Please join me for a visit with the Robots of 2020 and see and hear from Ivanka Trump who was among the 175,000 visitors of the Consumer (computer) Electronic Show for the usual first week of the year razzle dazzle in Las Vegas.
See it hear.
Stay tuned to the Mesquite Weekly and watch this space for more from Vegas and CES 2020.
The Shakespeare festival season ended in October, and snow and colder temperatures arrived in Cedar City. However, the Holiday season’s warmth and traditional charm are on display in Cedar City and cut through the winter season’s cold and snow. The performing arts and music seem to be woven in the fabric of this community and their expression extends to the holiday season as well as throughout the entire year.
During December, we attended Christmas favorites such as the Southern University of Utah annual Christmas concert entitled “Somewhere in my Memory”, an SUU sponsored piano recital called “Piano Monster Concert” and a perennial Christmas favorite “Handel’s Messiah” performed by the Orchestra of Southern Utah. The beautiful city Christmas lights and the many musical performances dazzled the community and visitor alike at the Cedar City Heritage Center.
Heritage and History
I had the privilege of attending a rehearsal session of Handel’s Messiah and meeting the Orchestra of Southern Utah Administrator, Patron and Historian, Sara Penny. We spoke with Sara and talked at length about the Orchestra of Southern Utah origins and historical events. Sara provided an overview of those who contributed to the unique character of Cedar City’s musical excellence and community participation. From Fiddlers Canyon, to the Heritage Center concert hall; from the beginnings of the Orchestra of Southern Utah and to the many accomplishments, accolades and awards.
Earlier that day I visited the Main Street park and came upon a statue of one of Cedar City’s most prominent citizens, Helen Foster Snow. Ties to the Orchestra of Southern Utah as Sara Penny explained, are established and play out in relationships that are nurtured and transcend the boundaries of both time and place. A unique interplay of Cedar City’s communities and families with their local government and businesses and a strong relationship with the Southern Utah University College of the Performing Arts provides an unparalleled measure of musical success and excellence.
Please join me for a visit with Sara Penny. You may note some of the rehearsal music playing in the background, so listen and watch this interview!
The most notable of the players, is of course, from a time long ago.
George Frideric Handel
(German: Georg Friedrich Händel; pronounced [ˈhɛndəl]) (23 February 1685 — 14 April 1759) was a German-British Baroque composer, famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Handel was born in 1685, in a family indifferent to music. He received critical musical training in Halle, Hamburg and Italy before settling in London (1712) and becoming a naturalised British subject in 1727. By then he was strongly influenced by the great composers of the Italian Baroque and the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition. Within fifteen years, Handel, a dramatic genius, started three commercial opera companies to supply the English nobility with Italian opera, but the public came to hear the vocal bravura of the soloists rather than the music. In 1737 he had a physical breakdown, changed direction creatively and addressed the middle class with Alexander’s Feast (1736) which was well received. Handel then made a transition to English choral works. After his success with Messiah (1742) he never performed an Italian opera again. Handel was only partly successful with his performances of English Oratorio on mythical or biblical themes, but when he arranged a performance of Messiah to benefit the Foundling Hospital (1750) the critique ended. The pathos of Handel’s oratorio is an ethical one, they are hallowed not by liturgical dignity but by the moral ideals of humanity. Almost blind, and having lived in England for almost fifty years, he died a respected and rich man.
Handel is regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time, not only because of his Water Music, and Music for the Royal Fireworks and since the late 1960s, with the revival of baroque music and original instrument interest in Handel’s opera seria also revived. Handel composed forty operas in about thirty years; some are considered masterpieces, with many sweeping arias and much admired improvisations. His operas contain remarkable human characterization by a composer not known for his love affairs.
The more current players and performers are:
Dr. Xun Sun – Conductor
Dr. Xun Sun has served as the Music Director/Conductor of the Orchestra of Southern Utah since 2003. Dr. Sun has made many appearances over the years in concert series and educational programs. Under his leadership, the OSU world premiered the symphonic suite Spanish Trail Suite by Marshall McDonald and Steve Nelson. In June 2008, the League of American Orchestras presented OSU with an Award of Excellence in the Annual Gold Book Online competition and an Audrey Baird Audience Development Award, making OSU the only orchestra to receive these awards from the League of American Orchestras that year.
