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Janine’s grace, NRA’s disgrace

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Miss USA, Olivia Culpo, right, reacts as she is announced as the new Miss Universe over first runner-up Miss Philippines, Janine Tugonon, left, during the Miss Universe competition, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012, in Las Vegas. AP

In a press conference held after she returned to Manila on December 22, Miss Philippines Janine Tugonon told embittered supporters who believe she was robbed of the Miss Universe crown by a hometown decision to get over it. “Miss USA deserved to win and I’m fortunate to place second among 89 contestants,” she said.

“Besides,” she added, “after what happened lately, America needs this win to boost its morale.” What happened “lately” of course was the massacre of 20 school children and 7 adults in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, just 5 days before the Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas.

The Philippines could have certainly used the morale boost after typhoon “Pablo” had devastated the Philippines leaving 710,224 Mindanao families homeless in its wake and exacting a death toll 50 times more than were killed in Newtown.

But by refusing to be depicted as a victim of a hometown decision, Janine Tugonon exhibited humility, dignity and class. The same could not be said of Wayne LaPierre, the CEO of the National Rifle Association (NRA), who used a no-questions-asked “press conference” in Washington DC on December 21 to advocate for even more guns, instead of less.

NRA – no retreat, advance

LaPierre laid the blame for the mass killings in Newtown on Hollywood which he described as “a callous, corrupt, shadow industry that sows violence against its own people.” He also pointed the finger at violent video games, music, the media, the courts, President Obama, Congress, people with mental illness and “gun-free schools.”

Of course LaPierre failed to mention that all the factors he listed as responsible for the Newtown massacre exist in other countries as well. They watch the same movies, play the same video games and have their own share of mentally ill citizens.

In fact, on about the same say that 20-year old Adam Lanza entered Sandy Hook Elementary School and shot and  killed 20 students, 36-year old Min Yingjun entered a primary school in Chengping, Central China and stabbed 22 students, ages 6 to 11. The difference between Chengping and Newtown is that all 22 Chinese students survived the knife attack because the Chinese assailant did not have access to semi-automatic firearms with high-powered ammunition as Adam Lanza did.

LaPierre’s solution to preventing future mass killings in US schools is to ask the US Congress “to act immediately, to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school – and to do it now, to make sure that blanket of safety is in place when our children return to school in January.” NRA apparently stands for “No Retreat, Advance” as far as getting more Americans to purchase even more firearms.

The National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, gestures during a news conference in response to the Connecticut school. AP

There are 99,000 public schools and another 33,000 private schools in the US. At an average cost of $50,000 a year in salary and benefits for each armed police officer, the NRA proposal would require Congress to appropriate $6.6 billion a year to implement it. This figure would not even include the cost of the training of the officers.

Training is vital as shown by the recent example of the New York police officers who responded to a gun shooting at the Empire State Building on August 24, 2012 and shot 9 innocent bystanders before they succeeded in killing the gunman.

 

Reaction from conservative media

The reaction from the media was immediate and unanimous. Even newspapers owned by Rupert Murdock – the bedrock media support of the Republican Party – recoiled at LaPierre’s response to Newtown. The next day, the front page of the New York Daily News featured LaPierre on the cover with this headline: “Just 90 minutes after moment of silence for Newtown victims, vile NRA nut blames everyone and everything except the guns – CRAZIEST MAN ON EARTH”. The other Murdock publication, New York Post, also displayed LaPierre’s mug on the cover with the headline “GUN NUT! NRA loon in bizarre rant over Newtown.”

A protester holds up a sign as National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, left, speaks during a news conference in response to the Connecticut school shooting. AP

Murdock, the conservative owner of FOX News, was born in Australia and is familiar with the Port Arthur massacre that took place there on April 28, 1996 when a gunman opened fire on tourists killing 35 people and wounding 23 others. Australia’s newly-elected conservative government under Prime Minister John Howard enacted sweeping gun control measures – with 90% public support – that included a massive buyback of 600,000 semi-automatic weapons and the banning of all private gun sales. Between 1995 and 2006, homicides by firearms decreased by 59%. Before the gun control measures were enacted, there were 11 mass murders in the history of Australia. There have been none since.

