by Pa Rock
Fourteen-year-old Shannon Smith of Phoenix died in her backyard one summer evening in 1999 when a wayward bullet fell from the sky and struck her. Shannon's parents were horrified to learn that the indiscriminate firing of weapons in the city of Phoenix was only a misdemeanor. Her parents and classmates worked to get a state law enacted that would make it a felony to fire a gun randomly in any city in the state. A special session of the legislature was called primarily to get Shannon's Law passed before the much anticipated 2000 New Year's celebration.
But the National Rifle Association immediately rallied their lunkheads and managed to get the special session adjourned without action. The following year the reformers were able to prevail over the know-nothings and the law was finally passed.
May the Arizona cowboy culture take at least this one night off, and may the holiday revelers be as safe in their own homes as they would be out on the mean streets of Phoenix. Surely there is a right to safety that supersedes the right to play with guns.
And while I'm on the subject of guns, here are three recent tidbits from the national press:
Assault weapons aren't really practical for hunting, so how does a slobbering redneck justify the urge to purchase one of these weapons of mass destruction? Well, they can be useful in criminal activities. Last November robbers used an assault rifle in Salt Lake City to hold up a taco stand. They also seem to be the weapons of choice for the drug cartels. So I guess that any heroic bastard who wants to drive down to Tijuana, Nogales, or Juarez and mix it up with the drug lords should have a right to die clutching an automatic weapon - but why in the hell should anyone else want, need, or be allowed to own one?
An elected official in St. Louis, angry about the ineffectiveness of the local police, is encouraging people in his district to arm themselves. Scared people with more guns: yup, that sounds like a wiener!
And then this past week in Philadelphia a man pulled a pistol in a crowded movie theatre and opened fire on members of a family who were talking during the movie. Somewhere an NRA lobbyist is drafting legislation to require all movie-goers to arm themselves! (For those too naive to know better, the NRA is primarily funded by gun manufacturers - not gun owners.)
Here are three really big lies:
More guns and bigger guns make the world a safer place. (Nope. More brains and bigger brains might make the world a safer place, but more guns equates to more danger.Let the police carry the guns and let them fire at the bad guys. If we are all firing at the bad guys a lot of innocent people are going to be needlessly hurt or killed.)
A gun in the home makes that home safer. (Nope. A gun in the home gives criminals a reason to break in. If you have a gun, you have to be ready to use it, and most ordinary people wouldn't have the stomach for it. And then there is the subject of accidental shootings...)
Concealed weapons increase personal safety. (That fool in the theatre in Philadelphia had a concealed weapon. How safe was that? What if several other people in that theatre had concealed weapons and decided to take the shooter out? Several people firing in a dark theatre would have really been a riot! And remember the last raging pissed-off driver that you encountered on the road. Do you honestly want to increase the chances of that hot-headed idiot being armed because some backwater county clerk gave him a permit to carry a concealed weapon?)
Yes, people do kill people, but they would have a lot harder time of it without guns!