Dr. Xun Sun is also the Director of Orchestral Activities at Southern Utah University. As a tenured faculty member, his teaching duties include that of conducting the University Symphony Orchestra and String Ensemble. In addition, he teaches courses in Advanced Instrumental Conducting and Applied Instruction of Violin at the Music Department. Dr. Xun Sun has been named The 30 Professions of the Year of 2015 by Musical America. He also received award of 2015 Educator of the Year Award from American String Teachers Association Utah Chapter, and 2014 Board of Trustees Award of Excellence by Southern Utah University.
Professor Xun Sun has continually broadened his professional career as an orchestral conductor. His most recent performance was conducting Henan Symphony Orchestra, Anhui Symphony, Hunan Symphony and Hubei Symphony Orchestra. He conducted the world renowned China Philharmonic Orchestra in recording a new CD of title on America Journey , music by American composers Marshall McDonald and Steve Nelson. In 2007, he was invited to conduct the Lviv Philharmonic in the 8th International Contemporary Music Festival in Ukraine. Mr. Sun also conducted Carlisle Floyd’s opera Susanna, the opera of Hansel and Gretel by Humperdinck and Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute and Don Giovanni. In 2011 he conducted the world premiere of the Modern Dance Drama Helen’s Dream combined production of SUU and Hubei Opera and Dance Drama Theatre of China. As the founder and director, Professor Sun continues to teach the annual Hunan Conductor’s Workshop in Hunan, China.
Jackie Riddle-Jackson – Chorale Director. A native of Cedar City, Utah, Jackie was appointed Director of Orchestra of Southern Utah Chorale in 2015. In addition to her community conducting responsibilities she teaches applied voice, music for the elementary teacher and class voice at Southern Utah University.
Mrs. Jackson is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association and National Association of Teachers of Singing.
Gary Player – Trumpet Gary Player a Southern Utah University Alumni is featured in this 79th. performance of Messiah and is being honored for his dedication to this and many other Orchestra of Southern Utah and Southern Utah University concert performances.
Dr. Christian Bohnenstengel – Harpsicord Dr. Bohnenstengel brings his keyboard skills to Handel’s Messiah and a harpsicord performance which embodies the instruments role in the classical baroque musical sound of the 17th and 18th century.
Alex Byers – Assistant Chorale Director And the Byers Family – Soloists (Alex, Tahlia, Jessie) and Chorale (Lee, Luene)
The Byers family brings their vocal talents to Messiah and their dedication to this musical art form by inspiring, teaching and developing ongoing musical involvement of the families and communities of Cedar City and its surrounds. The traditions of musical performance and dedication to the musical art form is woven into the fabric of the community and is expressed by its families.
And the More Than One Hundred Singers and Players
The dedication of the more than one hundred singers and players who come together to dazzle audiences around Christmas time with a spectacular performance of Haendel’s Messiah is indeed a remarkable and unique phenomenon.
Almost at curtain time we had the privilege of talking to just a few of the folks that helped in making this 79th Orchestra of Southern Utah performance of Handel’s Messiah a dazzling and beautifully amazing event. Please join me and Rebekah Hughes OSU Manager, Dr. Xun Sun OSU Musical Director and Harold Shirley OSU President for brief comments and an introduction by Harold Shirley of this 79th performance of Handel’s Messiah.
The Oratorio – Handel’s Messiah
And now, please kick back, relax and enjoy the full presentation of “Handel’s Messiah” from the Cedar City, Utah Heritage Center 2019 Performance. Please note, Handel’s Messiah is a TWO HOUR performance and is presented here in its entirety. Please watch all of it.
Less than one hundred miles north of Mesquite is what at first appears to be a sleepy small town, but it is the home of the Shakespearean festivals and Southern Utah University (SUU). A late September visit to Cedar City and a walk around the University campus yielded more than the usual Shakespearean Festival theatre tickets. The University and Cedar City provide a wealth of entertainment not just during the Shakespearean festival season but all year long. The Symphony Orchestra of Southern Utah as well as the University put on some amazing, dazzling and top notch entertainment events. I would rate the SUU School of music among the best in the country.
