TIT FOR TAT

 

The NRA has a new ad in which they point out the President’s hypocrisy in opposing having armed guards or teachers in our schools when his own daughters have such protection. Below the belt? The President thought it would lend credence to his recent press conference/executive order signing on gun restrictions having four children standing behind him as he railed against those who support the concept of an unfettered Second Amendment. So, who is right? The answer? Our children should not be used as pawns by either side in this debate. It seems that on any issue which divides us, we are incapable of acting like adults and having a meaningful discussion to lead to a resolution or at least a positive improvement to whatever the problem is. The gun debate continues to highlight the division in this country between the left and the right and, particularly with the gun debate, the urban versus the rural. People who live in cities, mostly those in “Blue States,” seem to believe that guns are bad and should be banned or seriously restricted. People who live in rural areas, mostly “Red States” believe, almost universally, that the Second Amendment means what it says. As with most issues, the truth lies somewhere in between, with neither side willing to explore the real solutions to the problem. First, lets look at some facts. Do you know how many guns there are in this country? Most estimates indicate approximately 300 million. As one commentator pointed out, if you banned all guns today and began some kind of confiscatory program, it might take a hundred years to run down all the guns in this country. Go ahead and ban assault rifles, providing you can define what those are which is important to note. One gun shop owner demonstrated that he could fire off three ten round clips from a rifle in less than ten seconds. So much for restricting the number of bullets in a clip. Chicago has one of the toughest anti gun laws in the nation. Last year, it also had the highest murder rate in the nation with most of those gun killings. The Justice Department found that during the ten years we had an ban on assault weapons, there was no reduction in gun violence. The depraved shooter in Connecticut stole the gun he used to slaughter innocent children. So much for background checks. Banning or restricting guns of any kind, tightening background checks, restricting the number of bullets in a clip? It makes for a good show which this Administration is notorious for but it simply won’t prevent what happened in Colorado or Connecticut. In fact, an article in the December 23rd L.A. Times, hardly a right wing publication, pointed out that mass shootings have not increased over the last three decades. The article cited a criminologist who indicated, “There’s been no trajectory upward or downward.” Second, if banning or restricting guns is not the answer, what is? In our President’s 23 point proposal to supposedly reduce guns and arguably the violence associated with guns, number 23 indicated we should have a dialogue about mental health issues. A dialogue? After many years spent in law enforcement, I can assure you there are two kinds of people who commit crimes, with or without a gun: psychopaths and sociopaths. People who are mentally ill or people who don’t follow the same morality as you and I, people who have no compunction about harming others, including killing them if it suits their purpose. As to the first group, the mentally ill, instead of spending billions on electing one bad Prexy after another, we should put that money into improving our mental health system, including restricting the ability of the truly mentally ill from committing crimes with or without a gun. As to the second group, we need to continue to support and improve our criminal justice system and safeguard public places. We already do so at airports. Unfortunately, it now appears we will have to do so at all venues where masses of people gather including our schools. If that includes arming guards, teachers or administrators, sign me up. I’ll sleep better at night knowing my granddaughter has an armed guard ready to protect her if some nut shows up to mow her down in a hail of bullets. 

 

SEMPER FI

The last time I looked, the office of the President of these United States still carried with it the role of the Prexy as commander in chief of our military. Practically, that means our President is the top dog, big cheese, big kahuna, numero uno, well, you get the point. In other words, the President outranks everyone else, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and can pretty much dictate to and change policy within our military if he (or hopefully in the future, she) decides to do so. But there’s the problem. Our Prexy has to act and for our current President, he’s long on posturing and pandering and short on meaningful action. A case in point is the current flap over the spouse of a Lt. Col. at Fort Bragg who is being denied membership in the on-base spouses club. This couple has been together for over 15 years, has a stable relationship, a two year old child and another child on the way. Seems like a nice couple the spouses club would welcome. There’s just one problem. The couple are gay, lesbians. In 2008, a “directive” from the Department of the Army indicated that “non-federal entities” operating on U. S. Military bases would not be allowed to discriminate on the basis of “race, color, creed, sex, age, disability or national origin.” However, the Pentagon refuses to intervene at Ft. Bragg because according to their spokesman, “there is no mention [in the directive] of discrimination based on sexual orientation.” Relying on an obvious loophole in this directive is bad enough but it also ignores that in 2011, the military finally dropped its whole anti-gay stance with the repeal of the ridiculous “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Which brings us back to our President, the Commander in Chief. During his recent successful re-election campaign, Mr. Obomba pandered to every special interest group across the minority spectrum he could reach out to, including gay Americans. To win this group’s support, he changed his stance, becoming the first President to embrace and endorse gay marriage. His liberal media immediately anointed him as a savior, likening his position to that of Lincoln freeing the slaves. Fine. But where is he now? As commander, why doesn’t he intervene and simply order a change in the law to end this obvious discrimination? And for my friends on the right who obviously don’t believe gay couples should enjoy this particular status and that spouses clubs on military bases should be reserved for spouses of traditional marriages, “one man and one woman,” and that the military would be hostile to any change in that status, it’s important to note that as they usually do, the arguably toughest branch of the military, the Marines, are once again leading the charge. On January 9, 2013, Marine Corp leaders ordered that same-sex spouses be allowed to participate in spouses clubs on all Marine bases. “Semper Fi” Mr. President. 

