an end to the systemic age discrimination now in vogue in the private sector.
Step No. 4: We need to impose a tax on high speed trading to keep investors from suffocating healthy companies pursuing stable growth. Then we need to change the fiduciary duty provision in our corporate laws so executives are required to maximize long-term profit growth, instead of short-term profit growth.
Step No. 5: We need to reverse the Citizens United coup by global monied interests. This 2010 Supreme Court ruling marginalized the masses by enabling the super rich to make unlimited anonymous donations to our corrupt elected officials.
Finally, it means doing your due diligence as an active participant in this democracy by researching candidates and issues on your own. Instead of waiting for someone like me to tell you how to think.
Workers should have a proper sense of urgency about what's going on in this country right now, because all is not well. Social chaos and forever war are not part of our normal economic and political cycles. Neither are the royal aspirations of the Predatory 1 Percent.
Bottom line, the U.S. is going down the tubes and our kids are already paying the price for our failure to safeguard the American Dream
We've failed them. That's why so many of them are dead, unemployed, saddled with student debt, and protesting in the streets for a chance at a decent life.
We have to own up to this painful truth before we can be the change we long to see. Time is running out.
The author is the owner of a registered firearm. He does does not engage in concealed carry or open carry; does not purchase extended magazines or silencers; does not own a semi-automatic or automatic weapon; does not play Dress-Up GI Joe; and does not fantasize about gunning down his fellow Americans.