Tag: mass shootings
Johnson Blamed Mass Shootings On 'No-Fault Divorce' And Teaching Of Evolution

Johnson Blamed Mass Shootings On 'No-Fault Divorce' And Teaching Of Evolution

Newly sworn-in Speaker Mike Johnson‘s record is being rapidly unearthed and critics are expressing anger and outrage that House Republicans have elevated what some are calling a far-right Christian nationalist to become the third most-powerful elected official in the country.

“While preaching a sermon in 2016,” MeidasTouch Network reports Thursday, “Johnson blamed mass shootings on the teaching of evolution.”

During his sermon at the Christian Center in Shreveport, Louisiana, Johnson said: “Some of you were around in the late 60s, you remember that what that was about? The counterculture revolution, Woodstock, and drugs and peace and free love and all that, but,” he claimed, it was “more about the undermining of the foundations of religion and morality.”

“Because if you remember in the late 60s we invented things like no-fault divorce laws. We invented the sexual revolution. We invented radical feminism. We invented legalized abortion in 1973, where the state government sanctioned the killing of the unborn,” he said.

“All these things happened because as collectively as Americans, we began to get together in growing numbers and thumb our nose at the creator and say, ‘We don’t believe that anymore, we’re rejecting the founders natural law philosophy in favor of moral relativism, and we’re going down another path.’ ”

“Now, what we tolerate in moderation our children excuse in excess. What happens when you fast forward another 30 or 40 years?” he asked. “We know that we’re living in a completely amoral society. And people say, ‘How can a young person go into their school house and open fire on their classmates?’ Because we taught a whole generation, a couple of generations now, of Americans that there is no right and wrong. That it’s about survival of the fittest and you evolved from the primordial slime, why is that life of any sacred value because there’s nobody sacred to whom it’s owed.”

“None of this should surprise us,” Johnson claimed.

Critics blamed the new House Speaker.

Chris Harris, vice president of communications for Giffords, the anti-gun violence group founded and led by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, responded by saying, “You know what doesn’t lead to gun deaths in schools? Teaching kids science. What does? Giving kids easy access to guns.”

The Atlantic’s Norman Ornstein responded with one word: “Lunatic.”

And The Daily Beast’s Goldie Taylor served up this response: “Speaker Froot Loops.”

Watch below or at this link.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Another Day, Another Massacre: 18 Dead And 13 Wounded In Maine

Another Day, Another Massacre: 18 Dead And 13 Wounded In Maine

Dear readers, I ask you: how many of these stories have I written about mass shootings in my Substack column? I lost count some time ago and cannot remember the last one. Was it the shooting in Nashville, when a 28-year-old gunman killed three nine-year-old children and three adults at a private school affiliated with the Presbyterian Church using two AR-15 rifles, one of them configured as a pistol with a folding stock so it could be easily concealed? Or was it Uvalde, when 19 children and two adults were killed at the Robb Elementary School by an 18-year-old who had bought two AR-15 rifles soon after he reached the age when it is legal to buy such firearms in Texas?

I know I wrote about two more mass shootings in Texas, one at a private home in Cleveland, when five were killed by a shooter with an AR-15 rifle, and the other at an outlet mall in Allen, when a shooter killed eight and wounded seven using, once again, an AR-15 rifle.

And now I’m writing about last night’s mass-shooting in Lewiston, Maine. Robert Russel Card, age 40, is the man police suspect of killing seven people in a bowling alley and eight people in a bar and wounding 13, again using an AR-15 rifle. Three of the wounded died later in a hospital. He is described as a sergeant in the Army Reserves and a “trained firearms instructor.” He has not been captured by the police and is at large as I write this, described as armed and dangerous.

I think the first story I wrote about a mass killing was in 1998, about the school shooting in Jonesboro, Arkansas, when two boys, age 13 and 11, used rifles taken from the home of one of their grandfathers to kill four of their fellow students and a teacher, shooting at them from a hill overlooking the schoolyard when the kids were at recess. I wrote the story for the New York Times op-ed page. What astounded me about the shooting was the fact that both boys had been taken to so-called practical shooting courses by their parents, where participants were taught to shoot and move in a tactical military fashion using human silhouette targets.

