Tag Archives: guns

Now Couldn't Be the Right Time

It seems as if every time a dozen or so people are murdered and six or so dozen are shot up in a movie theater, high school or college campus, the wacko leftist peacenik liberal elites start spouting that anyone who believes automatic weapons should be legal is either stupid, crazy, a mass murderer wannabe or has length challenged privates, and that our right to bare arms and bear arms, which even that Obama-loving SCOTUS Judge Roberts, admits that we have, has limits and that we shouldn’t be able to carry at airports, high schools, day care centers, bars, church and places where the President will be.

All the while, those reasoned and highly compensated voices from the heartland are reminding us that this is not the time to reflect, but is the time to grieve, remember the victims and praise Jeezus that we were not in the theater that night. This is the time to watch and listen to cable and entertainment news so we can learn every salacious detail about the shooter, and every emotion felt and articulated by neighbors, teachers, employers, lovers, movie critics, Batman fans or childhood friends who hadn’t seen him in 20 years. This is the time to be reminded of why an insanity plea doesn’t make a murderer innocent.

 Houston Gun ShowThis is the time to come together and not discuss if it makes sense that anyone can order 6,000 rounds of ammo, body armor or hundred-round clips on the internets, tax free. There will be time to talk about unregulated gun shows. There will be time to remember the police killed in the line of duty by Americans exercising their rights and time to appreciate the irony that the men and women whose job it is to protect us have been forced to become more and more militarized to be safer from all of our guns. There will be time for old 60 Minutes reruns where they buy hundreds, or even thousands of guns right there on teevee with no questions asked. There will be time when we will all pay attention to the drone of the Muslim Brotherhood’s moles in Congress as they finally admit that they want to declare Sharia, take away our God given and constitutionally protected freedoms by denying us our right to protect our homes and loved ones from suspicious looking people wearing hoodies. There will be a time to compare our gun deaths with other civilized countries, Somalia, for instance.

There will be time to remember that guns don’t kill people. It is people who are the problem. Ironically, more than half of all gun deaths are not from people protecting themselves. More than half the gun deaths each year are from people killing themselves — often the spouse or child of the gun owner. Suicide, not homicide.

Now is not the time. We need more perspective. More dead. More wounded. No, now couldn’t possibly be the time. It is an election year and the NRA doesn’t lose elections.

According to news accounts, now might be the time to go to the local gun super store, or better yet, a gun show (favored by felons, gangs, terrorists and the mentally ill), and stock up on guns, ammo and the latest bulletproof fashions – perfect for date night. But if you are one of those special gun owners who just can’t seem to maintain a healthy relationship, consider skipping the movies this weekend. The Olympic shooting competition is starting.


An afterthought for your entertainment: “The Sing-Along Second Amendment” by Roy Zimmerman

Georgia House Bill 277

Feral HogI’m no fan of feral hogs, even when they aren’t in the Georgia House. A few years back, I was taking a long walk toward the sunrise on a desolate stretch of beach along the edge of the Hobcaw Barony, just north of Georgetown, SC, when one of these evolutionary misfits, the real ones, not the elected kind, bounded over the dunes.

The feral hog was surely trophy size, a few hundred pounds or better. Ignoring my instinct to run screaming, I calmly called on all my wildlife knowledge. If it were a bear, my left brain thought to myself, I should play dead. No f’ng way, thought my right brain interrupting loudly. Has it seen me? The sun was just coming up over the ocean, perhaps I should be still and hope he, she, it moves on. Of course it was low tide and safety of the surf fifty yards away. Surely these devil inspired nightmares can’t swim. They can and can run up to 30 mph. I can run four or five miles an hour. It seemed to be eating the dune grass. I considered it was a good sign that it didn’t have an arm in its big ugly tusks. The standoff continued. I, hiding my fear. He, she it, ignoring the predator, me, on the beach. Then it disappeared back over the dune.

I have mixed feelings about deer. The Bambiesque Key deer that are so tame they’ll feed out of your hand, are awfully cute. A month or so after a visit to Little Palm Island,  where we had gotten to hang out with the Key Deer, I woke one night to find my wife in the middle of the bedroom floor petting the invisible Key deer she was dreaming about.

