Me thinks there is a political ploy at play.
I’m talking about the Republicans in Congress who are trying to push through a change in rules that would allow people to pack a pistol in their picnic baskets when heading off to America’s national parks.
Mind you, firearms have been banned in national parks since the 1930s, though the rules were relaxed a tad during the Reagan administration. As it stands now, park visitors are allowed to carry in guns so long as those guns are unloaded or packed away in manner that prevents ready use.
So why the big push to change things now?
I suspect that Republicans – along with their NRA puppet masters – are looking to force an anti-gun vote out of Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton before the November election.
Near as I can tell, there’s nothing but politics behind this. I checked, and it’s not like the national parks are a hotbed of crime.
In 2006, more than 270 million people toured America’s national parks. In total, 11 deaths were investigated throughout the entire system. There was a suicide, a drunk-driving victim, a stabbing that came from a drunken argument, one woman beaten to death, two other women fell or were pushed off a cliff, one woman was shot while sitting in her car, and there was one other murder victim.
During the same year, there were over 1,900 weapons offenses, 843 cases of public drunkenness and over 5,700 liquor law violations.
Just what we need: Drunks with guns shooting at lions and tigers and bears, oh my.
So the way I see it, with major crime statistics almost non-existent, the gun issue is purely political in nature.
But I do give them credit for trying.
• A short take:
I am completely befuddled over the story of how TSA security agents forced a woman to remove a nipple ring – with pliers! – before letting her board a flight from Lubbock, Texas to Dallas.
The woman says she passed through the regular metal detector with no problems but was then subjected to an extra wand search, at which point the ring set off an alarm. She says she explained to TSA personnel that she had a piercing and was willing to be examined by a female security agent. The woman was told she couldn’t get on the flight until the jewelry was removed.
TSA: Keeping us safe from nipple rings, but questionable when it comes to detecting bomb-making materials.
• A final note: This is my last column with Reporter Newspapers. Editors say they’ve had enough of my dangling participles, poor grammar and atrocious spelling.
Seriously, my commitments as a commentator on KOMO 4 News and as a radio talk show host on AM 570 KVI compel me to pack this column up.
And with that, I want to say thank you. Thank you for tolerating me and even supporting me on occasion. Thank you for your feedback and for your encouragement.
Ken Schram can be reached at email@example.com