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Increasing education funds should come before increase in gun sales

Sunday, December 28, 2008 | 12:00 p.m. CST; updated 4:24 p.m. CST, Sunday, December 28, 2008

While many Missourians like me are worried about the deepening recession, some Missourians have other concerns. We worry about people losing their homes and jobs, and having to give up their pets. They also worry that the new president-elect , Barack Obama, is going to take away their Second Amendment rights to bear arms even though I've never ever heard one discussion of that subject. Consequently, while retail sales are slowing down, gun sales are increasing. Obviously some are profiting from these rumors.

Actually, I don't have a horse in this race. If people want to own multiple assault weapons or teach their children how to kill deer and other animals, that's their business. When my brother was young and we lived in a small Missouri town, he hunted for food. When I visited him as an adult in Minnesota, and he caught a fish that refused to die, I saw him transport the fish back to the Mississippi River and release it. I use that story as an example of how some males when they become adults put away childish things.

I have no problem with people bearing arms. It does annoy me when I hear people saying that they carry arms to protect themselves. I always wonder if they really know the difference between what can legally be determined self-defense and what is homicide. They seem to feel that it will somehow be left to them to make that call rather than law enforcement.

And, unfortunately when it comes to school and work site shootings and people engaging in other egregiously violent acts, it's not just gun lovers who are affected. While it's easy enough for them to pass the incident off by declaring, "guns don't kill people, people do," the families of the injured and deceased still suffer the results. To imagine that only law-abiding citizens will buy guns is stupid.

Violence has become so much a part of American life that whenever I hear about innocent people being gunned down by these killers, I just change the channel on the television or turn the dial on the radio.

Since this is what Americans interpret the Second Amendment to be about, I accept this. And as far as I'm concerned I have more to worry about than guns.

Still, it's somewhat comforting to know that so many Missourians are not s0 stressed out with financial worries that they can still attend gun shows and shell out big bucks. With so many worrying about making the mortgage payments and hanging onto their jobs, they don't have time to puzzle over whether the president-elect will raise taxes on gun sales or how these rumors got started.

The thing I am hopeful about  is that education will take front and center in the new administration because it is frightening when you pair the rising gun sales with the downward trend of the literacy rate. Just the idea that so many individuals are prepared to act on unsubstantiated rumors is disturbing.

And I think it is important for people to realize that according to the economists, the hard times are going to be around for several years, and as people become more challenged in their efforts to make a living, access to more guns is not something that I think will help people out. After all, everyone is an innocent gun owner until he or she commits the first crime.

I am grateful for those who are advocating that part of a stimulus package be used to keep libraries open. Not only can people spend time there enhancing their skills, but they also can use computers to help find jobs. In addition to hard times and more guns, the last thing this society needs is more people with a lot of idle time on their hands.

While I certainly don't want to start the new year on a sour note, I truly believe we're in for a long, dry spell and with our current leaders having squandered several hundred billion dollars in gifts to banks without a trace of accountability, it will be the lowly taxpayers, as usual, who suffer.

I expect a lot of us on the first day of 2009 will be sitting down with our pens and pencils trying to see where in our budgets we can find ways to cut back . Many people have already begun that process.

And so as we take our first steps into the future, we all have to decide whether we want to help unify our country or whether we want to continue with the racist rant that keeps us divided. It's a free country; to each his own.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at nolen@iland.net.


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Comments

m b December 29, 2008 | 4:26 a.m.

Is it really that hard to read the U.S. Constitution and the Federalist Papers? Maybe education is the problem she says it is!

Does she really think people are somehow taking money OUT of public schools and spending it at gun shows? Just how does one do this anyway?

Author says-
I always wonder if they really know the difference between what can legally be determined self-defense and what is homicide.

Hmm-
I'm sure the author doesn't know the difference. She should learn the definitions of the words "homicide," "murder," and "manslaughter."

Author says-
And, unfortunately when it comes to school and work site shootings and people engaging in other egregiously violent acts, it's not just gun lovers who are affected. . . . [T]he families of the injured and deceased still suffer the results.

Hmm-
The author doesn't mention that the locations she's referring to are already likely labeled "gun-free zones."

Author says-
To imagine that only law-abiding citizens will buy guns is stupid.

Hmm-
Because we all know that there are no restrictions placed upon persons convicted of felonies or crimes of domestic violence and that these people can simply walk into a store and purchase firearms.

Author says-
Violence has become so much a part of American life that whenever I hear about innocent people being gunned down by these killers, I just change the channel on the television or turn the dial on the radio.

