Las Vegas Sun

November 28, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Add gun controls, not more prisons

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I feel it necessary to respond to a letter from Arthur Cesare in Thursday’s Sun, “A new suggestion for gun control.” He recommends that all people over 12 who commit a crime with a firearm be sent to federal prison for life. Does he realize that we already have a massive problem with overcrowded prisons?

Adding to them would only require new facilities to be built. Where would additional funding come from? The wealthiest don’t want their taxes raised, so it’s the remaining middle class and poor who would be affected. Cutting even more social programs certainly isn’t the answer.

According to the government, the cost of housing just one prisoner is more than $22,632 a year and rising. The answer: stricter gun controls in retail outlets and gun shows.

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  1. Richard, the "bad" guys do not purchase their weapons from dealers. They steal them or buy them on the street. So how does your solution stop them? BTW, if we are to free up space in prisons for those who commit crimes with guns, how about letting all those in them for "victimless" crimes out? Those who get caught being stupid and using drugs, for instance? Why should anyone go to prison for smoking dope or shooting up junk? They are stupid, as far as I am concerned, but not criminals. Legalize drugs, regulate drugs, tax drugs, educate the dummies not to use drugs and there would be lots of prison cells freed up to lock up the really bad guys.

  2. At some point one has to ask how many of the folks who want very restrictive gun control measures are unable to legally obtain a gun for themselves?

    For that matter, just as many of those on the left shudder at the thought of right-wing fanatics having guns, how scary is the thought of some of the left wing fanatics who post here having weapons, of any type?

    And yeah, legalize pot and there would be more room for serious offenders.

  3. According to recent news reports the 24 year old women who purchased the firearms used by crazy Spengler in Webster, NY, who killed his grandmother with a hammer, killed his sister, and two first responders, as well as injured two more and then killed himself, is facing a $250,000 fine and 10 years in prison. THIS PENALTY WAS PROMINENETLY PRINTED ON THE VERY TOP OF THE FORM SHE SIGNED for lying about the purchase of the guns. I suspect even if the form said she would face life in prison, it would not have made a difference.

    CarmineD

  4. Closing the gun show loophole makes sense to me. So does banning assault rifles and large clips. That said, neither will make much of a difference in shootings like Newtown.

    There are many downsides to legalizing drugs but the drug war also has downsides and is very expensive.

    Much as I would hate it, I could support legalizing drug use; but only under certain circumstances. I would not allow public use. It one wants to go to a 'drug club' to partake or use at home, fine, but keep it out of the public spaces I occupy. I would also grant insurance companies the right to surcharge drug users just like you are rated up as a smoker, only it would not just be health insurance, it would be many types of insurance. You want to be stupid and hurt your health and put others at greater risk of harm because you choose to use drugs, fine, but YOU pay the extra costs, not me and the rest of society. If you are caught using in public, you are heavily fined and for multiple offenses you go to jail. I'd also tax drugs to pay for the incarceration costs of those who refused to follow the rules, which would probably be many, since many drugs reduce ones ability to 'reason' properly and make good decisions.

    I suspect many that support legalization would not support it under the above circumstances, but I would.

    Michael

  5. "The answer: stricter gun controls in retail outlets and gun shows."

    Trigg -- S.O.S., different day. This topic has been beat to death the past week-plus.

    As the gist of what lvfacts & boftx posted, those strict controls don't matter, since post-restriction, literally only outlaws would have guns. You've also ignored the fact Connecticut already has some of the strictest gun control laws in this country, yet a determined killer got in.

    Almost all posters leave one of the most important factors out of these Discussions -- the biggest assault weapons dealer putting forbidden weapons into the hands of the violent Mexican drug cartels is the very same regime We the herd just voted back into office.

    "In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy." -- Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438 (1928), Justice Brandeis dissenting

  6. Jeff,

    In my opinion, and that of others who have commented on what I write from time to time, I make 'a bit' of sense quite often. You don't see it that way, but oh well!

    Michael

  7. Jeff,

    In my opinion, I am much closer to having 20/20 vision than ribald right wingers .... or people like you. Again, in my opinion, most of us would be much better off if most people were closer to where I am and fewer were where you are or where ribald right wingers are. I could and really would compromise but just as many Conservatives talk about core beliefs and sticking to principal, I see the same attitude in Progressives such as you, who sit on the other side.

    If we are to ever right our course, people like me will have to lead the way and get people like you and those ribald right wingers to compromise and move to the center.

    I can appreciate everyone and their points of view, their principals, etc, but unless people are willing to see something good and worthwhile on the opposite side, consider that their side could be wrong in some areas and be willing to change, little good can happen.

    You criticize me because as you correctly see it, I won't totally take one side or the other. I see that not as a problem, but as the place from which we all can make the most progress that benefits as many of us as possible.

    Have a great 2013...and keep communicating...

    Michael

  8. Oooops,

    Make ribald, rabid, in my last post...

    Michael

  9. Maybe we need to stop and look at the practicalities (if any...) of the NRA proposal. Trained, armed guards did nothing to prevent a massacre at Virginia Tech. Freeman argues that VT is a bad example because it has 130+ buildings. BUT - that is only 5-6 buildings for each guard. It's not unusual for a high school, or even some grade schools, to have more than 5 buildings overall. Yet the NRA STILL suggests only 1 guard per school. And then there's the cost in tax money. . .

