Tag Archive | "gun control"

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American Racism, Unaddressed, Leads to Murder

Posted on 18 June 2015 by mdepeine

My prayers and thoughts go out to the families whose lives have been shattered by the murder of their loved ones.  I feel very sad and appalled about what has happened in Charleston, South Carolina.  A 21 year old white man decided that he was better than 9 other human beings.  He decided that he could take the lives of 9 other people because of his apparent hatred of their color and what they represented to him.  It is a shame what we see in America today.

So many people spend a lot of energy denying that racism and prejudice in America is alive and very strong.  What kind of upbringing leads a 21 year old to shoot and kill 9 people who are attending a church service, having a time of prayer?  The more we deny the racism and prejudice in America, the more murders will occur as a result of it.  America needs a gut check!  America needs a reeducation about race and race relations.  America needs to confront the truth about its past, its apathy about the present, and strive to redirect its future towards harmony.  America and all of its citizens must lift a hand to dismantle the hatred rooted in racism and prejudice, which is so readily supported by privilege and entitlement.

“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

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Wanted: Legislators With HEART!

Posted on 22 December 2012 by mdepeine

As I listen to the back and forth supposed “talks” about the “fiscal cliff” and now “gun control” there is a common theme that keeps coming to mind.  I listen to all the poll results and all the questions asked of the American people and still the same thing keeps coming to mind.  When I look back at the election results from November 2012, my mind still pivots back to the same thing:  Where is the heart?  Where is the backbone? Where is the part of this process that says “Do what is right for the American people!”  Where is the part that says “You were sent to Congress to do what the American PEOPLE want!”

Instead, we have Senators and Representatives ignoring what the PEOPLE want.  Poll after poll shows clearly that the majority (over 55%) of Americans want the rich (those making over $250,000 a year) to pay a higher tax rate (repeal of the Bush tax cuts).  Poll after poll shows that Americans do not want cuts to program for seniors (Social Security, Medicare, etc.) in order to protect the rich.  Now, with the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the PEOPLE want real and meaningful gun control.  Yet, as with the other issues, Congressional members are still slow to take meaningful action that would be in the best interest of most Americans and especially our American children (rich, poor, black, white and all in between).

There has been extreme negligence and malpractice in Congress for the past 4 years.  Instead of things getting better it seems “It is business as usual” or should I say “no business as usual!”  Historically speaking, this current (112th) Congress has been one of the least productive.  Which begs the question, “What are they being paid ($160,000 salaries and higher Congress by the Numbers | HobnobBlog) for?”  Why are so many American dollars, taxpayer money being spent to employ a group of people who are not working for the benifit of the American PEOPLE?  That is illogical, ineffective and plain counterproductive.  When we look at the areas of least effectiveness in the country, we have to look at the Senate and the House of Representative.  We have to look at the Republican and Tea Party members that are more concerned about their donors than they are for the American PEOPLE!

I am simply amazed that the PEOPLE want something and the Congress does the opposite.  The Republican members can ignore the PEOPLE because, the PEOPLE’S money did not get them elected.  They could “afford” to ignore the PEOPLE because they have enough business / lobbying support that can flood the airwaves with negative ads against their opponents to get them reelected.  They could “afford” to ignore the PEOPLE because their biggest concern is not what is “right for the PEOPLE” but more so, “What can I do to keep my donor sources happy with me.”

So you have the Grover Norquist influence.  He gets Republicans to pledge that they will not raise taxes (not matter what) or else face severe consequences.  Norquist has the influence and the money.  Those who “cross him” and vote for raising taxes will face almost certain “political death.”  Grover will do everything in his power to cut off any funds (businesses and super PACs) that could have gone to the “insubordinate” Congressional member’s reelection campaign.

You also have groups, like the National Rifle Association (NRA), who want as many guns out in the field as possible.  The more guns out there, the more money that could be made.  The more people feel unsafe and threatened, the more guns, they are hoping, people will buy.  The NRA wants lax gun laws and laws that encourage people to use guns freely, like “Stand Your Ground Laws.”

John Boehner, the Majority Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, has not been able to come up with a reasonable, “fiscal cliff” deal because, in my opinion, he is too afraid to do something that will cost him his job as Speaker of the House. He goes back and forth between his Republican constituents and the White House but still can’t bring his side to see the importance of doing what is important for the American PEOPLE.  I don’t see any real leadership in him.  I don’t see any real heart.  I just see a man who wants to make sure he is voted Speaker of the House in January!

