Tag Archives: NRA500

Week From Hell Ends On High Note

Here is what I know about the last seven days. They sucked. Let’s run it down.

Last Saturday Night the big controversy was that the NRA had taken sponsorship of the Texas 500 NASCAR race down in Texas. The controversy was multi-faceted in that there was controversy that NRA did it, that people complained of insensitivity that they did it and that Fox Sports did everything they could to avoid saying the name NRA500, showing the race logo – or empty seats – or discussing the controversy. All in all a normal race with the cars going in circles to the left and buzz going in circles to the right.

Sunday…Masters and it looks like Tiger is in the news again. ’nuff said.
Tiger

Monday…we as a country looked forward to a bumpy week of “anniversaries”, from students shooting up Columbine High School to a conflagration at Waco’s Branch Davidian Compound to domestic terrorism in Oklahoma City to a crazed lone gunman at Virginia Tech, all anniversaries that coincided with a vote on background checks for gun purchases.

On the other hand, the week was starting good as the DOW began the week at 14,850, just a couple of points down from its all time high the week before and over 8,200 points higher than its bottom due to the Bush Recession.

Then there was Boston…At 2:50PM two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. It was an event that showed the worst of humanity and the best of humanity, juxtaposed and interwoven as terror is supplanted by acts of selflessness in helping those maimed and injured.

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Tuesday seemed like a hangover of Monday…a news overload as updates of the Boston Bombings continued non-stop. Then came breaking news to break into breaking news. Ricin is found in letters addressed to both Republican Senator Mississippi Roger Wicker and President Obama at the White House. Field tests proved inconclusive so they went to another lab in the area…I somehow envision Abby Sciuto and Major Mass Spec on the job. Turns out – yep Ricin. Time for a Caf-Pow reward.

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On Wednesday, in West, Texas an explosion rocked the West Fertilizer Company storage and distribution facility. A facility that had 540,000 pounds of Ammonium Nitrate shook central Texas, felt 50 miles away. The death toll, now at 14 is expected to continue to rise. Had the company followed rules it would have either had no more than 400 pounds of the highly explosive material or would have been scrutiny by the Department of Homeland Security. Turns out DHS had no idea they existed…no idea that they had explosives less than a mile from an elementary school.

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One official described the damage as like a tornado which makes us believe that it must have sounded like a freight train OR, the new metaphor for describing tornados [or tarnaders as they are often known] will be “It sounded like a big assed ammonium nitrate bomb.” I’ve heard it both ways.

Anderson Cooper and his tight sweaters hopped a plane from Boston and headed to West, Texas. This week’s Breaking News now has frequent flier points and Anderson needed to do something to clean up after John King’s error in announcing a suspect had been caught based on “three credible sources.” Maybe not so much.

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In other news on Wednesday, the Senate failed to pass even the most watered down background check amendment to address gun violence. Republicans can take comfort in the fact that the story was buried deep behind Boston, Texas, and Ricin Boy.

Thursday was not particularly better…everyone feeling like they had been on a cross country road trip in the back of a VW microbus for what seemed like days [not that there is anything wrong with that]. It was honestly difficult to remember what day what tragedy happened.  But a bit of good news surfaced as Elvis impersonator Paul Kevin Curtis was arrested in Corinth, Mississippi for the Ricin attacks. This was good in that the poison terrorist was now arrested and there is one less Elvis impersonator on the loose. Thank you very much.

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And at 5:00 on Thursday, just 74 hours and change after the first bomb rocked Boston the FBI released photos of the two bomber suspects. While both looked like just about anyone, the younger one bore a resemblance to a young Christopher Moltisanti. Tony would be pissed. After combing through what had to be terabytes of digital content, from videos of security cameras to media to the thousands of photos that folks emailed in at the FBI’s request, they narrowed the subjects down…had pictures of them, their backpacks and them placing them at the bomb sites. Elliot Ness would be proud. It was a day of successes. Ricin Boy in cuffs and two terrorist suspects IDed…

As Thursday ended everyone was just begging for the week to end. But neither the week nor even Thursday were over yet. At 11:08 the social media and internet lit up with news that a campus cop had been shot on the campus of MIT. By itself, not a big national story but, with the car jacking of a Mercedes SUV a few minutes later, along with a description by the driver and video of the 7/11 where the crime occurred the two common events [a shooting and a car-jacking] took on extra importance. These were the bombers. And it seemed that every cop in Boston dropped onto the streets of Cambridge within minutes. The police scanner was non-stop for three hours as the car chase included gunfire while driving and grenades lobbed out of the stolen Mercedes at the cops.

By 12:30AM, Friday Boston police had stopped the fleeing Mercedes and a vicious gun battle erupted in a sleepy neighborhood in Watertown, three miles west of Cambridge and about five miles from the Boston Marathon finish line. Hundreds of shots were fired and bombs lobbed by the two Marathon bombing suspects. As Suspect One, now know at “older brother” stood up and charged cops with guns blazing and suicide vest on he was taken down as he ran out of ammo. Suspect Two, now known as “little brother” hopped into the Mercedes and plowed through the police line, including those who were handcuffing his brother. He all-terrain’ed his brother as he fled the scene.

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By 1:00AM the world knew that one of the two Boston Marathon suspects was down and the other in the wind. Oh, yeah, the three cable news channels and the networks decided to join in the party, nearly two hours after social media, tweeterworld and on-line scanners had informed the nation. Anderson Cooper was on another plane, back from Texas, heading to Boston, likely with a mission to refocus CNN. Time for bed.

Friday was still in full swing as the Boston police, Mass State Police, FBI, ATF, DHS, DoD and likely many more federal alphabet agencies were in full dragnet to the point of closing down the city of Boston on Friday including cancelling baseball and hockey in the city. At 6:00PM the lockdown for Boston is lifted as it is thought that the suspect may have slipped through the net and was in the wind.