    Columbine High School actually DID have one armed, trained Jefferson County Sheriff's Deputy on the grounds on April 20, 1999. Did his presence deter the massacre? Not at all. Did he manage to stop the massacre? No. Did he save lives? Unknown and impossible to prove - opinions differ, but don't count. He did help people fleeing the scene, but the shooters STILL managed to find targets.

    Even more worrisome - despite security cameras, the deputy, a variety of non-teaching school personnel, the shooters planted a series of home-made bombs around the campus before they started shooting. None actually went off.

  10. "Columbine High School actually DID have one armed, trained Jefferson County Sheriff's Deputy on the grounds on April 20, 1999." @ renorobert

    "A Jefferson County Sheriff's Deputy, Neil Gardner, was assigned to the high school as a full-time uniformed and armed school resource officer. Gardner usually ate lunch with students in the cafeteria, but on April 20 he was eating lunch in his patrol car at the northwest corner of the campus, watching students in the Smokers' Pit in Clement Park."

    It was 7 minutes after the shooting at Columbine began, with 2 students already dead and 10 more injured, that Gardner engaged in gun fire with one of the Columbine shooters. While this fact is oft quoted, that an armed security guard was on duty at Columbine, it's never mentioned he was at lunch and not in the building but in the parking lot. Obviously we collectively have learned alot since the Columbine massacre.

    And, like it or not, one-third of schools in the USA have at least one armed guard already on the premises. Many are inner city schools and are city/town police in and around the school buildings and campuses.

    CarmineD

  11. "Even more worrisome - despite security cameras, the deputy, a variety of non-teaching school personnel, the shooters planted a series of home-made bombs around the campus before they started shooting. None actually went off." @ renorobert

    "The security staff at Columbine did not observe the bombs being placed in the cafeteria, since a custodian was replacing the school security video tape as it happened. The bags holding the bombs were first visible on the fresh security tape, but they were not identified as suspicious items. No witness recalled seeing the duffel bags being added to the 400 or so backpacks already in the cafeteria."

    CarmineD

  12. Jeff,

    You are a 'true believer' in the Democrat party and you have every right to be one. Unfortunately for the country, the Democrat party is a part of the corrupted system of government we have in place, just as the Republicans are.

    It is going to take a viable 3rd party, an uprising by the public or some kind of disaster, economic or otherwise to change this system. I don't believe either party, as currently constituted will change this system.

    Somehow, I think you know this to be true, but because the stated philosophy of the Democrats is much closer to your views than that of the Republicans, you think by supporting them and trying to get others to do the same, your goals will be reached. Many people agree with you and many on the right think exactly the same thing about their party.

    I'm almost 60 and I shared that view once as well, but all I have to do is look to see that very little that matters changes no matter which of our two parties controls the government.

    Michael

  13. We, the USA, have not identified the real reasons for spree killings like Columbine, Aurora, Colorada, Newtown, Connecticut, Webster, NY, and on and on. Despite all the gun laws, or lack thereof according to some, this is a recent phenomenon in the US with 39 incidents since 1974, according to Dr. Phil. Until we do [identify the reasons], and do something about them, all the gun control laws in the world, won't help. They'll give us a false sense of security of having done something, until we have another spree killing.

    CarmineD

  14. Let's deal with reality. Prisons are, in larrrrge part, warehousing of the mentally ill. I don't know that the state of the art would be more humane--in institutions. Victims talk about the medication for mental illness being horrible, bad side effects. Therapy is painful. Reliving every day the pain and abuse you went through. So can we find a way to set up half-way houses with varying degrees of security and oversight? We, as a society, are going to pay for the poor choices and inabilities of each and every resident in this country. Many in half-way houses could learn what is acceptable behavior and what is not. You can live acceptably or you don't have to. And if you don't, you go to the big house. (For the thoughtful: You think someone who "snaps" and murders is not mentally ill? I challenge that anyone snaps. Each of us knows what is acceptable behavior, to us, in case we as individuals are threatened somehow. The only real question is what we perceive as a threat.) Further, there is no need to turn on a dime and dump our current prison system. Just add those half-way houses for the less-threatening offenders. Half-way houses are currently often used as a transition for long-term incarcerated re-adjusting to life on the outside.

  15. Yes, Carmine. Deputy Gardner was at lunch when the Columbine massacre broke out. But he was also looking for other illegal activity. That's the problem with ONE armed guard. When he's at lunch or otherwise engaged in law enforcement, there's no substitute to cover for him. We'll need at least TWO armed guards per school. But then how to cover illnesses? Do we need THREE armed guards per school? Or more, since some schools are pretty well spread out. Gardner had to drive AROUND the school border to get to the scene, because the grounds were fenced. But IEDs could be placed in a school while it's closed! We need multiple teams at every school 24/7/365!

    And yes, the appropriate camera was down because its tape was being changed. TAPE??? Why not hire even more people and have live surveillance? Tape is only good for seeing what happened after the fact. We could well end up with more bodies surveilling students in our schools than we have bodies TEACHING them!

    So much for the practicality of an NRA idea. . . And all we'd need is just one lone nut to undo everything. Try to make something foolproof and someone'll just find a better fool.

  16. "Yes, Carmine. Deputy Gardner was at lunch when the Columbine massacre broke out. But he was also looking for other illegal activity. That's the problem with ONE armed guard." @ renorobert

    There are many means available to protect schools from unwanted armed students and bombs. Many schools use these means successfully to do so. Sadly, many use none and Sandy Hook was one. The consequences of burying our heads in the sand to the problems of evil people with guns are tragic. The only fools are those who do.

    CarmineD