Cleaning House

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creative commons license Maarten Takens

Cleaning house is important, always and in every context especially when said house in one of the most controversial issues in American politics. In fact, it is an issue that goes way beyond politics and practically divides the American people into two groups – the gun right supports and the gun control supporters.

On such an important issue, it is highly important to have an immaculate house, so to speak so that nothing diverts the conversation to places that are unnecessary and damaging to the cause. In cleaning house, one needs too look at their house with a critical eye to make sure no pictures are crooked on the wall, and no dust has accumulated under the carpet and that there are no spider webs in the corners.

Since the NRA is now the biggest and most powerful lobby in U.S Politics every single aspect of its management and conducts should be looked over with a magnifying glass by its supporters and members to make sure nothing is amiss, thus keeping all eyes on the ball instead of on the spiderwebs in the corners.

Yesterday I read what I thought was a really important column by Mark Blazis in the Sports Telegram about the NRA, and whether you agree with what I am saying or with what Mark Blazis is saying it is worth reading.

Among other things, many positive Mark says about the NRA, he also says:

Some argue the organization has contributed significantly to the divisiveness hurting America today. Power can feed on itself and grow out of control. With power should come reason, moderation, restraint and beneficence, but the NRA sees the world as largely black and white. You’re with us, or you’re against us.

This struck very true with me. I am not American but have a great interest (as you might have noticed) in the gun rights issue, and I have noticed that among the outspoken, there are no shades of grey. You can’t be pro gun rights to a certain point. Either you are 100% pro or evil. There is no middle ground, where in reality there are as many shades of grey as there are people and black and white are no more relevant than the shades of grey.

Speaking of spiderwebs:

The NRA has evolved into an enormous nonprofit business. Reportedly taking in annual revenues of $205 million from American hunters and shooters, the NRA has become the most powerful lobbying group in America. The American Institute of Philanthropy reports that NRA CEO Wayne Lapierre’s salary was $970,300, and Kayne Robinson, the executive director of general operations, is reported to have a base salary of $1,027,217. The U.S. president, by comparison, earns $400,000 a year. It pays to inflame us hunters and shooters.

I had to read those figures several times over. It blew me away that a the CEO of a non profit organization makes nearly double the salary of the president of the United states. I think it is preposterous. How is that non profit? (I am not insinuating that they don’t have a hard job, nor that they do it badly but I think those figures are screaming for reevaluation. The strongest point he made was this:

A powerful executive in the gun industry, one who deals with radicals on both sides of firearms issues, said on condition of anonymity that, “Sensible gun laws aren’t likely any time soon. There are too many paychecks depending on unresolved conflict.”

There may be just too much money and power at stake for reason to prevail in the foreseeable future.

How do we stop the vitriol and get sensible gun laws? Antigun-rights forces need to understand unequivocally that Second Amendment rights must never be taken away, and that the basis for gun violence is not guns, but all the elements that cause social problems — poverty, ignorance, criminality and mental illness. These complex problems can’t be solved by just outlawing firearms.

And sportsmen need to understand that in addition to Second Amendment gun rights, these very same elements must be addressed if we’re to truly ever have safety and freedom in America. That means support of education, health care, and other social efforts that effectively diminish crime and violence.

Since NRA has managed to bring to light the importance of the 2nd Amendment to the American people, and most of the American people agree with that, it might be time to turn the energy expended on persuading people of its importance to finding away to meet the other-side in a sane place by changing the tone of the conversation.

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Bonnie And Clyde Weapons Auctioned For A Combined $420,000

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bonnie and clyde

photo credit wiki

Much has been written, said and filmed about Bonnie and Clyde and although they were hardened criminals, they seemed to capture the imagination of the American people, maybe because of the romantic cloud they seem to move in that was not tarnished by the less than romantic murders and robberies they committed.
They were finally shot down in Louisiana by law enforcement officers.

This passed weekend in Nashua N.H an auction of B+C memorabilia and weapons was held and amongst the other lots was the 1911 45 caliber Colt found on Clyde’s body, moments after he was killed in the ambush and the Colt Detective Special .38 revolver Bonnie had taped to her inner thigh.
Both these weapons were bought by an anonymous Texas collector whose highest bid was $200,000 for Clyde’s weapon and $220,000 for Bonnie’s.
Lesson for sales people - people by stories not things!

