Thoughts and Prayers 4/19/21

Thoughts by Richard Bleil

Politicians find themselves in a difficult position every time another tragedy occurs. They’re stuck trying to appear sympathetic, while drawing attention away from what they haven’t acted on every to stop it from happening. How does one manage to keep getting money from mega donors while avoiding angering the individual voters? Somebody, at some point, said “thoughts and prayers”, and it just took off from there.

Today I heard that Mike Pence had an operation to install a Pacemaker. His party has been pro-gun, which they claim to be pro-freedom as long as it’s not abortion, drugs, or voting Democrat. More than anybody else, it at least seems to me that it’s the Republicans that offer nothing but “thoughts and prayers”. When I heard that Mike had a Pacemaker installed, my first thought was, “why doesn’t he just rely on thoughts and prayers?”

Maybe it’s kind of low class to have this cross my mind. Real people are dying out there, and it feels like they are dying faster and faster by better and better armed idiots. But every time I hear a politician say, “thoughts and prayers,” it always strikes me as a low class joke anyway, so I guess we’re even.

Texas is taking the direction that surprises, frankly, nobody. They just approved open carry without a permit, and if I’m not mistaken, the bill also allows for concealed carry without a license. They call it “Constitutional Carry”, which is certainly not a surprise either. As more and more voters want stricter gun laws, it only is reasonable that this bill, that will no doubt be very unpopular with voters, must have a name that evokes patriotism and nationalistic pride, even if it’s a false sense of pride. Apparently, there are a handful of additional states with similar bills being considered. I personally think this is a mistake. We’ve already had at least one instance where an argument among neighbors ended when they drew on each other, and there are a multitude of stories about accidental shootings, not infrequently involving toddlers and children finding guns. These states will be the forefront of the experiment. Will shootings drop with more people carrying (or at least allowed to carry)? And if they do, will the number of gun deaths end up going down? We’re about to find out. And who knows? Maybe they’re right.

The big question I have is how they will make sure that the people with guns are permitted to have them? If many people begin carrying, there will, of course, be more incidences of guns lost or stolen, and those guns can easily fall into the wrong hands.

Well, that’s just me. But all of this, in my opinion, is an overreaction to the fear that these recent shootings will lead to real legislative changes and laws. They can be as common sense as you can imagine, but every single one will be characterized as villainous. As such, bills like this are just a preemptive strike so those passing the laws can claim that they are pro-freedom in the next election.

The simple truth is that knee-jerk responses won’t do anything. Even if these “Constitutional Carry” laws drop shootings, the reduction won’t be permanent. Eventually people will simply get used to the fact that more people are carrying, and the fear will disperse. As a matter of fact, as many of these shooters that end up dead in the end, it seems that’s not one of their fears even now. But how will they respond? By looking for guns that can fire faster, more, and with deadlier rounds.

The laws today are obviously failing. I find it odd that to buy a handgun I was required to have a background check and get permission from both the sheriff and police departments, and yet to purchase assault rifles I could have walked out of the store immediately. I’m guessing the store would have done some kind of quick check, but nothing more than if I have an outstanding warrant or am a felon. It certainly is less than for a handgun. And the people (I’ve written of this opinion before) that should be calling for these legal changes (and taking the forefront in proposing these changes) are standing opposed to any of them at all. The NRA, I’ve discovered, are opposed to selling guns with biometric identification so they cannot be fired by anybody except the owner. In fact, they’ve threatened to turn against any seller that does make these guns available, guaranteeing them that they’ll be put out of business. For the life of me, I cannot understand why they should be so opposed to these kinds of technological advances. But what happened to the concept of gun rights when people want to buy safer guns, but the NRA won’t allow it? Does this make any sense? At all?

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