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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

WE MUST ACT NOW!


I awoke this morning to CNN with President Barack Barack Obama announcing:


He signed a $500 million package of 23 executive actions to reduce gun violence and called on Congress to ban military-style assault weapons and magazines of more than ten bullets.  Click on the above for details, which included background checks, closing loopholes in gun sale background checks and wide-ranging mental health issues.  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has required Senate confirmation of their director since 2006...but the opposition of the National Rifle Association of America has meant that this position has been held by five individuals on an acting role.  The current acting director,  Todd Jones, was again nominated by Obama today.  Here is a video of what happened today.

The President said all the above would be challenged, for the opposition is united and formidable. Just an inkling of the difficulties to be faced is this blog site itself.  About a month ago I posted on


I don't think I received even one comment to my other 30 articles during this period (most seem afraid to go public and usually reach me by e-mail), except for this one, and there was a bunch of them.  True, they all came from one person, and I consider him to be a colleague, but this subject is right up there with religion, same-sex marriage, immigration, the Obama medical plan, and defense spending.  

I've attempted to make this blog site a clarion call and sounding board for contentious issues.  I don't necessarily support the views I sometimes offer.  As for example, following up on my HuffPosting related to gun control on:

A SIMPLE SOLUTION FOR CRIME:  BACKGROUND

My part 2 on:

A SIMPLE SOLUTION FOR CRIME:  THREE STRIKES AND YOU'RE DEAD

was declined for publication by the Huffington Post, the only one, of the more of than a hundred, I submitted.

Granted, I have become a kind of life curmudgeon, expressing wonderment about how in this modern age, more than 90% could still have faith in some kind of afterlife.  That's my chapter five from  SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanityserialized beginning on 31December2009.  In another HuffPo, I felt that:

THE SIMPLEST SOLUTION FOR OUR NATIONAL DEBT...

...was to increase it!

I have questioned the hydrogen economy (even though I drafted the original hydrogen bill introduced in the U.S. Senate), railed against ethanol, felt wavepower was hopeless, thought Hawaii would be among the first to enter into a prolonged economic depression when Peak Oil happened, advised unions to re-invent itself and called for the repeal of the Second Amendment on the right to bear arms.

Which returns me to the subject of the day and a poll by TIME/CNN released today.  
  • For gun regulations:  December 1993 = 70%   January 2013 = 55%
  • Tighter gun restrictions would reduce violence:  Dec 1993 = 50%  Today = 39%
  • Agree with NRA's position on armed guards in schools:  Today = 54%
  • Ban on assault rifles:  Today = 56%

Thus, the Newtown massacre (above, names on those who did not survive--nineteen others died) did NOT sufficiently evoke those emotions required to drive gun safety legislation.  The American people were more for gun regulations in 1993 when President Bill Clinton signed the Brady Act into law, which had to do with background checks.  This time President Obama is proposing the full package, but short, very short, of repealing the Second Amendment.

Irony of all ironies, the National Shooting Sports Foundation yesterday began hosting the world's largest gun show, the annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show at the Sands Expo Convention Center in Las Vegas.  Why ironic?  The NSSF is located in Newtown, Connecticut.  Sixty thousand conferees are expected, but not you.  Only procurers of these products are invited.

No amount of logic will convince anyone to give up their guns.  However, the analogy I use is that if our Founding Fathers had inserted an amendment mandating a lane for horse and buggies on all national roads, there would be advocates today arguing that their constitutional rights would be threatened if President Obama attempted to remove this anachronism.

More than eleven scores ago there was the danger of angry (for good reason) Indians, the still possible return of British troops, NO POLICEMEN and the requirement to hunt for your food.  I would own a few weapons then for sure.  Yes, today people still hunt and some in certain environments need guns to protect themselves, or, at least, think so.  The fact of the matter is that North Korea will not invade our homeland, as happened in the latest Red Dawn, and the police will be there in minutes for 95% of our populace through a 911 call.  There is also the National Guard for larger crises.  Then, of course, the Department of Defense.  

As I'm mystified on why so many believe in an afterlife and ghosts, I honestly can't understand why there is this intense emotional attachment to lethal weapons.  I was in the U.S. Army.  I fired guns and rifles and cannons.  Terrific experience.  Freedom.  Patriotism.  Granted, I'm uneasy on a hunt for deer or wild pigs, so I don't have that mentality.  

Honolulu is a relatively safe place, but Japan is 150 times safer, in terms of fire-arm related deaths.  Interesting that gun ownership per capita in Japan is just about 1/150 that  of the USA.  Our's is the highest, twice that of Switzerland, ten times of Russia, 18 times of China and 100 times of Mali (had to add this, as the French are having problems there).  On the argument that gun ownership will prevent our federal government from becoming too powerful, I offer Japan in counterpoint.  They've only had seven prime ministers in seven years.

As mixed as the voting public is on gun legislation, time remains of the essence.  People will lose interest by next year.  Delay will be the strategy of the NRA, NSSF and their ilk.  Thus, while we must act now, I expect the U. S. Congress to get wrapped up with our national deficit, budget sequestration and immigration.  What will pass are a few cosmetic changes to combat gun violence.  Gun owners can already stop worrying.  Our members of Congress consider survival to be their highest priority, and they are more fearful of expected NRA backlash tactics than a citizenry somewhat lukewarm on the subject.

On then to the National Constitutional Convention in  2020, which will be posted later, for Congress, is, indeed, broken.  This could well be that key moment when states take the initiative to press for change.  Governor Andrew Cuomo (left) of  New York coincidentally yesterday signed a new gun law, significantly expanding the ban on assault rifles.  Another anti-gun leader, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, chairman of the Mayors Against Guns, is already heading to DC to lobby for the Obama legislation.  While states like Texas and many in the West will resist, a few more carnages over the next few years will drive this issue to the tipping point.

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