Only In America

...and the New York pizza that fell short.

Only In America

Hey Friends,

Last week, I spent most of the week in New York City. I built a trip around my annual board meeting for The NO MORE Foundation, a worldwide initiative to address domestic and sexual violence. Outside of that, Mrs Lorem Ipsum and I enjoyed the city.

On Twitter, I provided in depth reviews of my experience in and around Manhattan. I'll share a few of those here.

After that, we'll get to The News.

If you don’t find these reviews helpful, consider just using Google, but I’ll always be here to help how I can.

Now, let’s see what happened in the headlines this week.

Hot Takes

Week 21 of 2022

This Week in Uvalde, Texas, Salvador Ramos purchased an assault rifle legally, just after his 18th birthday, and then shot at least 21 people. By law, he could not purchase a beer, but he could purchase an AR15.

Today, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Governor Greg Abbott are scheduled to speak at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Houston.

Today, I’ll dedicate a section of the newsletter to reactions to this week’s biggest story.

The Southern Baptist church denomination is in hot water and it’s not because someone drank alcohol. Recent reports have exposed allegations of sexual assault against leaders which were covered up or mishandled by the organization. Leaders in the Convention announced Tuesday the release of a secretly maintained list of hundreds of ministers and church workers they say are credibly accused of sexual abuse.For some background, when it comes to Church History, The Catholics and the Baptists disagree on who was first in the lineage of Christianity. Baptists say they came first, but everyone agrees the Catholics were caught first.

Johnny Depp took the witness stand again in his libel case against Amber Heard. He referred to her abuse claims as “Ridiculous, humiliating, ludicrous, painful, savage, unbelievably brutal, cruel, and all false,” which was also a review of the last Pirates of The Caribbean movie.

Kevin Spacey has been charged with four counts of sexual assault in the UK, allegations which have caused his House of Cards to tumble.

Travis Barker and Kourtney Kardashian got married this past Sunday in the trashiest Italian wedding I’ve ever seen. Here’s to the happy couple.

That’s it for the news this week.

Here’s the latest from Ask The Lorem Ipsum.

Praise for the Gun Lobby

Ask The Lorem Ipsum

Hey Daniel, It seems like there’s been a lot of mass shootings in schools lately. Should we just go ahead and make guns illegal? If not, what should we do and why is it ‘shut down all schools permanently’?

Sincerely, A.R. Vivteen

Great ideas A.R.! Thanks for the question! I want to start by pointing out that guns are very useful. They’re good for killing animals for food, great for looking like a tough guy in a Costco and they’re an excellent way to break skeet clays into smaller pieces so they are easier to dispose of – and this is just the beginning.

You’re not the first one that has suggested we make guns more like meth – illegal so people don’t use them anymore. As you know, it’s a constitutional right to own guns. James Madison made that very clear back in the late 1700s when he wrote the Second Amendment between team building meetings with the slaves on his plantation. I don’t have the timeline perfect, but I think it was ratified somewhere around the time he was slaughtering Indians and taking their lands, but I’m not good with dates.

Anyway, in order to address this topic, I wanted to have some feedback from the experts, so I reached out to my good friend Raio Krishnayya. He’s a former cop, and now an attorney who founded a non-profit organization called the Center for Victim and Human Rights.

His response has been edited for length and clarity which is a me problem and not a Raio problem, but you can always trust Raio to provide extra content when you need it.

Here’s what Raio had to say:

I don’t think we look at the issue the right way. I think it is a bit reductive to see people as pro-Second Amendment or anti. I don’t think anyone thinks like that.
I would argue that we need a two-pronged approach. The first is the Switzerland approach. Switzerland has a very high rate of gun ownership, but very low occurrences of mass shooter events. I would argue that a central reason for that is that gun ownership is treated very much like owning and driving a car. In order to own a gun in Switzerland, there is a basic fitness (including psychologically) requirement and a proficiency requirement, i.e., training. It’s akin to the fact [in the US] law enforcement officers must qualify with their weapons, at least once per year and usually more often than that.
The second would be to actually enforce some of the laws that we have now. Under federal law there are a myriad of reasons why someone would be prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm. One of those reasons I see often is through the issuance of a protection order. A lot of these mass shooters have prior domestic violence incidents. Unfortunately, the most likely time (and I’m speaking anecdotally, I don’t know the stats) for that to be enforced is either a traffic stop, which is a very dangerous moment for police and the person being stopped, or a new domestic violence run.
Proof of fitness and training and enforcement of current laws I think is a good start.

Raio provides a good starting point when it comes to policy on public safety, but there’s a bigger problem. None of the policy ideas matter. We don’t actually care enough to do anything about it.

The USA is an outlier when it comes to gun related deaths. It is painfully obvious how to reduce gun deaths. It’s well documented here, here, here, here and here. And for those who want me to cite more than one source, just check here for more. To see how extreme the US gun problem is compared to other countries, here and here are some charts that explain how our “personal protection” isn’t actually protecting us at all.

Owning guns is fun. But learning that your child has been killed by one isn’t. Until all of America is fed up with the outsized power of the gun lobby enough to vote its politicians out of office, the policies won’t matter. The thoughts and prayers won’t work until they work on you, and the way you vote.

Until we are willing to reckon with reality, the violence will continue.

Here are two articles I wrote that address this topic:

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As always, reply here anytime, and Have a great weekend!

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