Why Trump Is Terrible

Posted: October 23, 2016 in Current Events, Politics


So I started to write this article a long while back, but I realized that there was just SO much out there, so many reasons that I think Trump is…well frankly a terrible person…much less a terrible candidate for President, that I just couldn’t do it all at once. Plus, more and more comes out every day. Even now, there are women coming out who are accusing Trump of sexual assault and misconduct after audio of Trump seemingly bragging about such activities was released.

But even before all that, there are just so many reasons I think Trump is such a poor choice, historically so, that despite my misgivings about Hillary, I feel that she must be our next President. Below is just some of the many reasons (because it’s impossible to compile a fully comprehensive list) why Trump is terrible:

Trump “University”:

Ok, we’re all adults here, right? We all know this wasn’t a real university. Let’s not sugarcoat it, this was a scam pure and simple. Trump gets paid to put his name on it and make a promotional video that lends this stupid thing credibility (because of his supposed success in business). Then comes promises of access to high rollers and “apprenticeship” support. But instead you just get a way overpriced half-assed business 101 seminar. Another thing of note, they expected to receive payment in full before providing services, which is actually not the Trump way (see below).

Trump “Deals”:

When Trump talks about the “Art of the Deal”, he’s really just talking about ways to scam his way into money at the expense of others. One of his favorite techniques is to agree to pay an amount for a job and then not pay it after the job is done (usually with some excuse that the job was sub-par or otherwise not performed properly). He has the money to take it to court for a prolonged case, and he’s betting that whomever he is scamming doesn’t. Then he can settle it for pennies on the dollar and thus save. He would consider his actions smart and savvy. A lot of the rest of us would consider it sleazy. Other times, he just doesn’t bother to pay up at all.

  • Trump and his organization has been involved in over 3,500 lawsuits involving non-payment. And these are just disputes among the 1%. This deals with waiters and dishwashers and plumbers and painters…..the working class.
  • Remember those kids that performed at his rally and went viral, the USA Freedom Kids? Trump is accused of stiffing them too.
  • He is not paying his campaign staff. Some are no doubt just being very generous with their time. But certainly some expected to be paid. (At this point, here’s a “pro-tip”, if you are going to work with Trump, and I wouldn’t, get your agreements in writing! Better yet, get paid in advance.)

Trump “Real Estate”:

Trump represents himself as a very successful real estate mogul. But what Trump has done most successfully, especially in more recent years, is simply license his name to other real estate projects that he otherwise has nothing to do with. Investors then unwittingly go in, thinking if the real estate deal has the backing of successful real estate mogul Donald Trump, it must be a smart investment. They only discover later, usually after the project has gone belly up, that Donald Trump actually hadn’t invested a dime. Of course, you could say there’s a sucker born every second. But you see how one may be fooled, when the brochures literally say Trump is the developer even though he’s not.

Trump Lies:

Trump lies. Not in a politician spin that has a some truth but is misleading kind of way. Just outright lies, without a shred of truth.

Trump Either Doesn’t Understand Nuance Or Doesn’t Care/Communication Matters:

  • Trump just says directly that Obama and Hillary are the “founders of ISIS”. Not that certain policies may have enhanced ISIS’s ability or that they haven’t done enough to eliminate the threat. No, they founded ISIS. Even when one of his sympathizers tries to give him a chance to clarify, he doesn’t.
  • Trump was lamenting that if Hillary gets elected, she would appoint Supreme Court justices with liberal leanings and there would be nothing anyone could do about it.  Then he says “Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don’t know.” What the hell is THAT supposed to mean? Well, a lot of people inferred that he meant that somebody might just take her out….permanently. Now I want to think the best of people, even slime balls like Trump. So I want to believe that’s not what he really meant. But let me say that a huge part of being President is being able to effectively communicate. That usually requires speaking in clear complete sentences, instead of the sentence segment fragment mumbo jumbo Trump seems to prefers. Otherwise you leave to everyone else to make inferences to try to figure out what you are trying to say. Words matter. It’s part of the job. If you can’t effectively communicate, you can’t effectively be President.
  • As if to make sure everyone knows that those what was mentioned above was no accident, Trump suggested that the Secret Service should disarm and see what happens to Hillary Clinton. Seriously.
  • Trump’s latest theme is that the election is rigged. You know, the one that hasn’t even happened yet. Now this is obviously not a ‘get out the vote’ strategy (why vote in an election if it’s rigged?). He has already decided he’s going to lose, so this is so he can say he didn’t lose, the election was stolen (you know, the one that hasn’t even happened yet). His brand is largely built on the idea that he is a winner…one that never loses. The thing is though one of the cool things about our democracy and why it works is we do our battles at the ballot box instead of with guns. The key to that is losers accept that the results are legitimate. Going around claiming that the election results are illegitimate (you know, the results from the election that hasn’t even happened yet) undermines that. Now certainly if there was evidence (which would be hard to have right now, you know, because the election hasn’t even happened yet) that something is amiss, he could and should bring that to light. Trump losing (and so far, he’s just losing in the polls, since the election hasn’t even happened yet) is not evidence of election fraud (shocking I know, but Hillary might, just might, legitimately get more votes than Trump).

