Letters: What Do You Think?

This week: Gun Violence Will Get Worse Before It Gets Better; In Support of a National Sales Tax; and Maloney in Turners, Not Shelburne

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Gun Violence Will Get Worse Before It Gets Better

The death of the assault weapons ban (which has only been delayed by Harry Reid’s change of heart) provides a stark illustration of two basic principles of American politics. “An interested and active minority will always defeat an apathetic and/or inactive majority.” A closely related principle is that voters’ willingness to hold politicians accountable on a particular issue depends on the “proximity” of the issue to their lives and interests.

The spate of high profile instances of gun violence, like the shooting at Sandy Hook School, impacts the general public’s level of apathy, but since the vast majority of Americans still do not believe they or theirs are in any realistic danger, they do not convert nearly enough voters from passive supporters of gun control into active supporters of gun control willing to base their vote on this issue.

Republicans in Congress (and some Democrats) are still politically vulnerable enough on gun control to expect serious movement on this issue at the national level soon. They can realistically expect to be challenged from the right if they break ranks on guns, and they cannot realistically expect to be insulated from such challenges by voters in the center or on the left.

The issue of gay marriage provides a useful example of what would be necessary to advance serious gun control policies in Congress. The public’s opinion of gay marriage and gay rights moved decisively left in recent years, not simply because the arguments against it are weak. More and more Americans have come to the realization that they have gay friends and relatives who provide living and breathing testimony to the folly of anti-gay marriage arguments.

Like Senator Portman, more and more people are being touched by this issue in their own lives. Discrimination against gays and lesbians is not an abstraction to a rapidly increasing proportion of the American electorate.

Unfortunately, this means that gun violence will probably have to get much worse before it is likely to be seriously addressed by Congress.

In Support of a National Sales Tax

It is time to file my federal income tax return. That means hours spent gathering information and working with tax software or a preparation service to guide me through the maze of regulations as I attempt to get back some of my money from the government. Help me put an end to this.

There is a bill before the U.S House Ways and Means Committee to replace the income tax, the Medicare tax and the Social Security tax with one national sales tax and abolish the IRS in the process. These taxes will not be deducted from your paycheck and no tax return is required. You will keep the money you earn every payday.

Congress will not act on this bill unless we demand it. Congressman Richard E. Neal is a member of the Ways and Means Committee. Call (202) 225-3625 today and tell him to support HR25, The Fair Tax.


Maloney in Turners, Not Shelburne

I’m long since over the fact that you all don’t cover us up here very much, but when you do mention Franklin County, please try to get the town names right. There was a great Heather Maloney CD release show on Saturday, March 16 at the Shea Theater here in Turners Falls (not Shelburne).

Trying to avoid all sarcasm/snideness here; just, seriously, this stuff matters some. Thanks.

Jamie Berger

via e-mail

The Advocate responds: We apologize for not correcting the name in our Nightcrawler column, which led with a mention of Heather Maloney’s CD release celebration at “the Shea Theater in Shelburne Falls.” In the illustrated item about the event on page 22, however, the setting was correctly identified as The Shea Theater, 71 Ave. A, Turners Falls.

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Gun Violence Will Get Worse Before It Gets Better

I guess I would have expected a little more thought from an assistant professor of political science. Same sex marriage matters to those who want to marry a person of the same sex. To everyone else it is not that important. All it means it that someone may be eligible for insurance benefits, property rights etc. etc., which affects no one, thus not that many people want to interfere with the Goodrich ruling.

What is a high profile mass shooing? It is an incident where the victims are high profile. Chicago and Washington D.C. have more killings than Connecticut. But Newtown CT is a well to do town, with high profile people. The Chicago and D.C. have poor victims, they are more numerous, and none were killed with the weapon Duquette wants to ban. The average person stands a better chance of being stabbed, clubbed, shot (with stolen gun ), or beaten while shopping than he does of being the victim of a mass shooting. But in mass shootings the shooter and the victim are most likely to be middle to upper class.

Notice that the citizen disarmament advocates, target “gun violence,” which is not all criminal violence against victims. There is also evidence that the shooters go looking for “soft targets.” A group of children are vulnerable to a person armed with a club. But I think many of us would expect that an assistant professor of political science would be aware of the statistics that show that his “assault rifle” is simply not used vary often in crime. But the laws that he wants would eventually effect everyone but the criminal as the banned list get expanded and fees are increased.

Duquette wants Congress to take action. Connecticut decided like many other states to dissemble its mental health system. The common factor among the mass shooters is that they were mentally ill. People with money like the Lanza family always get what they want, including a mental health professional that will neither recommend commitment nor report him as a dangerous person. The citizen disarmament lobby in general, are not proposing anything which would change this.

An assistant professor of political science should know that role of state government in the matter. As far we know the guns were purchased in Connecticut. We know Adam Lanza was mentally ill. A mother than would hand a gun to him could not have been much healthier. All of the mental health professionals working with the Lanza’s were licensed by Connecticut. The security of the school was the responsibility of Connecticut. And he wants Congress to take action? Not every state has mass shootings. We already have background checks for firearms purchases from the last time the citizen disarmament lobby proposed more yet more laws.

Posted by Robert Underwood on 3.29.13 at 7:31



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