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Mark Shields
Mark Shields
13 Feb 2016
Make America Great Again -- at Torture!

The undisputed front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination who, like every other remaining … Read More.

6 Feb 2016
Cracking the Code of Campaign-Speak

"Do you ever get the feeling," asked humorist Robert Orben, "that the only reason we have elections is to … Read More.

30 Jan 2016
Is There Only One True Progressive?

Mark Shields is off this week. The following is a column by Joe Conason. In our polarized politics, the … Read More.

Please Tell Me Why ...


Please Tell Me Why ...

It probably had something to do with the countless hours involuntarily spent assembling, disassembling and cleaning my M-1 rifle, and in seeing up-close the damage semi-automatic weapons can inflict, but I have never thought of guns as anything other than brutally efficient tools for crippling and killing human beings.

Catcher's mitts and basketballs and skis are sporting goods. Guns are not sporting goods. Guns are instruments of death and destruction. This point-of-view could explain why in the nearly half century since leaving the Marine Corps, I have never picked up a firearm.

But the shootings in Arizona that left six people dead and another 14, including Rep. Gabby Giffords, clinging to life, raises questions that demand both our attention and our thoughts.

In Arizona, in order to cut toenails and fingernails, and to shampoo another person's hair for profit, you must first undergo a background check and obtain a license from the State Board of Cosmetology.

To operate as a massage therapist in Arizona, you must, by state law, have had a minimum of 500 hours of instruction from a school recognized by the secretary of the Department of Education.

Before you can legally qualify as a pest-control applicator, you must undergo and pass a state-mandated background check.

Arizona requires a state license to sell minnows or other live bait. The Arizona Board of Athletic Training will decide whether you are qualified to be an athletic trainer. If your life's ambition is to intern as a cremationist, you must win the approval of the Arizona Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers. Hope to become an Aquatic Animal Processor, cleaning aquatic animals? Not until the Arizona Department of Agriculture approves and licenses your application.

It's entirely possible that all of this licensing and permits and paperwork are needed to protect the public health and safety of the good people of Arizona.

But please tell me why to buy a Glock 9 mm pistol, modified with a high-capacity magazine to fire 31 rounds, Jared Lee Loughner, an obviously troubled and alienated young man, had to undergo no background check at all.

Citizens are required to pass a test and background check in order to get a driver's license but not to purchase a weapon of literally mass individual destruction.

Please, somebody, tell me why — and don't start reciting the Second Amendment. Just as the First Amendment with the guarantee of freedom of speech does not prohibit enforceable statutes outlawing perjury and libel, the Second Amendment keeps machine guns and grenade launchers out of private hands. All that is lacking is political courage, good sense and a genuine concern for public safety.

One brighter note from the Arizona tragedy was pointed out to me by my friend Alan Ginsburg. He noted that on Saturday a Catholic white federal judge, John Roll, a Republican, was killed while on his way from Mass to greet his friend, Gabby Giffords, a 40-year-old Democrat who is Jewish and who, as of this writing, is fighting her way back.

Her life was undoubtedly saved by Daniel Hernandez, 20, who is Mexican-American and a member of the Tucson Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender issues — and who, upon hearing the first shots, ran toward the gunfire and Giffords, not away. The chief of trauma at Arizona University Medical Center, whose professionalism helped put Giffords in surgery just 38 minutes after she was hit, was Korean-American Dr. Peter Rhee, who faced worse as a combat surgeon in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Then our nation was comforted by an African-American chief executive.

It is truly, if sadly, a uniquely American story.

To find out more about Mark Shields and read his past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at




34 Comments | Post Comment
AND BTW speaking of violence and the roots thereof ---let us give pride of place to the violence in abstract that ultimately
is far more real than real ---i.e. the violence of mandated, enforced, applied eugenics.
EVEN as the eugenists have shed their Nazi baggage, we behold the unpacking of their RED Chinese-------right here.
Leaving aside the profound and horrifying implications of extermination of both the born and unborn
----even vaccines are officially classified as invasive surgery ----and open admissions of eugenics
'tainted' compulsry shots are truly,indeed, awesomely chilling...
Comment: #1
Posted by: FREE tea
Fri Jan 14, 2011 5:33 AM
@ free tea -- I fail to grasp why you are derailing the conversation. Eugenics was discredited many years ago.

