Tag Archives: gun control

Kavanaugh – party time predator?

Watching the story unfold about Brett Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual attack on a young girl while he was in high school has been distressing, right? I’ll say up front that I believe his accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. This is an intelligent, reputable woman who knew full well that she was putting herself and her family in jeopardy by stepping forward. She has nothing to gain but heartache, aggravation and yes, even fear by going public with the story of this assault.

But what I also believe is that there’s a good chance Kavanaugh doesn’t think he did it. He doesn’t remember because he was totally blotto. It was over quickly. He didn’t “score” (which he would NOT have forgotten). His buddy was likely egging him on, then jumped on him – who knows why; they were drunk – and the next thing you know, they’re stumbling down the stairs belching and listening to some jerk belt out the lyrics to “Roxanne.” Hey! Somebody change that lame music and where’s the keg?

Either he doesn’t remember, or he’s too cowardly to admit that he screwed up. If he does remember, he missed his opportunity to say he’s sorry, he was drunk and immature, and then to apologize as sincerely as he’d demand any idiot who tried to pull that with one of his daughters would be expected to do. Maybe he’d even have the guts to offer to step down, like Al Franken (whose questionable sense of humor wasn’t nearly as offensive as this shit show).

Regardless, chances are that Brett and his prep school buds preyed on girls at every weekend party. That weekend was likely just one of dozens – hundreds? – of weekends in his high school and college years where excessive drinking contributed to varying degrees of aggression toward young women.

I’m not saying it’s okay. I am saying it happens. Plenty. I can’t speak for how that age group interacts today, but I doubt it’s much different from when I was growing up. Kavanaugh’s crowd followed about ten years after mine, so I can picture the scenario pretty clearly. Again, it wasn’t right – but it wasn’t uncommon.

Here’s where I’m going with this essay. I’m going to blame this in part on . . .

Private school ain’t the real world

Brett Kavanaugh is the only child of very successful parents. Right off the bat, I have to wonder if he would have been quite as predatory if he had had sisters. Strike one.

Then, at the cusp of puberty, he was sent to an all-boys Catholic school. Strike two. His parents’ intent surely was to give their son the best education they could afford. Plus, parents who put their kids in same-sex schools generally believe that without the distraction of girls/boys, their child will find it easier to concentrate on studies and, hopefully, excel academically minus all the hormonal drama.

There’s some logic to that. Scholastically, same-sex education can offer an academic edge to many students. However. And this is a big “however.” When young people are segregated from the opposite sex during an activity (school) that demands most of their time and focus during their teenage years, they lose the opportunity to interact with both sexes in a relatively safe, non-threatening environment.

Your lab partner could be the football quarterback, or the quiet girl who also sits behind you in Spanish. In class, at lunch, in clubs, in sports, these young people become more than just “other.” A guy learns that the curvy girl he’d like to know better is an ace in geometry and has a wicked sense of humor. She’s more than boobs and butt and big brown eyes. Her name is Allison and she has a Golden Retriever that looks a lot like his.

But if they go to different schools, and are both smashed at a weekend party, guess what? She becomes boobs-butt-big brown eyes because he’s a teenager and that’s all he sees. It’s human nature. Not knowing who she is or having had practice interacting every day with girls like her, is a recipe for trouble. He’s been hearing guys openly bragging at his testosterone-soaked prep school and doesn’t know what’s fact and what’s fantasy. I don’t care what his IQ is; he’s young, dumb, immature, and horny. Alcohol adds fuel to a fire primed to burst into flame.

It goes back to the whole concept of “other” that everyone’s talking about today in regard to intolerance and fear of immigrants, LGBTQ folks, and people of color (stay with me here). Mankind has a nasty inclination to treat unfamiliar people as being a little less human than ourselves. Empathy is a muscle we need to develop and consciously employ when we find ourselves not quite able to relate to another person’s humanity.

And it can be hard. It takes a consciousness and willingness to make that effort to recognize that you’re viewing someone as “other,” then to stop and try to imagine that moment from another human being’s perspective.

Which brings me back to Brett Kavanaugh and “boys being boys” and the mess that most teenagers are, at least during some period of their adolescence. Empathy and maturity are a lot to expect from the average 17 year old kid – even when he’s sober.

But it’s not impossible.

