Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

Polka, the Roman Catholic Church, local politics and guns.

   When Hoosier (by relocation, not birth) Richard Gatling developed the Gatling gun, the first rapid-fire weapon for combat, it is said he thought his invention would bring an end to war. He could not believe people would wage war in the face of such an awesome weapon. Gatling had no appreciation for human folly.

   Gun violence has been in the national and local news. People were mowed down in D.C. and in Chicago. Whether the weapon du jour, the AR 15, was used by the gunman, it would appear the weapons used were semi-automatic weapons designed to kill a lot of people easily. That's why weapons are semi-automatic. Gatling's invention fired in a way similar to a fully-automatic machine gun. The gun fired continuously as the operator spun the cylinder of the weapon. A fully-automatic machine gun fires continuously as long as (1) the operator presses the trigger and (2) ammunition remains in the magazine. I did not read of any mass shooting in Australia this week, where gun control was instituted after a mass shooting in the 1990s. Perhaps someone should explain the the infant shot in Chicago how important his Second Amendment rights are. That might have to wait until he (hopefully) recovers and becomes old enough to talk.

   Of course, we also had the tragic death of a law enforcement officer this week who responded to a call of a domestic dispute. Generally, law enforcement officers do not like to respond to domestic disputes. I know lawyers and the courts are not fond of such cases. People emotionally vested in a matter and pissed off do not behave rationally much of the time. When one introduces into that environment a lethal weapon (a gun) that nearly anyone can operate---pull back the clip, make sure the safety's off, and fire---the environment becomes even more dangerous. It would appear the person who shot the officer also received a fatal gunshot wound. If we had restrictions on firearms---again, look at Australia, where the culture was very "pro-gun" until that mass shooting and people were warned what would happen to their rights if their guns were taken away---we would not have as many shooting deaths.

   Of course, that would mean we are no longer the "land of the free." Or are we? There was an article this week that noted the increase in prison inmate populations in the United States in those States in which private corporations operate prisons. CCA and other corporations have contracts that require sometimes 90 percent occupation of cells. Any less and the State in question pays a penalty. Also, we are the ONLY---ONLY---country in the World in which a child less than eighteen years of age can be sentenced to life in prison without parole. China does not do that. China also has less of a prison population, by percentage, than the United States. We are Number One in the World, per capita, for inmate population. We are not the land of the free.

   This week, "Civil Discourse Now" will stream "live" from Holy Spirit Catholic Church, 10350 Glaser Way, Fishers. Our guests will include Sally Irvin, director of ICAN, a program in which inmates train service ("seeing-eye") dogs. Also, Mark Timko, Director of Religious Education for the past 14 years at Holy Spirit will be on The Show. Mark plays accordian and is a polka enthusiast. Finally, Matt Stone, blogger at "Indy Student" and a veteran of The Show will discuss local and national politics. Join us from 11 am to 1 pm. 

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