Category Archives: Gun control

“Beware the Jackboot” – my latest Reader Column

The Readers are still being placed in their bins across town but my column is already on their website. I don’t want to discourage anyone from picking up the newsprint so here’s the first paragraph:

“I had a friend who talked me into taking an NRA gun safety class with him. I don’t remember anything more important than what I had already known. Never point a gun at anybody.”

Damn it. I repeated the word “recent” in one of the sentences and another “sentence” seems to be a clause short of full sentence-hood. Ah, but I’m up to seven columns in my latest Reader run. That’s far short of the 100 I’d written in my first engagement but a nice start.

58 deaths, so far, in Los Vegas

I searched my voluminous files for the letter I once wrote to the Editor of the News Tribune calling for sensible gun regulation. It was noteworthy because the editors placed the picture of a gun pointing at the reader above it. I can’t remember how long ago it was that it was published. I didn’t find it.

But readers will find what I think of our promiscuous national gun policy in posts found in my gun control category.

The chickens are coming home to roost…

…and leave a lot of droppings in the GOP’s coup.

I find it ironic that the GOP which in the Reagan years once vilified (correctly) the Democrats for being a bunch of special interests is now suffering the same fate having become a party of its own special interests. This point was brought home by two stories in the press today on how the public has retreated from two central guideposts of the GOP cannon.

From the DNT’s first Page – “Support for legal abortion continunes to grow”:

As if to further bolster the argument that liberalism is having a resurgence in the United States, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that, for the first time ever, a majority of Americans – 54 percent – now believe abortion should be legal all or most of the time. Even more broadly, a full 70 percent believe that Roe v. Wade – the controversial decision that, 40 years ago, guaranteed a woman’s right to an abortion, at least in the first trimester of pregnancy – should not be overturned.

Darned DNT doesn’t have their story on its site. I got this from the Christian Science Monitor (A paper that my Dad subscribed to for years) The DNT’s story mentions that ten years ago rather than 54% it was only 44 percent of the public that believed abortion should be legal. More critically the number of Republicans who feel intensely about this issue is shrinking.

The other poll issue was on page three and was about making it easier for illegal immigrants to enter the US. Once again the DNT’s story is only in newsprint. This comes from ABC:

“More than 6 in 10 Americans now favor allowing illegal immigrants to eventually become U.S. citizens, a major increase in support driven by a turnaround in Republicans’ opinions after the 2012 elections.(the story goes on to say that two years ago instead of 60% support it was only 47% support.

Two more GOP special interests that have taken a big hit are the NRA’s no compromise Second Amendment enthusiasts and the religious lobby that wants to keep gays closeted or make them normal. Expect the GOP’s Global warming and science deniers to fall from grace next.

I’ve waited for this all to happen since 1992 when I made my first break with the GOP and ran a quixotic independent campaign for Congress. I returned to the fold afterwords for about ten years but was kept on the margin by the new leaders of the party that were happy to go to conventions and explain that folks like me were the worst butchers in the history of the world. I guess they were accommodationists because after publicly announcing that I was worse than Papa Stalin, Adolph Hitler and Mao combined they were always very nice to me.

As my buddy (who seems to have given up emailing me) often says I’ve got my undies in a bunch over Republicans when Democrats can be expected to overreach with their rhetoric. It makes me think that before I die I should start attending GOP caucuses again (since my political future went over the cliff twenty ago) on the off chance that I can bring a little Lincoln pragmatism back to the party.

I have some personal theories about both parties and their excesses during my lifetime. I think that the GOP was overrun by College Republicans who all majored in business and decided that ethical considerations were a waste of time when short term tactics like stomping out independent thinking would lead to better election results and paychecks. In this regard they were as amoral as the mortgage industry’s specialists who approved unjustified home loans or Vatican priests who preferred to cover up and pay off the victims of clergy sexual abuse.

The book I hope to write someday will chronicle a different age when a similar sort ran the DFL in Northern Minnesota – political hacks with their hands out for government dollars.

Thus it was and ever shall be. Don’t believe me? Watch Spielberg’s Lincoln and enjoy the comic performance of James Spader as the 13th Amendment’s amoral, arm-twisting lobbyist.

I’m ready for a new set of racketeers to take over America. I just hope we get a long interim where idealists reign before they succumb to the pleasures of power.

Arms vs. Tyranny

I found a comment on my facebook wall which reminded anyone who would read it that the 2nd Amendment was set up for a defense against tyrants. I replied to the comment that back when the Bill of Rights was written the Amendment dealt with muskets. I did not add that these are significantly less deadly than modern rifles with 30 bullet clips that can be squeezed off in 15 seconds or less.

Neither did I meantion that even during the era of Stalin plenty of rural Russians had guns for hunting.

Neither did I mention that President George Washington led troops into Western Pennsylvania with the Army of the United States to put down the “Whiskey Rebellion.” Presumably the targeted whiskey distillers had plenty of muskets.

Neither did I mention that for the first 200 years of our nation’s existence this amendment was always tied to the idea that personal arms to fend off “tyrants” were always presumed to be used in community-run militias.

Its also worth pondering whether even AR-15’s would be any match for an attacking communist hoard which was what gun rights warriors warned us against when I was a kid two decades before the communist menace all but vanished from the face of the Earth. Today such a threat is a Hollywood fantasy called Red Dawn with a 91% Rotten rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

It also turns out that there are many examples of high gun ownership in nations with plenty of tyranny and a few with almost no gun ownership that have managed to overthrow tyrannies without a blizzard of gun shops:

T]he country ranked last on the [Small Arms Survey] — with only 0.1 guns per 100 people — is Tunisia, which as you’ll recall was still able to overthrow a longtime dictator in 2011.

