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Larry Buford: America is Sitting on a Powder Keg!

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Machine Gun & American Flag - Depositphotos_35276891_s-2019

 

Machine Gun & American Flag - Depositphotos_35276891_s-2019

Gun-toting and Tongue-slinging (the fuse is lit)

[Editor’s note: This article was first published in 2013. In light of the rise of domestic terrorist activity, we thought we’d re-print it as a reminder of the unfinished business of gun control]

Seems these days a lot of Americans are brushing their teeth with gunpowder and just shootin’ off at the mouth! Social media is becoming a shameful cesspool of shameless foul and damaging communication (‘e-mail netiquette’). So much for the phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Cowards and thugs are hiding behind keyboards and guns, as their words and bullets are fired randomly at unsuspecting victims.

Gunsmiths and Wordsmiths are not to blame for the mishandling, misuse, and abuse we are seeing today resulting in gun-related massacres along with suicides triggered by cyberspace bullying. These consequential events have become so common – we see the symptoms and know the causes, and yet we all seem to be helpless and neutralized to do anything about them. It’s how we use guns and how we use words that kill. What are we as a people willing to do about the elephant in the room called irresponsibility?

We cannot legislate it nor dictate it – it has to come from an equal, central place within us, so that we all approach it from an equal, central position. If there is to be any change it will have to come from the heart of the people, or else the constitutional idealistic/legalistic Second Amendment (‘right to bear arms’), and the First Amendment (‘freedom of speech’) will become our own internal atomic bomb that will eventually destroy us. After the Sandy Hook Massacre, Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association – proponents of the Second Amendment – blamed it on the First Amendment that is causing young men across America to lash out. Is it the pot calling the kettle black?

Years ago, I thought if the concerted effort of the law, the media and other resources used to regulate seat belt usage and invoke smoking ordinances could be so successful, why not the same for gun-control? Okay, before you stop reading, please hear me out. In 2011 a survey result conducted for Mayors Against Illegal Guns said, “The public overwhelmingly supports laws requiring the reporting of lost or stolen firearms. A nationwide poll in 2011 found that 94 percent of Americans…including 94 percent of gun owners, favor laws to require the reporting of lost or stolen firearms.” As I was reading this, I was reminded of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) commerce/consumer laws for registering commercial and non-commercial vehicles.

When a vehicle is purchased through a licensed dealership, the Vehicle Registration Number (VIN which is strategically placed in a tamper-proof location on the unit) is registered with the purchaser’s name to the state database as the owner. Each year a DMV notice to renew is sent to the owner. Now (at least in California) if the owner decides he no longer wants to operate the vehicle, he has to provide that information on the notification and return it, otherwise he will be penalized monetarily. If the owner decides to sell the vehicle (a private sale), he has to transfer the title to the new owner thus continuing a paper trail and maintaining accountability for the vehicle. Why not adopt the same rule for dealership and private sales of guns?

Instead of permits being renewed every three years or so, it would be every year and for every gun owned. That way people can buy as many guns as they want as long as they are registering and paying for them annually. This would give people pause and perhaps discourage multiple and frivolous purchases. Manufacturers could assign a tamper-proof Gun I.D. Number (GIN) as a way to trace the gun back to the last registered owner. The California Penal Code requires that all gun transfers be conducted at licensed dealers, so if a murder weapon is traced back to a person who sold a gun illegally, that person should be charged as an accomplice to the crime, even if the gun is traced all the way back to the manufacturer who may or may not have followed the rules. In other words, let’s create a trail of accountability to encourage and enhance responsibility.

For gun dealerships and gun shows to be tasked with conducting background checks is like the fox guarding the hen house. They will and have cut corners because they are in the business of selling guns! Today (1/15/13) a Pew Research poll revealed that 85 percent of Americans are in favor of stricter laws on background checks, and gun permits.

According to one report, of all the fifty United States and the District of Columbia, only four require an owner’s license for both long guns and hand guns, and only one (New York as of this writing) for hand guns. Now that gun violence has been escalated to a ‘public health’ issue, if we could set federal standards for across-the-board-prevention, and turn the focus on who owns the guns rather than who has a license to carry a gun, it may be a start in curbing some illegal and illicit gun activity. If we use the DMV model of ownership and transfers, people would think twice about where a gun may end up.