At that time, it had been 30 years since I had fired a rifle on a shooting rage at a human silhouette target. I did it during marksmanship training at West Point, using first an M-14 and then an M-16, the military progenitor of the AR-15 rifle used by nearly every shooter in every mass shooting in recent years.

The M-14 was a big, unwieldy rifle with a wooden stock that weighed 10 and a half pounds when loaded with its 20-round magazine. The M-16, which the Army had begun using in Vietnam, was smaller, had a composite stock and a shorter barrel and weighed only seven and a half pounds and used a magazine carrying 30 rounds of ammunition. The M-14 fired a 7.62 mm bullet and had a sharp kick that would leave you with a bruise on your shoulder after a few hours of shooting it. The M-16 fired the much smaller 5.56 mm bullet and had almost no recoil at all. It was easier to carry, easier to shoot, and was just as accurate as the M-14 had been.

I’m telling you all this because every time I type “AR-15,” what I’m doing is using the designation for a weapon that was designed for and is still in use by the military for combat. It is, therefore, a machine invented and manufactured for killing human beings, which is what I was being trained to do when I first fired an M-16 at a human silhouette target at West Point in 1965.

Firearms training was a serious business. There was such a priority on safety that we initially fired the M-16 for most of a day using single bullets which we hand-loaded and fired on command by the range officer. Then we were issued magazines, which we loaded with 30 rounds of ammunition and fired with the fire selector set on single-shot for at least a couple of days. Later, we were taught to fire the M-16 with the selector set on three-round bursts and then full-automatic, enabling you to empty the magazine of all 30 rounds with a single pull of the trigger.

I used to get criticized by gun enthusiasts when I called an AR-15 rifle “military grade,” but their criticism was bullshit. The AR-15 is identical to an M-16 with only one difference: It does not have a selector switch enabling burst and full-auto fire. The AR-15s are manufactured for single-shot fire, but it is well known that many of them can be easily altered to fire on full-auto by purchasing a kit at a gun show or on the dark web. We don’t know if the gunman in Maine had altered his AR-15 to shoot on full-auto, but as an Army Reserve sergeant and a firearms instructor, he would certainly have the know-how to do it.

But it doesn’t matter whether the AR-15 used by the shooter in Maine had been illegally altered. Even in its legal form, the weapon is as deadly as they come. The bullet fired by the AR-15 is the same bullet fired by the Army’s M-4 carbine, the modern replacement for the M-16. It shoots with an extremely high muzzle velocity, and when the bullet hits the human body, it is designed to penetrate the skin and immediately tumble as it goes through the body, shredding muscles, bones, and organs. It is designed to kill, and last night, bullets fired from yet another AR-15 did just that in Maine.

It is madness that I am describing for the umpteenth time the AR-15 rifle, its military history, how deadly it is, and yes, how it has become ubiquitous. There are estimated to be more than 20 million of these terrible things in private hands in this country, and they are the weapon of choice for people who are looking to kill a lot of people very quickly. And yet, you can walk into a gun store in every state in the union but the ten that ban the sale of the AR-15 and buy one.

Wait. Make that nine states that ban the gun, because a federal judge in California last week ruled in a case involving the AR-15 that the state’s ban on sales of the weapon violates the Constitutional right to bear arms. That decision is on appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, but if upheld, would apply to the laws in all 10 states that ban sales of the gun.

The Supreme Court has upheld a law in Illinois banning the sale of the AR-15, but it did so temporarily on its so-called shadow docket, meaning a case involving the legality of the AR-15 for sale and ownership will eventually reach the Supreme Court and be heard on its merits. If the doctrine put forth by Justice Clarence Thomas in his Bruen decision holds – that gun laws today cannot differ materially from those in place in 1791 – well, we can already see which way the court will rule.

If the Supreme Court rules that because the Founders thought owning a flintlock musket was pretty cool, and that every American should have the right to buy, own, and shoot an AR-15, we will be seeing each other again in these online pages when yet another AR-15, or more likely, many AR-15s are used in more and more mass shootings.

It’s madness, sure, but it’s our madness because citizens of this country have elected the politicians who put the jurists on the court who make these things legal, and the same voters put the legislators in their seats who refuse to pass laws to make AR-15s illegal.

I pray that one day, my grandchildren will look back and wonder what their country was thinking when their grandfather and his generation allowed such deadly guns to be sold to anyone who wants one. The saddest thing is, right now, I don’t have an answer for them.

