Donald Trump is now the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and many political experts, as well as many Republicans, are in shock! How did this happen? A candidate that defied almost every rule of politics appears to have won the game.
As Trump's popularity grew, I continued to talk about and write about the phenomenon that surrounded his campaign. The same reasons so many political experts used to dismiss Trump are the very reasons for Trump's success.
Ohio Governor John Kasich was one of the most qualified presidential candidates to run for the White House, and Kasich projected a more moderate image which would be important in the general election. But Kasich, and many others with a wealth of political experience, like Jeb Bush, went essentially unnoticed during the 2016 primary/caucus season. Today, Kasich is ending his campaign.
The success of Donald Trump should have been predictable. At a time when Americans are totally disgusted with the political establishments on both sides and with the self-centered motivation of politicians once elected to office, Donald Trump was the perfect political storm.
Candidates are like any medium – they reflect their audience. Trump reflects a huge swath of America that for the first time feels disenfranchised. In many ways, Donald Trump was the subconscious fantasy of Americans who felt the government was no longer representing their needs and their understanding of America.
Ironically, Trump was a non-politician that played the game of politics better than the experienced politicians. Trump talked to people and gave the impression that he understands their fears and concerns, even though he lives a lifestyle that elevates him far above average Americans.
Blessed with a flamboyant style of charisma, Donald Trump appealed to people who didn't agree with, or even like, much of what he was saying, but they liked Trump. Trump benefits from his status as a non-politician with no political record of failure. Trump says he will "build a wall," and people believe him because he has built buildings and an empire and they believe that if he says he will build something then he will build it.
Trump will not be able to fulfill his campaign rhetoric with the ease he seems to suggest, but traditional politicians have done no better at fulfilling their campaign promises over the years.
Another advantage Trump has as a Republican candidate is his ability to attract voters outside of the tightly knit clique of conservative Republicans. The most obvious lesson to be learned from Trump becoming the presumptive nominee is that the conservative right movement within the Republican Party does not control the direction of the Party and the essential head-to-head match-up with Ted Cruz proved that beyond a doubt.
One of the recent controversies that separated Trump and Cruz was the reaction to the "bathroom bills" that were passed or considered. The bills opened the door for transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender they most identify with. Ted Cruz proclaimed that these bills were an assault on America's religious freedom – Donald Trump said he didn't care which public bathroom a transgender person uses. Cruz used that to question Trump's Christian beliefs.
Donald Trump has been able to attract a broad coalition of voters. Ronald Reagan attracted a wide range of voters and Reagan had so much support from Democrats that those voters were named "Reagan Democrats." Reagan was a populist and Trump is a populist. This is not to compare Trump, the man, to Reagan, the man, but there are similarities to how both men fit into the context of politics at the time of their campaigns.
Trump is not president – yet. But to downplay his significance at this point in American history is ignorant.
All along, I have written and talked about Trump because he is absolute political phenomenon to be studied for decades. The amount of time I have spent on Trump is not from the standpoint of a Trump supporter, but from the standpoint of a political junkie. I have never said and have no plans to change my personal policy of not endorsing or even saying for whom I vote on the air.
Love him or hate him – Donald Trump has shaken the political structure in America and what he represents must be recognized by every candidate running for office.
A female caller to my radio show about six months ago summed up Donald Trump. She said, "Scoot, Trump scares the hell out of me – but I'm more scared of no change."
The message that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is sending to the political world and the Republican Party is reaching a deafening level.
On the day before the crucial Indiana primary, a new poll shows Donald Trump leading Ted Cruz by 15 points - in a state Cruz has been using as another turning point in his campaign.
The demographics and the percentage of evangelical voters make Indiana a state where Cruz could stop the recent Trump sweep of New York and the Northeast, but it now appears that Cruz will need a miraculous outcome to fulfill his prophecy of turning his campaign around – again.
