Archive for Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Will of the people

May 21, 2013


To the editor:

“Is Lawrence going to be like Dodge City in the days of the OK Corral?” asked Thursday’s editorial in response to the new Kansas law allowing concealed carry even in city buildings and on the Kansas University campus. Oh, that it would resemble Dodge City of the 1880s or Tombstone, Ariz., in the days of the OK Corral!

Dodge City’s Ordinance No. 67 enacted Aug. 14, 1882, specified that no one could “carry concealed or otherwise about his or her person, any pistol, bowie knife, sling shot or other dangerous or deadly weapons, except County, City, or United States Officers.” The fine for doing so was $100, a near fortune in 1882. The Dodge City Times reflected, “There is a disposition to do away with the carrying of firearms, and we hope the feeling will become general. The carrying of firearms is a barbarous custom, and it’s time the practice was broken up.”

Further west in Tombstone, Ariz., the town enacted Ordinance No. 9 “To Provide Against Carrying of Deadly Weapons,” effective April 19, 1881. It read: “It is hereby declared to be unlawful for any person to carry deadly weapons, concealed or otherwise within the limits of the City of Tombstone.”

I say, let’s heed our forefathers’ wisdom, and keep guns out of city hall, our courts and off the campus of KU. Same as in 1882, that’s the will of the people. The governor and Legislature are busy turning back the clock on many other issues. I implore them to turn the clock back all the way to 1882 on gun control.


Larry Sturm 5 years ago

Our govenor or legislature has no common sense.

BigDog 5 years ago

They are following the will of the people ..... a majority of people across the state support concealed carry

parrothead8 5 years ago

I'd like to see your research on that.

jafs 5 years ago

That doesn't equate to a "majority of people across the state" necessarily.

Brock Masters 5 years ago

They are carrying out the will of the people who voted them into office. That is all that matters.

Ken Lassman 5 years ago

Otherwise known as the tyranny of the minority.

Brock Masters 5 years ago

If it is the tyranny of the minority then it is the majorities fault for not voting. Don't like the elected officials then get out and vote.

The other thing is don't run weak candidates that don't appeal to the majority of those going to the polls

Ken Lassman 5 years ago

You miss the point: tyranny is tyranny, whether a minority or a majority is excluded from participation and enfranchisement in the public dialogue that is democracy.

Brock Masters 5 years ago

Who is excluded from participating? Everyone can participate but everyone can't get their way. But lets say it is true. How would you fix it?

Ken Lassman 5 years ago

It is those who govern who do the excluding, not the governed. Tyranny occurs not from winning/losing; it occurs by being excluded from access to the processes of government, whether it be in the economic, legal or social spheres of society. This can occur either by the minority excluding the majority or vice versa. Remember it was not taxation that caused the Boston Tea Party; it was taxation without representation.

How to fix? We've replaced our political process with a kind of professional sports model, where we've ceded our participation to well monied professionals on a playing field, with the average Joe/Jane left in the bleachers, passively watching the action. It's easy to become cynical and apathetic when you see the biggest players on that field being able to change the rules of the game to their advantage almost at will, getting bigger and bigger with each play. And yet that very system depends on the apathy and cynicism of the average citizen to maintain its power. So how to fix? We need to teach/practice taking back those individual rights we've ceded to those players, and yet there's more. Just reclaiming those individual rights again most likely results in building a new system of tyranny to replace the old unless we also teach/practice that the process of including our neighbors in the process is as important as the win or loss on any given topic. We need to be willing to talk to each other and include everyone in the discussion, especially if we disagree with them, which is the essence of the experiment called democracy.

jhawkinsf 5 years ago

All this "we need to do this, we need to that", you're asking from a group you admit has become cynical, apathetic, sitting in the bleachers. It seems the cynicism needs to end, before "this" can be done. The apathy needs to end before "that" can be done. Citizen Joe/Jane need to get out of the bleachers and onto the field before anything can be done. How do you propose getting them off their duffs and get them into the game? How do you propose getting them to care enough so that they'll want to get into the game?

Ken Lassman 5 years ago

Part of the answer, jhawkinsf, is to change your question: "How do you propose getting them to care enough...."


"How can I help getting them to care enough....."

There are literally millions of people needing to make this transformation from spectator to participant, and until millions of us begin to see themselves as part of the solution, those in control will have us exactly where they want us: on the sideline, watching or not even watching. This is not going to change by passing a law or creating a new agency--it has to come from the bottom up, not vice versa.

So you need to take ownership and make your own list, but not stop there--share it with others, myself included. From where I stand, here's a sample from my "list:"

-I find it worthwhile to put in my 2 cents into the JW comments when I see fit to encourage folks to take a more active role in educating themselves by using this forum to actually share information I consider valuable, check my own assumptions by asking questions, etc. instead of just spouting off.

