In an effort to escape a never-ending deluge of negative news this Christmas season, I have made some changes to my daily routines.
While in my car, talk radio has been replaced with Willie, Waylon and the boys, along with a little Patsy for good measure. On the TV Fox, CNN and MSNBC have been supplanted with syrupy Christmas fare and movies of a mindless escapist nature. Alas, the changes have not been adequate to block out all the chaos that has become our national existence.
Case in point: To protect us from terrorists-unknown, government has demanded we surrender all rights and humility at the airport entrance. To remove our shoes, empty our sodas over 3.2 ounces, and submit to body scanning X-rays is merely routine. We have turned our airports into armed basilicas; places where we submit without question to an arbitrary and unquestioned authority in hope of a safe flight. If terrorism is based on fear then we are surrounded by it, not saved from it. Now some seek to expand that model.
The NRA is calling for a big-government, big-brother approach to gun violence, namely turning our public schools into armed fortresses so that we can continue to enjoy our Second Amendment freedoms. Locally, GJ Police Chief Camper feels this may not be so bad an idea. Once again, we are seeing a knee-jerk reaction that proclaims we are going to see more of a police presence, more security, all to protect ourselves from ourselves. It is ironic that the NRA says they need more guns to protect themselves from a possibly repressive government and then call for a more repressive police-state-type scenario.
In addition to armed officers in our schools, it has been suggested that a volunteer force of gun owners be organized to respond to emergencies involving gun violence. Can it be possible that the last 15 years or so in which the NRA has had virtually full sway over the gun control debate has led us in the wrong direction? Is it possible that more guns of greater capacity to kill are not the correct answer?
The NRA leadership has now shown itself to be out of step with America and, indeed, its own membership. The majority of Americans inclusive of NRA membership now favor some form of increased control over the type of weapons and their capacities and capabilities. It is frightening to think that the only way we can be safer is to turn our nation, our cities and our schools into armed encampments.
Let us increase taxes so that we can have a police presence in every school, mall, post office, office building and street corner in America so we can be safe from those insane few that acquire and use guns in an illegal manner. At the same time, let us arm teachers, college students, and every household in America so we can be finally safe. In the name of safety we are turning our "free" country into one of stereotypical oppression. Ours is moving toward a nation where you are met at public buildings and public transportation by fedora wearing, wire-framed spectacled government employees in trench coats requesting "your papers, please."
Oh, it's OK to require that I produce my ID and require that I always have ID as I do no wrong. The government has the right to tap our phones without warrant. That is OK; I do no wrong. The government has the right to imprison you without charge for an indefinite period of time. That is OK; I do no wrong. The government has the right to track you by GPS device attached to your vehicle or by your cell phone, again, without warrant. That is OK; I do no wrong. God, it is great to know that I am being so well protected from the rest of you. Should I choose to acquire more guns, I shall be safer still. Soon perhaps they will desire to station an armed policeman in every subdivision to further protect me from you, or better still right outside my door. I know it is you they are protecting me from, because, after all, I am a law-abiding citizen.
Jim Hoffman is a local real estate broker and investor who is trying to move from semi-retired to retired. He needs to retire to devote more time to unpaid interests such as skiing, camping and fishing.