Ted Cruz and many Republicans who align themselves with conservative right movement within the Republican Party are in total disbelief that their movement is failing to attract more attention than a populist candidate like Trump. So strong are the beliefs of both the more extreme right and extreme left that believers on both sides are shocked that everyone does not see the world as they do.
This country is dominated by moderate-thinking voters. Many are registered Republicans and registered Democrats, but disagree with the extreme leanings of their parties. Over the years, conservative talk show hosts have given credence to the idea that moderates are weak and have no backbone of conviction and they are easily swayed. The idea was to imply that only the conservative right had strength and conviction to guide America at a time when this country was weak and without strong direction. But that was - and still is - a flawed assumption.
Modern political history shows us that the more moderate candidates win general elections. Barack Obama and Bill Clinton appeared as more moderate Democrats when they ran for office and George W. Bush's proclamation that he was a "compassionate conservative" were acknowledgements that the right- or left-leaning candidates don't win the general election. Once in office, candidates are free to resort to their innate political ideology, but extreme candidates do not win national elections. Yet, Cruz continues to position himself on the conservative right of his party.
Everything that Ted Cruz is saying about Donald Trump is only promoting Trump as the dominant leader. Cruz is saying that he is the only "true conservative" and that Trump is not really a "conservative." In the face of these criticisms, Trump's popularity has grown. And then Cruz and the Republican Party quote the surveys showing that Trump is not the most popular candidate among Republican voters. Again, this only further positions Trump as the Republican candidate that will do better in the general election.
For those who will be quick to criticize me for being a "Trump supporter" because I point out the reasons Trump is the leading Republican candidate, I am simply observing the political phenomenon of Trump's candidacy, which will be studied for decades!
At a time when Americans are overwhelmingly disgusted with the political status quo, Donald Trump has risen as a savior of sorts, and is attracting the attention of Republicans, Democrats and Independents - and that is the recipe for winning the White House.
Even though polls expose the high negatives surrounding Trump in a national face off with Hillary Clinton, don't rule Trump out if the choice is between Trump and Clinton. Clinton represents the political status quo that so many Americans are opposing.
Trump does not yet have the nomination wrapped up and the development of the news daily can shift a campaign, but at this point, Trump is where few expected him to be and the reasons seem obvious to anyone with an open mind.
Cruz's strategy of winning over delegates in hopes of a contested convention only feeds the Trump appeal. Cruz is playing the game of courting delegates in the absence of the popular vote, but this only serves to remind everyone that politics is a game and the individual votes of Americans are essentially inconsequential. And that adds to the Trump appeal.
Trump may be attracting so much attention in this presidential cycle of 2016 because he gives the impression that what he doesn't know about being president he can be taught – but what he does know can't be taught.
There's a clear suggestion that Donald Trump's inexperience in office is his greatest asset.
Another news story about police shooting another teenager had various headlines, but an accurate headline might have read: “Teen shot by cops due to lack of parental involvement.”
Yesterday, Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis defended the action of his police officers who shot and wounded a 13-year-old boy with a toy gun. The idea of police shooting a kid with a toy gun sounds appalling until it’s put into context.
Two plainclothes detectives, one male and one female, saw a teenager with what appeared to be a Beretta semiautomatic pistol. The detectives identified themselves and ordered the teen to drop the gun. Instead of complying, the teen ran off and the officers pursued.
According to a witness, the teenage boy turned around with the gun in his hand and yelled, “It’s not real!” The witness said the teen said it twice. The male officer shot the teen twice – once in the leg and once in the shoulder. The teen is expected to fully recover. If the teen was aware enough to yell “it’s not real,” why was he not aware enough to simply drop the gun?
The teen’s gun turned out to be a Daisy BB gun, but the officers said it was an accurate replica of a Beretta semiautomatic pistol. The Baltimore Police Commissioner said that his officers cannot afford to do nothing when someone is walking down a street in Baltimore in the middle of the day with what appears to be a gun.
