Tag Archives: Violence

A brief but fascinating look into the life of two KKK groups

From the Washington Post: A photographer hung out with the KKK in Tennessee and Maryland. Here’s what he saw.

KKK Wedding

It’s fascinating to see these people doing their thing. I’m surprised to see that these people closely match my idea of the KKK. It’s rare that one’s idea of a group so exactly corresponds to the actual people in that group.

Citizens should retain their voting rights, without exception

Voting should be an inalienable right, not forfeited by any conviction. The right to keep arms should be restored upon completion of an offender’s sentence unless he was convicted of crimes of violence.

Virginia’s Governor recently restored voting rights to a large number of felons. You can read the New York Times’ account of this here – http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/23/us/governor-terry-mcauliffe-virginia-voting-rights-convicted-felons.html

I’ll present here a brief dialogue between me and a very smart G+ friend. I think it covers the issues here well.

Friend: Quick hypothetical…
If rights should be restored in full after a sentence is served, would you include the 2nd amendment rights? I believe the question is purely academic because where federal law allows for states to decide the issue with regard to voting rights, I believe it strictly prohibits the same for gun ownership. Could be mistaken about that.

I honestly feel the nature of the crime should be considered with the answer being a clear “no” in cases of violent crime.

Me: That’s a very good question. For violent crimes, I would say gun rights should remain suspended. In fact, my stance would depend on what right we’re talking about. I treat voting differently because it’s the primary and most powerful voice the citizen has in a democracy. As long as our votes are fairly counted and elections determine the leadership of our nation, we can save ourselves (or be the instrument of our own destruction).

For a felony having nothing to do with violence or force, I don’t see why someone shouldn’t have their firearms rights restored after their sentence is served. The right to self defense should be inherent. There’s an argument that firearms specifically are very rarely needed for self defense, but that would be a distraction from the main issue of whether this right is inherent. We could also consider the other legitimate uses of firearms, such as hunting or sports, and whether there’s a compelling reason the state should prevent a felon from engaging in these activities. This could get tricky to implement, but we could start with the standard of whether a reasonable person believes the felon would be likely to illegally use a firearm and see where that takes us.

Friend: Well, in the case of voting rights, wouldn’t the same principle hold true in regards to crimes of moral turpitude? Do you want the former leaders of Enron to have a say in who becomes the leader of the free world?

Me: I thought about moral turpitude as a disqualifier, but I think it’s more important to treat the right to vote as inherent than to allow exceptions and weaken this right. I think the moral turpitude argument could have unintended consequences, and I note that some of the most immoral people (e.g. Don Blankenship) are either walking free with all their rights intact or not convicted of any felonies. For democracy to work, we have to trust that the masses of the people won’t be so shortsighted, fearful, or ignorant as to vote a disastrous person into power. I know this isn’t the best time for that trust and the Bush 2 Presidency is a counterexample, but I still prefer democracy to the alternatives.

Both: We were in agreement and ended the discussion at this point.


So what do you think about this? Feel free to tell me in the comments.


Very Powerful Discussion of What It Means to Have a Black Son


Put yourself in the place of these mothers, who have to explain the reality of being a black man in America. They have to make their son understand that some will see him as a threat and act on that threat, and that his life can depend on keeping those people unafraid of him.

If you can feel as these mothers do, then you’ll understand why we must fight, and why we can’t rest until the color of our skin is not our destiny.

Drones, Protests, and a Harsh Sentence

Excerpt from Video

Excerpt from Video

Mary Anne Grady Flores, a 58-year-old grandmother of three, was sentenced to a year in jail after photographing an anti-drone protest outside a military base near her home.

I support this woman’s right to protest, and I think a year in prison is a harsh sentence for violating the protective order. I also think the drones add a lot of valuable capability to our armed forces.

I used to question the morality of drone warfare, but I’ve since heard discussions of the complexity of ground assaults versus drones and the likely body counts (friendly, hostile, and civilian) from each approach, and I’m convinced that drone warfare is morally sound, as morally sound as any type of warfare can be.

More People Have Died From Firearms Domestically Since 1968 Than In All U.S. Wars

More People Have Died From Firearms Domestically Since 1968 Than In All U.S. Wars

Quora Answer by Tiada Nama:

More Americans have died of domestic gun related incidents (since 1968 onward) compared to ALL the Americans who died in every single US war, beginning from the Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWI, WWII etc etc up to the Iraq war.

From this perspective, you could say that America is a civil warzone.


What are some of the most mind-blowing facts that sound like “BS”, but are actually true?

10 Pro-Gun Myths, Shot Down

This should be in every progressive activist’ toolbox. It disproves, with references, most of the pro-gun myths that reactionaries use to justify their position. 

Reactionaries are rarely capable of reasonable argument, but this should allow you to argue in good faith, and to retire from the argument if you conclude your opponent is incapable of honest and open discussion.

Corporal Punishment and Stockholm Syndrome


The fact that corporal punishment, state sponsored violence against children, is practiced primarily in regressive states is not at all surprising. Children in these states are more likely to face beatings at home as well as school.

The children growing up in these states experience Stockholm Syndrome from being abused by their parents and schools, and this cements their attachment to the abusive worldview they grew up in, helping explain why some of these states who benefit so much from progress and government assistance consistently vote against their interests.

Violence Has No Religion–A Flawed Opinion

My response to this poorly written opinion piece:

Marwan, your underlying point is valid, but you come across as an apologist for the violence in current Islam. You can’t have it both ways, acknowledging that Islam is going through “tough times” but denying that it’s responsible for a disproportionate amount of violence, particularly against innocents.

It’s certainly fair to say that other religions have gone through their own periods of violent intolerance, but that does nothing to minimize the scale and breadth of Islamic terror in today’s world. Islam is the most backward of the monotheistic religions right now, with its treatment of women in most nations closer to the bronze age than the modern era.

As a humanist and a person who’s lived in a moderate Muslim nation (Turkey) as well as a majority Christian one (United States), I have seen the good in everyday practitioners of all three major branches of western monotheism. But I also note that followers of these religions are more likely to mistreat those who don’t share their beliefs and to share a tribalistic worldview grossly unsuitable for the modern era.

Finally, you are intelligent enough to know that the “murderous atheists” card is a false one. Mao, Stalin, and others did not murder because they were atheists. They murdered because they were bad people who had made a god of themselves and their ideal of the state. It’s nonsensical to declare that a lack of belief in something causes someone to act strongly in a particular way, and I think you know that.

I would have agreed more if you’d acknowledged strongly that Islam (in many of its forms) is currently responsible for the majority of religious terror and violence in the world. Whether Islam is inherently prone to such regression and violence is another question. I’m not a fan of Bill Maher and think he’s obnoxious and often misses the mark, but because you did not fully acknowledge Islam’s current place in making this a violent world, I find your protest of Maher to be hollow.

Source Article: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/05/201358153126414391.html