Shoot ‘Em Up
Ah, sometimes ya gotta laugh. August 10, 08, L.A. Times story by Richard A. Serrano. “Guns from U.S. equip drug cartels.” “U.S. weapons underwrite Mexican drug violence.”
Ah, yes, The Drug War that’s costing American taxpayers a bundle. “More than 90% of guns seized at the border or after raids and shootings in Mexico have been traced to the United States, according to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Las year, 2,455 weapons traces requested by Mexico showed that guns had been purchased in the Unites States, according to the ATF. Texas, Arizona and California accounted for 1,805 of those traced weapons.
“No one is sure how many U.S. purchased guns have made their way into Mexico, but U.S. authorities estimate the number in the thousands.
“The body count, meanwhile, is rising. Since a military-led crackdown on narcotics traffickers began 18 months ago, more than 4,000 people in Mexico have died in drug-related violence, including 450 police officers, soldiers and prosecutors, as well as innocent bystanders, cartel members and corrupt officials, according to Mexican authorities.
Tom Mangan, a senior ATF special agent in Arizona, compared the flow to reverse osmosis. ‘Just like the drugs that head north,’ firearms move south, he said. ‘The cartels are outfitting an army.”
“More than 6,700 licenses gun dealers have set up shop within a short drive of the 2,000 mile border, from the Gulf Coast of Texas to San Diego – which amounts to more than three dealers for every mile of border territory. Law enforcement has come to call the region an ‘iron river of guns.” . . . .
“And while U.S. political leaders and presidential candidates have focused rhetoric, money and time on stemming the northward flow of drugs and illegal immigrants, far less has been said and done about arms flowing south, largely from states with liberal gun laws, into a nation where only police and the military can legally own a firearm.”
And, of course, each country wants more from the other: Mexico wants the U.S. to tighten gun laws in the border states (Bwa-hahahha. Notes the Times: “Arizona is a wide-open state for gun lovers. A license lets you carry a gun openly on the street or concealed. . . . Anyone with proper ID and a brief background check can leave with a firearm under his or her belt and reach Mexico in minutes.” . . . ) and the U.S. wants Mexico to be more vigilant in policing the borders cross traffic (Bwa-hahahahha).
Nobody in either country, of course, has stopped to ask: How’s the drug war working for ya? Interestingly, all this river of guns isn’t going south to deal with the sale of Tecate or Budweiser crisscrossing the border for beer addicts on either side of the fence, now is it? Nooooo. That’s because beer is LEGAL and while the medical and social costs of alcohol are high, they tend not to involve St. Valentine Day massacres. Americans discovered that weird, interesting correlation between shootouts and prohibition way back during the era of . . . prohibition.
Then promptly forgot the lesson learned.
Back to the L.A. Times again. “Recovery of condors in doubt.” Seems that hunters in the U.S. are still using lead bullets to go kill things and “poisoning from ingestion of spent ammunition in carcasses is so severe and chronic,” the panel concluded,” that condor recovery cannot be achieved do long as such lead exposure continues.”
“The National Rifle Assn. and other hunting groups have fought restrictions on lead bullets, which are cheaper than copper varieties.
“Last year California became the first state to pass a law prohibiting hunters from using lead ammunition within the condor’s 2,385-square mile range.
“Lead is banned for shooting big game, such as deer, antelope, bear and non-game species, such as feral pigs and coyotes. Smaller game, such as birds and rabbits, can still be killed with lead bullets.”
But enforcing the California ban is problematic; Too many hunters, too few Fish and Game rangers to enforce it. And “Poachers [who] kill large numbers of animals are ‘unlikely to comply . . . as long as lead bullets are easily purchased.’ the study found.”
But here’s the best part of this story, as we bid bye-bye to the condors. “But they [the study’s authors] noted that humans who ingest meat from deer and other game can suffer adverse effects from lead: ‘Removing lead ammunition is not only right for condors, it is right for other scavengers, and it is right for hunters and their families.”
Hahahahahah. The very hunters who are killing the condors are killing themselves and their families off at the same time. Lead is lead is lead.
Naturally, The National Rifle Association spokesman “declined to comment on the report.” Gee, wouldn’t ya at least think that they’d at least pretend to sorta kinda care about their members because they don’t want them to get sick and brain damaged from the dead lead-tainted critters they’re hunting and eating? After all, the NRA likes to portray itself as supporters of a family oriented traditional “sport.”
Oh, right. It’s the money, stupid.
On both stories.
And at home, our own little “war” brewing.
The Tribune reports that the fee-kiosk at the entrance to Montana de Oro state park is Baaaaaacccckkkkkk. Slap up a kiosk, charge a fee to get in, said fee to help offset the rising costs of running the park.
Last time that was tried, folks got up in arms. They wanted “free” parks for them, but wanted The Other Guy to pay for it. That’s the way it goes in our Privitized Republic where there is no longer any value in The Commons.
Assemblyman John Laird, representing a cross-section of Monterey, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara, has “introduced a proposal to his colleagues that would generate about $282 million a year earmarked strictly for state parks. He would like the Legislature to increase vehicle license fees by $10. In return, all of the state’s 278 parks would have free entry and maintenance backlogs could be whittled down.
“The proposal is currently on the table in budget negotiations,” Laird said. “It’s caught up in the dogma of whether it’s considered a tax. But we’re going to attempt to move it ahead because it’s revenue that gives direct value to the public by fixing the parks sytem.
“We’re slowly bleeding our park system to death.” He added. “If we can’t pull it off this year, it’s an item that will go to the ballot in 2010.”
Imagine, State residents each “taxing” themselves a piddly little amount to properly fund state-wide natural treasures for the enjoyment of all and preservation for future generations – a true Commons.