The shooting occurred on the first anniversary of the violent protests that erupted over the death of Freddie Grey while in the custody of Baltimore police and it occurred only two days after the city of Cleveland agreed to a $6 million settlement over police shooting and killing 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was brandishing a toy gun at a Cleveland playground in 2014.
With the multitude of incidents involving police officers shooting unarmed suspects or young suspects with what prove to be toy guns, it’s easy to make a blanket judgment condemning police officers – but that is unfair to law enforcement.
No one should defend the police officers that have been quick to pull the trigger in situations where there were options, but no one should be quick to blame police officers for taking action when a teenager – or anyone - is seen walking around with a gun in their hand and refuses to comply with police.
It is understandable and prudent for every police officer to assume that every gun is a real gun. Every police officer has a duty to protect the community and a right to protect themselves. Toy guns are made to look real to give the person the sense that they have a real gun. Police officers, and average citizens, should take action with the assumption that any gun that resembles a real gun is, indeed, real.
Imagine the consequences the Baltimore detectives would have faced if that teenager had a real gun and used it to kill someone because police assumed it might be a toy gun?
Supporting and understanding the situations our police officers face every minute of every day in no way supports the officers that have taken a life in the presence of other options. Yes, there are bad officers, but there are more great officers on our streets.
No one should be quick to label anyone “pro-cop” or “anti-cop” based on their assessment of different situations involving police shootings. The fact that I support the actions of the Baltimore police officers does not mean I blindly support unnecessarily aggressive police action or racist-motivated responses.
A 13-year-old is a teenager, but I have as much experience being 13 as anyone else and at 13 I would have known to comply with the request of police. Even though I grew up in a different neighborhood with different ideas about the police, there should be no justification for a teenager or anyone pointing a gun or a replica of a real gun toward police. ANY individual that points a gun toward police officers when told to drop the gun is the direct product of failed parenting and an apathetic community.
In the face of injustices in the past and today, the message is clear and simple – DO NOT point a gun at police. If you do they have no choice but to shoot you.
Beyond both political parties and changes, like the removal of prayer from public schools, any downturn in American society is the direct result of the growing lack of respect for the simple, but significant role that personality accountability plays in society.
A new lawsuit should cause Americans to mourn the death of personal accountability. A man seriously injured in a car crash is suing an 18-year-old driver and Snapchat for causing the accident.
Wentworth Maynard suffered permanent brain damage and needs a wheelchair or a walker to get around. Maynard is suing Christal McGee, 18, and Snapchat, because McGee was using a new Snapchat function known as a “speed filter,” which attaches the speed of the vehicle to a photo that is snapped. The 18-year-old admits that she was trying to get her Mercedes-Benz to hit 100 mph when she snapped a photo to send to friends. She hit 107 in a 55 mph speed zone when the collision occurred.
Snapchat is a mobile messaging application used to share photos, videos, drawings and texts with friends through social media. Snapchat introduced a “speed filter,” which automatically attaches the speed of the vehicle with the photo snapped at the moment. Snapchat awards special attention for those who post how fast they were traveling when they snapped the photo.
The lawsuit contends that, both Christal McGee and Snapchat are responsible for the accident that permanently injured Wentworth Maynard. Is Snapchat to blame for offering technology that allows an individual to record their vehicle’s speed when a photo snapped?
In a society that continues to blame anything other than an individual for negative actions, the trend of blaming technology only further diminishes the respect we all must have for the concept of personal accountability.
In particular, it seems more tempting to blame new technology for the bad decisions made by individuals.
Regardless of Snapchat’s application that attaches vehicle speed to a photo, it was the decision of the 18-year-old driver to use that application. To blame Snapchat and technology would be the same as blaming the car manufacturer for building a car that goes over 100 mph.
When do we stop allowing the blame for personal decisions to be placed on the availability of technology rather than the individual that made a bad decision?