Trump Foundation:

That’s enough. Full disclosure, I thought Trump was a terrible person WAY before he ever announced his Presidential run, I haven’t newly arrived at this conclusion. When suggested that he could win the nomination, I even laughed. That’s how ridiculous I found the notion of Trump being considered for President. The lesson here I guess is to never just assume that 150 million potential voters are necessarily all on the same page as you are. So right now polling seems to indicate that things are looking good for Hillary. But until the votes are in, nothing is set in stone. Finally, after decades of campaigning (it’s only been a couple of years…really?), it’s just about time to vote.

Don't look at me that way. I'm with you. Sort of.

Don’t look at me that way. I’m with you. Sort of.

I am one who will be voting for Hillary, but without a lot of enthusiasm. Now I am not sure how much I am being affected by years and years of media attacks, some of which certainly is ridiculous (Benghazi comes to mind). I’m also not sure how much I’m impacted as a male by subconscious bias against women in positions of power. I actually think that plays a role. All that said, even trying to adjust for those factors, I do think some of my discomfort is justified. The things that bother me include:

  • The Clintons have taken advantage of their political clout to enrich themselves. For those of us that think there’s too much money in politics, the Clintons are not people who shy away from that money. Bill takes the millions from a for-profit university. Hillary takes the millions in speaking fees from Wall Street, corporations, and other lobby organizations. They don’t really go out of their way to make sure that the operations (in both actuality and appearance) of their Clinton Foundation (which I do believe the preponderance of the evidence shows by and large does good charitable work) are totally separated from their government work. For those of us that think money buys undue influence regardless of whether there’s any specific quid pro quo, Hillary doesn’t seem like she really can credibly be the champion of changing that.
  • The e-mail thing. The reporting on this is frankly confusing, probably because of being in the middle of a Presidential campaign, competing interests either want you to think it’s a big nothing that should go away immediately or the greatest crime ever perpetrated against humanity. But from the things I read, I’m not that concerned over the supposed “classified” e-mails, as my understanding is that the true top-secret e-mails are on its own system. Maybe some minor information from the “classified” system may have leaked into discussions on the “non-classified” side of things. But my guess is that’s probably quite common.

    My concern is that there was ever a private server for work e-mails at all. I’m expected to do all my work communication via my work’s e-mail and it shouldn’t be different for government officials. I think if I set up a private server to handle my work e-mail and my employer found out, they would find that very suspicious. This was then compounded by the decision to also use that same e-mail for private use. Once again, if I choose to use my work e-mail for private matters, it’s with the understanding that my employer still owns those e-mails.

    So once it came time to turn the e-mails over, the Hillary team wanted to just hand over work e-mails. The problem is that they themselves made the determination of which e-mails where work-related and which were private. Personally I think once the decision was made to use the e-mail for both work and private purposes, she should have turned over all the e-mails. At the very least, a third-party should have been brought in to sift through them (what admittedly was probably an almost impossible task given the thousands and thousands of e-mails).

