Thugs

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on February 10, 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Right wing commentators wrongly characterize union members as thugs. I have been waiting for an opportunity to use the term correctly against them and Wayne LaPierre’s bodyguards meet the definition. In yesterday’s testimony, LaPierre testified in Congress against universal background checks. Before the hearing started, one of his bodyguards pushed a member of the media into a wall to prevent filming of LaPierre as he arrived. Thuggery in our nation’s Capitol.

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NRA

English: Houston Gun show at the George R. Bro...

English: Houston Gun show at the George R. Brown Convention Center Español: “Houston Gun Show” en el Centro de Convenciones George R. Brown (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The NRA represents the interests of gun manufacturers, not gun owners. What do gun manufacturers want? They want to sell more guns to produce more profits. There are already approximately 300 million guns in private hands in the US. That is more than enough. We should ban the import of more guns and require that all guns manufactured in the US be sold to the Federal government for military use or to the states for use by militias or law enforcement. We could even consider paying gun manufacturers not to produce guns as we pay farmers not to grow crops.

In addition, government at all levels could institute buy-back programs to slowly reduce the number of guns in private hands. Gun owners could still buy and sell their guns to qualified private individuals through gun shows or individually from one seller to one or more buyers. It makes no sense to buy back a few weapons at a time if the market is being flooded with new guns. Current gun owners would see the value of their guns increase as the number of guns in the US gradually declines.

Please see Wayne LaPierre and the NRA

Wayne LaPierre and the NRA

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on February 10, 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In yesterday’s “news conference,” Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President and chief spokesman for the NRA blamed everyone but gun owners and the NRA for the tragedy in Newtown. I agree with some of what he said, but I disagree with his proposed solution of adding more guns to the mix. We have too many guns already in this country, and more guns will make a bad situation worse.

I read Ricochet: Confessions of a Gun Lobbyist by Richard Feldman several years ago and then gave my copy to a friend. As best I can recall, he called the NRA a well-oiled, money-raising machine. In addition to membership dues, the NRA uses frantic-sounding messages to its members to raise additional cash. Your immediate response is requested or some law will erode your second amendment rights. What struck me at the time was the odd amounts requested: $38.54 or some such rather than the usual round numbers of $25.00 or 50.00 or 100.00. I suppose the odd amounts requested have been tested and found to be more effective. LaPierre is paid about $1,000,000 per year.

Gun control revisited

Constitution

Constitution (Photo credit: ~ Phil Moore)

Gun Control

In the May, 2012 issue of Reason magazine , there is a prominent article by Greg Beato entitled, “The Gun Explosion, Why the Firearms Boom is Good News for the American Economy.” Gun sales are way up and he lists several reasons. It is easier for small manufacturers to produce guns using computerized milling machines. More manufacturers are making more and different models. Women and men in combat are returning to civilian life with knowledge of guns and a desire to own one or more. Fear that some models may be banned. Beato’s closing words, the best way to reduce the sale of guns may be to defeat Barack Obama in November.

Gun control part 2

I favor strict gun controls. In fact, I believe that gun ownership by individuals should be made illegal. The second amendment to the Constitution supports the right to bear arms by a militia or national guard. That requirement can be met by keeping the necessary weapons under lock and key in an armoury for use during legally authorized emergencies. Members of the militia/national guard do not need to have access to weapons in their homes.

For sportsmen and women, I would provide target ranges where guns could be rented while in use at the range only. For hunters, I would provide rifles and shotguns for rent only during the various hunting seasons. Once the rental period expired or the season ended, the guns must be returned from where they had been rented.

There are too many guns on the streets in the wrong hands. Privileges that are abused are lost. Too many people in America are losing their lives daily to senseless gun violence. It will not stop as long as we permit some to profit from their sale nor will it stop as long as the NRA is involved in politics.

