Tag Archives: Gun culture

In the world’s eyes, is President Obama hurting or helping the image of the USA?

Barack Obama and his dog, Bo

Barack Obama has restored America to a position of respect in the world.

See Sonny Bohanan’s answer to this question on Quora.com: In the world’s eyes, is President Obama hurting or helping the image of the USA? 

By Sonny Bohanan

Without a doubt, President Obama has helped the image of the United States during his two terms in office. He’s repaired America’s relationship with her Western allies, who were lied to, just as the American people were lied to, and fed faked intelligence by the George W. Bush administration in the run-up to the Iraq War.

The world opened its heart and its arms to America after the terrorist attacks of 9-11-2001. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld squandered that goodwill by bullying our allies into a bogus war that cost those nations the lives of their soldiers and siphoned away their money, just as it did ours in the United States.

Obama has removed American troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, and he’s done his best to close down the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba (unfortunately Bush created such a legal nightmare that it’s almost impossible to fix now). He stopped the routine practice of torture instigated by Bush and his Office of General Counsel.

Further, Obama has resolutely refused to commit American ground forces to the war in Syria, another unwinnable Middle Eastern quagmire that the Republicans are eager to wade into, at a future cost, if they had their way, of thousands of dead American soldiers. Eventually, we would be forced to leave Syria in defeat, unable to solve the problems that caused that war, just as the Iraq war did nothing to improve the lives of the Iraqi people or to spread democracy in the Middle East, as Bush promised.

Obama has been a strong leader in two areas that perennially leave our Western allies shaking their heads over the stupidity of Americans: Universal healthcare and gun control. Until Obama pushed through the Affordable Care Act, the United States was the only Western democracy that left huge swaths of its population uncovered by health insurance, which put humane medical care out of the reach of many poor Americans. The Affordable Care Act brought the United States into line with the rest of the West in providing a healthcare safety net for its citizens, regardless of their ability to pay.

And Obama has called on Congress to pass common-sense gun control laws that would require universal background checks for all gun purchases. Though the Republican Senate rejected such legislation following the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre three years ago, President Obama may be considering an executive order that would help close some of the loopholes that allow gun purchases without a background check.

(Update: On January 4, 2016, President Obama signed an executive order closing the loophole that allowed some gun sales without a background check — those conducted at gun shows and online, for example. The order specifically requires a background check of the buyer for all gun sales. The order also dedicates money and additional FBI agents to improving the National Instant Criminal Background Check System — NICS — so that it will operate 24 hours a day and will finish background checks more quickly. It also dedicates more money and additional ATF agents to enforcing the existing gun laws, and he called on prosecutors to go after violent felons who try to buy firearms illegally. A fact sheet on the executive order.)

Because of its lax gun laws, the United States is the only Western democracy that experiences almost daily mass shootings, and most of the world is frankly sickened by the mindset that has allowed this situation to fester and grow more dire with each passing year. It’s a stain on the nation’s reputation that Obama has worked to eliminate, but the Republican Congress, grown fat off NRA campaign contributions, is too addicted to the money to do its job and protect American children from the scourge of the nation’s deadly gun culture.

Obama also has stabilized an economy that was in free-fall, the financial sector teetering on the brink of collapse, as George W. Bush fled the White House. We’ve now had an unprecedented string of month-over-month economic growth, and the unemployment rate stands at 5 percent after reaching double digits as Obama took office.

By any objective measure, President Obama has improved the image of the United States, which was in tatters, fully engulfed in flames, when he was sworn in as President in January 2009. He’s been the best American president of the last half-century, hands down.

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Treat Gun Manufacturers Like We Did Big Tobacco

The Freedom Group earned $94 million after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, which killed 20 first-graders ad six school employees, and led to a surge in gun purchases.

The Freedom Group earned $94 million after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, which killed 20 first-graders and six school employees and led to a surge in gun purchases, thanks to the NRA.

The Freedom Group is one of the gun manufacturers profiting from the epidemic of mass shootings in the United States. The company not only marketed the assault rifle that Adam Lanza used to kill 20 first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, but it also earned $94 million in the aftermath of that shooting rampage, as gun fetishists went on a buying frenzy after the NRA warned them President Obama would soon confiscate their weapons.

Freedom Group also marketed one of the guns used by the terrorist couple who killed 14 people in San Bernardino on Dec. 2. And, as The Trace reports, the company is once again enjoying increased profits as gun sales surge amid fears that Congress might try to do its job and regulate the sale of guns. But after Senate Republicans voted last week to allow suspected terrorists to continue legally buying guns in the U.S., that’s just another scare tactic by the NRA — one that works every time on the NRA’s paranoid members.

I look forward to the day when the gun manufacturers face the same stigma that the cigarette manufacturers do, and I hope they’re made to pay a settlement to each state, just as Big Tobacco did, for the harm their products cause to public health.

In 2012, the American Psychological Association issued a resolution declaring that firearms pose a substantial risk to America’s public health. The APA also cited an analysis that estimated that gun violence imposed total costs of $174 billion on the United States in 2010 alone — an average of $645 per gun in the United States, $5.1 million for each fatality, $433,000 for each gun injury requiring hospital admission, and $116,372 for each firearm injury requiring emergency department admission only.

The gun manufacturers need to start repaying the money their products have been costing every taxpayer in America.