No one needs to own a semi-automatic rifle unless they are military or constabulary. Proper background checks might weed out some of the people who should not own firearms. The murderer of those six people was not stopped by a gun; he was stopped physically, by brave men and women who tackled him with their bare hands.

No, guns don't kill people. People with guns kill people.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Deborah Laymon
Fri Jan 14, 2011 6:10 AM
The argument that individuals need handguns to resist a possible repressive government is absurd. Do any of these people have a glimmering of the difference between the arms available to them and those available to the US military? They might as well throw rocks.
Comment: #3
Posted by:
Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:25 AM

I'll tell you why...

Lawsuits against toenailists and shampooists threatened to jam the court system . Also, everybody pays tax and licensing fees.

500 hours of massage training provides teaching positions for the odd relatives of politicians. Also, everybody pays tax and licensing fees.

Bug sprayers need background checks because it is only fair to the bugs. Also, everybody pays tax and licensing fees.

What's sauce for the bugs is sauce for the minnows. Also, everybody pays tax and licensing fees.

We don't background check gun permit applicants because there must not be enough money in it. Also because who are we to make a judgment about another's sanity?

A prediliction for what Churchill termed "the troubles of pygmies" blinds us to what is really important.

But I am surprised and pleased that a glbt Mexican-American hero was on scene, that the surgeon was Korean-American, and that the President at that very moment was black.

That information helps us keep our focus on the important stuff.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Tom
Fri Jan 14, 2011 12:10 PM
A kid with paranoid schizophrenia shoots a pubic official. Was Sarah Palin's -- or anyone else's-- speech the cause. No!
But vituperative speech by public figures does do 3 things that are relevant:
> Suggests WHO the young paranoid should kill (rather than his mom, his teacher, his case worker, etc)
> Supports the paranoid's delusions by suggesting that some important people share them.
> Makes it harder for the rest of us to spot psychotic paranoids when well known commentators make rants that don't sound that much different.
Comment: #5
Posted by: Paul Berry
Fri Jan 14, 2011 12:36 PM
---To Deborah Laymon:

The STATED, ON RECORD aims of Agneda 21, the UN WHO, Century 2000, Maurice Strong, Bill Gates et al is
the incremental extermiantion ---uh, I mean 'easing' ---of 90% of humankind by the year 2100.

AND as Bill Gates so creepily announced in October 2010

"This is going to be the decade of vaccines!"

Injections, uh, we mean vaccines ---are touted by ALLLL thei studies as being of the PRIME vehicles to
used for MASS sterilization and sleeping viruses.

