Archives August 2019

FOCUS ON GUN ACCOUNTABILITY NOT CONTROL: Op-Ed. M. Frank

(This article appears as Op-Ed in Florida Today, this date)
 
Here we go, focusing on “control” as a means to fix the nation’s problems with gun violence. Government leaders, to one degree or another, offer the perennial answer which is to control gun ownership by people who have a history of mental illness and/or felonious behavior. We’ve been doing this for many years. How’s it going so far?
     Now, the House of Representatives is considering new legislation which will improve background checks, ban high-capacity magazines and create red-flag laws entitling local police to remove guns from people believed to be a threat. Well, something is better than nothing. But it will not reach the heart of the problem. Nothing is really going to change.
     Year after year, decade after decade, we’re constantly focusing on “gun control,” instead of “gun accountability” as the issue in need of attention. Background checks are important, but they do not identify people who have severe mental problems unless they’ve already been incarcerated, and then it’s too late. Most of the recent notorious shooters had no past record by which a background check would mean anything. The real issue should be “accountability” and not “control.”
     Guns are certainly dangerous instruments, but they are also needed for self-protection and we must never deny a law abiding citizen their 2nd Amendment rights. But there is an alternative, if politicians and the NRA had the guts to implement. That is, treat every gun as it were an automobile. Every owner should receive due process after passing similar requirements that protect others, as well as themselves, when cars are on the road.
     American citizens possess two instruments that are responsible for the majority of violent deaths in America; Cars and guns. But there is a vast difference between the two regarding accountability. Automobile ownership has stringent accountability requirements while guns do not.
     When someone owns and operates an automobile, he/she must provide records that they have a license to drive. They must also show status of insurance plus a title of ownership when purchasing from a dealer or a private party. Same as with cars, private sales should be recorded for accountability. Nothing in the 2nd Amendment, which guarantees rights to gun ownership, prohibits any of these things. It’s simply a matter of holding gun owners (and car owners) accountable. Things have changed enormously since the 2nd Amendment was ratified in 1791, from single shot weaponry to repeating bullets and magazines that can hold hundreds of cartridges.
     Criminals buy and sell guns in the streets. The current proposed legislation would have no effect on that.
     Passing gun “control” and extended background checks will have very little impact on the mass shooting dilemma. It will make some law-makers look good, that’s about all. Thousands of felony crimes in the U.S. are committed using stolen or illegal weapons from the “hot” marketplace. Chicago, among others, is well-known for their random shootings, year after year. According to the Chicago Tribune, as of August 12th, this year 1,692 people have been shot so far in 2019. Most of those guns were bought or obtained illegally by criminal elements with no accountability.   
     The National Safety Council reports that 40,100 people died in vehicular crashes in 2017.  The Center for Disease Control reports 39,773 died by gunshots the same year. A dead heat. The death records are almost identical, so why not accountability?
 
     Focusing on “control” offers little in terms of doing anything that will actually impact the problem. There are many other issues that we should be focused upon, particularly within inner cities. One would be the dilemma of fatherless kids throughout big cities in America. Studies are replete with statistics and predictable outcomes when young males choose gangs as their adopted family over mothers. And, yes, automatic repeating weapons and large capacity magazines should be prohibited.
     In order to make a real difference, we must invoke accountability as a starting point. That may irk some pro-gun folks, but it’s also hard to argue the logic.
    

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: "ANGEL HAS FALLEN" – 8

 
A Frank Movie Review: “Angel Has Fallen’  –  8
     In a word:  Sensational
Warning: If you do not like violence and/or movies with lots of gunfire and explosives, do NOT see this film. Boom Boom, Rat-a-Tat, Rat-a-Tat. Cover your ears. This is all about a plot to kill the president (Morgan Freeman) while out on a relaxing fishing excursion, surrounded by hordes of protective personnel, with his number one Secret Service agent (Gerard Butler). That’s when all hell breaks loose and the scores of drones swarm in like jet-bees, firing and shooting at everyone, killing them all but, of course, the star Gerard, and the president. That was quite stirring.
     The plot widens into a myriad of power mongers, insiders and heroes, one scene after another, of magnificent explosives, collapsing buildings, flying cars, endless shootouts with automatic weapons, that keep the viewer glued to the screen. The premise is to make it appear like the president is in cahoots with Russia (sound familiar) while the vice-president takes over control of the government. However, the real plot is not known until later in the film.
     Normally, I dismiss these kinds of action films as mindless junk, but I must acknowledge that the director does well to keep the audience on the edge of their seats throughout.  Gerard Butler is perfect for the role, maybe with the exception of Tom Cruise, and Morgan Freeman is a perfect fit for an elder statement elected to be the president. Some of the other characters are not so good as fits, but … who cares. One female actress selected to be the big boss for Secret Service, just doesn’t pass the test. Nevertheless, viewers were on the edge of their seats, from scene to scene to the very end, even if much of the dialogue and action moves were implausible.
     It’s enough that the movie was entertaining. Yes, there are moving scenes between Gerard Butler and his wife and child, who play a small, but important role in the film. So does the bearded Nick Nolte who plays the long-lost father to Gerard. Good to see Nolte is still kickin’.
     In a word, it’s an entertaining film. If we look hard enough, we can find plenty wrong with the script, the acting, the unending fireball scenes. But we still walk out feeling entertained.
     I give this an 8 out of 10.
Angel Has Fallen (2019) – IMDb
 

