Guns and Lawyers

I have not written anything for over a week and partly because I have become so discouraged and disgusted with the entire political process.  Good policy and truth are trumped by political gain and partisanship.  Nobody is engaged in civil dialogue and every issue becomes a political battleground.  I have my own thoughts on some of the issues percolating right now and I will offer them.

Gun Violence

First, I want to make it clear that I am not anti-gun but for my own personal reasons I do not own a gun.  I have good friends who are avid hunters and sportsman and several of them own small arsenals.  As a member of the LDS faith we are counseled to put in a supply of food that would sustain us in the event of some disaster or economic downturn.  One of my best friends who is an avid gun owner also a member of my faith has jokingly told me “John, you put in your supply of food and I will protect it for us or take it from you.”

This past week we had yet another multiple homicide shooting at a school.  Once again the perpetrator used a military style weapon.  Notice I did not call it an “assault weapon” since I do not accept that popular definition that so many in the media like to use.  It was applied to AR-15s and similar weapons by anti-gun activists in the 1990s and has become the term that is used all the time.  In truth, a real assault weapon must be an automatic weapon and those are already illegal to sell or own.  I personally don’t believe that military style weapons (those patterned after the M-16) should be sold to the general public.  The M-16 was designed for one thing and one thing only, to efficiently kill people.  The muzzle velocity of this type of weapon is so great that when a round hits something inside a human body it pulverizes it.  I can think of no good reason that someone would need to possess this type of weapon.  There are plenty of other hunting and sporting rifles out there.

I believe (you are just getting my opinions here) that this type of weapons in the hands of a mentally unstable person who is bent on committing some form of massacre makes that person feel more empowered.  I believe it creates a sense invulnerability in them and they start to think they are some form of warrior.  In truth they are nothing but mentally unstable cowards.

Unfortunately the entire discussion has centered around the weapon and ignored the most important parts of the problem.  Guns are not new in our culture.  In the 1950s there were more guns per capita than there are now.  We did not have kids shooting up schools or madmen shooting people at a concert.  Why do we have it now?  What has changed?

I have my own thoughts on why we are different.  One of the culprits, in my opinion, is the violence we see in video games and the entertainment industry.  I watch my grandchildren play these video games where the object is to kill the opponent.  They are using guns very similar to the ones we see used in these shootings.  You get extra points for making multiple kills.  I think that in some ways we are inuring our children to the dangers of these weapons and that death is final.  In the movies and TV we see violence depicted over and over.  These all begin to devalue life in the minds of young people.

So now we have both sides politicizing the issue and instead of trying to find answers they are trying to win votes.  Would the discussion have been different if this young man had simply driven a car into a crowd of students at the end of school?  The results would have been similar with multiple deaths and injuries.

In the latest shooting it quickly became known that law enforcement had been warned on multiple occasions that this young man had some serious problems and was quite possibly a threat to the community.  But nothing was done.  I simply fell through the crack or was just ignored.  In truth, some of the politicians decrying this lack of action would be the same ones that denounce any government agency looking at someone’s medical records or investigating them without proper cause.

I have stated that I believe military style weapons should not be available to the general public but I fully understand why the NRA and its supporters oppose banning such weapons.  The moment they give in to this campaign the anti-gun people will start on the next weapon.  Reasonable people cannot arrive at a compromise.  And let’s be real honest.  The vast majority of homicides in this country are not committed with a rifle but rather a wide variety of hand guns.

Mueller Investigation

In a previous blog post I cautioned about using a Special Prosecutor.  I am always worried when they are appointed because they become political very quickly.  No matter who they are investigating (it goes both ways politically) each side either supports them or denounces them.  But my concern is even greater.  Once again the Special Prosecutor will begin to diverge from the original intent of the investigation.  Millions of dollars will be spent on the investigation and the lawyers hired will feel compelled to come up with charges to justify their existence and to create a sense that the investigation was both warranted and complete.  Justice gets lost in their zeal to bring about indictments and prosecutions.

Very specifically this particular investigation is a prime example of this phenomena.  The intent was to see if there was collusion between the Russian meddling in our political system and the Trump campaign.  To this date they have offered no compelling evidence to support the allegation.  But they have expanded their investigation to anyone that might have worked in the Trump campaign and they will not go back into their lives as far as possible to find some indication of a crime and try to make it relative to the campaign.

So now we have Democrat cheering them on and Republican denouncing them.  Just a while ago there was a call for a Special Prosecutor for Hillary Clinton and some of her activities and, you guessed it, the Democrats said it was not necessary and the Republicans demanded it.  And this was after the Congress spend millions of dollars investigating both Benghazi and the email server.  The FBI investigated the server and then Director James Comey issued a statement that did everything but formally indict Hillary Clinton before announcing that he would not recommend and indictment.  We had the former Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, state that she would accept whatever recommendation the FBI made only to now find out she already knew what he was going to recommend.  President Obama very clearly stated that he had no idea Secretary Clinton was using a private server only to later find out he sent her multiple emails on that server.  My point should be clear by now.  These Special Prosecutors are nothing but political footballs and both sides like to get in their kicks.

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