Funding for NRA dream act

If the NRA persists in pushing through with their plan, they will encounter serious problems getting Congress to appropriate the funds to implement the bill since the NRA-backed Republican members of Congress have all signed the Grover Norqvist pledge not to raise taxes. (Norqvist’s publicly stated goal is to cut taxes to the bone to “shrink government to the size where we can drown it in a bathtub.”)

The funding for this NRA version of its “Dream Act” can only come by slashing and gutting Social Security, Medicare, Food Stamps and unemployment insurance which will be opposed by Democrats and is certain to be vetoed by President Obama.

Perhaps the NRA proposal should also include every place of worship to prevent the mass shooting that occurred on August 5, 2012 when Wade Michael Page entered a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin and killed six worshipers and one responding police officer. As there are at least 95,000 churches in the US, this may require an additional allocation of several billion dollars.

Perhaps the NRA proposal should also include movie theatres to prevent the kind of massacre that occurred in Aurora, Colorado on July 20, 2012 when James Eagan Holmes threw tear gas grenades into a movie audience before using multiple firearms to kill 12 people and injure 59 others.

The NRA believes that if the movie patrons had been armed, they would have killed the shooter before the carnage occurred. But Holmes threw tear gas grenades before shooting, so how could the armed patrons have seen him? Would there not have been more people killed if every armed patron started shooting at who they thought was the shooter?

Will armed guards work?

Placing armed guards in a school did not prevent the massacre that occurred at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999 when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold shot and killed 12 of their high school classmates using semi-automatic weapons. There were two armed security officers at the high school and a deputy sheriff who arrived at the scene and exchanged gunfire with the shooters but they were unable to stop the massacre which only ended when the killers committed suicide.

How would the NRA explain the mass killing that occurred on November 5, 2009 at Fort Hood in Kileen, Texas when Army Major Nidal Hassan shot and killed 13 people and wounded 32 others? Virtually every soldier there was armed but that did not prevent the mass killing.

In contrast to the armed camp vision offered by the NRA is the example of City College of San Francisco (I served as an elected Trustee for 18 years from 1991 to 2009) where we adopted a no-guns policy barring our 40 campus police officers from carrying firearms while patrolling our 10 campuses with 110,000 students. Our no-guns policy has continued since then and, during this entire time, there has never been any gun violence at City College which would cause the board to reconsider its policy.

Although the NRA claims to represent 4 million members, a poll of NRA members revealed that an overwhelming majority of them favor background checks on gun buyers to determine their mental state and possible criminal/terrorist backgrounds. This common sense policy is opposed by the NRA which, as a lobbyist for the gun manufacturing industry, does not want to see any laws enacted that may decrease gun sales.

LaPierre’s description of Hollywood – “a callous, corrupt, shadow industry that sows violence against its own people” – is actually an accurate description of the gun industry the NRA is a shill for.

 (Send comments to Rodel50@gmail.com or mail them to the Law Offices of Rodel Rodis at 2429 Ocean Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94127 or call 415.334.7800).


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  • tarikan

    “Miss Philippines Janine Tugonon told embittered supporters who believe she was robbed of the Miss Universe crown by a hometown decision to get over it.” Embittered supporters, you are typical of Filipinos. In the Philippines, politicians rarely lost in elections. They are being cheated. I think it goes all the way to some sports competitions. When they lose they were cheated. When they win pinaglaruan lang ang kalaban.    

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VPSXDLCQEZGZDJSX32G7PYHNCI Noel

      Not this time.  Miss Philippines was obviously cheated.

      • kanoy

         ITS OBVIOUS THAT YOU WHERE CHEATED AS WELL…….OF AN EDUCATION

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VPSXDLCQEZGZDJSX32G7PYHNCI Noel

        I’m educated so I know she was cheated.

      • kanoy

         Noel replied
        I’m paranoid so I know she was cheated. no matter what she says do not believe her she is uneducated and she is a liar…look how stupid she is…..

