Saturday, February 23, 2008

Horrible shooting in Illinois deserves policy changes

7 dead and 16 wounded

DEKALB -- Without saying a word, a lone gunman dressed in black -- and armed with a shotgun and two handguns -- sneaked into a crowded Northern Illinois University lecture hall Thursday and opened fire from the stage.
When the "very brief, rapid-fire assault" was over, the gunman had fatally wounded five, four female students and one male, and wounded 16 others, including the class instructor. The gunman then shot himself, investigators said.

This is a horrible tragedy. It is at least as important as Iraq, and I would argue more important. If you look at the number of deaths, injuries, and the personal toll attributable to gun violence in our country since 2003 (start of the Iraq war) the numbers are staggering.

In 2003 alone, over 30,000 people died by gunfire. So that means over 100,000 Americans have died due to gun-fire since the beginning of the Iraq war.


We are supposedly so upset about the tragedy of Iraq, but this reality on our doorstep is not worthy?

We all know why, The media has convinced democrats that "gun control" is a sure losing proposition. The Republicans and rightwing media have declared states like Michigan, Penn., Ohio, and others so hostile to gun-control that the topic can't be mentioned.

BUT I THOUGHT Senator Obama represented REAL CHANGE?

I honestly wouldn't expect a conventional politician like Senator Clinton to be bold enought to act on gun violence. Yet, we've heard for months of how Senator Obama was different. I have repeatedly went through issues that would prompt me to whole-heartedly support him which would justify the excitement about him:

Foremost would be a universal k-12 voucher plan that allowed every parent to have control over their child's education.

Many of my Democrratic friends feel that this progressive plan to allow everyone the same choices as the rich is "too right-wing". I won't fight that now, so what about:

A Gun-Control/Enforcement plan that would drastically reduce gun violence in this country? Is that progressive enough?

Here are my suggestions. Remember all Constitutional Rights are subject to Time and Manner restrictions. No right is absolute. So everything I propose is Consitutional. It is a matter of political will:

1. make sure every gun and gun owner is licensed similar to an automobile.

2. make every gun owner/gun dealer accountable for what happens with their weapon, as if they did it. The burden would be on them to take "good faith" steps to secure their weapon, and sell it to a responsible person.

3. enact a task force in all fifty states to disarm people who shouldn't have a gun such as the mentally ill, domestic violence abusers, and others. In addition, take every opportunity where people come in contact with the government to check and disarm them.

This would establish a different culture in our society. People who are responsible would be free to carry their weapon, and protect themselves. Others would be subject to the government finding and disarming them in an active fashion.

It is dangerous to have someone CLAIM TO REPRESENT REAL CHANGE, while really offering more of the SAME. This is so because, it presupposes that REAL CHANGE CAN'T EVER REALLY HAPPEN. I want REAL CHANGE. There are various issues to offer it. I beg Obama supporters to demand their candidate offer REAL CHANGE, and stop talking about it.

I represent a newliberal tradition that seeks what is right for America. Whether people perceive it as too left wing like the above on gun-control or too right wing like my support for vouchers is irrelevant. I'm pursuing what will allow all Americans to reach their God-given potential.

Craig Farmer
making the word "liberal" safe again!

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