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Paul A Duginski
Paul A Duginski
Paul Duginski is a political cartoonist and veteran newspaper staff artist. He enjoys reading history, literature and going bodyboarding whenever he has time.


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Posted in Politics / Elections / National

Mouth Modification

Nov. 13, 2017 12:10 am
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On Sunday, Oct. 1, Stephen Paddock, 64, opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas, killing 58 innocent people and wounding 546. The gunman rained down death from his perch 32 stories high in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. At least a dozen of the 23 firearms used by Paddock in the massacre were rifles legally modified with bump stocks, an attachment that allows a semiautomatic rifle to fire like a fully automatic weapon.

The combination of a shooter having the high ground and a shooter armed with numerous weapons modified to pump out enormous quantities of lethal lead was devastatingly bloody.

After this utterly senseless tragedy, many questioned why anyone needs military-style assault weapons, high-capacity ammunition magazines or a relatively inexpensive modification used to circumvent the laws against automatic weapons or machine guns.

After the shooting, our so-called president, Donald Trump, and other gun-lobby sycophants in the Republican Party, shushed those who had the temerity to ask such questions at a time of national mourning.

Slightly more than a month later, on Sunday, Nov. 5, Devin Patrick Kelly, 26, opened fire at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing 26 and wounding 20. Kelly used an AR-15-style semiautomatic weapon, among others. His mass murder surpassed the previous most deadly shootings in houses of worship, including the Charleston church shooting of 2015 and the Waddell, Ariz., Buddhist temple shooting of 1991.

Everything is bigger in Texas, but this mass murder even became the most deadly shooting in Texas history.

Kelly was mentally ill and should not have had firearms, but he slipped through the sieve that is our system for background checks, etc. For example, a criminal lunatic may be barred from buying guns at a licensed gun shop, but there’s nothing to stop him from buying guns at gun shows or from private parties.

Because of lax procedures, Kelly’s convictions for domestic violence while in the U.S. Air Force never made it into the data base, so even the protections we thought we had didn’t work.

Once again, Donald Trump and the NRA water-carriers in the Republican Party shushed those who wanted to discuss gun safety issues in the wake of the tragedy. We have plenty of laws in place, we were told, and besides, when we’re in mourning we ought not to bring up such things. Trump dismissed the Texas shooting as a “mental health problem,” rather than a failure of the system to keep weapons intended for the military out of the hands of psychopaths.

On Halloween, between these two bloody mass shootings, Sayfullo Saipov, 29, took a rented truck on a deadly path down a busy riverfront bike path in Manhattan, killing eight and injuring at least a dozen.

Without any interval for mourning, Trump was immediately tweeting and running at the mouth. He called for Saipov to be sent to the military-run detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and for the death penalty.

On camera at a White House Cabinet meeting, Trump said, “We need quick justice and we need strong justice — much quicker and much stronger than we have right now — because what we have right now is a joke, and it’s a laughingstock.”

The White House would later flatly deny that Trump said any such thing, even thought the video was televised and is all over the Internet.

Aside from the obvious bald-faced lie by the White House, Trump’s response shows a double standard. When a white man has an arsenal or is crazy and kills dozens of Americans with firearms, we shouldn’t talk about remedies such as gun safety. Instead, we should observe a lengthy period of mourning.

How long should we mourn? Exactly as long as it takes until the story is no longer in the headlines or top of mind. That’s been the case after Las Vegas, with gun-safety fervor cooling and efforts to ban the bump stock stalled in Congress.

But in the case of a Muslim terrorist with a truck, Trump has an immediate and acute outbreak of diarrhea of the mouth.

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