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Gun-Control

Gun Control or People Control -Which is it?

The hunter was moving slowly, picking each step carefully.  A misplaced step would scare the prey.  The crackle of a leaf or the snap of an obscured twig would prove to be the difference between hunting success or hunting failure.  He continues to move.  The prey would be much more difficult to find if it were not for his trusty dog, Goldie.  Goldie, that ever faithful dog of a Labrador mix combined with an unknown breed that produced the best hunting dog the hunter had ever owned.  Even though the dog was jet black, the medium sized dog was named Goldie when the hunter got him as a pup.  The young hunter had made up his mind about the dog’s name before his father brought it home.

They move further, eyes straining to get the slightest glimpse of the elusive prey.  Goldie’s sensitive nose was in the air.  The dog was using all of its amplified, hunting senses to locate the prey.  And then finally, a slight movement.  Both dog and man perceived it at the same time.  There it was!  Both dog and man froze.  No time for rash movements or noises.  The hunter inched slowly to the nearest tree, never taking his eyes off the elusive animal. The prey, now sensing danger, did not know if it should run or attack.   Once the hunter got to the tree, he took a steady position by leaning against it.  He slowly raised his rifle.  He took aim.  The hunter focused on the front sight, then the prey, then back to the front sight and then the rear sight.  He had the perfect sight picture.    The dog was becoming restless, but like the hunter, Goldie was patient and did not make a move or sound.  The hunter exhaled until practically all the breath was out of his lungs.  Then,  with the experience of a hundred hunts, the hunter delicately squeezed the trigger.  A trigger squeeze,  that if done to rapidly or with a tug would throw off the aim.  The shot rang out and echoed through the forest.  And then………………..

And that, dear readers, is gun control.  Steady position, aim, perfect sight picture, breath and trigger squeeze.  But unfortunately for us, that is not what is meant when the media is talking gun control

The media, bleeding heart liberals and even the POTUS is blaming all of the current unfortunate shootings on the lack of gun control.  This is a fancy way of saying that they want to remove all guns from all Americans…..that is their idea of gun control.

I have another take on this issue.  We don’t need gun control the way it has been put forth, what we need is people control.  Let me explain my idea for people control.

1.  I would pass a federal law stating that any person committing a crime with a gun is automatically given a ten year sentence to be served in a federal penitentiary.  No appeal, no parole, no pardon.  That person would have to serve the entire sentence.    Do you think that would make someone think twice about robbing a 7-11, a bank, or even holding a family at gunpoint during a break-in?  Then, this person would have a trial to determine how much additional prison time they get for the particular crime they actually committed.  If they did rob a bank or a 7-11, they might get an additional 15-20 years tacked onto the initial 10 years.  Do you think this would be a deterrent for anyone committing gun violence?

2.  If someone commits murder with either a gun or a bomb, they get the death penalty.  That’s right.  Grandpa T is advocating a federal law stating that if a murder is committed with either a gun or a bomb, the guilty party receives the death penalty.  Period.  If this law was enacted, do you think that it would be a deterrent?

3.  Anyone caught carrying a concealed weapon without the proper permit, has all of their weapons confiscated, is heavily fined, and serves  a specified amount of time in jail.  If you feel the need to carry a concealed weapon, a permit would have to be applied for through appropriate channels.  I propose a rigorous background check before granting these permits.

I can’t make it any simpler.  I think that all three of the proposed measures would certainly be a deterrent to crimes involving guns.  It is a get-tough policy, but the law abiding citizens need not worry. They need to be protected.  I don’t care if we have to build 100 new prisons, or put a fence around Rhode Island to hold all the prisoners.  If you want to have ‘gun control,’ you need to start with people control.

It gores my bull that the convicted Colorado theater shooter, James Holmes, did not receive the death penalty for the 12 people he killed during his shooting spree.  It really gets  my undies in a bunch that the death sentences for the Fort Hood shooter, Major Nidal Hasan and the Boston bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has not been carried out.  Amazingly, the appeals process afforded these last two people before their sentences are carried out, could be 10 years or more!  Is there any question that these men committed the crimes?