  • I am definitely of the opinion that Hillary is going to be more aggressive with foreign concerns than Obama has been. The people she has brought onto her national security team seems to support the view that it’s likely we will have more military involvement overseas, not less.
  • Issues of trust/spin. The lawyerly spin they often present to the public sometimes reaches the point of absurdity (it depends on the what the definition of “is” is anyone?). A good example was Hillary’s clumsy attempts to try to argue that FBI director James Comey had really confirmed her version of the e-mail issue. I think she was going for a A equals B and B equals C so A must equal C logic. A = What I told the FBI B = Separately, what I told you, the public. C = Comey said A was true. Therefore what I told the public was also true. Of course, this clearly falls apart because one, Comey just said he had no reason to think Hillary was lying, which is a different statement than saying she is telling the truth. And two, it’s quite clear Comey was not supporting Hillary’s version of events, and was making no statement in regards to what she was telling the public. So it just comes off as obvious spin.

    Hillary clearly also doesn’t trust the press, so she is sometimes so reluctant to release information. This is sometimes to her own detriment. The whole pneumonia thing is a good example. Instead of just disclosing she had pneumonia and taking the time off to recover, she instead worried about how that would play given how some of tried to make her health an issue and tried to push through it. Then she was caught collapsing into her car, which provided far more fuel for the health issue than had she just stayed home and rested (and also was evidence that she wasn’t doing her own health any favors). Even when busted, the team tried to first say it was mere overheating (which probably wasn’t exactly untrue, just not the root cause) before finally coming clean.

    I don’t think she was wrong in thinking that people would have raised questions had she come out saying she had pneumonia. And she probably really did think she could just stubbornly push through it. But while it sounds corny, I think most often, honesty really is the best policy. Yes, there would have been questions. But rest, recover, and come back strong and the questions will fade because you will prove that you are fine, because you are fine. Instead, those who have a question of trust received more ammunition.

All of that said, she doesn’t have to be the best candidate in the world. She only needs to be a better candidate than Donald Trump. Hillary is the establishment for sure. But she is also smart, capable, and experienced. In short, she is qualified to be President. And if she were able to enact the positions she has taken, for the most part I would say they would represent steps forward for this country. Is she my favorite candidate? No. But is she better than Donald Trump? Yes, and it’s not close in my mind.

As far as Trump and his issues go, that’s a post for another time. But I guess if I were to summarize, I would say Hillary is a bit of a capable but unsavory politician. Trump is an unsavory human being.

By my back of the envelope calculation, every second counts about $38 for Mylan.

By my back of the envelope calculation, every second counts about $38 for Mylan (or about $3.3 million each day).

So here’s the usual market cycle, say for example, the HDTV. You first introduce the product into the market. Usually its price pretty expensively when you first start out. You are not in mass production yet so you are only going to be able to sell so many units, plus you want to recoup the costs of R&D and such. If the product gets a foothold into the market (like clearly the HDTV did), then you will enter a growth stage. As you are able to ramp up production, the cost per unit will start to drop and generally so will prices (as in a healthy market, you will have competitors also trying to sell units…plus you need to make the product more affordable so you can sell more units). The products will become more affordable to the masses. Eventually the market matures and each company will try to figure out how to hang onto share anyway they can, whether it’s pricing or maybe minor feature differentiators or what have you.

But as far as I know, nobody has ever died by not having a HDTV. Which brings me to Mylan and their EpiPen. The price of their product has reportedly increased over 400 percent since 2007. The point of the above is to state my belief that it can’t be because the price of production has gone up. As they have made more and more units, the price per unit should drop, not increase. So if it’s not the cost of production, then why are they selling EpiPens at a price of $250 per unit (though my understanding is you have to buy the $500 twin packs, singles aren’t available anymore) now when they could be sold at $57 per unit in 2007?

The CEO of Mylan responded by criticizing insurers and pharmacists and the health system in general, some of which may be well and proper. But it doesn’t answer the question, why did the price go from $57 to $500? Any answer that doesn’t address the question specifically is just noise. She said if she reduced the list price she couldn’t guarantee that everyone who needs a EpiPen would get one, but didn’t say why that would be (and I don’t think I even accept the premise that everyone who “needs” one is getting one right now).

So about EpiPen and Mylan…….EpiPen is NOT a new product. It was actually invented in the 1970’s by a former NASA engineer with taxpayer funding (the inventor did not get rich….it was made for public use). Mylan didn’t acquire the rights to EpiPen until 2007 (hmm….that’s when the price started going up…I’m sure that’s a complete coincidence!). Given the Mylan didn’t even develop the product, there shouldn’t be any R&D to recover and the manufacturing process should be well refined by now. In other words, I suspect production is cheap. (One more tidbit to Mylan, they moved their corporation to the Netherlands in 2014 to avoid taxes.)

