It’s Time for a 28th Amendment To Set Limits on the 2nd Amendment

GRAPHIC-Las-Vegas-shooting-3The 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  

Needless killings and mass murders are occurring regularly in this country, most recently in Las Vegas.  How much death is enough for your gun rights?  How much?  14? 21? 23? 26? 32? 49? or now 59?  And over 500 injured.  And in each case, all done by a single shooter with semi-automatic “assault style” weapons.  ( See http://abcnews.go.com/US/10-deadliest-mass-shootings-modern-us-history/story?id=50234345 )

As long as gun fetishists insist that the 2nd amendment phrase “shall not be infringed” means no gun regulation whatsoever, we will never have people who will accept any form of regulation for improved safety. None. Nada. The phrase, “Now is not the time”, is simply a delaying tactic because they intend for nothing, no amount of death and carnage, to interfere with their right to stockpile weapons of mass destruction in their basements with thousands of rounds of ammo. Does any of that seem sane to you? Would you tolerate this with anything else? Drugs?  Cocaine?  Meth? LSD? Poisons? Etc. No, you call it what it is, a destructive and dangerous fetish or addiction.

Nothing will change as long as the gun fetishists keep stalling for time. Nothing. So since they won’t negotiate any practical gun safety regulations, it’s way past time to go past them and start getting states, one by one, through a lot of hard work, to call for a Constitutional Convention to add a 28th Amendment Clarifying the 2nd Amendment.

The new amendment would read: “The phrase “shall not be infringed” of the 2nd amendment is hereby repealed.  Each citizen is entitled to one handgun and one rifle. Clips and/or magazines, or any other mechanism for loading bullets into a gun, may only hold up to ten rounds. Any modification of a gun or rifle for rapid, automatic, repeat firing is a Felony, punishable by no less than five (5) years in prison, and no more than (10) years in prison.”

It’s the only way if the gun fetishists won’t negotiate some common sense. Take a rigid, no holds barred approach in electing local and national officials who will sponsor a new 28th Amendment on gun ownership.

It needs to start yesterday. We don’t need anymore mass murders. We don’t need anymore injuries. 59 dead. Over 500 injured. Enough already!

Responsible gun owners are drowned out by the gun fetishists. Anyone who argues mass murder is the price of “freedom” is simply insane.

Trans Woman of Color Murdered, Set on Fire, Then Dumped in Trash [jezebel.com]

by Kat Callahan / jezebel.com

transwomanfloridakilledburnedIn horrific news out of Fort Myers, Florida, a trans woman of color has been murdered, and her body set on fire, then dumped in a garbage bin. I just can’t right now, I just can’t even.

According to a local media outlet, the victim was identified as Yazmin or Yaz’min Shancez, which was the woman’s preferred name according to her family, although the police reported that her documents had not yet been changed to reflect this. The same report quoted Fort Myers Police Lt. Jay Rodriguez as saying the police have not determined a cause of death, and are not investigating the homicide as a hate crime.

We have no indication at this time to say this was specifically done because it was a male living as a female or anything like that. If you really think about it, a hate crime is killing someone for a specific reason, being black, Hispanic, gay. We’re investigating as we would any other homicide.

…I’m sorry, Officer Rodriguez, but are you trying to suggest here that killing someone because they’re transgender isn’t a specific enough reason? Or maybe that the reason doesn’t count because it’s not on your official “hate crime” cheat sheet? If I really think about it? Jesus fucking Christ, sir, I think about it constantly. Do you typically see non-hate crime related homicides that end with burning the already dead body and then dumping it like worthless refuse in a garbage bin? Is this a pattern in Fort Myers which makes it like “every other homicide?”

Her father, identified as Harvey Loggins, said that he and his family left balloons and stuffed animals in the small private drive in an industrial area of the city where the garbage bin was located.

With the exception of her father (who continued to use male pronouns, despite his daughter’sidentity), the majority of her family appears to have accepted her decision to live as a woman, which she apparently began to do in 2004. Her aunt, Beatrice Loggins, spoke lovingly of Shancez, citing her uniqueness as a person.

Nobody deserves that. Straight, gay, purple, pink, white, black. Nobody…There will never be another T, you couldn’t clone her, couldn’t mold her.

Cousin Jasmine Weaver seemed at a loss to understand the crime (you and me, both, Jasmine, you and me both).

