Gun-Free School Zones must go away.
If that is the first response to the Newton tragedy, our children will be safer tomorrow than they are today.
For many of you, this sounds like the opposite of a sane statement. You may be thinking, "Surely we need to find a way to keep guns away from schools; even more so now." But, let's examine what you are asking.
Today the law is that, with a few exceptions, firearms are restricted not only on school property, but within a designated area around the schools. Yet, despite this law, guns were brought illegally onto campus. So the question is, what type of new gun law would have prevented this murderer from bringing guns to the Sandy Hook school?
There are three different paths we can go:
1. Ban sale of certain types of firearms such as assault rifle, or ammo, etc.
2. Restrict access to guns for certain people.
3. Confiscate all firearms and repeal 2nd amendment.
Looking at the evidence, we can immediately see that 1. and 2. would not have, and have not previously been effective in eliminating shooting rampages at schools. During the 1990's, there was an assault weapons ban in place and access to firearms was restricted somewhat by the waiting period to purchase a firearm. Despite these laws, gun violence still happened on school grounds in equal or greater numbers as it had prior to the new laws.
Over the past two decades, total gun violence has decreased and shooting rampages are no more prevalent than they have been in the past century. In surveying the statistics of all mass murder incidents, the US had 42 in the 1990's and 26 in the 2000's. There is and has been no uptick in such violence since Congress allowed the Assault Weapons ban to expire well over a decade ago.
So, banned or not banned, this murderer brought guns that did belong to him illegally into a location with the intent of murdering small children. The truth is there is one law and only one gun law that would have kept him from bringing a gun to that school with any degree of certainty. That's a total ban on all firearms along with forced confiscation of all 300 million firearms currently held in private possession in the US.
Unless you are offering that as your new gun law, then understand that you have very little chance of preventing the next madman from stepping up to the school house door with evil in his heart and a gun in his hand.
Now, I don't say that to mock anyone. But let's be realistic. In an America, in a land of such bountiful private ownership of firearms, you are limited in what you can do to prevent someone from walking around armed to the hilt, with a mindset of seek and destroy. That's the reality.
Now, as I discussed after the Aurora shooting, we can do better in how we identify or treat the mentally ill. Statistics show that about 50% of rampage killings are by those who have displayed signs of mental health problems. I'm all for loosening many of the restrictions that have been put in place over the past 50 years intervene, identify and treat mental illness.
But that still leaves the other 50%. What do we do about them?
Be vigilant and prepared.
There are two key actions that will do more to keep our students safe than all other actions.
1. Repeal the Gun Free School Zones law
2. Bring firearms into the schools by arming the proper people.
First, the notion of a gun free zone has no basis in reality. Its only gun free from those who respect the law. No person who chooses to harm students will look at such a law and see an impediment. Its a meaningless designation. Let each school district & municipality craft its own reasonable law.
Second, with one excepton, "every public shooting since at least 1950 in the U.S. in which more than three people have been killed has taken place where citizens are not allowed to carry guns."
Even law enforcement understand that gun free zones are counterproductive. “Guns are already banned in schools. That is why the shootings happen in schools. A school is a ‘helpless-victim zone", says Richard Mack, a former Arizona sheriff. “Preventing any adult at a school from having access to a firearm eliminates any chance the killer can be stopped in time to prevent a rampage,” Jim Kouri, the public-information officer of the National Association of Chiefs of Police.
Economists John Lott and William Landes conducted a groundbreaking study in 1999, and found that a common theme of mass shootings is that they occur in places where guns are banned and killers know everyone will be unarmed. Lott noted that the Aurora shooter, who killed twelve people earlier this year, had a choice of seven movie theaters that were showing the Batman movie he was obsessed with. All were within a 20-minute drive of his home. The Cinemark Theater the killer ultimately chose wasn’t the closest, but it was the only one that posted signs saying it banned concealed handguns carried by law-abiding individuals. All of the other theaters allowed the approximately 4 percent of Colorado adults who have a concealed-handgun permit to enter with their weapons.
The grim truth is that sooner or later a madman will take up a handgun, a rifle or even a whole arsenal, and seek a path of self-destruction that will seek to take as many lives with him/her as possible. Given the abundance of evidence, the only rational response is to allow our local schools to staff armed guards and/or arm certain staff members so as to deter a shooter away from schools and if that fails, to put an end to their plans with a quick on-site response.
