George Washington: Just because you’re famous doesn’t mean you matter.

Note to readers: I screwed up. I failed to get an adequate grip on the context of Elizabeth Warren’s words before basing my post on a shaky premise. I produced a piece of “fake news” and I hate that term ;-).

However, no need to delete a well-written post. In fact, after thinking about it, this an excellent example of how to write a somewhat accurate fake news piece. I say somewhat accurate because Warren did take a jab at men in her speech—and failed to throw a shout-out to George Washington.

Guys, Elizabeth Warren doesn’t need you or your vote. Why? Because you’re men.

“We’re not here today because of famous arches or famous men. In fact, we’re not here because of men at all.”

“I wanted to give this speech right here and not because of the arch behind me or the president that this square is named for — nope.”

The arch in (George) Washington Square Park is adorned with Fame, Valor, Wisdom and Justice, and the words, “Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair. The event is in the hand of God.”

The power of these words seems lost on Warren and most of our 2020 presidential candidates. They’re neither wise nor honest, and judging by the disdain of some for “thoughts and prayers,” they consider the hand of God impotent when compared to the actions of men … er … people.

Dear Elizabeth, did you not learn logic at Harvard Law school? Do you really think you’d be running for any office in a nation that wouldn’t exist if not for men like Washington? If you choose to ignore him and the reality of history, why bother to ugly up his arch with your campaign signage?

Here’s the truth, Liz: The office of president you deeply covet would not exist without men like Washington or men who fought and died in the Revolutionary War and in the World Wars. And you wouldn’t enjoy the right to alienate half of the voter pool you hope will deliver you into the house once inhabited by the man you choose to ignore.

Why give speeches in backdrops of famous irrelevant men who helped secure your right to give speeches at all?

Do you really want to go down the path of gender-based voter alienation? If so, you’ll be joining the last candidate hoping to break the glass ceiling on lonely and bitter walks in the woods.

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 ?

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.

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.