Thursday, May 05, 2005

Still at it: Tricks hamper gun rights bill: "Last week should have been satisfying for the Tennessee House. Ethics legislation that originated in that body was finally on the governor's desk. But House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh proved -- in heavy handedly sending a gun owner's bill back to subcommittee -- that no matter how many ethics laws are passed or procedural rules adopted, nothing can make a lawmaker or leader always do what is right. Power corrupts. I don't mean that necessarily in the sense of anything criminal. Power corrupts in that a person in authority feels he or she is above the rules, even in a body of lawmaking that's to represent the people first. This problem is not exclusive to Democrats or Republicans. The corrupting nature of power also is on display in Congress with the case of House Majority Leader Tom Delay, a Republican. Naifeh is a Democrat."

How we were: "The summer of '62 didn't seem like much at the time. It was just summer. The County of King George was a forested section of Tidewater Virginia, peppered with small farms, and home to watermen who crabbed on the Potomac. To us it was just KG. It was about all we in high school knew. Only later did I realize what we'd had. ... The freedom we enjoyed would horrify today's worried delicates. We had guns but enough common sense not to think of them as weapons. Nobody wanted to shoot anybody, and nobody did. We just liked firearms. The first day of deer season was a school holiday because everybody knew the boys and Becky Burrell weren't going to come anyway. Country stores sold ammunition. You didn't need to be any particular age to buy it. Why would there be such a law?"

Attack on toys: "Some students at Fairview Elementary School say their neighborhoods are a toy-gun war zone: children shooting one another with guns that fire plastic pellets and sometimes metal BBs. Some of them obtain their weaponry from a seemingly innocuous source: the local ice cream truck. Others come by them at flea markets, toy stores and sporting goods shops.School officials already have suspended three students for bringing their plastic guns to school. ... The suspensions prompted students at Fairview, a First Amendment school that incorporates civil liberties in the curriculum and campus life, to launch a protest this week against ice cream truck vendors selling guns."

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