Tag Archives: Jackson State Shootings

So Many Guns, So Few Leaders

So Trump went out to interact with the Lincoln Memorial. The only other president I can remember doing anything similar was Richard Nixon, who also wandered around the White House by himself at night, talking to portraits of dead presidents. Could have been too much scotch. Could have been he was a little nuts. Could have been he should never have been in the White House, and that he wouldn’t have gotten there without his campaign cutting a deal with the South Vietnamese that killed a peace deal that would have ended the Vietnam War. It’s all on audio tape and available from the Johnson Library – Lyndon’s conversation about Nixon’s treason with Republican Senator Everett Dirksen. Johnson opted not to go public with it, probably because he thought it would tear the country apart. Instead he stood down and withdrew from the race.

In case you missed it, here’s the short version: Lyndon Johnson cut a deal to end the Vietnam War. Richard Nixon cut a deal to prolong the war, because he knew if Johnson ended it, that he, Johnson, would easily get reelected, beating Nixon like a drum. So Nixon got in, the war went on, and thousands more Americans lost their lives needlessly.

I’m also reminded by numerous posts on Facebook, that today is the 50th anniversary of the shootings at Kent State. If you’re too young to remember, then all you really need to know is that former Ohio Governor, James (“Jobs and progress!”) Rhodes, sent the National Guard up to Kent State to do something about anti-war demonstrations that were taking place.

What happened, is that a bunch of white kids in uniform shot and killed four students and wounded nine others, leading to white people, mostly older white people, re-thinking the whole anti-war issue in America. Eleven days later, city and state police would kill two students and injure twelve others at the predominantly black Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi, but it was mostly the impact of white kids killing other white kids at Kent State that had rednecks and warmongers alike scratching their heads from coast to coast.

It’s a problem that’s still with us, isn’t it?

Imagine if all those rednecks carrying assault rifles that showed up at the statehouse in Lansing, Michigan, had been black. Do you really think the “non-response” would have been the same?

What was the message those gun-toting militia members were trying to send to their beloved state lawmakers? Was it to ignore the Coronavirus pandemic and open up the state or lead would fill the air?

Who are we and what the hell are we doing? Nixon, got in with the help of the South Vietnamese and Trump, with the help of the Russians. And here we all are, waiting out the Coronavirus, regardless of our political preferences, and hoping nobody opens fire as a tiny minority of misinformed and misguided militia with assault weapons stand watch over our state legislatures threatening to turn their armed ignorance into one more American tragedy.

Waiting out the virus is bad enough. The threat of armed insurrection only makes it worse for everybody, while making the assault weapons ban set to be adopted adopted by Canada all the more attractive.