Break your trance -------AND DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Comment: #6
Posted by: FREE tea
Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:02 PM
Firstly I'm Australian who looks forward to Mark on News Hour as I agree with his opinions.
I thought what we had in Australia was Draconian ( pistols with 3.5" plus barrels & bolt action rifles), however, the criminals seem to be able to get what they want. Since Port Arthur, Tasmania there hasn't been any mass killings such as you seem to have in USA - the underworld manage to keep their shooting to themselves.
Last night I looked up your top 20 Federal politicians in favor of gun reform (all Democrats) & against (all Republicans), does this mean the Bible Belt central states are in favor of being able to shoot each other - the small town minister that made a big noise about burning the Koran, had an automatic pistol on his desk when being interviewed - guns seem to go with religion in the USA.
Why is it taken the Second Amendment means the right to carry what ever weapon one can think of? Surely one could earn this right & be licensed to carry a reasonable rifle or pistol.
Comment: #7
Sat Jan 15, 2011 1:10 AM
Mark is spot on. Handguns are created for one purpose--to kill and maim humans. Aside from the police and the military, they should all be outlawed just as are machine guns, silencers, and hand grenades. If one is afraid of intruders in the home, get a rifle or a shotgun--you're more likely to hit what you're aiming at anyway. How many more handgun killings does the nation have to endure before we attain sanity? How many more Virginia Techs, Ft. Hoods, and now, Tucsons? By the way and as an aside, NRA is an acronym for the National RIFLE Association. It should stay the heck away from handgun issues. Just as there are sensible limitations on First Amendment freedoms (one can't falsely yell "Fire" in a crowded theater), sanity insists there be reasonable restrictions on Second Amendment rights.
Comment: #8
Posted by: Wes Clark
Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:52 AM
I'd just like to point out that he actually did pass a federal background check.
Comment: #9
Posted by: James
Sat Jan 15, 2011 10:46 AM
Mark, I understand what you are saying but your examples just don't work.To cut nails, shampoo hair, give a massage, spray pesticides, sell minnows, train athletes, cremate dead people or clean aquatic animals as a job or service for sale to others requires a license. To buy those services requires only money. To drive a car requires a license, to buy a car requires only money. To SELL guns requires a license! To buy guns requires a background check and money!
Comment: #10
Posted by: Jim
Sat Jan 15, 2011 1:09 PM
Politicians receive monetary donations from the NRA. As receivers of such donations, they do not want to bite the hand that feeds them, and in the cse of the NRA, that hand insists on the legality of such things as loopholes to buy firearms at gun shows, and the legality of assault weapons in the hands of the general public. What does it take for the NRA and politicians to wake up to the dangers of public ownership of high powered automatic and semi-automatic weapons? How would those same politicians and NRA members feel if members of their own families were gunned down by a person who had access to such weapons because of the NRA's and politicians' unwillingness to restrict automatic and semi-automatic weapons ownership?
Comment: #11
Posted by: Jim Sullivan
Sat Jan 15, 2011 4:26 PM
Re: Jim Sullivan
I'm not sure why you are targetting high powered and "assault" weapons, since those weapons are rarely used to commit crimes. Even in this case, it was a low powered pistol that was used to commit the crime, so Rep. Gifford would be in no better shape.
Also, you have to remember that gun control laws have historically been used to discriminate against minorities before you cry for them. It's harder to lynch someone if they can shoot back.
Comment: #12
Posted by: James
Sat Jan 15, 2011 6:36 PM
This is probably the most histrionic, emotional, factually challenged thing I've read all week. Congratulations Mark, you have gone off the deep end.
Comment: #13
Posted by: DerBubba
Sat Jan 15, 2011 6:48 PM
Whether you pay a fee for a drivers license or a barbers license, it's still a revenue enhancer. Some licenses are required to keep the license seekers to a minimum, (plumbers license) and thus be able to charge premium rates for skills possessed by only a few. Others, (drivers licenses, state fees, etc.) are not meant to regulate, just to raise money.
Your typically unresearched liberal/retard rant concerning licensing and background checks fail to be too convincing. Over 9-million firearms were sold in 2010 alone, and less than one twenty-seven one-hundredth of one percent were used in any crime.
Because one screwball abuses the use of a firearm you and your ilk want to take the right to purchase a firearm away from tens of millions of people.
You represent only the New Puritans.
Comment: #14
Posted by: Jimmyjet
Sat Jan 15, 2011 7:12 PM
As usual, you are spot on. Gun control does work. Imagine what the death toll might have been if the nut cases in any of the last dozen mass murder incidents had had access to fully automatic weapons. We have effective gun control on fully automatic weapons and we have almost no incidents involving murder by fully automatic guns. Coincidence? Obviously not.
Our nation is awash in fire arms, but they seem to make us less safe than citizens in other western nations. It is time to look at reasonable gun control again. I would hate to think that periodic mass murders by madmen are a price that we must pay for living in a "free" society.
Comment: #15
Posted by: Mark
Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:57 PM
There was most certainly a background check done before the Arizona shooter was allowed to buy that Glock at the Sportsmans Warehouse. You can not purchase any weapon in Arizona without the dealer checking your background with the state and federal government. If that young man had been a felon or had ever been institutionalized for his mental conditions it would have come up and the weapon would not have been sold to him.
Comment: #16
Posted by: Alan Lashway
Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:30 AM
At present, 33 states, including Arizona, do not regulate the sale of firearms at gunshows. The Arizona shooter would have had no problem purchasing a handgun at a gun show with no background check of any kind. Background checks are a good start, but clearly a lot more needs to be done if we are to have any hope of limiting the periodic mass murders by unhinged individuals.
Comment: #17
Posted by: Mark
