If you can’t beat ’em, sue ’em. How to avoid personal and political responsibility in the age of Trump.

suing

I’m a courtroom junkie. I watched hours of the “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius trial and have been known to frequent the gallery of our county courthouse. I guess you could call me a legal barfly … get it? Legal … bar … fly … on the wall? Stretch.

So when I read that the Democratic National Committee is suing Russian hackers, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the Trump campaign, and anyone else they hold responsible for their 2016 presidential election loss, I perked right up.

After all, it’s not everyday one of our political parties sues the Russians.

And what’s really interesting is that this impressive legal maneuver made news on the same day the DNC’s losing candidate’s election-night lament came to light. Hillary Clinton’s alleged words when told she’d lost:

“I knew it. I knew this would happen to me. They were never going to let me be president.”

The evil they

Who are they?  Wait, let me guess: men? White men? Members of The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy? The Russians? WikiLeaks? The basket of deplorables? The keepers of the glass ceiling? All of the above?

While her party blames the world for her loss, Clinton blames everyone but herself. Let’s look reality right in the face and get real, Hillary. You lost to one of the worst (and surprising) presidential candidates in our history because of you.

The truth is that you were a bad candidate. You’re unlikable because you appear arrogant, calculating, cold, entitled and dishonest—many of the attributes voters loathe in politicians.  Stop blaming others. They did not fail to generate a solid ground game in several key states.

They did not pay more attention to a thirty-something social media and algorithm guru (campaign manager Robby Mook) than to your husband and two-term president who always knew how to connect with voters.

I know—you’re not Bill. You don’t have his charisma. But you do have smarts, determination and grit. Show a little character and take responsibility for your loss. You tried so very hard, but maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.

But don’t try again. America doesn’t like a loser—especially a whiny one.

DNC vs. The World

Speaking of whiny, by suing everyone else for their mistakes and misdeeds, the DNC is taking things to a whole new, hypocritical level. First they cheated Bernie Sanders and his supporters—many of whom were fresh, young voters—by conspiring against the coot and indulging the diva.

Then they failed to safeguard against one of the most basic cybersecurity scams: phishing to gain access to someone’s email account.

Instead of preventing John Podesta (Clinton’s campaign chairman) from falling for this trick, their IT department verified the message as “legitimate.” Legitimate? With a sender email address of reply@accounts.googlemail.com?

And now they’re suing Russian hackers. They should be suing their former IT head. Or themselves … for incompetence and favoritism.

Why go after WikiLeaks? All they did was publish your damning emails; they didn’t create them. Why shoot the messenger when Debbie Wasserman Shultz and associates and several Clinton campaign officials are the ones who wrote and sent the messages?

This is like the Mob suing the FBI for wiretapping them. Or Trump suing Access Hollywood for recording his bragging about groping women.

As I’ve written before, if the Russians and WikiLeaks interfered with our election by hacking DNC servers and exposing the dastardly denigration of Bernie Sanders, please, Russkies and Julian Assange, keep interfering.

If election interference exposes the truth—or as the press likes to say—what we “need to know,” by all means, Russian “Fancy Bear” hackers, hack away. Teach us silly Americans to secure our servers and email accounts. We relish challenges and relations were kinda boring post Cold War.

It’s always about politics

DNC chair Tom Perez defends the lawsuit as “not partisan, but patriotic.” Critics, many in his own party, think it’s “ill-timed” because of the ongoing Mueller investigation.

Bad timing or no, the DNC can’t afford lawsuits anyway. Despite their financial woes, Perez says his party “can’t afford not to” pursue the lawsuit.

“It’s hard to put a price tag on preserving democracy,” he said. I’d say it should be impossible—democracy is priceless and should never be for sale, which begs the question: Why did the DNC pay Fusion GPS to subvert it?

Here’s an idea for preserving democracy, Mr. Perez: Rather than spend your constituents’ money on silly grandstanding lawsuits,

Secure your servers and email passwords.

Give your primary candidates a fair shake, so cream candidates can rise to the top and secure your nomination honestly and effectively.

Don’t engage in kingmaking—no one deserves the presidency—no matter how long he or she has waited to be crowned.