Gun control part 3

I have never suffered a gun related crime as a victim nor have I ever prevented a crime by use of a gun to protect myself or someone else. I have been told by others how a gun saved them from death or a fate worse than death as rape was described in an earlier day. The number of gun related crimes can be ascertained approximately from crime statistics, but the number of crimes prevented by guns can only be estimated. The question in my mind is what is the cost-benefit ratio? How many crimes prevented to the number of gun related crimes? Then each of us must make a moral judgment. Are the crimes prevented of greater worth to society than the cost of gun related crimes and deaths?

Every crime prevented is worth celebrating, particularly to the potential victim and his/her family and friends. However, as much as a crime prevention is worth celebrating for an individual, is the cost worthwhile for all of us together as a society? Are we to arm everyone to prevent crime? A gun kept safely under lock and key may not be accessible in time to prevent a crime. The best marksman/woman in the world may be slower on the draw than the intruder/criminal. As much as guns may prevent some crimes for some individuals, I believe that the mayhem that results from too many guns in the wrong hands is too high a price to pay.

I would suggest replacing guns in our society with non-lethal means of defense such as mace, pepper spray and tasers. However, I think that we must look beyond that to what I believe is the ultimate solution, loving our neighbors. If each of us truly loved our neighbors as ourselves and let our neighbors know of our love with positive acts that were of benefit to the neighbor/potential criminal, I believe that potential criminals would be hesitant to hurt someone who loved them. You may think that I am crazy and/or naive, but I believe that the fellowship of man is the ultimate solution to the gun problem that we have here in the US. We cannot continue to witness gun-related mass slayings and label each and every one of them the work of the mentally disturbed when we have no way of knowing who is  prone to gun violence before the tragedies occur.

Gun control part 4

As I see it, there are two main reasons for the support of the second amendment: self-defense, discussed in a prior post, and distrust of the US government, the subject of this post.

Guns in the hands of the civilian population is believed by some to guarantee our freedom. This belief was born in our successful revolt against Great Britain in the period of 1776 to 1783. The US was aided financially by France and individuals from various European nations volunteered their services. Is that likely to happen again in the future? I think not.

Armed rebellion by residents of the South was attempted in the Civil War from 1861 to 1865 and was defeated. Even with aid from Great Britain, the South could not withstand the might of the Federal government. Do the militias and individuals expressing second amendment rights today honestly believe that they have any chance of success? I doubt that they could withstand the organized might of the Federal government nor could they expect assistance from governments or many individuals from outside the US. Rather than intervene on the rebels’ behalf, the UN or NATO are more likely to assist the US government.

Rather than suggesting armed rebellion against the government to protect their definition of freedom, the proponents of resistance to government policies should work within the system to effect change. If they cannot win the support of the majority of their fellow citizens, they should rethink their positions. The rest of the free world is free despite the lack of an armed citizenry. My advice to the second amendment supporters is to relax and enjoy life. And let the rest of us enjoy our lives without all the emphasis on 2nd and 10th amendment rights.

Gun control part 5

Briefly from An Invitation to Health, Brief Second Edition, by Dianne Hales. An additional reason supporting strict gun control:

“States with stricter gun-control laws have much lower rates of suicides than states with more lenient laws.”

Protect yourself and those you love from self-destruction caused by temporary periods of depression.

Shameful

English: Grover Norquist at a political confer...

English: Grover Norquist at a political conference in Orlando, Florida. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Under the current GOP leadership, we have seen several shameful firsts:

  1. For the first time ever, the  credit rating of our debt was downgraded.
  2. Mitch McConnell admitted that the top GOP priority was to defeat Barack Obama’s bid for a second term.
  3. Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt of Congress.
  4. Grover Norquist has stated that the GOP will attempt to impeach President Obama in his second term, if he is re-elected.

Fast and Furious is a hoax instigated by the NRA. Perhaps the GOP are practicing for their future attempt to impeach the President. As they are currently demonstrating, they do not need any reason other than a trumped-up excuse, concocted out of whole cloth.