Sun Jan 16, 2011 9:51 AM
Re: Mark
This is to #15. Gun control has shown no evidence of actually lowering crime. It can lower gun crime, but stabbed is no better than shot. Crime tends to stem from cultural, economic and political realities, not from the tools that are laying around. If you want to look at gun control look at Switzerland's murder rate, which is among the lowest in the world. Culturally homogenous wealthy countries with good social services will tend to have lower crime.
It's also ironic that you are telling Mark he's spot on when that entire article was factually incorrect.
Comment: #18
Posted by: James
Sun Jan 16, 2011 10:37 AM
Please tell us more about your friend , Allen Ginsberg, "who is an historian up in Maine."
Comment: #19
Posted by: Byron Rushing
Sun Jan 16, 2011 11:30 AM
Why is it that the right-wingers always want to defend killing (wars) or weapons of killing (guns, military expenditures), but freak out at the mention of trying to help people (health care, federal job stimuli, etc)? The impact of your words and topic can be measured by the huge increase in number of people who responded. Good article, Mark.
Comment: #20
Posted by: Mike Ohr
Sun Jan 16, 2011 1:31 PM
Go to any of the recent mass murders involving guns, Tuscon, Virginia Tech, Columbine, various school shootings, etc. Can you honestly say that gun control would not have made a difference? If the killer in any of those cases had been armed with a knife, the death tolls would have been drastically lower. In each case, one or two people might have died, but not scores. No, gun control is not the magic bullet (pardon the metaphor) to preventing murder, but it sure might reduce the numbers. Compare the crime rates in Vancouver, BC to those in Seattle, WA. Yes, bad things still happen in both cities, but the rate is a lot lower in Canada.
Take the simple change of limiting the number of bullets in a magazine. It would not prevent a crime like that in Tucson, but having to reload after 10 shots might give the victims a chance to stop the bad guy sooner. The final tackle might have come a few lives sooner. Extended clips have no reasonable purpose that I am aware of. Those that are planning to defend the home castle against an invading horde might disagree, but, realistically, there is not much point to extended clips except fantasies of mass mayhem. Limiting the size of magazines would be a baby step in the direction of a more rational gun policy, but enacting it nationally might let gun owners observe that the sky did not fall.
Another step that must be take is to close the gun show loophole that allows easy purchase of firearms with no restrictions in 33 states. Requiring dealers to do checks and then allowing open gun show sales makes no rational sense.
Comment: #21
Posted by: Mark
Sun Jan 16, 2011 3:48 PM
On the gun control side, please formulate your argument with the fact that Switzerland has an incredibly high saturation of guns and has incredibly low crime and the fact that many third world countries have made guns illegal and have incredibly high murder rates. Also keep in mind that Australia and the UK's gun laws have had almost no effect on violence. Also keep in mind that historically in the US enacted stricter gun control laws has had almost no effect on the crime rates. Crime, including murder, correlates strongly with socioeconomic status, culture and education and weakly with gun laws.
As to your second point, I take it you don't shoot? High capacity magazines are good for movies and target shooting, but they are unreliable, harder to carry and awkward to load. If he had been carrying multiple lower capacity magazines then dropping one wouldn't have been a big deal since he could just grab another (which could be done in one or two seconds if he has practiced) and shot the person that went for the magazine on the ground. He could also have just carried multiple guns. Really though, any prepared person with access to just a knife can kill seven or eight people if he really wants to, and it's easy enough to make explosives, especially if he has no intention of surviving.
As a final note, using outliers like this as a reason for gun control is a fairly weak argument. You can find emotional stories of people defending their children with guns as well. The best thing to do is to look at the large scale statistics, see what has happened when gun control laws were effected (pretty much nothing) and go from there.
Comment: #22
Posted by: James
Sun Jan 16, 2011 4:38 PM
Swiss male citizens are generally required to be part of the military reserves, which requires periodic training, and the widespread ownership of firearms are associated with these duties. Guns and ammo may be purchased in Switzerland, but the rules are much tighter than they are here. (Wikipedia has a good write up on gun politics in Switzerland.) I think that Switzerland could be an excellent model for us to follow, allowing for reasonable gun ownership with a reasonable amount of control. (I wonder if something like the Swiss model was what the founding fathers had in mind when they put in the bit about a well regulated militia in the 2nd amendment.)
You seem to agree (or perhaps not) with me that extended magazines have no legitimate purpose. So what's to lose in banning them? I agree, however, that doing so will not make a significant dent in the mass murder problem, but it is a start. (For the record, I do shoot.)
A pissed off 15 year old bringing a knife to a school is unlikely to kill several people. Six or seven people armed with book bags are a fair match for one guy with a knife. The same can't be said if he brings a gun. Will pissed off 15 year olds go to bombs if they are unable to get guns? Possibly, but effective bomb making requires some level of skill, so the risk is inherently lower. (Having school aged kids, I'll take limited gun access, thank you.)
Gun control laws on fully automatic weapons have been very successful.
If the background checks are to have any meaning, they MUST be extended to gun shows. Mexico has good gun control laws, but Arizona does not. Many guns used in crime in Mexico are traced back to gun show purchases in the US. (As our southern neighbor collapses into chaos, some of our exported firepower may come home.)
I agree with you that gun control laws are not the total solution to the US homicide rate (More than twice that of the UK or Australia, by the way.) in general or even gun violence in particular. The status quo, however, is not acceptable. It has become clear that we can't imprison our way a low murder rate. It is time to start looking at all options. The Swiss laws might be instructive.
Comment: #23
Posted by: Mark
Sun Jan 16, 2011 10:57 PM
Re: FREE tea