And above all, when you screw up and your candidate loses, take responsibility for your mistakes, make changes, and go get ’em the next time.

This goes for you, too, Hillary. But if you ever gain a smidgen of self-awareness, there won’t be a next time. Nor should there.

Latest anti-gun enthusiast tactics: Use school kids for more gun control.

anti-gun

Students walk out for gun control. School kids march for their lives. Students want government to protect them?

Wait, what? The same government that can’t even balance a budget … let alone navigate the tightrope between liberty and tyranny? I’ll get back to the idiocy of trusting in government in a moment.

First, dear anti-gun enthusiasts:

You’ve decided that NOW is the time to make activists of school kids. You’re actually pushing the absurd notion that young people who experience school shootings are more qualified to effect the change you want than those who haven’t?

Memo to students

This is one time you should NOT listen to your elders. Here’s some better advice:

Protect yourselves by policing yourselves. More gun control cannot and will not make you more safe. Ask yourself this: Are you’re willing to put your safety in the hands of THIS government? You do realize that if you are and if you push this to its endpoint, you’ll be trading freedom for LESS security, right?

Back to trusting in government:

Do you think it wise to trust a government whose FBI failed to follow-up on multiple tips about Nikolas Cruz? Can you rely on a government that made it much more difficult for schools to punish violent students and for local law enforcement to partner with districts to remove repeat offenders?

Wait a minute. Why am I addressing students? The vast majority of them don’t know their butts from holes in the ground. I know—I was one. And I remember that I pulled many silly and senseless stunts simply because I was young and dumb.

Let’s face it—we were ALL young and dumb. We lacked wisdom and maturity because we lacked experience and life lessons—and the ability to speak effectively on issues like gun control.

In the words of savvy Mad Men Creative Director Don Draper, “Young people don’t know anything. Especially that they’re young.”

Exploitive adults

I’ll now address the real movers of this movement:

Anti-gun enthusiasts, who are using young people to further your gun-control agenda, listen up:

Qualification to speak wisely on issues and effect real solutions isn’t earned through the fear and tragedy of surviving a school shooting. It’s earned through earnest study of cause and effect and the ability to objectively process evidence and weigh the viability of potential solutions.

Most kids can’t process the causes and effects of a bad date.

The notion that these Florida students—or any high school or younger people—are qualified to speak expertly about gun control is absurd. It’s “thinking” like this that springs from the same illogic that asserts that children can responsibly decide to change their gender.

Any parent can tell you that their kid can change his opinion about virtually anything five times in five minutes. I know that school kids aren’t toddlers and that many are bright and eager to make a difference. But intelligence mixed with inexperience—and tragedy—does NOT make them more qualified to be voices for any issue.

Stop using kids

Anti-gun activists: Have you considered that the intense fear school shooting survivors experience may make them LESS qualified to speak objectively about gun control? Could your insistence that they’re freshly qualified to do so be exploitive?

Let’s talk qualifications again. Qualifications are attained through education and experience, which leads to expertise. Going through a traumatic experience doesn’t qualify anyone for anything. Yes, these school kids’ voices are important and may be more resonant than others, but more qualified?

I would listen most intently to anyone who can separate his emotions from his intellect and actually process and analyze data involving existing gun laws and mass shootings. Do you truly think traumatized school shooting survivors can do either objectively?

Would you consider that maybe we should let these kids process and heal from the tragedy they’ve endured? And instead enlist those who’ve already graduated from high school and maybe even have college degrees. And perhaps we could listen to those with real-world experience that comes with being … I don’t know … a few MORE years beyond puberty.

Let’s go ground zero

Stop using kids to bring us to our senses about the senseless need for MORE gun control. Never mind that the real need is for more parental and familial latitude to commit mentally ill young people like Nikolas Cruz who bragged about his plans to become a killer.

Do you think that cajoling students to walk out of class and march for their lives to get THIS federal government to pass more gun control legislation is a better solution than coming up with ground-zero solutions at the state and local level?

Would you rather protect the freedom of troubled kids like Cruz to skirt mental health treatment than empower parents and families to force them to get help? Do you truly think this upside down “logic” is a smart way to protect our students?

