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Yes, the right to life is central, and that is precisely why my right to own and carry a firearm is a basic human right, and your effort to deprive me of it, and incarcerate me if I fail to conform to your wishes, is a form of violence.
Just last night in College Place, a drunk, enraged and violent man was reported to have tried to break into a home in the middle of the night, holding a sharp stake he grabbed from the garden. He was stopped, not by a "culture of nurturance" but by the homeowners with their shotgun and pistol. He was captured, not by a "culture of cooperation" but by more people with guns - the police. Just like the shooter in Roseburg was ultimately stopped, not by a "culture of life" but by yet more people with guns.
It astonishes me that someone who has spent any serious time with victims of domestic violence can say that "everyone has a right to self-defense" but that the physically weaker - women, the elderly, the disabled - should be denied the effective tools of self-defense and must depend on their fists instead - or wait for protection from violence until "the culture" changes.
As further evidence to support my conclusion that gun laws are not sufficiently enforced, check the statistics on prosecutions of gun purchase attempts by prohibited persons. Some 70,000 people a year are initially stopped from purchasing because of errors in the databases, but several thousand each year turn out to be trying to buy guns even though they are clearly barred from doing so. How many are prosecuted? A couple of dozen.
There was a drive-by shooting in May. Has anyone been convicted of it? No. There was a drive-by last week. Will anyone be convicted of it? Or will the prosecutor once more be "unable to prove" participation by anyone? Does the fact that no one is convicted retroactively cause those shootings not to have happened? Or does that fact instead demonstrate my point?
If no one was convicted of the drive-by in May, isn't it a fair question to ask why not? "Prosecutor couldn't prove the case" is not an answer, it's just the basis for another why not question. Are there inadequate resources for police investigation, prosecution, forensics, informants, rewards, witness protection, jail space to put them in if convicted, what?
How will it put an end to drive-by shootings to stop some harmless gun collector from buying an Uzi, whether at a gun show or elsewhere? Has there even been a drive-by with an Uzi? How will it prevent a mass shooting at a school to force me to turn in my pistol because it has a 17-round magazine capacity? Has a retired female professional even done a mass shooting anywhere - with a 17-round magazine or otherwise?
Too many laws are passed just because of the emotional urge to "do something" about a problem, even if the laws have no rational bearing on the problem. Drug laws are a good example; an earlier generation saw the damage that heroin addiction caused, and the related crime, and thought prohibition-style laws would solve the problem. Billions of dollars have been wasted, citizens' rights have been stripped away, our police forces have become paramilitary units in some places, and tens of thousands of lives have been ruined because people were desperate to "do something" and politicians whose goals were to limit people's freedoms were opportunistic enough to seize on that.
We shouldn't have laws against ANYTHING unless it can be shown that the law is both NECESSARY to solve a real problem and reasonably calculated to do so, not just to make people feel like they are "doing something". If you don't like guns, you should be on board with that principle, since all laws ultimately depend on guns for their enforcement.
With that much military experience, I'm sure you know that a key to taking out a problem is careful and accurate targeting, rather than wildly firing about you without identifying your enemy or knowing what you're going to hit.
Democrat proposals to stem "gun violence" are all about firing wildly with no effort to identify and acquire a target. The fact is that their rounds are mostly ending up causing "collateral damage" to law-abiding citizens' rights.
For some Democrats, I believe that is because "gun violence" isn't the real goal; the real goal IS the "collateral damage". But for those who really are concerned about reducing gun violence WITHOUT disarming law-abiding Americans, consider this:
The real work of suppressing "gun violence" is to enforce the laws we already have. And how are we doing with that?
Horrible. Look at our own local news: A young man arrested last week for participating in a drive-by shooting, Alejandro Lomeli, was arrested for the same thing in May of this year. His judgment and sentence from that arrest was entered September 28, 2015, and yet he was out on the streets two days later to try again. (Yeah, yeah, presumption of innocence and all that.)
In places where gun violence is truly horrific, like Chicago, Washington DC, Detroit, the criminal justice system is even more of a catch-and-release sport.
How does this happen? Not enough police to investigate? Not enough prosecutors to go after the criminals? Not enough prison space to lock them up?
