A new voice in America’s battle against political corruption
Joe Angione is a former columnist for The Villages Daily Sun, and can be reached by email by clicking HERE
Joe Angione Live Interview on Freedom in America
Latest Edition 2/24/17
The intelligent way to protect against more Parkland shootings
The politicizing of the Parkland, Florida high school massacre is spreading like an ugly virus across America. Some sleazy politicians, mostly liberal-democrats, are screaming for more gun control, meaning banning the purchase of firearms or at least of certain kinds of firearms, the so-called “assault weapons.” Still others are pleading for Congress and the president to do something, but most have no ideas on what will work to limit the possibility of more mass public executions. They fume and fret and then do nothing, believing their outspoken call for “doing something” is enough to help guaranty their re-election. That’s all they really care about.
America has had enough of “dumb asses” with only the vaguest command of the obvious shouting that “enough is enough and we must do something.” Anybody with a two-digit IQ is fully aware of this. What the nation needs is a solid, workable, courageous plan to minimize the possibility of repeating this hellish slaughter. And here it is:
Know this: The first thing to understand is what every law enforcement officer knows…anyone can kill anyone if they’re determined, bold enough, and willing to lose their life. This will never change. All we can do is work intelligently to minimize the occurrence of these killings.
Step One: Authorize fully-armed, experienced guards to patrol school facilities. Specifically, there should be one armed guard in every school building where students congregate. NRA CEO, Wayne LaPierre, said it best: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” This can’t be refuted even when considering the gutless sheriff’s deputy who served as the Parkland school’s security officer. He was at the building where the shooter was, but never had the courage to enter and confront this madman. Deputy Scot Peterson was not the “good guy with a gun.”
There are those stupid individuals who fantasize the guns have a life and a mind of their own, and can jump out of a rifle case, a desk drawer or someone’s waistband holster and kill everyone around them. These people are almost as dangerous as the mental cases who slaughter people. If guns were intrinsically evil of themselves, then every police officer…every combat troop in battle…every hunter…every recreational shooter would be possessed by their evil weapons and no one in the world would be safe. Blind fear produced some insane thinking.
Some states and municipalities have already authorized the presence of armed guards in their schools. And for the most part these schools are safe. But what about the Parkland, Florida school? It did have a security officer assigned, an apparent coward, but even if he did his job, there needed to be a guard to patrol every building in the school’s complex…wherever and whenever students are present in large numbers.
There are tight-fisted public officials and administrators who say that most schools can’t afford armed guards. That’s nonsense.” Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Maybe some schools should refigure their budgets to accommodate more protection and less lavish spending on sports and other student amenities and conveniences. Other schools might want to encourage retired police and military, even local gun- range safety officers, to do part-time duty protecting students. Many might be willing to provide this service at nominal cost or even free of charge.
Another way to fund school protection is by soliciting local businesses to make contributions. What a splendid opportunity for them to build solid relationships within their communities.
And what about contributions from parents who are concerned enough to dig into their wallets to provide an extra measure of protection for their children.
Police departments, themselves, might do well to revise their patrol activities. With the installation of tens of thousands of security and traffic cameras across the country, perhaps we need fewer police and sheriff’s deputies cruising the highways looking to hand out traffic tickets. Some of these officers might be freed up for guard duty at local schools. This is, at least, something to think about.
Whether these armed school guards are active-duty police, retired law-enforcement or military vets, or teachers with documented experience handling firearms—whether they wear uniforms or civilian clothes--doesn’t matter enough to hold up nationwide plans for increased school protection. Whoever is available with the right experience must be pressed into immediate service to protect our children.
Step Two: Compulsory reporting of seriously mentally disturbed persons to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). This is the U. S. system for determining if prospective firearms or explosives buyers' name and birth year match those of a person who is not eligible to buy these items. It became law in 1993 and was launched in 1998 by the FBI.
After a seller of a firearm initiates this check by phone or computer it can be completed in just minutes. No reason is given to the seller as to why a purchaser has been deemed ineligible. And no reason is necessary.
However, not all sellers, such as gun shows and private individuals, are compelled to submit requests for background checks. This loophole in the checking system must be eliminated immediately. Under pain of prosecution for a fine or imprisonment, everyone who sells a firearm must be made to submit a background check on the person who intends to purchase it. There should be greater awareness that the forms used to initiate checks are instantly available from the NICS website. No one should get to buy a gun without submitting to an NICS background check.
Equally vital to gun safety is that everyone under treatment for dangerous mental conditions and violent behavior and threats, who are known to local police, school administrators and child services agencies, should be reported to NICS and added to the list of persons ineligible to purchase firearms.
Sadly today, in our extraordinarily permissive society, and to the detriment of innocents like the Parkland school victims, privacy counts more than our right to life. Prevention of crime is difficult, if not impossible, if it infringes on someone’s right to privacy.
The proponents of privacy-before-safety will argue fanatically that placing persons on an ineligibles” list who are known to be mentally unstable, even insane, and violence intrudes upon their right to privacy and unnecessarily ruins their reputation for life.