The reason why I think price is up is the same reason that Mylan won’t talk about it. They are charging more because they can. It’s an fairly inelastic demand curve now (what’s the price you put on life saving???? On the other hand, you can’t sell EpiPens to people who don’t need then….dropping prices isn’t going to generate much more demand), though in fairness Mylan did do a lot of marketing initially to raise product awareness that did generate the level of demand you see now (though they have also taken advantage of lobbying and government legislation). And for various reasons, there’s no competition. It’s a monopoly and being a stock company, Mylan is just trying to generate as much profit as they think they can get away with.

Mylan has said they are offering discounts now, but that doesn’t really solve the problem. Not everyone gets the discount and even if they did, insurers are still paying those costs so the consumer ultimately pays one way or the other. Ultimately though, I think there needs to be recognition that there are some areas where the free market works great but some areas where it doesn’t. You need to have competition and consumers need to have choices, including the choice to not participate in the market at all. That’s hard to do when literally lives are on the line.


I can’t do it. I had planned to do the same kind of mocking of the Democratic National Convention as I had the GOP National Convention. I even started to write it….and it was turning into more of a college paper summarizing the thing than anything else. To be fair, in my eyes, this year’s GOP Convention was just so easy to mock. And really, I do mean this year’s, because in all fairness, generally in the past, you give either party four nights to put their best foot forward, they do exactly that. That this particular GOP convention was so uniquely odd this year is yet another flag against Trump having the skills to be President.

So instead, I’m just going to mention my favorite quotes from the Democratic National Convention and leave it at that:

  • “To the Bernie or bust people, let me just tell you, you’re being ridiculous.” Sarah Silverman
    Hey, I voted for Bernie too, so I get it. And I think we should push for many of things Bernie had stood for, including changing the nomination process. But you do have to realize that he lost. And you really generally don’t change the rules for any current contests midstream, you have to change them for the next time anyway. Make no mistake though, Bernie did good, he got some nice things into the Democratic platform.
  • “How we explain that when someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level. No, our motto is, when they go low, we go high.”Michelle Obama
    This is what she tells her children when they are subjected hateful language from public figures and people questioning their dad’s citizenship and faith. More high road please!
  • “I want someone with the proven strength to persevere, someone who knows this job and takes it seriously, someone who understands that the issues a president faces are not black and white and cannot be boiled down to 140 characters.”Michelle Obama
    I thought this was a very effective summation and take down of Donald Trump, all without even mentioning his name. Very succinct too (still too long for Twitter, though, 231 characters).
  • “That is the story of this country, the story that has brought me to this stage tonight, the story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. And I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent, black young women playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.”Michelle Obama
    I’m not sure I would have even included this had it not been for the reaction of people who either don’t know history, don’t understand history, or want to hide from history. What I heard was a recognition of how far we have come as a nation. What other people apparently heard was ‘omg, she said ‘slavery’ and that’s probably not true and why did she even mention that and she should probably not even bring that up’. Or Bill O’Reilly’s odd point in “fact-checking” that the slaves building the White House were “well fed” and had “decent lodging”, which is so beside the point that it’s absurd.
  • “I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman, not me, not Bill, more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as President of the United States of America”President Barack Obama
    I have been giving some thought lately in regards to how unique it would be to have somebody serving as President who spent 8 years as First Lady (and let’s be honest, we all know she wasn’t a ‘Good Housekeeping’ first lady baking cookies), 8 years as U.S. Senator, and another 4 years as Secretary of State and would have a former President as her spouse. Whether that’s all good or not, that seems like a much better background than Trump’s career as a celebrity, scam-artist, and at best very mixed business record.
  • “Let me ask you: Have you even read the Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy. In this document, look for the words ‘liberty’ and ‘equal protection of law’.”Khizr Khan
    This is the father of a Muslim man who served our military and was killed in the line of duty. Most times this would be ridiculous, but with Trump, I think it’s a fair question. After all, at one point Trump declared he would defend Articles of the Constitution that don’t even exist. Trump responded with appreciation for this family’s sacrifice before…..yeah, of course that’s not how Trump responded. Instead he insulted the mom, saying she had “nothing to say” and maybe she wasn’t “allowed to have anything to say”. Ghazala Khan, the mom in question, responded that she was still in too much pain to speak, though she thinks she said that without saying a word…..but that would take empathy to recognize, which I’m not sure is in Trump’s DNA.
  • “None of us can raise a family, build a business, heal a community or lift a country totally alone. America needs every one of us to lend our energy, our talents, our ambition to making our nation better and stronger.”Hillary Clinton
    This is a vision for the country that we need to get back to in my opinion. We are all in this together.

