David Cook: "But guns are not neutral objects. Guns -- 300 million of them in private ownership in America -- have an effect on the spirit and psychology of our nation. (Prove it!) And I do not believe it is a good one. (So what? Your metaphysical beliefs are meaningless.) Possessing a 10-gun personal arsenal distorts the psychology of a person. (Prove it!) Carrying a handgun wherever you go changes the way you see the world. (Prove it!) The only gospel preached through gun show (sic) culture is an isolating one. (Prove it!) An over-armed citizenry tends to fuel itself on self-crippling paranoia and nativism, (Prove it!) neither of which are integral to the creation of what Lincoln called 'a more perfect union.'"
David, I checked your bio. Don't see a degree in psychology or psychiatry, not even one in pop-psychology. So why are you practicing the latter in public? You only demean and embarrass yourself.
Oh, and explain this:"An over-armed citizenry tends to fuel itself on self-crippling paranoia and nativism."
Are you really from the South, as your bio indicates? Your comment is a notorious, effete, Yankee "progressive's" put down of us Southren boys and girls. Don't you know that the Yankee thug whose ridiculous quote about a "more perfect union" sent armed federal troops to slaughter Southreners and forcibly imposed that lousy union, and in the process killed over 620,000 Americans including many-times more precious Southren children than those few who died at Newtown, Connecticut? Do you think it is paranoia for Southreners to be wary of the federal government to the extent that they want to keep a Bushmaster under their beds without the fed-thugs knowing about it through mandated registration? I suppose you also think the American Indians whose ancestors, mostly very old men, women and many little children, were slaughtered like feral hogs by federal troops at Wounded Knee are paranoid because they wont surrender their weapons to Uncle Sam. Mr. Cook, you are obviously suffering from self-crippling naivete or purposeful dishonesty.
I notice in this your second column in just a few days on guns that you are backing away from your position in that first column, in which you called unabashedly for gun control. Was it the speech by the NRA's LaPiere belaboring the futility of such gun-control laws that caused you to backtrack and switch to pop-psychology? His argument, to use an apropos metaphor, blew your argument to pieces.
Remember this David: Gun-control laws don't control guns; they control people. And they do so by force. The heavily armed federal, state and local agents who would be called on to enforce your gun-people control laws by means of violence are more responsible for the slaughter of innocents in Newtown than any inanimate gun. That is because violence begets violence, and they are up to violence on a regular,if not daily, basis.
David, Don't you read the Free Press editorial pages? Didn't you read Thomas Sowell's commentary on Tuesday (12/18) entitled "Invincible ignorance." Here is how he led off: "The key fallacy of so-called gun control laws is that such laws do not in fact control guns. They simply disarm law-abiding citizens, while people bent on violence find firearms readily available." (That, of course, was true in the case of the Newtown mass murderer.) Sowell goes on to provide all the proof a rational, fair-minded person would need to conclude that he is correct in his assessment.
David, try to understand this: Violence begets violence. (Need proof? Google "violence" and nonviolence" and you will find all the proof you need to accept the premise. Or conduct an experiment: go into a bikers' bar and exert a little force against one of the denizens to see if the aphorism holds true.) Violence is defined by the World Health Organization as the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against a person, or against a group. That is what gun-control laws do. So do tax laws. They all include enFORCEMENT provisions, which provide for the intentional use of physical force or power to control the benign behavior of peaceful citizens. Any and every act of violence or threatened use of force has seen and unseen consequences. The reciprocal violence may never be understood to have been begotten by a previous violent act because violence can mutate and spread unseen along unpredictable lines only to emerge when least expected--as in Newtown, Connecticut. If you have used force or violence to get what you want or think you need, including the forcible acts of your government agents, you are certainly more responsible for the Newtown massacre than any inanimate object. Shame on you.
Sowell went on to incisively pointed out, "Guns are not the problem. People are the problem--including people who are determined to push gun control laws, either in ignorance of the facts or in defiance of the facts."
Cook: "Thanks in part to dog-fighting mystique (great going, Michael Vick), redneck culture..."