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Glock: The Rise Of America’s Gun

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Personally, I think history is fascinating, but instead of learning about it in a chronological frontal way, I would much rather learn about it via objects.
You can learn a lot about history via art, music, fashion and of course guns.
Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun, by Paul Barrett is, to quote his web site:

GLOCK: The Rise of America’s Gun tells the story of the iconic handgun of modern times. It is a tale of cops and crime, of Hollywood violence and hip-hop bravado, of NRA politicking and the failure of gun control in Washington. In the space of a few short years beginning in the 1980s, Gaston Glock, an obscure Austrian engineer, pushed aside storied American brands such as Smith & Wesson and Colt to become the dominant handgun maker in the United States, a country in love with firearms. GLOCK: The Rise of America’s Gun shows how innovative design, genius marketing, uncanny timing, and dark glamour combined to make the boxy black Glock semiautomatic pistol a legend in its own time

I was unaware of this book until I happened on an interview of the author in Salon, discussing his book, the influence the Glock has had on American gun ownership mirroring the entire gun debate through the story of Glock in America.
Even the NYT, not known for its love of the second amendment and the freedom it grants, reviewed it in a nearly positive light.
I am interested to know if anyone on GVB has read the book? Review? Anyone?

photo credit creative commons license Smarters photos

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Gun Free Zones? Really?

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Nikki goeser

photo credit Knocksville news photo by JAE S. LEE / THE TENNESSEAN

I don’t understand why it is important for people to have gun free eating establishments. Or gun free colleges or gun free anything, for that matter. OK, I get that you would like to have a quiet meal without a bullet whizzing by you ear, but its not as if a person with criminal intent will honor the eateries gun policy.
For the very most part, permit gun carriers have no intention of using their weapons for anything other than self preservation and sports, so eating dinner next to a gun carrying patron would be exactly the same as eating dinner next to a non gun carrying patron, the only difference being if someone with criminal intentions were to enter the restaurant while you were eating your dinner a table across from the gun carrying patron, you would have more chances of walking out of the restaurant alive than you would in the case of an armed assault in a restaurant where the only gun was that of the crazed criminal. The worst law in my opinion, even worse that the supposedly gun free zones are the laws that allow you to leave your gun locked in your car.
So say you are going to a restaurant and are not allowed to carry your weapon in, so you leave it locked in your car, as do the other permit holders going to the same restaurant. This will leave a parking lot full of free available weapons up for grabs, all you need is for an entrepreneuring criminal to recognize the opportunity and you are left with more disarmed good guys (we know they are good because they abided the law and left their guns in their cars) and more armed bad guys!
I ran into an article today about SCC (Students for concealed carry) and thought that they were doing important work. Through them I also learned of Nikki Goeser, who witnessed her husbands murder in a gun free zone, by a man who was stalking her, and since then has gone on to advocate against gun free zones. The most horrendous thing about her story is that Nikki was a licensed concealed carrier at the time, but left her weapon in her car, because the bar she was visiting was gun free according the Tennessee law at the time..
This last May Nikki won the NRA Sybil Luddington Women’s Freedom Award for the work she has done since then to allow carry of weapons in restaurants and bars in Tennessee.
This is a video of her talking to the SCC. How can anyone not see the sense in that?

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Politicians Should Be Asking Themselves: What Is The Root Cause For The Current Spree Of Gun Violence

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Lately, whenever I am looking for something to write about in this blog, I seem to be able to count on the fact that someone, probably a mentally insane someone, had gotten hold of a gun and let loose.
The last incident I heard about happened two days ago in Perry Hall High School in Baltimore.
The 15 year old shooter got his hands on an illegal weapon from his father, who kept it unsecured.
The most chilling thing about it (as if the entire phenomenon isn’t chilling enough) was what one of children attending the school said in an interview “I didn’t expect the shooting to happen on the first day back to school!”
Woooh. Hearing that sent chills down my back. These crazed and senseless shootings have become the norm, the thing to be expected. Obviously, no amount of gun control laws could prevent it, anymore than they can prevent the terrible gun violence from going on in Chicago or Harlem, which are both places with extremely strict gun laws.
Even the people living in such areas, where putting your nose out of the door might get it shot off are skeptical about more gun control helping their situation.
Making more gun control laws is the easiest thing to do, but also, the most useless.
As Albert Einstein once said said ” Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
What people on both sides of the gun divide need to think about is what the is root cause of these problems, and how they can be avoided?
I would equate it to uprooting the tree instead of picking the leaves in an attempt to get rid of it.
Politicians need to address these issues in a serious and deep manner, find out where the violence stems from and address that. It might be more jobs, getting kids of the street into community centers and giving them a hope for a better future. It might be going on an all out war on gangs. It might be revising the mental heath laws and thinking of ways to spot possible mass shooting offenders early. It might be looking into the gamming and entertainment industry to see if the violence portrayed in the games does or does not have an effect on the behavior of the youth. Probably, every segment of these problems, and every location suffering from problems like this will have to buckle down and taylor make their own solution by picking apart the layers and slowly looking for the source/sources of the violence.
I also think that the NRA or the local gun communities should roll up their sleeves and get involved, if nothing else, to strengthen the point that guns, and legal gun owners are not the cause of this violence.

photo credit creative commons license anyalogic

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