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.
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.
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.
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...