Strawberry picking!

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Gays, guns, and Islam.

I’m mad; no, I’m fucking furious about mass shootings in the USA. They keep happening, they keep getting worse, and politicians keep doing nothing. I really get upset with corrupted people being stupid… and I’m not talking about the shooters. This time is different because for once I have real hope.

After Columbine I saw Michael Moore’s flick, Bowling for Columbine. It painted a pretty bleak picture of the state of gun control in the USA, the NRA’s strangle hold on Washington, and the systemic brain washing of the citizenry. I didn’t think a lot could be done. Marilyn Manson summed it all up best when he said

… nobody said ‘well maybe the President had an influence on this violent behaviour’, because that’s not the way the media wants to take it and spin it, and turn it into fear, because then you’re watching television, you’re watching the news, you’re being pumped full of fear, there’s floods, there’s AIDS, there’s murder, cut to commercial, “buy the Acura”, “buy the Colgate”, if you have bad breath they’re not going to talk to you, if you have pimples, the girl’s not going to fuck you, and it’s just this campaign of fear, and consumption, and that’s what I think it’s all based on, the whole idea of ‘keep everyone afraid, and they’ll consume.’

I like to pretend the end of that quote was “consume guns” but it wasn’t. I assume that it is true. Fear begets fear and when you’re afraid you buy a gun.

Then there was Virginia Tech, that guy who terrorized a movie theatre, that african-american church group, yada yada yada, the list goes ever on and on.

Shit! I just remembered my former coworker Josette didn’t go in to work overtime one Saturday in Philadelphia and she was glad she didn’t because someone the owner owed money to came in and shot her entire office dead.

In every case all it took was a vigil, thoughts and prayers, and a couple of weeks to let everyone forget. That’s just life in the USA, par-for-the-course as they say.

When Sandy Hook happened I remember people saying this is the time because children were murdered in their classrooms! I was pretty sure that wasn’t the time either and I was right. Paid-off politicians dodge gun control questions like logs of shit lobbed straight at their heads.

Now the world is talking about this nightclub shooting in Orlando and it feels different to me. This time it was a perfect storm. It was an american born muslim with ties to ISIS/ISIL and an Afghanistan heritage. He was a suspected terrorist. The weapon was an AR-15 assault rifle. It’s an election year.The GOP has been usurped this election cycle by Donald Trump. It was an LGBT nightclub. Let me break down each of these details and why they matter:

  • It’s beneficial that it was an american born muslim because it makes clear that citizenship and immigration are not the problem and walls or prejudicial immigration policy won’t fix a damn thing.
  • It’s beneficial the shooter had ties to Afghanistan and ISIL/ISIS and a suspected terrorist because he ended up on the FBI’s radar and no-fly list and was still able to buy an AR-15. President Obama talked about this specific flaw in US defense against terrorism less than two weeks before the shooting.
  • It’s beneficial that it was an AR-15 assault rifle because those weapons have no other purpose than to mow people down like wheat and are the most in need of a restricted or banned classification.
  • It’s beneficial that it’s an election year because it forces the presumptive nominees to address the problem if not deal with it immediately.
  • It’s beneficial Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee for the republican party because he’s not a politician and couldn’t dodge a question if his life depended on it.
  • Most sadly, it’s beneficial that the largest mass shooting in american history was at an LGBT nightclub under a banner of religious prejudice and hate because the LGBT community is no lame duck! 1 in 10, right? No. 1 in 10 plus all of their friends and family. That’s a huge amount of people that politicians can’t easily ignore. Politically active people! Politically effective people! If any group of people have the power to motivate change it’s them. The LGBT community has been fighting for decades and have not slowed down. Think about it; gay marriage and bathroom rights are just the latest battles. LGBT activism started fighting to not have to hide who they loved from the world. LGBT activism fought to de-stigmatize HIV and get research funding. This shooting is every bit as tragic as every other and then some. My hope is that gun control meets its match in the gay community. They’re here. They’re queer. They’ll kick your ass in court!

A couple of other things have happened that give me hope for the future of gun control in the USA.

Donald Trump said he’s going to talk to the NRA about banning guns for suspected terrorists which shows a complete lack of understanding on his part. It’s also hilarious because the NRA already backed him!

Twitter is a basket of vipers right now for any politician who dares utter the words “thoughts and prayers”. Any politician tweeting those words gets a swift kick in the head by thousands of users stating “we don’t need thoughts and prayers we need gun control!”.

The last thing that happened which is amazing is that Democrats in The House of Representatives completely shut down Paul Ryan after the moment of silence demanding gun control.

I never want to get my hopes up for political change in the United States of Ignorance but this time it looks pretty damn promising.

Watering my parent’s huge garden.

So when I was living with my parents I would load the quad with a garbage can, fill it with water from the rain barrel and then use a watering can to water each plant. My dad clearly doesn’t have time for that shit. Check out his method;

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He bought a 1000 gallon container and puts it on his trailer. He parks his trailer in the nearby lake. Then he runs a pump from the lake to the container and plugs it into his generator. This moves 1000 gallons in under 10 minutes. It’s pretty cool.

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Then he does the whole thing in reverse all over his garden.

#slowclap dad. Bravo!

I love Donald Trump but not really.

Donald Trump is my favourite anomaly. He’s a magnifying glass pointed at the dark corner of the American psyche that some have glossed over for decades while others try to ignore completely. What began as a hilarious joke turned into a xenophobic and sexist demagogue. I’m not baffled by how much support he’s garnered but I am sitting back and watching concernedly.

The Republican Party is getting the personification of a century of sexist and racist rhetoric. I’m pretty sure people who follow Donald Trump feel they have been duped by the GOP and Donald Trump is their only hope of recompense.

Here’s how I imagine the average republican in the USA. He or she is a redneck in some southern state, they’re anti-drug, they’re pro-life, anti-gay marriage, anti-immigration, lost their job to a factory in China or Mexico and have a massive store of guns ready to do their part in the war on terror. The GOP is their party! Except they’re not. The GOP has progressed to the left over the last few years to compete with the Democratic Party and left millions of gun toting, xenophobic, homophobic, racist and sexist americans with no voice in government. People without a voice in government tend to get uppity.

Where does it go from here? There are many hard working Americans who are not sexist or racist but just want a smaller government and lower taxes. Who can they vote for without getting on board the hate train that is the current GOP nominee? Are we looking at a possible official 3+ party system in the future? Right, left and centre? Far right, right, left and far left? What would that look like? How do they get there peacefully? So many wonderful questions to ponder.

On the other side Hilary has the votes so the Democratic Party will nominate her, no surprise. What will Bernie do? Obama called him and his campaign went silent. What does that mean? If there’s going to be a GOP and some other, further right party a la TEA Party, maybe Sanders can start and run for a Democratic Socialist Party. Believe it or not the USA also has a Green Party.

It seems to me that the American people are waking up to the fact that they do not have a democracy and are not happy about it.