Interesting this values thing – So much time has been spent on the issue of protecting our young from images of Janet Jackson’s bared breast (which incidentally wasn’t half as obvious on the field as it was on The Drudge website) or the naked ‘desperate housewife’ jumping into the arms of a football player that other more insidious forms of influence in our society are consistently ignored.
Take for example the pervasive advertising of Viagra and other medical innovations. Lending perhaps some sense of dignity to commercials was the appearance of the elderly Bob Dole, former Senator and presidential candidate. Still, one couldn’t help but wonder why this sudden emergence of so much erectile dysfunction? Who knew? Well, as it turns out, these enhancement products aren’t just being used by adults of advanced or middle years but by teenagers and 20-year-olds to prolong and intensify their sexual encounters – – so much for the reasons originally given to promote these drugs. Do the drug companies know this? No doubt, their bean counters have a pretty good idea how their products are being used – -good business and good for the economy one might say. As for social mores, maybe something more along the lines of Spanish Fly for men.
Likewise, gun manufacturers probably have a pretty good idea that those semi-automatic weapons aren’t being used just for hunting. Who needs a semi-automatic to hunt down a moose anyway? As General Wesley Clark said during the recent presidential campaign, ‘if you want to use weapons like that, join the Army. They’ve got plenty of them.’ Law enforcement officials know that such weapons often end up in the hands of gang members and other criminal elements, but gun companies deny that large sales of guns to certain dealers are suspicious. Could there really be that many hunters? The ban on semi-automatic weapons lapsed in 2004 although it had lost most of its punch anyway due the industry’s output of “sporterized” versions of their product.
But in matters of values and taste who could top the NRA decision to hold its convention in Denver eleven days after the shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, just fifteen miles away? When NRA President Charlton Heston spoke there saying they’d have to take his gun from his “cold dead hands” one couldn’t help but think, better him than those slaughtered kids at Columbine.
The gun issue isn’t supposed to be a winning one for Democrats, but isn’t there room for discussion? When the NRA quotes the second amendment they always leave out the part about maintaining a “well armed militia” which, at that time, was probably something akin to our present-day National Guard. Nevertheless, pretty much everyone accepts the right of hunters to pursue their sport, but how many of us really think it’s necessary for private citizens to own military-type weapons? If one of the arguments for owning such things is that the public may at some time need to protect itself from a despotic government, consider a Bradley armored vehicle at your door or a ‘smart bomb’ headed down your chimney.
There may yet be room for rational discussion if we can find the right way to express our concerns and, as has been said, frame the debate.

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