Meet The Bogle Family – A Very Special Bunch.

Want to meet an exceptional American family? Read Fox Butterfield’s just-released book, , and spend a few hours with the Bogle family. Actually, if you want to meet any member of the Bogle clan, you’ll have to get on the visitor’s list of one of any number of prisons scattered throughout the Midwest, the southwest and the far west, because that’s where most of the Bogle family happens currently to reside. In fact, beginning in 1923, when the progenitor of the Bogle family, Louis Bogle, was jailed for bootlegging, at least 60 members of the family have spent multiple sentences in prison, costing the United States taxpayers, according to Butterfield’s estimate, somewhere between $250 and $430 million bucks. And that’s just the penal cost, never mind the costs incurred by the victim of all their crimes.

bogleThree of the Bogles’ went to jail for murder, at least a dozen were convicted of robbery and/or burglary, a few kidnapping charges here and there, God knows how many assaults and, of course, most of the Bogle bunch have served time for drugs. We’re not talking about jaywalking, a traffic ticket or perhaps a tax lien. Butterfield spent ten years (ten years) researching this work, combing judicial archives, interviewing everyone he could find, even up to and including a man, Jeremy Vanwagner, now 40 years old, who had a cellmate named Bobby Bogle and discovered that Bobby was, in fact, his father because the latter recalled that he once had sex with a woman who sported an interesting tattoo on her rear end and Jeremy, outing together the time, the place and the tattoo, realized he was sharing a prison cell with his old man.

The 60 Bogle men and women who ended up doing time were all related, in some way or another, to Louis Bogle, whose five children were each responsible for creating families which then spawned the criminality that characterized the Bogle clan as a whole. And what Butterfield found in interviewing members of each family, along with talking to assorted welfare, penal and other social service professionals was not just that these families existed in poverty, but these families also existed in a state of violence, chaos and rootlessness which affected every family member from pre-adolescent ages on. Almost without exception, every Bogle child was viewed as a school ‘problem’ in their early grades, assuming that they attended school at all. With one or two exceptions, none of them learned trades, none held steady jobs; there were simply no positive role models within the Bogle clan. In fact, many of the parents often took young children with them when they were committing a burglary, drug deal or other crime.

The author has immersed himself in the relevant research literature about domestic violence where the inter-generational element looms large. But those studies are just numbers; Butterfield’s narrative brings the cold data to life. And if nothing else, you are made aware of the extent to which violent criminality is not an aberration within this family environment. If anything, it is considered a validating form of behavior to demonstrate an understanding and acceptance of the family’s social norms.

Given my specific interests, however, one thing struck me as somewhat odd. You would think that a family whose entire identity and existence revolved around violent crime would also be a family where guns were frequently used, as well as found. This happens not to be the case at all. None of the homicides involved guns, the assaults were the usual mélange of barroom brawls, domestic abuse, or grabbing a handy 2 X 4 and whacking someone over the head. How is it that the propensity for violence in this family doesn’t involve guns? After all, they live in Texas where everyone has a gun.

Any chance that people who use a gun to hurt someone else are exhibiting a behavior learned from someone else in the home? After all, kids learned how to use guns for hunting from good old Pa or Gramps, right?

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If You Smile On Amazon You Can help Reduce Gun Violence.

One of our really good friends in GVP-land sent around a message the other day alerting us to the fact that the Amazon Smile website has become a location for organizations which raise money to help promote guns. And in this case the organization that was using the crowd-sourcing fundraising venue of Amazon was a group called Gun Owners of America (GOA), which is a particularly aggressive outfit that claims to be the strongest supporter of 2nd-Amendment ‘rights’ anywhere in the land.

NDVH             To understand GOA, you have to know something about its founder and now Chairman Emeritus, Larry Pratt. When all is said and done, GOA is a fundraising organization with an email list which probably includes just about every hard-core, radical-right, militia member in the United States.  You can join the group for $20, which makes their claims of having one million members absurd since their annual revenues on 2014 were less than two million bucks.

smile             What gets Pratt and his group headlines isn’t the so-called lobbying efforts they claim to make, but the fact that they describe themselves as being an anti-establishment organization, in this case the establishment being the NRA. And if we’ve learned anything from Donald Trump, it’s that the moment you say you’re ‘against’ the establishment, even if you’re obsessively trying to become the establishment, you’ll get some support and pick up a few bucks.