-I also go to meetings about things that matter to me in terms of creating community, doing similar things like sharing information that has been valuable to me, actually volunteering to do things that may not be glamorous but can be invaluable "go-fer" work, attending events and gatherings others take the time to organize in order to support them, etc.

-I talk to my neighbors, and find that while we have a pretty wide range of views about a lot of stuff, we can still respect each other and aren't afraid to help each other out.

-I do vote, and if I feel strongly about one candidate or another, am not afraid to pitch in to help in the campaign by making phone calls, etc.

-I am part of a religious group and am not afraid to bring up topics that are complex in order to delve more deeply into an issue than usually happens.

-When attending meetings, I have little tolerance for bad facilitation that makes for poor focus, little progress, bad listening, etc. and do what I can to make sure that folks come prepared to get things done while at the same time does not shut out dissenting voices.

Little by little, those things have proven to me to be good practices for maintaining an involved participatory community, from the ground up. What about you?

jhawkinsf 5 years ago

That's a good question. I read your response and then had to sit back a couple of hours and think of a response. Like you, I always vote, though I must enjoy efforts in futility as I will vote for Democrats sometimes and Republicans never. Well, there was that one time when I voted against Vern Miller. In this forum I frequently urge people to explore third party candidates, but I'm not sure if by doing that, I'm not just encouraging people to join my futility or am I being successful in asking people to challenge conventional wisdom.

Frankly, I have mixed feelings about getting more and more people involved. I recall in my younger years telling someone I planned to vote for Gene McCarthy and that person thought I was voting for Joe McCarthy, he being dead for a number of years by that time. Do I really want people involved when they have chosen to be so uninformed. Yet I also complain when turnout is so very low. I'm very conflicted on that point.

How to get people not only involved, but informed as well? Well, I talk to friends and neighbors, customers at work, though that's always a dicey proposition, talking politics in the workplace. I think generally, there is little interest on their part.

I recall the protests during the Vietnam War. Where did all those people go? People were taking to the streets, throwing things, burning down the student union. I was there. I think people only get involved when it's in their own personal best interests to do so. I've said before, if you want to end wars of choice, implement a universal draft. If you want people to have a reason to vote, raise their taxes substantially. Give them a reason. Whenever I make these suggestions, I'm always in a very small minority.

As CSNY said, I teach my children. You got me stumped Doug. I just don't know.

Ken Lassman 5 years ago

Teach your children WELL, as I recall from that song, Hawk. And heck yes, it's actually good to get stumped by a question--maybe asking the question to as many folks as you can is part of the answer! All I know is what I know, but I also know that everyone else probably knows something a little different from me, and if I listen to their perspective, I broaden my own.

I think those with power over others learned from all those protests in the 60s and 70s that if they want to continue to do what they want, they had to learn to be less in-your-face about grabbing the power and hanging onto it. So in order for folks to take back their power, they have to be more subtle too, and it begins with conversations and meetings and education sharing, and probably most important, listening, especially to folks who are different from yourself. I think it benefits the status quo to polarize the people, because it paralyzes the public discourse and gridlock means more time for those on the make to keep on making a while longer.

I don't think we can wait until we are given a reason to take action--those who want to keep us in our place will bend over backwards to avoid giving us that reason. You don't need a reason to take back what already is your right: the right to talk to each other, the right to educate yourself, the right to build and maintain a strong community.

So keep asking yourself and others around you, Hawk, and don't be afraid to stick your neck out a little to see what pieces of those answers are, blowin in the wind. And keep us posted. Sharing those answers may be way more important than you think.

Ken Lassman 5 years ago

Here's a take from that great radio show: This American Life that grapples with some young folks trying to answer the question--listen up:

jhawkinsf 5 years ago

Yes. Those that scream the loudest, seeking to protect their "right" to yell fire in a crowded theater are nuts. They are not protectors of our freedom of speech.

Those who would defend their "right" to sacrifice their first born child because God commands it are nuts as well. They are not protectors of our freedom of religion.

Every one of our rights have had reasonable limits placed upon them, for the good of society as a whole. As it should be.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 5 years ago

It's too bad that we can't choose that time in history within which we exist. We live in a different time and place than Imaginaryville. I have to say that it's doubtful that we can exhibit a control over the populace and the influx of "outsiders" that MAY have been possible then, in Dodge City.

We just can't choose a space and time, then decide that the way of dealing with problems in that time will meet our current desires/needs. We can't move back to that time. We can't create that time again. We can't even be certain of what worked or didn't work then. Can we? It seems that we can only look at the "desires" of those times and presume the realities. You certainly haven't provided much information here to support the wonders of the wild, west 1880s.

If Dodge City, in the space and time that you have chosen, was the same size and "ilk"of Dodge City TODAY, their prescription for a "peaceful solution" would not necessarily work (be workable). Do you have information about how well it worked at that time?

