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I’ll get to Christian Garcia in a moment, but first – my heart goes out on this weekend to the victims and their families, friends, neighbors, fellow students and staff at Santa Fe High School near Galveston – as well as all the good people of the great state of Texas.
One of the most heinous attacks ever seen at a Texas school occurred on Friday, May 18th when 9 students and 1 teacher were killed in the mass-school shooting which left ten others were wounded by the 17-year-old shooter and fellow student at Santa Fe High School.
I can tell you this: From here forward, I’m fed up and done talking and writing about active shooters, mass shootings at schools, sociopaths, guns, mental health experts, rules of engagement and just in case you’re wondering – yes – I’m putting my money where my mouth is.
It’s been 20 years since Columbine. Now think about that. Go ahead, think about 20 years passing – I’ll give you a few minutes:
All the bullshit talk and posturing by politicians. Michael Moore and his stupid movie – “Bowling” for Columbine – yeah, you’re about as clever as making armpit farts, Mike.
Then there’s the irrational lies and disingenuous blaming of inanimate objects for the actions of murderous sociopaths, or confused and angry children – bereft of love or purpose – hepped up for years on psychotropic pills prescribed en masse by lazy psycho “doctors,” simply because no one wanted to take time out from their own selfish lives to really help them cope.
Bla bla bla bla bla blab bla blah – I’m done. After 20 years of experts, authorities, regulations, talk shows, political agendas and endless platitudes what do we have to show for it?
Just dozens more dead innocent school kids. Dead. Gone.
They’re not out having a blast this Memorial Day weekend with their families and friends OR visiting the cemetery where great-grandad lies – you know – the guy who trudged across Europe in his bare feet to kill Nazis, climbed into a tin can and submerged under the Pacific to fight Tojo’s Navy, or stared down Rommel’s tanks in North Africa?
Yeah, that guy. That guy WHO GAVE YOU THIS INTERNET?
Those dead kids will never get to be cool, as Neil Young says. And why? Because nobody does anything. They just talk. And talk. And then talk some more… Well, it’s over sports fans – time for you and me to trudge across our own country and protect our children in the classroom and do it now.
Here’s what I’m doing and I’d like you to read on and perhaps reach out if you give a damn. If you don’t, then just keep watching this new reality show called; “Let’s shoot up the next school, then blame everybody for a couple weeks till the next one comes along: Rinse and Repeat.”
Think I’m an a-hole? Would it surprise you if I said I agree with that assessment? Kinda hoping you’ll also agree with George Bernard Shaw when he said “all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” .. He was talking about a-holes like me, btw. But I digress.. Don’t worry, I’m getting to Christian’s story.
I’ve been deeply involved in a project which has the potential to touch all your lives and virtually anyone in the country with kids or grandkids. It will take resolute action – not just talk – coupled with the will to employ rigorous and unflinching solutions to not only reduce but eradicate these horrific events. Yes, I know of all the increased security, expanded mental health measures, improved training for law enforcement, calls for more gun-control, posturing and lecturing by politicians on and on and on it goes..
But all of this and more were present in Parkland, Florida and Santa Fe High School in Texas and yet: Twenty-two murdered children, dozens injured, and hundreds traumatized – some for life. Obviously there must be a safe alternative to protecting our kids in class rooms other what we’re doing now – which is not working.
SO: What’s the solution, Rodney Lee?
Soon after the horrific incident at Santa Fe High School, which is near Galveston, Texas; ‘SwiftShield’ – the company I’ve joined up with in the fight to secure and lock-down school classrooms – allowed me to develop an innovative program I believe will cut through the red tape and politics which is enabling this continued slaughter of innocent school children. In fact, I know it will.
It’s called the S.O.S – ‘Shield Our Schools’ initiative and it’s quite unique in that ‘SwiftShield’ is now partnering with several of its large corporate sponsors and others to outfit schools all over the country with their line of devices which easily and effectively lock-down classrooms in the event of another one of these attacks.