Lawyers may contribute to the “blame game” getting out of control, but individuals making decisions and individuals that make up juries are also to blame for accepting the notion that technology or an object are really at fault rather than an individual’s ability to apply common sense.
All that is wrong with America can be solved by returning to the expectation that individuals be held accountable for the decisions they make. Sometimes something or someone else is to blame, but too often, the propensity to excuse the blatant lack of common sense in society is contributing to what’s wrong with America.
Christal McGee was obviously intrigued with her ability to share moments in her life with friends because she took a Snapchat photo of her on the gurney with a bloody head. If you just caused an accident because of your stupidity, would you be quick to share the injuries that resulted with your friends?
The fact that something is available does not excuse the failure to apply basic common sense to decision-making.
Scoring five dominant wins in five Northeastern primaries yesterday, the Trump Train gained more momentum as it rolls toward the Republican convention this summer in Cleveland.
Donald Trump was expected to win all five contests in another day labeled “Super Tuesday,” but the size of Trump’s victories was a surprise. Trump won by over 50% in all five states and most impressive was his 56.7% win in Republican diverse Pennsylvania. Trump won more support than Ted Cruz and John Kasich combined!
Throughout the 2016 primary/caucus season, Trump has had more success east of the Mississippi, but Trump’s win in Pennsylvania is being interpreted as a sign that his popularity continues to grow. Pennsylvania has been described as a state made up of Philadelphia in the East – Pittsburgh in the West – and Alabama in between. For that reason, Trump winning over 50% in a 3-way race is seen as a sign of the candidate’s power.
Trump doesn’t have the nomination wrapped up, but his impressive victories can no longer be denied by even the biggest Trump skeptics.
After the results were known last night, one of the political commentators on The Fox News Channel observed that populists are taking control of the Republican Party from the conservatives. Why has it taken so long for so many to reach the understanding that a “right-wing conservative” Republican does not represent the Party in 2016? Through its own analysis of the Party, Republicans have been saying for years that it needs to do a better job of opening the door to new voters. The perception of a “right-wing conservative,” particularly on social issues, is damaging to the GOP. Ironically, when Trump makes comments like he did last night about Clinton not even getting 5% of the vote if she were a man, the Republican Party’s image to women is certainly not enhanced.
Donald Trump’s dominant victories in five states yesterday, clearly demonstrates that the faction of the Republican Party often described as “true conservatives” is not as popular and powerful and it wants America to believe.
As a radio talk show host, I witness the tendency to stereotype young black males as criminals nearly everyday. The tendency to stereotype is as disturbing as it is unfair.
The justification for stereotyping young black males is based on the higher percentage of young black males seen as suspects on the news. If stereotyping based on percentages on the news is justified, then we should also assume that middle-aged white males are into child pornography!
Yet another case of a middle-aged white male busted for possessing child pornography further supports the stereotype. Don Francis, Jr., 45-year-old suburban resident, has admitted to possessing over 5,000 images and over 360 videos of child pornography. He admits that he is sexually attracted to children.
Rejecting the labeling of middle-aged white males as child pornographers based on the high percentage of suspects seen regularly on the news is conveniently dismissed by those who are middle-aged white males or have the real world experience of knowing middle-aged white males who condemn anyone who possesses child pornography.
Stereotyping middle-aged white males as child pornographers is as wrong as stereotyping young black males as criminals.
No one can argue that a disproportionate number of young black males has been arrested and are now incarcerated, but no one can argue that the media also projects the impression that a disproportionate number of middle-age white males are attracted to child porn. So, why not stereotype them?
Stereotyping is convenient. It allows people to instantly identify the evil elements in society. But it is unfair because every member of any group does not fit the stereotype. We are all part of groups that others stereotype and yet, we know from our reality, that we defy the stereotype others use to pass judgment on us.