Glaring illogic

Speaking of logic, let’s summarize yours:

More gun controls laws + scattershot enforcement by a government that consistently proves itself unable or unwilling to make them work = equals safer schools.

Armed guards + schools ≠ safer school zones while posting gun-free zone signs in schools does.

Allowing teachers to arm themselves = terrible idea. Relying on local, hamstrung cops to risk life and limb and do their duty = good idea.

And now you’re pushing school walkouts and marches for gun control? I can tell you that as a young student, my friends and I would’ve walked out of school in support of any cause. We would have walked out to support anti-mosquito discrimination—as long as it got us out of class.

We’d march in a March For Our Lives … or Chives … or Hives event as long as it included girls or free pizza.

Whose movement?

Truth to adult users:

Your student gun control push is a movement only because you’ve made it one. You seem to think that government is the answer to all our problems while ignoring commonsense people-to-people solutions. And you’ll use any tools it takes to push your agenda—even kids.

The March For Our Lives events, billed as “for the kids, by the kids,” are promoted and sponsored by a collection of progressive organizations including Everytown For Gun Safety, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, The Women’s March On Washington, Planned Parenthood (that’s rich), and as usual, MoveOn.org.

The Florida school kids went through some real scary trauma. We owe them a clear-headed discussion and swift action to better protect them and others, not self-serving, never-let-a-good-crisis-go-to-waste partisan activism.

As Americans, school kids’ voices are important, but their experience does NOT make them uniquely qualified as voices for gun control. To pretend that they are and to use them to further one side of the argument is opportunistic and abusive.

Let’s protect our children—not weaponize them.

School shooting shocks us. Media fans flames. Left blames right. Root causes are ignored. Repeat.

gun

Another day, another school shooting. This time it happened on our national day of love. Cue the Valentine’s Day massacre headlines. Go, media—do what you do best—whip us all up into a gun-control, finger-pointing frenzy.

A nutjob white supremacist claims the shooter is a member of his hate group. What do you do, press? Run with it or verify first? You run with it like you mean it.

Why verify anything anymore when a CYA headline will suffice? Especially when you can imply the awful and (in their minds) predictable “truth” that Nikolas Cruz was driven to do what he did by his white supremacy.

We didn’t hear a peep about this verified and newsworthy phrase on Cruz’s Instagram page—Allahu Akbar. Predictably they don’t want to go anywhere near that one. Must be careful (and professional) when it comes to tying a religion of peace to violence.

Journalism is dead. Left-leaning scribes and editors officially killed it nearly two years ago. Their job now is to frame the news to fit their ideological preferences—even if it means sacrificing any vestiges of integrity that survived the political pyre of the 2016 election.

Shooting off our mouths

Even before news outlets trumpeted the white supremacist nonsense, many on the left screamed their exclusivist outrage to the heavens:

“The NRA killed those kids!”
“The GOP has blood on its hands!”
“Trump revoked mental illness background checks!”
“F*** your thoughts and prayers!” (We need legislation, not God.)

Newsflash, bigmouths:

Nikolas Cruz is the murderer. Not the NRA or GOP or Trump or people who own guns. We’re all outraged and saddened by this tragedy. Claiming the moral high ground and blaming the other side of the gun control issue is reactionary, thoughtless and despicable.

Those on the right could just as foolishly blame bigmouths on the left by reminding them that it is they who want gun-free zone schools. Gun ownership proponents could say that they’re the ones who want armed security guards in schools to protect kids.

By the way, does anyone think school shooters give a rip about gun-free zone signs? They may as well read, “Shooting Gallery—OPEN.”

gun

How to fix this

Let’s talk about assault rifles—or more accurately, about semiautomatic rifles that fire one round per trigger pull (just like handguns), but are mistakenly referred to as assault rifles.

I can see how they’d be fun to shoot, but for the life of me, I can’t think of one good reason why anyone needs one. In fact, I’d prefer our citizenry NOT match firepower with law enforcement or the National Guard.

I know … the Second Amendment, right? I accept that it was designed to protect our right to bear arms and resist government tyranny, but I’m confident our rule of law, our constitutional checks and balances and the spirit of our nation will ensure that we’ll likely never need these weapons to resist our government. Call me naive, but I just don’t see tyranny as a real possibility.

