Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic


Two disparate things I want to talk about: guns and gays.

Guns first.
bridget_coila posted some excellent gun control petitions and ideas on her LJ and FB pages. I made a brief comment there to the effect that at this point petitions are useless, but I have some more to say which doesn't need to clutter up her site.

I was a Troubled Youth with a fascination for pyrotechnics. To help channel this, my parents enrolled me in the Seattle Police Athletic League's youth rifle club. We learned how to shoot a .22 cal long rifle at paper targets 50' away. I was very good. I have far better than average distance vision, and I could actually see the holes in the target from that distance. The idea behind target shooting is to put more bullets into the target than holes.

We were given basic, inexpensive rifles with fixed sights. No scopes, no lasers. Despite that I managed to win every NRA sharpshooting award for that kind of rifle in a few weeks. It also earned me one of these for my Boy Scout sash:

Riflery merit badge.

That was when I was 14-15.

Over the years I started going to indoor gun ranges, where I could rent a handgun, eye and ear protection and buy ammunition & targets, and started putting holes in pieces of paper with hand guns. For me this was more difficult than rifles, even though the targets were closer - 25' or 30'. Partly because of the shorter barrel, partly because of the way you compensate for the kick. But I got to be pretty good, and when the Silicon Valley NRA chapter announced an affordable gun safety class, I took it. Another $20 and a thorough written exam earned me a CA Basic Firearms Safety Certificate. That was August of 1996. I would scan a copy for you to see, but it says "This card is not to be reproduced or altered in any manner".  If you took the same course now, the card would say Handgun Safety Certificate.

Having said all that, I don't own a gun, never have, probably never will. Mostly because I don't have a safe place to keep it, but also because I'd rather let the gun range clean it, maintain it, and keep it locked up.

I enjoy target shooting. I have also enjoyed archery and darts. They are similar, but one is no substitute for the others. For that reason I don't want to see guns disappear entirely from American life. I don't hunt, but I've had the safety training, and I have seen a deer shot with an automatic rifle. Eeeeew. We really don't need that.

After I saw B's post, I did some research, and here's what I found:

CA has one of the toughest firearms laws in the US. To buy a handgun, one must:
Be at least 18 years old
Be a resident of CA with proof of residency
Have a CA Handgun safety certificate
Pass a background check
Survive the 10-day waiting period
Demonstrate safe handling of the gun
Buy a lock box or trigger lock when buying the gun

All this applies wherever you buy the gun, including shows.

As of 2000, guns may not be able to hold more than 10 bullets. There is a loophole - if you owned such a gun before the law went into effect, you could register it, and continue to own and use it. You could even take it out of CA and back in. But you cannot sell it, give it as a gift or bequeath it. If it needs repair it has to go to a shop which is licensed for automatic weapons, and it has to leave with you - it can't stay there waiting for repair.

So, what have these strict laws gotten us?
Well, from 2006-2012 Los Angeles County alone had about 600 handgun deaths a year. Oakland had 110 handgun deaths from January to November 2012.

I would be happy to see the 2nd Amendment repealed, but that won't solve the problem. IMHO nothing will solve the problem at this point.

Gays next.
This was prompted by some posts George Takei made, and a couple of TV interviews done in the wake of Jodie Foster's Golden Globes acceptance speech. This is what made me go "Hmmmm":

 If you are straight, consider that it isn’t helpful to believe or announce that it “doesn’t matter” whether someone else is gay. Of course it matters. That person has likely suffered internal conflict, social opprobrium and personal pain that you have never experienced. So long as there is prejudice and inequality, it will continue to matter.

I can't agree. The fact that I don't care if you are gay, or Japanese-American, or a geek, or a Jew or African-American does not mean I don't care what you have gone through to fight the prejudice and rise above it. The more people who don't care about your differences, the more civilized our society becomes.

Tags: philosophy, politics

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