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Welcome to the “Georgia Wasp…”
This blog is modeled on the Carolina Israelite. That was an old-time newspaper – more like a personal newsletter – written and published by Harry Golden. Back in the 1950s, people called Harry a “voice of sanity amid the braying of jackals.” (For his work on the Israelite.)
Which is now my goal as well. To be a “voice of sanity amid the braying of jackals.”
For more on the blog-name connection, see the notes below.
In the meantime:
Last November 16 (2018), I reported on the number of “mass shootings” under Donald Trump. (See The Bible says: Blame Trump for “his” mass shootings.) At the time – and according to Gun Violence Archive – the number of mass shootings* stood at 345 in 2017 and 307 in 2018:
Which adds up to a grand total – for two years, not counting the rest of November and December, 2018 – of 652 mass shootings under Trump so far. That’s four times greater than Obama’s eight years, in one-fourth the time.
But again, that was as of November 8, 2018. So here’s an update for the past six months.
The “archive” for 2018 listed a final total of 340 mass shootings. Which means that there were an additional 33 mass shootings between November 8 and the end of 2018. And for 2019 – so far – the Archive has listed 104 mass shootings.
All of which adds up to a grand total – so far – of 789 mass shootings during Donald Trump’s presidency. That’s compared to a “mere” 162 mass shootings – at least relatively speaking – during the eight years Obama was president. That adds up to almost five times the number of mass shootings (4.87) in about one-fourth the time.* (Then of course the Archive had a link to the “Last 72 hours,” totaling 13 pages of incidents, as of May 1, 2019.)
In turn, “it is very meet, right, and our bounden duty” to hold Trump accountable for his part in these tragedies. For reasons including that Trump held Obama responsible for such tragedies during his presidency, and as indicated in Bible says. But I’m not the only one who thinks so.
See the October 2018 article, Why it’s fair to ask whether Trump is to blame. Senior reporter Aaron Blake gave a lengthy analysis, including the “growing sense of grievance among Republicans about the narrative that Trump might have some culpability for the postal bombs that were sent to many of his high-profile political foes over the past week.” (Another tragedy. See ‘MAGA Bomber’ pleads guilty to sending 16 parcel bombs to Trump opponents.)
But Blake began by noting that “the fact that Trump’s rhetoric is without compare in American politics makes that a logical question.” He then added that it’s true political violence is nothing new, but when “confronted with a data set, you always look for the variables.” And Trump’s divisive rhetoric is “a highly unique variable.” After reciting examples of Trump-Speak – illustrated at left – Blake said, “This isn’t normal. It’s an aberration. And it’s possible it might produce aberrant results.”
Aberrant results like a big spike in the number of mass shootings, in America and elsewhere.
Blake then cited input from “the other” – conservative – side of the aisle, National Review’s David French. French began by observing that “not all listening ears” are sober-minded or rational, which is one reason that civility is important. Which led him to this thought:
Political speech can inspire violence… While it’s not always true that the pen is mightier than the sword, it’s absolutely true that the pen often inspires the hand that wields the sword: It foments revolutions, it motivates murderers, and it radicalizes terrorists.
All of which should be a prime example of overstating the obvious.
But there’s a point that neither Blake nor French mentioned. Call it Karma (“bad intent and bad deeds contribute to bad karma,” as illustrated at right), or turnabout is fair play (“It is fair for someone to suffer the pain that they have inflicted on others”). Or you could just hear what Jesus said in Luke 6:38, “The measure you use for others is the one that God will use for you.” (Which – I said at the time – should give ‘the Donald’ pause for thought.)
(And not just The Donald.) Which led to this from David French:
Speech can inspire violence… It’s one reason why civility and a sense of proportion in your speech aren’t just abstract, sanctimonious, or elitist concepts. They’re moral responsibilities for people with any kind of meaningful platform… It turns out that some people will actually believe the terrible things that politicians or celebrities say, and they’ll act on those beliefs.
And so, Mr. President – Mr. “Person With a Highly Meaningful Platform,” or Bully pulpit – maybe it’s time to tone the rhetoric down a bit. Or a lot. And by the way, I mention all this as an Ezekiel 3 concern, and not a Deuteronomy 19 accusation… (A bit of “Biblical CYA.”)
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Teddy Roosevelt, who was both a real Republican and a real president…
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The upper image is courtesy of the Gun Violence Archive, for January 1-May 1, 2019.
Re: “Mass shooting.” The generally-accepted definition: “an event where someone selects four or more people indiscriminately, and kills them, echoing the FBI’s definition of the term “mass murder.” See Mass shooting – Wikipedia, and/or How is a ‘mass shooting’ defined? | PolitiFact California.
The “fear has no place” image is courtesy of Wikipedia, Stoneman Douglas (“Parkland”) High School shooting. the caption: “Students protest gun violence outside the White House.”
Re: Five times the number of mass shootings (4.87) in about one-fourth the time. The actual number is 4.87 times the number of mass shootings. That number was reached by calculating two years from 1/20/17 to 1/20/19, plus a little over three months to last April 20. Which equals 27 months for Trump, compared to the 96 months that Obama served. Thus the actual percentage is 28.125% of Obama’s 96 months as president.
Re: “Our bounden duty.” Referring to the Anglican Preface (liturgy), according to the Rite I in the 1979 U.S. edition of the Book of Common Prayer. See Wikipedia: “In liturgical use the term preface is applied to that portion of the Eucharistic Prayer that immediately precedes the Canon or central portion of the Eucharist (Mass or Divine Liturgy).” I borrowed it for some Gravitas.
Re: Ezekiel and Deuteronomy. Ezekiel 3:16-19 basically says if you see a wayward soul and don’t warn him, you’ll both be punished, but if you do warn him – and he ignores you – you’ll at least save your own spiritual butt. On the other hand, Deuteronomy 19:16-19 says if you accuse someone of a heinous crime and they’re not guilty of it, you’ll be punished as if you committed the crime yourself. Thus I’m not accusing Donald Trump of being responsible for all those deaths, I’m merely issuing a warning. So if Donald ignores my warning, I’ll still save my spiritual butt, according to Ezekiel 3. (Although heaven knows where he’ll end up.)
Re: “Bully pulpit,” See also Bully Pulpit | Definition of Bully Pulpit by Merriam-Webster and An Open Letter to a Pulpit Bully – Home • ChurchLeaders:
It is dangerous, however, if you choose to invert that bully pulpit from a place of influence to a position of control. Transposing from advocacy to autocracy will degrade your platform from a bully pulpit to the platform of a pulpit bully.
The “Karma illustrated” image is courtesy of Wikipedia. The caption: “‘It Shoots Further Than He Dreams’ by John F. Knott, March 1918,” referring to Kaiser Wilhelm at the end of World War I.
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Re: The Israelite. Harry Golden grew up in the Jewish ghetto of New York City, but eventually moved to Charlotte, North Carolina. Thus the “Carolina Israelite.” I on the other hand am a “classic 67-year-old “WASP” – White Anglo-Saxon Protestant – and live in north Georgia. Thus the “Georgia Wasp.”
Anyway, in North Carolina Harry wrote and published the “israelite” from the 1940s through the 1960s. He was a “cigar-smoking, bourbon-loving raconteur.” (He told good stories.) That also means if he was around today, the “Israelite would be done as a blog.” But what made Harry special was his positive outlook on life. As he got older but didn’t turn sour, like many do today. He still got a kick out of life. For more on the blog-name connection, see “Wasp” and/or The blog.