FROM THE “LEGITIMATE” RIGHT TO BUY FIREARMS TO THE BAN ON ABORTION
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The President of the United States, Joe Biden, gave legal status to the agreement approved by Congress that minimally restricts access to guns.
By signing the document, Biden took a step considered by many Americans as necessary, but insufficient, on the road to putting an end to the massacres caused by the promotion of violence and the indiscriminate sale and use of firearms.
It is important to note, because of its contradictory nature, that the June 23 congressional approval of this agreement was preceded by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that expands the right to bear arms.
The Supreme Court ruled to overturn a New York State gun ownership law, enacted more than a century ago, that placed restrictions on carrying firearms in public.
This decision may have implications in seven other states with similar laws: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul called the Supreme Court’s ruling “outrageous” and “reckless,” according to CNN.
It is worth noting that there are about 310 million guns in circulation in the northern nation. With a population of 319 million, that means that almost every American owns a gun, regardless of age.
A few hours after the Uvalde massacre, considered -after the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut- as the deadliest in U.S. history, the National Rifle Association (NRA) held its annual convention, which was attended, among others, by former President Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz.
In the speeches of both politicians, highly committed to the NRA, ideologically, business-wise and, above all, politically, they criticized the Democrats’ proposal to push for stricter gun legislation.
Ted Cruz went so far as to propose increased security in schools, placing armed guards to deal with shootings.
Many interests are at work behind politicians’ support for the NRA. From the coffers of the powerful association flow the money that finances electoral campaigns, bills and vetoes against anyone who tries to limit the business.
When guns cease to be a profitable vein that finances careers and buys consciences, the path will begin to clear, the chants of death and the macabre hymn of gunfire will cease.
The U.S. Supreme Court also overturned the landmark 1973 ruling, known as Roe v. Wade, which determined that the right to abortion was a constitutional guarantee in the United States.
Ending this constitutional right is the result of a long-standing campaign by the nation’s most backward sectors, especially conservative Christians.
After it was confirmed, Trump called the decision “the greatest victory for life in a generation”; meanwhile, former Vice President Mike Pence expressed, “We must not rest and we must not relent until the sanctity of life is restored to the center of American law in every state in the country.”
On the other side, President Joe Biden, taking advantage of the circumstances, in an address to the nation, pointed out that the only way Americans can protect abortion rights is by voting for Democrats in the November mid-term elections, reported BBC, and the leader of the Democratic majority in the Lower House, Nancy Pelosi, called the Supreme Court ruling an “insult” to women.
The non-profit association, Planned Parenthood, described the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade as “dangerous” and “unprecedented”, as it will leave 36 million women of reproductive age unprotected, according to La Opinión.
Prior to the decision, access to this right was already out of reach for many women in the United States.
“This contrasts with many countries, including those in Western Europe, which offer access to subsidized, fully funded abortion services, universal health care, contraception and broader social programs,” said Risa Kaufman, director of U.S. Human Rights at the Center for Reproductive Rights.
It should be noted that this is not just in Europe. Closer to home, Cuba, the Caribbean island labeled a “dictatorship” by Washington, was the first country in Latin America and the Caribbean to decriminalize abortion. In the Greater Antilles, abortion has been free and legal since 1961, and in 1965 the legal basis was created so that it could be performed within the framework of the National Health System.
THE COURT’S IMPARTIALITY IN QUESTION
Another ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court demonstrates the bias and ultraconservative bias that prevails in its decisions.
On June 27, the Court recognized the right of teacher Joseph Kennedy, a soccer coach at a school in the Bremerton, Washington, school district, to pray with his students at midfield after the game.
The Supreme Court ruled against the School District and in favor of Kennedy, who demanded the right to pray with his players after games at the 50-yard line. The decision significantly erodes the separation of church and state in public schools.
