Friday, August 28, 2015

Gun Violence

I propose a response to “gun violence” that is better than anything I have seen out there, but there are hurdles to going along with my “solution.”
First, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”  Take away the guns, the firearms, and the perp cannot kill from a distance and cannot kill in large quantities per minute.  Nothing else kills quite so efficiently as firearms.
Second, there is no excuse to cover military style weapons under the second amendment.  Why not?  Because it asks for trouble.  What about nukes and chemical WMDs?  If you are even asking for second amendment coverage of these technologies, YOU are the problem.
Third, any sale or transfer of a firearm (not only to the end-customer, any sale or transfer) that is not accompanied with a transfer of title is a felony on the seller.
Fourth, you understand that if an under-age child harms a person or damages the property of another, that his parents are responsible.  When a child accidentally kills his friend with a firearm owned by his parent, his parent should be charged with murder.
Fifth, if a bartender sells liquor to an inebriated patron, he may become party to subsequent legal actions based on the behavior of a customer who was served when he ought not to have been served.
Sixth, there is no even partially reliable way to keep firearms out of the WRONG hands.  Forget background checks!  Think instead of a bartender selling to a drunken customer.
And last, the NRA will be held innocent of all gun carnage as they only sell an idea, a pernicious one to be sure, but only an idea.  They are accountable to their members.
Allow me now to introduce accountability to the debate.  Parties to a gun slaughter ought to include 1) the perpetrator, 2) the gun owner, 3) the gun seller, 4) the gun manufacturer, 5) the ammunition seller and 6) the ammunition manufacturer.  These parties are all partially responsible for all killings based on firearm usage.
Figure out the rest using the principle of shared responsibility.  We live in an imperfect world, claiming that one person alone is responsible ought to be seen as nonsense.

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Runaway Convention
There are those – like Ben Paine, like myself – who are working to craft and ratify a 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution that will end corporate personhood and build a Wall of Separation between big money and government.  There are those – like Ben Paine, like myself – who want to have an Article V Convention write the amendment rather than Congress, in order to get what we want and not a watered-down version with no teeth and no real hope for a better more democratic future.  But there are those who fear that an Article V Convention might degenerate into a “runaway convention” whose consequence would be to undermine all the benefits we have thus far enjoyed under the original U.S. Constitution.
In order to allay everyone’s fears, let me start by granting them their fear, let the Article V Convention “runaway” and utterly rewrite the U.S. Constitution, killing Federalism, killing our Checks and Balances, and killing all the rights granted us under the first ten amendments, the Bill of Rights.  Let us assume the impossible: the Article V Convention rewrites the U.S. Constitution and puts in its place a constitution that only Satan would love.  The consequence of such an unhappy event is that many people will have wasted a lot of their time at this convention, but there is no fear that this new document, this new constitution, would ever be ratified by the states, as that needs the approval of ¾ of all the states' legislatures and if it is that god-awful it will not get any state to ratify it.  Let us assume, otherwise, that the Convention rewrites the U.S. Constitution and makes it a little worse than what we have.  How many states will ratify that new constitution?  Not many, surely not ¾. Let us assume, finally, that the Convention writes a constitution that is BETTER than what we have!  (Hey, if that is impossible, it is impossible and don’t worry about it)  Well, if enough legislatures are smart enough to see an improved constitution, we will have a new and improved constitution, won’t we?  “Well,” you say, “who is going to say that this new constitution is better than the one we have?”  Why ¾ of the states is who.  If we don’t trust that hurdle, what can we trust?
A runaway convention is not a problem even if it happens.
And as the convention is not paid for by the public treasury, the worst that can happen is it wastes some of your time and mine as we follow its progress, and provides some exciting news for a few months, at least it costs no tax payer money.  Worst of all, it breaks the hearts of a few hundred or a few thousand American idealists.
No one is asking for an Article V Convention to rewrite the U.S. Constitution.  But if it were to be sabotaged and turn into a runaway rewrite, what I have said above applies: it wastes some people’s time.  And those who attend such a Convention will assuredly work to craft something that is likely to pass muster in ¾ of the states, no matter how grand or how limited.
So, if you hear anyone argue the possibility that an Article V Convention to craft a 28th amendment might be taken over and go runaway, your logical response is, “won’t happen and if it did, big deal, it’s fodder for late night comedy shows.”
An Article V Convention is the people’s convention, and what could be more exciting than to watch patriotic Americans sitting down to make things better, for themselves, for you and for me.