Monday, August 19, 2019

America and guns

Here's how President Donald Trump has responded to recent questions about gun control:

"So, Congress is working on that. They have bipartisan committees working on background checks and various other things. And we'll see. I don't want people to forget that this is a mental health problem. I don't want them to forget that, because it is. It's a mental health problem. And as I say -- and I said the other night in New Hampshire; we had an incredible evening -- I said: It's the people that pull the trigger. It's not the gun that pulls the trigger."

"I'm also very, very concerned with the Second Amendment, more so than most Presidents would be. People don't realize we have very strong background checks right now."

- Donald Trump
August 18, 20119

Does that sound like a president who is going to get serious about gun control?  Does that sound like a man who is going to stop all the gun violence and mass shooting in the United States? Just days after a mass shooting at a garlic Festival in Gilroy, California,, a 21-year-old white supremacist opened fire at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas.  The El Paso massacre left 20 dead and 20 injured.  Hours later, it happened again, another mass shooting at a bar in Dayton, Ohio.

President Donald Trump's response to this gun violence and shedding of innocent blood is woefully inadequate.  It is especially galling since Trump has been stoking the flames of white nationalism.  He is also a strong supporter of the National Rifle Association (NRA).

The president's reaction to mass shootings is always the same.  He offers his support and prayers to the grieving families.  However, he and his Republican lackeys will never do what really needs to be done in order to protect innocent lives.  They won't do it because they need the support of the NRA and right-wing conservatives to win re-election in 2020.  Trump and the Republicans have to save their political skins, which seems to be more important to them than protecting Americans from gun violence.

This can't go on.  It is a scourge and it has to stop.  Most Americans know it.  Still, Trump and his cohorts refuse to address the problem.  They refuse to do what must be done.  Assault weapons and high-capacity magazines have no place on the streets of America or on any city streets.  They should be banned PERIOD.

Trump stated that the U.S. already has strong background checks now.  If so, why are there so many incidents of gun violence?  Why are so many weapons falling into the hands of mentally ill people and white supremacists?  Why are so many Americans, young and old alike, rich and poor alike, living in fear of mass shootings?

Donald Trump has blamed video games and mental health for the shootings.  Yet, he refuses to take any measures to prevent guns from getting into the hands of people who are mentally unstable.  He and the Republican-controlled Senate refuse to back legislation allowing stringent background checks.  Of course, Trump will never acknowledge his own complicity in the mass shootings, nor will the Republicans, nor will the NRA.  They just keep on repeating the specious argument that "guns don't kill people" ad nauseum.  Yes, people pull the trigger, but people also allow guns to be sold to the mentally ill and to  militant white supremacists.  More guns always equals more gun violence.  That's why countries with stricter gun laws have fewer shootings.  People who have to keep guns out of the wrong hands.  Guns can't do that.

The latest NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll shows that:

89% of Americans favour expanded background checks for gun purchases.

76% favour "red flag laws" to identify dangerous persons and deny them guns

75% favour a voluntary buyback program in which the government would purchase firearms from current owners.

62% of Americans favour a ban on the sale of semi-automatic weapons.  (Why isn't that number higher?)

Only 25% favour the banning of handguns and 46% of Americans say someone in their household owns a gun.

For comparison, here a recent poll on gun control and gun ownership in Canada.  According to an Angus Reid poll (released May 24, 2019), found the following.:

* Half of Canadians (50%) consider gun violence a serious problem for the country, while half say political and media coverage of this has been overblown.

* 75% of Canadians would support a complete ban on assault weapons.

* 61% wanted to see a complete ban on handguns in Canada (support for the ban is considerably higher in rural areas than urban areas).

* Of those surveyed, 77% said they've never owned a gun, while 14% currently owned a gun.  9% had owned a gun in the past.

* Two-thirds of Canadians (65%) said they would support a tax
funded buy-back program for gun owners if the government banned handguns, assault weapons or both.

 - Joanne

Vocabulary Quiz #2

Number 16 Vocabulary Quiz #2

Number 16 presents a multiple choice vocabulary quiz.  Choose the correct definition of each word listed.  There are ten words for you to define.  Ready, set, go!

1.  umbrage (noun)

A.  A large mound of garbage or refuse

B.  Leftover residue from a fire, such as ashes and burnt items

C.  Offense or annoyance, a feeling of pique or resentment at some fancied slight or insult

D.  A secret or hidden room in a mansion

E.  A leafy vegetable, most commonly found in tropical and Caribbean countries

2.  countermand (verb)

A.  To attack unexpectedly in battle

B.  To revoke a command by contrary order

C.  To spy on an other country as a double agent

D.  To unlawfully seize private property

E.   To withdraw support from a candidate during an election

3.  piscatory (adjective)

A.  of, related to a blood vessels

B.  of, related to, or dependent on pigs or pig farming

C.  of, related to animals that have fur

D.  of, related to, or dependent on fish or fishing

E.  of, related to swimming or swimming pools

4.  incontrovertible (adjective)

A.  not open to question: INDISPUTABLE

B.  that which is impossible to forget  UNFORGETTABLE

C.  that which can be changed easily

D.  that which is not portable and can not be carried around

E.   of cars, relating to sedans, not convertibles

5.  distended (adjective)

A.  postponed, delayed (as a decision)

B.  enlarged, expanded, or stretched out (as from internal pressure)

C.  shortened in length

D.  chopped up into smaller parts

E.  alone and abandoned

6.  inculcate (verb)

A.  to trespass on someone's property

B.  to invade

C.  to plunder and rob

D.  to teach by example

E.  to teach and impress by frequent repetitions or admonitions

7.  renal (adjective)

A.  relating to the lower body

B.  of relating to, involving, or located in the region of the liver

C.  of, relating to, involving, or located in the region of the kidneys: NEPHRIC

D.  of, relating to, involving, or located in the region of the intestines or the intestines

E.   of, relating to, involving, or located in the region of the pancreas

8.  obfuscate (verb)

A.  to make obscure, to confuse

B.  to be obedient

C.  to protest loudly

D.  to be controlling

E.   to demand strongly

9.  scurrilous (adjective)

A.  unreasonable, not logical

B.  not accurate

C.  very aggressive or violent

D.  containing obscenities, abuse, or slander

E.   ridiculous

10.  autophobia (noun)

A.  morbid fear of automobiles

B.  morbid fear of robots

C.  morbid fear of movable objects

D.  morbid fear of being lost

E.   morbid fear of solitude

(Note:  The definitions for the correct answers have been taken from the Merriam-Webster dictionary or thesaurus)

1.  C
umbrage (noun): Offense or annoyance, a feeling of pique or resentment at some fancied slight or insult  as in I took umbrage at the speaker's remarks

2.  B
countermand (verb): To revoke a command by contrary order: OVERRIDE, OVERRULE, VETO

3.  D
piscatory (adjective): Of, related to, or dependent on fish or fishing

4.  A
incontrovertible (adjective): Not open to question: INDISPUTABLE as in incontrovertible facts

5.  B
distended (adjective): Enlarged, expanded, or stretched out (as from internal pressure)

6.  E
inculcate (verb): To teach and impress by frequent repetitions or admonitions as to inculcate in him high moral standards

7.  C
renal (adjective): Of, relating to, involving, or located in the region of the kidneys: NEPHRIC, as renal disease

8.  A
obfuscate (verb): To make obscure, as to obfuscate the issue; to confuse, as to obfuscate the reader

9.  D
scurrilous (adjective): Containing obscenities, abuse, or slander as in scurrilous accusations

10.  E
autophobia (noun): Morbid fear of solitude, as in the fear of being alone

- Joanne