The APA noted something that will help you understand just how far the National Rifle Association and the Republican Congress will go to ensure that the epidemic of gun violence continues in the United States:

The APA noted that it cannot reasonably suggest the best ways of curbing gun violence because the nation has no reliable data on this issue. No data? Why? Because state law and federal law prevent the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health from collecting data about gun violence. You can probably guess which organization pushed for these limits on collecting data. If you guessed the NRA, give yourself a pat on the back, you’re a genius. And which political party do you suppose codified these limits into law? Right again. The Republicans collected their campaign blood money from the NRA for creating the laws that the NRA told them to create.

This is how the NRA runs things. Last week, the NRA told Senate Republicans to vote against a bill to prevent suspected terrorists on the U.S. Watch List from buying assault weapons or any other gun they desire. So that’s just what Senate Republicans did on Dec. 3—the day after a man and his wife, swearing loyalty to ISIS, killed 14 people in San Bernardino, using guns they bought legally in California. When the NRA says to vote for terrorists and against American kids who are being mowed down weekly in mass shootings, Republicans don’t bat an eye. They do what the NRA tells them.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: The Republican Congress and the NRA are sick puppies. The cynicism of restricting the CDC and NIH from collecting data on gun violence is breathtaking, and utterly transparent. They know that when such data are collected, it will be abundantly clear that gun violence places unacceptable monetary and public health burdens—not to mention emotional burdens—on all of us in the United States. Just so that a minority of men who never grew up and who are scared of approaching life without a gun can indulge their fetish.

Is this how you want to live?

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The Republicans Think You’re An Idiot

The knotted gun sculpture in NY. Anti-gun culture

There’s only one way to stop the gun culture in America, and it’s going to take all of us. (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

Maybe you don’t know how sick America has become. I’ll tell you: After the latest mass shooting in San Bernardino on Dec. 2, Republicans voted the next day to allow suspected terrorists on the U.S. Watch List to continue legally buying assault weapons, or any other gun they desire.

No, you didn’t misread that. And this is not a case of Senate Republicans not realizing what they were voting for.

This is a case of a political party in America — the Republican Party — telling us that the children who are mowed down each day by our nation’s gun culture are not as important as terrorists within the United States being able to buy the weapon of their choice. Terrorists just like the couple in San Bernardino who legally purchased their weapons and then killed 14 people.

The Senate Republicans who voted to allow terrorists to buy any weapon they want received $27 million from the NRA, which, by any definition, is a terrorist organization. What else can you call a group that beats back every effort to reduce the more than 30,000 gun deaths a year in the United States?

Let me repeat: Republican politicians announced Dec. 3, quite clearly: Children’s lives are not as important as making sure the couple who killed 14 people in San Bernardino can buy any weapon they want. As a reward for their vote, the Republicans receive campaign blood money, legal bribes, from the gun manufacturers, from the NRA, from cynical people like Cabela’s CEO Tommy Millner. Millner exploited the extreme paranoia of his customers, the gun nuts, by planning for Obama’s victory in the 2012 election. He stocked vast numbers of AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifles, and after Obama was elected and then a gunman attacked Sandy Hook Elementary School, the NRA advised its members to grab their guns before Obama did, and Cabela’s business “went vertical,” Millner bragged.

You think this can’t be true. Americans aren’t that stupid, right? Wrong. From 2004 to 2014, more than 2,000 terror suspects have legally purchased guns in the United States, according to the Washington Post. That’s exactly how stupid we are, and the Republican Party loves getting rich off of it. They believe they can get away with this. And do you know why they believe it? Because they can get away with it, and they do get away with it, day after day after day. And they’ll get away with it this time, too. Because you don’t care. Or because you don’t know what to do about it. Or because you’re scared that your husband or boyfriend, the gun nut, and all of his buddies will attack you and call you a libtard for saying this is wrong.

Let me say it: This is wrong. This is beyond wrong. This is sick. The Republicans in the U.S. Congress are sick puppies, and we put them there. There’s only one way out of this mess, and it will require all of us to take two simple steps:

1) Vow this minute never to vote for a political candidate who won’t regulate firearms. 2) Vote in every single election from now on.

It’s that simple. And it’s the only way to defeat the NRA, whose members are mostly single-issue voters.

New York Daily News headline lambastes Republican politicians for inaction on gun sales.

New York Daily News headline on Thursday, Dec. 3, lambastes Republican politicians for calling for prayer while doing nothing to halt the runaway sale of guns.

Or, do nothing, and wait for the killer to show up at your kids’ school. Or the movie theater or church where your teenagers have gone for the evening. Do nothing, and eventually we’ll all get to witness a mass shooting, or we’ll all know someone killed in one, or, if the odds go really against you, then you or someone in your family will be the next victim. That’s what you have to look forward to if you let the Republicans and the NRA get away with it again.

The NRA has an almost 40-year head start. But we have right on our side. We have the majority of the American people who believe guns should be regulated. Why the hell is the gun the only unregulated consumer product in America? Because the NRA outfoxed us, and put us in a box.

Time to break out of the NRA’s box. It’s time the majority took back this country. Time for the sick cowards in the Congress to go home and never return to Washington. They’ve done enough damage for one lifetime. Good riddance.

I ask you: Do you endorse this? How can you vote for someone who watches children killed by gun violence every day in America, and then refuses to halt the sale of assault weapons to known terrorists?

This is what we’ve come to in America. This is one sick country.


Sonny Bohanan is a writer and editor in Fort Worth, Texas. If you liked this article, please enter your email address in the box above to the right, then click Subscribe to receive each of his new posts in your email. You can also follow him on Twitter, and send him a Friend request on Facebook. Thanks for reading.

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