To me, the difference between the two Conventions was night and day (or should I say midnight and morning). The GOP’s Convention was a disorganized mess pushing the politics of fear and division with a solution of a savior to save us all. The Democratic Convention was a well-ran (which again is typically true for both parties…) event that while warning against a potential Trump administration given his shortcomings, pushed a message of optimism and unity for moving forward to the future. That message is much more appealing to me, and right now I don’t see this choice as being close.


He’s totally going to add a “Trump” sign over the White House if he wins, isn’t he?

The Republican Convention was this past week, and if you are like most people, you didn’t really have time (or want to make the time) to watch. Well fortunately for you, I watched* so you didn’t have to. (*Ok, I didn’t really watch, I did what any sane person does if they want to pay attention but doesn’t want to spend hours watching cable news television, I read about it just like you did. Just go with it….I did watch Trump’s 15 hour acceptance speech and you know you didn’t, so I think I deserve a little credit!) Here’s everything you need to know:

  • Day 1: Make American Safe Again: Oh, they had themes for each night. But no worries, by-and-large, the speakers ignored the theme and talked about whatever they wanted to anyway. By which generally speaking was about how Hillary will get us all killed. And Benghazi! (No, that’s not from The Big Bang Theory. You’re thinking of “Bazinga!” Pay attention.) Lock her up! And then there was Melania Trump. I guess she told her speechwriter she wanted to sound like the first lady, and the speechwriter took it as literally exactly like the first lady….has happened to us all! (seriously, how do you think you can rip off a convention speech that was only eight years ago and think you won’t be caught?)

    Numbers: Number of speakers who were/are television stars? 4 Number of speakers who were/are “Charles in Charge”? 1 Number of speakers with last name of Trump? 2

    Line of the Night: “He will lead by leading.” – Rudy Guiliani

  •   Day 2: Make American Work Again: First, the Trump campaign spent much of day pretending that Melania’s speech wasn’t partially plagiarized, even though they were caught red-handed. Second, the “Never Trump” movement finally succeeded……in delaying Trump’s nomination by about 15 minutes! But alas, Alaska’s last-ditch effort in procedural protest failed and Trump became the official Presidential nominee of the Republican party. This was also the night where party leaders made their obligatory appearances while somehow saying Trump’s name as little as possible (looking at you Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell). Not much talk of jobs, unless the jobs being made available are for lynch mob to go after Hillary Clinton, led by Chris Christie’s “trial”. (Hey, the pitchfork and torch industry does need a pick-me-up!) Oh, and then Ben Carson dropped the pretenses and just pretty much said directly that Hillary is one with Satan. Hey, if you are going to claim somebody is evil, may as well go all the way, amirite?

    Numbers: Number of speakers who were/are television stars? 2 Number of speakers who are mediocre (by LPGA standards) golfers? 1 Number of speakers who run fighting organizations? 1 Number of speakers with last name of Trump? 2

    Trolling of the Night: Donald Trump Jr. used lines almost word-for-word from an article in The American Conservative by F.H. Buckley. When the internet took the bait and shouted ‘plagarism!’, Buckley pounced to say ‘aha, but I wrote Trump Jr’s speech!’. Well-played sir.

  • Day 3: Make America First Again: Wow, this was straight out of WWE. Ted Cruz is making a speech, maybe he’s going to go “face” and endorse Trump and the crowd is digging it. But as the speech continues, he totally turns and goes “heel” and urges everyone to “vote their conscious”. The crowd turns on him and eventually starts chanting “we want Trump!” And then Trump appears in the crowd! The only thing missing was Trump rushing the stage with a steel chair to chase Cruz off the stage and then playing some theme music and the victorious Trump poses to the fans. Also, Mike Pence accepted the VP nomination, and proved he can fill the role of conventional VP candidate. Plenty of making sure you still remember that Hillary is a bad, bad person.