 

“AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH”

 

Although some of my friends and family continue to poo poo my condemnation of the liberal bias in the media, it is interesting to note that although my net news includes stories on Lindsey Lohan’s latest peccadilloes, Evan R. Wood’s pregnancy (she’s an actress) and the fact that some CEO had his gun permit revoked, there is no mention of our former vice president, Al Gore. It seems that Al baby started a liberal news network and, like most liberal media attempts, it failed. So, Al and his business cronies decided to sell it. That right wing icon, turned libertarian, Glen Beck offered to buy it but Al wouldn’t consider a sale to a conservative like Beck. So instead, Al sold his Current TV channel to a middle eastern terrorist group. Yep. Even the New York Times identified Al Zareeza as a group supporting terrorism but what the hey, that didn’t seem to faze ole Al. After spouting off in support of taxing the rich, ole Al also tried to complete the sale before the new year, so he could avoid paying higher capital gain’s taxes. Apparently, that was unsuccessful but not to worry, Al still pulled in a cool hundred mil for his share of the network. Ironically, Al is now worth more than that whipping boy of the left, one Rom Mitney ( remember him?). While the media was more than happy during the last election to repeat every allegation that made Romney look like an uncaring rogue business type, ole Al, being a liberal, gets a free ride on his little trip down hypocrisy lane. The real “inconvenient truth” is that Al Gore is nothing more than the typical sleazy opportunistic politician. And those of you who continue to argue that everything bad that happens to us during the rest of our life times is because G. W. The Bushy beat ole Al would do well to contemplate just what it would have been like having a guy like ole Al Goring us for eight years. 

OPPS

Aside

The editor of a White Plains newspaper argued that her paper’s publishing an interactive map showing the names and addresses of thousands of handgun permit owners in two local counties was “important in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings.” Of course, conservative pundits as well as many of those targeted cried foul, arguing that they would become “targets” and subject to “public ridicule.” In fact, as is typically the case with those on the left and the right, neither side got it right. A study by MIT and Carnegie Mellon University showed that a similar gun ownership data dump by a news outlet in Memphis, Tennessee in 2008 resulted in a drop in burglaries in those areas of the city with the most concealed-carry permits and an increase in burglaries in areas with the fewest such permits. Violent crimes showed no difference, not surprising given that most violent crimes usually lack premeditation. The study concluded that the “…results suggest that despite activism on the part of gun owners against the publication of such databases, it may actually be gun permit holders who benefited” from publication. So, while the liberal newspaper in White Plains attempted to embarrass and harass gun owners, it unconsciously may have actually added credence to those who argue that possessing a firearm deters crime, an issue liberals continue to vigorously deny. And it remains to be seen why people who own guns would argue that knowledge of such would make them targets when the available evidence shows that even criminals aren’t that stupid when choosing the obvious option to invade a home without the prospect of being shot. And if gun owners are really concerned that they will be ridiculed by some, then they obviously don’t believe that owning a gun is more important than their public image. Somehow, I find it difficult to believe most citizens who own guns are that thin skinned. 

 

 

“THE BASIC TRUTHS OF LIFE?”

In his recent letter to the editor of the Silver State Post, (newspaper in my town) the writer opined that this newspaper’s new news editor didn’t go far enough in his column decrying gay marriage, concluding that homosexuality is “morally wrong,” “degrades human beings, just as other vices do,” and suggesting that gay people should be held in the same degree of contempt we reserve for criminals, to wit, pedophiles.

In support of his argument, the letter writer indicates his conclusions are based on a perceived understanding of “the basic truths of life.” I am always deeply impressed with my friends who have figured out such matters, who are secure in the knowledge that they have found the answer to the meaning of life and that their perceptions are true, accurate and not subject to debate. It certainly provides them with emotional security and often allows them to disregard further thought on such issues, seemingly leaving them more time to deal with the more mundane aspects of life. I suppose one could argue that it is the intellectual equivalent of consuming comfort food: it doesn’t have much substance but it tastes good.

Despite my decades of practicing law, including my time as a judge where I often wrestled with the moral issues that do indeed represent the basis of our laws, I have no experience which suggests that there is any moral code which supports intolerance or bigotry. To the contrary, our nation is great, in part, because of our laws which have consistently recognized that our citizens should not be discriminated against because of race, religion, ethnicity or because of their sexual orientation.

Empirically, I have interacted over many years with a number of gay persons, both female and male. One of the best doctors I ever had before her retirement happened to be gay. One of my closest male friends, someone I have known and respected since our days in college, happens to be gay. Personally, my experience is that a person’s sexuality seldom, if ever, defines who they are and is a poor indication of their morality or their value to society, assuming we need to make such judgments.

This is reflected in those states that recognize the rights of gay persons to marry, for example, a position, whether agreed with or not, endorsed by a significant number of our citizens including our President.

If there is any universal truth about us, as human beings, then that truth is that a person who lives a moral life should be respected, admired and revered, not condemned because he or she us different from other  equally moral people.

And while our First Amendment guarantees our right to express our opinions, I’ll quote our new news editor who indicates that he “…will continue…ensuring fair and accurate reporting at all times.” Perhaps his devotion to this fundamental principle of good journalism will be an incentive for responsible debate by his readers, as well.