The NRA slogans just don't work anymore

Updated: Thursday, September 26, 2013
The NRA slogans just don
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – It has been a violent two weeks in Michigan, with several deadly shootings across the state.

In this installment of Tom’s Corner, Tom Van Howe says the slogans from the National Rifle Association just don’t work anymore.

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A good friend of mine is touring Croatia right now. A week or so ago, when he told our golf group where he was headed, one of them said;

“Whoa, aren’t you going to be a little worried about your personal safety?”

Croatia does have a history of civil war and some terrorism.

The fourth guy laughed and said, “Just imagine what it would be like to be a Croatian embarking on a visit here; that would make you worry about your own safety.”

I’ve been dwelling on that conversation ever since. The fourth guy was right on target. Despite its history, there is little to no violent crime in Croatia, murder is rare.

If you are a Croatian visiting the United States and you do a little research, you’ll quickly learn that about 37 percent of American households have weapons and those gun owners own two-thirds of all the weapons that exist in the world today.

You’ll learn that the number of gun owners is down by 25 percent over the past 40 years, but the number of guns owned by that group is up astronomically.

You’ll learn that American police officers own a total of roughly 900,000 guns, that civilians own roughly 300 million.

That there were 33,000 murders in the United States two years ago, about the same last year and that the vast majority of them were committed with guns.

Two weeks ago, after a dozen more people were shot dead at the Washington Navy Yard by a 34-year-old man with a security clearance who heard voices in his head.

Wayne La Pierre, the head of the NRA, once again trotted out his worn-out slogan that “the only thing to stop a bad man with a gun is a good man with a gun.”

At odds with virtually every chief of police in every city in the country, La Pierre continues the drumbeat for his view that more guns is better, that if we all carried we’d all be better off because the good guys will win, and I’m tired of it.

This stream of bird seed from him and others like him is simply making us numb to the reality of violence that is all around us.

Saginaw, two nights ago, triple shooting. Two are dead.

Muskegon, over the weekend, three dead, another wounded at the Elks Charity Lodge. There a dying teenage girl asks police to tell her mother and her sister that she loves them.

Kalamazoo, over the weekend, two people shot and hundreds flee a party at the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity house at Western Michigan University.

Lansing, eight days ago, four young people shot and wounded at Sexton High School.

Ludington, two weeks ago, MSP trooper Paul Butterfield pulls over a truck and is shot in the head by the idiot behind the wheel.

Detroit, over the past month, too many shootings and deaths to talk about here, both children and adults are victimized, at least 30 in all.

A couple of weeks ago, Detroit and Flint are named the two most dangerous cities in the nation, guns and death all over the place.

It’s gotten to the point that when I read those stories in the paper or hear them on TV, I zone out. It’s the result, I think, of a helpless feeling that with all the power and wealth of the NRA and the fear they engender in our lawmakers, nothing is ever going to change, that we’re simply stuck with the brutality and violence the status-quo has to offer.

Last week, as the apparent result of a road-rage incident, two men, both described by others as “good guys” shot it out at a car wash in Ionia. Both carried concealed weapons permits, one of them is believed to have owned up to a hundred guns.

Both of them are dead and I’m wondering if Wayne La Pierre could help us out and tell us, which one was the good guy? Does it make a difference, or is this what happens when too many good guys, who live their lives in fear, carry guns for protection against other fearful good guys who carry guns for protection?

This is madness.

In this corner, I’m Tom Van Howe.

Business News

Last Update on October 30, 2014 07:33 GMT

ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Labor Department will report today on the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits last week. Economists forecast that weekly applications declined 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 281,000.

Also today, the Commerce Department will release third-quarter gross domestic product figures. Many economists predict that overall growth of the economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, reached a healthy 3 percent annual rate in the July-September quarter, according to a survey by data firm FactSet.

Freddie Mac will report on average mortgage rates for this week. Last week, the average for the 30-year loan slid to 3.92 percent.

There are four major companies that will report earnings today.

Altria Group and Mastercard will report quarterly financial results before the market opens.