Here’s a certainty: Gun-free zoned schools do nothing to protect children. We have non gun-free zones in shopping malls and in other venues where young people gather—why not have good guys with guns to stop bad guys and crazies?

Why is it a bad idea to allow school districts to have security guards? Before you answer, consider this scenario: A shooter enters his school and starts his killing spree; security forces scramble and take him down. What’s wrong with this? It’s what we’d see happen in an airport or sports venue.

How about allowing teachers to conceal carry or to have a firearm in a locked safe in or near their desks? This could provide a second line of defense … and a deterrent.

Mental health. Maybe if we encourage school districts to employ professional mental health counselors with in-school offices, kids who are about to snap won’t. Perhaps they’d get real help and begin to hope.

Many if not most school shooters are deeply troubled and aren’t getting any help. We should also ensure students can anonymously report bullying and threats, which, in this case actually happened, but was inexplicably ignored.

The FBI’s failure to act on a vital tip they received concerning Nikolas Cruz’s desire to be a school shooter is indefensible.

Guns aren’t evil—people are

At this point, this may seem trite, but it’s still true—guns are not the problem. They don’t run down the street shooting people. They can’t hop around looking for evil people to pick them up and use them on others. But we can and should limit their accessibility.

I grew up in Texas in the ’70s and ’80s. There were no background checks to buy firearms. There weren’t any requirements to keep them locked away from kids. Yet I don’t remember ever even thinking about the potential of gun violence in my schools.

It was infinitely easier for adults to buy guns, use guns, and have guns in one’s truck rack, glove box and purse and yet we had virtually no school shootings—as in rarely ever. What changed?

We changed. Our culture changed. Our expectations for our children changed. The public school system changed. Our laws changed. Our expectations of personal responsibility and accountability were lowered by nanny-state policies. Helicopter parenting became the norm.

An adversarial parent-teacher dynamic emerged. In better times, parents and teachers were on the same team and worked together for the good of society AND for the good of the child. Instead of rearing kids to become decent citizens who respect authority and help ensure the common good, we coddle and enable them to demand safe spaces and their rights to resist free speech.

The power of community

I realize that Nikolas Cruz was an outcast and was terribly ostracized. This is awful. And despite our education system’s focus on inclusion and fairness, it’s not surprising. But somehow, he thought that lashing out with deadly force was an option. If he had been born thirty years earlier, would he have thought so? Not likely.

How can I be so sure? Because he would’ve known he’d be going up against EVERYONE on the same team: teachers, parents, police officers, firefighters, students—those who worked together to make schools criminal-free zones rather than gun-free shooting galleries. They knew what we should know—guns weren’t and aren’t the problem—bad people are.

Disagree? Then kindly answer these questions:

If you think that more gun control is the answer, consider this: For decades we had little or no gun control and yet suffered a tiny fraction of the gun violence that now plagues our schools. How will more gun control address the root causes of our problem?

Okay, let’s ban “assault rifles.” I’m onboard. Now what? Won’t troubled kids like Cruz use hunting rifles or shotguns or handguns or whatever?

Root causes

Aren’t the root causes of the problem within us, within our devolving culture? What about the glorification of violence in video games, music and entertainment? How does the vilification of law enforcement factor in to the problem? How does banning prayer in schools contribute?

What happened to parents empowering educators to help discipline their children rather than insulating them from authority and consequences? My parents would’ve (and often were) embarrassed by my misbehavior at school. They didn’t blame my teachers for reporting it—they blamed me.

I’m ready to listen. I truly am.

And I’m just as outraged and fed up with the senseless slaughter as you are. Let’s solve the problem together. No more grandstanding, blame gaming, finger-pointing and moral high grounding. Kids are dying. There’s got to be something we can do to help stop the killing.

And you’re right. Doing nothing isn’t the answer. Neither is vilifying a political party with disgusting lies about its members not caring about kids. People on the left AND right care about protecting our schoolchildren. Let’s stop the sickening partisan mudslinging.

We must do something. On that, there’s no disagreement. We simply disagree on how best to do it. Let’s respect one another’s viewpoint and get to work.