Then there are those other deer. The ones who play chicken games late at night with motorists. Imagine the love you’d have for this future venison, if you, in the late stages of a midlife crisis were driving an Alfa Romeo Spider on a deserted moonless night around midnight. You were on the back road shortcut halfway from North Augusta to Charleston. You were taking a curve a couple of miles above the speed limit  knowing why you owned a sports car, when a herd of deer suddenly froze in your headlights. Alfas, at six inches off the ground, don’t run over deer. Deer run, roll, bounce and jump over Alfas. It is tradition for hunters to rub the blood of their first deer on themselves. It was my blood that was all over me. With no headlights, a mangled hood, broken windshield, torn top and freshly installed spare on the front right, I creeped along for a few miles until I spotted lights. A late night bar was not as good as a service station, but I walked in and asked for help, “I just hit a herd of deer and am bleeding.”

There were about a dozen patrons and a single voice yelled out, “where?”

I answered, “my head.”

“No, where’d you hit the deer?” came the same voice back.

“A couple miles west,” I offered. The bar emptied. Even the bartender left in the race for my trophies. This is what it feels like to be bait, for deer. Two months and almost $10 grand later, I got the car back. I also began to develop a taste for venison.

My only hunting experience is shooting children and their parents. I have never shot a feral hog or a deer, so maybe I’m not qualified to weigh in on Georgia House Bill 277. In fact, I’ve never hunted at all. My grandson’s 10th birthday party was held at Charleston Paintball. I had some trepidation about it. My people, as they say in Charleston, weren’t gun people. I convinced myself that it would be like using water pistols. It is not. I don’t recommend it for anyone, unless I don’t like you.

Charleston Paintball is less than a mile from the entrance to the Air Force base. On this Saturday in February, there were perhaps a thousand people gathered to hunt each other. Mostly men and their boys. Many who looked as if they came right off the battlefield. Fully equipped with special guns, extra ammo, paint grenades, even body armor. Every one of them looked the part for the role they’d play that day. There is an odd sense of safety you feel when you start out. Everyone must wear protective garb. Everyone must have their weapon check to ensure the air rifles weren’t too powerful. Everyone looked as if they were going to wipe out a terrorist group – or a school – and enjoy it. Fortunately, we had a private group with our own referee. I was also relieved to find that we had two surgeons in our group. Even I was beginning to think this would be a time I’d always remember.

The first staged battle went well. I was just sitting, awaiting the attack on our fort. A random high shot hit me in the arm and I was out. It stung a bit, but it was all good fun. The second battle went even better. After killing two beautiful little boys with perfect between-the-eyes shots, I snuck up on my grandson. He and I were the only ones left. He was hiding out in the fort when I took him out with a couple of shots to his abdomen.

The rest of the day didn’t go so well. I experienced brutal death after brutal death. Everyone learned a little about strategy. It took me a few hours to learn the best strategy is to get off the battlefield. Even with all the protective equipment, those damn paintballs will draw blood – mine included. They hurt like a son of bitch. And almost six weeks later, I still have deep bruises. If you shoot the guns fast enough, which little boys like to do, the compressed air in the gun freezes the paint and the plastic balls impact with the hurt of a golf ball. Experiencing it first hand, paintball is particularly lousy for the targets. I suspect the feral hogs and deer feel that way, too.

Yesterday, the Georgia Senate passed HB 277 . Existing law had allowed baiting fields for feral hogs and deer, but prohibited shooting them within sight, or within 200 yards of the bait. Obviously, this was unprogressive and unfairly benefited the wealthy who owned big tracks of land. The new law, which the Governor plans to sign, only affects the “Southern zone” of Georgia, changes the restriction to 50 yards, and you can shoot ‘em if you see them. Power to the people.

Opponents of the legislation, suggest that the change in this law is unethical, barbaric, unsportsmanlike, and that claims of wildlife management and health benefits are untrue. Read more of the arguments from the Political Vine, a site “produced by Georgia Republican Activisits”: HB 277: Deer Hunter vs. Deer Hunter and HB 277: Deer Hunting Over Bait – Unethical on So Many Levels, Part 2.

