Saturday, April 24, 2010

ARIZONA: I Can't Make This Shit Up — the prequel

John Coultas wrote a comment, informing me that I had screwed up. I had neglected to mention Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's brush with destiny in April when she signed into law the bill that made Arizona the third state allowing people to carry a concealed weapon without requiring a permit. Alaska (don't get me started) and Vermont preceded the Grand Canyon State. It was an omission, not a screw-up. I was admittedly caught up in the moment of watching two momentous bills–for racial profiling and the birther bill–get passed and sent on for inclusion on the November ballot.

Mr. Coultas is correct to bring up the concealed carry law. And although it wasn't Governor Brewer's doing and Mr. Coultas didn't mention it, there is the state's reluctance to observe Martin Luther King Day, until it became economically inconvenient. But I am getting ahead of myself... or behind.

Governor Brewer, packing concealed heat.

The AP wire reported at the time of passage that, "Nearly all adults can already carry a weapon openly in Arizona, and supporters of looser laws argue that gun owners shouldn't face additional restrictions just because they want to hide the weapon." And went on to report, "Under the Arizona legislation, people carrying a concealed weapon will be required to tell a police officer that if asked, and the officer can temporarily take the weapon while communicating with the person." That puts a lot of discretionary power in the hands of the police, similar to the racial profiling bill, where police will determine who may or may not be a suspected illegal.

The AP report stated that, "More than 154,000 people have permits to carry a concealed weapon in Arizona.
The bill acted on by Brewer was the first attempt to lift the permit requirement to reach an Arizona governor's desk.

before and after

Brewer's predecessor, Democrat Janet Napolitano, in 2007 vetoed two related bills. One would have reduced penalties for carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. The other would have allowed a person without a permit to carry a gun largely concealed as long as any part of it or its holster was visible.

Brewer in 2008 signed into law a bill allowing a person with a permit to take a gun into a restaurant or bar serving alcohol as long as the establishment doesn't prohibit it and the person isn't drinking alcohol. Napolitano vetoed a similar bill in 2005."

As with the previous two posts, I have tried to stick to cutting and pasting or just reprinting entire news stories, without comment. To me, the implications are there for god and man to see. But let me digress a moment-- I am not against guns, but I am against a law like this, where someone can walk into a bar, throw whiskey down their necks, get into a heated discussion with the guy next to him over the Diamondbacks, or worse, and then pulls out his .357 mag and ends the argument. I know. It sounds crazy. So does the bill, which provides absolutely nothing to prevent the hypothetical from happening. I am not qualified to discuss the wild variations in human wiring, but it is indisputable that the wiring gets a bit frayed and hot when alcohol is applied, Put a loaded firearm in the mix and, well... there you have it.

The Martin Luther King Day issue is just so obvious that I will not devote any unnecessary verbiage to circumvent the obvious. Arizona acts and reacts like a scab on the surface of the union. The United States clearly aren't. We are divided... and the issues that divide us are such base emotions: race, hate and ignorance, haves and have-nots, and so on. Arizona was not alone in opposing a holiday to observe Martin Luther King Jr. New Hampshire, wearing its "live free or die" slogan on their license plates like a birthright was against it. And what exactly does live free or die mean? It is obviously conditional, based on skin color and ethnicity.

Favorite Son/flip-flopper

Jesse Helms (no surprise) and Ronald Reagan were against the holiday. So was John McCain, before he was for it. Another surprise. But, it wasn't morality that led the Grand Canyon State to observe MLK day. It was economics. Money talks. Bullshit walks. When the NFL pulled Super Bowl XXVII from Tempe to Pasadena, Arizona realized it ain't know joke. They lots beaucoups bucks. Republican Governor Evan Mecham buttoned his lip and finally, MLK Day was a holiday in Arizona.

This is an opinion: America is polarized and showing it in ways it hasn't in many years. There is fear and hatred flowing on the airwaves and in the hearts and minds of its populace. We have regressed from the Freedom Riders and the struggle for equality in the '60's. Being black today is a dangerous proposition. Instead of helping to unite the country, Barack Obama's presidency has divided us and given license to open anger. Virginia wants to celebrate the confederacy and not mention slavery. Arizona is clearly a land of "the old days," of a wild west and a white west.

I think of Lenny Bruce and Martin, Malcolm and John. Cynicism with a splash of hope... a dash of hope. A prayer. A candle snuffed out... I don't know what happened... where we decided to kick it into reverse and floor it. It's not good. None of it. To be perfectly honest, I'm kind of scared where it is all going to lead.

Now, let's try to move on...


Davaudian said...

What's Lenny Bruce got to do with any of this except in your head??? I wish he was here now although George Carlin was a great follow up where Lenny left off. I love the irreverence he had.

Leave Arizona alone....all you want is more, more, more......

barryshap said...

Yes, Lenny. Too bad he got so obsessed with the law and junk. He had a brilliant mind. Beyond the cynicism was a voice that spoke of the absurdity of racial injustice, of bigotry and religious hypocrisy. His riffs are timeless and unfortunately, rarely heard. His is a name from the past. Few know anything about him or what he said. I liked Carlin, but he wasn't in the same league as Lenny. Really, no one was. If it weren't for Lenny, though, Carlin would have remained a buttoned-up stand-up comedian. Lenny, among other things, paved the way for saying dirty words on stage. He liberated comedy, which, at its best is representative of our society. Which is probably why we have comics like Larry the Cable Guy today.

As for Arizona. I will leave them alone. I other than pity and disgust, I feel nothing for the state. I want less of the kind of public thinking that is taking them back to the laws of the old west and the canonization of Jim Crow.

Davaudian said...

You sure have a lot of hate for things you disagree with. I don't understand that intolerance from the kind,loving, inclusive left.

Lenny was cool, although big axe to grind and monkey on his back....died pathetically correct you might say. I think the actual King of Comedy, not the movie, was Richard Pryor. His contribution to Blazing Saddles was way ahead of his time....too bad he can't be quoted correctly these days as everyone is so thin skinned.

barryshap said...

I have much less hate than you attribute to me. I will admit to a lack of tolerance for certain correctable human traits, like ignorance, bigotry and yes, hate.

As for Blazing Saddles, Richard Pryor co-write the script, but did not act in it. For me, it was the Borscht Belt humor of Mel Brooks that was the kicker in that one.

But I digress.

Davaudian said...

You are becoming honest, a very good sign. Not all problems in the world can be based on "get whitey." Although in Hollywood, i soon expect to see a movie where America attacked Hitler....coming to a theater near you.

it's so hard to watch the white bashing racism that's being put forth. i had a great time yesterday with my new Canon and dinner at the Hamlet where Miles Davis first wife is the hostess. Not many people know that and i couldn't keep my hands off of her, so beautiful although 75 years old....she knows me as i swoon and kiss her cheek, and had my picture made with her. For me to labeled as a racist is very hurtful just because i want our country's finances to be solvent. but, ignorance is rampant. When a state like Arizona simply enforces the laws on the books and gets assaulted for it, something is badly wrong. i'll be glad when common sense returns.

just because George Bush was an idiot is no reason to shipwreck the country.