We don’t know of any person who would do something like that to T. It’s mind-boggling. You’d never think that would happen to your family.

Mind-boggling? Horrific. Abhorrent. And an altogether too common reality for transgender people, especially trans women of color. I’d love to shout from the rooftops that this is so horrible because it is incredibly rare. Well, it’s not. It happens all the goddamned time.

And if this story could get any worse, if that’s at all possible when dealing with such a terrible crime, this is a second heartbreak for the family. They have already lost one child, as Shancez’s 15-year-old little sister was also murdered, gunned down in a drive-by shooting almost exactly two years before.

I hate everything right now.

http://roygbiv.jezebel.com/trans-woman-of-color-murdered-set-on-fire-then-dumped-1595108365/+burtreynoldsismyspiritguide1

Lawmakers Aim To Restrict Guns for Mentally Ill After Shooting [californiahealthline.org]

California lawmakers are calling for increased restrictions on gun purchases for individuals who are suspected of having mental health issues and could pose a threat to themselves or others, theAP/Sacramento Bee reports. The legislation comes after six people were killed last week by an individual with suspected mental health issues.

Background on Killings

On May 23, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger killed six individuals by stabbing or shooting them and wounded 13 others in Isla Vista, Calif. Rodger had legally purchased three semi-automatic guns and ammunition used in the attack (Dillon/Thompson, AP/Sacramento Bee, 5/28).

The incident occurred after Rodger’s family members had contacted the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department on April 30 with concerns about his mental health. Police conducted a welfare visit and concluded that Rodger did not pose a risk (Pickert, Time, 5/27).

Details of Legislation

Following the killings, California lawmakers proposed changes to the state’s rules for purchasing guns.

Assembly members Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara) and state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) have introduced a bill that would allow temporary restraining orders to prevent individuals who are potentially violent from purchasing guns. Under the bill, family members and friends could contact law enforcement if they believe an individual could be a threat to themselves or others, and officers then could ask a judge for the temporary restraining order (Mason, “PolitiCal,” Los Angeles Times, 5/27).

Under current state law, individuals can be banned from buying firearms only if they are involuntarily committed to a mental health facility.

Skinner said, “When someone is in crisis, the people closest to them are often the first to spot the warning signs, but almost nothing can now be done to get back their guns or prevent them from buying more.”

In addition, Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said the state should require law enforcement officers to check for weapons when conducting welfare visits, such as the one that took place at Rodger’s residence on April 30. In addition, Steinberg suggested that officers should search the area when called on such visits and speak with roommates and neighbors (AP/Sacramento Bee, 5/28).

Reaction

Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California, said the new legislation limiting gun purchases is unnecessary. Parades said, “We don’t need another bill to solve this problem. The tools are there — the Legislature and the professionals involved need to be willing to understand and take advantage of the system that is there in place” (“PolitiCal,” Los Angeles Times, 5/27).

Meanwhile, a spokesperson with the California chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness noted that only 30 law enforcement employees in Santa Barbara County undergo crisis-intervention training each year. However, the official said increasing such training still might “not be enough to respond” to such violent incidents.

NAMI California Executive Director Jessica Cruz added that there often is a lack of funding for mental health prevention and treatment, noting that the state has fewer than 50% of the number of psychiatric in-patient hospital beds as recommended by an expert panel (Time, 5/27).

http://www.californiahealthline.org/articles/2014/5/28/lawmakers-aim-to-restrict-guns–for-mentally-ill-after-shooting

Transgender Warrior: The story of Birmingham’s Jody Suzanne Ford

By Julie Buckner Armstrong

Lou Reed made it seem easy. His 1972 “Walk on the Wild Side” pulled gender conversion out of the closet, on to the open road:

Holly came from Miami, Fla.,

Hitchhiked her way across the U.S.A.,

Plucked her eyebrows on the way,

Shaved her legs and then he was a she.

Jody Suzanne Ford was one of Birmingham’s first transsexuals and owned a hair salon. She was shot to death in 1977. Photo courtesy Birmingham Post-Herald.

Because Holly was a glam-rock myth, Reed didn’t cover the reality of sex change. Holly went from Miami to New York. In places like Birmingham, going from a he to a she meant more than shaving legs.

Not long after Reed’s song hit Number 16 on the Billboard charts, theBirmingham Post-Heraldprofiled Sidney McFerrin Ford’s transition to Jody Suzanne Ford. In 1977, local papers covered Ford’s death from a close-range bullet to the chest.

