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.

- - -

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 March 04, 2015 08:29 GMT

ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Federal Reserve and the Institute for Supply Management provide a broad look at the U.S. economy today.

The ISM releases its service sector index for February this morning. Its January report showed growth picking up at services firms. The survey covers businesses that employ 90 percent of the American workforce, including retail, construction, health care and financial services companies.

This afternoon, the Fed releases its latest Beige Book. Last month's survey of business conditions showed all 12 of the Fed's regions reporting "modest" or "moderate" growth. It found rising sales of autos and other consumer products, increased factory production and a pickup in tourism in various parts of the country.

FED-YELLEN

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen says the Federal Reserve has worked hard to correct the mistakes exposed by the 2008 financial crisis.

She says the Fed cannot eliminate the possibility of a future banking crisis. But she says it can make them less likely and less damaging by limiting excessive risk taking and making sure that the nation's biggest banks are better prepared to weather future problems.

She says before the crisis, the Fed focused too much on regulating individual firms and did not pay enough attention to ensuring the stability of the entire financial system.

She says the improvements the Fed has implemented include requiring banks to hold more capital to cushion against losses and testing them annually to see whether they can survive a severe economic downturn.

DEBT LIMIT

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Congressional Budget Office says Republicans controlling Congress can probably put off a politically wrenching vote to increase the government's borrowing cap until the fall.

That's even though the government can no longer issue Treasury securities after March 15. Instead, the government will rely on tax season surpluses and accounting maneuvers to keep the government afloat through October or November.

The accounting moves include deferring investments into federal employee retirement funds.

Republicans used the need to raise the debt ceiling in 2011 to impose spending cuts upon President Barack Obama. Obama has since refused to negotiate, which drove GOP leaders a year ago to raise the borrowing cap with mostly Democratic votes.

Without congressional action to increase the debt limit, the government would default on U.S. obligations.

INDIA-ECONOMY

NEW DELHI (AP) -- India's central bank unexpectedly cut a key interest rate by a quarter percentage point, the second such cut this year because of lower inflation.

Wednesday's cut brings the policy repo rate, at which commercial banks can borrow from the Reserve Bank of India, to 7.5 percent.

The Reserve Bank of India made a similar cut in the key rate in January.

Inflation in India has lowered substantially as global oil prices have dropped sharply.

The RBI said in a statement that inflation in January was 5.1 percent, well below the government's upper limit of 8 percent for the month.

GAMES-GAME DEVELOPERS CONFERENCE-PROJECT MORPHEUS

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Sony intends on unleashing its virtual-reality headset on consumers next year.

The gaming and electronics giant says its Project Morpheus VR system will debut in early 2016.

The announcement was made Tuesday at a news conference held during the Game Developers Conference.

Sony originally unveiled a prototype of the headset nicknamed Project Morpheus at last year's conference. The headset works in tandem with Sony's PlayStation 4 console and camera by covering users' eyes and simulating virtual worlds on screen.

The company showed off an updated prototype of the headset on Tuesday. It features 5.7-inch OLED screens that display a 100-degree field of view and nine LED lights used to track movement. Sony says the headset can render games at 120 frames per second.

No price was announced.

TARGET-INVESTORS

NEW YORK (AP) -- Target Corp. plans $2 billion in cost cuts over the next two years through corporate restructuring and other improvements.

The goal is to make the Minneapolis-based discounter more agile in an increasingly competitive landscape.

As part of the restructuring plans, the Minneapolis-based company plans to eliminate several thousand positions over two years and establish centralized teams based on specialized expertise.

Target also plans to invest between $2 billion and $2.2 billion in capital expenditures, including a $1 billion investment in technology and supply chain.

The moves unveiled Tuesday are being spearheaded by CEO Brian Cornell, who took over last August and who is charged with reclaiming the retailer's image as a purveyor of cheap chic fashions.

ARGENTINA-DEFAULT

NEW YORK (AP) -- A Citibank lawyer has warned a judge its Argentina branch will be in "great danger" if he refuses to let the South American nation pay interest to bondholders.

Attorney Karen Wagner described the threat to federal court Judge Thomas Griesa during arguments Tuesday in New York.

Wagner says bonds purchased by Citibank customers in Argentina are subject to Argentine law. She says they should not be subject to an order the judge issued banning Argentina from paying interest on bonds exchanged at a discount by 90 percent of bondholders after the republic defaulted on $100 billion in debt in 2001.

The judge says interest can't be paid unless Argentina pays U.S. hedge funds about $1.5 billion they're owed. The judge hasn't ruled.

A lawyer representing Argentina supported Wagner in her arguments.

GREECE-POVERTY BILL

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Greece's new left-wing government is promising to spend 200 million euros ($234 million) this year on assistance programs for people pushed into "extreme poverty" by the financial crisis.

In its first bill to parliament Tuesday, the government said it would spend the money on programs to distribute food stamps and provide housing and energy bill assistance.

Greece is struggling to emerge from a six-year recession that saw a dramatic rise in unemployment and poverty, following drastic spending cuts in exchange for bailout loans.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' (TSEE'-prah-zehzs) Syriza (SEER'-ih-zah) party has seen its popularity rise since winning January elections, despite being forced to extend its bailout agreements.

According to an opinion poll for private Star television Tuesday, support for Syriza has risen to 41.3 percent from 36.3 percent in the election.

YELLEN-FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Fed Chair Janet Yellen may have gotten a job promotion last year, but her total assets don't appear to have gotten a bump.

Yellen's financial disclosure form for 2014 shows a net worth of between $4.92 million and $13.37 million.

On the high end of the valuation, that represents a slight decline of about 5 percent from 2013 when her assets were valued as high as $14.1 million.

On the government's financial disclosure forms, officials are only required to put the value of their assets in broad ranges. So it is not clear what caused the small drop in her assets, many of which are held jointly with her husband, Nobel laureate economist George Akerlof.

Yellen in February of last year succeeded Ben Bernanke as head of the central bank.

advertisement
Washington Times
advertisement