KONOLA: Leaving Colorful Colorado & Welcome to Gun-landia
July 15, 2013
Mother and I have been on a road trip, which has involved crossing state lines, marked by signs reading "Leaving Colorful Colorado" and "Welcome to Wyoming" and "Wyoming is Beef Country." We've seen the obligatory photo ops as carloads of young people stop at the signs to record their travels. All of this has left me wondering what a road trip might be like if Weld and Mesa counties seceded from Colorado.
Both counties are populated with hot-headed gun nuts who think that a requirement to reload after 15 shots somehow takes away their right to possess a firearm. Because Democrats in Colorado decided to try to do something about the carnage inflicted by mentally unstable individuals shooting up malls and movie theaters and schools, these Neanderthals have decided that they need to form their own state.
Weld County gun nuts were the first to announce their intention, but Mesa County isn't far behind. The handful of men calling themselves Mesa County Patriots have been discussing starting a petition to get the question of independent statehood on the next ballot.
Of course, there might be a reality check in the process. These same men decided to have a rally in protest of the new gun regulations on the Fourth of July. They promoted their rally on Facebook and through a website. Convinced that they are the center of power in Mesa County, they were no doubt surprised to see that the hundreds of people they were expecting to show up to trade outlawed magazines didn't materialize. Instead a couple of dozen fools and at least one very foolish state representative showed up for a self-aggrandizing photo op.
So, back to this imaginary road trip of the future. Could we be reading signs that say, "Welcome to the World's Largest Shooting Range" or "Leaving Civilization, Welcome to Gun-landia?" What will tourists think of a state where the only important issue is how many bullets one can carry on one's body? Will they come in for the experience, or will they decide that it is safer to avoid such places? How vibrant is an economy based on shooting ranges?
Will these new states have the ability to forge new governments? It isn't as easy as one might assume based on 1776. Much of my professional career was involved with tribal governments. As domestic sovereign nations, these Reservation-based governments are charged with every aspect of governing their people. They are responsible for roads and health clinics and jails and courts and universal commercial codes and universal consumer codes and child welfare and marauding wild animals.
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Unfortunately, on most Reservations, there aren't enough people to fill all the jobs required of government, so the courts don't always work well. Investors aren't willing to invest because they don't see how their assets will be protected by a court system that doesn't work. Getting an enforceable collateral interest for security on a loan is impossible without a commercial code. The existing 50 states went to a lot of trouble to create a uniform commercial code, but that code didn't extend to Reservations, nor would it extend to the newly formed gun states carved out of northern and western Colorado.
That's just one example of all of the work that would need to be done to establish an effective state. Then there's the process of trying to get the United States to allow a new state into the union. Or is it the plan of these gun-loving hot heads to become their own landlocked nations? Surely, they hate the policies of President Obama as much as those of Gov. Hickenlooper. Why stop at a state? How about a nation based on nothing but guns? Surely, Somalia could provide a model for this new government. No regulations, lots of guns, and an economy based on pirates — the world's largest shooting range.
Shame on the Mesa County Patriots for trying to destroy Colorado as a state. I find nothing patriotic in your actions. Instead, I find a bunch of cartoon characters play-acting at government with no real understanding of what it actually means to govern. It takes laws, not guns. Fortunately, most voters understand this.
Claudette Konola is happy with Colorado government just the way it is. She can be reached at email@example.com.