The school had determined that Kennedy’s practice violated the students’ religious freedom rights, and also created a security risk at the games, because the teacher had orchestrated a public spectacle by inviting the media and local politicians to attend; while Kennedy claimed that the school’s actions violated his free speech and free exercise rights.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington filed a brief with the Court, arguing that Kennedy’s prayers are not protected by the Free Speech Clause.
Students stated that they were forced to pray, and one player explained that he participated against his own beliefs, for fear of losing playing time if he refused.
We refer to the country that took centuries to classify lynching as a federal hate crime. For years, attempts were made, to no avail, to punish mob killings, of which people of African descent and other minorities were the main victims.
More than 4,400 African Americans were executed in the United States as a result of this practice between 1877 and 1950 alone, as documented by the Equal Justice Initiative.
The crimes were committed with impunity, often in public places and in broad daylight, and also affected, albeit to a lesser extent, other minorities such as Native Americans, Asians and Mexican migrants.
The division within the U.S. is becoming more and more pronounced; some even speak of a schism, of insurmountable polarization, of possible balkanization. The truth is that the borders between one and the other are very clearly distinguishable.
Whoever stops just for a moment to take a look at the panorama of American society in these times, will discover the depth and extent to which the most ultra-conservative and retrograde thinking has reached.
He will hear, amidst the paraphernalia of political showmanship and gunfire, the deafening roar of the dinosaurs that refuse to disappear.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
American cinema, which for more than a hundred years glorified the law of the gun, has been forced to dress up to deal with the massacres that have occurred in the schools of that country. But analysis and warnings seem to have fallen on deaf ears, and not precisely because of artistic ineffectiveness.
Michael Moore sank the scalpel in his memorable documentary Bowling for Columbine (2002), acclaimed all over the world, and which would become a cultural reference for the nation based on shattering evidence: the link between the American people and firearms irremediably engendered acts of irrational violence.
The statistics offered by the filmmaker were shocking: 11,000 fatalities by firearms in one year. Today, when Bowling for Columbine is celebrating its 20th anniversary, one cannot help but be disturbed by the fact that, from the beginning of 2022 until the recent massacre in a school in Texas, five months ago, 17,202 people have died in the United States for the same reasons.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, since January of this year, there have been 213 “mass” shootings and ten “mass murders”.
Michael Moore did not hesitate to warn and predict the future in a documentary film about the 1999 massacre perpetrated by two students at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, a region where 5,000 employees of the Lockheed arms company lived. “And if fathers make missiles,” the filmmaker brought out his proverbial irony, “it is not strange that sons wield shotguns”. And, unstoppable in his mordacity, he made public that a local bank was awarding an assault rifle to anyone who opened a new account.
Relating the culture of violence to the prevailing culture of fear in his country, Michael Moore embarked on a journey of inquiry that led him to interview actor Charlton Heston, [then] president of the National Rifle Association and symbol par excellence of the praises sung by Hollywood to the use of guns. It was an interview that revealed hypocrisy, especially when Heston was filmed speaking at a gun rally near a town where a six-year-old girl had recently been murdered by a schoolmate.
Numerous films have been made on the subject of killings in schools and other places, highlighting the ease with which murderers have access to high-powered firearms. Among them stand out Elephant (2003), by Gus Van Sant, awarded at Cannes and also inspired -in documentary and fiction key- by the events of Columbine; Let’s talk about Kevin (Lynne Ramsay, 2011) and Rudderless, (William H. Macy, 2014).
There is a long list of films that deal with topics related to the criminal event, such as harassment, racial and religious discrimination, social inequalities, xenophobia, social networks, video games, movies that ponder violence and the possible mental illnesses of the perpetrators, triggered or influenced, not infrequently, by all of the above. (Remember the massacre of 12 people in a Denver movie theater in 2012, during the premiere of a Batman film. When the police arrested the killer, a young man of 24, he identified himself: “I am The Joker”).