At this point, I am writing an open letter to the politicians of the United States:  We, the majority of the people of the United States, are not interested in ‘rehabilitating’ mass murderers.  We, the majority of the people of the United States, are not interested in supplementing the existence of mass murderers at taxpayers’ expense in any of our penal institutions.  Therefore, we would like to see the aforementioned three laws passed, and the appeal process for murderers restricted to 6 months or less before their execution is carried out.

That is the way that Grandpa T would enact gun control.  It would be done with people control.  But what brand of gun control is being bantered by liberals, the media, by celebrities and by politicians?

Somehow, in the amazing world of Wonderland where they live, these gun control advocates think they can disregard the Second Amendment, wave a magic wand, and make all guns disappear.  I have bad news for these people.  You have been sniffing too much of your fairy dust because you will never, ever make over 300 millions guns disappear in America.  And, if you could theoretically convince the public to turn in their weapons, only the law-abiding people would do it.  Do you think the criminals will do it?  The end result would be a country where the law-abiding citizens are unarmed and the criminals are armed.  What kind of pandemonium would that situation bring?

Unfortunately, as good as my laws are and as well intended as they are to protect the public, there is one large flaw in my people control policy.  The media skirts the issue, the celebrities skirt the issue and the POTUS has skirted the issue all the while they are pounding on their podiums about gun control.  They have skirted the issue of psychopaths.  Yes, those people that would go to any lengths to kill innocent people to achieve their 15 minutes of fame, even if it means the loss of their own life.  Recently, we had the Oregon shooting by Christopher Harper-Mercer.  Christoper killed nine people and wounded nine others at a rural community college before committing suicide.  The Sandy Hook elementary school shooter, Adam Lanza killed 20 children and 6 adults before taking his own life.  I know of no logical way that either of these events could have been stopped with any of the present gun legislation or any other gun control measures.  The fact is, they would have gotten their weapons somewhere to conduct these heinous killings, regardless of the laws.  They were crazy, and how exactly do you control crazy?

The American public has difficulties coming to grips with people that will wantonly murder and then take their own lives.  We have trouble coming to grips with suicide bombers.  Our problem is, we appreciate life too much and cherish it dearly.

I want to put forth a premise that is designed to be thought provoking:  Do you think any of these murderers would have done their killing if they knew the victims were armed?  The Colorado shooter passed two other theaters to get to the theater that had a sign posted stating that ‘no guns are allowed.’  Would he have been as brave in his mission if some of those theater goers were returning fire?  Would the Sandy Hook shooter or the Oregon shooter been as likely to have done their dastardly deeds if they knew the teachers or students were armed?  This is compelling because, if they were stopped immediately they would not have finished their mission, and thus, not received their 15 minutes of fame.  This is not advocacy for arming everyone old enough to pull a trigger, but a way of further defining the problem.

Oh……about the little hunting story?  It was me and my dog, and yes the dog’s name was Goldie.  The prey?  Why, it was those vicious tree climbing rats with bushy tails. Or as most people call them, squirrels.  We ate them.  Goldie was a fantastic dog.  We hunted together for pheasants, partridge, ducks and geese.  Goldie was always waiting to recover any game that I bagged.  If I missed the shot, Goldie gave me a condescending look as if to say, “What am I doing out here, if you keep missing?”  It was similar to the look that Grandma P gives me for watching football all day Saturday and all day Sunday.  (Really.  Would you have read this piece if you knew it was about squirrel hunting?)

Proud-American

Foreign Cruiser Opinions about the United States

I have been remiss about addressing the questions, concerns and opinions of our fellow, foreign cruisers about the good old United States of America.  Most of the people we have interfaced with have either been from the United Kingdom, Australia or Canada.  There are many people from other countries, but it appears we are drawn to the people from the English speaking countries.  Speaking of which, I perfectly understand the Canadians and Australians, but those people from the United Kingdom are difficult for me to understand.  Is that really English?  Do the people of Scotland really speak English?

