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Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Shooting in Colorado Will Bring New Demands
Here we go again. The recent shooting in Aurora, Colorado will undoubtedly launch a new drive by gun control advocates to restrict or eliminate the right of Americans to own guns.
 
The dispute between those who favor gun controls and those who don’t is predicated on their respective interpretations of the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and specifically on the term, “a well regulated militia.”
 
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) argues, “We believe that the constitutional right to bear arms is primarily a collective one, intended mainly to protect the right of the states to maintain militias to assure their own freedom and security against the central government,” while the other side believes that the use of the word “militia” refers to the citizens of the U.S. in general.
 
Advocates of “gun control” believe that removing all guns from individual citizens will prevent crime. But, the evidence doesn’t support this.
 
InBritain’s Gun-Control Folly,” Scott McPherson commented, “Those opposed to arming more officers present a strange counterargument…(that) it would just lead to more gun crime…(because) Petty criminals might arm themselves in response.”
 
However, crime skyrocketed after the UK’s leftist government banned virtually all private firearms ownership and all handgun ownership in 1997 amidst great fanfare about “making Britain safer.” So, guns were outlawed to fight crime, and the rationale was that not even the police should have guns lest the increasingly emboldened criminal element get upset about it.
 
According to historian Joyce Lee Malcolm, author of “Gun Control in England: The Tarnished Gold Standard, Journal on Firearms & Public Policy, 2004”: “[Between 1997 and 2003] crimes with [banned firearms]…more than doubled…Clearly, since the ban, criminals have not found it difficult to get guns and the balance has not shifted in the interest of public safety…In the four years from 1997 to 2001 the rate of violent crime more than doubled. The UK murder rate for 2002 was the highest for a century.”
 
If you think about it, the term “gun control” is really code for abolishing all guns. Since there are already more than 20,000 gun control laws on the books in America, at the federal, state and local levels, if controlling the ownership, sale and use of guns by the general population is really the objective, simply enforcing the existing laws should accomplish that.
 
The primary difference between the two opposing groups is rooted in their respective perceptions of human nature. Those who want to “control” guns (read abolish) believe that this will keep them out of the hands of criminals, thus preventing or significantly reducing crime.
 
Unfortunately, that’s a naive and utopian view of human nature.
 
A prime example of the consequences of such thinking is the Virginia Tech tragedy that occurred in April 2007, in which over 30 people were killed on the school’s campus. The fact that Virginia Tech’s 2,600 acre campus was a “gun free zone” merely made it easier for the killer to attack people without fear of resistance or reprisal.
 
Another case of a “gun free zone” failing to keep anyone safe on a college campus took place at Northern Illinois University in February 2008, where a lone shooter was responsible for the deaths of seven people, including his own.
 
In a January 2004 article, Susan Jones, the CNSNews.com Morning Editor, reported that “Chicago finished off the year with more murders than New York or Los Angeles,” noting that Second Amendment Foundation founder Alan Gottlieb said it was “remarkable that Chicago, New York and Los Angeles have some of the nation’s strictest gun laws, but even so, they still lead the nation when it comes to the number of homicides.” He compared the situation in Chicago to that in Detroit, where the once-high murder rate has dropped to its lowest level in years. “Two years ago,” Gottlieb noted, “Michigan reformed its concealed carry law, and today, thousands of law-abiding citizens in Michigan are legally armed.”
 
Gun owners in Australia were forced to surrender over 640,000 personal firearms, which were destroyed by their government, at a cost of more than $500 million dollars.
 
After one year, Australia-wide, homicides were up 3.2 percent, assaults were up 8.6 percent, and Australia-wide, armed robberies were up 44 percent. (Note: while the law-abiding citizens turned them in, the criminals did not, and criminals still possess their guns!) While figures over the previous 25 years showed a steady decrease in armed robbery with firearms, this changed drastically upward in the previous 12 months, since the criminals now are guaranteed that their prey is unarmed. And, there has been a dramatic increase in break-ins and assaults of the elderly.
 
