Gun violence, Chicago-style

Chicago Skyline 2008

Chicago Skyline 2008 (Photo credit: TomC)

Chicago has strict gun control laws that are not preventing 500+ homicides per year. Critics of gun control laws use Chicago’s experience to argue that strict gun control laws don’t work. That is total BS. Chicago is the transportation hub of the nation and is adjacent or close to three other states, Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan. Guns are brought into Chicago from outside the city limits, either from other cities in Illinois or from out-of-state.

I grew up in Chicago and moved to California in 1965. I am not up to date on the current situation, but this is what I know and what I think I know. Chicago is one of the most racially segregated cities in America. Most of the homicides that make up the 500+ annual figure are crimes committed on blacks by blacks, and many whites in the Chicago area don’t really care. If the homicides were blacks killing whites or whites killing whites, there would be much more support for strict gun control laws within the state and across state lines covering the entire metropolitan area. That and only that would be a true test of how well strict gun control laws really work.

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Human ingenuity

English: Michigan's Upper Peninsula

English: Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Human ingenuity will defeat high-tech every time, well almost every time. Joseph Heywood, author of The Snowfly and several crime novels set in Michigan‘s upper peninsula was a tanker pilot during the Vietnam war. In his autobiography entitled Covered Waters, Tempests of a Nomadic Trouter, he has this to say about the ingenuity of the Viet Cong enemy:

“I talked to a Forward Air Controller (FAC) about interdiction packages. Usually the package consists of a huge mine, but to keep the enemy from exploding it prematurely, they seed the area with tiny antipersonnel mines. The enemy uses a rock tied to a string, throwing it ahead of him, then dragging it back to explode the CBUs. After he cleans a path, he pulls an ox in front of the main mine. With a rope the ox then pulls a plow or metal object like a garbage can lid by the big one, exploding it. The process, which takes us a day to put in place, and many thousands of dollars, is cleared by the enemy in 2-4 hours with a rock, a string, an ox, and a piece of metal. Simplicity can always best complexity.”

And then there is the home field advantage which applies in knowledge of the war zone as well as in sports. We lost in Vietnam, did poorly in Iraq and are losing in Afghanistan, at least in part, because the enemy knows the country better than we do. In our war for independence from Great Britain, the greatest military power of the time, we won in part because we had the home field advantage. And we might still be part of the British Commonwealth if we had not had the help of France.

Donald Rumsfeld believed that the US could and should rely on high tech to allow us to field a small military. The enemy responded with IEDs, improvised explosive devices, and suicide bombers. Rather than relying so much on high tech, I believe that we should out-think and out-improvise our enemies. Let’s start encouraging Yankee know-how to win hearts and minds rather than firepower to kill.

 

Trust

The red "GOP" logo used by the party...

The red “GOP” logo used by the party for its website (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Democracy and a successful two-party system require that both parties can be trusted with power, to put the interests of country ahead of the interests of party. The Republican Party has demonstrated recently that it can no longer be trusted. Its refusal to implement portions of the Affordable Care Act, its hostility to union workers in Wisconsin, Ohio and now in Michigan, and its continuing efforts to deny the right to vote and future plans to gerrymander the Electoral College, all these efforts demonstrate Republican untrustworthiness. The GOP must reform itself and do so quickly. Otherwise, it must be replaced by another party that puts the country ahead of partisan power.

Union busting in Michigan

The Rachel Maddow Show (TV series)

The Rachel Maddow Show (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday on FOX News, I saw Megyn Kelly reporting a story about 13 Chrysler workers who were fired for drinking alcohol while at a local park during their lunch hour. Just another typical anti-union story on FOX complete with Megyn’s grimaces punctuating the story. Later in the day on Rachel Maddow‘s show on MSNBC, I discovered why FOX had made such a big deal of the Chrysler story. The state legislators in Michigan that day had rushed into law a measure to make Michigan a right-to-work state. Governor Rick Synder is expected to sign the law today. No prior notice of the proposed law had been given and no testimony solicited from the public.

Standing ovation

Mitt Romney in 2007 in Washington, DC at the V...

Mitt Romney in 2007 in Washington, DC at the Values Voters conference (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When he spoke to the NAACP recently, Mitt Romney was booed and he received a standing ovation at the conclusion of his speech. The booing was directed at him for saying that he would repeal the Affordable Care Act. The standing ovation was not directed at Mitt himself; it was directed at his father, George Romney, for his pioneering work in combatting racial discrimination. George pioneered in fighting racial discrimination while Mitt pioneered in outsourcing American jobs.

George Romney, before he entered politics, was the CEO at American Motors in Michigan. He helped draft a new constitution for the state and introduced the state income tax to Michigan to help balance the state’s budget. He was ahead of his party and ahead of his church, the Mormon church, in advocating civil rights for all Americans. He opposed the Republican Southern strategy which the party adopted under Richard Nixon in 1968 and has used in every presidential election since then. The standing ovation that Mitt received was directed at his retelling of his father’s accomplishments.