Anyway,  here were some of the topics discussed during our recent cruises by our foreign friends.

Guns and Violence

Glen and Willene were a very pleasant couple from Canada.  They sat at the adjacent dinner table for about five weeks during our recent South America cruise.  Willene, being the strong minded and opinionated person that she is, was appalled by Americans owning so many guns and the gun violence in America.

So, Willene, this is for you.  When America gained its independence, they got it from Great Britain.  At the time, Great Britain was ruled by a dictatorial meanie named King George III.  After winning this war, (with the use of guns) the biggest concern was that we did not form a government that would allow a dictatorial meanie to rule the new America.  The Constitution was signed on September 17, 1789.  Federalists claimed that the new government would only have limited powers expressly delegated to it.  This wasn’t enough assurance for anti-federalists like George Mason.  These anti-federalists wanted explicit guarantees to certain rights in order to prevent any potential encroachment by the federal government on state or individual rights.  Mason wrote:  “A well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people trained to arms, is the proper, natural , and safe defense for a free State.”

The Second Amendment was specifically included in the Bill of Rights to prevent this.

Currently, the population of the United States is approximately 330 million.  It is estimated that there are about the same number of guns in America.  I personally believe that gun estimate is low.  Coming from a Midwestern state, hunting was popular.  Most hunters had a gun for every hunting occasion.  (It is the same principle as women having shoes!)

We introduce guns to our children at the earliest age.  After all, once a child is done with a pacifier, a sippy cup or a play pen, you can easily find these items in a garbage can.  But you will never find a Colt, a Glock, or a Smith & Wesson in a garbage can!  In the age of technology, a handgun is very much like using a computer mouse…..just point and click!

OK, now that I have your attention, I will admit that I don’t think anyone needs an assault weapon.  I have never seen anyone hunt with an assault weapon.  Police and military – si.  Everyone else – no.

Being a country of armed citizens does have its advantages.  Japan decided not to invade the United States during WWII because they realized the populace was well armed.  Most of the people serving during the two World Wars in the 20th century from the USA were not strangers to weaponry.  I believe this can be said about Canada at the time, also.  This weaponry knowledge contributed to the winning efforts.

America is the third most populated country on the planet.  There are more people in the state of California (38 million)  than there are in the entire country of Canada (35 million).  Whereas a Canadian would have to travel hundreds of miles to commit a homicide, we Americans do not have any such restrictions!  One more thing…..which state in the US has the most concealed handgun permits?   Texas?  (the most logical choice) Oklahoma?  Arizona?  The state with the most concealed handgun permits is………….Florida, with over 1 million permits representing over 5% of the population.  You may want to remember that before raising a ruckus at Disney World.  Mickey could be packing heat!  Don’t even think about pinching Snow White!  The United States does not even crack the top ten for homicides per capita.

Because of our vast American movie and TV industry, it really does appear that everyone is murdering everyone else on a regular basis in America.   Just think of the most popular shows on TV: NCIS, NCIS New Orleans, Blacklist, Castle plus many more.  These are some of our favorite programs and they all are murder mysteries.  And……….the only way to have a murder mystery is to begin with a murder!  Unfortunately, this is what we are exporting to our foreign friends on TV.  We no longer have the once popular comedies and variety shows of my formative years.  It is murder shows and reality shows, with just a few comedies worth watching.

Movies?  We are already at Fast and Furious 7.  Most of our movies?  Murder. Sex. Violence.  How many parents would drop their children off at a movie theater today without knowing which movies were playing?  None.  But, this is what my parents did while I was growing up as our theater would not show anything not appropriate for all ages.

So, Willene, we are not all really killing each other off here in America.  But my offer to you still stands.   If you ever feel unsafe in Canada, you can come to our house.  We’ll protect you.

