Archive for October, 2011

“Legalize it”? Maybe It’s Time.

October 18, 2011

Dried marijuana "bud," Courtesy of Wikipedia. NOT my photo! ("Eees no' mine!!")

Let’s just say I know enough about smoking marijuana (having been college-aged in the late 60’s) to know how apt is the term “wasted” in that context… but let’s also say that I could have passed a random, pop drug test any time over the last forty years, and I could do so at right this moment.

While I am not chomping at the bit for the legal right to hit the pot store on the way home from WalMart, it is hard NOT to see the cost of the “war on drugs” on our Constitutional rights. And, no, you don’t have to be a Paulistinian, or even a classical Libertarian to see it.

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Would you trust your rights to "Good" Attorneys General -- Ashcroft (L) and Thornburgh (R)

”]”]”]”]If we give government the power to knock down doors without first serving a warrant, and to seize private property without due process or even criminal charges (among a host of abuses justified by the “War on Drugs,” not to mention the “War on Terror”), we are giving that power not just to a John Ashcroft or a Dick Thornburgh; we’re giving it to a Janet Reno and an Eric Holder. That’s not just stupid; it’s reckless and destructive.

What have we given up from the Bill of Rights, just to ignore the inherent evil of no-knock warrants and civil asset forfeiture? If a government acting in our best interests can abuse these procedures, what can a government that holds us in contempt do with them?

Legalizing marijuana would break away the current markets for marijuana from their very close relationship with the markets for heroin, cocaine, meth, hot guns, stolen property, prostitution, human and drug smuggling, terrorism, etc., draining tens or hundreds of millions of dollars from that income stream, and diverting it into taxable income streams. It would also unclog thousands of slots on pending court case calendars and empty prison and jail cells of people who otherwise wouldn’t be there, making room for the people who really should be locked up.

The statists graciously accept all our offers to surrender our rights for alleged safety or other benefits, regardless of the “war” allegedly being fought — drugs, poverty, terrorism, income inequality…

They know from history that such rights, once surrendered, are seldom restored, except by force and the spilling of lots of blood. At some point, it will be too late to get them back without that terrible cost.

We’re not there just yet, but we’re awfully close.

With (Drunk Driving) Friends Like These, Gun Rights Advocates Don’t Need Enemies

October 14, 2011

Curry Todd's mug shot, which will be used by gun control advocates from now on as a poster for their cause. Thanks, Curry. Oh, and thanks for driving drunk, too.

Sometimes you just want to slap yourself on the forehead and ask, “WHAT WAS I THINKING?

Tennessee state representative Curry Todd should have a real sore forehead by now, having embarrassed Tennessee gun rights advocates by being arrested for driving drunk.  But wait! There’s more! He had a holstered .38 Special in the car with him. But, wait! There’s even more!

Curry Todd was the “driving” force behind the new state law that removed the prohibition against carrying a concealed weapon WITH A CONCEALED CARRY PERMIT into a bar or restaurant where alcohol is served. And yes, Todd was also charged with the possession of a firearm while intoxicated.

You can be sure the irony of a gun-rights advocate being arrested for a gun law violation has not escaped notice among the foaming-at-the-mouth gun-haters. Take some anti-nausea medicine and read The Tennessean online, and the comments about the related stories, if you want to see anti-gun Schadenfreude on full display.

But, something is missing in all this coverage. Where is the outrage against a drunk driver?

While having a gun in the car when he was driving drunk was illegal and utterly stupid, there is nothing to indicate the firearm ever left the car, that it ever left the holster, that it was ever pointed at anyone or anything — and certainly — no evidence that it was ever used to harm anyone.

What could much more easily have resulted in tragedy that night was not the gun.

Forgive me if I sound a little strident about this, but the deadliest weapon in this story wasn’t IN the car; it WAS the car.  Thousands of pounds of steel that could have easily killed a whole crowd was being operated by a guy who was drunk, according to the police report. And, if you doubt the police report, check the mug shot, above. What is it about driving drunk that is not at least as repugnant to people on either side of the Second Amendment issue as the fact that a firearm was present?

Why do I seem strident about anybody driving drunk? It’s personal. Somebody very close to me was killed by a drunk driver, and it’s not something one forgets.

On June 6, 1994 (yes, the 50th anniversary of D-Day), I got a hysterical call from my mother-in-law, telling me between sobs that my 19-year-old nephew — her oldest grandson, and my wife’s oldest nephew — James Robert Anemone, had been killed, along with his 17-year-old serious girlfriend, by a drunk driver. It’s another story entirely, but James was as close as I have ever come to having a son, and I was as close as he would ever come to having a father.

James and his girl were both sober. The drunk was a minor with a history of driving drunk and public intoxication charges, and he was drunk enough that evening that his blood alcohol level would have put a non-drinker into a coma. But this guy was used to being drunk, and he was used to driving drunk and getting away with it — until he crossed the center line and hit two innocent people head-on,  and killed them. With his car.

Curry Todd’s gun was never a danger to anyone, but his car and his drunken state were a danger to everyone unfortunate enough to share the road with him.  Guns are used  hundreds of thousands or millions of times a year to prevent crimes, but I know of no reports of drunks using their cars to prevent a crime; and tens of thousands of deaths each year result from drunk driving.

Which will get more attention from the “mainstream” press in the Curry Todd incident — the gun, or the car piloted by the guy in the mug shot, above?

Now, what do gun rights advocates do about this ugly situation?

Do we all crawl into a cave and abandon the cause of gun rights? Not just NO, but, HELL NO. We can do what I am doing , here — we can offer Curry Todd the opportunity to redeem himself somewhat in our eyes by offering his resignation from the legislature.  At the very, very least, he should humble himself before the public with a sincere, deeply-felt apology, and a hard commitment to dealing with his alcoholism.

And, he needs to promise his constituents, his colleagues, his family, and methat he will never get behind the wheel drunk again.