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|A FAMILIAR SET OF ANTI-CAPITALIST SOUND BYTES
Quite a bit of response to my parking-ticket column last week. Winning the award for the most distant correspondent is Don Morrison of Toronto, who writes “The death of every major North American city must be parking. Up here in Toronto our city council is loaded with eager socialists. Years ago one could park after 6 p.m. up to three hours for free. Downtown was alive and vibrant with a great restaurant every hundred yards.
“Then it was decided by the city fathers that more feathers could be plucked. Parking meters were in effect until 8 p.m. to scoop more revenues. Customers started drifting to the ’burbs and the downtown restaurants started to fold. In its wisdom council felt that the dwindling meter revenues could be bolstered by pushing the time from 8 to 9 p.m.! Now the downtown restaurants folded like a house of cards. ...”
But the saddest and most succinct response was probably that of Jim McDavitt of Kansas, who writes “Thanks for a great article. I live in the suburbs of Wichita. The city miscreants killed our downtown 30 years ago with parking penalties. Then those same fools decided that they would ‘revitalize’ downtown with millions in tax dollars. Now we also have buildings with shuttered windows and large deficits. Now they want to build an arena. $180 million dollars worth. You guessed -- downtown. ...”
There was also a message on my phone Monday morning to call Wayne Griffin, deputy chief of field services for the city of Las Vegas, who told me Sunday’s column “makes some valid, valid points. We’re going to change those meters from one-hour to four hours ... all around that downtown area.”
I’m not sure that’s quite the dramatic change in perspective the downtown needs. But it’s nice to know someone is reading.
Also drawing some mail of late was my entry of the previous week, on the elimination of the exemption which used to spare holders of Nevada Concealed Carry Permits from the trouble and expense of a new $25 background check every time we buy a firearm:
“Vin -- Your recent column, ‘Complete disarmament?’ Well, yes, maybe in your case,” writes in Richard Hilliard of Henderson. Nev.
“But really, that’s a paranoid fantasy,” Mr. Hilliard continues. “Disarmament by whom? Not the NRA, not the armaments manufacturers. We’ve got to support our war machine!
“Consider. Have drivers been deprived of licenses? Have car owners been deprived of cars? If that happened, the economy and even the world would take a dive.
“Have boozemakers been deprived? Not with the huge corporate interests marketing the stuff.
“Have cigarette companies been deprived? Same answer. Corporate interests.
“There are already enough firearms in America to supply every man, woman, child, and fetus, so complete abstinence is not an option.“
Vin, rest easy. You’re safe, and you have powerful bedfellows.”
This is a familiar set of anti-capitalist sound bytes, but I’m afraid they don’t grow much more coherent with age.
“Huge corporate interests” were already marketing booze in 1919, when it was banned completely for 14 years. Similarly large and powerful interests sell and market tobacco, yet the crippling of that economic engine -- the inevitable, incremental move towards a complete ban -- is well underway in all the populous seaboard states.
Driving? Once we allowed the right to travel to be converted into a conditional, “licensed” privilege, government now believes it can and take away this “privilege” from those caught driving “under the influence” at a blood alcohol level of .08 percent (do I hear .06? .04? No scientific rationale needed!) But they now go far further, threatening to suspend the drivers licenses of those who are behind in their child support, and many other newly minted “offenses” having nothing to do with competence to handle the automobile.
So yes, many drivers HAVE been deprived of their licenses.
And like the scorpion stinging the frog in the famous folk tale, the regulators don’t seem to CARE whether it’s crippling the economy. They’re on a MISSION, and it’s all about CONTROL.
Odd, however, that Mr. Hilliard would list tobacco and alcohol, yet omit such once legal products as heroin and cocaine.
What became of the legal, taxpaying manufacturers of those plant extracts who trusted the federal government when they were told the 1913 Harrison Narcotics Act only required them to register so their products could be checked for purity and potency, that this would NEVER lead to the outright ban of their products? Have those trusting manufacturers and their legitimate customers been “deprived” through engaging in a registration and regulation scheme?
Banned completely. Yet we’re supposed to believe it could never happen with guns, since “powerful corporate interests” profit from the trade.
There have rarely been corporate interests more successful in the trade than Mauser and Walther. Should the Jews of Germany and Poland thus have rested easy, knowing these greedy capitalists with their hunger to keep selling arms and ammunition to the civilian market would never allow them to be disarmed, leaving them no way to resist when the Gestapo came to round them up and put them on the trains?
Historians estimate the Jews of the Warsaw ghetto may have had as few as 10 handguns between them when they started their last-ditch uprising against their Nazi executioners.
British firearms manufacturers were a wealthy and well-respected fraternity, 80 years ago. They would surely have called it a “paranoid fantasy” if anyone had suggested law-abiding British citizens would be barred from possessing any self-defense firearms whatsoever by the start of the 21st century -- even though the handwriting was on the wall by 1946, when authorities there disposed of all those loaned American small arms (some of them lovely, collectible hunting rifles) by throwing them in the Channel or using them as rebar for the rebuilding of London.
Today civilian disarmament in Britain is complete -- carpet installers actually get sentenced for carrying knives in the course of their employment -- except for criminals, who wield imported AK-47s, and so terrorize the law-abiding populace that the London newspapers have redubbed Manchester “Gunchester.”
What happened THERE, I wonder? How on earth did the “huge corporate interests” fail to protect their civilian market?
What about Australia? I’ve seen photos of the boxcar loads of semi-automatic 1920s vintage Browning shotguns and 1940-vintage M-1 Garands being crushed after the law required that EVERY ONE OF THEM be turned in. Would Mr. Hilliard and his ilk have called any Australian who predicted that “paranoid” and “delusional”?
Will the NRA help to disarm, us? Of course. The NRA is the country’s largest gun control organization; they backed the Brady Bill.
And far from there being “enough firearms in America to supply every man woman and child,” 72 years of near complete bans on the manufacture or import of machine guns for civilian use have reduced the number of such militarily useful weapons to a few thousands, almost all owned by rich hobbyists, who have to inform the government whenever they transport one across state lines ... despite the Constitutional guarantee that their possession by civilians shall not be “infringed,” and the finding of the Supreme Court in the 1939 Miller case that this protection applies particularly to weapons of military usefulness.
You see, Mr. Hilliard, the kind of people who want to run our lives don’t see an armed populace as a good thing. A disarmed populace is NECESSARY for the completion of their “war machine.” Why do you think they sneer and ridicule anyone who tries to remind us why the founders said an armed populace was “necessary to the security of a FREE state”? The goal of tyrants down through the ages has been precisely to make sure their own sworn legions are very WELL armed, while the civilian populations they aim to oppress are thoroughly DISARMED.
Far from being contradictory, these two goals fit together like a hand in a steel gauntlet.
Does anyone really think the two or three remaining hunters on your block could defend your neighborhood against federal troops declaring martial law with the bolt-action rifles they have on hand today?
When people like our correspondent should have been acquiring the tools of freedom and learning how to use them to protect all our liberties, it appears they were too busy watching the brave police solve all the crimes on “Law & Order.” Pay a little attention to the beginning of each episode, though. How do they all start? With a partially-clad, thoroughly disarmed New York civilian lying dead in the alley behind some dumpster?
No, no! That can’t be! New Yorkers can’t be “completely disarmed”! Surely that’s just some “paranoid fantasy.” The NRA and the armaments manufacturers guarantee that no such thing could ever happen!
In the fantasy world of the hoplophobes.