Finally: Guns Really Do Kill People

July 11, 2012

Finally the long controversy over whether guns kill people or people kill people has been cleared up by the Detroit Free Press. The headline yesterday read: “Police: Detroit officer’s gun kills woman in midst of embrace; incident under investigation.”

Then again, maybe only guns kill people when the gun is being held by a Detroit Police officer. I don’t mean to make light of the personal tragedy of either the off-duty officer or his victim. It’s a very sad situation that is repeated hundreds of times a year, usually involving the death of a child.

Guns are inherently dangerous because they have been designed to be that way. Just as no 2nd Amendment nut would make the argument that the right to bear arms doesn’t mean all arms (including thermonuclear arms), they cannot argue that the lack of guns around children or in social settings would not eliminate the roughly 6773 accidental deaths in the last 10 years. More people are killed by accidental gun discharges than victims of crime are saved. Show me a statistic based on a valid, scientific study that proves otherwise.

People who carry guns in public are cowards (or poachers like our own Ted Nugent) who are afraid of what might happen. Or they are victims of a misguided Detroit Police policy requiring them to carry a loaded weapon at all times. Either way, they are dangerous because of their fear and because they carry something that can kill at any given moment, intentionally or not. 

Every American does have the right to bear arms, but it is not an unmitigated right. It is a right that bears responsibility and demands common sense.

What Would YOU Do?

July 9, 2012

The Bush Tax breaks are becoming an issue again, and I wonder what Congress will do. Well, actually it’s pretty much a given with the Tea Party infected House. There’s going to be a lot of talk about taxation and socialism and whatever Koch brother generated talking points are for the week. The facts are that the two biggest contributors to the deficit are the Bush tax breaks and the unfunded wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, I don’t believe our conservative brethren will be much concerned about the deficit this week. Preserving tax breaks for the wealthy is much closer to home for the Tea Party representatives of the wealthy. I can hear it now… raising taxes on the rich will reduce jobs. Lowering taxes on the rich didn’t produce jobs, but raising them would cause a loss of jobs?

There are a lot of good people involved with the Tea Party and many of them have pointed out to me that I have more in common with their Libertarian bent than to the current Democratic Party (by the way, I have been flying the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag at my office for over 15 years – long before the Tea Party even existed). The fact is that as well intentioned as the movement was originally, it has been completely co-opted by the Koch brothers and other corporate lobbies. The policies of the Tea Party simply reflect the interests of billionaires. One need look no further than their complete absence in the effort to reverse Citizen’s United, the most urgent threat to our democracy, to understand this fact. Reversing the corrupting effect of Citizen’s United would clearly be in the best interests of restoring a representative government, but totally against the interests of people like the Koch brothers. Hence, the Tea Party silence on that issue, and their outrage over the delay in the Keystone Pipeline.

But, I digress…

 This is what I would do with the revenue restored if the Bush tax break for millionaires was enacted. Take half of the revenue and devote it to lowering the deficit. Take the other half and undertake the most massive infrastructure renewal structure since the Great Depression. Modernize the electric grid, repair roads and bridges. Why not even create a natural gas for auto and finally begin to break free from foreign oil? The added jobs would help the economy and the modernized infrastructure would also help.

What would you do?

Divided We Are

July 9, 2012

A lot of people are worried about where we are as a nation right now. We are a divided nation, but I haven’t lost hope yet that we can find common ground. This is not a unique situation in our history. In my lifetime alone we were a nation divided over civil rights for African-Americans and the war in Viet Nam. It was pretty bitter back then, and the rhetoric was just as heated. I guess having a sense of history helps keep me hopeful, but there are some differences that might be critical in America of 2012 compared to America 1967.

For one thing, in the 60s there was a healthy middle class – the direct result of the ascendance of organized labor and the availability of a college education. This meant that people had a lot to lose and even more to gain by solving problems instead of arguing politics. It was possible then for a parent to expect their child to be better off. In years since the “Reagan Revolution” there has been a “trickle” of sorts – a trickle of wealth flowing to the wealthiest that has now become a flood of wealth becoming concentrated in to very few people. The U.S. now has the most wealth concentrated into the fewest people of any Industrialized Democracy, and one of the least economically mobile economies of any industrialized country in the world.

You would have a better chance of bettering your family in places like India, Denmark, Finland, Canada, China (that’s right folks, Communist China provides a greater opportunity for intergenerational upward mobility).

In fact, 80% of all Americans are earning less today on an inflation-adjusted basis than they did in 1980. Is it a coincidence that countries with “socialist” government structures (such as all of the Scandinavian countries) are doing better by their people than we are? Talking about an historical perspective… what happen to other political systems when wealth was so unevenly and unjustly concentrated and there is little hope for upward mobility?        

Stand for Something

July 9, 2012

One of the more important themes of my op-ed commercials is that if you don’t stand for something, then you end up standing on nothing. After celebrating the Fourth of July with my family and friends, I felt a renewed sense of appreciation for what our Founding Fathers created when they stood up against a government that denied their rights and opportunities – and took a stand contrary to the popular opinion of the day.

I know that my blogs and op-ed commercials are unpopular with many people – liberal opinions are not the popular persuasion of the day. But I think that my advocating for people who are on the margins of society strengthens the core of our society. I think that declaring the truth is an important part of solving problems. I am not comparing myself in any way with the Founding Fathers, but I do believe that having the courage to say and do what is right is the key to what created our Country and what has made it great in the past. It is the single most important attribute of a good trial attorney.

I have decided to spend a bit more time responding to your messages on the blog site and I especially want to encourage those who disagree with my comments because I want to learn what you have to say as well. So stand up.