    Numbers: Number of speakers who were/are television stars? 0 (hmm, must have been an oversight) Number of speakers who gave an awkward wave that sorta looked like a Nazi salute? 1 Number of speakers with last name of Trump? 1

    Line of the Night: “A tsunami is coming! His name is Donald Trump!” – Phillip Ruffin, apparently in support of Trump and not warning of an impending disaster.

  • Day 4: Make America One Again: And that one America? It’s the one you are going to totally die in! The GOP turned the fear volume up to eleven. Danger Will Robinson Danger. But there’s one man, and one man only, who can save us all, Trump. And Trump accepted the Presidential nomination….after a very, very long speech that meandered all over the place…that I listened to. Mostly. It was definitely on my television. Anyway he used a lot of words, whereas if he just wanted to get to the point, it would have been ‘Clinton = danger, Trump = savior, Trump out’. But getting to the point (ever really) is not really Trump’s style, is it?

    Numbers: Number of speakers who were/are television stars? 0 (guess TV stars are just for openers) Number of billionaire speakers? 2, bringing the total to 4 for the whole convention….with 1 one more being a former billionaire. Number of speakers with the last name of Trump? 2

    Line of the Night: “Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.” – Donald Trump – explaining why he is the savior.

    So Trump has basically laid out his strategy, Hillary is bad and evil incarnate and he is the savior (just trust him, he is). It definitely felt like the GOP was more uniting behind an anti-Hillary movement rather than pro-Trump. It will be interesting to see what balance the Democrats strike this week between pro-Hillary versus anti-Trump in response.




Even during the horrible event in Dallas, humanity shined through as seen as these civilians surround a buggy to help protect a baby.

Here’s what I believe (I would like to say that ‘we can all agree’, but given some of what I’ve seen said on television and online, it doesn’t seem to me to be given that we all agree). No one should be shot and killed because they were selling CD’s in a parking lot. No one should be shot and killed because they were driving with a broken tail light. No kid should be shot and killed because they were playing with a toy gun in a park. No kid should be shot and killed because they showed up for school. No one should be shot and killed because they are providing escort and traffic control services for protestors exercising their first amendment rights. No one should be shot and killed because their chosen profession happens to coincide with those who may be guilty of negligence or worse. In fact, short of self-defense or the defense of the lives of others, no one should be shot and killed, period.

All that said, if we believe life is precious, I think it’s beyond time to maybe see if we can reconsider how things currently are and see if there are any improvements we can make to better protect life.

  • So far this year, over 500 people have been killed by police. That seems to be way too many to me. While specific cases help bring the issue to light, I think sometimes getting too caught up in any given incident or two means we don’t see the forest for the trees. In my opinion, we need to take more of a systematic approach. Are there flaws in the way we approach policing in general? Campaign Zero is an organization that studies and seeks policy-based solutions with the goal of minimizing fatalities from police interactions. Whether you agree with their proposed solutions or not, I do think that should be the goal. (From what I’ve read so far, they do seem like pretty reasonable ideas to me.)
  • So far this year, 26 police officers have been shot and killed. That also seems to be way too many. I know I’ve talked about it before, but in my opinion, it does speak to the gun culture of this nation. We can talk about “good guys” with guns and “bad guys” with guns, but at the end of the day when you are a stranger, you are just somebody with a gun to us. And with so many of us with guns, it can be understandable why officers may be on edge. (I can also point out in Dallas, there were a whole lot of “good guys” with guns that failed to stop the “bad guy” with a gun before he shot 13 people, 12 of which where literally “good guys” with guns. In fact, it wasn’t a “good guy” with a gun that stopped the primary “bad guy” at all, but rather a “good guy” controlling a robot with a bomb.)
  • This should not be used as an excuse to shut down the exercise of free speech and dialogue. Guns can’t solve problems, but words and understanding can. No good can come from fear of letting people express their opinions and frustrations.
  • Prayers are great for comfort, strength, and healing. But they don’t solve problems. Talk about the “immorality” of the nation doesn’t solve problems either. We can express the need of “better parenting”, but I’m not sure there’s any evidence that “better parenting” (whatever that is supposed to mean) would make any difference and it’s not really an actionable solution anyway. I don’t mean to offend, but when presented as things we need, I find it akin to saying “yeah, all of these are terrible, but the world sucks so what can you do”.
  • We also need to be more willing to put egos aside, allow that we all have room for improvement, and ideally all work together toward solutions. One thing that will also involve is to be willing to accept even very micro incremental steps toward improvement and not worry about who gets credit for ideas. For example, in the latest round, the GOP proposed a bill which would have added more mental health information to the background check database. The Democrats argued that this provision didn’t go far enough, which I agree with such as it is, but I would say it did go farther than the nothing that passed. Personally I think this was politics, as there was no way the Democrats were going to allow a GOP bill to be the one that passed for gun control. If so, that’s got to stop. But even if the Democrats did just honestly think the bill didn’t go far enough, then I think they need to realize that any progress is better than no progress at all. There can and will be more debates and bills later.