I know that the great state of Georgia has some important issues before the legislature this year. With only 40 days to eat barbecue, meet with lobbyists, and the like, it is really hard to balance the budget, while not raising taxes on anyone connected and by only cutting programs for the poor, underrepresented, or those popular with the opposing party. It is a tough task to assign the state’s priorities and invest in programs that will benefit the next generation of Republicans, while at the same time competing with the other great states of the deep South to stay out of the ranking cellar in education, life expectancy, obesity, poverty, teen pregnancy, unemployment, etc. – or, for that matter, competing with the other great states of the deep South to stay near the top of the rankings for business climate, miles of roads built, prison population, football and hunting. Speaking on behalf of all Georgians, I just want to say thank you – and, please, go home soon.

The NRA are a bunch of yellow (insert euphemism here)

nra_logoRaccoons? Beavers? Hedgehogs? Rabbits? Squirrels? Trees? Dogs? Children? Other campers? Aliens? Socialists? Terrorists? Park Rangers? Our President? Other NRA members? What are they afraid of?

Congress passed a bill that, at least nine months from now, will curtail just a few of the many grotesque abuses of the credit card industry. Your NRA, which has a budget of $150 million to $200 million, much of which they spend on bribing your elected leaders, got language stuck in the bill that will allow anyone (not just NRA members) to carry guns in national parks. Wussies — the NRA and everyone who voted to tack a silly gun measure on to a serious bill intended to address a real economic and consumer issue. Reprobates — everyone of them — including the 105 Democrats in the House and 27 Democrats in the Senate who pandered their support for the NRA measure.

Here’s the evidence (from a great read in the National Parks Traveler): 273 million people visited national parks in 2006. Sadly, there were 11 homicides*; two went off cliffs in relationship disputes; one, a suicide. another a DUI. One, a victim of a drunken fight. Another, a shooting death by someone with an illegal firearm. One a drowning. We do not know how the others died, but, like the NRA, I suspect it must have been attacks by raccoon, beaver or terrorists. One note: there were 37 times as many bears killed by humans than humans killed by bears. Oops, I got my math wrong: 37 bear deaths by human, human deaths by bear 0.

The same year, the number one crime in national parks was liquor law violations (5,752). Number two, was carrying a gun (1,950). Number three, intoxication (843). Seems to this outsider that if we allowed guns in the parks, the number one and number three crimes might become more serious. Of course, that is easy for me to say, I’ve never been attacked by a squirrel or a terrorist in a national park.

There may be another explanation: protecting poachers (aka: hunters who think they have a right to shoot anything, anywhere without fear of prosecution). Poaching is big business with an organized illegal safari going for upwards of $10,000 per poacher. The park service has few law enforcement rangers (one ranger for every 118,000 acres), but (according to Science World) they still catch about 5,000 poachers a year and estimate that they don’t catch another 150,000-200,000 a year. Since it would take an enormous amount of luck to catch a poacher in the act (“Ranger, we’re just on a nature hike”) most of those caught end up being prosecuted on gun violations. Poachers are big winners with this new legislation.

Why are we even talking about this? Anyone not at a cocktail party sponsored by the NRA would read the second amendment and understand that our founding fathers were protecting the right of the states to have militias and for those in the militias to bear arms (sorry, for the bears). No one, not even Democrats, have mentioned (I dare you to Google it) taking away the state militias’ rights to bear arms. After all, we need them to continue fighting Bush’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

No. I must be missing something that Wyatt Earp (born in Kentucky, officially a Southerner) also overlooked when he and Wild Bill disarmed Dodge City. The right to commit suicide (on purpose or accidentally). The right to kill your spouse (on purpose or accidentally). The right to kill your children (on purpose or accidentally). The right to kill your friends (on purpose or accidentally). The right to protect yourself and your property while drinking. And the right to commit crimes with guns. We must protect these rights and quit trying to take the guns out of Charlton Heston’s cold dead hands.

Depending on whether you have basic cable, or the full spectrum, there were dozens of times as many police shootings on TV as actually happened — police actually shoot and kill about 200 criminals each year. During 2005 (the most recent year statistics have been released), gun owners, exercising their NRA-guaranteed right, shot and killed over 3,000 of their children, wounding ten times as many. In the same period, the rest of the world combined (not including our wars), didn’t add up to our domestic output.