As the Shakespearean Festival 2019 season came to a close on October 4, SUU sponsored its annual choral event for 2019 titled “True Light: Acessing Stillness”. It was a privilege to hear and see this beautiful presentation and a memorable performance of the SUU Concert Choir, the Luminosa Choir, the Opus Choir and the special visiting high school choir guests.
I will ask that you watch the following presentation in its entirety in order to appreciate the dedication to excellence, the long hours of practice, and the talent brought to this masterful vocal expression of music. You will also be pleased to note that there is passion for this performance art being displayed by all that participated in this choral presentation. Please watch:
We thank you and your students for the music and all the joy it brings.
Dr. Krystal Rickard McCoy is assistant professor of choral education at Southern Utah University (SUU) where she teaches choral literature, methods, advanced conducting, applied voice and conducts the Luminosa (Women’s Choir). In addition, she advises the ACDA student chapter at SUU.
Dr. McCoy began her teaching career in high school choral music where she taught in the New Jersey Public School System for five years. Under her direction, the choral ensembles won superior awards at competitions, frequently performed in Carnegie Hall, and traveled to Sydney, Australia to perform in the Sydney Opera House. Her prior collegiate appointments include the College of Southern Maryland and University of Delaware. Most recently, Dr. McCoy focused on creating community choral programs in Southern Maryland for all ages. She founded and was the Artistic Director of Choral Activities for St. Maries Choral Arts, a community choral organization that provides singing opportunities for second graders through adults, encompassing five ensembles. She was co-founder of the Chesapeake Children’s Chorus and consulted with Encore Creativity for Older Adults, the largest choral organization in the nation for older adults.
Dr. McCoy adjudicates at choral festivals and clinics in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia. She presents at conferences and choral reading sessions and conducts honor choirs at various levels. Her education includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Bucknell University, a Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting from Westminster Choir College, and a Doctorate of Musical Art in Music Education from Boston University. She studied conducting with Joseph Flummerfelt, Andrew Megill, James Jordan and William Payn. She performs frequently as a soprano soloist in choral works such as Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass and Handel’s Messiah. She was the soprano in residence for the Bach Cantata Ensemble of Southern Maryland.Her research interests include community engagement, adult music education, and preservice music education.
The University sponsores and participates in numerous events at the Heritage Center and at the Shakespearean theatres in Cedar City. The Orchestra of Southern Utah also performs their annual premiere event of Handel’s Messiah and it was free in 2019.
Here is a schedule of the 2019-2020 season of SUU upcoming events:
August is always hot in Mesquite and just when you thought the heat was just unbearable, EC Adams turned it up a notch at the Casablanca with the “Spreading the Love Tour – Music of the Seventies”. Actually the show was totally cool, given all the heat. The audience was totally engaged in dancing and singing along with EC. Memories of the 70s came flowing back rejuvenating the enthusiatic listeners and turning them into active dancer, shakers and movers.
Here is the opening set of songs that you will recognize from the life and times of the melodies we grew up with – well some of us anyway (those with grandchildren?).
Great entertainment and fun continued with a medley of more 70s melodies and and ending with a “Soul Train”. Be sure to watch the second part of the show.
In January 2019 we visited the Shenzhen UVLED Optical 59S products exhibit at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. These products will help to contain the spread of infectious bacteria, virus and parasites lingering on common household items.
In January we saw previews of 59S product prototypes ranging from UVLED light boxes, to large diaper bag lightboxes and UVLED wands. The display and the promises of a chemical and detergent free methods and the results of bacterial kill rates demonstrated at the exhibit were quite impressive. I was looking forward to availability of the 59S product line in the US. Please view this video of the visit and the news of product availability in the US.
Please pardon the error in the videos. The correct product brand is 59S not S59. BTW 59S stands for 59 seconds.
Spring in the southwest comes early and everyone celebrates with song and dance and a bit of partying. Mesquitians know how to make the good times roll.
