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I must have changed topics for this weeks Op/Ed four times. I started out writing about how the Republicans in Congress, who lambasted President Obama for “wasting time” on Health Care Reform last year instead of focusing on unemployment, campaigned on how they would “Repeal and Replace ObamaCare”, despite KNOWING anything they did would be “a waste of time” with NO CHANCE of surviving a presidential veto. And while they chant “Repeal AND REPLACE“, no one on the Right has yet to say what they would replace ObamaCare with. So much for rolling up their sleeves and focusing on getting people back to work. Then, upon retaking control of the House of Representatives, their first act was to waste a week reading the Constitution aloud on the floor of the House (don’tcha think maybe they should of taken the time to read The Constitution BEFORE running for Congress?), and even then, skipping the inconvenient parts about “slaves” as “3/5th of a person”. So much for hollow complaints of “wasting time” during an economic emergency.

Then came the shooting in Arizona by some nut with a history of mental health issues, who was able to buy a semi-automatic pistol, extended clips that hold TWICE the number of bullets intended for that particular weapon, and bullets purchased at the SECOND Wal*Mart he had visited that morning AFTER employees at the first Wal*Mart refused to sell him any ammunition “because of his strange behavior”.

I also considered taking up the challenge of Right Wing Talkers who, in the wake of the tragedy, immediately went on the defensive to claim THEY were not responsible for the recent climate of hate and incivility permeating the national discourse, challenging people to provide them with evidence of “violent rhetoric” coming from the Right (“Who? Us? Angry?”). Finding examples of Right-Wing hate is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel (Hell, how many example can one find in a single Tea Party Rally? Then there were those raging “Health Care Town Halls” in 2009.) I may still publish a massive list of Right-wing vitriol in the near future, but after digging up more than 50 examples just since the Arizona shooting, I decided to put that Herculean task off for another day.

We’ve all seen the disturbing booking photo of the shooter (it is not a mugshot), grinning following his murder of six people including a 9-year old girl. Half in jest, I posted a popular PhotoShopped split-image, half Glenn Beck, half the AZ shooter, to my personal Facebook page. My Rightie friends HOWLED in protest. “How DARE I” compare Beck to the deranged Arizona killer! “Beck never killed anyone!”, I was told (to which I directed them to Google “Beck Tides Foundation“) You’d think I posted a photo of the president in a Hitler mustache! Needless to say, once again, I found myself staring blatant Republican hypocrisy right in the face… a daily event in this line of work.

There was also the story of Sarah Palin’s “Blood Libel” speech. Did she or didn’t she know the anti-Semitic origins of that phrase? I’m inclined to think No. What about her speech writers? Again, likely No. But once the Media started to report this overlooked fact, Palin should immediately have fired her speech writer. Did she? I can find no reports that she did. But EVEN IF insertion of the phrase was an innocent mistake (sometimes used to mean “falsely accused”), don’t you think Palin should of questioned use of the words “BLOOD Libel” in a speech denouncing overheated rhetoric and hate-speech? I think that goes beyond poor judgment for a potential presidential candidate (and as Fox’s Brit Hume pointed out yesterday: “Why release a highly staged and scripted speech to the nation at all unless you plan on running for president?”)

But in the end, the only real topic this week is those lives lost in Arizona and how to prevent it from happening ever again.
 

Republican Congressman Peter King of New York, in a surprise move, actually proposed legislation “banning the possession of firearms within 1,000 feet of a government official“… a suggestion that was instantly dismissed by Speaker Boehner. While I applaud Congressman King’s sudden embrace of gun control, simply banning guns around elected officials seems a bit self serving. What about the rest of us? And such a law would of done NOTHING to prevent last weeks’ shooting other than to give police one more charge to file against the shooter. Would such a ban have prevented ANY political assassination in the last 200 years? Would it of stopped Oswald? Booth? Of course not. King’s idea, while laudable, would solve nothing.

As you know, I’ve repeatedly openly questioned how someone like the AZ Shooter was able to legally obtain a firearm. And MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow revived Chris Rock’s infamous “$5,000 bullet” routine on her show last week:
 

Chris Rock on “Gun Control” and the $5,000 bullet

 

However, as rational as the “$5,000 bullet solution” might sound, too many gun owners pack & load their own ammunition, and there is an endless supply of source material to where you could never make bullets so unaffordable criminals couldn’t obtain them.