We’re putting our money where our mouth’s are – along with other private-sector entities who are exasperated with the lack of a government answer to this very real and deadly problem. In fact, I can make you a great case that government actions are making this problem worse: FAR worse. Keep reading.
What first drew my attention to ‘SwiftShield’ a year ago, is the effectiveness of these products – they lock-down classrooms instantly in the event of an active-shooter or similar threats, can withstand thousands of pounds of pressure and stop bullets from hand guns, military-style weapons and shotguns – I’ve seen it.
And now, the entire design, product and system installation doesn’t cost the school or district a penny – it’s all handled by our corporate partners, sponsors and donors who are ready and willing right now to get involved to help our students be safe during these threats. That way we’re not even having a conversation about school budgets or costs conflicting with teacher pay or books, etc. It’s free to the schools.
As we speak, we are in the process of outfitting every classroom in the Santa Fe ISD, free of charge. That means the designing and installing of the SwiftShield system in every classroom on every door in all eight schools in the entire district – completely cost-free. It’s all being handled by corporate sponsorship.
Now get this: All public schools everywhere – in every State – can apply and receive a complete classroom active-shooter emergency system installed through the ‘Shield Our Schools’ initiative, absolutely free of cost. The funding is handled outside of any expenditures by the schools or districts themselves. In the past two months alone, this could have saved the lives of twenty kids at bare minimum – probably more.
So, as the headline stated, I did want to tell you about a 15-year-old student named Christian Garcia: If you haven’t heard about Christian, you should have – and you should share this article with everyone in your email contact list because Christian Garcia died a hero: And he had the biggest balls in Texas.
While the bullets were flying inside Santa Fe High School, Christian died while blocking the door from the attacker to give other students time to escape. He stood steadfast as long as he could, waving other students away and giving his classmates those precious seconds they needed – even as shots ripped through the door locks and then through his body.
As honorable and heroic as Christian was, I don’t believe a kid should ever be put in a position to have to make that choice. Does anyone believe Christian would have done great things in life had he survived? Anyone think his name is a coincidence? Not me.
take a look. a long look. that’s what a superhero looks like.
Which is why we’re (that means you and me, friendo) are now on a mission to get a SwiftShield door barricade device into every Santa Fe ISD classroom and then every door in the country. You and I both know in our hearts that it’s no longer a question of “if” but a matter of “when” and this seems to me to be the answer to not only get through the ugly politics of this mess, but a perfect solution to the question of already cash-strapped school budgets. Blam!
This is a no-brainer, dudes and dudettes. There’s a willingness and money to do this right now – in droves – everyone wants to help, we just need to get the information to them. Crazy right? Wrong. It’s happening.
Kids have the right to go to school get an education, participate in athletics, after-school projects, or go to the prom without worrying about being gunned down because government has failed at every level. I pray to God I never have to go through what these families are going through and I’m sure you feel the same about your family.
Nothing will change if we don’t stand up and help save lives by buying time and giving first responders those precious extra minutes when every second counts. SwiftShield is looking for corporate partners to donate products through the S.O.S. CAMPAIGN “ Shield Our Schools” that allows schools to get free secondary safety Devices and not at the tax payers dollar since the government won’t stand up and protect them . And if you are a business that wants to do something to protect our kids let me know.
If you are a fellow warrior – write me and tell me you’re going to walk one of these into your local high school and say; “why don’t we have these yesterday – they’re free?” rodney
kinda fired up, aren’t I?
The post A Young Man With the Biggest Balls in Texas is Gone: R.I.P. Christian Garcia appeared first on Joe For America.
For some, it’s a symbol of American freedom. For others, it’s a horrific killing machine.
One of the teenagers hid behind a desk while a gunman shot four students inside a classroom at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Her friend, who was in another building at the school, huddled in a closet for more than two hours.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, was called a “radical gun control militant” by the head of Ohio Gun Owners during testimony on a proposed law that would allow family or law enforcement to seize guns held by those who may pose a threat to themselves or others. Nearly 20 people testified against the bill, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Mike Henne, which would establish an “extreme risk” protection order allowing family members or law enforcement to remove guns from a person who may harm themselves or others for two weeks until a formal court hearing is held.