Saturday Night out in Mesquite can provide some real class entertainment and culture. Hats off to the Casablanca Resort and the Stateline Casino for bringing big city entertainment to our town. A sell out crowd came to hear a performance of Spectrum, a band from Las Vegas bringing you lots of oldies and MoTown retro. Mesquitians came to listen and to dance and party and sing along with the band. Here are a few of the more noteworty tunes:
We picked up the pace a few weeks after the Spectrum at the Stateline Casino in Mesquite where Bottoms Up was providing some C&W to move the dancin boots. C&W fans from Mesquite and the Virgin Valley area from southern Utah, Bunkerville and the Moapa valley came to sing along, dance and have a good time. On the left side you will find a samplin of the music and the dancin and the partyin. Hee haw and a yippy cay yay:
Earlier in March, Rock and a Roll from the 70’s was on tap at the Casablanca with REO Speedwagon retro performed by Rich Rath.
Wow what a trip down memory lane.
Also in March we heard from the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra (see our previous article) and the symphony performed again on April 6 to close out the season.
Springtime is a joyous season always and Mesquite celebrates this time (not to mention the other seasons as well) with a gusto. The talent that Mesquite attracts to the city is equal if not better than any larger town in the West.
Saturday Night out in Mesquite can provide some real class entertainment and culture. Hats off to the Casablanca Resort for bringing big city entertainment to our town. A sell out crowd came to hear a performance by the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra conducted by Dr. Selmer Spitzer featuring guest soloist and pianist Dr. Christian Bohnenstengel from Southern Utah University. Some of Mesquites’ own local talent also performed in the orchestra. Please enjoy this magical musical treat.
The Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra was established in 2014, with its inaugural concert in Mesquite, Nevada at the Mesquite Community Theatre. Our (the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra) mission of the organization is to share our compassion and dedication for music with everyone. Our purpose is to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to experience live music through professional concert performances. Along with good schools, libraries cultural components of the local areas, the symphony is a significant aspect of our cultural structure.
Dr. Selmer Spitzer, the musical director and conductor of the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra, is a native of North Dakota. He has been active in music since age 6 playing piano, and active in a country church choir since age 12, played tuba in high school. He switched to clarinet as a music education major at Lakeland College, Sheboygan, WI, attended Vandercook College of Music, Chicago, IL, and received his M.M.Ed, and then continued at the University of Sarasota, Sarasota, FL, where he earned his Ph.D. in Administration and Music Education. Dr. Spitzer studied under such well known musicians as arranger Forest Bucktel, percussionist, Haskel Harr, and clarinet from clarinetist and composer Edgar P. Thiessen.
He started teaching in high schools in Williston, ND, Spearfish, SD, Hanford, CA; accepted a position of Instrumental Music Director at Victor Valley College, Victorville, CA, as department chairman, conductor of bands and the High Desert Symphony Orchestra. After retiring he returned to North Dakota as Director of Instrumental Music at the University of Jamestown, Jamestown, ND, retired a second time and accepted an interim position as an associate professor, directing the Dickinson State University Wind Ensemble and Marching Band. Dr. Spitzer has organized string ensembles, and full orchestras in high schools and universities. He is credited for organizing high school honor groups in North Dakota, South Dakota and California including the North Dakota Intercolliate Honor Band. His passion continues to be conducting instrumental ensembles.
The featured and special guest for the February 23, 2019 performance was Dr. Christian Bohnenstengel. Dr. Christian Bohnenstengel feels equally at home in a wide range of musical genres. He was recently featured as soloist in Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the Orchestra of Southern Utah. Christian is a founding member of Southern Utah University’s Faculty Jazz Combo Kind of Blue and frequently performs with Jazz ensembles and musicians throughout southern Utah. Praised as “…a master of contrasts…” (Aalener Nachrichten) and for his ability to “…put the audience into a state of sheer awe…” (Gmünder Tagespost), Christian’s performances have taken him all over the United States, to South America and to Europe.
Christian has performed on public radio and presented at state, regional, national and international conferences. Upcoming projects include a CD recording with clarinetist Dr. Jessica Lindsey that will be released on Albany Records. Christian received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Missouri Western State University. He earned Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His primary teachers include Jerry Anderson and Mark Clinton, piano, and Quentin Faulkner, harpsichord and organ. He has been Director of Keyboard Studies at SUU since 2011.
Dr. Bohnenstengel also serves on the SN Symphony Orchestra’s President’s Advisory Council as do many of our local area (Mesquite, St.George and Moapa valley) residents who perform, provide leadership and financial support for this world class symphony orchestra, our cultural diamond in the desert.
