PlannerDan's Blog

PlannerDan

PlannerDan
Location
Near Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Birthday
September 22
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Much of the same stuff applies. I'm a married guy--quite married, in fact. We are pushing our 44th year of bliss. In fact I am a grandpa; and wear that title proudly. Over the years I've learned a few things. And tend to share it--tactfully, I hope. I'm a professional, which only means I went to school and got all the degrees. It took years to do it, and has added a little to that experience thing. I'm fortunate to be doing something I love for a living. But, even then, the work place can become boring. However, those times are few and far between. I have two passions in life. I love to write. Sometimes I do that very well, sometimes not so much. But, I've realized you don't have to be good to write; you've just got to really want to. My second passion is my dog. I am a dog person. I'll try not to get mushy and obsessive about it. Pet owners can sometimes do that. I will write about my black Lab, Max; however, I promise to be restrained. I know how those crazy pet people are. Other than that, you will find out more about me from my entries. They likely will be sporadic, because I obviously have a life outside this virtual universe. But, I will try the best I can to make a worthy contribution to the site. Can't ask for more than that.

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APRIL 14, 2012 10:41AM

Just Another Gun Totin' Texan?

Rate: 3 Flag

There are some topics that by their very natures are polarizing.  We are currently cruising into a national election.  Republicans and Democrats and everyone in between are consistently and often vehemently hawking their respective positions.  As a result, whether or not it is intended, things get shoved into conservative and liberal camps, where very little gray area seems to exist.

And, that’s the problem.  There is an awfully lot of gray area in these polarizing topics.  But, things are not always as black and white as the labels would have them be.  Generally speaking, I am conservative to varying degrees on different topics.  On the topic of abortion, I’m sort of conservative.  On the topic of capital punishment I’m conservative.  On the topic of immigration, I’m almost moderate—not quite, just almost.  And on the topic of gun control, I’m very conservative.  And, even among these positions I find I am always adjusting and realigning myself, depending on new input I receive and further reasoning.

I don’t believe we need any more gun laws.  I also don’t believe we should get rid of the ones we currently have.  I do believe we should actively enforce the laws that are currently on the books.  The Second Amendment is a simple statement.  Nevertheless, the Supreme Court has definitively held that "the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that weapon for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.In the state of Texas the home has been extended to include one’s vehicle.  “Conceal Carry” laws are established by states and are a separate argument, which I don’t want to get into at this time.

I want to discuss the right of the individual to bear arms, or to own a handgun.  I do not see how there could be any doubt as to the constitutional right I have to own a handgun and use it in defense of my family and property.  The state of Texas has said I need not be licensed to have my weapon in my house or vehicle.  If I wish to carry it elsewhere, then I must be licensed to do so, which I am.  However, I do not carry my handgun on my person; I do not see the need to do so.  You might be surprised to find I don’t think Zimmerman had a need to carry a handgun.  However, I do believe he had the right to do so, if he met all of the requirements of the State of Florida for carrying a firearm.

However, for the “conceal carry” equation to work you first need a responsible person.  That appears to be the lacking element in this case.  Whether Zimmerman was responsible will be determined by the jury.  In my book there is no doubt that he was a stupid person.  There was no need for him to be in that situation.  His responsibility as a “watch captain” was fulfilled as soon as he called 911.  A responsible person would stop and wait for the police.

We cannot legislate “stupid.”  People are going to act irresponsibly.  That’s our nature.  All we can do is to establish our statutes in such a manner that responsibility is encouraged; it cannot be guaranteed.  We cannot guarantee a Navy Seal will not go rogue, we cannot guarantee a police officer will not act irresponsibly; and we certainly cannot guarantee our normally sane neighbor will not go insane.  Laws are established for responsible people.  The irresponsible among us care nothing for the law and will ignore them to satisfy their own agenda.

