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Saturday, December 14, 2013

HOW DUMB CAN WE GET? HOW SMART THIS WOULD BE!

The massacre of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut was a year ago.  Yesterday, another school gun shooting incident in Colorado, only eight miles away from the Columbine High School incident of 1999 when 12 were killed by two students.

Since then, there have been 31 mass shootings (not counting the "active epidemic" now being tracked by the FBI, which have tripled since Columbine).  President Clinton and the Democrats did squeak through a mild background check measure on private dealer sales at gun shows in the Senate, but the House remained recalcitrant.  Today, 80% of "crime" guns are still purchased without any check, and the current administration was steamrolled by the Gun Lobby after Sandy Hook into uselessness, for the threatened filibuster by Republicans could not even get anything through the Senate this time.

You would think Colorado, of all the places, would have learned a lesson, especially after the Aurora theater killings (12 dead and 70 injured) in 2012.  Nope.  The National Rifle Association stifled any truly meaningful legislation from passing.  Worse, two Democratic state lawmakers who backed stricter laws, were kicked out of office, generously through the lobbying of the NRA, which trumped the support of Michael Bloomberg.  Said potential Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo:

"We are a people who believe in personal freedom, including the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms."

This kind of logic fails me.  At the time the Constitution was being drafted, there were Indians and no police force to protect the public like today.  No cell phones to call 911 for instant response.  I would have an arsenal of weapons if faced with those conditions.  Americans own an estimated 270 million guns, or 89 for every hundred residents, about double that of Switzerland at 46 per 100.  The low end:
  • Singapore  0.5
  • Japan  0.6
  • Vietnam  1.7
  • .
  • Egypt  3.5
  • .
  • Afghanistan  4.6
  • .
  • China  4.9
  • .
  • Israel  7.3
  • Iran  7.3
  • .
  • Russia  8.9
  • .
  • South Africa  12.7
  • .
  • Iraq  34.2
Gun-related deaths (per 100 per year):
  • Honduras  65
  • Guatemala  36
  • .
  • South Africa  22
  • .
  • Mexico  11
  • .
  • United States  10
  • .
  • Singapore  0.2
  • Ukraine  0.2
  • .
  • South Korea   0.1 (cartoon from Korea Times)
  • Japan  0.1
Latin America annually suffers from three-quarters of a million deaths by gun, most drug and gang related.  Considering we have so many guns, we're doing okay as to actual number of kills.  However when it comes to murder, we stand supreme:


In the USA (gun deaths/100/year):
  • District of Columbia  16.5
  • Louisiana  7.7
  • .
  • Colorado  1.3
  • .
  • Hawaii  0.5
Yes,  Hawaii is the safest.

So how goes gun-control legislation?  Well, background checks did not make it and Senate Republicans are expected to block the 3D-gun law loophole.  That, is, while these plastic guns can pass airport security, Republicans, urged on by the NRA, are protecting the rights of citizens.  But, aha, Vice President Joe Biden said he will help elect gun control advocates to Congress next year.  Wayne LaPierre yawned, although that circle in the photo shows him "frothing at the mouth."  Anyway, how dumb can we get!!!

Which leads me to another attack on idiocy.  That latest bipartisanship budget agreement, through great lobbying by the Military-Industrial Complex, snuck in a second aircraft carrier to be built at Newport News, the John F. Kennedy:


Mind you, I'm losing count, but we already have 12 (depends on what you consider as a true fighting group) carrier task forces, and no real enemy.  After you pay for the hardware, each battle group costs $2.5 billion annually to operate.  Okay, as we have them already, keep six for any worse case scenario.  Sell the remainder to Singapore, Qatar, Taiwan, Brazil, the European Union, and the oldest one to Russia.  Let them fight terrorists, check China (this is a typical fictitious future Chinese carrier) and respond to catastrophic natural disasters.  Now this would be smart!

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