Details about Ford’s life are sketchy. My own memory is like that of many Birmingham residents. I got my first “big girl” haircut at Ford’s popular Five Points South salon, Ms. Sid’s Coiffures. I remember her as media sensation, not as actual person.

Mostly, I remember my mother’s nine words on the subject: “Don’t stare, it’s not polite” and “Ms. Sid looked good.” Indeed she did, as existing photographs of her show.

Salon patrons describe Ford as kind – and as a character. At 6’4” and well over 200 pounds, she commanded the rooms she walked into.

And she enjoyed doing so, says a former client named Michael.

Michael remembers a time that he and Ford ate dinner at the Social Grill after a haircut. The waitress took Michael’s drink order, gestured at Ford and asked, “What does he want?”

Ford stood up, towered over the waitress and screamed, “He, he . . . where do you see a HE?”

Ford then spent the next hour telling Michael all he wanted to know about changing from male to female.

Please click on link to continue reading the article:

http://weldbham.com/local/2012/08/02/transgender-warrior-the-story-of-birminghams-jody-suzanne-ford/

It’s Still Very Dangerous Out There for Transgendered Sex Workers [latimes.com]

By Sam Quinones, Los Angeles Times

As authorities searched for a gunman who killed a transgender woman in Hollywood late Thursday night, residents and sex workers along Lexington Avenue voiced fears of further attacks.

The victim, Nathan Vickers, 32, was said to frequent areas known for prostitution, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Vickers, who also used the name Cassidy, died of a gunshot wound to the chest and was discovered near the corner of Lexington Avenue and Gower Street at 9:55 p.m., police said.

Authorities say they are unaware of a motive for the attack but believe Vickers was killed by the same man who tried to rob a second transgender woman at gunpoint in West Hollywood’s Plummer Park half an hour later, a mile and a half away. The assailant in the second shooting used a black semiautomatic pistol but missed.

The suspect is described as male, black and possibly homeless. He is about 5 feet, 9 inches tall and is in his mid-20s to 30s. Authorities issued a police sketch late Friday, saying he should be considered armed and dangerous. He was further described as having skin tags around his eyes and might have been riding a bicycle.

News of Vickers’ death spread quickly among residents and streetwalkers along Lexington.

Phone traffic “just exploded,” said Valerie, a transgender beautician from Guatemala who declined to give her last name. Valerie, who said she used to work as a prostitute, said she lives two blocks from where Vickers died. “A death has never happened here in the street like this. I thought it was a friend of mine.”

A small candle, a glass of water, a crushed white rose and a small bloodstain now mark the asphalt where Vickers died. On Friday evening, residents and passersby said they did not know who Vickers was. Both Vickers and the second victim were black, according to police.

The area around Lexington and Gower has drawn sex workers for more than a decade, most of them transgender women from Mexico and Central America. They are often seen walking small dogs. Prospective clients who cruise the street “know exactly that we’re men and not women,” Valerie said in Spanish.

On Friday, Lexington residents said the sex trade was another burden in a neighborhood plagued by densely populated apartments, scarce parking and constant traffic.

“I wish to heck that the cops would do something about it,” said one neighbor, who requested anonymity for fear of retribution. “They are parading notoriously, outrageously, and the cops don’t do nothing about it. There is a good doughnut shop nearby but I am dissuaded from going over there because who wants to be around that.”

Another transgender woman who identified herself only as Laura said she had worked as a prostitute on Lexington Avenue for 20 years. Now 42, she said she left her home in the state of Tamaulipas, Mexico, because of intolerance, and was harassed by police in Acapulco, Mexico City and Guadalajara.

“Gays weren’t so attacked here as they were in Mexico. They had rights; that’s why I came here,” she said.

Laura said she recently gained legal residency after an attorney argued in court that she was a refugee facing death at the hands of police in her home country. She said she hopes to find a legitimate job, but it’s been hard.

“They always say they’ll call you. They never do,” she said.

As she applied makeup Friday afternoon, Laura said she was worried that she too could be attacked on Lexington. “We’re all afraid, all the girls,” she said.

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-transgender-shooting-20111120,0,3539034.story

Transgender Day of Remembrance Even As The World Resists Change [rawstory.com]

LONDON (Reuters) – Ever since she can remember, Katherine Cummings knew she had been born into the wrong body.