Where is the heart?  Where is the backbone?  Where is that quality that says, “I will do what is right, regardless of the consequences.”  If John Boehner had “heart” he would have just gotten 25 or so Republicans on board with his plan and help the Democrats sign into law the increased tax rates for the rich and take the heavy burden off the middle class and the poor.  Now, getting only 25 Republicans would have left out the majority of the Republicans (241 in the House of Representatives Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives – Congressional Profile) and it would likely cost John Boehner his position as Speaker of the House.  But, he would have done something meaningful and right.  He could bring some honor to Congress by such a self-sacrificing act.  Congress would have people perceive them as not just a money-hungry, business-friendly, rich people focused group, but instead as a group of legislators that care for the American PEOPLE who count on them to get them to work and help them live decent American lives!  That would really show HEART!

In the area of gun control, it is time for Republicans to listen to the cries of the many mothers and fathers who have lost their children to gun violence.  Thousands of children (about 3,000, http://www.childrensdefense.org/child-research-data-publications/data/protect-children-not-guns-2012.pdfr, see also Child Gun Deaths Nationwide Number Nearly 6 Newtown Massacres ) are killed (homicicides, suicides, accidents, and undetermined) in America yearly by regular guns and automatic ones.  How much more blood needs to be shed before these Congressional members develop a conscience that is bigger than their lobbying groups’ interests?

Something is really wrong in America when the NRA’s (corporate) wishes are more powerful and influential than what the American PEOPLE want.  Polls show that 72% of NRA members favor gun control measures that will reduce the likelyhood of mass shootings ( especially like the one we witnessed at Sandy Hook Elementary, in Newtown, Connecticut) while the NRA executives do not favor it.  So why is the NRA’s desires or influence a consideration in how we save our children?  Why are they even a part of the conversation?  Why is there a “middle man” between what the American PEOPLE want and what their legislators need to do to meet those requests?  Why is our American Democracy being highjacked and undermined by these groups whose only concern is to maximize their profits and earnings whether it is at the cost of our children or not?  This must end!

We the PEOPLE should push for legistlators,  lawmakers, that have HEART.  We can’t accept this any more.  We cannot let people with an aristocratic mindset determine the destiny and the will of the majority of the American PEOPLE.  We cannot sit idly by while so many Americans’ wishes are being overlooked and ignored.  This is a government, last I checked, for the PEOPLE, by the PEOPLE and of the PEOPLE!  The American government is not a government for big business, by big business and of big business.  Let us put the PEOPLE back into the center of all this talk and demand change immediately or we will wake up one day and find ourselves in a country that does not belong to US and hardly reflects our values or desires as a PEOPLE.

Let’s get legislators with HEART elected and let’s demand that simple things like the fiscal cliff issues and gun control get settled as the American  PEOPLE want them settled.

 

 

 

 

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The Departing Child (poem in honor of the Sandy Hook Children)

Posted on 20 December 2012 by mdepeine

Many have been horrified and grieved by what occurred on Friday, December 14, 2012. There has been many commentaries and thoughts on the topic. More has to be done to prevent these kind of crimes against children.

As a teacher, I thought I would write a short poem to honor the 20 children who lost their lives on that very sad day! The poem is called, The Departing Child. It is an attempt to capture what may have gone through the mind of these children during their last day on earth. It is a sad poem, but I thought it was worth exploring that side of things, their possible “last thoughts.”

The Departing Child (by Mario Depeine, Sr.)

Copyright © 2012 Mario Depeine, Sr.

Today, I kissed mom, dad goodbye for the last time. 

Today was the last time…

I teased my sister but shared with my brother!

Today, I kissed mom, dad goodbye for the last time.

I ran to my teacher and recited a rhyme.

I peeked in my bag…I saw I had lunch.

I had my crackers…the ones I can crunch!

It’s so safe in school; we clown, we learn, even act a fool!

Today, I kissed mom, dad goodbye for the last time.

The teachers are nice; they help you along.

They teach you great songs…remind you to be nice…and just get along.

Today, I kissed mom, dad goodbye for the last time.

It’s so loud that sound, some screams I could hear.

My faith has been shaken…My friends have been taken.

The noise seems louder; the screams are much nearer.

I cry for my mommy, I cry for my daddy!

Today, I kissed mom, dad goodbye for the last time.

My friends…they’re all bloody.

My blood leaves my body.

Breathing seems harder, the screams? They seem farther.

But God…I see you.  Your love pulls me through.

You pick me up, so I fear no more…as I reach Heaven’s door.

Today, I kissed mom, dad goodbye for the last time. 

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