National Debt

Robert is a production manager for a company in Australia.  He was one of my smart trivia teammates.   He asked me, “How can America have such a huge national debt?”  What he really meant was, ‘How can we have such a huge national debt and survive?’  ‘How can we pay it off?

I explained that this is the first year of the Obama administration, when the Republicans gained control of both Federal houses, we have had a budget.  Harry Reed, as the Democratic gatekeeper to hell, vowed to never allow a budget bill to be presented to the US Senate for a vote.  He kept his word.  Now that Harry is no longer Senate majority leader, we surprisingly have a budget!

The majority of our budget is spent on social-welfare programs.  Medicare, Medicaid, Social security, Food stamps, welfare a hundred ways………take up the vast majority of Federal Government expense.  The military, the usual first target for budget cuts, takes up approximately 22% of our budget.

We will have to eliminate/reduce many welfare programs, revamp social security and address many of these dubious federal departments and policies.  This is going to take a strong willed POTUS and a strong willed Congress that will be willing to tackle these huge issues and finally, finally do what is right for America and for the future of America.  Paying off the debt?  Not during my lifetime.  Maybe my grandkids will see it.

America at War!

Rudy was from Canada, one of my trivia teammates, and totally against war.  The imposition was that America went to war.  Often!  Well, let me think.  Since 1900, we have only been in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, Afghanistan.  That’s not so bad for 115 years is it?  One war every 20 years.  That sounds about average.  Oh yeah, then there was occupation of Nicaragua (1912-1933), occupation of Haiti (1915-1934), occupation of Dominican Republic (1916-1924), Russian civil war (1917-1923), Bay of Pigs (1961), occupation of Dominican Republic II (1965-1966), Invasion of Granada (1983), Invasion of Panama ((1989-1990), Somali Civil War (1992-1994), Kosovo War (1999), Libyan civil war (2011), and military intervention against ISIS (2014-?).  Did I miss any wars, invasions or occupations?

What can I say?  Summer television reruns really suck and we need to keep our military in shape with practice.

Seriously, I agree with Rudy.  It would be a much more enjoyable world if there weren’t any more wars.   My sister-in-law joined some peace organization and asked me if I took offense to her membership, being that I was a retired military officer.  Here was my response.  “I absolutely support your efforts to achieve world peace.  I don’t know of one soldier that wanted to go to war to prove his manhood.  You have me convinced.  Now go convince our enemies.”  She was taken aback by my response.

So Rudy, you are correct about the United States becoming too involved in world affairs that result in military intervention.  But the world, in particular our allies, have thrust the mantle of world power on us, so we have become an easy target.

What concerns me more than the number of military interventions we have been in is this; who are our allies and who are our enemies?  Are we helping the dictator of Syria, Assad?  Who are the bad Muslim extremists?  Sunnis?  Shia?  Is Iraq our ally or are they going to do the guppy flop to Muslim extremism?  Nukes for Iran?  What is our stance concerning Israel?  I am totally confused as to what is our national policy and who are our enemies and friends.  In the meantime, we are still committing military resources all over the world.

So there you have it.  My thoughts and responses by three very intelligent people to three legitimate issues concerning our country.

Even though no one from the United Kingdom really expressed their opinions about the USA (I think they are still smarting from losing the Revolutionary War!), I very much admire them for one thing.  The political campaign season in the United Kingdom is 6 weeks long!  OMG!  Our next national election is still 18 months away and I am already suffering from sensory overload as to the potential bazillion candidates from each party.  Didn’t we learn anything from them?  There ought to be a law!

 

deer

Gun Control in America – the new Big Bang Theory

In early American history, our forefathers viewed the “right to bear arms” as important for the following reasons:

*  deterring tyrannical government

*  repelling invasion

*  suppressing insurrection

*  facilitating a natural right of self-defense

*  participating in law enforcement

*  enabling the people to establish a militia system

Because of the listed concerns, the “right to bear arms” became the second amendment.   If it had not been important to our forefathers, this right would have had a higher number, rather than immediately following the first amendment granting “freedom of speech.”

