The Easy Alternatives
Are there really any alternatives? The great governor of Florida comes on the news. He immediately tells us that he is a father and a grandfather. He cares about the safety of the children. He believes in the 2nd amendment and the right to bear arms. He is in support of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act. It creates a ‘guardian program’ that allows teachers to be armed. It is a voluntary program. All of the teachers unions are completely against this. So is the republican governor. He’s ‘not sure’ about it. So it will never happen. It raises the age to acquire a gun to 21. It stipulates a waiting period of 3 days for the purchase of a firearm. It would have had no impact on what happened. It will have no impact on future events. In any case, the question begs to be asked. How’s that age thing working out with alcohol and porn, not to mention pot, which has been totally illegal since the Marihuana tax act of 1937. And that doesn’t even have any age restrictions at all. And now we are making it legal? Who screwed up? Why is it good now if it was bad for 80 years? Tell me. I really would like to know. It doesn’t work for any of this. When I was younger, it was an inconvenience, an impediment, but age restrictions were laughable. The drinking age in my state was 21. The next state over was 18. I was drinking from the time I was 15, pretty much at will. There was a virtual smorgasbord of drugs available with a simple phone call or a quick visit to multiple sources. I never had the need or the wish for a gun but they were available if I really wanted one. No registrations. No waiting periods. Increasing penalties will make more criminals that never do anything wrong EXCEPT break a new law that has no chance of being successful anyway. Governor Scott makes the statement that we must do this! That it “balances our individual rights with the need for public safety.” “It’s an example to the entire country that government can and has, moved fast.” But the government was not designed to ‘move fast’. It was supposed to move in a deliberative and focused direction. This was not what happened. And the bill for this delusion? 400 million dollars! Minimum. For a single state. For a bill that will not make a difference. A bill that nobody likes. The liberals applaud the inept restrictions. They hate the ‘guardian’ program. The conservatives decry the infringement of rights. They support the idea of teachers protecting our children as a first line of defense. As an option. As a voluntary ‘choice’ of an individual who is willing to place their own lives between the children and a killer. The liberals? Not so much. They want someone else to do it. They are willing to spend another Billion dollars for that security. Of your money. The public is split. They will ultimately pay the price. Of dollars. And of innocent lives. Not just today, but forever. He says there are no alternatives. Really? Must we? Are there really no alternatives? Maybe he means well. Who knows? Maybe he is just setting himself up for reelection. Maybe he is getting a kickback, or he just wants to feel appreciated and loved. Maybe, just maybe…. He’s an idiot. Somebody please light up a joint for him and get him off the stage. Maybe give him a line. He needs something to calm down. His opinions are irrelevant. Am I missing something here? He’s not a player. He’s been governor for 7 years now. Where is the ‘buck’ today in Florida? Sure as hell ain’t hanging around the governor’s office. Maybe it’s in his pocket. Maybe it’s already in his retirement account. I have no idea. Do you? He says he is a republican. Seen that before. Collins and McCain. It is just repugnant to have someone call them liberal, so they play conservative. But there is nothing that can stop them from thinking liberal, and governing that way. Except the next election.
So are there alternatives? There are SO many I can’t even give you a number. Unfortunately they are all against liberal principles, and the conservatives do have the responsibility of getting re-elected. You know, to protect the people’s interests and the country’s national security. Is this standup comedy or what? Even Hollywood can’t write crap like this. And that is not even considering Broward County Sherriff Israel and his obsession with himself and getting re-elected, or the four cops who waited outside while the children were being slaughtered on the other side of the wall. What is wrong with this country? People, cherish your children. No one else is looking out for them. This is a perfect reason to consider home schooling or charter schools. They are not being shot up. At least not yet. Just sayin’.
I am sure you’ve heard all the inane ignorance from both sides of the argument. It’s the guns. It’s the kids. Its gang violence and broken health care and corrupt politicians and violent video games. It’s the drugs. It’s Russia. It’s President Trump. There is a bit of truth possibly in some or all of these things, but until we look at ALL of them, collectively, there will be no answers and no resolution to a problem that is much more complicated than simply blaming all of this bloodshed on an inanimate object. It is not a constructive argument. It does not lend itself to any kind of intelligent discussion or debate. It will not solve the question.