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at luciantruscott.substack.com and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.

Please consider subscribing to Lucian Truscott Newsletter, from which this is reprinted with permission.

New Report: Far Right Perpetrated All Extremism-Related Killings In 2022

New Report: Far Right Perpetrated All Extremism-Related Killings In 2022

A new report from the Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism reveals that all extremist-related murders in 2022 were committed by right-wing perpetrators. More than four out of five extremist-related murders last year were committed by white supremacists. The report finds that nearly all extremist-related mass killings were committed by right-wing extremists, and warns the number of those mass murders "is of growing concern."

"All the extremist-related murders in 2022 were committed by right-wing extremists of various kinds," the ADL’s Center on Extremism (COE) reports, "who typically commit most such killings each year but only occasionally are responsible for all (the last time this occurred was 2012)."

"Left-wing extremists engage in violence ranging from assaults to fire-bombings and arsons, but since the late 1980s have not often targeted people with deadly violence."

The report adds: "White supremacists commit the greatest number of domestic extremist-related murders in most years, but in 2022 the percentage was unusually high: 21 of the 25 murders were linked to white supremacists. Again, this is primarily due to mass shootings. Only one of the murders was committed by a right-wing anti-government extremist—the lowest number since 2017."

Last year, COE notes, "domestic extremists killed at least 25 people in the U.S., in 12 separate incidents. This represents a decrease from the 33 extremist-related murders documented in 2021 and is comparable to the 22 extremist-related murders in 2020. It continues the recent trend of fewer extremist-related killings after a five-year span of 47-78 extremist-related murders per year (2015-2019)."

The Associated Press, pointing to the "especially high number" of extremist killings "linked to white supremacy" reports they "include a racist mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, that left 10 Black shoppers dead and a mass shooting that killed five people at an LGBT nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado."

The "main threat in the near future will likely be white supremacist shooters, the report found," the AP adds. "The increase in the number of mass killing attempts, meanwhile, is one of the most alarming trends in recent years, said Center on Extremism Vice President Oren Segal."

In a separate article on that LGBT nightclub mass shooting, Club Q, also published Thursday, the AP reports the "22-year-old accused of carrying out the deadly mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs in November ran a neo-Nazi website and used gay and racial slurs while gaming online, a police detective testified Wednesday."

"Anderson Lee Aldrich also posted an image of a rifle scope trained on a gay pride parade and used a bigoted slur when referring to someone who was gay, Detective Rebecca Joines said."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Unanimous Jury Orders Alex Jones To Cough Up $965 Million

Unanimous Jury Orders Alex Jones To Cough Up $965 Million

Conspiracy theorist, falsehoods promoter for profit, and Infowars founder Alex Jones will have to pay families of the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting at least $965 million in damages after a jury returned a unanimous verdict in a consolidated case. Jones for years had falsely claimed the 20 young children and six adults slaughtered while in their elementary school were “crisis actors.”

The Associated Press reported the total damages, which include amounts for emotional distress and slander. He will also have to pay attorneys fees, which will be awarded by the judge later.

Attorney Paul Butler said on MSNBC the punitive damages are about sending a message about the depravity here, and try to measure in dollars the depravity in such that anybody else who’s thinking about spreading lies like this can’t hide behind the First Amendment.”

MSNBC also reports Jones has gone back to denying the fact that Sandy Hook was a mass shooting, reporting he has recently said it is “synthetic as hell.”

CNN reports the “decision marks the culmination of a years-long process that began in 2018 when the families took legal action against Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems, the parent of the fringe media organization Infowars.”

“Jones baselessly said again and again after the 2012 mass shooting, in which 26 people were killed, that the incident was staged, and that the families and first responders were ‘crisis actors.’ The plaintiffs throughout the trial described in poignant terms how the lies had prompted unrelenting harassment against them and compounded the emotional agony of losing their loved ones.”

Jones has reportedly made millions off his false claims.

Earlier at trial Jones told the court he was “done” apologizing, and claimed that he believed the false “crisis actor” claims he had made.

Jones was not in the courtroom as the damages were being read, but NBC’s Ben Collins reports on his radio show he said, “This must be what Hell’s like, they just read out the damages. Even though you don’t got the money.”

Jones also vowed, said, according to Collins, “We’re not going away, we’re not going to stop.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

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