Hey, Cook, your progressive, political-correct prejudice is showing. Don't you know that Micheal Vick is a Negro? Negros' have black or dark skin so the back of their necks don't turn red when they are out in the sun a lot. Rednecks are white folk who work or live outside a lot anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon Line. You know, like farmers. Why didn't you blame black culture? Oh, but that would be racist, and progressives are anything but racist--except when it comes to white folks who have red necks. It is my observation that blacks in poorer neighborhoods own a higher percentage of pit bulls than rednecks or other ethnic groups. Some own them for protection in a dangerous environment, with good reason, others own them for less-benign purposes. Your p-c, ethnic-group, progressive prejudice is no different than that of the Etowah council's prejudice against pitbulls.
Cook: "How many people has the American government killed? How much money is tied up in the functioning of the behemoth that is our nation-state, with its levers of power based in coercion and aggression?"
Insightful. The lever of coercion is the IRS. What it takes fuels all of government's other sins. Wars, etc.) all depend on the State's illicit power to tax.
Cook: "When we vote, we encourage and support this system."
True. If we vote, pay taxes, or otherwise show allegiance to the State, we share in the guilt for the many crimes of all government agents. According to the Common Law, we are responsible for every wrong they do in the conduct of their duties, including murdering innocents by such wicked means as armed drones.
Cook: "Halfway through writing this column, I got a call from a woman, distraught and sinking. In debt, sick, can't work, elderly and alone in this world. So yes, politics matter. Certain policies and budgetary decisions can save her life, or make it even more unbearable. So voting, most certainly, can be an extension of our faith."
As AndrewLohr asked: "[D]id you help the desperate lady yourself with your own resources...or did you refer her to tax-paid programs?"
If you did personally help the lady, keep it secret. Your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. If you did not help her, or if you thought you were helping by referring her to a government agency, or if you thought your subtle, sophist plug for Obama would help her, shame on you. Unless you personally help her, you are not Jesus' disciple. Jesus provided instructions regarding how we are to treat with our less-fortunate neighbors, most explicitly in his immortal parable of the Good Samaritan. Jesus' Good Samaritan relies entirely on "his own" resources to succor the poor stranger who had been robbed and left to die alongside the road to Jericho by both a (progressive?) Levite and a (conservative?) priest. When he finished telling the parable, Jesus instructed: "Go and do likewise!")--Luke 10:25-37
Mr. Cook, you are right about some things but demonstrably wrong about this: "Certain policies and budgetary decisions can save her life." Prove it!
Government's social safety net doesn't save lives. It only make the recipients of government largesse dependent on OPM (OPM: sounds like opium, is equally addicting, stands for other people's money.) Recipients of OPM are really the victims of progressive government policies, which have the affect of robbing recipients of self-reliance, personal responsibility, ambition, initiative and integrity. Jesus also had words for those who send armed agents to collect taxes purportedly to aid the poor. To them he said, "Those who live by the sword will die by the sword."
The difference between the Times and the Free Press editorial pages has become palpable, and impossible to ignore. Times editorial writers and columnists continues to act like paid flacks for Obama and the Democrats (Pelosi, Reid, etc.), whereas the Free Press editorial and commentary writers tell it like it is whether it burns Republicans or not. Such were the FP negative editorials about Romney and Ryan, which relied on facts rather than merely reworking and publishing the rhetoric of the candidates' campaigns. Meanwhile, the Times can find no flaw in their messiah from Hawaii, not even when he orders drone assassinations of American citizens, spends untold trillions of dollars of our children's and grand children's opportunities, and ruins the economy under mountains of debt.
Leaf said, "If you don't want to be inconvenienced by your fellow humans then move to North Dakota or some other god-forsaken place with nobody in it. Now quit your complaining and get back to work.
"Hey Leaf, if you like having every detail of your life regulated by your rulers in government, move to the Soviet Union where folks don't even pretend to be free. Oops, sorry, I forgot. There is no more Soviet Union. It fell under the burden of its own socialist regulations. Maybe you should try one of those nations where Sharia law prevails. You'd like it there. As Wiki says,"Sharia deals with many topics addressed by secular law, including crime, politics, and economics, as well as personal matters such as sexual intercourse, hygiene, diet, prayer, and fasting." I'm sure such laws wouldn't inconvenience the likes of you. However, watch out for the ones regulating your sexual intercourse, particularly if you have any peculiar peccadilloes.
I brought my pedicab to Chattanooga in 2008 from Winston-Salem, NC, where I rode it downtown five years, giving rides to all who asked, but mainly those without other means of getting around: the homeless, handicapped, etc. On the first day I rode here, I waved and said hello to a horse-carriage driver as I passed him by. My greeting was returned by the driver with a snarl. The following conversation took place:
Driver (belligerantly): "Got a license for that thing?"