I've spoken to a couple of our local school board members to voice my support for moving in this direction. Whether it means bringing in local police on site, hiring armed security guards or having members of their current staff seek and obtain CCW permits, each school district can find the solution that will work best for its own individual situation. Its a small expense for our schools to prevent or limit the senseless murder of our children. Without some credible action, we may move our child to a private school in the fall.
No one seeks to protect their home by putting out a sign that reads, "Beware! No guns are present on this property." People can be so intent on deterring criminals, that I've seen some post, "Beware of Dog" signs outside their homes despite the fact that they didn't own a dog.
How much safer will our children be when we take down the "Gun-Free Zone" signs and put up one that reads,
"BEWARE! This school is protected by Smith & Wesson."?
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Posted by Sam Ritter at 11:33 AM
After a mad dash sprint toward the election, I took a well earned break from politics and instead spent all my free time at my normal job filling in while my co-workers went out in search of Bambi's now grown grandchildren. So in the 11 days since election day, I have worked just over 110 hours, with little time for any thing else except coaching my son's basketball team.
But you will not see me complain even one iota about working too much, since at the very least I still have a job post-election. In the early days following President Obama's re-election victory, all hell has broken loose.
In the past 11 days, we've seen dozens of companies announce layoffs, Europe has gone into recession, with the US to soon follow and our economy still sits at the edge of a fiscal cliff. Our nation's top military figure and intelligence chief has resigned in scandal as we continue to seek information regarding the Benghazi coverup, precious energy land resources have been closed off from production by the government and Israel and Hamas have seen hostilities escalate again.
The census bureau's new report shows that an all-time high 49.7 million Americans are now living in poverty. In addition, first-time jobless claims surged by a mult-year high of 104,548 for a weekly total of 466,348 new jobless claims.
The Latinos that voted in record numbers to keep Obama and his policies, should also note another record milestone for Latinos - their poverty rate has now reached a high of 28%. Bienvenido al 'Merica.
Denny's, Papa Johns, Applebee's and many other eateries and dining establishments have announced that keeping the Healthcare reform law intact will cause price increases on the menu and job cuts among their staff to remain profitable. Employers across many industries have intimated that they may drop all health coverage for their employees.
It has now even reached the point that in 'Merica, the land of the massively obese, Hostess, maker of the Twinkie, can no longer make money and will close its doors, taking its 18,500 jobs with it.
Even as this is happening, my friends on Facebook are clamoring for a bailout for Hostess. All I can say is, "Have we learned nothing?"
And I can sum up the mindset of everyone who has just read everything I just wrote and are thinking to themselves, "Yep, that's just like them greedy companies and Republicans. Take from the workers to keep making their profit". I will simply quote one of the soon to be unemployed Hostess workers. Roger Harrison, a 56 year old who bags buns had this to say,
"The people who are running this company are not interested in making bread...They are not in the baking industry; they are just interested in the money."
Uh, yeah, you think so?
Well, of course they're just interested in making money. That's why they took their own money, $130 million of it, and invested it in the company to salvage it from bankruptcy just a few years ago. If there was no hope of profit, they would have found a better place to invest their $130 million and Hostess may have folded at that time. What Rex Harrison doesn't understand is that he kept his job an extra three years because a company that was not in the baking industry saw Hostess as an opportunity to make money and invested $130 million to do just that.
I mean, if someone had $130 million sitting around and an interest in baking but not making money, they could have just stayed home, grabbed an apron and a mixer, turned the oven on and let the flour fury fly. And they could have done that while living on the interest for their $130 million. So, no, they didn't buy Hostess because of a deepseated desire to be bakers; they did it to make money.
But alas, that effort has failed due to many reasons - a poor economy, stricter food standards in schools, more health conscious eating habits, high union labor costs, etc. Businesses fail for many reasons. Yet, I can tell you that the one thing that didn't cause Hostess to go under is that ownership was trying to make money. I don't care how interested or vested one is in the baking industry or in the process of making bread, if one fails to understand that making money is the chief objective at the end of the day, then one will not be in business long.
