SCOTUS made it impossible to resolve America’s gun violence

The satirical newspaper the Onion famously repeats the same headline whenever a high-profile mass shooting occurs in the United States: “‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.”

It’s a grim reminder that the United States — or, at least, key leaders within government — has chosen to prioritize gun rights over the kinds of laws that successfully protect citizens of many other nations from being struck down by a bullet.

One of the most consequential choices by policymakers to choose gun rights over sensible policy came in 2008, with the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller. By a 5-4 vote, the Court held, for the first time in American history, that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a gun. Among other things, Heller gave special constitutional protection to handguns…

The bulk of gun deaths in the United States look very different from the kind of mass killings that inspire so many American nightmares. Most of these deaths are suicides. 2020 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for example, shows that over 24,000 people died of suicide from a firearm that year, while just over 19,000 died in a gun-related homicide…

And when someone is murdered with a gun, the most common motive is an argument that escalates into a killing because someone was armed.

And it seems to me … that the precedent created in a 5-4 decision of the Supreme Court might be revisited in some future time and case.

Battles between rightwing Supreme Court Judges

There was a little-seen warm moment between Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Clarence Thomas last November 1, just before the Supreme Court heard arguments on Texas’ abortion ban.

Roberts announced that 30 years ago on that exact date, a ceremonial investiture for Thomas had been held. Thomas, sitting to Roberts’ right, beamed and slung his arm over the chief’s shoulder.

That collegiality in the courtroom, filled with only a few dozen spectators because of Covid-19 protocols, has vanished. The two justices are now engaged in an epic struggle over a new abortion case that could mean the end of Roe v. Wade nationwide and unsettle the public image of the court.

And I don’t care for either of these two pricks. That has nothing to do with this post, however. There are cracks in the ideology often welding these fascist-minded judges together. Worthwhile read for that reason.

Been a while…

Music has been a significant portion of my life since I was a wee ‘un. Never stray far from singing or listening or playing. Or performing…for a spell. Been one of those afternoons when I wandered back through favorites.

A nation once again

The Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein, which seeks unification with Ireland, hailed a “new era” Saturday for Northern Ireland as it captured the largest number of seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly for the first time in a historic win.

With almost all votes counted from Thursday’s local U.K. election, Sinn Fein secured 27 of the Assembly’s 90 seats. The Democratic Unionist Party, which has dominated Northern Ireland’s legislature for two decades, captured 24 seats. The victory means Sinn Fein is entitled to the post of first minister in Belfast — a first for an Irish nationalist party since Northern Ireland was founded as a Protestant-majority state in 1921…

The victory is a major milestone for Sinn Fein, which has long been linked to the Irish Republican Army…(Sinn Fein vice-president Michelle) O’Neill stressed that it was imperative for Northern Ireland’s divided politicians to come together next week to form an Executive — the devolved government of Northern Ireland.

There is “space in this state for everyone, all of us together,” O’Neill said. “There is an urgency to restore an Executive and start putting money back in people’s pockets, to start to fix the health service. The people can’t wait.”

One of the worst examples of English Imperialism needs to end sooner rather than later. Too long overdue

Chances getting better for a United Ireland

Sinn Féin will be the largest party in Northern Ireland after elections on May 5, according to every recent opinion poll.

This would be a significant symbolic breakthrough for the left-wing party, historically linked to the Irish Republican Army (IRA). It will confirm the political and demographic shifts since the 1998 “Good Friday” peace agreement, which has ended the once hegemonic Unionist dominance of Northern Ireland. The election is also likely to see further growth of the centre ground parties – those who do not have a fixed position on the constitutional question.

The effect on Irish unity will be indirect rather than immediate. Under the terms of the 1998 peace agreement, a united Ireland can only be created, if majorities vote for it in separate referendums in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. All polls say a referendum will pass in the Republic, and while Brexit has seen a significant increase in support for Irish unity in Northern Ireland, most polls predict that a referendum would not pass there if called immediately, although the number of undecided voters may be as high as 25 percent. Those absolutely committed to Northern Ireland remaining in the United Kingdom, are now a minority.

A nation once again… (sigh!)