Judging by the legitimate expressions of pain, but also of helplessness, heard recently from U.S. leaders regarding the inability to reverse the current situation of many guns in the hands of those who claim the right to own them (as if the guns were toys), it is to be assumed, with horror, that new films about killings will have to continue to be made, or, in other words, art will once again be disqualified in the face of deafness.
A shooting, which occurred on February 26th in the city of
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has so far left seven dead
Author: Raúl Antonio Capote | email@example.com.February 28, 2020 01:02:35
@granma.cu.Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Police cordoned off the area of the incident in Milwaukee, where a shooting left seven people dead.
Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Once again, firearms are the protagonists of a painful act of blood, pain and death in the United States. A shooting, which took place on February 26 in the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has so far left seven people dead. According to local police, among the dead is the attacker, who was apparently a former employee of the Molson Coors brewery, where the incident occurred.
The city’s mayor, Tom Barret, called the incident a terrifying episode. Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul also arrived at the scene.
“This is heartbreaking. My heart goes out to the Molson Coors employees, their families and the entire Milwaukee community. The Criminal Investigation Division of the Department of Justice is on the scene and will continue to assist local authorities with whatever they need,” tweeted Josh Kaul.
Police have cordoned off the area of the incident. Nearby businesses and enterprises in the area were closed as a result of the shooting, the fourth of the year in the United States, which has so far claimed 12 lives.
The last such event in Milwaukee was in August 2012, when a white supremacist terrorist killed six people.
Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, a Democratic nominee for the U.S. presidency, recently devoted most of his speech at a Democratic gala in Las Vegas to harsh criticism of the National Rifle Association and gun manufacturers, promising to hold them accountable if elected President.
After lamenting the “carnage in the streets,” according to El Nuevo Día, and the anguish of families who lost loved ones to gun violence, Biden said he will not rest until they can sue gun manufacturers and ban assault weapons.
Joe Biden misquoted statistics on the number of Americans killed by gun violence since 2007. The mistake occurred while discussing gun control during the Democratic debate in Charleston, S.C., on Tuesday, Feb. 25, when he spoke of more than 150 million Americans killed by guns that year, according to Hispantv, a figure no doubt exaggerated in the midst of the debate for the Democratic nomination. But it reflects the plight of the American people in the hands of unscrupulous gunrunners and politicians who make a career out of suffering and death.
The Legacy of 2019
Official figures show that in 2019 there were 44 shootings that left 224 victims. However, a report by the Gun Violence Archive (GVA) handles much higher statistics that not only refer to deaths caused by single shooters, but to all deaths from firearms.GVA notes that at least 38,730 people were shot dead. Of these, 14,970 were victims of homicides, murders, intentional shootings or use defensive, a number very similar to that recorded in 2018, which was 14,789.
The nonprofit group, which documents firearms incidents across the country, counted 23,760 suicides involving some type of weapon.
The organization defines “mass shootings” as events in which at least four people are injured and “killings” as incidents in which at least four people are killed. It confirmed that in 2019 there were 409 mass shootings and 30 killings in that country.
He points out that there are also fatalities in family disputes, crimes of passion, gang fights, assaults and robberies, and from firearm accidents.
The areas where most of these incidents occur are Louisiana, Mississippi, North Florida, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina, followed by North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New York, according to the gva report.
In the United States, there are approximately 200 million to 350 million firearms in the hands of citizens; however, these figures are highly inaccurate, due to the lack of a national census and federal documentation of control of such weapons.
The ease of acquiring almost any type of firearm and the state laws that allow its carrying and use, plus the culture of violence, rooted in the foundations of the nation, are the main causes of the high number of fatalities.
Source: Reuters, AP, EFE, Gun Violence Archive (GVA).
Posted: Thursday 08 November 2018 | 10:17:27 pm.
By Juana Carrasco Martin
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
It’s not Theodore Dreiser’s novel, An American Tragedy, but murder is in the plot and it’s a real tragedy that shakes American society almost daily. Thirteen people, including the attacker, died when the victims assumed that on Wednesday night they would celebrate with country music at the university students’ favorite bar in the town of Thousand Oaks, a suburb of affluent residents northwest of Los Angeles, considered the third safest in the United States.