In any case, I doubt that you would choose to live in Dodge City in the 1880's. Would you?

Our population has exploded. The hopelessness and anger of the downtrodden has exploded. The corporate rulers of our very lives have taken so much control that they can be seen as tyrants who wish to own us as slaves. This is not our beautiful (Dodge) city. This is not our beautiful life. This is a populace left on their own to struggle and beg. Your comfortable life is not available to those left to rot and suck at the leavings of our greedy, arrogant and contemptuous leaders. There is no law for those thieves who use lawyers, shills and money to buy favor and control. There is no protection for us from those whom they've left to fend for themselves in the streets. There is no doubt that our very lives and our families will suffer more and more at the hands of our rulers until we accept our role as their pets, servants and prisoners...our horrible plight to lick happily at the trickling down of yellowed goodness in a perceived indication of their necessity and unquestioned power.

I truly doubt that Dodge City in the 1880s was terribly different in any wayg but the scale of its evil.

Oh, and remember that once pulled in a fight, you can't put the six-gun back in its holster, no matter how much you wish that it had never even EXISTED...since before Dodge City in the 1880s.

Brock Masters 5 years ago

They didn't have background checks in the 1880s. Only those who have successfully passed a background check may legally carry concealed.

Worry about those that are carrying illegally. I would support a law that required anyone carrying illegally to check their weapon

jayhawklawrence 5 years ago

Yes, I would support putting the focus back on criminals and improving law enforcement instead of attacking the constitutional rights of free and law abiding citizens.

I would also like to address the impact of funding cuts to mental health services, prisons, schools, law enforcement, early childhood education, health services, planned parenthood, denial of access to birth control, funding cuts to vocational schools, etc., etc., etc.

All in the name of promoting zero taxes for the wealthiest as some kind of reward for being members of a new elite class of Americans. We used to call what they are doing sin.

You can spin it any way you like but greed and selfishness is the oldest story on earth and it still looks like sin to me.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 5 years ago

Great idea Fred, but criminals do not obey laws. That is what makes them criminals and outlaws. There are already laws against criminals carrying deadly weapons, but as outlined above, they do not obey them. Therefore protection of ourselves rests with us. There are not near enough peace officers to protect us. I support the changes in the concealed carry law made by the legislature. Although I am a life member of the NRA, GOA, & LEAA, I am not a gun nut. I am a retired peace officer with 30 years of service. I know what happens on the street, and I applaud citizens who protect themselves because there are enough of us to do it. Yes, I would love to see a world where we do not have to carry a gun for protection. I would leave mine at home, if someone would find a fool proof way of disarming criminals. I do not see that ever happening. Countries that disarmed their populace see astronomical rises in violent crime. In the case of the Nazi's, and other dictators, they can be murdered at the will of their armed masters. That is why we have a second amendment to our constitution.

lucky_guy 5 years ago

Lynn731 then you never heard of Australia, or England, or most of Europe. The Nazi stuff is a red herring and you know it and also that is not why we have a second amendment. You need to relax, and turn off Fox news once in a while.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 5 years ago

Of course I have heard of those places. Australia is one of places where violent crime exploded after the populace was disarmed. England is where a police officer was recently stabbed to death. I suppose knife control is coming next? The Nazi's are not a red herring, they show again what can happen when the populace is disarmed. We live in the country, and do not get Fox News. No more arguing from me, I stated my beliefs.

jafs 5 years ago

Is that really the only reason we have laws, in your view?

Most people believe that laws deter crime to some extent, just as locking your doors and windows does, even though it's not 100% effective.

Mike Ford 5 years ago

when the sanity challenged constituents don't want to deal with real world issues they get behind this nonsense as part of the destraction trifecta of the tea party and gop. who cares what sane people are concerned about....the crazies are screaming the loudest....and acting like the people in the Iowa movie.

redneck 5 years ago

I believe that law abiding citizens should have the means to protect themselves if necessary. I'm not going to try and change anybody's mind, because it's a waste of time. I will vote against anybody who will try to take my gun rights away from me and will stand up for my rights if necessary. Last time I checked, Lawrence was still in the state of Kansas. Kansas is gun friendly state and that is not going to change anytime soon. The anti-gun citizens need to get used to this or move to someplace safer like Chicago or LA. I think we should invite all so called gun nuts to move to our great state. I am only speaking of the law abiding gun nuts. I believe that Lawrence would be a safer place if everybody and their dog was packing a gun. This way the bad people would have to think twice about doing something in our state, because they would know that all of the law abiding citizens would be packing a gun. This is my opinion, and nobody is going to change my mind.

John Kyle 4 years, 12 months ago

ignorant and hard-headed. What a combination for a gun owner.

Mike Ford 4 years, 12 months ago

ignnorant because the obvious is willfully ignored......

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