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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/17/10

Another Day, Another Lie

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Well, there she went again:

Palin Claims Obama Would Ban Guns
AP - Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin warned NRA members Friday that President Barack Obama wants to gut the Second Amendment:

"Don't doubt for a minute that, if they thought they could get away with it, they would ban guns and ban ammunition and gut the Second Amendment," said Palin, a lifelong NRA member who once had a baby shower at a local gun range in Alaska.

Before the reader assumes I'm a shill for anti-gun forces, let me assure, that's not the case. As a former US Marine I have fired, and even admired, deadly hardware ranging from handguns to 106 mm recoilless cannons. And I own firearms plural. And, I don't believe the "guvment" should be allowed to summarily show up at my door to "pry them from my cold, dead hand."

Now that that's out of the way let me say that little Ms. Shoots-Small-Animals-from-Helicopter's claims that Obama would "ban guns and ammunition," is pure, steaming caribou crap. It's another page from the Right's Scare-the-Sheep handbook.

What Obama, and any thinking person, would do is treat guns the same way we treat other potentially dangerous objects in our modern world.

carHow about cars? Do cars kill people? Or is it drivers who kill people? Who cares. The fact of the matter is that cars and those who drive them are regulated by "guvment," otherwise there'd be a helluva lot more road-kill out there. Drivers are required to get driver's licenses, showing they know how to drive. And the cars themselves are regulated, both for safety and ownership records are kept.

Is all that a set up for the day when the "guvment" decides that owning a personal vehicle affords too much personal freedom and "they" come to "pry our car keys from our cold dead fingers?" Or is it just good government and good sense?

How about airplanes? I'm in the process of getting a recreational pilot's license, and the "guvment" is making me jump through more regulatory hurdles than anything I've done in life. Good. Very good. Otherwise any Tom, Dick or Harriet would be able to climb into a cockpit and fly over my house -- or yours.

Aircraft and pilot license regulations are an even more relevant example than auto registration and driver's licenses. After all, while terrorists use cars as car bombs, they're usually parked at the time. After 9/11 planes can be considered as deadly projectiles, bullets with brains, if you would.

I'm new to the world of flying but I can tell you this, you will not find anywhere on this planet a more freedom loving bunch than pilots. It's the reason they fly to be free, to be above it all, to be -- for a short period of time out of reach of "guvment"-- and for that matter, everyone else on the planet. But you won't find many pilots who'd want the Federal Aviation Administration to lighten up. Not even a bit.

Both autos and planes are useful as hell, and dangerous as well. Both are machines, and therefore prone to imperfections, breakdowns, design and engineering mistakes (just ask Toyota.) And don't even get me started on inherent shortcomings of the humans who operate cars and planes. Which is why while cars, planes and their operators are allowed -- even encouraged by government -- they are also regulated by government.

But when it comes to firearms, this solid, time-proven logic is rejected by gun freaks and the right wing demagogues who, every election cycle return to tickle gun freaks paranoia G-spots.

Okay, fine, I get it. So let's see if we can break this cycle once and for. What if those of us on the Left cut a deal with the Right on all this personal freedoms and banning stuff business. Here's my deal:

-We on the Left guarantee we will never propose any laws banning guns or ammo or making either guns or ammo burdensomely unavailable.

And, in return,

-Those on the Right promise to never again propose banning a woman's right to choose an abortion or make such a choice burdensomely unavailable.

What? Oh get outta here. Whatya mean they're different? Just how are they different? The Right claims abortion is murder of the unborn. Why not the same concern for the already born?

The last year I could find for statistics on this was 2004. According to the Centers for Desease Control, that year 29,569 full-term humans were victims of very later-term "abortions" by gunfire that's 81 a day, everyday, for 365 days. Another 64,389 were wounded by guns that same year or, 179 a day. (Full report)

Don't get me wrong. I'm not just blowing off those gun deaths, any more than I just blow off the 35,000 or so folks who die behind the wheel of car every year, year in and year out. But life is inherently risky business, always has been, always will be. Risks, even deadly risks, can never be eliminated, only mitigated.

And mitigation is another word for regulation. Good regulation. Smart regulation. Be it for cars, planes, guns or " dare I say, offshore drilling rigs.


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Stephen Pizzo has been published everywhere from The New York Times to Mother Jones magazine. His book, Inside Job: The Looting of America's Savings and Loans, was nominated for a Pulitzer.

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