But no, Democrats want LESS prosecution, LESS police action, LESS prison time, especially if it's "disproportionate" in its impact on minorities - ignoring the fact that minorities are disproportionately the victims, too.
How can Democrats really care about less shooting, when they can't be bothered to support and fund the process that would lock up the known shooters?
I'm wondering how many people subject to court restraining orders or convicted of domestic violence went on to LEGALLY buy guns and then use them unlawfully. I can well believe there are many who got their guns ILLEGALLY and went on to commit crimes, but the law already has done its best on those. In other words, are the Senate Democrats, once again, offering a 'solution' in search of a problem?
Could you please explain how any specific gun-law proposal by the groups you mention would have prevented the tragedy at Umpqua Community College, without confiscating the guns many law-abiding Americans possess for their own protection?
If the ultimate goal of these groups is, as I believe it to be, the confiscation of firearms from most Americans, why not be honest about it? Isn't it because you know that most Americans, as much as we want an end to such tragedies, will not tolerate the abrogation of our inherent human right of self-defense?
There's a huge irony in the fact that in another mass shooting, that of Dylan Roof in Charleston, some of his friends hid his gun from him because they feared he was violent, but gave it back BECAUSE THEY FEARED GUN LAWS MORE. I personally have taken away the gun of someone who I feared was suicidal, but under today's laws, that would be illegal, and I would not. "Sensible" gun laws would likely have caused my friend's death.
"The Corps of Engineers is merely a caretaker for the land, water, animals and plants."
True, but let's not forget the people, pets, livestock, houses, personal property and family keepsakes, businesses, schools, churches, infrastructure, and public services.
Trees can stabilize slopes, but they can also be uprooted in windstorms or floods leaving big gaps in the soil, plus they can be uprooted or blown over directly across the levee, blocking access to work crews who may need to repair breaches, and even forming barriers within the water flow, increasing the level of the water and the risk of breaches.
(see pictures of the trees uprooted along a major arterial in Snohomish County during their last windstorm here: http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/weather/one-person-killed-thousands-lose-power-in-windstorm/)
Also, over time, trees die and eventually their roots rot, leaving gaps in the soil that can weaken the levee. If the dead trees are surrounded by more vegetation, it is hard to find and repair those gaps.
I'm not a great believer that 'government knows best' but really, some plain old simple common sense should be enough to figure this one out. The levee is basically like a wall, keeping the water on one side from crossing to the other side. Do you plant strong-rooted trees close to your house walls and expect the walls to remain strong indefinitely? I would hope not.
Were the people of New Orleans likewise conflicted over the need to strengthen their levees pre-Katrina?
Dr. Casebolt quotes the WHO's finding that "even one glass of wine daily can cause breast cancer".
If only people were taught the basics of statistics and reasoning!
Most people should be able to see right through that WHO statistic to ask the much more meaningful question: How often? The answer is, from one glass of wine a day, it's only a very small increased risk. Even at 2-5 drinks a day, the risk is only 1-1/2 times higher, which is hardly an earthshakingly higher risk. Compare that to the risk of getting lung cancer from smoking: A 23 times greater risk. That's meaningful.
That being said, nobody's life is likely to be ruined because they were persuaded by Dr. Casebolt's less-than-meaningful statistics to quit drinking alcohol, and alcohol really is dangerous to some people some of the time, so maybe he's even saving some lives. The worst harm he's causing is that he'll make a bunch of people who DON'T quit drinking worry about their health more than they should. So I can't get as steamed about it as SteveBody.
As for Dr. Casebolt's final question: If one of ten flights originating in Walla Walla crashed, I'd fly out of Pasco until they found the saboteur.
I'm pretty sure the Founders never imagined an Internet, either, or the ability to write letters from Golden, CO, to Walla Walla, WA, that arrive virtually instantaneously. If we follow your line of thought, we should happily relinquish our freedom of speech in any format that didn't exist in the late 18th century. You first.
Ideas have killed more people than guns. And so many of them are "unnecessary", right? Why shouldn't the government regulate them so that "irresponsible" people don't propagate any dangerous ones? After all, who has anything to fear from their government?
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