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"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies - in a sense - a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children...This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the threatening cloud of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron."


This quote was from one of our countries most Distinguished Generals and Presidents, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Unfortunately, there are great profits in guns, warships, and rockets, and little profit in feeding our hungry children, clothing our cold children, and most importantly providing the educational, medical, mental, and social-net services that will give our children (yes, "our" children) a chance to succeed in our ever-more disconnected world. Our bloated military - industrial complex, with its huge profits, has taken over our lives and taken over our money, leaving little of our tax money for providing a safety-net for our children.


Once again, with this last instance of mass school shootings, we, and our politicians, are offering up our "thoughts and prayers" - and little else. We all ignore the real problem - the big elephant in the room. Where are we as a society spending our money?


It is not raising and caring for our children.


  • Terry Russell in on op-ed column in the Columbus Dispatch, February 10, 2018, noted:


  • Only 20% of children diagnosed with a mental illness receive any care at all. We do not have the adequate services [i.e. no money] available to intervene prior to a crises. We expel these children from school and cross our fingers that this disturbed child doesn't do anything harmful.


  • There are few to no children residential treatment centers anywhere in this country. Many of the existing centers are costly and therefore unattainable for most families [the families with no money, that need it the most].


  • In Ohio, there are no state-operated psychiatric hospitals for young people that offer a secure environment. There once were three, but all were closed in the 1980's [no money available].


  • Nearly one-third of Ohio's children face economic hardship [once again, no money].


  • Children make up the largest poor population in the United States.


  • One in five American children live in poverty.


  • Twelve million children in our country go hungry or are threatened with hunger every day.


  • Each night more than a million children face the dark with no place to call home. There are more children homeless in America today than at any time since the Great Depression.


OK, so where does our money go? A huge chunk of it goes to our wars-warriors-weapons.


  • We just guaranteed Jordan nearly 1.3 billion in yearly assistance. This we do with many dozens of countries around the world - under the title "foreign aid," which is really nothing more than the life-blood of our military -industrial complex.


  • We have nearly 800 foreign military bases around the world. Britain, France, and Russia have 30 foreign bases combined.


  • We spend more on military each year than all the other countries in the world combined.


  • We have active military troops stationed in nearly 150 countries around the world.


  • We have a military of over 2 million, including active duty and reserves (by the way, our Founding Fathers were against a "standing army").


  • Experts, using conservative estimates, say that taxpayer money lost annually to military waste and fraud is about $172 billion.


  • We fund a war college (why not a peace college?). We fund military academies (why not peace academies?).


  • The cost of building one new aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, was between $13-$16 billion (nobody seems to know for sure; so much for the Pentagon's accounting system). The US has 19 aircraft carriers in their fleet, with 2 more under construction. Russia and China have one aircraft carrier each.



  • President Trump plans to add 355 additional ships, and plans to slash funding for everything from scientific research to social services (i.e. our children).


  • The US is, even today, funding new nuclear weapons, while telling Iran and North Korea that they cannot have any (as of 2017, the US has an inventory of 6800 nuclear warheads, all of which must be maintained, at considerable cost and manpower).



What we are hearing and saying is that these mass shootings are caused by a "bad guy with a gun." What we are hearing from the news media and the politicians is that we need more gun control, more school security hardware, more security officers, more detention centers/prisons, and maybe, even armed teachers. In other words, going after the "gun" part of the problem. But if we eliminate guns from the problem, what about home-made bombs, poisons, vehicles, planes, and all the other items that can be used as weapons, some able to kill more, more quickly, than any gun ever made? These are the easy solutions; these are band aids on the real problem; we are not addressing the basic cause, the real solution.


What if we go after the "bad guy" part of the problem instead? What if we can prevent the "bad guy" from being the "bad guy?" Isn't this the basic cause of the problem? It really is true that guns don't kill people, people (the "bad guys") kill people; or maybe, more accurately, "boys/men with guns, kill people." Perhaps the steady diet of violence in our video games, television shows, movies, news, being played/watched by mostly our boys/men, is rearing its ugly head. This again is a subject for our poorly-funded mental health services.


So now, what is the basic cause of the "bad guy"; how do we get rid of the "bad guy?" How about we start raising our children to not be "bad guys?" And "we" include mothers, fathers, grandparents, neighbors, communities, churches, schools, villages, and yes, even our elected officials at every level. "Thoughts and prayers" after every mass-shooting are not enough. Start funding family service programs; pre-natal and child care facilities; food, clothing, and affordable housing programs; before and after school programs; school building/facilities that are equal to what our politicians work in every day; and most of all, mental and health services/facilities that serve all of our children, regardless of ability to pay. This additional funding will allow these agencies, including the FBI, to act more closely and quickly to "disturbing information" on people like Nikolas Cruz, the latest mass school shooter. If we have to hire five times the number of School Counselors, Social Workers, and FBI Agents to handle this problem, so be it; we will now have the funding to do it. And, we will have the people to do it, with all the soldiers being brought home from the hundreds of closed, unneeded, overseas military bases and the people heretofore designing, building, and selling weapons from our greatly-reduced military industrial complex.


Let's start at the top and the bottom to make this happen. Contact your local, state, and federal politicians, write in to your local newspapers, and tell them we will not accept budgets that continue to feed our bloated military - industrial complex while cutting our family and children's services and facilities. Tell them we want more mental health care services/facilities. Tell them we want our tax dollars spent on us, here at home, on our children - our next generation; and not on foreign aid, a wasteful border wall, and the military - industrial complex. Note: Senator Rand Paul tried to block the latest Federal Budget because of its bloated military funding; he was the lone voice and was unsuccessful.


I am not saying that we should not support our troops. I am saying that we should support our troops by bringing them home from the quagmires and the unneeded military bases around the world. I am sure their families would support this also. They could then, with funded-training if needed, become Doctors, Nurses, Mechanics, Teachers, Plumbers, Farmers, Engineers, Builders, etc. and go to work staffing/building those facilities serving our neglected children, here in the United States. And, if we desire to send foreign aid to countries that need our help, let these "peacemakers" be our new foreign aid.


I am also not saying that we should not address gun control, especially controlling assault-type weapons and having very thorough background checks. Redirected military funds would now also be available to greatly strengthen and enforce these gun control measures. Even in this effort, our newly elected politicians are letting us down: President Trump's proposed budget includes 16% cut to grants that allow states to send records to the background check system; and worse yet, President Trump's main action on guns to date has been to block a rule designed to keep guns out of the hands of mentally disabled people (this is beyond my comprehension).


Let’s ALL come together and do this---our kids are counting on us!