        Miss Philippines Janine Tugonon told embittered supporters who believe she was robbed of the Miss Universe crown by a hometown decision to get over it. “Miss USA deserved to win and I’m fortunate to place second among 89 contestants,” she said.

  • GilArellano

    mr rodel rodis is a hardline democrat,he loves obama.i feel so sad about what happened to those too young fellows who were murdered.i want to share what one commenter said,obama cries over the death of twenty beautiful children in newton,connecticut but he forces us to pay for thousands of children to be brutally dismembered and tossed into biohazard bags every single day at his beloved planned parenthood…

    • kanoy

       YOU ARE A LOON,,,,OBAMA HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ROE VS WADE OR FAMILY PLANNING OR WANTON TEEN SEX OR UNWANTED BABIES…..YOU MIGHT PREFER THESE GIRLS USE A COAT HANGER OR PAY SOMEONE TO BEAT THEM IN THE BELLY OR DRINK BLEACH DRAINO MR PLUMBER OR WHATEVER THEY HAVE TO IN ORDER TO ABORT THE BABY….BUT ABORT IT THEY WILL AND THERE IS NOTHING YOUR LIBERAL BLEEDING HEART CAN DO ABOUT IT….FUNNY YOU A-HOLES ARE AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY YET YOU WANT TO KILL THE MOM TO SAVE AN UNWANTED CHILD DOOMED TO POVERTY AND A LIFE IN OVER CROWDED ORPHANAGES

      • GilArellano

        roe vs wade covers abortion of any kind…whether the baby is healthy or not, or whether a month old or 7 months old…i hope you are not like my friend who goes to church every sunday but she is a democrat who favors abortion…what a hepocrit..

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VPSXDLCQEZGZDJSX32G7PYHNCI Noel

      You’re out of your mind.  This New Year, may you be given by God a better brain so you could think correctly.

      • GilArellano

        mr noel…i’m pretty sure i’m a better person than you are…i don’t know where you stand…

  • rogueone59

    Perfect.  Another uninformed individual 10,000+ miles from the incident spouting off about something he knows nothing about, but rather, spews what he ‘thinks’ (being generous) the answers are based on hearsay and contorted opinions.  

    • 7Rodel77

       I live 3,000 miles away from Connecticut, not 10,000+ miles. At one time in my life, I even lived in Greenwich, Connecticut which is virtually a stone’s throw from Newtown. I have siblings who live in neighboring Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
      Which part of what I wrote is based on “hearsay and contorted opinions”?
      Why don’t you articulate what you believe in and know something about instead of badmouthing the writer?

      • rogueone59

         Perhaps in any other format, this would be considered an “Opinion” piece, because it’s certainly not journalism.  Journalists in times past told the truth, the FACTS, not their own biased opinions.  I could have read the same things you ‘reported’ in any anti gun rag.   Opinions.  Not facts.  Are you a naturalized US citizen?  Then how about supporting the Constitution which if you are, you vowed to defend.  If you’re not a citizen of this country, then your OPINION means a lot less than does the opinion of the citizens of the US.  That’s the same as it would be were I ‘reporting’ on things in the Philippines.  My opinion in the Philippines is not worth as much as the opinions of those who were born and live there.  Why not simply say you don’t like the second amendment to the US Constitution, and be done with it.  That’s also not news.  But seeing as how it’s the law of the land, supported and defined by the SCOTUS, that’s the final answer. 

    • kanoy

       IF THE CRY BABY WHINERS HAD HALF THE CLASS OF THIS MISS PHILIPPINES AS COMPARED TO THE ”MISTAKE FREE” 2010 MISS PHILIPPINES,,,,,WE MIGHT JUST START TO GAIN THE RESPECT FROM GOD THAT WE OFFER HIM….THE EVENT WAS HELD IN LAS VEGAS FOR THE 4TH TIME BUT IT WAS THE FIRST WIN THERE FOR MISS USA,,,VENEZUELA AND TWICE FOR MEXICO BEING THE OTHER 2….BUT THE 10 JUDGES WHERE FROM AROUND THE WORLD….THANK YOU FOR SETTING FILIPINOS STRAIGHT MISS PHILIPPINES 2012

