Same Route?

Yesterday, March 24, hundreds of thousands of activists participated in “March For Our Lives” events across the United States.    The march was more follow-up from the Parkland students.

I, alas, was unable to attend Harrisburg’s march.   The snowstorms in the middle of the week created a small backlog of product that we needed to move along.   I made an attempt to be there in spirit though.   My profile pic was a re-mixed picture from a response to a prior shooting:


My cover picture was a quote from Martin Luther King:

I also posted a video, of somewhat recent vintage:

What I realized was how much of this was old content.  Seems like a great analogy for a march that seems to have been going on for decades.  Each mass shooting seems to bring the hope that people in Congress will say, “enough”.  Alas the gun manufacturers lobby and their rural reactionaries are louder, and little or nothing changes.  The shooting drops off the media radar, until the next one.

But maybe this is different, the Parkland students are playing in a new landscape, and maybe by the rules of social media.  I’d like to think that maybe this march ends here, that Congress will finally pass reasonable reforms, or perhaps a change in Congress may be in order.


In The Crossfire

On February 14, we received word of another mass shooting.  This one at a high school in Florida.  The story dominated the news for a few days and looked like it was going to go away.

The affected students had other plans though.  Using the power of social media, they built a movement that has already made some concrete results.  Several businesses have dropped support for the National Rifle Association, and Dick’s Sporting Goods announced it will stop selling modern sporting rifles, commonly called assault rifles.  My hope is that these students keep it up going into the election, but realize that they are in for quite a slog, as groups like Mom’s Demand Action and CeaseFirePA can attest.

This shooting and it’s aftermath have me doing some thinking of my own.  Much of it from the responses I have seen on social media.  Many responses from my classmates have me wondering how I was able to avoid the authoritarian “WhiteLash” that may have helped to elect Trump.  I have some ideas on that, and I plan to explore those on this blog.  The posts from non-alumni that have adopted authoritarian thinking are to be expected, and dismissed.

What concerns me is that many of my fellow activists seem to be rejecting what seem to me to be common sense reforms.  I do not see myself as “anti-gun”, the absolutists that seem to make up the NRA base may disagree with me, but I see no issue with a person having a gun for sport, hunting or personal protection.

But I also don’t see why a domestic abuser, which to me would also include child abuse, a felon, or a person with a mental illness should be able to possess a gun.  I also see little utility in weapons like an AR-15.

I think some of this may have to do with the fact that since Trump’s election, I have gotten a bit more involved with some folks who may be farther to the left than I.  I am in contact with Democratic Socialists, anti-authoritarians and anarchists, Maoists and various other radicals.  These folks may see armed rebellion as not only necessary, but inevitable.

Many believe any reforms will affect communities of color the most.  This makes sense as a logical consequence of the criminalization of  poverty and of color.  I have to say that enough people of color purchasing and licensing firearms would likely prompt Trump, with the backing of the NRA–again, to pass some sort of modern “Mulford Act”.  Find some way to limit the ability of people of color to possess and use firearms.

There’s also the argument to disarm the police as well.  This makes a bit of sense, a sort of “mutual disarmament”.  But what of the vigilante like the Oath Keeper or “Proud Boy”?  This is where even I would that the ability to fight fire with fire may be a good idea.  Why couldn’t a few activists, likely from the “black bloc”, be trained in firearms.  I would decline as I don’t think I have the temperament for such a duty.

One final thing is that I may need to realize that I am looking at this issue, like many issues, through a lens of privilege.  Figuring out how to see past that lens is a task I may not be able to do on my own.



2 Legit 2 Quit?

For those of you expecting this to be a piece about Bernie Sanders, you are going to be disappointed.  This is a bit more personal.

Awhile back, I posted something about an app I had made using a snap-together development tool. I mentioned the end goal is to do something like the ACLU’s “Mobile Justice” app, but for states that have “Stand Your Ground” laws.

To do this,I fear the app may require me to go beyond the simple tools and into some actual coding.  I did a quick refresher in Java and now find myself, as is common with many of my ideas, in a state of stuck.

I think I can get it this time, I just had to activate some features on my smart phone.  The tablet I have is basically “locked” for development purposes.