Allowing young people to get to know each other growing up is every bit as important as focusing on classwork. We need to be educated AND know how to get along with others, right? Familiarity doesn’t breed contempt when we’re talking about teenagers; it’s more likely to breed comfort. Distractions become, well, less distracting when encountered on a daily basis.

I suspect that the many people who have come forward to say how great Brett Kavanaugh is could be mostly right. Being an asshole in high school or college does not mean someone can’t grow up and turn into a decent human being. Heaven help us if that weren’t the truth.

Don’t shoot me, but I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t think a very stupid and mean act committed at age 17 while he was drunk out of his gourd should be the reason why Kavanaugh loses this appointment.

Having said that, I do believe that Brett Kavanaugh should be denied a seat on the Supreme Court because of his disturbing statement to the effect that nothing should be done about gun control because so many people own guns. Huh? I also believe that he should not be on the Supreme Court because he thinks birth control is a form of abortion. Huh? This man has a wife and two daughters and needs to get a clue. I also think that Donald Trump is already a lame duck, and if that’s what stopped President Obama’s proposed nominee from being named to the Supreme Court, well, quid pro quo. Let’s vote in a Democratic Congress this fall and start Making America Sane Again.

There are any number of really good reasons why Brett Kavanaugh shouldn’t be on the Supreme Court. I think being an asshole at 17 may not be in the top ten.

Oh. And please consider the pros and cons before sending your kids to same-sex schools. People can get creepy there. Your tax dollars are dealing with it right now.

********************************************

Today there was yet another mass shooting, this time at a Rite Aid distribution center in Maryland. Rite Aid was my client for nearly twenty years and my heart goes out to the family, friends, and coworkers of the victims.

We need judges open to new, fair legislation to restrict gun ownership in our dear country.  (Hey! How about outlawing BULLETS?) Brett Kavanaugh has made it clear that he’s not willing to consider gun control laws that may help curtail the senseless murder of innocent people in the US.

 

 

 

But how will they enforce it?

I’ve been thinking about the whole transgender bathroom issue. I have to admit, I’m confused.

If a fella is dressing as a woman and identifies as a woman and goes into the Ladies and into a stall and does his business . . . who’s going to know? And if a woman is dressed as a man and strolls past the urinals to do her business in one of the stalls . . . who’s going to know? And who’s going to care?

I’m much more concerned about whether someone is carrying a gun (open or concealed) in a public place than I am in where that person decides to take a tinkle. And yet, I am going to guess that the majority of the people whose panties are in a knot over the restroom dilemma are the same ones who think it’s their right to shop for Cheetos and doughnuts with an assault rifle slung over one shoulder.

Can this country get any crazier?

looking up skirt

You’re good to go, ma’am. Ladies is on your right.

So, if we stick to the status quo of one facility for the Ladies and another for the Gents, how are we going to know if someone is trying to do a switcheroo? Will Wal-Mart and Target have to hire Gender Checkers? Would you look down people’s pants for minimum wage? Would there be spot checks, or would the Gender Checker have the authority to pull aside anyone who looks suspicious?

“Excuse me, ma’am, but is that an Adam’s Apple or a goiter?” 

And let’s consider the idea of shared bathrooms. Unless you were raised by wolves, didn’t you share the family bathroom with members of the opposite sex? Yeah, I know they’re family, but nobody wants to go in the bathroom after Dad has finished the paper and unloaded or Little Brother has sprayed everywhere and left the seat up. I would say keep men in the Men’s room simply because so many of them are gross. Forget about sexual imposition.

Every time I have to fly anywhere and am forced to use the unisex bathrooms on the plane I know I’m taking my chances and that acceptable standards of sanitation are just one unfortunate visit away from being compromised. And yet, with a couple hundred people on a plane and two or three potties, everyone manages.

How annoying is it, though, when a flight attendants snarls, “You can’t stand here,” and all you’re doing is waiting to use the john. It’s not for FUN, lady. It’s not an experience I’m looking forward to, ma’am. Do you know what awaits me inside? No. Nor do I, and yet, I have no choice but to face it. And if I return to my seat? Well, then I’ll have to come back in a few minutes and stand behind more people to wait my turn and, oh, just SHUT UP.

Anyway. With nutjobs running for President and more garden-variety nutjobs packing heat on college campuses and at the Dollar Tree and Dunkin Donuts, who the hell cares if the dude who looks like a lady piddles in the women’s restroom?