All middle-aged white males are not into child porn. Not all young black males are potential criminals. Not all Muslims support terrorism or have the desire to kill Americans. Not everyone on government assistance is lazy. Not all wealthy people are greedy. Not every homosexual is a liberal.
Stereotyping everyone in any group is a lot easier than actually making the effort to figure out who’s good and who’s evil.
It’s simple – if you don’t want others to stereotype you – then don’t you stereotype!
Donald Trump scored a huge primary win in New York yesterday. Trump was expected to win, but with 60% of the vote, Trump absolutely dominated his two rivals. John Kasich finished with 25% and Trump’s closest national rival, Ted Cruz, received only 15%. Trump beat Cruz by 45 points!
In the important delegate count, Trump won 89 delegates, Kasich won 3 and Cruz walked away with 0 delegates. Last night was a rare moment when Cruz did not declare victory even in defeat. The bravado emanating from the Cruz campaign was silenced by Trump’s massive win.
This was a primary in New York – Trump’s home turf – but the victory was grander than many of the polls indicated. The win in New York also nullifies the Cruz momentum and throws more coal in the engine pulling the Trump Train.
Next Tuesday there will be 5 contests in Northeastern states where Trump is expected to score more victories.
The clearer Trump’s path to the nomination becomes the cloudier the direction of the Republican Party becomes. New York was his home state, but Trump still won 60% of the vote! Where is the 30% ceiling for Trump so many of the political experts have been talking about?
The conventional wisdom of many experts was that Trump would not be able to win over 30% - and certainly not over 35% of the vote when other candidates dropped out of the race. As other candidates have ended their campaigns, Trump continues to defy the predictions and is above 35% in many national polls
From the beginning, Trump was underestimated by the political establishment that has always felt secure in its ability to direct party politics. Trump is pulling the curtain back and exposing the political establishment at the controls and Americans are not pleased.
On the Democratic side, the role of the super delegates is a way for the establishment to better control the outcome of their nominating process. Both parties have the ability to change convention rules to favor the candidate the ruling establishment wants to win. The political machinery in place on both sides diminishes the importance of the votes of each individual American at a time when Americans already feel like their vote doesn’t count.
Trump is right to condemn the rules of the nominating process, but the rules are in place and Trump has not proportionally converted votes into delegates because other candidates have been better with the ground war of fighting for delegates.
We have reached a point when it is up to the American people to protest the political machinery and the game of winning delegates and demand that rules be changed to enhance the power of each individual voter in this country. We are talking about the nominating process now, but the same protest should also be made against the Electoral College.
We have a political system owned by two parties and we have allowed that to spiral out of control. Change will not be easy, but change should be seen as a necessity to the spirit of “we the people.”
The system is “rigged” as Trump proclaims, but it’s legally rigged for the sole purpose of protecting the power of the political establishment of both parties.
Much of Trump’s support is coming from those who are disgusted with a process that makes it easier for those who get in power to stay there.
And we all know the problem with career politicians – they are driven by the power that comes from reelection and not by the idea of serving “we the people.”
Even if Trump is not the Republican nominee – he should get credit for exposing the corrupt nature of politics!
Bruce Springsteen cancelled a concert in North Carolina and Bryan Adams cancelled a concert on the Mississippi Gulf Coast because of new “religious liberty” laws in both states.
“Religious liberty” laws are a backlash to the frustration that built over the failure to prevent the legal recognition of same-sex marriage in America. The next step in the overall defense of traditional marriages and the condemnation of homosexuality has come in the form of protecting religious freedom in America. Religious freedom is one of the important foundations upon which this nation was founded and is understandably a sacred issue.
To equate the right to discriminate against the LGBT community with basic religious freedom in America is a powerful strategy and while it may appear to be logical on the surface, the argument is deeply flawed.
Most of us respect that religious freedom is a guaranteed right and any threat to that freedom is a threat to all that holds America together. However, protection of religious freedom should not be used as a justification for discrimination.