Hmm-
Sticking your head in the sand and pretending it doesn't exist won't make it go away. It apparently won't make you feel better or think about it less, since you insist on writing about it.

Author says-
The thing I am hopeful about is that education will take front and center in the new administration because it is frightening when you pair the rising gun sales with the downward trend of the literacy rate. Just the idea that so many individuals are prepared to act on unsubstantiated rumors is disturbing.

Hmm-
The notion that gun sales should be correlated with literacy rates is silly. Decades and decades of increased [and unconstitutional] federal spending on education have yielded little, if any, progress.

The author should try to correlate a time line of education spending and the literacy rate. That might be useful! I suspect there may even be a negative correlation.

(Report Comment)
Doug Winston December 29, 2008 | 10:49 a.m.

You state “…Obama, is going to take away 2nd Amendment rights… even though I've never ever heard one discussion of that”. Given that he’s supported a ban on mis-named “assault weapons” since the Illinois Senate, has stated a desire to eliminate lawful CCW & has been consistent in voting against individual gun rights, I think most gun owners should be cautious, if not outright defensive.
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You write you “always wonder if they really know the difference between…self-defense and homicide.”
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Please see Kleck & Gertz:"Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense With a Gun," Fall 95 NU Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, which showed guns were used 2.5 million times/year in self defense; or "Guns in America” a ‘97 US DOJ study by Cook & Ludwig showing guns used 1.5 million times/year in self defense.
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While most uses didn’t involve firing the gun, when they had to “make that call”, armed citizens kill nearly twice as many criminals as police (1,527 to 606 in a Newsweek sample) but erred only 2% of the time compared to 11% for police.
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Additionally, there are many court cases – dating back to South v. Maryland (1856) – holding the state bears no responsibility to provide for the protection of the individual against criminals.
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You state “To imagine that only law-abiding citizens will buy guns is stupid”, so I ask: do gun sale numbers include illegal sales to, by & from criminals? I doubt prohibited criminals are going to gun stores, and I doubt accurate recordkeeping takes place when a stolen gun is sold in an alley.
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As someone who has benefitted from education I support making learning available for as many as possible. But a few points:
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Gun purchases are made with discretionary funds; school district taxes are simply added to the tax bill, and are mandatory; in that regard it is “apples & oranges”.
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You bemoan decreasing literacy – yet education funding has not been reduced. Could it be just as much criminal behavior can be linked to some failing of child rearing, a reduction in literacy can be tied to a failure of the educational system?
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I find odd irony in your use of the term “racist rants”, since “gun control” here originated with Virginia’s 1640 law "Prohibiting negroes…from carrying weapons including clubs”, and most similar laws since then have been aimed at reducing the number of lawful arms available to the African-American community for self defense.
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A bumper sticker read “Free men own guns – slaves don’t”. Yet many in the community continue to lead the charge to eliminate all guns, legal & illegal, rather than punishing the criminals & removing criminal guns from our stricken communities.
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Which is more racist: a reflexive action based on a politician’s stated beliefs and voting record, or a traitorous surrender of hard-won rights of law abiding citizens by “leaders” in the community?

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr December 29, 2008 | 12:05 p.m.

>>> Obama, is going to take away 2nd Amendment rights… even though I've never ever heard one discussion of that” <<<

I have never seen this factually documented anywhere and in fact during the election it was proven wrong.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand December 30, 2008 | 11:37 a.m.

Put aside the gun discussion a second: Why should we be pumping more money into secondary ed when we've been doing that at both the federal and state levels for a decade, yet the results (e.g., test scores) continue to be pitiful? Consider the following debacle ( http://columbiatribune.com/2008/nov/2008... ):

"Former Superintendent Phyllis Chase made minority achievement a priority during her tenure and in 2004 converted West Boulevard Elementary to a 'model school' to test new strategies. Last year, the district spent more than $15,000 per student at West Boulevard - the most of any elementary - but black students there still failed performance benchmarks."

More money will not fix these problems. The only solution is for more parents and students to do their part.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr December 30, 2008 | 12:13 p.m.

>>>> More money will not fix these problems. The only solution is for more parents to do their part. <<<<

Obviously nobody really cares or you would see more and better results across our entire country in these test scores.

(Report Comment)
M Well February 19, 2009 | 10:45 a.m.

What a perfect example of the fallacy of false dichotomy! At least when one spends money on a gun he/she knows it will actually work.

(Report Comment)

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