So, has Kyle Kashuv received an invitation yet?
NBC News reports that House Democrats are inviting students from Majory Stoneman Douglas High School to intern this summer to work on gun violence prevention … which may or may not be a step up from lying on the floor of a supermarket.
House Democrats are inviting Parkland students to come intern in their offices and work on gun violence prevention. https://t.co/yhn4O4g0MV
— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 24, 2018
Reminder: Any time the media uses the shorthand “Parkland students,” they’re referring to a subset consisting of anti-NRA activists like David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez.
House Democrats are inviting students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida — who survived a mass school shooting in February — to come intern in their offices, working on gun violence prevention.
“We think it would be a great experience for them to be on the Hill to see exactly how things operate — or doesn’t, to some degree — but also to have time with these very special young people that have experienced something that none of us ever want to have experienced and I think we can learn from each other,” House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley, who is helping lead the effort, told NBC News.
Our politics are about 180 degrees from hers, but we think Symone D. Sanders has a valid point here — why are the Parkland students getting special treatment, as if there haven’t been other young people affected by gun violence?
Wait y’all!! Are the #Ferguson protestors, young people who were/are on the frontlines in #Baltimore or the amazing student activists from #Chicago getting internships too? Nah? https://t.co/jNN3xxEWl9
— Symone D. Sanders (@SymoneDSanders) May 25, 2018
I love the Parkland students. Everyday their perseverance encourages me. But I also love them b/c they have been good at talking about their privilege and bringing other students whom don’t get town halls and Harvard invites to the table.
— Symone D. Sanders (@SymoneDSanders) May 25, 2018
So it really bothers me when time & time again folks act like the students from Parkland were the first kids who experienced a tragedy that decided stand up and demand change in their communities. It’s like the young folks in Ferguson, Baltimore, Baton Rouge, DC etc don’t exist.
— Symone D. Sanders (@SymoneDSanders) May 25, 2018
I will be asking the @HouseDemocrats that they consider an intern policy that incorporates the voices of kids who navigate their communities daily while under the threat of gun violence. Those young people matter too…And pissed I even have to say that.
— Symone D. Sanders (@SymoneDSanders) May 25, 2018
While Sanders asks the House Democrats why they’re limiting their invitation to Parkland students, quite a few people are asking when the survivors of the recent school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas are getting their own CNN town hall?
It’s sick that since majority of Santa Fe students oppose gun control and favor school security measures instead that the media won’t give them nearly as much coverage as the MSD students. Students of SFHS, my DMs are open to work together with you. I know your pain. #FixIt!
— Hunter Pollack (@PollackHunter) May 22, 2018
And this is why the Santa Fe kids won't get a CNN townhall ==> https://t.co/8eOONtUfzt
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) May 23, 2018
— Michael B (@bunchesoffive) May 25, 2018
Which reminds me… why hasn’t CNN called for a townhall with Santa Fe?
— Mujahed Kobbe (@Moj_kobe) May 26, 2018
@CNN Still waiting on the Santa Fe townhall. I guess their pro 2A stance doesn’t fit your agenda. Y’all couldn’t find an attention seeking, NRA bashing loudmouth like David Hogg to run on a 24 hour reel?! Shame on CNN!!
— Kevin (@kevinh1983) May 26, 2018
Has CNN scheduled a town hall yet with the kids from the school in Texas?
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) May 24, 2018
— jimmybagadonuts (@stay_woke2020) May 24, 2018
No because they wouldn't have their "assault rifle" talking points to lean on https://t.co/7CXJBKX12n
— Daddy G (@BillsMafiaTPA) May 24, 2018
— Derek Hunter (@derekahunter) May 24, 2018
REALLY!? David Hogg says this pic at Publix is 'literally perfect symbolism' of 'America's indifference to gun violence' https://t.co/JxTcX3TIg5
— Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) May 26, 2018
The post Democrats inviting Parkland students to intern this summer, but where’s Santa Fe’s town hall, CNN? appeared first on twitchy.com.
