Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Arizona: Armed, dangerous, and senseless

Note: This column appears in the 3/24 issue of The Glendale Star and the 3/25 issue of the Peoria Times

You know what Arizona needs? More guns.

But it’s not just more guns quantity-wise. I mean, sure—if I have one gun, I should definitely get two guns, because that is more protection and will make me a better American by further exercising my right to have guns. More than that though, I need to be able to bring my guns everywhere, all the time, because the fact is, you never know when you’re going to need your gun(s). Yesterday, for example, a bird was chirping in the park. What was I going to do—shoo it away? C’mon.

Luckily for me, an Arizona citizen, Senate Bill 1201 will not only relegate a city’s ability to ban firearms to only buildings with secured entrances, but it will also give me, local gun-wielder, the ability to sue should anyone try to stop me from exercising my right to bring my gun into a non-secured government facility or event. And if there’s anything this state and country needs more of besides guns, it’s lawsuits.

So, the less protected a government facility or event is, the better opportunity for me to bring my gun. Makes sense. Last year, at the annual Earth Day festival, I didn’t have my gun on me, and let me tell you—it was the most uncomfortable feeling I ever had. What if something went down? I’d be writing this dead. With the passing of this bill, I’ll have more peace of mind. Because of my piece.

This bill challenges local government officials to put their money where their hippie mouths are, because if they don’t want to get shot while they are working, all they have to do is budget the hundreds of thousands of dollars necessary to install adequate security and metal detectors, thus ironically exempting them from the potential effects of this bill.

Some, like Peoria City Manager Carl Swenson, are oddly skeptical. “This is a difficult time for us to shoulder that burden,” he said. Pfftt. What is he even talking about? The economy is doing great. And if it acts up again, we’ll shoot it! I mean, if I have the money to buy guns, you as a government official should have the money to prevent me from bringing them into your office. That is money well-spent on both ends. Besides, education is set, so we should have money to burn.

Even the mayor is whining. Peoria Mayor Bob Barrett told the Arizona Republic, “Can you imagine someone whose water bill has been turned off for whatever reason and he comes in all excited to talk to our staff with a weapon in hand?” Hey, Bob, here’s an idea—stop turning people’s water off. People with guns take exception to that sort of thing.

Other nonsensical people say, “Why don’t we simply follow the lead of normal states, where if you even look like you have a gun within 100 yards of a government facility you will be tasered and arrested because: why do you even have a gun there?” But SB 1201 gives a pass to venues and events with signs banning weaponry and those with firearm lockers. And hey—everybody listens to signs! Especially people who bring guns to festivals. And I think it makes total sense for local government to spend money on gun lockers so that citizens can confidently transport their weapons from point A to point B. If I can’t temporarily store my gun at the local community center, then why do we even have government in the first place?

So, local government? The ball is in your court.

Or else, ya’ know, the gun is in your building.

Your choice. No one’s got a gun to your head.

Yet.

8 comments:

Joe S. said...

This article killed me, I died laughing.

*rimshot*

Mr Bob said...

Kid,

The motto out West is "I have more guns than I need, but not as many as I want."

Anonymous said...

If no one has the right to have a gun in a public place then who will protect us? The police? let me call one, Oh they are busy. Can you criminals please wait till an officer is available? A hundred yrs ago everyone had a gun at public affairs and only the idiots started crap, which in most cases was immediately dis fused. Get the picture?

mkenny59 said...

Why, in your scenario, are the police always busy? I don't find that to be the case, nor do I think 100 years ago is necessarily the standard of excellence for which we should aim. I don't think it should be the duty of the average citizen to regulate idiots at public affairs, and I believe a better way to diffuse such a situation would be the if the idiots didn't have a gun in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Agree with you Mike, 100%.

mkenny59 said...

Here at work, I received the first of what I imagine to be several emails regarding this column. I am going to post part of my response to that email here, as kind of a general and further explanation for the column itself...

First, thank you for the feedback and response. Positive or negative, I appreciate that you read the column and took the time to respond, honestly.

This was a touchier subject than I normally delve into, so I expected feedback. Being a "humor" columnist, I did make light of the passion with which people hold their right to bear arms. Though I don't necessarily share that passion, I do believe in this right firmly. Every person should have the right to protect himself and his family, especially in his home.

I used this passion as the backdrop, however, for what is the absurdity, I believe, of SB 1201. I do not think that anyone other than law enforcement should have the "right" to bring a firearm into a government-operated facility or event, and I disagree with the bill's attempt to force local government to spend money it doesn't have and penalize it should it fail to do so. The bill not only threatens lawsuits, but potentially allows "victims" to seize government property.

I intentionally did not mention the events of Tucson in the column, but I view this bill as a backlash to the backlash of proposed gun regulation as a result of that extremely unfortunate event. It feels like this state is saying, "You want us to reduce our right to bear arms anywhere and everywhere? Well, we'll show you," and in doing so, they are actually attempting to make it easier -- a right -- to bring firearms closer to politicians and government workers. Three months after Tucson. How this is rational, I do not understand.

Other states, for the most part, don't propose bills such as this, because no one is allowed to bring weapons to such venues. It is a given. Potential problems are stopped at the source. The "he might have a gun so I should have a gun" mentality is hopelessly cyclical and, I think, probably makes people that much more apt to use those very weapons to which they cling.

This is my opinion, for which, as you mentioned, I am entitled, and you yours. I do think it's warranted, however, to specify that the humor used in this column could be construed as misleading -- right to bear arms? Yes. This bill? Heck no.

Professor Brilliant/Mr Bob said...

Suppose you are out walking down Main Street with the family and you're wearing a trendy LL Bean jacket complete with game pouch. If a pheasant or some such other critter crosses your path, you will not be able to bring it home for dinner in the game pouch if you are not carrying a fully automatic weapon, hand grenade, or nuclear armament. The family will then be forced to look for roadkill, making you look like some out of place eastern weenie.

Anonymous said...

So in other words when someone needs help turn a blind eye don't get involved the police will take care of it? Is there a cop on every corner? I hope someone is there to help when you need help. I suppose "Duty" is something you pick up in the back yard.The police in my scenario are not always busy,they are just not there at the time of the incident. We do have a duty to each other, or we are just as guilty as the crooks.