The chances of a transgender person approaching a little girl in the Ladies are about as likely as a dingo eating  your baby. Now, can we please get back to worrying about real things, like how that poor Mr. Trump’s skin turned orange?

 

Me vs. the Koch Brothers?

It started innocently enough – a contribution toward the campaign of my favorite presidential candidate. I made a small donation through PayPal and was feeling pretty righteous. Little did I know that I had opened a can of worms that now wiggle into my Outlook inbox almost hourly.

I’m going to leave names out of this, but you may be able to guess who I’m supporting before I’m finished here. I’m not asking for discussion about who might best serve our country, so just zip it if you figure it out and disagree. That’s not the point, okay? I’ll bet you’re getting similar emails from the various groups supporting your candidate and cause, too, right?

Dear Kate –

Wall Street is terrified of our campaign, Kate. We don’t want their money (the billionaire class) and we don’t want their super PACs. So this is your chance to contribute to help us win.

Oh, dear. Well, who likes Wall Street? Or billionaires, right? This is my chance to stand up to the corrupting influence of corporate greed, so I pull out the credit card I only use for online purchases and send them a few bucks.

Dear Kate,

I’m sorry to bother you this morning, but we just got some AWFUL news.

The Koch Brothers are planning to host a MASSIVE fundraiser this weekend with hundreds of their anonymous right-wing allies. If we’re going to fight back against their flood of corporate cash, we need to go on the offense.

chip in

And underneath that there’s a little box to check if you want to donate that amount monthly . . . .

Crap. The dreaded Koch Brothers? How can I help? Lucky for me, the website remembers my credit card information and, with a sigh, I contribute a little more. But wait. Another email just arrived urging me to stand behind gun control initiatives.

Dear Kate –

Blah blah blah . . .

  • Protecting the gains we’ve made under President Obama
  • Electing a gun violence prevention majority in the United States Senate
  • Flipping state legislatures and winning ballot initiatives to increase the number of states that have expanded background checks since Sandy Hook

With elections just about underway, it’s time for you to renew your commitment to . . . .

Well, I’m not ashamed to admit that I am pro-gun control and I hope this will be an important issue to whoever governs the country next, so I make another donation. I know the next Capital One bill isn’t going to be pretty, what with all the donations and after-Christmas sales at Coldwater Creek and Wayfair.com., but it’s worth it.

Kate –

It’s the official start to all of the 2016 elections and the stakes couldn’t be higher for those of us fighting to make our communities safer from gun violence.

crasstalk dot com

Are you absolutely sure you don’t want to join me in pushing for stricter gun control measure? Really?

Uh oh. I really, really care about gun control. What if this group is better at achieving the objective than the other one and really warrants my support? Will it kill me to send, oh, another twenty bucks? I think I can manage.

Dear Kathleen,

Big news in the fight to protect bees: The Environmental Protection Agency just released a stunning new report admitting that popular neonicotinoid pesticides are partially to blame for the massive bee colony collapse.

Wait. Bees? How did I get on the EPA list to protect the bees? Is my email address now on some soft-hearted, green-loving liberals list, or do they know my favorite breakfast is a wheat bagel thin with a smear of chunky peanut butter and a little honey on top? Even the NRA has to like bees. If you haven’t read up on the bee problem, please do so the minute you finish reading this. And please sign the petition and contribute to the cause – like I did.

Hi there,

Blah blah, we make history by electing pro-choice women, and we’re ready to do it again in 2016. We’re committed to making sure a woman is at the top of the ticket, and we’re already recruiting women to run for office up and down the ballot — from Senate to city council.

hippie me

They’ve got me pegged. And that even looks like my Little Richard.

Yes, you guessed it. I like bees, am in favor of gun control, and am pro-choice. How can I not support women running for office who share my beliefs? Now, where did I put that credit card . . . ?

And let’s not even start with Soi Dogs and the American Heart Association and my local food bank. I thought I would retire next year, but frankly, my social security benefits won’t begin to cover the causes that need me, let alone pay the bills.

I’m starting to the feel the pressure and while it’s just a thought, do you suppose the Koch Brothers could be persuaded to make a handful of donations in my name for a few of my favorites? They’d hardly miss the cash.