Political jockeying is well underway in Baghdad, as Iraqi political leaders seek the magic political formula which will enable formation of the Iraqi government. While a Shi’ite will take the premiership, Iraq’s most powerful post, the jockeying is on for other plum positions. Beyond key ministries—Foreign Affairs, Oil, and Defense, for example—two of the top prizes are the presidency and speakership of the parliament.
For nearly a decade after post-Saddam Iraq’s first elections in 2005, Jalal Talabani held the presidency. While the speakership is more powerful, the Kurds wanted the presidency for two reasons: First, was its symbolic value given the efforts by Arab nationalists in general and Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime in particular to deny Kurds’ cultural identity and their place as equal citizens in Iraq. And, second, a Kurdish presidency for Iraq neatly bypassed one of the bigger problems in Iraqi Kurdistan: the rivalry between Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) leader Masoud Barzani and Talabani, who broke away from the KDP in 1975 to form the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). If Talabani was in Baghdad, then Barzani could be the undisputed leader in Kurdistan.
That division continued after Talabani’s incapacitation and eventual death. Fuad Masum, a co-founder of the PUK and a long-time PUK functionary, succeeded Talabani as president in 2014. While Talabani made the most of the position—serving as a much needed intermediary among Iraq’s disparate political groups at a time of much tension and violence—Masum has largely been quiet and, on the Iraqi political scene, a complete non-entity.
His quiet, however, is expensive: In the last year, the Iraqi budget allocated the presidency about 51 billion Iraqi dinars, almost $43 million. While some of that covers salaries for immediate staff, at a time of austerity in Iraq caused by years of war and depressed oil prices, it is not clear how that money has been spent. In theory, the presidency is subject to annual audits of its spending and must provide receipts and open its books, but many Iraqis say this has not been done in several years, if ever. Instead, they accuse the PUK leadership of now using the presidency as a cash cow. While Iraqi politicians are prone to exaggeration, some Kurdish officials say that Masum takes home a $50,000 per month salary and Hero Ibrahim Ahmed, Talabani’s widow and controller of PUK finances, assumes control over the rest. In effect, the Iraqi presidency then becomes a slush fund to support the extravagant lifestyle of PUK leaders at a time when many Iraqi Kurds still do not receive full salaries or back pay.
What does this scheme mean for Iraq and the Kurds? Most Kurds voted on May 12 in the hope of achieving the most favorable partnership with the federal government in Baghdad. PUK negotiators, however, appear less interested in legislative influence and power than access to finances. This is why Kurdish negotiators seem so dead-set against swapping the presidency and speakership with members of the Sunni Arab community.
But even if the Kurds decide to push for the presidency, access to what has become a slush fund may be the primary motivation for the position, rather than the best position and a figure able to transform the honorifics of the post into a catalyst for communal peace and reconciliation. The KDP has put party above all else in its apparent push to put Fazil Mirani, a man with a checkered legal and moral past. But Mirani’s nomination is likely more a negotiating ploy than a serious push; Barzani can then extract concessions from the PUK elsewhere conceding. The PUK, meanwhile is reportedly pushing for Latif Rashid, Talabani’s brother-in-law, a move that would put the presidency’s budget even closer under family control.
Corruption is endemic in Iraq, and the election system makes it worse. While most Iraqis condemn corruption and seek to punish the corrupt at the polls, it is the corrupt party leaders which then put together a government based on the numbers of seats won. Instantly, their motivation shifts from change to protection of the status quo.
It is against this backdrop, then, that the Iraqi parliament, integrity commission, and all party leaders should insist that the right to audit be exercised, not only for the forthcoming administration but forensically for the Masum and Talabani administrations. Certainly, not even Qubad Talabani, younger son of the late president, should disagree given his frequent rhetoric about transparency. Simply put, the discrepancy between the official budget and the salaries of staff (at least those who are not ghost employees) appears too high by an order of magnitude. The Iraqi presidency should be about more than lining pockets of relatives or party leaders.