Saturday, September 23, 2006


Yesterday as I was sitting in my car enjoying a steak and mushroom ciabatta lunch on the run before popping into Michael's to get my hands on some Halloween gold in the form of holographic, bat-shaped twinkle lights, I turned on the radio as I am sometimes wont to do. The first thing I heard was the voice of Ed Schultz proclaiming that everyone should "arm up".

Being the sort of manly man's manly man who loves sports and hunts, Schultz does sometimes pepper his show with talk of hunting. As a result, I've always assumed gun control (at the very least where hunting is concerned) is probably not his mission in life. Nonethless, the phrase "everyone arm up" did cause me to put down my (by the way delicious) sandwich in wonderment.

As it turns out, Schultz was not advocating the we all gear up for some kind of terroist/El Rapto/the end is nigh nightmare, but rather preparing to do a phone interview a city council member, Steve Jett from Greenleaf, Idaho. Apparently the town is considering a city gun ordinance recommending that every head of household own a firearm and ammunition and received the proper training to use it. The ordinance would contain exemptions for those with physical and mental disabilities, those prohibited by law, and those who just plain don't want a gun.

I will be the first to admit that I am not a big supporter of our "right to bear arms", but is this really something we need to codify? Assuming I understood Mr. Jett correctly, when the exemptions are factored in, the ordinance basically says, "If you want a gun and are not legally prohibited from having one, you should have one." Can't people do that already? Doesn't that render the ordinance superfluous?

It seems to me to be more about making some kind of point than it is about actually changing anything. But what is the point then? That we're a violent society that values fear based tactics (aka "I'm armed, so don't mess with me") over any other form of mediation or perhaps even teaching our children values that don't encompass assuming that shooting someone equals satisfactory conflict resolution. Apparently I'm not just crazy, because even though the city councilman claims great local support for the ordinance, he did admit that the local pastor has not exactly been supportive. Well, good on him, I say! When I hear these sorts of stories, I think it's no wonder that everyone thinks we're a bunch of gun toting bullies.

P.s. An interesting and not unrelated sidenote: The town of Greenleaf was apparently founded by Quakers in 1903, which somehow adds a layer of irony to the town being the center of the whether everyone should be armed question.


Sulia Grace said...

I have arms, two of them, attached to hands and open palms. These are the ONLY arms I will bare. I was intrigued by Nancy Rosas' citizenship vows that she had to say she would bear arms if necessary to protect this United States. I told her I'm glad I never had to make that vow to be a citizen.

Martina said...

I asked my mom about whether she remembered this as part of her oath, and she said yes. Even though I went to the ceremony, all I remembered was that she had to renounce allegiance to any other nation and that she was sworn in by Jerry Garcia. I'm glad I never had to make such an oath either. I could not bear arms or even bare arms. No one wants to see my mudflaps waving in the wind!