  • joboni96

    yan ang pilipino
    pino at pili

    yan ang imperyalista
    moreguns in schools
    more sales to gunmakers
    more victims from morebullets flying

    • DIGOYBULOY

      yan si joboni..
      akala nya nakakatuwa
      ang kanyang mga tula
      pero puro bulok mga sinasabi
      bopols ka at walang silbi

      LOL

      • joboni96

        hehehe

        u cant make it here in ph boy
        kaya huwag ka ng sumawsaw

        pwede na yung gayagaya mo

  • DakuAkongUtin

    Obama said, This was the most difficult event in his  presidency.  Another political BS !! When it hits home then it hurts, right ? . But he ordered as many drone attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq that took many innocent lives. Missiles and bombs and very high explosives which evaporated innocent victims , babies , fathers and mothers .  Now the cries of these families and  peoples were unheard of as they were far from coverage of American medias. Where were the tears from Americans to these little ones klled by American missiles and bombs?  Not one single bit. Even Rodel Rodis doesnt give one iota of thought whatsoever in writing about these atrocities. And how about the crazy US Army SGt who went on a killiing spree in some Afghan village in the dead of night sometime early 2012? He was a looney toon as well armed with the latest M4 rifle clad with his body armor and kevlar helmet killing babies in their sleep. We needed to hear from that in your perspective.

    • 7Rodel77

      I used to think that you were nuts for questioning my op-ed pieces because I do not have a journalism degree. But this time, you present valid points. Yes, I should be faulted for failing to criticize the US use of drone attacks – because they do not involve risks to the lives of American soldiers – and the toll of innocent civilians they take. Yes, you’re right that we should condemn the murderous actions of Sgt. Robert Bales who shot and killed 16 Afghan civilians in two villages on March 11, 2012. It was a dastardly act and I am pleased that the US military is seeking the death penalty for his crimes. There should be zero tolerance for war crimes. Thank you for bringing these issues to my attention.

      • riza888

        Civilians, loosely defined, are being killed? We should be sad about that. But it is hardly unprecedented. How many civilians were killed by bombing raids during WWII in Germany, Japan, Austria, England, China, et al?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rodel-Rodis/100003082960053 Rodel Rodis

         And your point is…? That the killing of civilians is just an unfortunate  consequence of war and we should just accept it?

      • riza888

         In war, those who host the enemy are the enemy. In conventional war, you might kill 5 civillians to kill 1 soldier.  Check out the casualty figures from WWII.  How many total deaths versus total deaths by soldiers?  Drone warfare, as it is currently being practiced, is more humane on balance because it is more effective at killing the enemy. 

  • manny3

    Guns don’t kill people.. People kill people… Guns should be taken away from bad and mentally sick people.. Until you can do that..  What they should do is to encourage all responsible citizens to carry and learn how to use guns for self defense. Imagine a world where if you took out a gun and shot somebody, ten people could be pulling out their guns to shoot back at you in self defense. I bet you.. when those teachers were wishing they had a gun to shoot back with to defend their lives and their students.. At the very least, if almost everybody might be carrying a gun, everybody will be polite.. They also should not have any gun free zones.. Gun free zones tell the bad guys where their potential victims will all be defenseless and unarmed. Laws don’t stop bad people from violating them so curtailing your freedom won’t solve that problem… afterall, killing is already against the law.. schools are already gun free zones…so is that theatre in Colorado… etc. Did you know? More people have been killed by criminals with a baseball bat than with guns? By the way, soldiers in camp are not armed, only the ones for security(MP). To stop these from happening, you must change people’s hearts. Start with the kids and teach them moral values, good manners and right counduct.. Teach them the healthy fear of God( gift from the Holy Spirit), the 10 Commandments and get them in Church. You have to teach them Respect For Life.. from the womb to the tomb. These you have to show them in words and in deeds. You have to all go back to God and set good examples. Contraception don’t work and agreeing to the killing of 56 million babies to date through abortion so you can have a better life you think is progress?.. and think the kids don’t see or know… For you to stop kids from killing kids, change have to start with you.



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