Visit the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra website for the many that have performed, worked hard and contributed financially and helped to bring this magnificent musical magic to our area.
The New Year event that has Vegas hopping with over 300,000 in early January every year is a world class exhibition attended by exhibitors and sellers and buyers and technical news media from around the world. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in 2019 was dazzling, provoking and conjured up images of pure magic and the best show ever.
CES 2019 was amazing not because of the gadgetry or the marketing savvy of the big tech companies but because CES 2019 successfully presented a genuine and plausible look into the future.The word was 5G and all technical directions took to the on ramp of this world changing development. This change was not just a look into a distant future, but actually made a convincing case for a promise of tomorrow (literally).
Our first stop was with Byton, an electric car manufacturer who claims to be actually something entirely different. This ten minute video will enlighten and dazzle you with its magic and its 5G enabled autonomy. During the media days before the show opened, Byton presented a look at the magic that their new car the M-Byte will bring to the future and perhaps also a preview of the innovations to everything we see, touch and hear enabled by 5G, AI and super processors.
On opening day, the bright spot was taken by a company whose product has touched our lives for well over a decade and they continue to razzle and dazzle us in 2019 and will be a top gamer and player in video and graphics processing and AI technology enablers. Nvidia corporation focuses on personal computer graphics, graphics processing (GPU), and artificial intelligence (AI). Its GPU product is aimed at specialized markets, including GeForce for gamers; Quatro for designers; Tesla and DGX for AI scientists and big data researchers; and GRID for cloud based visual computing. Its Tegra brand integrates an entire computer into a single chip to enable supercomputing for mobile gaming and entertainment devices, as well as autonomous robots, drones and cars.
The speed of a 5G or blazing fast communication networks without latency have enabled AI driven applications beyond all previous predictions.
NVIDEA was there to show us a dazzling display of their latest graphics. Again the communications speed and the no latency enabled decision process is at the core of their research and development breakthroughs. Is it real or is it ???? Just sit back watch and be entertained.
The Mesquite Weekly Chief Editor and Publisher also provided some of the media days kick off entertainment on Sunday evening at the Aria.
The CES2019 party continued for the rest of the week and we have more to show you. So please keep watching this space for more from CES 2019 Las Vegas.
When the hate mongers speak of separating us with walls and herding many of us like cattle into pens for later disposal. Many aspiring lawmakers shout in support of the slogans of the past and illusions of national greatness and racial and ideological superiority. Compassion and caring even for those that meet nefarious standards for racial and ideological inclusion are cast aside in favor of those that have the wherewithal to spout lofty platitudes of self-determination and self-righteous protection of wealth and gains obtained at the expense of those less capable. Barriers, physical walls and social constructs prohibit interactions and powerful messages are propagated and repetitively shouted over every message channel drowning out any attempts to curtail the insanity.
But let us return to the subject of parties. Political parties? There are parallels to be construed here. And here also we are beginning to see a demise of what used to be and a replacement with that which is yet to be determined. We are still hampered by political party loyalties, but shifts in those norms have shaken the foundations of political, cultural and social structures during 2016 starting with Great Britain and culminating with our own 2016 election. The realignment of national powers is just as unpredictable and contradictory of traditional comfort zones as those of political constructs and associations. Alliances are forged with a singular direction regardless of the ideological, sociological and even political basis from which they arose. A moral compass is not in play and a populous stampede with a singular purpose is leading, like lemmings, blindly to a precipice destined for self-destruction.
It is in the hope of the events of 2018 that I look toward foreign lands and the renewal of the dreams and the celebration of the totality of our common humanity. Recent elections in European countries and worldwide movements of resistance have resulted in turning away the tide of fascism, finding a foothold in the populous movements in a United Europe. However, that less insane political climate is facing strong headwinds whereby the future direction of the European as well as the world political movements are best described as very uncertain.
Our own next elections will be in November 2018. And so, we are here again. At another crossroads and a choice of directions. Or so it seems!
