* I was wrong – Last week I offered a comment about gun control. Joe Huffman at the blog The View from North Central Idaho was critical of my remarks. Below is the note that I sent to Mr. Huffman:
I noticed a number of people had linked from your blog to mine. I visited your site and read your opinion about my gun control comments. When you stated that I was spouting a bigot belief about guns I went back and re-read what I had written. You are correct and I owe my readers a fuller explanation. I was guilty of something that is going on in America for which I have been very critical – debating an issue in its extremes to prove one’s point. The result is leaving little possibility of reaching a common ground. Although I stand by what I said, it was what was unsaid that should be addressed.
I am not against the Second Amendment. I am not against lawful gun ownership. I am against criminals and people with certain mental illnesses having too easy an access to guns. My criticism is aimed at those who cite the Second Amendment against every attempt to bring reasonable gun control to our society. Many gun rights advocates seem to have taken the position that there can be no “control” because that would lead to banning private citizens from owning guns. I would hope that the debate about guns in our country will be over “reasonable” restrictions instead of a debate of no controls versus a ban on all guns. My interest is to reduce the number of illegal guns that are killing large numbers of innocent people and police in major urban centers such as Philadelphia, PA where I reside. Those of us who believe that there is a need for stricter gun control need to do a better job stating our positions. I appreciate your taking me to task and I will share this with my readers.
* What is reasonable? – A number of Joe Huffman’s readers had reactions about my comment and note. Although the topic of gun control generates strong feelings on both sides of the issue the comments were courteous and challenging. A very fair question was asked, “What is reasonable?” Below are some suggestions that I feel merit consideration:
~ Ban assault weapons from private possession
~ Ban .50 caliber (armor piercing) weapons from private possession
~ Allow local communities to determine what is appropriate for their circumstances. If cities such as Philadelphia and Washington D.C. feel that stricter gun control laws are needed than state or federal law provides, they should be allowed to govern their particular situation. The view (and conditions) from Idaho can be significantly different from major urban centers such as Chicago, LA, and NYC.
~ Improve oversight of corrupt gun dealers
~ Limit the number of guns an individual can purchase in a month. This will reduce the number of guns purchased with the intent to sell them illegally on the street, also known as straw purchases.
~ Mandate that sales at gun shows include criminal background checks. This is a major loophole in current law.
America is a diverse and complex society. It requires a balancing of individual rights and societal needs. This is the art of intelligent governance necessary for a free society to flourish. It is never easy and it presents one of the current challenges we face as a nation. Its resolution will be one of the defining elements for America in the 21st Century.
* What is unreasonable? I have been noting that the Bush administration has been injecting last minute rules into place, also known as “midnight regulations,” that are regressive and damaging and are without congressional approval and oversight. Somehow they are legal and that alone speaks volumes to the state of our nation and how it is governed. The Wonk Room has compiled a list of these backward regulations that is stunning in its breadth. The list includes regulations that effect healthcare, the environment, civil liberties, taxes, labor and government administration. Of the many elements of the Constitution that the Bush administration has eviscerated, “checks and balances” of the executive branch have been one of the most damaged. Recovering from the Bush presidency will be the next great test for America. We can begin the new era by saying: No more crony capitalism, no more empire building, no more denial of science.
If you can still laugh at Bush’s tenure of Greek Tragedy, Robert Greenwald’s Brave New Films has created a short video, George W. Bush’s Nightmare Before Christmas, that puts a humorous spin on Mr. Bush’s final acts of incompetence and harm. January 20, 2009 is just one long month away.
* The blog dailykos is asking people to help President Bush come up with a title for the book he intends to write. Below are some suggestions that I would submit:
~ A Foreign Policy Primer - Kurds, Sunnis, Shiites – They All Look the Same
~ What Laura and I Did in the White House is No One’s Business
~ Heckuva Job
~ Reducing Taxes for the Wealthy & Increasing Spending – Are You Shitting Me?
~ Screw the Arctic – As Long As My Icemaker Works
~ NeoConservative Philosophy By Dummies
~ Don’t Drink the Water, Don’t Breathe the Air - My Years in the White House... and After
~ George’s Coloring Book for Chief Executives
~ Recipes for Cooking the Books – Edited by Dick Cheney
~ No Special Interest Left Behind – In Collaboration with Jack Abramoff
~ Protecting America’s Borders – En Collaboracion con Juan Hernandez Pablo Calderon Gutierrez
~ Scientific Proof that Science Doesn’t Matter
~ Duke Cunningham is Cool – with an introduction by former Congressman Bob Ney
~ The U.S. Legal System in the 21st Century – In Collaboration with Alberto Gonzales
~ I Am the Decider – by Dick Cheney as told to George W. Bush
~ Wall Street and Me - Managing the U.S. Economy
~ The Sanctity of the Supreme Court – In Collaboration with Harriet Miers
~ Barney and Me – Peeing on the Oval Office Carpet
~ P O T U S: The President of the Untied States – a children’s book in block letters
~ Combining Church and State – A Fundamental Building Block for a New America
~ My Vision for America – A Collection of Favorite Poems including 3 Blind Mice
~ When the President Does It, It Is Not Illegal – In Collaboration with Richard M. Nixon
~ History Will Exxon-erate Me
~ Mission Accomplished – In Collaboration with Osama bin Laden
* Holiday wishes – A good friend who was born and bred in Missouri, most recently converted from a Republican to a Libertarian and who currently resides in a foreign land known as metropolitan Boston, sent the following:
To all my Democrat friends:
Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of other, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2009, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.
To all my Republican friends:
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!
* “A nation as a society forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society”