It is hard to imagine that any other amendment to our Constitution has been under more scrutiny than the second amendment, especially in light of the recent Sandy Hook School massacre in Connecticut.

So now let’s get into the present.  Legislation is currently being introduced into Congress to reenact a ban on assault weapons.  There was a 10-year ban on assault weapons from 1994 to 2003.  It appears that this law did have more holes than a wheel of Swiss cheese, but had little effect, either positive or negative, because assault rifle weapons are only used in two to eight percent of all gun crimes.  Why the difference in the percentages?  Which was it, two or eight percent?  Well, one thing that Grandpa T learned regarding statistics about crimes and guns is that you can find a myriad of statistics supporting one view or the opposing view.

What is my personal take on assault rifles?  Well, as a former hunter, former soldier, and current owner of guns, I do not see why anyone would want to own one.  They are not so accurate compared to other non-assault rifles.  Also, they cannot be used for hunting because of the small caliber of the ammunition.  Lastly, it can get kind of spendy if you decide to shoot magazine after magazine.  But what are you shooting?

Common Sense tells me that there are only five reasons why someone would want to have an assault weapon:

*  1.  Because you are in the military or in law enforcement.

*  2.  Because you are either a frickin’ soldier or cop wannabe, and you have watched way too much television.

*  3.  Because you want to investment.  The value is rising because people are stockpiling arms and ammunition.

*   4.  Because you are a collector.   Your collection simply would not be complete without a crappy- looking Rumanian-made AK-47.

*   5. Because you plan to commit a crime and therefore possess as much firepower as you can obtain.

I am sure there must be other reasons, but I would be hard pressed to provide them.  I am sure-shootin’ that I am going to get a response to this last paragraph.

I am not anti-NRA.  During my military career, the NRA was unmerciful in attempting to make members of my fellow soldiers and me.  We were a poor group to target  because we possessed and trained with assault weapons.  For purely selfish reasons, we never wanted to face an enemy that was armed as well as or better than we were.  That survival thing kicked in.  I am pretty sure that most law enforcement people feel the same.  As a result, we did not join the NRA because of their concerted efforts to protect assault weapon ownership.  Second amendment – si; assault weapons – no.

But like most things Washingtonian, our politicians are sure to screw up this law.  The 1994 assault weapon ban made illegal any magazines that held more than 10 rounds of ammo.  A good thing in my opinion, as I never shot over three times at any game I ever hunted.  So what happened?  While the law was being debated in Congress, manufacturers flooded the market with large capacity magazines.  They are all available today. Gun dealers cannot keep assault weapons on the shelf, as the pending legislation is causing panic buying at lucrative profit once again.  It is too late.   There are too many of them already in circulation.

As an aside, when assault weapons first started becoming available, especially AK-47’s from either Russia or China or some other third world sinkhole at gun shows, you could buy an AK and get a crate of ammo for $150.  This was less than 15 years ago, and those crates contained 2200 rounds of ammo.  I never bought one.  They looked junky.  I did not need one, and I did not need to fill my soldier wannabe void.

So, now that we have weapons galore in the U.S., how do we protect ourselves?

Two of our ally nations have taken the path of attempting to eliminate guns entirely in their countries: England and Australia.

Now here is where the statistics get so divergent that I am not going to attempt to scrutinize who is right or wrong.   I will attempt to generalize what has been published in the 5 consulted sources. Who is right and who is wrong is going to be determined by what you want to believe.  Currently, the passions have been raised to fever pitch on both sides as both sides are very passionate about the subject.  So here we go!

The State of Illinois has the most stringent gun laws in the U.S.  However, the City of Chicago experienced over 500 homicides in 2012.  More homicides in Chicago than soldier deaths in Afghanistan. Obviously gun control laws have failed.