Election victories have come at a price and the choice is a not one for the party of choice, but the candidate of choice. The candidate that matches the electorates’ whims will succeed. However, no single issue will rise from the ashes of burnt out America and result in the progress that we expect from our legislators. The parties will support any issues that may result in a victory at the cost of any party direction because the party will support the direction of the candidate. Republican ideals concerned with a burgeoning budget and a bureaucracy set aside for the dictates of a few super rich power brokers. Democratic ideals are set aside for a few marginal votes by displaying AR-15’s and a disregard for the Rowe vs Wade supreme court ruling.
What happened to the party? And I do mean the party or the celebration of freedom, liberty, justice, and truths that were self-evident. We didn’t feel the need to make this country great again, for we knew how great it was. We reached out to all with empathy and compassion and love. But now we are faced with a change that has altered that celebration of our many accomplishments and replaced that celebration with a fear of impending doom and a longing for conquest and enforcement of dogmatic ideas and values with the point of the sword.
The new-found wealth resulting from the recent tax windfall will not be invested in trickle down anything but will be paid to legislators to assure that the tax windfall will remain intact and that further power swings will turn even corporate America into that of oligarchs. The anticipated blue wave will constitute a sham and will be blue in name only. Senator Sanders may have captured the hearts of our youth, but his ideals have not swayed the minds and the pocket books of voters who are not concerned with the day after tomorrow.
Our own national security apparatus is minimalized and being dismantled at the whims of a few who do not want their affiliations with foreign dictators exposed. Our corporations are increasingly closely affiliated with legislators who dish out policies which do not have middle America interests at heart and are being passed into law by elected officials regardless of party affiliation.
What are we to do? Well not unlike any other kind of problem resolution method, a bit of homework and inquiry will help to send you in the right direction. It is usually easy to ascertain the rights and wrongs of any candidate’s position with three questions. What will you do for me? How will you do it. And when will it be done? Never ask why it will be done. I repeat never ever!! Ok give it a shot and if you are not inundated with a barrage of rhetoric (bullshit in other words) which attempts to circumvent any of the what, when and how questions I will be extremely surprised. Be sure to ask if the candidate will agree to a expedient and efficient method of recording their answer. Video records are the most efficient and expedient in assuring that spoken comments can’t be denied later. Feel free to point out that recordings have not dissuaded Trump or his entourage of clowns from appealing to the crowds that can’t seem to get enough of his theatrics.
Party politics will continue to be played in picking a party candidate during the primaries, but the real game begins after that. Now you are totally confused because what choices do you really have after that? Well none really, unless we can start to wrap our heads around supporting candidates that do not spout the rhetoric of party politics and anything goes ethics (actually – unethical practices) to win an election. Can we really start to demand specific directions and ask specifically what our representatives are to represent and demand a recall if they don’t comply? A simple three step will get you there!
Step 1: Clearly state your demands (what) and get how and when answers
Step 2: Don’t bother to listen to what they are opposed to, because it is a step around or more like a reach around.
Step 3: Keep track of what they do while in the elected position.
Step 3 is where they will get you all the time, because they know that when they do not do what is promised no one remembers. Do not forget that you need to repeat the question before during and after the election cycle and meticulously keep track of their answers. Let them know you are doing exactly just that. Let them know their promises are the sole reason for their representing you in their elected capacity. This is the real work of democracy and it is not at all political, but simply is what it is. That being said, the only recourse after election is a recall, impeachment, or forcing a resignation. A bit like closing the barn door after the bull has left the building.
These are the reasons for lobbyist. These methods are tried and true and with appropriate funding the individuals that have much to gain finance an army around each and every local, state and federal legislator to make sure that they do their bidding.
How can I conclude? With a heavy sigh of despair? Well I can and so can you, but it may be more productive if we demand that your representatives do your bidding. A lobbyist is nothing more than just someone who demands that their representative does what they asked them to do. Remember to ask what, how and when and hold them to that promise. Let the lobbyist in you come out and make demands. Share your hard work with others, by simple letting your friends and neighbors and the world know who stands for what and how and when they intend to bring us a future that we want for ourselves.
While the nation demands specific action, many NRA supported politicians or potentially targeted by the NRA politicians continue with offering thoughts and prayers to weapons violence victims and read their cue cards with obviously feigned sincerity “We hear you”. They call for “sensible” gun controls and claim to want to find a “common ground” for legislative action. For the last two decades not one of them has declared as to what is sensible and where the common ground is to be found.