No, the only practical thing we can do is simply slow them down by restricting the size of ammunition “clips”… also called “magazines”… that hold the bullets and allow for fewer reloads. The Arizona shooter was tackled and disarmed when he stopped to reload. The clips he was using were twice the normal size for that particular gun (holding 30 rounds instead of the typical 15), meaning his subduers had to wait twice as long for the shooter to stop and reload. Had the original Assault Weapons Ban on extended magazines had been renewed by President Bush, there is a very real possibly half as many victims might of been wounded.. or killed… that day.

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), whose husband was shot and killed by a deranged man on the Long Island railroad in the early ’90’s, and Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), have both proposed reinstating the ban on extended clips that was part of the Assault Weapons Ban first passed by President George HW Bush in 1989 and expanded by President Clinton in 1994. President George W Bush (43), despite campaigning on renewing the Assault Weapons Ban during his 2000 campaign, instead allowed it to expire on Sept. 13, 2004:
 

President Bush (43)’s record on Gun Control

Bush ban support #1Bush ban support #2

 

There really is no rational argument for keeping extended clips legal. Being able to fire more bullets without having to stop and reload is simply a matter of convenience. And if a little inconvenience is the price for limiting the amount of damage a deranged killer can do in one sitting, that’s too freakin’ bad.

I’ve heard the argument, “If you ban extended clips, they’ll just use two guns instead of one.” Yes, but they can use two guns NOW. Which would you prefer? Two guns carrying 31 bullets each, or two guns carrying 16 (one magazine each plus one in the chamber)?

Another argument: “People will simply stock up on extended clips if you ban them.” As a matter of fact, they already are. Gun lovers are already buying the gun itself… a Glock 9mm… out of some baseless, ridiculous fear that President Obama will try to ban them. The gun nuts have been paranoid that President Obama will try and “take their guns away” since before he was elected. And yet, the only gun legislation he has passed is to make it easier/legal to carry a gun into a Public Park. This president has a phobia against proposing any limits on gun ownership in fear of the inevitable overreaction by Republican gun owners across the country. (two years in office and still they are “stocking up” on weapons an ammunition because they believe President Obama would be able to single handedly violate the Second Amendment and pass legislation that would attempt to “take their guns away”. Even with a Republican House, so deep is their paranoia and hate for government that they feel the need to “stock up”. So you can see why he doesn’t want to do anything that might, even tangentially, confirm their fears.)

But banning “extended clips”? How does one make a convincing argument that law-abiding citizens NEED to be able to fire more than 16 bullets without pausing to reload? Because “if you ban extended clips, only criminals would have extended clips?” Dude, if you can’t hit your target with the first 16 shots, maybe you have no business owning a firearm in the first place.

Or do you argue that “if you ban extended clips, there are so many out there, buyers will continue to have a steady supply for years to come.” True, but that supply will eventually run low, and the simple act of banning their manufacture will drive the cost of EXISTING extended clips out of the price range of your average kook.

If there is a legitimate rational argument for keeping “extended clips” legal, I haven’t heard it. The Second Amendment doesn’t protect gun owners against “inconvenience”.
 

BTW: To bring this Op/Ed full circle, while everyone questions the ability of a “deranged” man with “obvious mental health issues” to obtain a handgun, Republicans still spent the day yesterday on the Sunday shows advocating “the repeal of ObamaCare”, which includes, incidentally, funding for Mental Health Care, including counseling (H.R. 3962, the Reconciliation bill, adds extensive support for Mental Health services.) The people over at The Washington Times posted a single readers comment claiming “ObamaCare CUTS funding for Mental Health care services”, simply telling readers to “checkout ObamaCare’s changes” as his “proof” (I did, the Reconciliation bill is full of added funding for Mental Health Care). With nothing more than this one stray comment, a site entitled “ObamaCare411” cites “a concerned citizen” to The Washington Times claiming “ObamaCare cuts mental health care”, posted to their front page less than a week after the tragedy. This is all they’ve got folks.
 


 
And as usual: a reminder to Sign my Green Jobs petition:
Support green jobs NOW!

 


 

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