There are rules to doing business in America and many of those rules are based on our concept of treating all individuals equally, which is supported by the Constitution. No one is forced to open a business in America. Opening a business is an option and the understanding is that if you open a business you respect the Constitution and using religious beliefs to select customers defies the Constitution.
If opening a business conflicts with any individual’s religious beliefs, then that individual should not open a business. If an individual’s religious beliefs conflict with the job they are hired to do, then they should find a job that is more congruent with their beliefs.
The mistake that is made by arguing that if someone can’t use their religious beliefs to pass judgment on those they serve because of their lifestyle, then they have lost religious freedom. That’s not true. The laws in America do nothing to take away personally held religious convictions, but the laws do require that religion not be used in ways that allow discrimination.
Many businesses in Mississippi are putting up signs to let customers know that their business welcomes everyone and does not discriminate. Those businesses are proud of their religious beliefs.
Those who support the “religious liberty” laws, like the recently passed law in Mississippi, should be proud of their religious beliefs, too. But would those who proclaim to be proudly standing up for religious freedom by supporting laws that allow legal discrimination be proud enough of their convictions to post signs on their businesses announcing that they support the “religious liberty” laws?
If one side actively promotes that they do not discriminate – would the other side actively promote that they do discriminate because of their religious beliefs?
If any business is unwilling to proudly post a sign letting all customers know their position on the “religious liberty” laws, then I suggest that the business owner is not proud enough of their religious convictions to possibly lose a large number of customers.
If religious beliefs are an integral part of the operation of a business – then why would anyone not be willing to let all customers know their stance on the issue?
Early Tuesday morning was no different than any other – I woke in the early morning hours, as I do every night, and I always check my phone. But this morning’s routine was broken by a text alert from WWL that the beloved Hokie Gajan had passed away peacefully during the night.
I did not know Hokie well, but what I knew of him made me wish I had known him better. I will leave the accolades of Hokie’s professional career with the Saints to the sports guys who knew him and worked closely with him, but I will share memories of Hokie Gajan.
I remember the first time Hokie told me that he used to listen to “Scoot in the Morning” when he was playing with the Saints. I was always touched when players would tell me they were listeners of my show.
During the offseason, I rarely saw Hokie, but during the Saints seasons I would often see Hokie in the halls or in the studio at WWL. My brief encounters with Hokie were always meaningful. Hokie was smart and insightful, but often those qualities were hidden behind his down-home demeanor and a slight Cajun accent. And Hokie had an amazing sense of humor. The commercials he did for various clients were not always scripts handed to him – he wrote some of the most creative lines I’ve heard on radio!
One Hokie original will always stand out in my mind as an example of Hokie’s great wit. In describing how fast a player was, Hokie, said, “He’s so fast he could go rabbit hunting with a hammer!” That was Hokie! He didn’t pick up lines from others – he was original and innately funny.
One night when I was doing the show from 8:00 pm to midnight on WWL, Hokie had just finished doing Sports Talk and we were talking during the newsbreak at 8:00 pm and I asked Hokie if he would like to join me for the Top 8 at 8. Every night I opened the show with the top 8 things you needed to know as we started the show. The night Hokie interacted with me on the Top 8 at 8 was the night I realized how smart and quick-witted Hokie was!
Hokie was as sensitive as he was tough. He loved and cared about his family. I always admired how he never allowed the fame and recognition that he deserved to distract him from all that was really important in life. I have known so many people in this business that allowed their fame to define them – but not Hokie. Hokie seemed to consider his celebrity status unnecessary and it certainly never changed anything about him.
Radio has a way of instilling in individuals a false sense of importance in society and I will always admire the way Hokie Gajan was true to his personality and his convictions, in spite of the notoriety that temps so many to change.
Many were shocked when greeted with the news that the legendary Hokie Gajan had passed away. Hokie did not attract attention to his weakness and never wanted anyone to worry about him. That’s the kind of person he was and that’s the kind of person he will forever be to me.