A group of high school students whose friends and colleges where among the victims of the Parkland Florida massacre, organized the “March for our Lives” and are receiving national attention of unprecedented proportions. Millions participated in the “March for our Lives”, not only in every city in the United States, but around the globe. On Saturday March 24, 2018, an estimated crowd of 1200 demonstrator gathered at the Smith Center and marched to the Las Vegas city hall. While most Nevada politicians did not attend or participated by keeping a low profile, we did note that Dina Titus (Congresswoman-CD1) made a brief appearance along with Nevada State Senator Aaron Ford but did not speak at the rally. We did meet Michael Weiss a Democratic Congressional Candidate for District 3 who offered his support and detailed his stance on weapons control by explaining what he means by “sensible” weapons controls.
A vocal religious group was also on hand and joined in with loudspeakers supporting the demonstrators’ demand for action.
The call for political action was expressed by the demonstrators and we noted many signs calling for changes in who we elect to political office. The marchers also expressed their outrage and contempt for elected officials that continue to do nothing, with chants of “Vote them Out”.
We noted the crowd to be mostly elderly citizens and the demographics of all the marches across the country also indicated that the average age of the participants to be around 50. Seventy percent were female and 75% were college educated.
We asked some twenty-five of the marchers as to what aspects of weapon controls they want the legislators to enact. We were not surprised that most wanted to have sensible weapon control laws, but when we asked for more specific controls the majority (19/25) favored assault weapon bans and agreed that semi-automatic weapons are assault weapons. The following aspects of weapons controls were also specifically targeted for legislative action by lawmakers by most of the marchers and these include:
Require permits and background checks for all weapons purchase transactions (private or by dealers).
Require registration of all weapons in a federal data base accessible to all law enforcement authorities.
Require permits and background checks for all ammunition purchase and registration of the purchase transaction in a federal database.
Vetting of all weapons purchasers by mental health authorities before taking possession of weapons.
Vetting and clearance by local police departments of all weapons purchasers before taking possession of weapons.
Ban on all semi-automatic weapons.
Ban on all semi and/or automatic magazines.
Require liability insurance coverage for all weapons owners.
A minority (4/25) also favored the repeal of the 2nd Amendment. The 2nd Amendment is a strange proposition in that is establishes the right to bear arms to violently overthrow the federal government if deemed necessary. The scenario that calls for a violent overthrow of the federal government has only been attempted once and that was over 150 years ago. A violent and armed overthrow of our federal government in our time even by a heavily armed (AR-15) militia is absurd. So, if not for the overthrow of the federal government, then what purpose does this nonsense of a constitutional amendment serve? Some weapons enthusiasts claim that the 2nd Amendment is a God given right. It should therefore remain a God given right and not a right given by the state. We therefore should call for the immediate repeal of the 2nd Amendment.
A second question posed to the 25 surveyed participants was about how they would “vote them out” and who they would vote into office for support of their call for a safer America. None of the respondents could identify an elected official or a candidate at the federal or the state level that supports any specific weapons control legislation. Marco Rubio an NRA man fully paid for and has therefore done absolutely nothing to make “America Safe Again”. Rubio is a sitting US Senator for the state of Florida which has witnessed some of the more tragic AR-15 massacres. Rubio has always called for “sensible” weapons control, which resulted in nothing but voicing opposition to any weapons control legislation. Rubio however continues to maintain a stance calling for ‘sensible’ weapons controls and is looking for a common ground to pursue such measures. Our prayers and thoughts will not be with this totally ingenious buffoon and lacky of the NRA when he is “voted out”.
The movement hailed as one that will make a difference in making “America Safe Again”, may again fail in the end, not because we haven’t been paying attention, but because we have not been able to make our politicians pay attention. For the most part they expect us to vote for them no matter that they will do nothing. A brief comment about how they favor “sensible” gun control continues to be an insult to those that know that it means absolutely nothing. Keep watching this space and find out how our own Nevada politicians are perhaps changing their stance on weapons control or not. Hopefully when we go to the polls we shall know them by what they have done and said. We also need some good people to run (for political office) for our lives.