Friday, November 30, 2012

Guns in America



Guns in America:

The Vital Importance of Strengthening Gun Control in the United States

by Lady Rhiannon


 Gun laws and gun controls are far too weak in the Unites States, and the federal government needs to instill and enforce federal regulations to make gun purchases and ownership safer.  Gun control is not a threat to our freedom, and no reasonable group is calling for guns to be taken away from sane, responsible citizens, but logical changes need to be made. The United States has the highest per capita rate and the highest sheer number of gun deaths and murders in the world, but better laws can change that (Violence Policy Center 2010).  Many people are not aware of how weak gun control laws are in the United States. Over 60% of all murders in the Unites states are committed with firearms. Research shows that the implementation of stronger gun control laws leads to restricted availability to criminals and would-be criminals, and reduces the number of gun deaths, murders, and other felony use (National Criminal Justice Reference Service 1994).  Unfortunately, propaganda and misinformation has been presented to the public by the NRA and weapons manufactures, and their congressional lobbying keeps the pressure on politicians to avoid implementing new federal or state weapons restrictions and regulations (Marty and Sugarmann 2012).
From a global perspective our gun laws are extremely sparse and  loose. Finland has relatively relaxed gun laws in comparison with the rest of Europe; even a fifteen year old can get a gun with parental consent (Associated Press 2008). However, Unlike the United States, Finland has federal regulations requiring gun licensing for owners, as well as gun registration requirements. In Finland approximately 50% of households have guns, while in the United States in 2002, only 41% of household had guns. In spite of that, Finland’s per capita death rate (6.65 per 100,000 people) was less than half that of the country that came in first place for the highest gun death rate in the world with 13.47, which was the United States of America (Public Broadcasting Station 2002).

The United States of America has more guns than any other country in the world. Even though the percentage of known gun owners and households with guns has fallen by about ten percent in the last decade, many gun owners hoard and collect a huge number of guns. A 2004 National Firearms Survey study found that 20% of gun owners own about 65% of the nation's guns. Also, in 2007 the U.N's Office on Drugs and Crime found that the United States owns 50% of the world's guns, despite being only 5% of the world’s population (Brennan, 2012). So fewer people now own a greater number of guns.

In 2007, 3,007 children died as a result of a firearm. 2,186 of those deaths were deemed homicides, while most of the others were deemed either accidents or suicides (National MCH Center for Child Death Review 2007). There were 127,521 known cases of robbery with a firearm reported in 2010 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. That number is approximately six times the number of robberies committed with a knife or by “other means” (Federal Bureau of Investigation 2011). Also in 2010, there were 12,996 convicted cases of murder in the United States and 8,775 of them were committed with a firearm (FBI 2010).

  The number of murders committed with a gun dwarfs in comparison to the number for all known cases of gun deaths, including accidents, suicides, murders, and homicides not legally considered murder. In 2009 there were 31,347 people in total in the United States who died as a result of a firearm. That is a per capita rate of 10.2 people out of every 100,000 in the population, which is coming close to the motor vehicle death rate of 11.2 (Center for Disease Control 2012).  One argument against gun control has been that cars kill more people each year than guns do, but stronger traffic laws, car safety regulations, and continued testing and licensing requirements account for a steady decline in highway fatalities. Now gun deaths outnumber car fatalities in ten states including Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Virginia, and Michigan (Sugermann 2012).  

Cars are usually necessary for daily adult functioning, while guns are not. A gun’s sole purpose is to maim and kill, while a car’s primary purpose is for transportation. More cars are used on a more constant basis than guns, so the ratio of gun fatalities to gun owners is significantly higher than the ratio of car fatalities to car owners. About 90% of Americans have a car, leading the world in car ownership (Auckland, 2007), while only 32% of households own guns, according to a 2011 study  done by The University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center (Brennan, 2012). Still the number of people who die in car wrecks is almost equal to those who die from gunshots. 