You do not believe that. It is not true, and you know it is not true.
Comment: #24
Posted by: Deborah Laymon
Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:42 AM
Re: Mark
Swiss do require that everyone have a gun, but they also look at shooting as a national sport. They just have high overall gun saturation beyond the enforced military weapons. I doubt that the guns have much to do with crime though, if I had to guess it's mostly just the social and economic issues.
Extended magazines are a completely legitimate option for target shooting. If I'm shooting at paper I'd rather reload less often and I care less about a potential jam since I can take my time. You also have to give a legitimate reason to ban it since it's a a matter of restricting rights.
IIRC knife sprees are a problem in China and some other parts of east Asia, and the basic MO is just to get people in an area where everyone is crowded (subway, school between periods etc) and just start stabbing people. People catch on less quickly since they don't have the telltale bang, knife wounds are generally more dangerous than low caliber gunshot wounds due to how they bleed and the knife wielder never has to reload.
Gun control laws on fully automatic weapons have been pointless. I can go out and legally buy an Uzi for $3000 or I can take a few hundred dollars worth of equipment and make a Sten gun out of sheetmetal using publicly available instructions. The big thing they've restricted are collector pieces like BAR's. The fact is that most of the guns banned are fairly large and most criminals use weapons that are easy to conceal (look at any list of the top guns recovered from crimes and you are going to ten small caliber handguns that are limited to 8 rounds with no extended capacity magazines on the market).
I don't have a problem extending the gun laws to gun shows, but there are going to be workarounds with pretty much any law.
Comment: #25
Posted by: James
Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:10 AM
Mr. Sheilds,
After reading your article in last Months (12/20/2010) AT in Tiffin I wanted to answer you. A good friend sent me this and I do not believe that I could have said it better. I am really getting tired of the government telling me what I cannot or can Do. I will always protect my family, not the Governments JOB. Most of which you mention in your piece are things that the local schools and CITY GOVERNMENT which are locally elected. Very little of what you said, the feds have no business messing with! Good thing you are not a public official because you would have been voted out of office.
Joe in Tiffin, Oh