There are two things very wrong with this argument: First is that privacy is not a right that comes before all others and should not be permitted to prevent awareness of mortal threats to innocent victims. There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that gives privacy supremacy over all else. Nor is there anything in the Constitution that explicitly guarantees our right to privacy.
Privacy is mostly protected by certain statutes of law that outline protections against specific violations of our rights, such as the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that shields our personal health information.
However, the law understands that privacy “must be balanced and conform with the state's compelling interests, including the promotion of public safety and improving the quality of life. In this context, public awareness of the dangers posed by specific, unstable, violent individuals is no infringement of privacy.
The second thing that’s wrong about “privacy above all” is that being listed as “ineligible” to do something doesn’t have to be for life. We should place known dangerous persons on a “no-buy” list only for a brief period of time, say one or two years. If a person’s mental state improves, no longer exhibits violent behavior, and is pronounced healthy again, then his or her name is expunged from the list. Should these persons become unstable once again, their names are then added back on the list.
Step Three: Allow police to confiscate firearms owned by mentally unstable and violent persons. Although the 2nd Amendment says, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” continued possession of firearms is a privilege reserved only to those with the capacity to use them in a lawful manner. Mental instability that signals and leads to abuse of gun ownership must negate the right of possession. Those who believe otherwise lack the commonsense that’s essential to avoid calamities like the Parkland massacre.
Step Four: Greater availability, and acceptance, of mental-health services. A 2010 study revealed that 75% of students struggling with mental illness did not receive mental-health services. And the portion receiving no help is growing larger every year.
The website, Mental Health America, cautions that “one-in-five adults have a mental health condition. That's over 40 million Americans…” How many are gun owners?
“Most Americans still lack access to [mental] care…. 56% of American adults with a mental illness do not receive treatment.” Part of the reason is that “there is a serious mental-health-workforce shortage. This includes [insufficient] numbers of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, counselors, and psychiatric nurses.”
While this shortage seriously affects treatment of the mentally ill, an even greater obstacle to receiving help is that so many parents and others responsible for mentally sick people are reluctant to allow them to suffer the feared “stigma” of mental illness.
More must be done to educate Americans on the facts that mental issues are a disease not an evil…they are not communicable…they are treatable…people do recover to live safe, normal lives…and there should be no stigma attached to mental illness.
Step Five: A return to belief in moral absolutes and away from moral equivalency. For most of the last ten years, particularly during the Obama administration, we’ve been encouraged to believe that moral values need to change, to be relaxed, because morality--or good and evil—is fluid and is to be defined by who we are…what we are…and our right to live as we choose.
Today, our society is much the worse for this evolving perception of good and evil. The reverand Billy Graham often cited the prophet Isaiah who said, “Woe to those who call good evil, and evil good.” We’ve been taught through liberal permissiveness that we should accept only those laws that we personally decide are beneficial, and to reject others. Worse still is that one person’s sense of what is right can be allowed to override everyone else’s perceptions of right and wrong.
A fellow conservative journalist, Gerald Mucci, notes with remarkable insight: “We have become a culture whose highest value is “judge nothing; tolerate everything. We have a cultural and political environment that frowns on the promotion of traditional morality in the schools that used to be based on…Christian Biblical Standards. These standards were an integral part of our public education system until 50 to 60 years ago. We've fallen so far down the slippery slope due to [abandoning them].
“Our churches and Bible studies focus on not judging anything or anyone. They are too often led by those who value “not offending” more than Biblical truth. They take Scripture out of context to stress their culture-driven value system. Very little that was considered immoral 50 years ago is considered immoral today. What ever happened to Biblical concepts such as “admonish”, “reprove”, “rebuke”, or “correction?” Those who stand by Christian self-discipline are derisively called “fundamentalists”, “extremists”, or “haters.” Christian values have deferred to a declining culture of extreme permissiveness and out of control tolerance.”
What should we do about this? It’s easy to see that society hasn’t profited in any way from our abandoning the traditional concepts of morality. We haven’t improved by giving Satan an equal playing field, by giving his advocates equal time to seduce us away from timeless truths…the Biblical ones we used to know so well. We can’t just go along minding our own business…and suspending our judgement. “Tolerance of everything is tolerance of nothing.” It’s a big part of what led to the Parkland massacre.
A final caution:
It’s been said time and again by just about every politician who’s been quoted in the media, that regarding the FBI, “it’s only at the very top level of control and authority that there is corruption and malfeasance. But at the grassroots level, agents are all providing valuable dedicated service to the American public.” This belief has also been extended to cover police and sheriff’s departments, school administrators and child protective agencies.
This is not necessarily true…it’s really something of a lie. And proof of law-enforcement misconduct and neglect of duty on the local level was found to be rampant and unforgivable in the case of the Parkland massacre. FBI and police protocols at every level, as well as those established by schools and child services to protect young people were routinely violated by front-line civil servants who just couldn’t be bothered to pass along vital information, and do what they were paid to do, that could have saved the lives of 17 innocent persons and dozens more who were seriously wounded.