In cold blood, as Truman Capote’s documentary novel is titled, the Borderline Bar & Grill killer, a 28-year-old ex-marine suffering from post-traumatic stress, indiscriminately fired at least three extended magazines of his Glock 21, 45 caliber automatic pistol after throwing smoke grenades. The gun had been legally purchased…
Twenty-two other people were injured by bullets or injuries during the hasty escape to avoid the shots of Ian David Long, a young man described as angry and irrational by the police who came to his house last April for complaints of disturbance of order and were already known to the authorities by two other violent altercations.
At the first call for help, at 11:20 p.m., a sergeant from the sheriff’s office and an officer from the Road Patrol came immediately to try to “neutralize the threat. They were shot and Sergeant Ron Helus fell, with 29 years of service and only five months to his retirement.
“It’s a horrible scene. There’s blood everywhere,” Sheriff Dean told reporters. Some of the celebrating students were known to have survived the massacre at the Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas, a massive country concert in which 58 people died and more than 500 were injured on October 1, 2017, under the gunfire of Stephen Paddock, a sober and healthy 64-year-old man.
Just ten days before the new massacre, the “safe” Thousand Oaks, an ultra-massacre of 11 faithful at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Oct. 27; and just a week ago another individual fired on a yoga gym in Tallahassee, Florida, killing two women, injuring others.
According to the Gun Violence Archive – a nonprofit group that tracks these incidents on a daily basis – between January 1 and October 31, 2018, there have been 47,467 firearm incidents and 12,183 people killed, 23,759 injured, 560 of the fatalities were children, 2,370 teenagers, 1,701 were armed home invasions, 1,502 incidents used weapons as a defense, 1,332 were unintentional shootings and 301 mass shootings.
Already those numbers are history past, the numbers have increased. In the first eight days of this November, the United States has witnessed six mass shootings (description for those occurrences in which four or more people have died, not including the gunman), bringing the mass shootings to 307.
Alarms ring again and again, an increasing proportion of Americans are calling for laws that effectively limit or control gun ownership – there are at least 310 million in the possession of the nearly 325 million people, approximately 89 weapons for every 100 people, and a total of 48 percent of the 650 million weapons held by civilians worldwide.
Only 27 words of their Constitution give them that “right” and justify a culture of extreme violence, which is officially deployed with organization and participation in almost every war that occurs in today’s world.
However, President Donald Trump and many of the legislators are deaf to the petition.
After the Thousands Oaks event, Trump, in his usual way of “facing” the problems, immediately tweet: “I have been fully informed of the terrible shooting in California (…) God bless the victims and relatives of the victims. Thanks to law enforcement.
The National Rifle Association champions like Peter for his home. In 2017 weapons were sold in the United States for $41.93 billion, the same revenue as Facebook. Everything is resolved.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
The shooting that broke out in mid-March at the Parkland student complex in the state of Florida, which killed 17 students and teachers, was greeted in the United States with a sense of fatalism that that the public was destined to become familiar with. While still howling ambulances with their cargo of bodies and survivors in the direction of the hospitals, the authorities of the country, the state and those of the center itself began to make clear their prayers and laments, expressing their deep regret and anguish for what had happened.
A few voices rose to condemn the facts without venturing to blame anyone or anything for the horrible crime. Paul Ryan, a Republican leader in the U.S. Congress and second in the line of presidential succession (after the vice president), warned against unthinking, overly sentimental reactions.
But, surprisingly, something strange happened: the students of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Pre-University in a gathering that they called to that effect, came out against official inaction.
“Every single person here today, all these people, must have been grieving in their homes. But, on the contrary, we are here today united, because if all our government and our president can do is let us know their sorrow and their prayers, we think it is time for the victims to be the motivation for the changes we need to see,” said student Emma Gonzalez in tears and sobs on behalf of everyone.
