Peter – Rude Boys, and Guns

-While I wanted to write about music this week, I regret that I need to write about this particular incident, but I think that it’s important that I do so.

I have never been in a band, but have enough friends who are to have some idea of the tremendous amount of hard work required to obtain any kind of traction in one’s musical career. Meghan Patrick is a talented Canadian country singer, one of the many who produce the great contemporary music which many folks say simply doesn’t exist anymore. (Hint, it does, look all around you.) Just over a week ago, she was playing a show when a young man in the crowd shouted an obscene suggestion to her. Why he did so, I don’t really know. He may have been drunk, he may have been jealous, he may have been “dared to” or it might have been plain old “mob psychology”. What is important is that he chose to do so.

To Patrick’s credit, she immediately stopped the song, had the lights turned in the venue and from the stage, addressed the individual, whom had been pointed out to her by the crowd. She told him that it wasn’t a strip club and she told him to get out of the fucking hall. While there were many supportive posts for her online, there were a number criticizing her for using profanity. Now think about that for a minute. While she was working she got verbally assaulted for no reason. All of her talent, her drive, her ambition, her hard work, all of that and so much more meant absolutely nothing to this stranger, who chose to interact with her in the manner of a “drunken frat boy at a Mardi Gras parade”. a)

And let’s not forget that within the last few years, an on air television reporter, while working on the air, had some other reprehensible man hurl a verbal sexual slur at her. Yes folks, happened right here in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I am sure that many of my female musician friends could relate to these sad occurrences.

Where’s the basic human respect? And before you begin by trotting out that old canard “Respect is earned”, I disagree. You should have basic human respect for everyone you meet. Respect as a co worker or a musician or a team mate, now that, that is earned. It is also entirely possible that you may lose basic respect for someone as a result of their words or their actions. However, I contend that everyone is owed basic respect when you first meet them.

I feel that there has to be a “sea change” in much of society’s attitudes towards women. There seems to be an undercurrent of sexist repression and a need to attempt to deny women the right to have control over their own bodies. “Barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen” didn’t work in 1959, and it certainly shouldn’t in 2019.

The time is right to take a stand beside women and their allies, for sadly, the battle for equality and respect is long and drawn out.

Have a look at Meghan Patrick’s page and listen to her music. (If you’re a Facebook friend of mine, I sent you an invitation to “like” it.)

==========

-Many years ago I worked with a guy who owned a gun, which he kept for protection. When I asked him what would happen if he woke up in the night and shot his girlfriend dead, thinking she was a prowler, he said simply “Well, I guess she’d be dead.”

Took me a while to get my head around that, but I think I’m beginning to understand based on the epidemic of gun violence in the United States. (I can’t even say “recent epidemic”, because it’s been ongoing for so long.) By the way, I don’t own a gun, I wouldn’t have one in the house and no one has yet given me one single cogent reason why any civilian needs access to a semi automatic weapon.

I remember hearing about the Columbine massacre and reeling in horror at the waste of lives and potential. (Had I only known that this marked the beginning of a new reign of terror.) Stricter gun laws were proposed without success over the following years.

The major problem to me is the  influence of the National Rifle Association. This group has been subverted from delivering hunter safety courses to political influence peddling, as politicians of both stripes have received “blood money” from the NRA, (albeit mostly Republicans). It is also trying to spread its message of the “need” for lax gun laws across other nation’s borders, as a recent undercover operation by “Al Jazeera” has uncovered.

With Russian influence b), both financially and through the use of “advisers”, this organization went as far as to set up an albeit shortlived online video channel. They produced some extremely biased videos featuring dreadful people, including one which featured in an earlier column of mine showing a man, wearing a tshirt bearing the printing “Liberal Tears” who smashes a big screen TV which is showing MSM newsreaders talking about the need for stronger gun control.

So what do we do? Here are some of my suggestions which may help people to have greater comprehension of just how terrible this problem is.

Firstly, have a central registry assign every mass shooting murder a sequential number, starting on January 1st each year. When reporting the story, never use the killer’s name. c) Don’t show his picture, either. Instead, put up a picture of an NRA executive, properly captioned, of course. Use proper terminology, too. If one falls off a bike, they are injured. If they are struck by a bullet, they are either killed or wounded! By the way, it appears that the phrase “The shooter was arrested without incident” is code for “The shooter is white.” And they’re not “a shooter”. If they’re arrested at the scene and have been caught on video or seen by eyewitnesses, they are “an accused killer”.

Of course, Sandy Hook truly marked the turning point. When babies and their caregivers were executed in broad daylight in a “safe place” and people clicked their tongues in pity and sent “thoughts and prayers” and then asked what was for dinner, it became obvious that major changes would be needed. Sadly, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to think of those classrooms full of 5 and 6 year old children, who normally gambol about and chatter like magpies when they are assembled “en masse”. Think of the terror these children and the staff faced, hearing the gunshots and the screams as the terrible deed unfolded and their worlds unravelled. Absolutely heartrending.

Think of the unspeakable grief that their families faced in the aftermath of this horror, relatives, friends, acquaintances, neighbours. How much additional anguish was heaped on them when a reptile of a media person, who shall remain nameless, floated his theory to his bizarre band of followers that this mass murder was all a hoax? I’m glad they’re taking him to court. What a disgusting person.

After the Marjorie Douglas Stoneman massacre, there were many online personal attacks on the survivors, calling them “crisis actors” and even commenting on one individual’s sexual orientation. (Oh brave keyboard warrior, as the child of parents who encouraged me to read and think and question, my question for you is “How is sexual orientation even germane to the topic under discussion?’.)

Am I the only one horrified by the young student being interviewed who calmly said “We got behind the Kevlar blanket.” Or how about the fact that “active shooter drills” or now a normal part of school activities?

Stop the victim blaming. Stop the victim shaming. Start the victim naming.

A headline saying “Four people killed in factory shooting” is something you glance at before checking the baseball scores. In the story, name the four victims. Put up their picture. Put a face to the name, put faces to the number.

We have “true crime shows”, in fact we even have “true crime networks”. Air a show picturing those killed in the previous month during all the mass killings of that month. Show pictures or video of them with their kids or sitting on a porch or at a BBQ. Bring them to Life, tell their story, or at least part of it. And don’t just highlight the dead, either. Show the track athlete at college on a scholarship who will never walk again or the little girl in a coma. Underscore the loss and grief and misery generated by these massacres, these manifestations of evil.

Finally, personally I think it would be great if it could be arranged for “gun enthusiasts” to listen to the audiotape of a police office telling someone that their loved one wasn’t coming home because they’d been shot and killed. d) I bet that might cool their ardour.

Of course, these are only the musings of an olde man, and may not carry much weight, but I think that we can all agree that the time for action has come.

Time to Wake Up, America

See you soon.

  1. a) It should be noted that Patrick released a statement on her Facebook page regarding this incident.
  2. b) There is little doubt that the current Russian government would encourage disunity and bickering

in the West.

  1. c) One recent post called the killer  “Fuckface von Terrorist”. Brilliant, just brilliant, although possibly of limited use for the mainstream media. The point is that he didn’t get the recognition that he wanted. I saw Jay Leno on TV on Monday, and he made a good point. A lot of people think that these mass killers are really smart and people to be admired, when that’s not the case.
  2. d) Of course, I realize that there could be privacy issues, but it’s  obvious that something needs to be done very quickly.
=PJM=

5 Responses to “Peter – Rude Boys, and Guns”

  1. well said, Peter.

  2. Excellent piece!! I can sense your anger as you were writing it. Well written.

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