Monday, January 21, 2013
Barry, My Liege :
This writer has some intimate experience with the problems of drug addiction and violence.
For many years, the writer condemned the idea of legalizing recreational drugs since they are associated with depression, violence, disease and suicide in many cases. It appeared wrong to offer any easier gateway toward those personal demons since it would mean that even more vulnerable people would enter that Hell.
It is apparent, however, to even the most casual oberver that the reason for much of the death and maiming occasioned by guns is more correctly laid at the feet of the illegality of recreational drugs.
Since drugs are illegal, they are sold to willing consumers by criminal gangs. Many of the gangs protect their drug dealing territory by shooting anyone who tries to intrude on their turf. In the United States of America in the most recent years for which numbers are available, about 72,000 Americans died each year from drug related causes [http://www.unodc.org/unodc/secured/wdr/WDR12_Mortality_map.pdf. Taking the number of roughly 200 annual drug deaths per million population times the estimated USA population of 360 million gives us the number 72,000].
In addition, some 35,000 Americans were killed with guns, a fair share - say 50% as a guess - were killed in the drug trade. [http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-19/american-gun-deaths-to-exceed-traffic-fatalities-by-2015.html]
This is insanity.
We have it backwards.
Here, guns are legal while drugs are illegal.
In countries where the drugs are more or less decriminalized, drug deaths averaged about 10 per million compared to the United States number of 200 drug deaths per million.
But, those countries also have much more stringent gun laws than we do.
If we were to emulate those countries where drugs are controlled by the government but de-criminalized and guns are tightly regulated we would save upwards of 50,000 lives per year.
It is time to create a legal and controlled drug distribution system modeled on the prescription drug industry or perhaps the alcohol industry.
It is the right thing, My Liege.
It will save many promising lives and futures.
Your faithful servant,
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Barry, My Liege :
There is some discussion about the Second Amendment and the right of Americans to keep and bear arms.
Here is the text of that Amendment as ratified by the States and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State :
'A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.'
Since it is about 220 years after the Constitution was ratified, perhaps it is a good time to re-imagine the idea of a well regulated militia. While this author claims no military training, he is an experienced imaginer.
Soldiers in our War of Independence used a tactic we see today being employed by Al-Qaeda, namely, a tactic of guerilla warfare where the native forces defending against a hostile invader do not mass armies and engage in conventional ground warfare with heavy weapons. The preference is to use stealth and small groups to disrupt the invading force so that the force is unable to move freely.
If the objective of a militia is to disrupt an invading force, then such a militia could be composed of a widely deployed force consisting of two soldier units with long range and intermediate range sniper capabilities including imaging equipment.
With today's .50 caliber sniper rifles and spotters with good imaging capability, snipers can kill targets from a mile away.
With a force of 25 or 50 such two soldier units, it could be possible to interfere significantly with a hostile force in a large urban or rural area.
Such an objective could be part of a larger strategy by delaying the hostile force in its objective of securing an area and thereby giving native fighters time to organize and further disrupt the invader.
If that were the strategy of a militia organized along county or city boundary lines, then it might make sense for a militia commander to recruit, train and deploy to their homes a number of two soldier sniper units with their requisite long range rifles, intermediate range rifles and long distance imaging equipment.
In that case it would make sense for those militia to have access to their weapons at all times.
But, other than shotguns and deer rifles, that is the only sensible condition under which when a citizen can keep and bear arms.
Today's claims that assault weapons and 50 or 100 round magazines are protected by the United States Constitution are simply wrong.
Those who make that claim are self-serving apologists for individuals and corporations who profit from and encourage the shooting deaths of citizens.
Your faithful servant,