Ban and remove guns from the population and the only ones having guns will be the outlaws—the nuts.  And, don’t for a minute think a ban on guns will make it more difficult for outlaws to get the guns.  All guns are illegal in Scotland; and that did not prevent Thomas Hamilton from shooting sixteen children and one teacher at the Dunblane Primary School.  No, the black market will thrive.  Most guns used in crimes are black market guns anyway—that’s the status quo.  And, outlawing guns will not prevent the crazies from attacking a school or a crowded shopping mall with a homemade bomb, or other weapon.  Crazy folks will find a way to fulfill their desires; that’s why they’re crazy.

So, I suppose the question is do we remove the constitutional right of the individual to own a gun because there are irresponsible and often crazy people living among us?  Well, are we willing to take cell phones out of the texting hands of drivers speeding down our highways?  Or for that matter, are we ready to go back to the horse and buggy as our method of transportation?  After all, 32,788 people died in traffic accidents nation-wide in 2010.  I’m not willing to do that.  The irresponsible and crazy people will always be irresponsible and crazy; and I, who am responsible, would then be unarmed.

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Dan I am every bit as conservative as you on a lot of subjects as you well know but the gun question is one that causes me to veer away from conventional conservative thinking.

Yes, all Americans have the right to bear arms and to lawfully use those guns to protect their home and loved ones in that home. However I do not believe that the right should extend to one's car or person when away from the home.

When you are in your car, you have the option of flight to escape harm and the same could be said for a person away from home or the car...walking the streets.

Dan I have a close friend who has spent the last thirty years in law enforcement and is now a chief of police and he once told me that Neighborhood Watchs are a tragedy looking for a place to happen. He referred to them as that because all too often they overstep their bounds. These watch groups are supposed to OBSERVE only, not take any direct action. The moment Mr. Zimmerman stepped out of his car he was wrong. Had he not had a lawful right to have a gun with him, who knows, maybe he would have stayed in his car and done the job he was supposed to do....observe and call the cops if he saw something illegal happening.

So you see, even though I believe in our right to own guns, I disagree strongly with giving the general population the right to carry guns in their cars or on their person.
Though we disagree slightly on this subject, I admire your ability to open it for discussion in a sane and civil manner old friend.
You wrote: "We cannot legislate “stupid.” People are going to act irresponsibly. That’s our nature."

Indeed. Even our politicians.

The problem with this blog is its false choice. You leave us with (A) take away the 2nd or (B) accept the 2nd without any restrictions.

Conservatives - with all due respect to you personally - pretty much never do the required thought in arguing a political position. This is a perfect example.

Conservatives (in the person the NRA, mostly) back "stand your ground/no retreat/line in the sand " laws and then watch people like Zimmerman (or that guy in Florida who chased down some guy stealing a radio from *his neighbor's car* chased him down caught him and stabbed him to death...and the got off entirely under the "stand your ground" law) do what they do, making a travesty of anything resembling civility. Of course, after the killing they try to explain the problem away by saying people do stupid things. (No kidding!)

What is happening is that 8 or 10 states (which have similar laws) are devolving to a Wild West mentality. Shoot first and think later. They've taken "Castle Laws," which have been in existence for a hundred years, and stretched them to the nth degree so that people like Zimmerman can simply claim they were in fear of their lives, and shoot even an unarmed minor to death. And get away with it, which, BTW, he will. CC laws allow an ordinary Joe to carry a gun into a bar, for godssakes.

No restrictions: that's what you guys want. Why? Because you are buying into the lie that any restriction is a step down the path to removal of your guns. Nonsense. The 2nd Amendment is here to stay. And so are guns. There are more guns in circulation than there are people in the USA. That argument is over.

What y'all need to do is come to your senses and think the whole thing through.

I can shoot your grandmother to death if she lived in Florida and decided to whup me upside the head because, by God, I'm a bleeding heart liberal.