CNSNews.com reported, “Australian politicians are at a loss to explain how public safety has decreased, after such monumental effort and expense was expended in “successfully ridding Australian society of guns.”
 
One of the central issues in the gun control debate is the ban on assault weapons enacted by Congress in 1994, which applied to 19 specific models of semi-automatic firearms. The ban expired in 2004 and has not been renewed.
 
For my part, although I favor the right to own a gun, I have a hard time accepting the idea that ownership of all firearms should not be restricted in any way. For example, allowing individual citizens to own a weapon that has a grenade launcher or using armor piercing bullets makes little sense to me.
 
Since 1934 Americans have been required to obtain permission from the U.S. Treasury to legally own a fully-automatic weapon. So, if people are not talking about such firearms when they advocate gun control, what are they talking about?
 
Abolishing all guns, that’s what, which I believe is unconstitutional.
 
© 2012 Harris R. Sherline, All Rights Reserved
Posted at 06:08 AM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)



Thursday, July 5, 2012
Observations About Health Care
An article about Andy Rooney dying at the age of 92 in a hospital set me to wondering about our health care system. At 92, why was he in the hospital at all? The article noted that he had been hospitalized with an undisclosed infection, which, on the surface, seems to explain why he was hospitalized.
 
Just about every pundit, columnist, journalist and talking head in America has commented about the problems with the nation’s health care system. Since I ran a hospital for almost seven years during my career, I thought I would add my observations to the mix. So, here goes:
 
For openers, it occurs to me that our health care system has become an unworkable patchwork of various types of health care, which includes hospitals, nursing homes, home health care, and of course, doctors and nurses. In general, for the most part they are all capable and deliver competent service. However, it’s the combination that makes me wonder.
 
Start with government regulation and bureaucratic oversight, which drives costs up, generally faster than the prevailing rate of inflation. In addition, it is reaching the point where many doctors are opting to retire early rather than continue dealing with it. Hospitals, of course, can’t “retire,” but they can and do go out of business. In the years that I was running the hospital in our local community (1988-1995), California hospitals were closing at the rate of one every three days.
 
What we have been hearing from politicians is that hospitals and doctors are greedy, that they overbill. It’s always easy for legislators, who know little or nothing about the practice of medicine or operating hospitals, to think they know how it should be done.
 
Perhaps the most vivid display of ignorance about health care was the statement made by President Obama when he declared that doctors charged $50,000 to $70,000 for amputations when, in fact, the fee is more in the neighborhood of $750.00.
 
As Obamacare was debated and passed, most of us probably learned more about our health care system than we probably wanted to know. But, the genie is out of the bottle, and the situation has now become a major political issue.
 
Health care in America has irrevocably changed, and there’s no turning back as we move further into government controlled health care.
 
During a recent visit to my cardiologist, he told me that he will soon be cutting back on the number of days that he will be working. His reason: conditions have reached the point that he can no longer justify the time and effort it takes to practice, given all the regulatory oversight and bureaucratic mandates.
 
The number of doctors who are willing to continue practicing medicine with the threat of being charged unreasonable fines and penalties for even minor violations of some government regulation or mandate is driving increasing numbers of the medical profession out of the business.
 
Those who are close to retirement are no longer willing to continue to work, opting to retire, while many younger doctors are considering moving on to some other type of work, such as research or consulting, with decreasing numbers of practitioners being willing to continue to practice.
 
Many people have a distorted idea of just how much doctors earn, and almost no one seems to appreciate the fact that the practice of medicine is a business. Like all service businesses, medical offices have significant overhead and personnel costs. In addition to the nurses and other staff support people, they also must pay rent, telephone and supplies, taxes and the host of other expenses that any other business does.
 
If we continue to permit politicians to play politics with health care, we risk further downgrading of health care services in this country.
 
It’s time to wake up and stop letting politicians continue to politicize health care for political advantage.
 
© 2012 Harris R. Sherline, All Rights Reserved
Posted at 10:42 AM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)



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