RISKS OF BECOMING A COP – Op-Ed

(This article, by yours truly, appears in today’s issue of Florida Today Op-Ed page)
Anyone applying for a police officer job these days is doing so at great risk. Never before have public servants been the target of so much undeserved hate and condemnation. The real losers? We, the people.
Police officers were my extended family for 30 years in Miami-Dade County. Times have changed, not for the better. No sane and selfless man or woman would voluntarily enter the pits of hate, surrounded by enemy cameras, weapons and rebels, subject to unrestrained harassment and assault. It’s difficult enough knowing you are a target for rogue criminals simply because you wear the uniform, protecting the very people who hate you.
No one mentions how police account for the sixth highest rate of suicides among all professions, according to a recent CBS study and behindthebadge.com. In 2018, 159 cops killed themselves, more than the numbers killed in line of duty, according to the Huffington Post. In my career, I personally knew 10 officers who killed themselves.
There’s a lot of stress out there.
Worse times are ahead for law and order, particularly in larger cities. The more breaking of laws and demeaning of cops, the more disorder will explode. Perhaps that’s the intended goal.
When law enforcement is openly denigrated, assaulted and stripped of authority and power without support from political leaders, the more we will see escalated crime and chaos in the streets. Those water buckets dumped on the heads of New York officers by young men were not lethal weapons, but they were lethal to the heart of law enforcement personnel and, ultimately, to America’s future. Many qualified potentials will be looking for other jobs.
In recent debates, some presidential candidates stupidly revisited police shootings, particularly the Michael Brown case in Missouri in 2014, in which Eric Holder’s Justice Department found civilian witnesses who completely exonerated the officer. That cop did nothing wrong, yet politicians still fuel the fires.
In the Baltimore fiasco of 2015, six officers were charged broad-brush without an iota of evidence that any cop had killed Freddie Gray in a transport van. Three were acquitted, the other charges were dropped. The city exploded into riots causing millions worth of damage. The mayor stated at a press conference, unbelievably, “We also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well.” The city shamefully settled with the Freddie Gray family for $6.4 million before any trials were held, prejudging the officer’s guilt.
In 2018, while eating, two officers in Central Florida were shot dead through a restaurant window, for no other reason than wearing the uniform. In 2017, two Brooklyn cops were parked in their patrol car when a hater walked up and shot each in the head, for no reason. Protesters in New York organized a street march in 2015 chanting, “What do we want? Dead cops” In another hate-cops march, Black Lives Matter spewed, “Pigs in a blanket, Fry em like bacon.”

The political climate is worsened when certain governors and mayors act as law breakers, openly defiant to federal agencies while declaring their jurisdictions “sanctuary cities and states.” That translates to open season for crime and violence. Defiant officials, like the mayor of Oakland, forewarned illegal immigrants that ICE agents were coming for them. If that’s not “obstruction,” what is?

Every day is a risk for police. In 2018, 144 line-of-duty cops were killed, 52 by gunfire, 26 in car crashes. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 31,000 officers suffer non-fatal injuries annually. Between 10 and 15 cops are killed in ambushes each year. 

Officers these days will answer calls, but many will avoid pro-active policing. What for? To be doused with water buckets? Next time, it might be acid.

Police and military are the life-blood of our democracy. We better protect them, or else.