Here are a small example of alternatives that can be discussed. Little more than conversation pieces, and yet they are something that we just may be able to agree upon. And yet, nothing more than a distraction.
Let’s look at some of the alternatives, and we’ll start with some of the solvable ones. Let’s take the regulation of ‘bump stocks’. To be truthful, up until a few weeks ago I had no knowledge of such a device. Today I understand what it is and what it does, at least to some degree. The device is fairly simple. It uses the recoil of the gun itself to simulate an automatic ability of the weapon. It is not actually automatic but there is no argument that the rate of firing is increased. The accuracy of the gun is greatly degraded and the incidence of misfiring increases, but the result can indeed be more damaging, especially in close quarters. The downside of banning them is that it will create 600,000 felons immediately with the mere possession making you culpable, not necessarily the actual use. This will of course not deter opponents, but are they not the ones lamenting a fair playing field in other areas of society? A more equitable solution would be a buy-back program as liberal cities now do with ILLEGAL guns, no questions asked. The cost of such a program would be in the vicinity of 60 million dollars. Who cares about cost? It’s only money! And it’s not even real money. Its taxpayer dollars. The actual result will be people selling or hoarding these devices, and the irony being that I have seen reports that it is a simple process to make your own version with a leather strap, so you can ban the manufacture and yet anyone with the intent will have no difficulty in achieving the same result. Add to this the FACT that a bump stock has NEVER been used in any school shooting and was only used a single time, in Las Vegas, in a mass shooting. The reaction is far out of proportion to the actual threat. But having said all of that, let the legislation begin! Will that appease the protesters? Not on your life. There is an agenda here, and it is NOT to save our children, for that will require much more thought, and cooperation that they will never be willing to offer.
We then turn to the regulation and registrations of the gun sale. In theory I have little problem with the concept although on principle I have some major concerns over our perceived right to privacy. We register our cars and our refrigerators. We register for the selective service, at least our males do, and we register for social security, but it is difficult to think the government will act in a way that is detrimental to our personal constitutional freedoms with those registrations. Not so with gun ownership. If there will ever be a true threat, it will come from the government itself, and knowing who owns what gun will be instrumental to their tyranny. I don’t believe it will matter if I have a Honda or a Ford. That aside, it seems obvious that we will have to acquiesce to the reality of a registration process. Let us make sure that felons and mentally disabled cannot possess guns. We know who the felons are. Because of the stigma, the very same people who fight for gun control have been working diligently over the last 50 years to insure that we CANNOT determine the mentally unstable. They will never allow a process to be reintroduced to make such a determination. Possibly the greatest chance of success with our issue will never become a reality. We’ve been talking about it for decades. I fail to see any results.
We can talk about ‘waiting periods’ if you want. I don’t think it will placate our protesters. 48 hours, 72 hours, a week. It’s obvious that it won’t make much of a difference. In ALL of my examples, the weapons were bought legally, usually weeks and months, and many times YEARS before using them. I fail to see any further benefit from increasing the time frame. I guess sometimes it might prevent a particular individual from a purchase, so go ahead. Make a decision. Implement it. This is nothing more than a distraction.
In theory I have no issues with a comprehensive background check. I see the need for protecting not only myself, but by extension, everyone else around me. In principle, I have a number of concerns, and we should be able to discuss the ramifications of such a process. The fact that so many people are willing to trample my rights for their own security and protection is troubling. When one person, or a group of people are not capable of recognizing or acknowledging a concept, how is it ever possible to discuss and debate the issue? If they are unable to comprehend the ‘bigger picture’ how can we ever agree on a strategy to implement change? One side is willing to concede change is needed, while the other side is adamant in the lack of need for intellectual movement in regard to their own positions. This is where we find ourselves today, and it is NOT a new development.