My wife and I owned and operated a florist/gift shop a few years ago that ultimately failed to make money. It didn't matter how much my wife was interested in flowers. Because it was unprofitable, we closed it. This made my wife jobless. (There were no newstories written about my wife's jobless situation, that I can recall.)
A few months back, we began a home based business promoting the ViSalus Body By Vi 90 Day Challenge that we feel very strongly about. Our life has been transformed by the 90 Day Challenge, so we are very motivated to share our experiences with as many people as we can and hopefully, help facilitate the personal transformation of as many people as possible. (For info on our transfomation click here or for more info on the 90 Day Challenge, click here)
But its a business. We need it to make money. If it ever stopped being profitable, we would quit doing it. As much as we may be helping people, we still have bills to pay at home. We have children to feed, a mortgage to pay off. If our business was not a profit making venture, we could not afford the gas to get to our appointments or the phone to make our calls or even the computer to take our orders and run our business.
In a business, you either make money or you don't. When you don't, you don't stay in business long. People once understood that. Today I don't think they do. Which I feel is a big reason why we had the election results we had last week.
Once upon a time in America, any person could work and save his/her money and one day investe this money into a business, where he/she would scrimp and save and work to make it profitable. But I'm not sure we live in that America anymore. We seem to be living in a cheap knock-off country - 'Merica. The American Dream is being shortchanged by a people who don't even understand what it is anymore. Instead we are left with the notion that business is a government partnership where we all work together to make a better life and making money is optional. But that doesn't work. It can't. Businesses exist for one reason - to make money. That's it.
So even as the avalanche of bad news is falling around us, too many will fail to see the underlying truth. Instead, we are a nation where nearly 50% of the voting electorate would agree with this poor misguided woman as she marched on the picket line Thursday outside a bankrupt Hostess factory in Indianapolis,
"Do it. Shut it down."
Well 'Merica - you just got what you asked for.
Saturday, October 13, 2012
Posted by Sam Ritter at 8:41 AM
I absolutely love my wife. As all my Facebook friends are aware, I not only have a nickname for her, but she even gets her own acronym - TBD. This story is about the beautiful Dawn.
When this story began, I thought it was about me. My friend Jerry called me one day out of the blue. He seemed unusually worked up about something. He had something he wanted me to see. In truth, I had just woke up from an afternoon nap (don't judge me - I was working the overnight shift that week) and I was a bit groggy. He tried to give me a website, but I asked him to have Traci just email it to me then I told him I'd look at it when I got a chance.
( this would be a good time in the story to see what I'm talking about)
I didn't bother with it til the next day, but when I did, I was intrigued - a little. He called me back and asked me a few questions, then invited me to come and get some more info about this great opportunity. We finally found a day where my schedule was open. Dawn watched the video as she walked in and out of the room. When I told her about hooking up with Jerry and Traci to find out about this, she didn't seem too pleased. When I told her we were going to drive all the way to St Louis for it too, her expression, oddly enough, didn't seem to improve. I guess at this point she figured she was being drug into one of my stories. (cue irony toned laughter from the crowd)
That was 78 days ago. 78 days that have flown by. 78 days that have been like no other that we experienced. 78 days that have led to what I like to call my rising Dawn.
The following story I tell in the strictest confidence. If this story had ended in any manner different than it has, I would be signing my divorce papers for revealing any of this. Because of the highly sensitive nature of the details contained herein, if you choose to read further, you are hereby obligated to share it with as many people as you possibly can. The beautiful Dawn's story is inspirational and deserves as wide an audience as can be provided.
<-------- This was my beautiful Dawn on July 30th, 2012.
This is my newly reborn, Rising Dawn on October 7th, 2012 --->
<initiate flashback sequence>
Two years ago, we stepped up and took a chance on operating a Florist/Gift Shop in the historic downtown Ste. Genevieve district. With extensive clothing retail, but limited floral experience and absolutely no experience in sales, TBD delved into business ownership. What we found out after less than a year was that while she had an incredible ability, drawn from years in retail, to manage the storefront, the back office was not her forte and sales calls were these really scary things that sent shivers down her spine.