This whole issue is something Lewis Carroll would have a field day with, were he alive to see the stupidity of it all.
@David... I also know police officers who say Neighborhood Watch programs can be difficult. However, a properly conducted Neighborhood Watch programs work in conjunction with the local police department and does not include vigilante actions. Properly conducted, it watches only. Which means you watch your neighbors home and the area around you, if you see something that is not right you CALL the police. That is how the program instructs the participants. Problems occur when when some of the folks want to play policeman. Again, that is NOT the Neighborhood Watch program. By the way, not only was Zimmerman wrong the moment he stepped out of his car, he was stupid.

Also, you have every right to not agree with the right to bear arms being extended to your vehicle. You don't have to like it, but as you know, here in Texas it is the law, which like it or not gives an individual the right. As much as I agree that we should keep irresponsible and stupid people away from all guns, they have a constitutional right to have them.
@Flylooper...I appreciate you comments and welcome all reasonable debate, thanks for jumping in.

I think it detracts from your argument to immediately toss out political labels and unfounded generalizations. To state that Conservatives never do the required thought in arguing a political position is absurd. All it does is establish your opposite political position and suggests a close-mindedness that I hope is not present on your part. I'm sure if properly researched we would find that the liberal mind is not the ONLY mind capable of logical and intelligent thought. Your opening paragraphs appear to be dealing with your frustration with arguing with conservatives and serves only to establish ungrounded characterizations rather than your own position.

None of the states who have adopted "Conceal Carry" laws or who have "Castle" laws ascribe to a Wild West mentality that shoots first and thinks later. That perception is one that is tossed out by a frustrated liberal populace who have failed to prevail in the popular and legislative processes of those states. To argue your position in this manner is similar to a loser of a ballgame threatening to "take their ball and go home." To hold the position that any person with a "Conceal Carry" license is a nut walking around waiting for an opportunity to "waste" some innocent person is ludicrous.

And you are wrong. Those folks who believe as I do are not looking for "no restrictions." Why in the world would I want that. Where in the world, other than your own perception, do you get that idea? I want strong gun laws. It is just that I believe we have adequate laws on the books now. We need to enforce those laws.

And, yes, if your family or you, who are a bleeding heart liberal as you put it, were being attacked and feared for your life, would have the right to shoot your attacker--yes, even if it was my grandmother.
Well-reasoned and articulated point of view, PlannerDan, and I admire your poise in responding to contrary arguments.
@Flylooper...btw, your statement that "CC laws allow an ordinary Joe to carry a gun into a bar" is wrong, at least in Texas. In fact the laws are very strict on where you can and cannot carry a handgun. You cannot carry a handgun in the following places:

- The grounds of a school or educational facility
- A polling place on election day
- A governmental court
- A racetrack
- A correctional facility
- A bar or package store
- A high school, college, or professional sporting event
- A hospital or nursing home
- An amusement park
- A church, synagogue, or other religious place of worship

In addition, there is a list of people and situations in which it is illegal to carry. Many of those include scenarios which those opposed to "Conceal Carry" use to build their case.
@Flylooper....oops, I forgot. You also cannot carry a handgun into any place where the owner has posted a sign saying "Concealed Handguns Not Permitted In This Establishment."
@David,

Hmm, I'm in a traffic jam in my car. Do I have the option of escape?

I don't carry a gun. It's not needed in my lifestyle/area. That said, I don't begrudge others that need that. The thing is, in most parts of this country (Vermont and Alaska being notable exceptions), a license/permit is needed to carry concealed. To me that is reasonable, and studies show that CCW permit holders have a lower crime rate with guns than do police officers.

In terms of neighborhood watches, my observation is that they are mainly just signs at the entrance of neighborhoods. The Zimmerman case isn't typical (in many ways). It's a very weird incident, and it irritates me that people are generalizing that we have a racist society full of white men with guns trying to execute black youths. The most dangerous person to a black youth is another black youth, not a white person.
Dan, I am in complete agreement. I do not wish to see our Second Amendment right revoked; I feel it would be dangerous for our citizens especially in this day and age. It would give government complete control over us. I will stop there so as not to frighten those who may think I am a survivalist. Thank you for this thoughtful, well-written post.