It appears you cannot get a consensus in England as to the effect of their gun law.  The law took guns out of the hands of the citizenry.  Having said that,  Common Sense tells me that only law-abiding people will turn in their weapons. The non-law abiding people will keep their weapons.  The British police force has had to arm themselves after the passage of the law for the first time in history!  We all have seen the old movies with the Bobbies walking the beat with a whistle and a nightstick.  Since the passage of the gun law, they are now carrying weapons.  The absence of all other statistics with regard  to crime reduction or increase is amazing. But name one legislative body that will admit they have made a major league screw-up at taxpayers expense.

Australia is another matter.  The government paid their citizens to turn in weapons.  As a result, 640,381 weapons were turned in at a cost of $500,000,000 to the government.  That is about $780 per weapon and this was done over ten years ago.  Now here is the irony of this.  The government knows exactly  how many weapons were turned in, but the results ofthis  buy-back program in relation to crime statistics run the gamut from “no effect on the crime rate” to “huge increases in the crime rate.”  Bear in mind, the government spent a big boatload of money and does not want to admit failure in the program.  The general concensus?  Crime increased dramatically in all categories as a result of the buy-back program.  Just like in England, the law abiders turned in their weapons, and the crooks, felons, and thieves all kept theirs.  If you can believe some of the statistics, homicides increased 171% in Victoria and armed robbery increased by 200% across the whole country.  The assault rate has increased from 200% to 800% after the buy-back depending on whose statistics you want to believe.  If home invasions are included in the 800% number, then it appears plausible as home invasions increased dramatically.  I could not find any statistics to substantiate a crime reduction.

Think about it.  Would a potential home robber feel more emboldened if he knew the house he was going to rob was unprotected?  Well, that is exactly what is happening in Australia.

Another of our allies, Israel, has taken a totally opposite course.  They are an armed citizenry, because they are the only country in the world that has had to fight for its existence every day since its founding in 1948.  Their crime rates are low.  Grandma and I saw this at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.  A group of about 10 preschoolers were walking single file, being lead and followed by two military aged men.  As they passed, we noticed that each man had a pistol tucked into their belts behind their backs.   When they crossed the busy street, one man led, and the other stopped all the traffic and the kids crossed.  Now that added a whole new dimension to street-crossing guard! (Damn!  I was a street-crossing guard in grade school, and I would have given anything to have had a “heater” with my Sam Brown belt!)   In addition, teachers in Israeli schools are armed.  Is this a possible solution to our problem of school shootings?

We need to be more diligent and detailed in determining who can purchase and carry weapons.  Unfortunately, our massacres of late have been caused by people with mental problems and a death wish.  Because of privacy laws, even law enforcement cannot find out if a weapons purchaser or permit seeker has mental problems. So when one of these massacres occurs, the shooter is in the mindset to die, but he wants to go out with a big bang.  The media appears to be a willing accomplice in sensationalizing these crimes, thus begetting more attempts.   How do you legislate against insanity?

I will be the first to say that guns do not kill people.   People kill people.  The gun is only one of the instruments  that can be used to murder.  Knives, fists, feet, cars, mad dogs, have all been used to kill people, but there is not a movement “afoot” to have “feet” control.

Now what do you suppose would happen to our crime rates if we required everyone to go through a stringent training program in order to carry a weapon?   A provocative thought, though it will never become reality in our society.  But supposing it did, you would have to be insane to commit a crime. Unfortunately, insanity abounds.   Then gun control would revert to the military definition:  site picture, breathe, squeeze, target hit; perfect gun control – military style.

In the State of Florida, there are now over one million concealed carry permits, the most of any state in the U.S.  That is over 5% of the population and the number of applicants is climbing steadily.  Only time will tell what will happen to crime rates in Florida.

Admittedly, Grandpa T has not offered any Common Sense or sure fire solutions to some of the presented problems.  I do know that we cannot legislate effectively as a result of emotionally charged events like the Sandy Hook School shooting.  Short-term emotionally-charged solutions can lead to long-term consequences.