1930s, '40s, '50s, '60s and '70s!!

First, we survived being born to mothers who may have smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then, after that trauma, we were

put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered

with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets, and, when we rode our bikes,

we had baseball caps, not helmets, on our heads.

As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald

tires and sometimes no brakes..

Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter, and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. And we

weren't overweight.


Because we were always outside playing...that's why!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day.

--And, we were OKAY.

We would spend hours building

our go-carts out of scraps

and then ride them down the hill,

only to find out we forgot the brakes..

After running into the bushes a few times,

we learned to solve the problem..

We did not have Play Stations, Nintendos and X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVDs, no surround-sound or CDs, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms.


and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth,

and there were no lawsuits from those accidents.

We would get spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping-pong paddles, or just a bare hand, and no one would call child services to report abuse.

We ate worms, and mud pies made from dirt, and

the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls, and

-although we were told it would happen- we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team.

Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment.

Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers,

problem solvers, and inventors ever.

The past 50 to 85 years have seen an explosion of innovation and new ideas...

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

If YOU are one of those born

between 1925-1970, CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good.

While you are at it, forward it to your kids, so they will know how brave and lucky their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it ?


The quote of the month


Jay Leno:

"With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?"

For those that prefer to think that God is not watching over us...

go ahead and delete this.

For the rest of us..... please pass this on.
Comment: #26
Posted by: J. Stacklin
Mon Jan 17, 2011 12:00 PM
I would like to see a column by you about why we cannot mention God, Christmas, the pledge of Allegiance and are unable to have a Xmas tree in a classroom because of one student. What say you??

New Pledge of Allegiance

Since the Pledge of Al allegiance
And The Lord's Prayer
Are not allowed in most
Public schools anymore
Because the word 'God' is mentioned.....
A kid in Arizona wrote the attached

NEW School prayer:

Now I sit me down in school
Where praying is against the rule
For this great nation under God
Finds mention of Him very odd.

If scripture now the class recites,
It violates the Bill of Rights.
And anytime my head I bow
Becomes a Federal matter now.

Our hair can be purple, orange or green,
That's no offense; it's a freedom scene..
The law is specific, the law is precise.
Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice.

For praying in a public hall
Might offend someone with no faith at all..
In silence alone we must meditate,
God's name is prohibited by the state.

We're allowed to cuss and dress like freaks,
And pierce our noses, tongues and cheeks...
They've outlawed guns, but FIRST the Bible.
To quote the Good Book makes me liable.
We can elect a pregnant Senior Queen,
And the 'unwed daddy,' our Senior King.
It's 'inappropriate' to teach right from wrong,
We're taught that such 'judgments' do not belong..

We can get our condoms and birth controls,
Study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles..
But the Ten Commandments are not allowed,
No word of God must reach this crowd.

It's scary here I must confess,
When chaos reigns the school's a mess.
So, Lord, this silent plea I make:
Should I be shot; My soul please take!

Comment: #27
Posted by: J. Stacklin
Mon Jan 17, 2011 12:13 PM
I am a gun toting conservative and completely disagree with Mr. Shields' opinions, rants and lies. But in a democratic society I need to repect his right to spout his opinions. What I found appalling was his line "One brighter note from the Arizona tragedy was ...a Catholic white federal judge, John Roll, a Republican, was killed...". I edited the line for space, but it doesn't change that Mr Shields was finding the murder of someone he disagrees with to be a "brighter note". At least Mr. Loughner seems mentally ill. What is Mr. Shields' excuse?
Comment: #28
Posted by: JohnMayotte
Mon Jan 17, 2011 6:32 PM
-----"These people, always sobbing in public.
Have they NO land of tears within?"
-Japanese Proverb

We're afraid, post Arminian heresy, globalist-Oprah standardizing 'social engineering'
they, IN FACT ----DON'T.

