Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Continuing Cry for More Gun Control

Following up on last week's article about the Parkland shooting and the new call for increased gun, I thought I'd like to comment just a bit on some of what President Trump has proposed in response. As many of you will recall, President Trump was inundated by the media with demands to immediately address the shootings and what he proposes to do about(more on that later).

First, Trump has already commented on the tragedy, and he promised to look into what options are on the table, short of the most hair brained one, which is trying to strip everyone of their guns, which we'll cover shortly. Secondly, if there was an easy solution, I'm sure Obama and other presidents whose administrations were scared by these senseless shootings would have already jumped on those. The fact of the matter is that there are no simple solutions. Lastly, I think the media, which has long ago established their strong anti-Trump bias, is trying to force Trump into a corner by getting him to say or commit to something which is unpractical or that he hasn't had time to seriously think through with the help of his various advisors. I'm sure no one expected Obama to have an instant answer so why so Trump?

The idea of raising the minimum age to buy a rifle from 18 to 21 years of age isn't a bad one. You have to be 21 to (legally) drink. In many places you have to be 21 to vote. However, one recent argument, namely that you don't have to be 21 to be drafted, is a bit out in right field. First, we don't have a draft and it's doubtful we ever will (though I wouldn't completely rule it out). Nevertheless, if one needs to register for the draft at 18, then one should be able to vote, drink, or buy a gun at 18. After all, if you're old enough to potentially be pressed into military service and possibly die for a war by a government that you didn't even get a voice in, then by God you should be able to cast a vote, buy a drink, and own a gun too!

On the other hand, if that's changed to 21, then all of it needs to be changed to 21. Otherwise, you are being put into a situation where you have no rights; no say in your future. I'd even be willing to go one step further by adding that if I can't vote, buy a drink or own a gun, then I shouldn't be forced to pay taxes on any income that I earn either. Isn't that the very definition of "taxation without representation"? I'm sure someone will argue that these should be a matter of State's choice, and I agree, but that should apply across the board. No vote, no gun, no right to legally buy alcohol, then no taxes either.

Next on the agenda is making it illegal to own "assault rifles". Since I'm not aware of any actual "assault" weapons available on the open market, I have to assume that opponents actually mean semiautomatic rifles with a military type design. Of course, there are dozens (if not more) rifles which look like ordinary hunting rifles which as semiautomatic, so should those be removed too? What about single shots? In the right (or wrong) hands, those can be every bit as lethal too. Should we extend this to pistols? After all, revolver or automatic can be just as deadly at the right distance.

Anti-gun advocates, I'm sure, would answer "yes" to most of these questions. They would attempt to remove all guns---rifles, pistols, air guns, BB guns, and I would doubt even dart, cap guns and even water pistols. Somehow they believe that if guns were suddenly made illegal, all the bad guys would throw up their hands, amid a muttered "ah shucks", and turn in their guns to. Well, I hate to burst their bubbles, but just like Prohibition, it ain't gonna work quite like they planned. Criminals will always have or have access to weapons, and I imagine there will be a hellva business coming from south of the border. Let's not forget that anyone with a machine shop can make a pretty effective gun too (remember the famous Sten gun from WWII? It was made entirely from plumbing parts and took just around five hours tops to build).

Part of the discussion surrounding the control of guns has been the elimination of kits that converted semiautomatics to near full automatics (including the "bumpstock"). I can see the need to remove these conversation kits from the general market; there is really no practical need for these to hunt or for self-protection, but then the 2nd Amendment wasn't written solely for hunting or even self-protection, or even for "killing" cans and bottles. It was for protecting the citizenry from the government.

While it's hard for many us to imagine, but our Founding Fathers had just concluded a revolution against their own government a few years before. They had fought the most advanced and highly trained army in the world at the time. They understood very clearly what it meant to be unarmed and defenseless or having the ability to defend yourself against your enemies. In fact, every one of those items listed in the Bill of Rights was there for a very real and practical reason. They had been there and experienced that first hand. They understood clearly what a government, unresponsive to its citizens, was not just capable of doing, but often quite willing to do. Not only had they seen and experienced it themselves, they saw it in France, the various German kingdoms, Spain, Italy, Poland, Sweden, and Russia.