Me: (taken aback): "I don't need one."
Driver: "You do now. Pedicab regulations took effect last week."
Me: "I'm sure they don't apply to me. I don't charge anyone to ride with me."
Driver: "It doesn't matter whether you charge or not. You gotta have a license. I ought to know. I'm on the committee that wrote the regulations, I wrote that one myself."
Me: "Rest assured your regulations don't apply to me or my pedicab. See the sign on the side of my pedicab. It says 'Not for hire.'
Driver (placing a cell phone to his ear): "We'll see about that. I'll find an officer to give you a ticket."
I immediately rode to the library to check regulations, and found them even more onerous than described in this editorial. They looked like they were written by that horse-and-carriage driver to keep any competition from pedicabs out of Chattanooga. Of course the regs didn't apply to me or my pedicab because no government can write regulations affecting my pedicab ministry. I wrote the mayor relating my exchange with the carriage driver, asking him to ensure the city did not interfere with me under the guise of regulating pedicabs. I copied the police chief and Transportation director. I received a reply from the mayor's office ensuring me that that the city would not interfere with my peaceful meanderings around Chattanooga and welcoming me.
I returned to Chattanooga several times without incident, but soon moved to Sequachie county. I thought about challenging the regulations for the sake of the city and any pedicab driver in the future who might want to go into the pedicab business here. Before I arrived, a nice young man did operated a pedicab here to earn tuition to Vanderbilt. That cannot happen under current regulations, which forcibly preclude any young person from buying a pedicab to make a living or earn their education.
To happywithnewbulbs: It is truly a pity that your bulb is so dim that you cannot see the harm caused by your lust to control the harmless, peaceful behavior of your neighbors by means of regulations, which are perforce enforced by force. ("And who is my neighbor?" the lawyer asked Jesus. Jesus replied with the Parable of the Good Samaritan.) Your lustful resort to force, dimbulb, has many negative consequences you probably never consider, or refuse to recognize, but for which you are nonetheless responsible. Shame on you. P.S. The main purpose of regulations is not safety but so bureaucrats can solicit bribes or charge fees.
There was a time when I traveled 10,000 miles a year on my bike, commuting and traveling the Midwest and New England. In doing so I occasionally but repeatedly encountered a certain type of mentally sick motorist (car and truck drivers and sometimes their passengers too) whom I call bicycle predators. There is something about merely seeing a cyclist on THEIR road which incites these types to arrogantly and murderously--murderously because of the speed and weight differential between any motor vehicle and a person on a bike--try to frighten the cyclist in one way or another. In one case on Mentor Avenue in Mentor, Ohio, at night, the driver turned off his lights so as not to forewarn me of his approach and as he passed close by me the front-seat passenger leaned out the window an hit me across the back with an axe handle, baseball bat or similar object. On another occasion the passenger reached out and grabbed my handlebar in an attempt to steer me into the curb. However, the predator "trick" I encountered most often was simply driving by without slowing within inches of my bike while watching in the rear view mirror to see and enjoy whatever reaction they got. Usually, but by no means exclusively, predators play their tricks when there are few or no witnesses observing their behavior.
I do not mean to suggest that the truck driver who killed David Meek is a bicycle predator who intentionally tried to frighten him or run him off the road, but if that is the case, the charge against him should be second-degree murder. An analogy would be a hunter in the woods who came upon picnickers occupying his favorite hunting spot. Instead of asking them to move, he decides to frighten them off by shooting close to them with his high-powered rifle. But his aim is faulty and he kills one of them. In reality, a warning shot meant to frighten is probably less likely to go astray and kill than is a several-ton vehicle purposely passing within inches of a cyclist.
Because news media reports of David Meek's "accident" imply that the truck driver may have lied in saying he never saw Mr. Meek until after hitting him, it is incumbent upon the police and prosecutor to look into the possibility of malicious intent. Has the driver ever been involved in other incidents involving a cyclist? Has his employer ever received complaints about his driving from cyclists? Has he ever been cited for road rage? The family of Mr. Meek, his large circle of friends, and the Chattanooga bicycling community in general deserve answers to these and other questions. Publishing the driver's name and the name on the truck might help to bring any previous incidents involving the same driver or truck to light if other cyclists have had similar encounters and lived to tell about it.