“To the politicians who remain in their golden seats in the House and Senate, funded by the National Rifle Association (NRA) telling us that nothing could be done to prevent that we call B.S.,” the student leader said.
The broadcast of her speech was cut off, but that last sentence of Emma’s words became the slogan calling for gun control that would lead the plans for an upcoming national student strike and march on Washington.
A substantial article by George Zornick, editor of The Nation, argues that the power of the NRA as a protective shield for the freedom to buy and sell arms in the United States is rapidly being demystified.
As proof, Zornick says that last November in Virginia, the NRA backed Ed Gillespie as a Republican candidate for governor and he was widely defeated. It supported 13 candidates competing fiercely for seats in the state House of Representatives and 12 of them failed, while the other won by a narrow margin.
At the Virginia state level, gun control advocates have been able to obtain the passage of resolutions and measures that have not been passed by the state legislature, although it should be noted that this occurred when the movement was not as strong as it was after the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012 when the largest pro-arms control groups were formed.
It should also be noted that Democratic politicians, until recently, never spoke out against gun control for fear of the NRA’s wealthy congressional lobby.
“For the characteristics of our ossified political system, and especially with Trump in the White House thanking the NRA for the $30 million it donated to his campaign, the United States will never pass gun control legislation. But while waiting for the time to elect a new congress and a new president, something can be done considering that arms manufacturers value above all other things, even more than human life: money,” Zornick says.
The journalist from The Nation calls on activists to help deal a decisive blow to these traffickers by withdrawing financial or commercial support from their companies until the arms industry becomes an unviable business. In 2013, the California State Teachers’ Retirement Fund voted to divest itself of millions of dollars in gun industry investments.. The same was done in 2016 by the New York City Public Employees Pension Fund, which also withdrew funds from other large sporting goods stores that deal in arms.
Today, the arms giants are full of debt and face a decline in consumer demand. Centers such as GoodbyeGunStocks.com have been set up to inform about stockholding entities that trade in arms to guide activists eager to boycott those who do so.
The relentless shootings that kill innocents have filled the cup of resistance of the American citizenry. Its assimilation capacity is running out and if that giant rises it would not be unusual for the arms business to be forced to start a countdown sooner rather than later in the United States and around the world.
May 31, 2018.
Posted: Monday 02 April 2018 | 10:34:06 PM
By Juana Carrasco Martin
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
A recent issue of Time magazine, one of the most important American publications, has a very special cover: five teenagers – students at Parkland High School, where 17 of their classmates were shot dead by another young man who was also a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School – look straight ahead with a word that crosses not only that cover, but also the claim of a majority of the concerned population: Enough, a term that can also be translated as Enough is Enough.
Among the young people are Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg and Cameron Kasky, who have become spokespersons and advocates for control over guns in private hands in the United States. They are activists against armed violence, which is almost an epidemic in the northern nation, and they demand measures from their legislators to make the country’s schools and streets safe.
However, their demand does not have many receptive ears in the political class, where many of its members are tied to the National Rifle Association that thrives on this business. But the young people persist. A month after the shooting, many U.S. schools held 17 minutes of silence in honor of the 17 massacred in Parkland. A march went through Washington, the nation’s capital, with sibling marches in cities and towns across the country. They called for a change in the permissive and enabling rules and laws for these irrational crimes. It was the largest demonstration ever held in the United States for this purpose.
A recent AP-NORC survey emphasizes that national support for arms control is currently at its highest level in five years. About seven out of 10 adults favor stronger laws on the issue, representing 69 percent of respondents, The Hill said.
So, what does the president do? He calls for states in the Union to hand over weapons to teachers and school employees to answer Fire! with Fire!, a simple lesson in insanity….
By Juventud Rebelde firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted: Tuesday 27 March 2018 | 08:41:45 PM
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.