IN FACT, we're VERY afraid...
Comment: #29
Posted by: FREE tea
Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:36 PM
As a Mainer, I would be interested in knowing more about Alan Ginsburg.
Comment: #30
Posted by: Robert Welch
Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:59 AM
Thank you, Mark. The theology of the gun is indeed the strangest faith. By the way, as we learned in the L.A. Times, there was a bystander who was also packing heat in that grocery store. Remember, that's how gun extremists justify concealed carry laws: the gun militia will save our lives. Well, this guy did well to avoid killing the heroes. He went to the action, to his credit, but nearly shot the man standing over the murderer with a gun in his hand. It was the guy who wrestled Loughner down, but he didn't know that and nearly shot him. Our citizen's-militia hero, who didn't have the training to do the proper thing.
Those who seem to think the Second Amendment is greater than the First are tragically wrong. Why is it that today's conservative can see firearm "enfranchisement," but they're not too big on each citizens' economic franchise. Being a citizen means you're a stakeholder, and stakeholders have equal rights with the stockholders.

I also note the return, in recent years, of John-Birch-like paranoia about the Gummint. It's a style of thinking it would be best to abandon, as William F. Buckley explained many years ago.
Comment: #31
Posted by: jimhass
Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:24 PM
Re: JohnMayotte Why is it people such as yourself take quotations out of context & state writer's intention is something other than what was actually said in two paragraphs - what was brought to the readers' attention was how persons of various beliefs could work together.
Comment: #32
Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:48 AM
I adamently disagree to your use of the Tucson shooting to promote gun control laws. The issue behind that shooting is not on whether he should have been able to own a gun (although I do believe there should be at least a background check) the issue is why hadnt Lougher been treated for his mental illness? There were medical records and complaints that suggested he was dangerous, why didn't he get help? What should be learned from that shooting is that we need reform in how the mentally ill are treated and helped.
Comment: #33
Posted by: Rachel Hollenbeck
Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:22 AM
I just read your editorial, "Please Tell Me Why". Even though I am an avid supporter of our right to own and carry firearms, I agree with most of your comments. To allow the purchase and and carrying of concealable weapons without any permitting system or background check is irresponsible for any government. I live in Pennsylvania where a permit is required to carry a concealed weapon and a background check is required when applying for this permit or purchasing firearms. Even as a gun rights advocate, I do not believe this law goes far enough. I would like to see Pennsylvania's law expanded to require a training course and basic test befiore a perrmit is origionally issued, and I would hope other states would do likewise.
We Americans do not like to take responsibility for many aspects of our lives. It seems that our personal protection is one of the responsibilities we believe should be passed to someone else, primarily to legislayors and law enforcement agencies. We all know that the law enforcement system cannot be there to protect us every moment of our lives. Depending on legislators for our personal protection needs is an extremely frightening concept. Like it or not, on a minute-to-minute basis, much of our safety depends on our awareness, preparedness, and decisions. Likewise, we all share some responsibility for each other, as we live together in community.
Many say that the real problem is that those with mental problems and violent tendencies aren't treated. Possibly in Loughner's case there were enough signs and incidents in his past that mental problems should have been recognized and treated. However, I ask if any of us wants to revert back to the 'good old days' when a person could be labeled mentaly ill and institutionalized for eccentric behavior? If this were the case, most of my in-laws and many of my coworkers would be in padded rooms right now, and I might be there myself. Unfortunately, the event that labels someone as dangerously mentally afflicted is quite often the one that creates a true tragedy.
I believe that the biggest obstacle this nation must overcome is our national sense of entitlement in every aspect of life and our willingness to turn over responsibility for our needs to our government. If we can ever conquer these aspects of our lives, other problems will be resolved in the process. How do we do it? I wish I knew!
Comment: #34
Posted by: Charles Thompson
Tue Jan 25, 2011 12:31 PM
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