April 17, 2014

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Politics & Prejudices

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Ban all guns, now

Nobody needs to have a handgun in America.

Nobody needs to have guns in their home, period.

That should be the starting point for any discussion about gun control in our insanely murderous society.

Any other position is equivalent to arguing, as "moderates" did in the 1850s, that we ought to slowly phase out slavery, that even though everybody "knew" Negroes were clearly inferior to whites, slavery no longer made sense.

Slavery was never right. Nor is putting weapons of mass destruction where any person can effortlessly get them.

Someday, if these United States ever happen to approach something close to civilization, we will look back on those now defending the right to carry concealed weapons much as we today regard Nazi "theoreticians" like Joseph Goebbels.

Nobody, apart from the police, needs to walk around with guns. What about guns for target shooters and hunters? Fine. Long as they keep them locked away at the club or lodge.

Nobody needs guns in their homes. When the entire story surrounding the Connecticut elementary school massacre is sorted out, many will blame the mother of the shooter.

She knew her son was emotionally disturbed, and yet apparently kept a collection of deadly, high-powered weapons in her house. Last Friday, Sonny went off like a rabid pit bull.

First he killed Mommy, and then went to the local elementary school, where he was a first-grader about 1998. There he shot six adults and pumped as many as eleven shots each into the heads of 20 children who were 6 and 7 years old.

Then he killed himself.

None of this would have been possible if he hadn't had access to those guns. At most, he might have killed Mommy, or some other person, with a butcher knife.

Incidentally, I am not mentioning the killer's name. People who do these things seem to want to be famous, want to be remembered. They don't deserve to be.

We have to stop this, now. We began last year with six people dying and a congresswoman's career being ended by one sick bastard with a gun, and we are ending this year with a pile of brutally torn apart babies all because of our guns.

Stopping this will be hard. We have spent years being deluded and deluding ourselves that guns make us "safe."

Bullshit. Guns make us dead. Yes, I am sure there are a handful of people who have saved themselves because they had guns. But far more have shot Poppa by mistake.

Five years ago, according to government records, gun violence killed 3,067 American children and teens. Japan, which has more than a third of our population, had 47.

Forty-seven gun deaths of all ages, that is. 

Year after year, we've listened to the paranoid fantasies from the gun nuts. They need their guns to defend themselves, they hint darkly, against some political conspiracy. Right. If the Navy Seals ever did arrive to take you out, your pistol would be worthless. We've been held hostage too long by the National Rifle Association, which columnist Michael Tomasky correctly calls the National More Dead Children Association.

Far too many Americans still cling neurotically to the instruments of death. They were still scrubbing the brains off the walls of Sandy Hook school when I got a message from a lunatic named Scot Beaton.

Beaton, a former Rochester Hills councilman, knows what the problem was: The teachers were really to blame because they weren't armed to the teeth themselves!

His solution: Give 'em training and give 'em guns "and allow those educators with concealed pistol licenses to bring their gun to school." That's really brilliant, though I don't know why this wimp wants to stop there. Every one of those slaughtered children should have been issued a Glock.

By not arming their babies, their parents must be terribly unfit in Beaton's eyes. Well, anyone who wants to make this nation Afghanistan has to admire Scot Beaton, though a far better solution would be to send him there.

This would-be suburban Sun Tzu also quoted another homicide enabler, one Steve Dulan, the lawyer for something laughingly called the "Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners" who said, "If you have pistol-free zones they are actually mass murder empowerment zones."

Funny, I never thought of a maternity ward that way. Do we really want to live in a country these creatures would create?

Well, we are about to find out what our governor thinks. In the dying days of a lame-duck legislative session mostly devoted to screwing the workers, the wingnuts in the Legislature also passed a law that would allow those permitted to carry concealed weapons to take them into elementary schools. Plus sports arenas and churches, synagogues and mosques. Supposedly, this is to make people safer.

Police and other trained law enforcement experts don't agree. They don't want vigilantes blasting away. They know that means far more dead innocents than bad guys.

Now, the question is: Will Gov. Rick Snyder, former alleged moderate, sign this legislation? By the time you read this column, you may know the answer.

Last week, with the brains and blood of a score of children still coating the walls of their classrooms, our governor said the massacre gave him "serious pause" and made him wonder if allowing people to take guns into classrooms is "appropriate."

Thoughtful man, Gateway Rick. Well, we'll learn more about who he is by what he does. But defeating these bills is not adequate. We have to defeat the culture of death.

Incidentally, I know the current Supreme Court has, for the first time in history, ruled that the Second Amendment means there is a constitutional right to bear arms.

The ruling did not, however, say gun control was unconstitutional. Frankly, any sane person ought to know that what was called "arms" in 1787 bears about as much relationship to a Bushmaster semiautomatic as a mouse does to a mountain lion, except both are "mammals."

We can choose to fight for culture and life or we can permanently embrace a world of killing and death.

Seems to me that may be not only a fight worth making, but perhaps the most important fight of all.


Getting rid of Right to Work: After the lame-duck session of the Legislature rammed through legislation outlawing the union shop last week, many workers felt helpless.

The solons had shrewdly stuck some appropriated money into the union-busting bill. Anytime they do that with a law, it means voters cannot collect signatures to put it on the ballot to try to get rid of it, as happened last month in a referendum on the governor's first emergency manager law.

But there is, in fact, still a way to try to get Right to Work before the people. Here's how: When you can't do a referendum, try an initiative. Citizens would need to collect more than 258,088 valid signatures over 180 days, on petitions asking the Legislature to reconsider and repeal right to work.

Naturally, this Legislature will almost certainly say no. But if they do, they'll have to put Right to Work on the ballot, elections experts in the Michigan Secretary of State's Office told me last week. That wouldn't be till November 2014.

But that would give labor a shot. When Rick Snyder signed right to work into law, U.S. Rep. Sander Levin said, "The effort to reverse this wrong-headed action and restore a Michigan that encourages middle-class jobs ... begins today."

OK, well, if he and everyone else opposed to Right to Work is serious, I've just given you a road map. So take it.

Jack Lessenberry opines weekly for Metro Times. Send comments to

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