DAVID ROSMAN: It's past time to get serious about gun laws and taxes

Wednesday, December 26, 2012 | 12:30 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — It appears that everyone is talking about people with mental disabilities, those who have a potential for violent action and criminals not having guns. So far, so good.

Yet, no one has asked the very important follow-up question: Can you identify the person on the street who will unlawfully use a firearm in a violent act tomorrow?

On Sept. 27, 2012, Andrew Engeldinger was fired that morning from his job at Accent Signage Systems Inc. That afternoon, he walked through a loading dock door with a legally purchased 9mm semiautomatic handgun and began firing, killing five. No one could tell what was in the mind of Engeldinger that morning before he was fired from his job. No one could have foreseen this tragic ending.

So, I ask those who argue that we need to keep guns out of the hands of bad people, “What does a bad person, a potential mass murderer, look and sound like?” It is like asking what an American looks like. Or Jew or Catholic? I certainly cannot and believe it cannot be answered by anyone.

Then there is the pending sequestration “disaster,” the so-called "fiscal cliff." People in the know and whose opinions I honor from both sides are starting to say “let the fiscal cliff happen,” and I am starting to agree with them.

Federal and state laws are made up of minor patchwork repairs that result in major unintentional negative consequences, which adequately describes the American antiquated tax codes. It is time to re-build our tax codes and spending structures to meet the needs of our citizens in the 21st century.

This needs to be done by the moderates in both parties, not the extremes and definitely not the Grover Norquist-Libertarian-All Taxes are Evil, wide-eyed radicals. Nor their Marxist-socialist-government pays for everything, wide-eyed radicals.

After listening to the arguments on Sunday’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” especially those of “The Nation’s” editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel, I better understand the situation. Kind of. I am not as knowledgeable as I should be about the fiscal cliff or slope depending on whom you ask.

By allowing sequestration, our tax laws will be ripe for change.  The tax code needs to be rewritten from the ground up and needs to be written in plain language, not legalese.

I also know that our federal and state legislators need to stop using rhetorical road blocks and legislating nonsense and return to reality. Comprehensive and rational tax and gun laws need to be on the table. Not the silliness that has clogged the process in the recent past.

I do not have any personal resolutions for 2013, but do hope that members of the 113th Congress and the Missouri’s 2013 legislature will do the job for which we elected them. We don't want them to patch the problems but to fix them with workable solutions and with an eye toward reality, not individual political agendas.

David Rosman is an editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in communications, ethics, business and politics. Questions? Contact Opinion editor Elizabeth Conner.




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Michael Williams December 26, 2012 | 12:52 p.m.

“What does a bad person, a potential mass murderer, look and sound like?”

Well, if you like probabilities, your mass murderer in the US is a white male and between the ages of 14 and 45. He is mainly a loner, has social troubles, and while most folks would call them crazy, they are quite able to plan logically and carefully. While high school teachers cannot pick them out as individuals, they can certainly reduce the size of the pool. So can employers.

I'd take these odds over rock/paper/scissors every time.

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