A few at WWL knew how dire Hokie’s situation was and yesterday before going on the air I ask how Hokie was doing and the answer I got was, “It’s not good. It’s going to be sooner rather than later.” Sadly, it was indeed sooner.
Hokie touched the lives of so many in the WHO DAT Nation. First as a player, then as a scout for the Saints and then as the color analyst with Jim Henderson on WWL.
Hokie’s unpolished style endeared him to fans everywhere and his character stood out with a voice and style that, in some ways, defied radio standards. And Hokie’s voice was honest beyond his love for the Saints.
I remember, in particular, when fans were hyped up at the beginning of last season - Hokie was one of the voices that held an honest assessment of the Saints – he insisted they were not that good. And Hokie, once again, was right.
I admired Hokie’s ability to be objective. He never allowed his love for the Saints to alter his honest assessment of the team. That’s not and easy thing to do in radio or in life.
What I learned from my encounters with Hokie Gajan make me a better person.
Hokie doesn’t remind me of anyone else. Hokie Gajan was an original.
News of the tragic shooting death of former Saints Defensive End Will Smith not only rocked New Orleans and the Who Dat Nation, but it was a story that captured national headlines and continuous coverage on the cable TV news networks over the weekend.
The killing of Will Smith is attracting local and national attention because Smith was a beloved celebrity figure, but sadly, senseless shooting deaths are a daily occurrence in America. Will Smith was known to many, but to those who have lost their loved ones, this tragedy is a reminder of an increasing problem in this country.
The New Orleans Police Department continues to investigate Smith's death, and that may prove to be more complicated than a tragic end to road rage. Cardell Hayes is the suspect, who remains behind bars after a $1 million bail was set by the judge. Here are a few of the questions being asked:
• Was the shooting the result of road rage or was it revenge?
• Was there an earlier accident before Hayes' Hummer hit the back of Smith’s SUV?
• Is there a connection between a person Smith dined with earlier in the evening who was named in a lawsuit Haley won following NOPD officers shooting his father to death?
• Did the suspect own the gun legally?
It’s true – there are a lot of questions that have yet to be answered and it’s easy to take a little information and jump to a conclusion that fits ideas about stereotypes. There is much we don’t know, but there is one thing we do know for sure. Former Saint Will Smith should not be dead. His wife should not be in the hospital recovering from a bullet wound and his children should not be without their father.
Whether the shooting was the result of road rage or an act of revenge should not cloud this simple fact – someone used a gun to kill another person over a conflict, and that is becoming so common that it barely raises eyebrows anymore.
To satisfy the gun rights fanatics that are looking for any reason to declare anyone in the media to be “anti-gun,” my support for the Second Amendment does not leave me blind to recognize that guns make it easy for many to solve conflicts in their favor. But it is never the gun that kills. The decision to use a gun puts the responsibility for a death solely on the individual who makes that decision.
Guns give power and courage to cowards and those who feel meaningless in life. Guns give some people the courage to enter conflicts they are too weak to enter without a gun.
There is still much we don’t know about Cardell Hayes, the suspect in the shooting death of Will Smith. John Fuller, Hayes’ attorney, is presenting different angles as to what may have happened and is asking for toxicology reports on everyone involved in the incident, presumably Will Smith, as well. I’m not sure why that matters. Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not an excuse.
What we know for sure is that an individual used a gun to kill someone over a conflict that could have been solved with words. Generations are growing up with the idea that settling a conflict, no matter how minor, with a gun, is the only way reputable way to settle a conflict. Our prisons are full of individuals who chose to use a gun rather than words as a weapon to settle a conflict.
Recognition of this reality in no way excuses ending a conflict with a gun, but unless we reduce the issue to its simplest equation, we will never solve the problem.
People are settling conflicts at work, at home and on the road with guns. Guns should be used to protect life and property – not someone’s pride or rep!