The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Mullings by Rich Galen ®
An American Cyber-Column By Rich Galen
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Rich Galen

Wednesday February 15, 2017

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  • I am a member of the NRA. I own a handgun - a 9mm Beretta. I am a true believer in the 2nd Amendment.

  • We have to do something about guns in the United States.

  • A guy for whom I have great respect, even if we don't often agree, is Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union. As the news from Florida was breaking yesterday, Matt Tweeted:
    "I think we should pray for each other and bury our dead before we immediately talk about politics. Sometimes it's right to be quiet."

  • I thought about that. There is nothing - nothing - in America in the current environment that is not about politics. But, that's a different column.

  • And, sometimes it is right to be quiet; but this isn't one of those times.

  • The issue before us today is how have we gotten to the point that a mass shooting like the one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida yesterday is routinely preceded by the word "another."

  • I know that background checks are an easy talking point on the cable news shows, but according to CNN:
    "The suspect used a .223 caliber, AR-15 style firearm in the shooting, which he bought in the past year after passing a background check, a source told [CNN]."

  • We're not going to repeal the 2nd Amendment, nor should we. I got to work with two really smart guys - Matt Mackowiak (continually rising star in Conservative circles) and Marc Short (now the Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs) - in 2008 supporting Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison had the lead in the Senate in favor of the Heller decision.

  • That was the Supreme Court Decision (5-4) that decoupled the right for an individual to own firearms without having to be a member of a militia.

  • I don't regret a single second we spent on that project.

  • But, there has to be something, short of repealing the 2nd Amendment that can be done.

  • We haven't, for instance, outlawed automobiles even though about 34,000 people die in auto crashes every year. But, we have made it a much bigger deal if you are caught driving drunk.

  • Largely through the efforts of Mothers Against Drunk Driving the allowable blood-alcohol limit has been reduced in most places from .15 to .10 and the penalties have increased to include jail time, loss of driving privileges and, in some cases, loss of your job.

  • Driving a car is still legal, and more than 10,000 people per year die in crashes that involve alcohol, but so many Americans have decided that that penalties for drunk driving are so high, that "Uber" has become a verb.

  • Smoking cigarettes is another example of society changing its mind. I am old enough to remember, not just magazine ads touting the health benefits of cigarettes, but John Cameron Swayze - one of the first news anchors in the 1950s (on NBC) not only had a cigarette brand as a sponsor, but the name of the newscast was "The Camel News Caravan."

  • Try to walk into, or sit down in, any public place with a lit cigarette and watch what happens.

  • Smoking cigarettes is not illegal but we, as a society, have decided that you can smoke, you just can't do it anywhere you want.


    Smoking marijuana, too, is an issue for a different column.

  • Getting back to Matt Schlapp's description of conversations about gun control as political. If it were strictly political we would have had a massive legislative - if not Constitutional - fight in 2009 and 2010 - when the Democrats controlled the White House, the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate.

  • Didn't happen.

  • As for being quiet, I am not suggesting storming gun shops or requiring ammunition be registered with, and kept by, government authorities. But, I do know that within a week, maybe by the weekend, our news attention will be distracted by something or someone else.

  • And whether it was in a little church in a small Texas town, or in the middle of Las Vegas; whether it's at a high school in Florida or a university in Virginia there will be days and days of national anguish, and our attention like Robert Frost's Fog "then moves on."

  • Until, another

  • Mass shooting.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the Heller decision, to automobile death statistics, and to John Cameron Swayze.

    The Mullfoto is an homage to Valentine's Day 2004.

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