No one of any consequence in overseeing these unpardonable matters seems to care much about the need to punish those who purposely ignored their responsibilities, turned away and allowed people to die. Will the FBI agents, police officers, sheriff’s deputies, school administrators and social workers who paid no attention to Nikolas Cruz keep their jobs…get their pensions…avoid fines…and escape prosecution for what are so obviously crimes of omission…of neglect? Is there no just punishment for crime left in America? This question should concern us greatly.
The Ballad of "Big Bad Don"
Take three minutes for a smile and a few laughs listening to the Ballad of Big Bad Don, who “came down from his tower to save us in our final hour.” Old Tennessee Ernie Ford must be smiling down on us and chuckling too over this reconstruction of his immortal hit “Big Bad John.” It may just become the fight song for all the wonderful “deplorables” who put a no-nonsense guy like Donald Trump in office. He’s a legend in his own time. Enjoy.
Replacing food stamps with food deliveries saves money
As part of his major budget proposal in early February, President Trump suggested that some of the food stamp money given to needy people be replaced by actual deliveries of wholesome, basic food items.
Liberals were outraged with the idea of taking redeemable food stamps away from the poor and substituting real food delivered to their doors. The items to be delivered would be the kind of foods that the original Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) intended to provide to enable poor families to prepare nutritious meals at home from scratch.
Today, it’s the redemption aspect of food stamps that has turned much of this assistance program into scams where food-stamp benefit cards are being abused to buy things such as cigarettes, beer and even gasoline instead of foods needed for a healthy diet. Often unscrupulous retailers will overcharge food stamp recipients’ benefit cards and then gave them back in cash half of what had been overcharged so that recipients could do whatever they want with the government’s money.
It’s reported that currently, food stamps are provided for about 42 million people, 80 percent of whom get food benefits monthly worth at least $90 per person. Trump’s proposal, would distribute to those 80 percent of SNAP recipients about half of their benefits in the form of a USDA Foods package consisting of “shelf-stable milk, ready-to-eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans, rice and canned fruit and vegetables.” The tentative name for the Trump proposal is “America’s Harvest Box.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture believes state governments will be able to deliver this food at much less cost than SNAP recipients currently pay for food at retail stores. It’s estimated it can cut SNAP costs —by $129 billion over the next 10 years. Additional cost adjustments to the SNAP program, according to the Trump administration, will reduce the SNAP budget by $213 billion over those year, thus cutting the expense of the program by almost 30 percent.
Will liberals support the Trump proposal? Not hardly. National Public Radio has already begun to attack it, saying that it’s unfairly intrusive, reduces recipients’ choices, and allows SNAP administrators to decide what foods are good for America’s families instead of allowing recipients to pick out what’s best for them and their families. This may seem to be logical and right. But it just doesn’t work out that way. Recipients have demonstrated they are terrible at making nutritionally-sound choices, choosing to overspend on “junk foods” unhealthy drinks, including beer and alcohol, and even gambling away their food stamp money.
People have the right to purchase anything that’s legal, but not with money that’s doled out and accepted by them for a specific purpose: healthy nutrition. To spend food-stamp money any other way is a gross abuse of our welfare system and taxpayer money.
Mounting Hispanic support for cuts in legal immigration
Immigration reform is the hottest topic in Washington today. And, according to the Hispolitica@shark-tank.com website, it appears that many Hispanics are not opposed to a conservative sponsored plan to cut legal immigration in half, end chain immigration, cap refugee admissions to 50,000 annually, and end the visa diversity program.
Wow! This is a huge mouthful at a time when conventional wisdom says that Hispanics are entirely opposed to any program that would end the opportunities for more of them to enter the U.S. under any circumstances, including illegal entry.
Hispolitica’s Javier Manjarres writes: “The most recent legislative fix proposed by Republican Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue, the Trump-supported Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE Act) is being welcomed by Hispanics from all walks of life.”
This flies in the face of all the liberal left’s commentary that the nation’s Hispanic citizens are virtually all against any legislation that works to hold down their numbers in this country. This demeaning lie told so often by liberals and the mainstream media mocks the true integrity, honesty and conscience of America’s Hispanics who firmly believe that abiding by the nation’s immigration law is the only way to achieve a virtuous and dignified life in the United States.
Manjarres added: “In late 2017, a group of Florida-based Hispanic businessmen, activists, pastors, and media personalities penned a letter to Democrat Senator Bill Nelson asking him to support the RAISE Act. The group outlined [its support] for all the points in the Act itself.”
Those who sent the letter highlighted the fact that “It is time for us to prioritize high-skilled immigrants who spur innovation, create jobs, and make America competitive in the global economy. The RAISE Act will do that while stemming the tide of unskilled immigrants [from anywhere] that puts downward pressure on the wages of working Americans.”
It’s too bad that their letter favoring the RAISE Act was sent to the wrong legislator. Nelson is not an enthusiast of the Act, and apparently the letter sent to him has not changed his mind. Democrats rarely, if ever, break ranks to support a “commonsense” conservative bill.