This is a very urgent and pressing issue and it’s time for a round-up. Then after this, maybe we can focus on social media and the deadly ‘e-mail netiquette’ crisis, starting with some of the blatant disrespect being shown to the Office of the President by some of our elected officials and so-called leaders.

Please share your thoughts in the user-friendly, no-obligation comment section below.

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Larry Buford

Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based contributing writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” and “Book To The Future” (Amazon); two insightful books that speak to our moral conscience in times like these. Email: [email protected]

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  1. here

    October 16, 2020 at 3:10 pm

    You put forward some great ideas-however I believe you may be lacking clarity. I want to see you add to this, because you are a worthy author and I like reading your articles.

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Columns

The Journal of Steffanie Rivers: Don’t Cry For Melania

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Melania Trump (Gety) - image

*When she (Melania Trump) came on the scene during the 2016 election a lot of Americans had questions about her: Was she nothing more than eye candy for her husband?

Was she oblivious to women who accused her husband of sexual harassment – even while they were married – or did she know about allegations of his dubious business practices? 

Then there was that video of her getting left at the bottom of the steps during the inauguration that caused people to assume she might be living under duress and needed to be rescued.

But four years later the perception of FLOTUS Melania Trump has changed, and not necessarily for the better.Tell-all books have offered behind-the-scenes perspectives about President Donald Trump and this 3rd wife, the mother is his fifth child!

The verdict: She is as manipulative as the president. The latest example is a tweet from her where FLOTUS tries to give credit to her husband for somebody else’s work. 

In case you didn’t know, Purdue Pharma, the company that manufactured opioids, agreed to pay an $8 billion fine admitting they lied about the addictive potency of the drug that led to America’s opioid epidemic! Purdue Pharma also agreed to shut down operations.

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Melania Trump (Gety) - image

FLOTUS Melania tweeted that Purdue Pharma’s downfall was proof the president cares about the health of Americans! I’m calling her out on that lie. 

Trump is too busy trying to erase the Affordable Healthcare Act that could leave millions of people who have pre-existing health conditions without healthcare in the middle of a pandemic. He’s too busy pretending to have a healthcare plan – for the past four years – that he never has revealed. And to make matters worse, when Trump contracted the deadly Coronavirus, he was treated by doctors with access to the best medical treatments and experience to help him recover rapidly. His access to testing and treatment are not the norm. If it was 200,000 Americans wouldn’t be dead because of COVID-19.

The care and concern shown for the president’s health is far greater than what pharmaceutical companies such as Purdue Pharma exhibit towards other Americans. Even though company executives agreed to pay an $8 billion fine, who got the money and how will it be used? Click on the video to find out why company executives agreed to walk away.

Steffanie Rivers (screenshot1)

Steffanie Rivers

Steffanie is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex. Email her at [email protected] with your comments, questions and speaking inquiries. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @tcbstef. 

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Larry Buford: Judgment or Test? America’s Job Experience

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Job in Bible
Job in the Bible

Illustration of Job in the Bible

*[This is a chapter from my book, “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand, first published in 2007. Although many other tragic events have happened in the 13 years since then, including the current global pandemic, I think it is still relevant as history continues to repeat itself]

Breaking news: Bridge Collapses, Victims Killed; Miner’s Trapped, Victims Killed; Record Flooding, Victims Killed; Senseless Shooting, Victims Killed; Raging Fires, Victims Killed; and the list goes on!!

While it seems like all hell is breaking loose, one may ask, is America being judged or tested?

The biblical character Job received (heart) “breaking news” [Job chapter 1]: “And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them: and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword…While he was speaking, there also came another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them…”

In the end, Job had received back-to-back reports from four different messengers that he had suffered great losses including his children. Job even lost his health, but eventually regained everything even more in abundance. It was a test to see if Job would deny God.

Prior to the 911 tragedy, we seldom heard of God or Jesus in mainstream media. Since then it has become acceptable, and more and more prevalent with each new turn of tragic events. Is God testing America to see if we truly are a Christian nation? Or is this judgment on a nation that has turned its back towards God?

If it’s a test, we as a nation should hold steadfast our convictions as did Job. If judgment, God says in II Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

There is yet hope for America!

Please share your thoughts in the user-friendly, no-obligation comment section below.