I guess the tl;dr version of this is that I’m tired of reading stories about people getting shot and killed and then nothing changing. That’s the very definition of insanity.

Malaysian Muslims hold placards as they protest against gay rights, outside Kuala Lumpur November 4, 2011. REUTERS/Samsul Saidchristian anti-gay rally

Obviously any time murder is committed, hate is probably a factor (at least a basic disregard of the sanctity of life anyway). Further, if you decide to shoot folks indiscriminately, I think likely the hate is more broad-based. The Orlando shooter pledged allegiance to ISIS on the night of the shooting. Certainly ISIS hates America. And they flat do the worse you can think of to those in the LGBT community. So it’s not a stretch to think that a LGBT nightclub in American was specifically chosen. (Since he’s dead and can’t ask him, I guess we can’t totally rule out that he just picked the nightclub because he knew it would be crowded and knew he could easily pull off a mass murder and that it was LGBT was coincidence. He may have even been gay himself, though even if true doesn’t necessarily preclude him from still hating the LGBT community. That said, it’s clear he was an ISIS fanboy and wanted to make it clear that this was for them, so I would assume that he would have known that the fact it wasn’t just any club but a LGBT club would score major points with ISIS.)

Some thoughts:

  • Most people are basically good and kind, but there’s still too much hate in the world. For sure, it only takes one person with massive hate in their heart for a terrible event to happen (just think, at the night club, we can pretty much assume that hundreds were there just to have a good fun time and only one was there to cause pain and death, but that’s all it takes). Still, there are also levels of hate. Some hatred is in and spread by people who would never ever shoot a place up or anything even close to that. But I think with enough hate, it kind of becomes like a petri dish that allows hate to grow. And in a very few, it grows to destructive levels.
  • Extremist groups tend to eventually reach a point that they hate everyone that’s not in the group. That actually leaves a lot of common ground between extremist groups, regardless of religion or whatever cause is bringing the group together. After all, most people are not members of extremist groups.
  • To wit, Eric Rudolph committed a series of bombings in part to ‘fight against the homosexual agenda’ while citing passages of the Bible as justification. Staff and former students of a Catholic school violently beat a gay couple in Philadelphia. In fact, assaults and murders outside gay bars are all too common. The common thread between all these seem to be violence and hate.
  • At least one Christian preacher in Sacramento and one Christian preacher in Fort Worth praised the Orlando murders. These preachers would likely be called on the fringe (though once again, it’s more evidence that the thoughts and views of those on the extreme look a lot alike). Most people have/would repudiate those remarks. However, there is certainly a larger group that think homosexuality is a “sin” and “evil”. They may say things like ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’. But it’s clear that the viewpoint is that these people are doing something wrong and need to “repent” and change. That seems to me to be one step closer to ‘needing to do something about that’ than a more ‘live and let live’ viewpoint and in my opinion, the more widespread that viewpoint is, the easier it is for somebody to justify to themselves into taking that next step to end the “sin” and “evil”.

To once again refer to something the Dalia Lama says, on a fundamental level, we are the same. I’m not sure we can ever prevent every single person from building hate in their heart, as there are many, many factors. Still, to the extent we can remove some of those factors, it seems to me that if we became more focused on what makes us all common and realize that (at least to my knowledge) no harm has ever come from love and respect, maybe, just maybe, the petri dish would be a little less fertile.