Not an hour later a citizen spotted a boat with a torn tarp. As any guy would do in a city where an armed terrorist was on the loose with an assault rifle, pistols and likely bombs – he went over and took a peek in the boat. Suspect Two was there. He called 911. Police swarmed the area. It got noisy.

At 8:43, 101 HOURS after the first bomb went off Suspect Two was in custody and on his way to the hospital.

We saw the absolute best of America as our often maligned police, FBI and other federal agencies did an awesome job of solving a major terrorist event in less than five days. Those who bitch and whine about taxes or the oppressive government or public sector unions need to go sit in the back of the room for a while and just STFU.

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So, we end the week with Saturday…a day to rest, for Bostonians to get back to baseball, for calm to be restored after the week from Hell. It is 4/20…and that means a national focus on pot but today at 5:00PM in Denver, Colorado at a pro-pot rally shots rang out…two were shot and thankfully no one died.

This week…Just. This. Week. we end up with three killed in terrorist bombings in Boston, another dozen or so still critical, 14 [so far] killed and 200 injured in a chemical plant explosion in Texas, Ricin sent to politicians, two cops shot, one of them killed in Boston in the manhunt for the two terrorist bombers, one boat riddled with bullets, one terrorist dead, another in the hospital under arrest and a large harshed buzz in Denver.

Kids, it’s time to chill. We can’t take too many weeks like this.

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McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resides in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst.

You can read more of McAllister’s observations and opinions at Shoot From the Left Hip

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NRA Goes Racin’ And Forgets To Check Rear View Mirror

Kyle Busch

NASCAR racing is a pretty closed sport…you either love it or hate it, follow it or not. This weekend at the Texas Motor Speedway it was different. In early March, the NRA, following two months of being pummeled by the press and public for a tone-deaf response to the massacre at Sandy Hook decided to sponsor itself a race. So, this weekend we had the NRA 500.

But it was different in two ways. First, an argument broke out in the infield of the race and a man decided to kill himself with a handgun. Second, and more significant [except to the family and friends of the dead man] was that Fox Sports seemed to bend over backwards to NOT use the name of the race. In every instance of the pre-race show and the race they referred to it as the Texas 500 or the Texas Motor Speedway 500.

First, to the death in the infield. At this time there are not many details but the basics are that Kirk Franklin, 42, of Saginaw, Texas got in to an altercation at the speedway during the race. He ended the altercation by shooting himself to death. Alcohol may have been involved.

Normally, and by that I mean over the past 30 years or so a hallmark of NASCAR races is the way that announcers and drivers do everything they can to repeat the names of the sponsors as many times as possible. It is not “fill up with gas”, rather “fill up with Sunoco Racing Fuel”. It is not “I want to thank my team”, rather “I want to thank the crew for setting up the awesome Dupont, Pepsi MAX, Quaker State, AARP Drive to End Hunger, Rick Hendricks Motorsport Chevrolet SS today for the Subway 500.”

The announcers have been particularly guilty as they work in any and all references to race sponsors, from the Sharpie 500 to the Kobalt 400 to the Budweiser Shootout. But it didn’t happen that way this weekend. This weekend the title – NRA 500 was not mentioned a single time. That extended to the pre-race, showing of logos and photo-ops.

At least two of the drivers were told not to mention the sponsor and to not be shown by the logos.

NRA 500 - Practice

To be fair, they also did not mention, or show up close video of the [takes a deep breath] Michael Waltrip Racing Number Fifteen Clint Bowyer Gander Mountain With Rights Comes Responsibility Secure Your Firearms Camry; and Michael Waltrip and his NASCAR champion brother Daryl were both part of the Fox Sports announcing team. This change in sponsor name dropping seems to have started with the broadcasters last week, when they didn’t readily promote the STP Gas Booster 500 by name, though they did promote the STP 500 next week in Kansas by name.

NASCAR itself has spent a month distancing itself from the NRA500 and the controversy that it created. Facing backlash in the sponsorship agreement NASCAR spokesman David Higdon spoke to ESPN where he said “in light of this weeks race, NASCAR will be examining its rules moving forward as to who can be allowed to sponsor races.”

The controversy took a national turn when Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy asking that Fox network not broadcast Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race sponsored by the National Rifle Association. If the broadcast was any indication, it seems that Fox Sports did make a conscious decision to minimize NRA promotion.

In early December, 2012 Bob Costas jumped into the politics of gun violence with an extended comment during halftime of Sunday night football in the wake of the murder/suicide of Jovan Belcher and his girlfriend and other shootings that had occurred. Conservatives jumped all over Costas and NBC for his introduction of the politics of gun violence into the world of sports…Four months later those same conservatives are jumping all over Fox Sports because they did not introduce politics into the world of sports.

That insular world of NASCAR opened up a bit this week, the outside world spilled into their lives as the bigger middle of America, that large group that is neither pro-gun nor anti-gun violence found their actions…well, tacky. The outside world questioned that they should have known better, that they should have been more sensitive to the zeitgeist of the nation rather than bring partisanship into the NASCAR world. But most of the outside world would be even more appalled to know that it was as late as 2004 when the Southern 500 finally caved to end its Rebel Flag waving showcase race.

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In the end, the controversy is on what was not said, what was not shown rather than what was. Oh, and Kyle Busch in the Number 18 Interstate Battery, M&Ms, Joe Gibbs Racing Camry took a bow with the Sunoco Checkered Flag™ for the first, umm NRA 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway.

Kyle Busch

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McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resides in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst.

You can read more of McAllister’s observations and opinions at Shoot From the Left Hip.