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Larry Buford

Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based contributing writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” and “Book To The Future” (Amazon); two insightful books that speak to our moral conscience in times like these. Email: [email protected]

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Earl Ofari Hutchinson: Why Trump Keeps Beating Biden Over the Head with the Crime Bill

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Trump - Biden (face2face)

Trump-Biden - Debate

*On November 18, 1993, then Senator Joe Biden let it fly on the Senate floor. He lambasted the “predators on the streets” and “sociopaths” who were “beyond the pale,” and must be “cordoned off.” Biden punctuated his impassioned cheer of the Clinton Crime Bill up for Senate passage with borderline race tinged rhetoric about broken homes, family squalor and ignorance. The inference was he was talking about young Blacks.

Biden’s words that day keep coming back to haunt him like a hideous nightmare. Trump dredged it up again at the last presidential debate. Joe, Trump intoned, you branded young Blacks as “super-predators.” He then gleefully finger pointed Biden as practically the Founding Father of the 1994 Crime Bill; the bill widely reviled as the single biggest cause of the mass prison incarceration of explosion of mostly young Blacks and Hispanics.

Biden, in defense, did the same two things that he’s done repeatedly every time he gets hit over the head by Trump and the GOP with his cheerlead of the bill. He denied that he called anyone “super predators.” He didn’t, but his label of “predators on the streets” came darn close. It’s his second counter though that he hopes will take some of the sting out of his overexuberant tout of the bill a quarter century ago. He called it “a mistake,” and says times have changed. He spruces up some of the features of the bill such as ramped up drug treatment and services that he claims ownership of in the bill.

Biden pivots and rightly points out that the majority of the Congressional Black Caucus backed it out of fear of violent crime and drug plague hammering Blacks. He then does a quick fast forward to cite his array of criminal justice system and police reform-oriented proposals he’s put forth during the campaign.

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Biden - Trump

Biden – Trump

It doesn’t change the past but it’s part mea culpa and bigger part hope that it gets Trump off his back, and does no damage among Black voters on November 3.

Trump, though, won’t go away on this. He senses a tiny opening with this that can be exploited to fuel the still very deep sting and resentment over the bill. There’s some cause for worry about that.

The draconian bill was the brainchild of Reagan and Bush Sr., they could not have gotten the bill through a mostly Democratic-controlled Congress. But then President Clinton did. He muscled it through Congress. The bill shelled out $22 billion to the states and feds to hire more police and prosecutors build new prisons, and courts, and establish crime commissions.

It criminalized thousands, mostly Blacks and Latinos, for petty crimes and drug possession, ignited the biggest prison-police boom in U.S history, spurred dozens of states to adopt three strikes laws, led to the deadly rash of racial profiling cases, and widened the gaping racial disparities in prison sentencing. The anti-crime legislative mania also tacitly encouraged more states to disenfranchise thousands of ex-felons. The law added more than 30 new provisions for the death penalty in federal law. To no surprise, the majority of those that await execution are Black men. In 1993, there were less than a half million blacks in America’s jails. That figure has soared to more than 2 million today with still about half of them Black.

Biden’s public pledge to change that takes the battle against crime in the direction that it should have gone even twenty years ago. And that’s putting massive resources into investment and repair in poor and minority communities, while committing to fight to end the blatant racial disparities in arrests, sentencing, imprisonment, and the death penalty that have become the trademark of the criminal justice system.

However, the damage that the bill wreaked is done. And Trump knows the bitterness that it has caused among many Blacks. He can take the issue twist and turn it around on Biden to the point of casting himself as some sort of Harriet Tubman liberator of Blacks from the shackle of mass incarceration. So, as Biden squirms on the crime bill, Trump parlays his threadbare record on criminal justice issues which include nothing more than after much arm twisting endorsing a Second Start and a handful of pardons of Black inmates.

The challenge then is not to hold Biden’s feet to the fire for a policy from the past that’s had and has bad consequences for the present. But to hold him feet to the flame to deliver on her pledge to push for meaningful criminal justice system reforms, and programs and initiatives to aid the urban poor once in the White House.

The crime bill  will forever remain part of Clinton’s legacy, the good, and the much larger bad of it. Trump will cynically and calculatingly twist that odious history around and call Biden on the carpet for it. And hope that enough other Blacks do the same to dampen enthusiasm for him.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson1 - Getty

Earl Ofari Hutchinson

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is the author of What’s Right and Wrong with the Electoral College (Middle Passage Press)He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on Radio-one. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK-Pacifica Radio.

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