Of course, weaponry has changed a thousand times over since 1776, but at least the weapons used by our Founding Fathers were near or on par with the British, Hessian, and French troops. Gun advocates press for the same or similar parity. However, it think there's something more basic at play here too. Anti-gun advocates and those who want to greatly curtail gun ownership seem to have a different view of government than those who oppose any sort of gun control. The former seem to be more trusting of government. They believe that government tends to have more of the answers than not; even if they didn't, government is still the best tool to find and implement the best answers. In short, government is the solution.

On the other side are those who resist the government. They see government as the problem and tend to believe that society is where we'll find the best solutions to any problems that we face, be it through capitalism or general consensus. They believe that, given human nature, power consumes all who come into contact with it. Thus, what the gun control argument is ultimately all about is how we feel about government; can we trust it or not? How long can we ride the beast before it devours us?

We've already seen out Constitutional or democratic republic devolve into an Oligarchy. That's a given now. We blew it while we were busy playing on our "Smart Phones", video games, and watching so-called "reality shows". We were too busy worrying whether or not our jobs were going to be shipped overseas, or pay cuts, or loss of benefits, to pay attention. Not surprising really. We're usually distracted by the corporate media while Washington is busy doing or hiding something else. So, why would you worry about losing the ability to protect yourself? It worked out fine for the Spanish, Italians, Russians, Germans in the 1920's and 1930's...right?

Now, as the other argument---allowing teachers to be armed in classrooms. In a word, "no". Personally I find that to be a really stupid idea. There are teachers who shouldn't be allowed to carry chalk let alone guns. First, in some schools, I'd be more concerned with the students trying to steal or disarm the teachers than some armed wacko walking into a school. Secondly, I don't think most teacher have the right mentality to use a gun. Yes, they are going to be far more concerned about the wellbeing of their students than some rent-a-cop, and yes, I think most teachers would do everything possible to protect their students up to and including putting themselves between the shooter and their kids.

However, it's an entirely different mentality between protecting others and to be will to shoot another human being (let along the psychological impact it would have on the younger students witnessing their teacher kill someone--although it might have a positive impact on any future discipline problems with older students). Still, it's not the teacher's job to shoot people.

At best, teachers should have access to stun guns or tear gas...again, at best. However, we already have "gun free zones" (Parkland High School was a "gun free zone" and we saw how well that sign worked). We have metal detectors. We have locked doors and security cameras. The fact is that there is nothing that can or will stop someone from doing it again, be it a school, concerts, hotel/casino, shopping mall, or an office building, if they are willing to be arrested or die. That's a lesson we should have already learned from the terrorists.

Having said that, I can see an argument whereby certain teachers---those with military or law enforcement training---coupled with specialized police "counter terror" training could be armed, perhaps with bean bags, rubber bullets, or other non-lethal means. Perhaps someone who doesn't have regular contact with students such as a gym coach, a vice principal, HR, or even secretary and would be able roam freely without drawing attention to themselves. I would also make the identity of that individual (or individuals) confidential so that no-one, especially the shooter, knows who is a possible threat or not. Declaring an area to be "gun free" is like putting a shark in the middle of a school of fish and posting a "no eating" sign.

Speaking of sharks, I want to add one last thing about the media frenzy going on around the Trump White House. While the corporate owned and controlled media likes to pretend they are the "conscience of America" and that "the public wants" or "the People need" to know is just so much BS. This is all about ratings, and ratings drive advertising which drives revenue. We are told what they want us to know; we are feed predigested news designed to make us form specific opinions while other stories are buried or ignored.

It's also all about one-upmanship between networks and individual reporters. Still, at the heart of it (at least this go around) is trying to destroy or discredit the Trump Administration. The political establishment---the Oligarchs who run this country---had promised Hillary that it was her turn after losing to Obama. Trump wasn't suppose to win. Heck, he wasn't even supposed to be in the race! He was, as Marco Rubio said, "the clown" and referred to Trump's campaign as a "freak show" (other candidates had more unflattering comments to make about Trump the Political Outsider). Trump was, after all, the unvetted and unpreapproved candidate who stole Hillary's crown. Apparently treason is where most American's draw the line.

What we're seeing daily from the media is a collective temper tantrum and their attempt at some sort of revenge for Hillary's loss as well as vindication for being so horribly wrong in not just their election prediction (which was embarrassing enough), but also despite their best efforts to manipulate the public's opinion of Trump. They were so sure they had the majority of us in their hip pocket.

CPRC: Another mass public shooting in Florida; another gun-free zone

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