We license people to drive through safety tests, road tests, eye exams, and a background check. To drive a car you need insurance and your car has to be registered with a visible serial number and license plates. We also have traffic laws for every situation faced on the streets and highways. Yet we do not bear the same legal or socially cautious regard for deadly weapons. Thirty-four states in this country do not require a state license to buy, own, or use a firearm. Only Sixteen states require state licensing, including Massachusetts, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, and California. These states experience a significantly lower per capita gun death rate than the states with the fewest gun laws (Violence Policy Center 2010). The only states that require a permit to purchase all firearms are Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, and New York (“Brady Campaign 2011 Scorecards”, 2011). Arkansas, Wyoming, and Arizona do not even require a permit to carry a concealed weapon in public (“Gun Laws”, 2012).

Most states, including Florida, Texas, Ohio, Montana, New Mexico, West Virginia, and Arizona do not have any laws regarding record keeping, theft report mandates, purchase limits, storage security requirements, store inspections, background checks, safety training, or licensing; of these things Mississippi only has record keeping requirements for store owners, but that does not apply to independent sellers online or at gun shows. Only California, Maryland, and New Jersey have and enforce all of the laws just mentioned. Rhode Island, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Connecticut, and California are the only states with safety training or testing requirements of any kind. Florida is unique in that it is the only state which currently has a gag law placed on doctors. This law forbids doctors from asking patients if they own a firearm, or to educate their patients on proper gun safety or the possible dangers of owning and using a gun (“Brady Campaign 2011 Scorecards”, 2011).

One common misconception is that gun laws will not have an impact on crime, as criminals will always find access to weapons, but this is not the case. According to an academic study performed by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, “In the five year period before enactment of the Federal Assault Weapons Act (1990-1994), assault weapons named in the Act constituted 4.82% of the crime gun traces ATF conducted nationwide. Since the law’s enactment, however, these assault weapons have made up only 1.61% of the guns ATF has traced to crime—a drop of 66% from the pre-ban rate. Moreover, ATF trace data show a steady year-by-year decline in the percentage of assault weapons traced, suggesting that the longer the statute has been in effect, the less available these guns have become for criminal misuse." (Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence 2004)

The states that have the most gun laws in the Unites States, such as licensing requirements, consistently experience a lower rate of gun deaths within that state. In 2009, Massachusetts, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut had the lowest per capita gun death rates in the United States. Massachusetts was lowest in the country at 3.14 and Connecticut was highest among these five at 4.92. All the aforementioned states are some of the few states with enforced gun laws including permit and licensing requirements (“Brady Campaign 2011 Scorecards”, 2011). Louisiana, Wyoming, Alabama, Montana, and Mississippi have very few gun laws and have the highest per capita gun death rates in the country. According to 2009 numbers, Louisiana rated highest in the country at 18.03 and Mississippi rated 16.5 deaths per 100,000 people (Violence Policy Center 2010).

Mourners visit memorials for Aurora victims.
Also, many fatal gun crimes are committed by those who purchased the weapons in a legal manner, or acquired them from friends or relatives who did. James Holmes, the shooter from Aurora, CO, purchased all of his weapons legally without a background check, purchase registration, or permit. He bought an assault rifle, a shotgun, two handguns, 6,000 rounds of ammunition, and a 100 round magazine. He was wearing a bullet proof vest, and he had smoke grenades, 350 shells for his 12-gauge shotgun, and a gas mask (Healy, July 2012). He killed 12 people and injured 58 others, he could have killed many others but his clip jammed and he had to switch to a slower weapon. Ammunition is especially easy to acquire in large amounts online. There are no laws requiring records to be kept for ammunition sales except in New Jersey and Washington D.C. (Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence 2012). Only a few states like Illinois, Massachusetts and New Jersey, and a few cities, enforce limitations on ammunition purchases, and at least require permits for buyers or licenses for sellers (Healy 2012).

The Second Amendment is an important right, but even the First Amendment does not give a person rights to spread libel and slander about others, and you are not allowed to enter into a crowded theater and shout fire either. With all rights there are responsibilities and exceptions to those rights. The second amendment also does not exclude the premise of regulation as the amendment precisely states, “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” The qualifier of militia is “well-regulated” (Cornell Law School, 2012). The founding fathers could also never have predicted the advances in technology that have produced exponentially deadly weapons capable of killing dozens and even hundreds of people at one time.

