Now Is the Time to Ban...
Not long after President Obama's recent speech on gun control, I received several e-mails from Jim Messina (at BarackObama.com) and Joe Biden from whitehouse.gov. These two repeatedly quoted the president: "If we can save the life of even one child, then we have a responsibility to act." These are powerful words, and they tug at the heartstrings of us all.
I started to do some research and found out that in 2010, 180 children under the age of 11 were killed by a firearm. This is a national tragedy. CBS news quoted the president saying, "Every day we wait" to act on guns, the number of victims "will keep growing."
This is dire. It's an epidemic. I have kids. I want them to be safe. We'd better take action, America!
Well, some already have.
The Marin County Police Department's gun buyback program was so successful, they had to issue vouchers! People were quoted saying how good it made them feel, or how they didn't know what to do with an old gun they inherited anyway, or how there are too many guns on the street and they didn't need theirs because it's safe where they live.
It warms the heart to see citizens giving up their 2nd Amendment rights to save the life of even one child. But maybe it's time to think about outlawing all the other things that kill children, too.
First, we'll have to get rid of all the cars. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1,210 children 14 years and younger died in traffic accidents in 2010. Parents tragically run over their own children backing out of driveways. When people get behind the wheel and are mentally unstable or under the influence of illegal or prescription drugs, they can plow their car into a parking lot, onto a sidewalk, or into another car. Heck, even through someone's living room window. It doesn't matter if we take all the safety precautions -- drive slowly, stay alert, use seat belts and child restraints. In the hands of the wrong person, these cars kill...and every death is a tragedy.
Now, most of us have cars. Freedom of movement is something we all cherish, especially in the U.S., where distances are so vast. But even though millions of us own cars and have to pass a driving test, get a license, pay fees, and comply with all manner of safety measures; even though the state regulates features on our cars and how we drive, including speed; even though most of us handle our cars responsibly and lawfully, we must stop this violence against our children!
So let's turn in our cars for cash. The state will pay you $1,000 for small cars (they don't kill as effectively) and $2,000 for larger, more lethal vehicles like vans and SUVs. And since buses can kill en masse, and have been responsible for multiple deaths in the past, we are obligated to ban these murderous vehicles outright. Kids can walk to school.
Next up on the ban list: balloons. Did you know that more than 110 children have died since 1973 from choking on balloons? According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, most of the victims were under 6 years old! Even though millions of balloons don't hurt anyone and bring us great pleasure, if we can save one life by outlawing them, we will feel so much better about ourselves. It's not enough to do an ad campaign to bring about public awareness. We need to restrict balloon purchases and usage.
And then there is one that has personal meaning for me: hot dogs. Every year, between 66 and 77 children choke to death on food. The biggest culprit? The hot dog. My son almost choked to death on a hot dog at a little league baseball game a few years ago. That day still sends shivers up my spine. No child should be allowed near any such food, and frankly, neither should adults. These are dangerous food items that can kill if not eaten responsibly. The fact is: hot dogs kill.
And speaking of dogs...although most of them are man's best friend, many people own dogs for protection, and some even have attack dogs who will assault any stranger who ventures onto their property. They're like guns with flesh and blood. Horrible, horrible creatures. And those teeth. They're like bullets -- and the more of them a dog has, the more like a high-capacity magazine it is. Dogs can maul and kill a small child in minutes.
And while it's true that you can put a muzzle on your mad dog to lessen the incidence of mayhem, what if your mentally ill son grabs the dog when you aren't looking, rips off his muzzle, and unleashes him on unsuspecting children in the neighborhood? We cannot allow that to happen. While we cannot control and prevent a mentally ill person from gaining access to someone else's dog, we can make sure the dog owner cannot possess a dog in the first place.
What if they lock up the dog? Sure, some people might confine their dogs to a cage, but what happens when they let the dog out?
That's why we need to ban dogs. I propose we have Dog Confiscation Day, where you can voluntarily drop off your dog at a local police station -- no questions will be asked about your attack-assault dog or how you acquired him. If you'd like to keep your dog -- let's say he behaves lawfully, but you want to minimize the chances of him mauling a small child -- you can take your dog to a canine dentist and get a certificate that you had his teeth removed. Sometimes, in smaller dogs, they can extract only the most lethal fangs and minimize the damage the dog can do.
Remember: people don't kill people. Dogs do. Cars do. Hot dogs do. And balloons do, too.
The mantra coming from the White House is: "We won't be able to stop every violent act, but if there is even one thing that we can do to prevent any of these events, we have a deep obligation, all of us, to try."
Even though hot dogs are part of America's pastime, and dogs are man's best friend, and cars are a way of life for us, and balloons have a place at every birthday, parade, and inauguration, as President Obama said: "We cannot and will not be passive in the face of such violence. We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of such violence in the future."
If you'd like to give the president and his team the justification he needs to go out in front of the American people and unilaterally and unconstitutionally call for restrictions on car and dog ownership, balloon usage and hot dog availability, visit www.whitehouse.gov and start a petition. Now is the time.
(My heartfelt sympathies to the families who lost their precious ones in Newtown and to any parent who has ever lost a child. The death of a child is every parent's nightmare and something we understandably want to fix immediately. To the extent that there are measures we can take to prevent such a tragedy, like everyone else, I want to eliminate or minimize any chance that this could happen again. There are ways to make our schools and malls and lives safer without going to the lengths the anti-gun advocates are going.)