Starbucks and LinkedIn Corp. will report quarterly earnings after the closing bell.

EARNS-SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Samsung Electronics Co. says its third-quarter income has plunged 49 percent to the lowest level in nearly three years as its handset business slows down.

Samsung says its net income for the July-September quarter was 4.2 trillion won ($4 billion), a sharp decline from 8.2 trillion won a year earlier. The income was the lowest since 2012 but above market expectations. Analysts polled by Factset expected 3.7 trillion won income.

Sales fell 20 percent to 47.4 trillion won while operating income shrank 60 percent to 4.1 trillion won.

Samsung warned earlier this month that its handset profit declined despite a marginal shipment increase. Analysts said the Galaxy S5 smartphone launched in April did not sell well while many consumers held off upgrading their phones, instead waiting for new iPhones.

CHINA-CREDIT CARDS

BEIJING (AP) -- China's Cabinet says it will ease restrictions on credit card processing in a move that might help to resolve a lengthy dispute with the United States over access for Visa, Mastercard and other foreign competitors.

A Cabinet announcement said "all qualified domestic and overseas enterprises" will be allowed to apply to set up credit card clearing operations. It gave no details of what qualifications would be required for a foreign competitor to be approved.

Beijing's restrictions have given a near-monopoly on credit card processing to a state-owned entity, UnionPay.

The World Trade Organization ruled two years ago the restrictions treated foreign competitors unfairly. The government said it would review the decision but did little to increase market access.

FACEBOOK-WHATSAPP FOUNDERS

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- WhatsApp founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton received 116 million shares of Facebook stock currently worth nearly $9 billion when they sold their mobile messaging service to the social networking leader earlier this month.

The breakdown of the big winners in Facebook Inc.'s $22 billion acquisition emerged Wednesday in a regulatory filing.

Koum, a Ukraine immigrant who was once living on welfare, reaped the biggest jackpot with 76.4 million Facebook shares now worth $5.8 billion. That makes him Facebook's fourth largest stockholder behind company CEO Mark Zuckerberg and two mutual funds, Fidelity Management and Vanguard.

Acton, who worked with Koum when they were both Yahoo Inc. engineers, owns 39.7 million Facebook shares worth $3 billion.

More than 45 other WhatsApp current and former employees also received Facebook stock.

FOR-PROFIT COLLEGES

WASHINGTON (AP) -- For-profit colleges that don't produce graduates capable of paying off their student loans could soon face the wrath of the federal government.

Schools with career-oriented programs that fail to comply with the new rule being announced today by the Obama administration stand to lose access to federal student-aid programs.

To meet these "gainful employment" standards, a program will have to show that the estimated annual loan payment of a typical graduate doesn't exceed 20 percent of discretionary income, or 8 percent of total earnings.

The Education Department estimates that about 1,400 programs serving 840,000 students won't pass. Nearly all of these programs are offered by for-profit schools.

SUPREME COURT-HEALTH OVERHAUL-SUBSIDIES

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Supreme Court justices have their first chance this week to decide whether they have the appetite for another major fight over President Barack Obama's health care law.

Some of the same players who mounted the first failed effort to kill the law altogether now want the justices to rule that subsidies that help millions of low- and middle-income people afford their premiums under the law are illegal.

The challengers are appealing a unanimous ruling of a three-judge panel of the federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, that upheld Internal Revenue Service regulations that allow health-insurance tax credits under the Affordable Care Act for consumers in all 50 states. The appeal is on the agenda for the justices' private conference on Friday, and word of their action could come as early as Monday.

AIRBAG RECALL

DETROIT (AP) -- The U.S. government's auto safety agency, responding to criticism of its slow response to safety issues, has told the manufacturer of millions of potentially faulty air bags to make replacement parts faster and do more testing to find the cause of the problem.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sent letters Wednesday to Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. and 10 automakers seeking information in a widening air bag recall that now covers almost 8 million U.S. vehicles.

The vehicles are equipped with Takata air bags that can potentially inflate with too much force, blowing apart metal canisters and sending shards flying at drivers and passengers. Safety advocates say four people have died due to the problem.

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