We need licensing requirements for owning and using any type of fire arm. Getting that license should take at least as much effort as earning a driver’s license. Getting a license should require safety training, range tests, eye exams, a mental health analysis, and background checks.  Background checks should be required for dealers as well, and all gun sales need to be registered as all car sales are. Registration would make it easier to track guns back to the original owner, and even if the gun was stolen, investigators would get one step closer to apprehending the real offender. We also need to reinstate the assault weapons ban because that has already been shown to reduce the number of deaths and crimes involving assault weapons (BCPGV 2004). Laws such as these are part of the reason countries in Europe and Canada enjoy a lower rate of gun deaths and gun violence, but still a great portion of households in these countries are secure gun owners (PBS 2002).

Even gun owning Americans, when asked about specific gun control issues, agree with basic, common sense gun control laws. According to a poll of 945 gun owners, including NRA members, 87% of gun owners are in favor of criminal background checks for buyers and owners, and 80% are in favor for background checks for shop employees as well. Seventy-one Percent of gun owners polled and 64 percent of NRA members would be in favor of a mandate for people to report when their gun is stolen. Eighty-four percent of gun owners support permits and safety requirements for carrying concealed weapons, and most of them support a 21 year age minimum as well (Beauchamp 2012). Yet many people still have a generally negative visceral reaction to the general, abstract concept of gun control and gun laws.

The main reason that we don’t have stricter gun control laws, like most of the rest of the first world countries do, is because of a concerted effort on part of the gun manufacturers and retailers to prevent such things from happening. Since 2005, corporations have contributed up to 52.6 million dollars to the NRA and up to 38.9 million of that came directly from the firearms industry. Executive Vice President, Wayne LaPierre promised at the time that his new Corporate Partners Program was designed to suit and appease corporate interests in order to create a strong alliance. Many weapons manufacturers hold powerful places of authority within the NRA itself, and both the National Rifle Association's investors and board members are committed to an uncompromising resistance to even the most conservative gun control laws (Marty and Sugarmann 2012).

NRA Board Member Pete Brownell, and owner of Brownells, “the world’s largest supplier of firearms accessories and gun-smithing tools,” said this on his website after making it on that board committee of the NRA: "Having [NRA] directors who intimately understand and work in leadership positions within the firearms industry ensures the NRA's focus is honed on the overall mission of the organization. These individuals bring a keen sense of the industry and of the bigger fight to the table". MidwayUSA founder Larry Potterfield, created what is called the NRA Round-Up program, which allows buyers to “round-up” their purchase to the nearest dollar with the difference going to the NRA. This amounted to over five million dollars that went to the NRA legal branch for lobbying costs. MidwayUSA, a very lucrative ammunition, gun, and weapons supply company, also served as “the Official Sponsor of the NRA Annual Meeting and Exhibits” for two years in a row. There are 22 corporate "partners" in what is known as the "Ring of Freedom" including,  Arsenal, Inc., Benelli, Beretta USA Corporation, Browning, DPMS Panther Arms, Doug Turnbull Restoration, Inc., and many others including 12 who make assault weapons (Marty and Sugarmann 2012).

The National Rifle Association represents itself as a representative for the average American gun owner, but in reality they receive most of their funding from large scale weapons manufacturers and companies involved with the sale of firearms, and their interests are in corporate profit. These contributors seek to make the biggest profit possible by selling as many weapons and as much ammunition as possible. They have a deep incentive to make sure that weapon accessibility remains easy and legal. So these corporations align themselves with the NRA by funding almost their entire organization so that the NRA can better fight any impending legislation against weapons, both in the courts and in the media (Marty and Sugarmann 2012).

There is an inordinately high amount of gun deaths and violence in the United States. It is shocking how few laws exist in this country in most states, and it is irresponsible for such deadly weapons to go so unregulated. Gun laws are a logical, affective method of reducing gun deaths and gun crimes without violating the rights of responsible American people to bear arms if they so choose. Unfortunately, misinformation and corporate lobbying prevent most gun regulations from passing into laws. Therefore, it is imperative that the public be educated with the facts, in hopes that the informed masses can put pressure on the legislators to pass laws in spite of corporate opposition; ultimately it is up to the people to make a difference. As Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has (Lutkehaus 2008)”. It is our safety and security, and the security of our civilization that is at stake.

