Op-Ed: Guns, Jeans, and Pioneers: They may not be after your guns.
A recent article published on Digital Journal described 2009 as "The Year of the Gun". This article mentions an increase in the deaths of police officers by firearms in 2009. While it is horrible, we cannot assume that this is due to changes in gun laws.
"The Year of the Gun".
There clearly have been a number of number of bizarre incidents in the world this year that centered around violence. However, these incidents have not been associated with changes in gun laws. The shooting of Army recruits by a psychiatrist at Fort Hood to the release a person convicted of bombing a Pan Am civilian airline over Lockerbie, Scotland have been incidents involving not only our "trusted" medical profession, but international court systems as well. But we have seen this in the past. A good example is that of the serial killer, Dennis Rader, who worked for a city animal control agency and also installed home invasion alarms for a private security firm. He was convicted in 2005 for the deaths of individuals in their homes from 1974 to 1991, as the BTK (Bind, Torture, and Kill) Killer
In the state of Indiana, there has been a recent investigation published in the October 11, 2009 issue of the Indianapolis Star into the licensing of inappropriate individuals to "carry" firearms by the State Police. The investigation sited individuals that might be considered "inappropriate persons" because of problems such as previous run-ins with the law. However, although Indiana too has had its share of crimes against our law enforcement officers, the majority of those crimes committed were carried out by people who were not licensed to carry a firearm.
Perhaps even more disturbing were some of the responses of readers to that Indianapolis Star article. One subscriber who complained about the State Police licensing procedure even wrote that his "License to Carry a Firearm" should identify his as the "good guy". I don't know if they have confiscated his firearm yet, but they should for his own safety. Waving a "Carry Card" will not protect you in shoot outs. This all occurs in a state where firearms are allowed in establishments which serve alcohol and the a city prosecutor has even been reported to be associated with them.
It is troubling to see the focus of firearm possession on status rather than on a person's legitimate ability to protect himself. It can at times seem like the only thing "happening" in Indiana is to be a police officer, a criminal, or perhaps in their own mind, a "good guy". And police impersonators are discovered frequently. BUT, in a time of recession, people are not concerned with safety, they are concerned with surviving. That includes violent criminals. Furthermore, it is also clear that the increase in violence that we are seeing involves many different segments of our society. Fort Hood is just one of many examples of this. Physicians are often involved in the use firearms in situations that are not designed to protect anyone. And just this year a California physician was convicted of road rage while trying to harm cyclists with his car.
Who can you trust?
Yourself. That is whether you are an innocent citizen or a law enforcement officer. The general rule should be that if you shoot someone, it better have been during the invasion of your home. If your carrying a loaded gun in your hand anywhere else, you better be running from a bear or have a very good excuse. As the police will tell you: "there is no such thing as a concealed carry permit".
It is also important to realize that this same year, two good things occurred that did protect innocent individuals from firearm violence. First, the University of Colorado at Boulder joined the rest of the country in banning firearms on campus. Second, the State of Tennessee banned firearms from bars. We can only hope that Indiana will follow suit.
When President Obama campaigned for the White House, he suggested that he might stand in the way of individuals arming themselves for protection by commenting that he "had did not want to take firearms from people who were hunters." But what has happened? Firearm's restrictions have been lifted in National Parks where hunting is not allowed and assault weapons laws have been eased. Therefore, it is important to try to determine the political motivation for easing these firearm restrictions, since there does not seem to be any other.
Perhaps attendance at national parks a good place to start. It has been shown that Black Americans have not been using our national parks proportionately to the rest of the American population. One political motivation of the current White House administration may be a belief that allowing firearms will encourage an increase in the attendance of our national parks by Black Americans concomitantly with firearm possession. In the past, patrons of the national parks always had to take the risk of interacting with the wildlife unarmed. So, why would you change this at this at a time when the national parks are overcrowded? Is it supporting an agenda that would encourage the alleviation of racial disparities in America with firearms or is there a hidden agenda?
The late Chicago political activist, Saul Alinsky, would label a goal of an increase in the number of Black Americans with firearms alone would be "political pornography". Saul Alinsky's "ghost" still exists in American politics, particularly those centered in Chicago. Furthermore, a New Jersey based organization that recently split from the AFL-CIO, the Service Employee International Union (SEIU), recently won healthcare benefits for some of its mostly minority members. This is not a far-stretched political goal. In fact, Andy Stern, the president of SEIU, has even called Obama's healthcare initiative his "Waterloo" if he does not get it passed. The SEIU union uses the principles outlined in Saul Alinksky's 1960s book, Rules for Radicals to "Organize" or as Stern now puts it to "Change to Win". Those principles include targeting people that they know that they can defeat to better their own organization while not going against those in power or "The Haves".
The Battle of Waterloo: "After raising France to a position of preeminence in Europe from 1804 to 1813, Napoleon met defeat in 1814 by a coalition of major powers, notably Prussia, Russia, Britain, and Austria."
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It is possible that Andy Stern is using healthcare reform as his own personal "wrecking ball" against the uninsured non-SEIU affiliated urban populations. Good defeatable targets for the SEIU would now include urban populations who are not affliliated with the union, and do not have healthcare. Using a healthcare benefit scheme, the SEIU members would benefit and the un-insured would be forced to pay for more heathcare out of their own pockets. Yet even Howard Dean, the former Governor of Vermont and Chairman of the Democratic Party, has called the current bill in the senate a "dream for health insurance companies" and he calls for its defeat
A coalition of the SEIU with the healthcare industry may not be "political pornography" to SEIU members, but it could certainly cost the rest of us. The SEIU includes janitors, security guards, and some nurses. Many nurses will not join the SEIU because they do not agree with their methods. The president of the AFL-CIO at the time of the SEIU split was very much against this "Change to Win" split. It was only with the aid of groups like the Teamsters Union that Stern was able to pull it off.
It is important to also realize that Saul Alinsky never shied away from guns or gangsters. He was in fact a drinking partner with the likes of people like those in the Al Capone gang. Urban areas of Indiana are very similar to Saul Alinsky's Chicago. A diverse population lives there and they are surrounded by rural farm land. So it is necessary to be aware that the organization methods outlined in his "Rules for Radicals" can not only be economically damaging, but they can lead to deaths. Methods very similar to those outlined by Alinsky got four unarmed white students killed at Kent State University during a civil rights protest in 1970 under the noses of the Students for a Democratic Society (S.D.S.) and Black United Students (B.U.S). As outlined by James A. Michener in "Kent State: What Happened and Why", much of that chaos is believed to have been incited by outsiders such as those from California who wanted "to see some action". Saul Alinsky died in San Francisco, California in 1972.
It is also possible that there is another and perhaps noble goal of encouraging an appropriate use of firearms in the black community, a community known to be suffering with a large amount of gun violence. Only time will tell.