I also think I may now be able to use Google’s Android Development tools.

Why am I doing this; one, I may be a bit OCD about it, two, it may be I see this as a challenge, three I may just see myself as “2 Legit 2 Quit

It Starts Already

Tomorrow begins the Annual “Great American Outdoor Show”.  This National Rifle Association sponsored event was created as a replacment for the “Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show” that was cancelled after the organizers of that event, in light of the Newtown shooting, wanted to see AR-15s and other similar weapons removed from the show.

So it seems odd that would publish a piece mentioning the efforts of #ItStopsNowHarrisburg, a group designed to combat guns and violence.

But the 341 comments, and counting, explain why.




The Gift that Keeps On Giving

Yes, I know that it’s the middle of the last week of 2015!  But the week ending the 26th showed that realizes that Donald Trump is the GOP’s fronrunner and that many of his supporters are among the base that the site relies on for clicks and comments.

The week actually started with a piece on the heroism of a High School Football player who was killed saving others.  In an area where an NRA-sponsored “Outdoors Show” is the highlight of many residents year, only getting 185 comments may have been a disappointment.

An article on the “Fright Wing“, the fear and “Dog Whistle” politics that the GOP relies on to keep it’s base voting against their best economic interests created 430 comments, and likely helped make Christmas merry for a few advertisers.

A simple question about how half of American voters would be embarrassed at a Trump presidency made me wonder why only %50 of America would feel that way.  The 664 comments that the question generated helped me understand better.

Christmas itself led to some levity as the armed faction of the “Trailer Park Caucus” threated to take aim at any drones that might get near their lot.  But a take on the classic “You’ll shoot your eye out” gag from A Christmas Story did generate 165 comments.

A Gift From ISIS?

The week ending the 18th had an early present for when a 19 year old from Harrisburg was arrested on the 17th for aiding ISIS.  That initial piece generated 165 comments.

A slide show of some of the young man’s tweets, etc generated a mere 11 comments.

By the 18th, though, the story seems to have died out.

The shooting in California, and the ongoing violence in Harrisburg sparked a series of letters, many of them NRA allies echoing that groups, and the manufacturers they represent, stance;  Pieces with titles like “Gun Control Not Needed, but Profiling Is” filled the editorial section of the Patriot News.

Troll Patrol 11-1 to 11-7

The past week provided plenty of fodder for the “Trailer Park Caucus” of  Much of the traffic centered around the acquittal of a suburban police office on murder charges.  A piece on how her defense may have made an effort to bring “Rule Followers”, those who have a respect or reverence for authority, onto the jury, generated 175 comments.  This piece also may have shown the “Right-Wing Authoritarian” tendencies of many of the “Trailer Park Caucus”.

A November 6th letter calling for posters to have to use their real names generated 459 comments as the entry goes to press.  It also prompted an odd exchange between myself and a member of the Harrisburg Patriot-News editorial board.

Chris Mautner | 3 days ago

 @pennsylbama_rising @rude dude Either way (and I apologize for calling you out) it would be nice if you could please stop using that phrase  in the comments, as it just devolves into in-fighting and snark. Thanks.
pennsylbama_rising 3 days ago
@Chris Mautner | @pennsylbama_rising @rude dude Fair enough.  But the handle stays! I guess “The majority of PL commenters” will make the point clear.

Chris Mautner | 2 days ago @pennsylbama_rising @Chris Mautner | @rude dude Actually, I’ll remind of this community rule: 
  • Vulgar and insulting nicknames will be removed. Nicknames attempting to impersonate other users will be removed.
pennsylbama_rising 2 days ago

 @Chris Mautner | @pennsylbama_rising @rude dude If my nickname is seen as “Insulting” then there are some folks here with very thin skin.  As for “vulgar”, that would be a greater stretch.
pennsylbama_rising 2 days ago

@Chris Mautner | dude I’m wondering if my handle would be seen the same way if I were speaking AGAINST “them city folk”?

That question about record gun sales created 328 posts.  While Cynthia Tucker’s piece on police claiming victimization only generated 77 posts.

While these were “off-year” elections in Pennsylvania, the fact that the Demcratic candidates for the State Courts won a sweep did generate 150 comments.