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Works Cited



“America’s Ammunition Crisis: Few Laws Exist to Prevent Purchases by Dangerous People Online and in Stores.” Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 30 July. 2012.  Retrieved 9-10-2012 from <http://smartgunlaws.org/americas-ammunition-crisis-few-laws-exist-to-prevent-purchases-by-dangerous-people-online-and-in-stores/>

Associated Press. “Facts and Figures about Finland’s Gun Culture”. 2008. 23 Sept. Retrieved 10-27-2012 from <http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/world/2008-09-23-238953446_x.htm>

Auckland. “Americans Leads the World in Car Ownership”. scoop.co.nz. 2007. May 27.  Retrieved 10-27-2012 from <http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0705/S00103.htm>

Beauchamp, Zack. “NRA Members Agree: More Gun Regulation Makes Sense”. Think Progress. 24 July. 2012. Retrieved 10-1-2012 from <http://thinkprogress.org/election/2012/07/24/577091/nra-members-agree-regulating-guns-makes-sense/> 

 “Brady Campaign 2011 Scorecards.” Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. (2011). Retrieved 10-1-2012 from <http://www.bradycampaign.org/xshare/stateleg/scorecard/2011/2011_scoring_system.pdf>

Brennan, A. “Analysis: Fewer U.S. Gun Owners Own More Guns”. 2012. 31 July. Retrieved 10-27-2012 from <http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/31/politics/gun-ownership-declining/index.html>

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “Fast Stats: All Injuries”. 2012. 20 August. Retrieved 10-26-2012 from <http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/injury.htm>

Cornell Law School. “Legal Information Institute”. 2012. 10 January. Retrieved 10-30-2012 from <http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/second_amendment>

“Gun Laws”. NRA Institute for Legislative Action. (2012). Retrieved 10-4-2012 from <http://www.nraila.org/gun-laws.aspx> 

Healy, Jack. “Suspect Bought Large Stockpile of Rounds Online.” New York Times. 22 July. 2012. Retrieved 9-30-2012 from <http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/23/us/online-ammunition-sales-highlighted-by-aurora-shootings.html?_r=0>

“International Gun Laws”. Public Broadcasting Station: Politics and Economy. 15 November. 2002. Retrieved 9-27-2012 from <http://www.pbs.org/now/politics/internatgun.html>

Lutkehaus, Nancy C. “Margaret Mead: The Making of an American Icon”. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. (2008). p. 261.

Marty, L., and Sugarmann, J. “Blood Money: How the Gun Industry Bankrolls the NRA.”  Violence Policy Center. (2011). Retrieved 10-4-2012 from <http://www.vpc.org/studies/bloodmoney.pdf>

 “On Target: The Impact of the 1994 Assault Weapon Act.” Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Crime Gun Solutions LLC. (2004). Retrieved 10-4-2012 <http://www.bradycenter.org/xshare/pdf/reports/on_target.pdf>

Roth, Jeffrey A., “Firearms and Violence.” National Criminal Justice Reference Service. (1994, December) Retrieved 10-2-2012 from <https://www.ncjrs.gov/txtfiles/fireviol.txt>

 “State Firearm Death Rates, Ranked by Rate, 2009.” Violence Policy Center. (2010). Retrieved 10-6-2012 from <http://www.vpc.org/fadeathchart12.htm>

Sugermann, Josh. “Gun Deaths Exceed Motor Vehicle Deaths in 10 States. “ Huffington Post. 22 May. 2012. Retrieved 10-4-2012 <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/josh-sugarmann/gun-deaths-exceed-motor-v_b_1536793.html>

“Uniform Crime Reports: Crime in the U.S.”. Federal Bureau of Investigation. Table 19. (2011). Retrieved 9-30-2012 <http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/10tbl19.xls>

 “Uniform Crime Reports: Crime in the U.S.”. Federal Bureau of Investigation. Table 20. (2010). Retrieved 9-30-2012 from <http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/10tbl20.xls>

 “United States Child Mortality, 2007.” National MCH Center for Child Death Review. (2007). Retrieved 10-4-2012 from <http://www.childdeathreview.org/nationalchildmortalitydata.htm>


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Rhiannon on TYTCommunity

PLEASE WATCH AND SHARE! TYTCommunity... the true Mitt Romney....

