Thursday, April 23, 2009

Common Sense Gun Control

The shots that took the lives of three Pittsburgh Police Officers were heard across the country and have resumed the debate about the sale of assault weapons, like the AK-47, which Richard Poplawski had armed himself with when he took on the city's police force back on April 4th. Governor Rendell was right when, in the wake of Poplawski's rage, he said, "these weapons have absolutely no purpose but to kill." I mean, how many of even the most die-hard gun and hunting enthusiasts would endorse the idea of trying to bring down a deer with an AK-47? Certainly not with the aim of bringing it home in one piece. What some might view as a distasteful illustration of its fire power only serves to illustrate my point. This is a killing machine, a weapon of war, not to be viewed as "a collector's item" for so-called "sports enthusiasts". And that's why Governor Rendell, joined by Pittsburgh's Mayor, is calling upon congress to reinstate the ban on the sale of assault weapons that was lifted ten years ago. But if what happened in Pittsburgh City Council this week is any indication, that will remain an elusive target. A delegation of State Legislators, led by Republican Daryl Metcalf of Cranberry has vowed to block any effort on the part of council to pass local gun laws that would, among other things, prohibit the sale of assault weapons. No way, says Metcalf and others, that the state is going to relinquish control of such matters to local jurisdictions. This came even as the head of the National Rifle Association was whipping up the crowd at a rally in Harrisburg, warning, once again, that the right to bear arms is in jeopardy. Excuse me, but hogwash! Are all gun owners and those who speak for them suffering from a severe deficit of common sense? And that, by the way, includes the legislators who cower at the idea of being in the NRA's sights. What will it take for them to suddenly become enlightened? Another massacre? Or just a few more police officers being ambushed by an AK-47 wielding deranged gun owner.

Speaking her mind

She said nothing derogatory, demeaning or profane towards or about those Perez Hilton professes to represent. She was simply asked for her opinion and it cost Miss California, Carrie Prejean, the title of Miss USA. Whatever you might think about such beauty pageants, it's important to remember here that the candidates are not running for political office. So Ms.Prejean and her competitors are not about initiating or shaping public policy. She was simply asked to speak her mind and, in accordance with her beliefs, she did so. She does not believe in gay marriage. "I was true to myself", Ms.Prejean later said. Isn't that an admirable trait for someone pursuing such a title? Especially, of course, as she was not outright condemning the beliefs of many others or recommending they be treated as lepers. She and the other candidates on stage with her earlier this week deserve the right to answer questions put to them without fear of intimidation. The audacity of Perez Hilton to think her answer had to be his answer! By the way, any semblance of credibility or credentials he might have brought to the table were totally shattered by Hilton's later reference to Carrie Prejean as "a dumb bitch". While she lost the title she no less managed to take center stage. It would be interesting to see how Hilton would fare on "Celebrity Apprentice", hosted by the same man who put together this year's Miss USA Pageant. Be nice to hear Donald Trump giving him a much deserved, "You're Fired"!