Friday, August 19, 2011

We’re still waiting, Gabrielle

Maybe I missed it.

Amid the scores of news stories about Gabrielle Giffords, I never saw one that reported on her making an apology to the families of Gabe Zimmerman, John Roll, Christiana Taylor Green, Dorothy Murray, Dorwan Stoddard, or Phyllis Schneck.

Nor has she been covered by the fawning media on her dozens of visits to the homes of the families of victims killed by handguns in Washington, D.C.

Maybe I missed it.

Once she was shot in Tucson on January 8 by a Glock 9mm semi-automatic handgun, with an extended chamber designed to hold 31 bullets, legally purchased, all we’ve had is the breathless media feeding on her condition: She’s alive! She’s opening one eye! She’s moving a finger! She’s called a press conference to denounce gun violence and go on the record for gun control! (Oh, sorry, that’s my fantasy version.)

In the melee of the daily (or was it hourly? seemed hourly) coverage of her recovery (aided by the best medical plan in the country that all members of the U.S. House and Senate receive, unlike yours and mine), the six people in the first paragraph were forgotten.

Scrolling past numerous articles headlined “the Giffords shooter,” it took me an incredible amount of searching on the Internet to find the names of the dead. And, after much more searching, I had to give up on finding the 13 (some said 14) non-Gabrielle wounded.  

The Giffords shooter? That’s in a headline from this week. Apparently, a member of Congress, though wounded, though a proud, loud owner of a Glock handgun, though a person who voted to throw out the District of Columbia’s ban on handguns, is so much more important than the “civilians” who were murdered. In a climate fostered by such gun nuts as Giffords.

To have voted to overturn the ban on handguns in D.C., one of our most dangerous cities for gun violence, agreeing with the majority of the U.S. Supreme Court (no surprise there) repulses me. She brags about it on her website, deliberately misinterpreting the Second Amendment, just as the Supreme Court deliberately misinterpreted it, to try to make it say something it never did.

Gabrielle is not to be deified. She is to be vilified.

Thanks to Giffords and her ilk, nine-year-old Christiana is dead. Shot by someone who had shown enough signs of mental instability that should have kept a driver’s license out of his hands, let alone a gun. I don’t know if he had a driver’s license but he, legally, purchased the Glock with its extended chamber. And the Glock itself, without a chamber, is known for its ability to immediately ready itself for another firing, as the moment one bullet leaves the chamber, heading for a child, another one is rotated in place, ready for the next kid. Or – much worse! – for a Glock-loving, gun-toting, NRA-owned member of Congress.

Of course, amid this sickening gun culture, Giffords was still one of those members of Congress that Vile Sarah Palin put in her “crosshairs” on VSP’s map of the U.S. as one of the “targets.” And, Giffords’ opponent in the latest primary, Republican Jesse Kelly, urged supporters to help remove Giffords by joining him to shoot a fully loaded M-16 rifle.  And the NRA, which I still consider her boss, has wrinkled its nose at Giffords’ record. This is someone who isn’t pro-gun enough?

M-16 Jesse never said to shoot her, nor did Vile. But, they were both this close to calling for such an act. And this fast to defend themselves after the murders of Zimmerman, Roll, Green, Murray, Stoddard, and Schneck and the wounding of the Unknown, Expendable Thirteen.

The Tucson sheriff said Arizona had become the “mecca for prejudice and bigotry,” Thanks, Giffords, for helping make that possible! (She’s also anti-immigrant. Interesting how often that’s paired with pro-gun.)

And, also thanks to Giffords, a growing number of mothers and fathers in D.C. mourn, as you read this, of the deaths of their sons and daughters by someone with a handgun. Until Giffords proudly voted, and the Supreme Court acted, handguns had been outlawed by the D.C. government. But the feds stomped harshly, yet again, with the hard heels of their boots on the lives of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who pay federal taxes, but have no voting representation in the House or Senate a.k.a. the residents of the nation’s capital.

Following this slaughter in Tucson, President Obama forgot to call for an end to gun violence and to the outlawing of all handguns that, without exception, are intended to be used for murder. A semi-automatic is legal? Really? One with an extended chamber is legal? Really? Hell yes, says Giffords proudly. Every member of the U.S. House and Senate also forgot to call for an end to gun violence. 

And, the media, in its mad race to be the first to report on Giffords’ medical condition, somehow forgot, too. Perhaps I missed those print editorials about getting rid of guns or the TV coverage that laid the blame on the Tucson shooting not just in the hands of a deranged person, but on the fact that he could buy a weapon that should not exist. I’m afraid the media, with rare exception, forgot to blame the guns. 

So, since Congress, the White House, and the media are in bed with the NRA, it’s up to us.

Giffords, those six families in Tucson, the 13 families of the wounded who also grieve, and scores of families in D.C. are waiting for your visit and private apology. We’re all waiting for your public denouncement of guns and the apology you owe all of us. Let’s see if that would even make the nightly news. If so, the brief mention would be trapped between stories of mass shootings here and mass shootings there, the staple of nightly news, local and national.

Gabrielle, the dead, the wounded, and the rest of us are waiting for your apology.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Take Back His Nobel Peace Prize

It is astounding when a warmonger receives the Nobel Peace Prize.

No such distinction should be awarded to the person who makes one error after another in international affairs, creates havoc and a rain of death upon innocents, with arrogance and a complete disdain for the resulting massive loss of life, destruction of cities, and countryside laid to waste. Those who turn ploughshares into swords should receive our condemnation, not our accolades.

I am still angry. It was a gross injustice. The Peace Prize is sometimes puzzling. (While the announcement of the awarding of the Nobel Prize for Literature so often is met with “Who?”, the Peace Prize can make us recoil and cry, “Why?”)

He was embarrassingly ineligible to earn what should be an honor for major global initiatives and/or for a life’s work on behalf of peace.   

He gloats, knowing he did, indeed, have it both ways, even though he never fooled many of us. He got his wars, spreading terror and death across a growing number of Asian countries, overtly and covertly. Our young soldiers, if not cannon fodder sacrificed to “American interests,” returned home with shattered lives and limbs. Families grieve still. We left on their own soil a horrendous number of dead and maimed adults and children. Little girls with legs blown off and little boys left headless from American firepower.  And all for naught. The other side’s objectives were met. We were defeated. We fled.

In spite of the horrors we continually create on the international stage, sometimes even engineered by Nobel laureates, our government pretends to puzzle over why our foreign policy produces martyrs willing to avenge these cruelties.

It is not too late to take the historic, but belated step of rescinding his Nobel Peace Prize. Let it be done while he’s still alive. He won’t live much longer, resting comfortably in his Georgetown home, surrounded by his luxuries bought with the blood of so many. Leaving his books and Cognac and fancy furniture, he is limousined to studios to be interviewed as an “expert,” called upon by ignorant or uncaring media who actually think Henry Kissinger was a diplomatic success story, that he is now a respected, elder statesman. But many of us know better.  

Probably, he is able to sleep each night, un-conscience, having such sweet dreams, uninterrupted by screams of remembrance.

 And, Barack Obama, give back yours, too.