Starring Kimani David, Jeff Waldorf, and ME!...The Lady Rhiannon, Rhiannon Avaneen
 This is my first of hopefully many more appearances from The Young Turks Network called TYTCommunity, where different, mostly liberal, people from all walks of life come together and discuss progressive and social issues of the week, or month. See us on Youtube and don't forget to watch the BEST news network anywhere! 
The Young Turks @9-11 pm EST on Youtube

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Revealing Republican Bullshit on Bill Maher


Real Time with Bill Maher
Guest appearance by Christine O’Donnell
September 7, 2012 episode critique 

By Lady Rhiannon
9-9-2012


On Real Time with Bill Maher this week (9-7-2012) Bill Had guest starring on his show the aesthetically lovely but mentally delusional Christine O’Donnell. I have decided to critique this particular episode, focusing on Christine’s guest appearance, because the lies Christine was trying to present to Bill in their debate are quintessential of the propaganda and distortions of reality that currently run rampant within the Republican Party. I have heard these fallacies from the radical right too many times and for too long now, and it is time to call attention to the truth.
The first lie that I need to address is the assertion she made that for every one new job that we make in America, we are losing four jobs, and that we are worse off than we have ever been. This is a morbid fallacy and I have no clue how anyone in her position can function on a day to day basis with her head shoved so far up her own ass. In truth there have been an estimated 4.3 million jobs created in the private sector since the worst dip in the recession. Our economy saw 96,000 new jobs just last month according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics; which is a stark contrast to the over 70,000 jobs that were being lost per month when Bush left office. It is true that we have lost over 600,000 public sector jobs in the same time period, but that is mostly attributable to social spending cuts made at the local and state levels which cause millions of teachers, firefighters, police, and other public workers to lose their jobs and suffer debilitating pay cuts.
President Obama tried to enact the American Jobs Act, which would have invested in creating those very types of jobs. According to The Economic Policy Institute, 2.6 million public jobs could be created and 1.6 million more jobs could be saved and protected under the act, but the republicans in congress blocked all efforts made to vote on the bill. We recently celebrated the one year anniversary of when Republicans in office first blocked the Jobs Bill. Also, if Mitt Romney were elected he would further cut social spending and eliminate millions of public jobs nationwide, so the level of republican hypocrisy is limitless.
Despite Republican opposition from within, Obama has still managed to gain an average rate of +.84% job growth annually, while Bush’s first term ended with a +.51% average and his second term ended with a -.84% decrease annually. Obama also helped save General Motors and saved up to a million jobs. The House also passed the Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act and President Obama signed it on August 10th. This bill is meant to save over 300,000 jobs, including 161,000 teaching jobs. This plan also saves millions of dollars because it closes tax loopholes that encourage corporations to ship American jobs overseas. This would bring the deficit down by 1.4 billion dollars over a decade.  Our nation was facing an exponential downslide thanks to George Bush’s deregulation and tax cuts for millionaires, and Obama and his administration managed to stem the fatal hemorrhaging that afflicted our desperate economy.

O’Donnell also attempted to claim that Obama has added a mountain of debt to the deficit when he is actually one of the most fugal spenders in our lifetime. According to the National Treasury department, Obama has increased the debt by 16%. Bush increased the national debt by 115%, Bush Sr. increased it by 55%, and Reagan by 189%. Spending is also necessary in the restoration of any severe recession; a lesson we should have learned from everyone’s favorite Democratic president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. As Katrina Vedan Henvel said on Bill Maher’s guest panel, “Jobs and joblessness” is a bigger threat in the long term than the national deficit. Need I remind our entire country that the end of FDR’s first term looked very bleak as well? Roosevelt also got three full terms to retrieve the security of our economy (he was elected to four terms, but died shortly after his fourth term began).
She also insulted Obama for not getting more accomplished in the meager two years he had with a democratic congress. It is absurd to argue that two years was long enough to cure an 8 year plague, yet what he accomplished saved the economy from the worse depression in our nation’s history. We need to fix the foundations of our economy, which is the well-being of the people and restoring a strong middle class by restoring opportunity. We need fewer people starving in the streets, and need to get as many people as possible healthy and educated so that we can enrich our society.
Christine O’Donnell tried to play the same old tune that Democrats raise taxes to the roof, and the republicans are the party of low taxes. It is true that the Republican Party like to lower taxes….for themselves…for the richest people in the country. The corporate and millionaire tax rates are at a 40 year low in this country. The marginal tax rate is supposed to be 35% but the wealthiest corporations in this country pay an average of only 16%. In 2011 Exon Mobile paid 2% of its revenue in taxes, JPMorgan paid 14%, and Google keeps their tax rate at about 4% annually.
Although the richest 1% is paying a larger dollar amount in taxes than before only means that they are, in fact, making more money than ever before. The rich are wealthier than they have ever been, and the richest 1% if Americans have more than all of the rest of us combined. In 2007, under Bush, the richest 1% in the country saw their average tax rate go down to a meager 16.6%, which is a drastic downturn from the 29.4% average in 1993, or the 29.9% average in 1995. In 2008, 30 of the top 400 biggest earners in the country paid 0-10% in taxes. Meanwhile, the average American still pays over a third of their income in taxes each year. Obama has not raised taxes for the average middle class American and has actually cut taxes for middle class Americans. The typical middle class have seen an average of $3,600 in tax cuts over the last four years, and Obama cut taxes for small businesses 18 times. The only people, on whom Obama wishes to raise tax rates, are those who can and should be paying their fair share in the first place.

