NEVER BEEN SHOOTING? Would you like to try it?
An offer for Louisville Metro area residents.

If you have never been shooting, are 21 years old or older and not otherwise barred by state or federal law from purchasing or possessing a firearm, I'd like to invite you to the range. I will provide firearms, ammunition, range fees, eye and hearing protection and basic instruction.

(Benefactor Member of the NRA, member of KC3, former NRA firearms instructor, former Ky CCDW instructor)

Email me if you are interested in taking me up on this offer. Five (5) people already have.

January 10, 2006

Fighting the urge to "Do something!"

Once upon a time...
Washington, D.C. -- Members of Congress taking a little time off to watch football this weekend were shocked and appalled to see Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor spit on Tampa Bay running back Michael Pittman.

"I was shocked and appalled!" said Representative John Murtha (D, Penn.). "Millions of Americans were watching when this dangerous assault was committed on national television. If the networks think they can get away with this, they can think again. I have asked the Chairman of the FCC to hold immediate hearings to ensure the immediate removal of all football games to Pay-per-View. The NFL is broken, and it's time to do something about it."

Representative Murtha has also instructed his staff to begin drafting a bill which he says will be ready at the end of the week. "With a little luck, we'll have a law on the President's desk by the end of the month."

At a press conference Monday afternoon, Senator John McCain was scathing in his criticism of the NFL, and promised a review of the weekend's events in light of the government-granted monopoly. "Make no mistake, this torture cannot be allowed to continue. If the Armed Forces can't do it in defense of our country, I'm certainly not going to allow it to continue in the National Football League." The Gang of Fourteen is scheduled to meet later this week to discuss the issue.

On the floor of the Senate, Senator John Kerry (D, Mass.) was urging more direct action from his colleagues Monday morning. "It is incumbent upon us to take immediate action in the Senate. We can expect little action from a White House which hasn't even seen fit to issue a statement condemning this heinous act," said the Massachusetts Senator. Aides to Kerry said calls to his office were running five to one against spitting, and characterized the general tone of the messages as "outraged".

In a rare gesture of bipartisanship, leaders of the House and Senate have agreed to put the spitting bills on a fast track to a floor vote, and most Washington insiders expect a delay in the Alito hearings until this legislation has cleared committee.

When the Constitution was written, it was thought that citizens would step up and serve in office for a time, then go home to their farm or business and resume their normal life. The laws passed by these citizen lawmakers would be tempered by their life experiences, their natural aversion to government interference in their lives, and the realization that, after their service was over, they had to live their daily lives with their former constituents. (as opposed to today's situation where too many have little life experience outside politics, little aversion to government intrusion into our lives, living mostly among their colleagues in Washington, D.C. and taking a job as a lobbyist inside the Beltway instead of moving back to Ottumwa)

But from the first time some figured out that it was easier to sit and talk in Congress than to hoe corn in the sun or argue over the price of dry goods with Mrs. McGillicuddy, we have had what amounts to a professional legislature. And what does a professional legislature do? Why, it legislates! And legislates, and legislates, and legislates...

Once upon a time, laws took their sweet time going through Congress. It sometimes took years to get an important bill signed into law, and by the time the vote was taken, most of the members of Congress that voted on it had read it and knew what was in it. Take a look at this article by Bruce Bartlett on "Changing the Culture of Congress" for more on this. Today, many Senators and Representatives are often surprised by what is contained in the bills they pass, because they do not give them even the minimum attention they should.

Someone told me once that it is unreasonable to expect lawmakers to read the bills they pass. There are too many laws and they are too complicated. If they are too complicated to read before they are voted on, doesn't it hold likely they are bad laws that will be too complicated to live under? Can you say IRS? And as to too many?

The United States is organized as a federal republic because the Framers rightly reckoned that a pure democracy would soon degenerate into mob rule. Legislators responsible to an electorate would gather together one step removed from the madding crowd, allowing cool heads to give due consideration to issues before them--issues of import to the entire country.

But professional legislators must pass bills. It justifies their existence. It gives meaning to their lives. It shows they are important, because SOMEONE HAS TO DO SOMETHING. And when important issues run out, well, just any old thing the polls throw up will do. Would it surprise you to see the article I began with above in a newspaper? Well, it wouldn't surprise me.

I wish there were some way to get across to lawmakers that they really don't have to make laws all the time. We have plenty. Every law is an imposition, if not a burden, on the citizenry. If no new laws were passed in this session of Congress or the state legislatures, would that be a bad thing? I don't think so. Gee, maybe they could even repeal a few while they were waiting.

In Rome, victorious generals were often awarded a triumph; a parade thru Rome displaying the plunder of the war on floats depicting battles and carrying captured kings or chiefs, the general's favorite legion marching behind. The general, usually dressed in armor made of gold, rode in a chariot pulled by the finest horses, and basked in the adulation of the citizens of the Rome. And lest he let all this go to his head, riding in the chariot behind him was a slave who held a golden crown above the triumphator's head and whispered in the general's ear, "Momento mori," (remember, you are mortal) a warning that the glory would soon end and normal life would resume.

Perhaps we could adapt this from the Romans. (Not the triumph part.) Yes, perhaps someone could stand behind each Member of Congress while they were in Washington and whisper from time to time, "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should."