Best reading of the day

I thought it would be interesting to see what gun rights folks thought about LaPierre’s press conference today.

Googled gun rights blogs and found this “top 25”

The fourth one down the list “View from the Porch” had comments from readers. A lot of them panned LaPierre.

A couple of examples:

*I would be shocked — SHOCKED! — if Wayne ever figured out the difference between “pro-gun” and “republican.”

*”Do we think there would have been a message that wouldn’t have been ridiculed and ripped apart?”

Dude, this isn’t Democratic Underground. These are a bunch of wookie-suited Libertarians and conservative gun nuts.

If WE can see the flaws in this argument and the stumbling, halting, awkward way it was presented, what do you think it looks like to the OTHER side?

Standin’ by your man ain’t doin’ him no favors when what he needs is a rehab clinic.

*So… two questions

1) What’s your favorite non-NRA gun rights lobbying organization I can go become a member of?

2) What can we do to let NRA leadership publicly know that that response was a bunch idiotic bullshit we don’t agree with?

*TheSev said…
Great freedom organization ya got there Wayne.

The answer is more big Gov’t programs to solve a problem easily taken care of by the citizens.

Obviously Wayne has allies who embarassed by him and that gives me hope that he’ll be overruled and some sensible laws might be considered. BTW Wayne evidently claimed that there were 20,000 laws in the US to restrict gun use. I have no idea how many there are but one commentator laughed that off as an asinine exaggeration. I guess Wayne is a gun right’s hysteric.

The NRA needs more armed guards at their press conferences

I’m listening to the beginning of Wayne LaPierre’s press conference. It started with his hinting that we need as many armed guards at elementary schools as the President gets and even big public sporting events.

He wants the kind of national data base on the mentally ill that his organization has fought against accumulating on gun ownership.

Its video games that have caused all our problems. Unlike target practice with AR-15’s these unacceptable forms of recreation.

Its the media’s fault…….not the gun manufacturers. Who can protect us from mothers who buy six powerful guns from getting herself shot by her son and using her guns on children. The NRA’s push to arm teachers. That’s the solution.

A second heckler…….too bad the armed guards can’t protect Wayne. You’d think his press conference was another vulnerable kindergarten class.

Wayne is agonizing about the demonization of guns…….Remember “Guns don’t kill people. people kill people.”

Wayne’s solution sounds like its leaning toward that little Georgia city that passed an ordinance to require all its residents to own a gun.

Grover Norquist would crap in his pants if we raised the taxes to hire a hundred thousand more armed guards for the nations schools. Maybe not. Apparently he said Congressman Boener’s Plan B would be OK after all. Oh, except Norquist has got the Republican congressman paranoid that his Tea Party pals would bump them off in a primary that they wouldn’t support Boener.

Wayne wants “Blanket safety.” Let’s put a gun under the blanket of every child so that they can kill every monster that comes out of their closet to get them in the middle of the night.

So the NRA went off line to make sure it didn’t say anything stupid in the immediate aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy. Nice of him to wait a week before he said anythings stupid.

His hint at the beginning is just how he finished. More armed guards.

The first beneficiaries of the Second Amendment…

…owned muskets and guns that had to be reloaded after a single shot and had to make their own bullets.

“I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions. I think moderate imperfections had better be borne with; because, when once known, we accommodate ourselves to them, and find practical means of correcting their ill effects. But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors,” – Thomas Jefferson

My Buddy thinks I was unfair to the NRA

He doesn’t drop a kindergartner off at school every Wednesday morning.

From a story on the rampage:

The tiny victims were riddled by as many as 11 bullets.

Lanza forced his way inside the Sandy Hook Elementary School and opened fire with a .223-caliber Bushmaster rifle, an assault weapon that can fire up to six bullets per second. The victims were shot “all over,” said Connecticut state Medical Examiner H. Wayne Carter II. “All over . . . this is probably the worst I’ve ever seen.”

Minnesota Voter ID pros

From the amendment’s sponsor Mary Kiffmeyer. She’s persuasive.

I resisted looking at this for a couple days thinking it would be a long written piece. Its from Powerline a blog I generally regard as a hackish GOP outlet.

I’ve snarked about the motives of the GOP around the nation on the various Voter ID laws that have been proposed. I know that diminishing democratic votes is one object of the legislation. I also know that Republicans since the days of the Kennedy Nixon election have been paranoid about registered voters in Chicago graveyards and poor Mexican Americans in Texas being paid five bucks to vote for LBJ and JFK. Nixon was gracious in defeat despite being cheated out of the Presidency in 1960. See “controversies.”

I think that Democrats ought to bite the bullet and support Voter ID laws that can assure voters a relatively hassle free method of registering to vote.

I ran as a Republican several times from the 1970s to the early 2000’s. I never smelled a whiff of serious fraud. Still, if we’re going to quell the paranoia about fraud its not asking too much to address the issues Mary Kiffmeyer lays out. I’m not sure whether I’ll still vote against the particular constitutional amendment that’s on the Minnesota ballot. I’ll have to research its wording and implication more.

Further I’m intrigued by a recent proposal I heard about proper ID. Why not demand that anyone buying a firearm carry and present a photo ID before purchase?