There are privacy concerns involved here. It’s not an easy question to resolve. I would accept a background check but I see a need to NOT have the information retained by government. If government is the main concern as a threat to security and freedom in the future, giving them information to use against me is a problem. By all means check to see if I have been convicted of a crime, if I have been institutionalized, if I am who I say I am. But the retention of the information should not be allowed. We are probably already past the point of no return, but the retention of information is the threat to our security as well as a means of validation. As with the registration of the weapon, we want to verify the right to purchase the gun, but the state has no right to retain all the personal information that goes into the process. The abuse of all of this information is apparent with each new breach of data within the business community as well as in the public sector. And that is not even addressing a corrupted government intent to subdue or destroy freedom. I am not even sure why I make these comments. The Gun Control faction of our society does not comprehend the concept of true personal freedom and privacy. They are only focused on achieving a single goal, and will never entertain the possibility of debating such issues. They seem to exhibit a certain ‘tunnel vision’ with all of their protests, even when they contradict one another. This is a stumbling block to understanding or any hope of agreement. I do not believe it will be possible anytime soon, if ever.
Having said that, we need a comprehensive database for those things we deem important enough to deny the purchase or even possession of a firearm. I realize this seemingly challenges my own comments but this is an extremely complex and difficult issue. There is much theory and philosophy involved. Reason and logic. All these things are anathema to our protest culture. As I have mentioned, if we have decided to discontinue the instruction of these things in our educational system, how can we expect to implement their use in the solutions to our very real and immediate problems?
A small note here. I am adamantly opposed to this political football of age restrictions within our society. I have been since I was a small child. As a society, we need to make a fundamental decision. When does a citizen become an adult within the community? It is absolutely insane to have different age requirements for different aspects of societal interactions. Either you are an adult or you are not. Make the political decision. If an individual is FORCED to fight, and often die, for their country, then it should not be expected of them until they are an adult. Never until such a time. And from that time forward, there is an imperative to allow that person ANY and ALL the rights and privileges of a full member of our society. No exceptions! I really could care less the age chosen. But the decision should be a considered one. If 18 is what we deem to be the age of consent and responsibility, then so be it. If 21? I am good with that, although many 18 year olds may disagree. I would have. There is nothing you want more when you are young than to be an ‘adult’. The time you get to make your own decisions. But a time when you must accept responsibilities as well.
Cary Gruber, the father of a 15-year-old who hid in the closet during the Parkland rampage, said the legal age for someone to purchase a firearm should be raised. The suspect in the Parkland shooting, Nikolas Cruz, is 19.
“If he’s not old enough to buy a drink, to go and buy a beer, he should not be able to buy a gun at 18 years old,” Gruber said. “That’s just common sense. We have to do common sense. Please, Mr. Trump. These are things we have to do.”
Common sense? I agree. We need some of that, and consistency. If I am able to fight and die for my country at 18, then I can drink an alcoholic beverage or own a gun. Hold me responsible for my actions, my behavior, not because of such an arbitrary thing as age. I have met individuals throughout my life, of 20 years, of 40, of 60, that should never have been allowed to own a gun, or even take a drink for that matter. That is where your efforts should be focused. The damaged and irresponsible. The dangerous. The threats. Do not restrict my rights because of your own fears and incompetence, or simply because it is easy or expedient. There is no argument that can be made to the contrary. If we collectively believe 21 a better age, then make it so, and stop using our teenagers as political fodder in our world conflicts.
None of these things will make any significant impact on our problem. There is nothing wrong with taking a look and even making changes. If it makes you feel good about the situation, then knock yourself out. But if you truly want to make some real reform and do something that will change the paradigm, then you need to look at the essence of our issue. You need to look at the substantive options that we cannot agree on. You need to look at the real nitty-gritty of alternatives. We need to find the resolve, and the nerve and the courage, to face our demons, and throw ideology to the side, and let reason and common cause allow us to do the right thing.
For me, I find it hard to believe that this is even possible but until we do, our children will continue to die, one by one.