Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Parting Shots from 2008

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

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!


xobekim said...

I figured out a long time ago that I didn't want any guns in my house. That's my personal decision.

With rights come responsibility and the indiscriminate firing of pistols and rifles is neither responsible nor legal.

A Phoenix eighth grader's poster on the subject has been turned into a billboard. See:

Nonetheless, in those quiet hours of contemplation I realize that no American community maintains an independent and well regulated militia. State National Guard units are an extension of the Federal Government. Local and state law officers operate under legislative authority. The paucity of case law on the Second Amendment does not clarify what our rights are when it comes to gun ownership.

If Narco-Terrorists, or any other invading force, assembled en masse and began a foray into Arizona, then I would not want to raise a militia armed with tasers, pellet, bb, and paint guns. We should not mix our applesauce with our chicken manure. If the Battle of Casa Grande must be fought then let the people maintain the means to prevail.

Pa Rock's Ramble said...

Mike, I agree with you to a point. There might come a time of invasion when it would be beneficial for citizens to be armed and ready to fight. My problem with all of these bozos and their well-stocked armories is that they often view government as the problem. I'm not sure that democracy is well served by everyone opening fire for their own particular self-interests. Those battles are better resolved with ballots.

Thanks for the link to the billboard. Happy New Year!


Brenda from Mac County said...

Yawn. Sorry, but that is my chief comment on gun control. Let me explain:
I serve on the local library board as a trustee. A few years ago, our library director told the board we didn't have a policy regarding carrying concealed weapons in the library - I think this was right after Missouri voted to allow the permits to be granted. So, in all our naivety, we created and passed the policy, and a sign was made that said something like "The carrying of any weapon, with or without a permit, in the McDonald County Library, is prohibited."
John Fitts, a local veteran and polemic letter to the editor writer, showed up for the next meeting. During the "comments from public" period, which we always had but never, ever utilized (there never being a public), John Fitts berated us soundly for our "un-American" action that somehow rendered undone every patriotic act ever committed in defense of our nation's flag. After he finished, I opened my mouth.
"Sorry, Mr. Fitts, but the whole gun control argument makes me yawn. I don't think that discussion even relates to what we have done here, which is to put a policy in place to protect our children."
I won't make this story any longer, except to say that Mr. Fitts turned his surname into a canting name. He had a hissy. He threatened me with a lawsuit and bodily harm. I just smiled and said, "Whatever," and stifled the yawn.
We have guns in our house. That isn't the issue. I guess I don't think it necessary for people to buy and use uzis. I personally don't like guns, but I don't really notice them anymore, either, as they are everywhere here. We have one or two propped up at the back door, loaded. One is above the fireplace. Several in the bedroom in a rack. Etc.
My husband would be pretty pissed if anyone took them.
But as far as carrying a weapon to the Library, I think he knows better. Taking away our guns is not a good idea, but getting all half-cocked about it is not good, either. Can't we all just get along?

Pa Rock's Ramble said...

Hey Brenda,

Missouri, in fact, did not pass a law for carrying concealed weapons. In a rare bit of common sense, the public voted that measure down. Then the legislature corrected the public's "mistake" and passed it anyway.

I'm beginning to think that it might be good policy if we all were required to carry. The streets, planes, churches, and schools might not be any safer, but ego maniacs like your friend at the library meeting might think twice before they start berating people with whom they don't agree.