“I knew I was transgendered as far back as memories go,” said the 76-year old, formerly called John, who works at Australia’s Gender Center for people with gender issues. “Four years of age or so.”

Since her 1930s childhood, the lives of transgender people have improved dramatically in many countries. But discrimination remains widespread. Hundreds of transgender people are killed every year and many live in constant fear of attack.

“Transgenders often suffer violence, physical and social, from their families, including spouses, parents, children and siblings,” Cummings said.

She spoke to Trustlaw ahead of the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) on November 20 which commemorates those who have been killed because of their gender identity.

Founded after the 1998 murder of transgender woman Rita Hester in Massachusetts, the day now has a global following.

In the first nine months of 2011, 116 transgender people were murdered globally, according to Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM), a project coordinated by non-profit association Transgender Europe.

Their research indicates there have been at least 681 reports of murders in 50 countries since 2008.

It was at the age of 51, after marrying and fathering three children, that Cummings was finally ready for gender reassignment.

Despite the pervasive discrimination, she says gender activists are winning some battles. Cummings points to significant developments over the last decade, such as the recent ruling that Australians can change their gender on passports without surgery – to male, female or indeterminate.

“I feel, on the whole. looking back over the past few decades, that matters are slowly improving,” said Cummings, whose book about her transition, “Katherine’s Diary,” won the Australian Human Rights Commission’s 1992 non-fiction award.

UNITED STATES

Seven of this year’s murders were in the United States, TMM said. Washington D.C. hit headlines this year after a series of attacks against transgender people – one of them the fatal shooting of 23-year-old transgender woman Myles Mclean.

“I look forward to the day that no one has to hide or be killed, or bullied or teased or rejected simply for being the person they believe themselves to be,” said Eva-Genevieve Scarborough, 56, who is helping organize a remembrance event in Riverside, California.

“Society needs to be made aware that atrocities such as the murder of trans folks are still happening all around the world.”

Many transgender people seek surgery or hormones to change their physical gender. Others don’t, some by choice and some because discrimination or lack of means stop them accessing medical help.

Discrimination also damages their employment opportunities. And activists worldwide are battling to remove ‘gender identity disorder’ from lists of officially recognized mental illnesses.

LATIN AMERICA

Most of the murders of transgender people TMM recorded this year occurred in Latin America – 29 in Brazil, 22 in Mexico, 11 in Venezuela and 10 in Colombia, as well as murders in 10 other Latin American countries.

TMM also noted murders in Turkey, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Poland.

United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay said in May that hate crimes against lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people are on the rise around the world.

“Transgender people face the worst challenges, regardless of which country they are coming from or situated in,” Liesl Theron, executive director of Gender dynamiX, an organization supporting transgender and transsexual rights in South Africa, told TrustLaw (www.trust.org/trustlaw), a legal news service run by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Usually trans people are on the fringes of society, and the most marginalized.”

In a 2008 paper on transgender people in Africa, she cited examples of transgender women across the continent being beaten and imprisoned.

“Most African countries still have some form of legal action, legislation and laws against homosexuality and sodomy (which includes all forms of being a trans person),” she wrote.

Poor access to medical services is the number one challenge in much of Africa, she added.

Theron quoted one Ugandan activist as saying that doctors often refuse to treat transgender people and even sometimes tip off police, leading to arrests.

Trans people in Uganda have been forced to resort to self-medication with dangerous long-term implications, the activist added.

In South Africa, the transgender community has won some victories – the Department of Home Affairs agreed this October to change the gender and forenames of a transgender woman. Yet people awaiting gender-reassignment surgery still join a seven-year waiting list.

Slowly, gender rights are improving in many countries. But the discrimination is proving hard to stamp out.

“Humanity has an ingrained need for a ‘pecking order,’ that sets some people up as superior to others,” said Cummings of Australia’s Gender Center. “Transgender (people) will be a target for bigots for a long time.”

On the other side of the world, British children’s charity Mermaids works to help children who, like Cummings nearly eight decades ago, feel they were born in the wrong body.

Testimonies published on the charity’s website, written by children with gender identity issues, bring home the confusion and harassment faced by so many.

“As a child, I acted as my real self, but then the bullying started,” reads an extract from a poem that one of these children, Sophie, wrote at the age of 15.

“Why was I born a lie?” the piece ends.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/11/17/transgender-people-murdered-as-world-resists-change/#.TsVpaCv3IgE.facebook