Monday, November 21, 2022

Guns and Hate

As many Americans head home for Thanksgiving, there are some who will not be heading home.

That’s because on Saturday, there was yet another mass shooting at a gay bar in Colorado, where five people were killed and many more were injured.

There have been over 600 mass shootings so far this year. That’s more than one every day.

I know we’ve become numb to the frequency of mass shootings in America, but we can’t allow that to happen.

I can’t allow that to happen. I’m too angry.

In the past few years, in addition to seeing people targeted and killed because they were LGBTQ (and, particularly, because they were trans), we’ve seen people targeted and killed because they were Black, Jewish, Asian, and Mexican. We cannot allow this hatred to continue.

But the thing that allows someone who is homophobic or racist or antisemitic to kill people, and the thing that often gets left out of the conversation, is guns.

And I’m tired of the excuses.

Don’t tell me it’s a “mental health” issue. Other countries have people who are mentally ill, but they don’t have anywhere near the level of gun violence America has. Not even close.

Nevertheless, now that Republicans are poised to take over the House, we also know that nothing will change.

And don’t tell me not to politicize a mass shooting. It is political.

That’s why we have laws. The number one responsibility of our elected officials is to protect the health and safety of Americans. And they are failing to do that.

That’s why I want President Biden to sign an executive order to ban assault weapons. And while he’s at it, he should also ban high-capacity magazines and body armor.

No one needs any of these things for “self-protection” or “hunting,” so I’m calling bullshit on Republicans and the gun lobby. I don’t even want to hear it. And I can’t wait another two years for things to change.

And let’s talk about the other thing that often goes unmentioned: hate.

While antisemitism and racism have become unacceptable (at least ostensibly), it seems that it’s still OK to target LGBT people (and, as I said, particularly trans people).

We just had a campaign season where LGBT people (and trans people in particular) were the centerpiece of many Republican campaigns.

And what message is Ron DeSantis sending with his “Don’t Say Gay” bill? He saying that LGBT people are second-class citizens and don’t deserve the same rights and protections as other Americans.

The fact that LGBT people are being targeted for hate crimes is precisely why we need to educate children about LGBT people, if only to say, “Not everyone is a cis-gendered heterosexual, but they deserve to be treated with respect, just like everyone else.”

As for guns, we know that gun control works.

It’s no coincidence that the number of mass shootings went up after we let the assault weapons ban expire.

Other countries have figured this out. Why can’t we?

After just one mass shooting in New Zealand, they banned assault weapons in three days.

Why can’t we? How many more people have to die?

And I’d like to ask our politicians, (particularly our Republican politicians), “How can you live with yourself? How you can allow this to continue?”

And you know that it will, unless we do something about it.

How long will it be until the next mass shooting?

It’s time to stop treating gun violence as yet another “culture war” issue and instead treat it as a public health issue.

I can’t wait any longer. Enough already!

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Will Ignorance Win Again?

I just got back from my corner newsstand, where I overheard three women discussing the price of a soda, which one of them mistakenly thought was $8. She said, “Inflation,” and then “Joe Biden,” as if a) Joe Biden was responsible for inflation and b) that was the hysterical punchline to a joke. It took all my self-control not to scream at that woman, “You fucking idiot! Do you even know what causes inflation?!” But I didn’t. They were probably tourists and they didn’t strike me as intellectuals. (The rest of their conversation was about a bag of gummy bears.)

I’d be surprised if they even bothered to vote.

This morning, a friend of mine, a former New Yorker who now lives in Virginia, texted me, “I take it that Eric Adams is not well liked in NYC?” to which I responded, “Huh?” This was news to me and I live in New York City. When I spoke to my friend later on the phone, I said, “Where did you hear that?” And he said, “The media.”

Everywhere I look, I’m hearing “crime, crime, crime,” and my reaction is, “What crime?” I haven’t been the victim of a crime, nor do I know anyone who has.

Today’s New York Times, in fact, has two articles which seem to contradict the running narrative about inflation and crime.

The first article’s headline is “Job Data Stays Strong, Despite Inflation Curbs” ( and the other’s headline is “High-Profile Subway Crimes Overshadow Riders’ Low Risk” (

Why are so many people taking the Republican narrative about inflation and crime at face value and why aren’t the Democrats fighting back?

I suppose part of the reason is that everyone’s living in an information bubble these days, so if you watch Fox News or read the New York Post, all you’re seeing is stories about inflation and crime. Missing from those stories are several important facts.

First of all, inflation is a worldwide problem that’s primarily caused by three things: 1) the lingering effects of the pandemic and the resulting snag in supply chains 2) the war in Ukraine, which has tightened the supply of oil (from Russia) and grain (from Ukraine) and 3) price-gouging from companies (primarily oil companies), who are experiencing record profits.

As for crime, a large factor is the widespread availability of guns in this country. (There are more guns in America than people.)

And perhaps the most important fact is that Republicans don’t have a plan for either of these things beyond cutting taxes for the rich and making guns even more available.

I know the polls are predicting that Republicans will win the House (and possibly the Senate), but democracy itself is on the ballot this year. Why are so many Americans willing to give up democracy just to save on their gas or grocery bill (two things over which neither party has much control)?

Bill Maher had a devastating “New Rules” segment on Real Time with Bill Maher last night about what will happen if Republicans win (and democracy dies). Here’s a link:

I would urge every American to watch it—and then vote Democrat.