Listen, I’m fine if Texas wants to spend what money they have left in their former governor’s economy on buying and hoarding guns (way up since Obama’s been in office). They are planning to secede anyway and I bet the Pentagon, or the Mexican drug cartel, can handle whatever they have in their gun cabinets. Just stay out of our parks, or we’ll sic a beaver on you.

____________

* Tom Coburn, (R-OK), and sponsor the NRA Amendment to the Senate bill states in his press release that the number of 2006 homicides our National Parks and the US Fish and Wildlife Service** public lands was 16, and also includes statistics for rape, robbery, kidnappings and assault. He cites the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service as his source, but they do not collect and publish such statistics. This information could only have come from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, though it beats the heck out me how it could have been compiled accurately from the data available.

**The US Fish and Wildlife Service manages more than 150 million acres, 550 national wildlife refuges and other units of the Refuge System, plus 37 wetland management districts – in all 50 states and many near metropolitan areas.

How your Southern Senators voted (Alphabetical by Senator Name): 29 Yay; 3 Nay; 2 Not Voting

Alexander (R-TN), Nay
Begich (D-AK), Yea
Bond (R-MO), Yea
Bunning (R-KY), Yea
Burr (R-NC), Yea
Byrd (D-WV), Yea
Cardin (D-MD), Nay
Chambliss (R-GA), Yea
Coburn (R-OK), Yea
Cochran (R-MS), Yea
Corker (R-TN), Yea
Cornyn (R-TX), Yea
DeMint (R-SC), Yea
Graham (R-SC), Yea
Hagan (D-NC), Yea
Hutchison (R-TX), Yea
Inhofe (R-OK), Yea
Isakson (R-GA), Yea
Landrieu (D-LA), Yea
Lincoln (D-AR), Yea
Martinez (R-FL), Yea
McCaskill (D-MO), Nay
McConnell (R-KY), Yea
Mikulski (D-MD), Not Voting
Murkowski (R-AK), Yea
Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Pryor (D-AR), Yea
Rockefeller (D-WV), Not Voting
Sessions (R-AL), Yea
Shelby (R-AL), Yea
Vitter (R-LA), Yea
Warner (D-VA), Yea
Webb (D-VA), Yea
Wicker (R-MS), Yea

We Need to Talk

redblueballons No matter how passionate we are, we need to keep talking. No matter how loudly the speech or how colorful the words, we need to listen. No matter the differences, we need the conversation. It is not about winning the debate. It is about having the debate. The respect of conversation. The dignity of patient dialogue. The appreciation of the diversity of belief. Talk long enough and you’ll find common ground. Find common ground and you’ll discover trust. Find trust and you’ll have a friend. And while friends are hard to come by, they are precious.

Some of my dearest friends disagree with me on most everything, but our common ground is solid. Our love for our family. Our fundamental belief in doing and being good. Our appreciation for the life experience that made each of us who we are – and the respect that not all of it was easy. While we are each misguided, we are each well-intended. While we each may come to a seemingly idiotic conclusion, we were thoughtful in our approach to becoming so totally lost and out of touch. While we each are stubborn and dense – at times outlandishly stupid – we are or were once good enough to be loved by our mothers.  And while they often sound selfish or controlling or arrogant or incomprehensibly self-deceived or just puppeting spin, I recognize that they probably hear me that way, as well, and, yet, we are both honest, hard-working and our lives are guided by our beliefs and moral values.

They may hate my politics, but we can laugh together at a good joke. They may hate my hair like I hate their guns, but I know deep, way deep, really really deep down, there is something redeeming about them and it is worth trying to understand and love. They may hate that I can make them mad as hell, but they know they can make me mad, too, and that we’ll get beyond it. And what provokes thought, often evokes understanding. They might prefer I have a different color skin or different color eyes or different sounding last name or go to a different place to worship if I did, but they also know that if I were just like them or they were just like me, we’d be bored to death. That, and talking to yourself is crazy.

As my then three year old grandson once said to me during a tense moment, “it’s just game.”