Needless to say, when she fell off her stepladder while decorating the store for the holidays, we took that as a proper cue to cut our losses and exit business ownership. My best guess was that our foray into a brick and mortar business set us back about $20k. That meant a lot of effort was spent with a negative outcome. In other words, Dawn was working her butt off and we were paying some faceless entity named Mr. Overhead, a few hundred dollars a week for the privilege.
It took nearly a year for my poor sweet TBD to deal with the disappointment. Just as the time she was most in need of some validation, the economy was still having trouble producing jobs, so at home she sat, sulking if not sobbing. It was a very difficult time and I really didn't know how to make it better. When someone needs a job, trying to help them find a job gives the impression that you don't think they're trying hard enough. (Which is great information that I wish I had at that time)
After nearly 10 months, TBD was hired into the bakery at the local supermarket (Super? What's so super about groceries anyway?). Slight depression, plentiful baked goods and a husband who loves to eat? What could go wrong? (Perhaps its better to cutaway from this ugly scene ala Tarantino in Reservoir Dogs)
<flash forward to present>
Later today, our family is heading to Fright Fest at Six Flags in St. Louis with our good friends (oh, and the Bova's too - Haha!). Today, we will fulfill the beautiful Dawn's final 90 Day Challenge goal. When we started the Challenge, TBD wrote down four specific goals. This one is the most important and the most personal of her Challenge goals.
We and the Bova's hit Fright Fest at Six Flags together last year too. (No, I'm not sure if it's an annual thing yet, but I'll be sure to get the invitations out as soon as I know next year.) While we were there, TBD had one of those moments; a moment that you try so hard to wish away, yet keep it seared into your memory. As we were seating ourselves on the Superman ride, she was having an issue with her belt. It took a few moments, but I soon realized what was happening - the belt couldn't reach far enough to latch. A few different employees gave their efforts to get it buckled, but it wouldn't give.
Finally, my sweet, beautiful Dawn was forced to exit the ride. Now let it be said, that I have had a similar experience before, although for a guy who would blab on Facebook about food all the time, this was no big deal. But for my wife, I could see the tears as she walked away from the ride. I, even today, can't imagine how she felt that day.
So her primary goal on this Body By Vi 90 Day Challenge was simple. She wanted to go to Six Flags during Fright Fest and be able to ride everything. Today we do that. But hidden in her heart were three other goals, all that contained meaning for her.
Over the past few years, she has taken various steps to lose weight, all to no avail. Understand, I'm not talking about tried but quickly forgotten steps. When she quit drinking soda two years ago, she stuck with it, even to this day. But none of them worked. So she made an outlandish, pie in the sky goal of losing 40 lbs on the Challenge.
The next goal was about redemption. Losing the flower shop was difficult for her. Forced to head off to make the donuts at 4am was defeating at times. In taking the step to not only do the Challenge, but also to promote the Challenge her goal was to be successful enough to quit setting an alarm clock that screamed, "Time to make the donuts".
The last goal was probably one that came from somewhere deep in her heart, that sat there for many years. Being the wonderful wife that she was, Dawn never sought the spotlight from myself or the children. She was always satisfied to be the backbone of our family, but I can imagine that part of her aspired to have some bit of recognition for all her efforts. In seeking to achieve the BMW Bonus Award and get that "Told U So" license plate, she was really just looking for that moment when all eyes turned to her and said, "Great Job Dawn! Way to go! We knew you could do it!"
On Monday, October 1st, on Day 62 of her 90 Day Challenge, the beautiful Dawn achieved her BMW Bonus Award. On Thursday, October 4th, on Day 66, the beautiful Dawn worked her last day as a full-time employee in the bakery. On Sunday, October 7th, on Day 69, she lost her 40th pound and received her "Told U So" license plate. Today, October 13th, on Day 76 of her TOTALLY AWESOME 90 Day Challenge, we will get on every ride, with plenty of room to spare, and we will have the time of our life.
These dreams are coming true before our eyes as my now radiant wife has arisen from those humbling ashes to become the beautiful Dawn that I always saw, but she didn't. To my beautiful wife, I can only say, "Great Job Dawn! Way to go! I knew you could do it!"
How beautiful is my Rising Dawn in all her glory.
That is the beautiful Dawn's story on the Body BY VI 90 Day Challenge.
What's your story?
Are you ready to Challenge yourself?
Start your Challenge today.
Start your Challenge today.