But I want to get back to the question of how GVP could use Amazon Smile, because when all is said and done, Larry Pratt and GOA are really small potatoes, in the world of gun politics they just represent the chump change. On the other hand, Amazon isn’t chump change at all. In 2015 they had overall revenues of $100 billion, and revenues for Q4 of 2016 were $47 billion alone.  Revenues for Q1 2017 ‘dipped’ to only $35 billion – my revenues should be so low. The point is that Amazon has become a cash-generating machine (nine years ago their annual revenue was ‘only’ $9 billion bucks) and I don’t see why GVP shouldn’t try to get in on this flood of dollars as best they can.

Take me, for example.  In the past 6 months I have done 36 Amazon orders that total about $670 bucks, I’m a member of Amazon Prime because otherwise the shipping would really add up.  And in addition to the emails which I receive every time I buy a book, a CD, a DVD or a gift card for family and friends, I also get at least one email every day telling me about the latest and greatest that I should immediately buy.

Am I a big Amazon buyer with purchases which average about $100 a month?  I don’t really know, but I do know this: I never heard of Amazon Smile until I received the email last week from a good friend in GVP. And I immediately went to the Smile website and chose her organization as the one I’m going to support. And I did it first of all because she took the trouble to let me know about Smile and it’s a simple, seamless and no-nonsense way to send a few bucks to the right place.

I didn’t do a very exhaustive search but I quickly found a number of GVP organizations who are listed on the Smile site.  But the fact that someone who is as hooked into GVP as I am didn‘t know about Smile until last week makes me believe that I’m hardly the only GVP activist who didn’t know that this GVP crowd-sourcing fundraising vehicle exists.  How many GVP-related emails do I receive from GVP-world each day?

So come on, GVP.  Let’s get with the program.  Every GVP group should be soliciting donations through Amazon, every group should be reminding its friends and members to open a Smile account every time. And now that I’m sending some money to an important GVP group every time I buy a record, a movie or a book, I suspect I’ll probably buy more products from Amazon just because it’s a good thing to do.

[Thanks Rob Valente.]

HEY – June 2 – Wear Orange!

Want To End Gun Violence? Ask Rev. Pat Robertson

The Reverend Pat Robertson has been telling Americans about all kinds of things for nearly fifty years on his 700 Club television show, and recently he spoke his mind about the issue of gun violence.  In response to a question from a young viewer who said that his father was “always” threatening his mother with a gun, Robertson said, “You ought to go to your Mom and say, ‘Mom, this thing is scaring me, and I ask you please to get my father to have some help.’” Robertson also advised the viewer not to report anything to the police.  “You don’t want your father busted,” the good Reverend said.

This may strike you as a rather novel way to deal with potential gun violence – telling the potential victim not to report the possibility that she is going to get shot – but it’s right out of the playbook on gun violence published by – you guessed it – the NRA.  Take a look at the brochure for the NRA’s Eddie Eagle program, for example, which allegedly has been read by 26 million children and tells kids that when they see a gun they should do the following:  Stop – Don’t Touch – Leave The Area – Tell An Adult.

Now what happens if the gun the kid sees is in the hands of an adult who happens to be the kid’s father and is threatening the kid’s mother?  Then you don’t have to do anything because an adult is already holding the gun.  And what if the gun is lying there in the street?  Either way, notice that it’s the same approach now endorsed by Reverend Robertson – Don’t Tell The Cops.

patThe NRA’s refusal to get law enforcement involved in stopping gun violence extends to the issue of domestic violence as well.  Several years ago with great hoopla, the NRA rolled out a new version of their Refuse To be A Victim training program which was developed by the “ladies of the NRA.”  The course, which I am certified to teach, covers security in the home, workplace, out of doors and online, but the 80+ page course workbook says nothing about how to protect yourself from domestic violence or what we now call Intimate Partner Violence or IPV.

One out of five homicide victims each year are women, but more than four out of five are killed in domestic disputes.  To the extent that women commit murder, roughly 10% of all perpetrators, virtually every incident started as a spousal or domestic argument that got out of control.  Either way, the idea that anyone, adult or child, who witnesses a potential gun assault should not report it to the cops is an idea that is both dangerous and absurd.

Robertson, you may recall, embarrassed even the most ardent religious conservatives when he joined with Jerry Falwell who said that the 9-11 attack on the World Trade Center was God’s way of punishing America for being home to abortionists, lesbians, gays and liberal advocacy groups like People for the American Way. So nobody should be surprised when he comes up with a rather unique way of dealing with something like IPV.  But if the NRA is trying to figure out new strategies to get more women into guns, they better tap Reverend Jerry on the shoulder and explain to him why he’s so wrong.  On the other hand, what he’s saying really isn’t any different from what the NRA tells adults and kids to do and what not to do when there’s a gun in the wrong hands or a gun just lying around.