Obama is also responsible for the Affordable care act, which, for the first time, requires insurance providers to give a set standard of care to patients (including preventative care), provides subsidies to small businesses and low income individuals to provide them with health insurance, extends Medicaid eligibility, allows young adults to stay on their parents plan, and prohibits the denial of benefits based on pre-existing conditions (among many other benefits). In spite of Republican obstruction, he has also managed to pass the Dream act, prevented the increase of student loan interest rates, signed the Lilly Ledbetter act into law, ended the war in Iraq, made the call that killed Osama Bin Laden, and repealed “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”. To deny that we are better off than we were four years ago is to be either greatly delusional, or a great liar.
Some argue that the two primary parties are too similar to be bothered with either of them, but this simply isn’t true. Being on the correct side of social issues most of the time is the benefit of supporting the Democratic Party. Democrats are not without flaw, but social issues are what truly set democrats apart from their right wing counterparts, as well as a greater fundamental sense of logic and rationale. Katrina Hendel, editor/ publisher for The Nation, spoke very well in saying that the greatness of the Democratic Party is shown when they are “moved by movements, to move beyond the limits of politics”.   We need to take the Democratic Party, pull it back to the left, and stand up for our principles and values. We must not accept the barrage of lies and deception that the republicans use to indoctrinate the American people. We are fighting against a party that is essentially made up of the racist, sexist, apathetic, fanatical social elite and the millions of misinformed Americans that have been fooled into believing the rhetoric and voting against their own interests. The price of allowing these people to win control of our government is far too much to bear.

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Sources 

Goyette, B. (2011, october 5). Propublica. Retrieved from http://www.propublica.org/article/what-is-obamas-actual-record-on-creating-jobs http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/06/01/493849/obama-bush-jobs-record/
Tax policy center. (2011, January 31). Retrieved from http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=213
The white house. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/taxes
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2012, June 28). Affordable care act. Retrieved from http://www.healthcare.gov/law/full/

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Taurus Goddess

Taurus...

The beautiful bovine beast beside me,
Who dances so softly upon the earth,
Is the goddess of crimson roses,
And the soft, low bellowing beat of the drum,

"Lay with me in the grass and watch the clouds roll by,
For there is no greater place to be but now", she says,
"The blessed Summer is nearly upon us,
So drink up the cool, crisp breeze,
We can bask in the warmth tomorrow."

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Importance of Gun Control....


