Monday, February 4, 2013

What People Want?

Meanwhile, back at the rancho in Maricopa, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arapaio announced last Wednesday that he’s arming his deputies with 400 military-style assault rifles. From the official press release:

We look far and wide for the best people and best equipment....This Sheriff’s Office has the nation’s largest volunteer armed posse, we are the only law enforcement agency in the nation known to possess a .50-caliber machine gun which can be used in any needed circumstance and soon we’ll have more semi-automatic rifles in patrol cars than about any other law enforcement agency around.

Excuse me? Volunteer armed posse?

What this says is that Sheriff Arapaio is putting rather large weapons into the hands of non-professionals who are going to be sent out to enforce Arizona laws. While I’m sure someone is training these people, are they doing adequate background checks? Is each volunteer going to take his weapon home so he can have it at the ready when called? Are they installing proper gun lockers in where the weapons are going to be kept? Who carries liability?

What we do know is that in 2011, Sheriff Arapaio  staged a raid on a house using a tank and actor Steven Seagal for a reality show. They were supposedly hunting down dangerous people who raised chickens. …or more specifically roosters… for cock fights. Instead, they drove a tank into the LLovera’s house, killing  the family’s puppy and some show chickens. Seagal is supposedly a PETA guy; he was active in the campaign to stop puppy drowning in Taiwan! And now…he’s known as Seagal the Puppy Killer.

They needed a tank for this? And this guy is leading a posse?

You cannot convince me that Sheriff Arapaio, the Arizona poster boy for no gun laws, is a shining example of responsible weaponry. Just like you cannot convince me that Gayle Trotter isn’t smoking extreme quantities of ganja before going on talk shows to tell us moms we need automatic weapons locked and load in our house to protect our babies from roving gangs of marauders who break down our doors. Or how about the NRA’s La Pierre going on the talk shows to sell the idea that there should be no background checks at all?  Paul Krugman said it best on ABC’s THIS WEEK with George Stephanopoulos:

What strikes me is we've actually gotten a glimpse into the mindset, though, of the pro-gun people and we've seen certainly Wayne La Pierre and some of these others. It's bizarre ... They have this vision that we're living in a Mad Max movie and that nothing can be done about it. That America cannot manage unless everybody's prepared to shoot intruders, that the idea that we have police forces that provide public safety is somehow totally impractical, despite the fact that, you know, that is, in fact, the way we live.

President Obama was here in Minnesota on Monday to meet with the cops and others involved in battle to write a national gun law.  The overwhelming sense of the nation is that the laws we have now are inadequate and that at the very least the availability of automatic weaponry must be addressed in a functional, practical manner. Le Pierre’s cockabarley that law abiding citizens don’t want background checks and that the criminals aren’t going to get checks anyway demonstrates an incipient path to a new form of anarchy that is just not where the public is right now. Add to that Gayle Trotter’s idea that there should be a chicken in every pot and a loaded AR-15 in every foyer closet is not much better.

Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I learned to fire a gun, specifically, a police revolver. I won’t go into the circumstances surrounding that, but I did learn and I was taught how to aim it at a person. I’ve never fired a gun at a person, but I will tell you it is a far different mindset. It is not the same as pointing it at a target or an animal. It’s not like in the movies or the video games. I don’t know if media hardens us against the violence, but I do know it gives us a false impression of what’s like to be facing a gun.  Very few people are trained snipers and the odds of AR-15 mom actually hitting someone even with a spray of bullets won’t happen. Instead, everyone around her will die. And like the kids at Sandy Hook or Columbine or in the theater in Aurora, they will not get up again like actors on a movie set.

So what’s a person to do? The obvious thing is to contact your elected representative and tell them you want a sane and practical set of gun laws enacted. Then, don’t just sit down. The NRA is counting on We, the People, growing bored with this process. We cannot grow bored, we cannot stand down.

In the end, this is ultimately about moral courage.  Do We, the People, have what it takes to take our country back from brink of armament insanity?

The Wifely Person’s Tip o’the Week
Maybe it’s time for the rest of us to join the NRA.
If a few million normal people join, we could change their board. 


  1. Rather than just reporting on the NRA's latest whackaloon ideas as if they are serious, the media needs to point out the falsities. For example: the whole "criminals won't get background checks" thing doesn't make sense.
    First, how do you know? There are some pretty stupid criminals. Let's skim the cream off the top of the crook pot the easy way if we can. Let's bet: I'll buy La Pierre a year's worth of ammo if NO ONE fails a background check. He'll has to give up his banana clips when someone fails.
    Second, if "the criminals won't follow it" was a reason not to pass a law, nothing would be illegal. Many criminals don't have driver's licenses. And I'm pretty sure your run-of-the-mill drug dealer doesn't use valid prescriptions to get the valium and oxycotin he peddles to burned out starlets.
    Third, if the NRA truly believes this why haven't they spent the past twenty years trying to get rid of ALL background checks? If criminals won't submit to the checks, then why have them at all? The NRA hasn't made that argument (yet), because they know its not true.
    Fourth, the NRA itself, represented by Mr. La Pierre, testified less than 15 years ago IN FAVOR of universal background checks. Maybe the crooks just got smarter? Nah, the NRA just thinks we all got dumber.
    Unfortunately for the NRA, while Sheriff Joe is an innovator, the rest of America has woken up.

  2. It never ceases to amaze me how the gun culture seem to ignore the "...'WELL REGULATED' militia..." phrase of the 2nd Amendment.

  3. Really good "tip"... signed up this morning and the NRA says my AR-15 "welcome package" will be arriving on Friday. Thanks so much.

  4. La Pierre has chosen to ignore the wishes of the majority of NRA members, so I can't imagine more people signing on simply to exert more pressure will have much of an impact until he's removed as its head. I suspect just the opposite will happen - millions of new members will only cheer him on to an even more radical postion (if that's possible). As for good 'ol Sheriff Joe, his days as sheriff are numbered, as the Nov election emboldened Latino voters in his district and there's a movement underway to make sure he doesn't win re-election. The guy is so far out there now - with the tank and such - that he's a prime candidate for a rubber room. Jan Brewer shouldn't get too comfortable in the guv's mansion, either. The more sane and rational members of the Republican party - I know, that's a contradiction in terms, but there ARE a few - are gathering behind doors to find ways to keep wackos from running as Repubs for ANY office in the future. It's finally dawning that having nutcases on the ticket at all levels is not good for their "brand". Karl Rove is already out of favor, Mitch McConnell is not likely to win again in 2014, John McCain is wayyyyy past his "sell by" date, Marco Rubio has become a punchline for bad jokes, and the Koch brothers are old men who can't last much longer. When the old, rich white men lose their seats or die off, and younger "stars" (like Rubio) stop drinking the Kool-Aid, there'll be significant fewer ultra-extremists promoting "guns in every foyer closet". Patience, people.

    1. Koch brothers are not _that_ old....78 and 73. Young enough to continue to do grave damage to the nation.

  5. You go "We the People" !!! Take it back, for me, as I gave up and left decades ago. Living in a country now where there are almost NO firearms, and where even a cap gun is frowned upon, is such a great luxury and a greater relief. I am no anti-gun nut, I've a Vietnam Vet that excelled at firing a 50 cal machine gun. But did I want to then come home and find them in the streets and at gun shows, being traded around like baseball cards? Hell no! Seriously, the solution is simple: take all the guns away from EVERYONE and lock them up in gun clubs or at the YMCA, wherever. If your worried about the government abusing that national disarmament, overthrow it first while ya got the ammo. It's the only way to live - gun free.