RISKS OF BECOMING A COP – Op-Ed

(Correction…my webmaster erred in logging this article as her work.  This, and other materials cite her name, but it is a mistake.
(Written by yours truly, by yours truly, appears in today’s issue of Florida Today Op-Ed page)
Anyone applying for a police officer job these days is doing so at great risk. Never before have public servants been the target of so much undeserved hate and condemnation. The real losers? We, the people.
Police officers were my extended family for 30 years in Miami-Dade County. Times have changed, not for the better. No sane and selfless man or woman would voluntarily enter the pits of hate, surrounded by enemy cameras, weapons and rebels, subject to unrestrained harassment and assault. It’s difficult enough knowing you are a target for rogue criminals simply because you wear the uniform, protecting the very people who hate you.
No one mentions how police account for the sixth highest rate of suicides among all professions, according to a recent CBS study and behindthebadge.com. In 2018, 159 cops killed themselves, more than the numbers killed in line of duty, according to the Huffington Post. In my career, I personally knew 10 officers who killed themselves.
There’s a lot of stress out there.
Worse times are ahead for law and order, particularly in larger cities. The more breaking of laws and demeaning of cops, the more disorder will explode. Perhaps that’s the intended goal.
When law enforcement is openly denigrated, assaulted and stripped of authority and power without support from political leaders, the more we will see escalated crime and chaos in the streets. Those water buckets dumped on the heads of New York officers by young men were not lethal weapons, but they were lethal to the heart of law enforcement personnel and, ultimately, to America’s future. Many qualified potentials will be looking for other jobs.
In recent debates, some presidential candidates stupidly revisited police shootings, particularly the Michael Brown case in Missouri in 2014, in which Eric Holder’s Justice Department found civilian witnesses who completely exonerated the officer. That cop did nothing wrong, yet politicians still fuel the fires.
In the Baltimore fiasco of 2015, six officers were charged broad-brush without an iota of evidence that any cop had killed Freddie Gray in a transport van. Three were acquitted, the other charges were dropped. The city exploded into riots causing millions worth of damage. The mayor stated at a press conference, unbelievably, “We also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well.” The city shamefully settled with the Freddie Gray family for $6.4 million before any trials were held, prejudging the officer’s guilt.
In 2018, while eating, two officers in Central Florida were shot dead through a restaurant window, for no other reason than wearing the uniform. In 2017, two Brooklyn cops were parked in their patrol car when a hater walked up and shot each in the head, for no reason. Protesters in New York organized a street march in 2015 chanting, “What do we want? Dead cops” In another hate-cops march, Black Lives Matter spewed, “Pigs in a blanket, Fry em like bacon.”

The political climate is worsened when certain governors and mayors act as law breakers, openly defiant to federal agencies while declaring their jurisdictions “sanctuary cities and states.” That translates to open season for crime and violence. Defiant officials, like the mayor of Oakland, forewarned illegal immigrants that ICE agents were coming for them. If that’s not “obstruction,” what is?

Every day is a risk for police. In 2018, 144 line-of-duty cops were killed, 52 by gunfire, 26 in car crashes. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 31,000 officers suffer non-fatal injuries annually. Between 10 and 15 cops are killed in ambushes each year. 

Officers these days will answer calls, but many will avoid pro-active policing. What for? To be doused with water buckets? Next time, it might be acid.

Police and military are the life-blood of our democracy. We better protect them, or else.

 

A BOY WHO MATTERED by Marshall Frank

Announcing the release of my non-fiction book, “A Boy Who Mattered,” Independently published by Frankly Speaking Enterprises through Amazon (KDP).
     In January of this year, my son, Bennett A. Frank, died at the age 58 of from a mixed overdose of three powerful drugs. He had lived a floundering life in and out of dependency, yet he was loved by many including his son, daughter, brother and father. He wasn’t a bad person. He was, simply, a diehard drug addict with a weak constitution.
     While I certainly grieved, like millions before me, I thought it would be worthwhile to share the story of this complicated life with others who are either suffering from powerful addiction, or are emotionally and physically tied to a sufferer. I hope there is something significant that can be learned from Bennett’s struggle by turning a negative into a positive, imparting the highs and lows, struggles and mistakes along the way.  The book is for those who suffer from the disease of addiction, or – equally important — for others in the arena including loved ones, family and friends who struggle as they hopelessly watch a human deteriorate day by day.
     The following paragraph is the standard promo, including the ordering of books.

A BOY WHO MATTERED – Examining the Roots of Drug Addiction
Independently Published| July 2019 
ISBN: 9781080157594 | Paperback: $14.95
In “A Boy Who Mattered” author Marshall Frank draws the reader into the pathetic life of his firstborn son, Bennett, who entered the drug world in his preteens, turned on by a family member. This ultimately opened the doors of dependency sickness, failure and homelessness that profoundly affected many others, friends and family, for forty years. This saga focuses on the root causes of dependency and what could be done about it. Hopefully, this story will guide abusers and loved ones about options on how to combat this dreaded disease. If but one human being is saved, Bennett’s struggle will not have been in vain.
     Signed-by-author books can be obtained directly for $15 and no shipping costs. For more info, just e-mail: MLF283@aol.com or send check to: P.O. Box 411841, Melbourne, Fl. 32941. Books are also available via amazon.com for the $14.95 retail price plus shipping.
     (Info about all my 15 books can be accessed at www.marshallfrank.com )