                                                       The Importance of Gun Control
                                                                     

                                                                   By Lady Rhiannon

No democratic legislation has ever called for a ban on all guns; rather we call for gun CONTROL. We need tighter gun control in this country and the reasons should be obvious. How many innocent children have to die before the access to deadly weapons becomes more difficult? I hope the recent tragedy in Aurora, Colorado brings to light the importance of gun control reform. Gun control is not a threat to our freedom, and it can save thousands of lives.
More people die from gun shots in the United States than any other country in the world, we also have more gun-related crimes, over all, than any other country in the world. According to the statistics from the FBI, 6,009 people were murdered with handguns in America in 2010, which was 67.5% of all murders in the country that year. There were 8,775 total firearm crimes reported in the U.S. in 2010. The highest rates of gun crimes in the Unites States come primarily from states where gun laws are most lenient. South Carolina and Tennessee dominate the board in their rate of gun crimes per capita.
Our constitutional rights are very much valid and important, but no right is absolute, without exception or consideration for particular circumstances. Even the sacred right to freedom of speech is limited in that you cannot knowingly spread false information (although no one is telling that to Fox News), you cannot call in a fake bomb threat and insight terror, and you cannot threaten someone’s life or purposefully insight violent actions. The second amendment right to gun ownership is equally as relative.
When the Second Amendment was ratified, the founding fathers had very little or no understanding of mental health and stability. Medicine and medical knowledge was still very primitive at the time and psychology was not a known practice or science until late into the 19th century. So the founding fathers never gave a thought to those who were mentally unstable and should not own guns, nor to young boys with guns who were treated like men from a very early age. Guns at the time were also far less dangerous than they are today, their guns shot one weak bullet at a time and it took a long time to reload. There were no weapons of mass destruction, no bombs, no silencers, and no automatic rifles, and there was no way for the first congress to anticipate the future of weapons technology.
Children who are not even old enough to vote or drive have access to deadly weapons. If a nine year old were allowed behind the wheel of a car, even with an adult, it would be a crime and the parent would be charged for negligence and child endangerment, at least. Yet I have seen and heard of children as young as four and five who are taken to shooting ranges and taught to shoot. This practice, even with older children, desensitizes them of the dangers of guns. Children’s brains are NOT developed enough to handle the dangers and responsibilities of handling a gun. They are not mature enough to comprehend the severity of the potential consequences. The human frontal lobe, which is the home of consequential thinking, rationalizing, and decision making, is not fully developed until the age of about twenty-five. Children are also not physically coordinated enough to safely handle a gun, which is why we also don’t let young children play with sharp things, boiling water, and fire!
I am an advocate for the restriction of guns from everyone under the age of twenty-one. I believe that if you pass a written safety test you should be able to acquire a firearm learner’s license when you’re eighteen.  With the learner’s license you may go to approved shooting ranges, be issued a gun, and practice shooting targets under strict supervision. Once you turn twenty-one you should then be able to have a psychiatric evaluation, a written safety test, and a shooting range test. If you pass the tests, you can get a license to buy and own certain hand guns and rifles for self-defense. We are required to be tested in multiple ways to get a license to drive; it is only logical that it should be at least as difficult to attain a license to own a deadly weapon. Cars are also registered, and no one questions it, and it is far more important that guns be registered so that crimes are easily traced back to the offender. It should also be a law that all firearms must be locked away securely and unloaded when not in use.
 Assault weapons and automatics should be strictly prohibited. I am viciously against hunting, but even if you are pro-hunting there is no reason for anyone to have automatic assault weapons. Automatic weapons are meant to kill people in an attack. They are not used in hunting, are impractical for self-defense, and no civilian has any business with such dangerous weapons. In an ideal world such weapons would not even exist, but as long as they do they must be kept from those unqualified to use them.
For those that would argue that they fear of a massive military uprising against the American people, you are exactly the type of paranoid nut that I do not want handling guns. The fact is that most of the people in our military would not turn on the American people (their own people) even if they were ordered to. Also, if the far-fetched, unlikely scenario occurred wherein the government and military utterly, blatantly, and violently turned on us and made this country a military state at gunpoint, we are not going to be saved by a crowd of civilians with a few assault weapons. The fact is that the American people have already been taken over, but it has been done in subtler ways, through economic disparities and corporate control of our government.
The reason that our weak gun control laws go utterly unchallenged is that the NRA, weapons manufacturers, and rich Christian institutions have strict monetary ties with the political “right”. The NRA supplies the right-wing with a mountain of campaign contributions and, in return, the politicians vote for and pass legislation that “protects the second amendment”, and keeps gun restrictions weak. The NRA and the GOP also fool the general public by asserting that the Democrats and liberals want to “take away your guns”, and ban guns entirely. They also feed into baseless conspiracy theories about “socialist” military take overs. The second amendment is a Republican talking point used to distract the masses and gain followers who don’t understand that the right-wing’s true agenda is to take over the people by sucking our way of life dry and turning us into ignorant, desperate subjects and sheep.



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http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/jan/10/gun-crime-us-