Time to stop trying to keep your job and start doing your job

Whether it is a national or state legislative position, the money needed to get elected is obscene. It also has corrupted the ability for politicians to focus on doing their job, as they spend far too much time trying to keep their jobs. And, in politics, that means doing what your funders beckon more so than what makes sense to do or what your constituents want you to do. The only time politicians will come close to doing the right thing is when something bad has happened or they are shamed or threatened by industry.

In the case of gun deaths, we apparently cannot have enough bad things happen to get Congress or the various state general assemblies to act like adults and parents. They are so scared of the NRA (and their ability to bring fervent folks out to vote when more reasonable sit home), they will not do obvious things that would move us down the right path. Not only are they scared of the NRA, they court the NRA asking what is on its wish list that will facilitate the greater sale of guns in America. What many fail to realize, is the NRA does not represent most gun owners who responsibly own weapons and would like to see common sense gun laws implemented.

Per a Pew survey, 81% of Americans want background checks on all purchases of weapons. This same survey also notes that elongated waiting periods would also be desirable by more than not. These numbers jive with a survey conducted by Elon University two years ago. Note, neither of these changes would infringe upon the perceived  sacrosanct right for someone to own two dozen AK47s. What these surveys are saying is gun ownership is OK, but let’s make sure we know where the guns are, who owns them and maybe who should not.

Critics will say that won’t stop the gun violence. Well, neither will doing nothing. There are responsible gun owners who have joined with others to support common sense gun laws. I recognize this is more than a gun issue. We need to treat people with more civility in disagreement, we need to be mindful of the role poverty and crime play in gun deaths, we need to understand that some mental illnesses should preclude the right to own a gun due to the number of suicides that occur each year (more on that below) and we cannot underestimate the role training plays, so kids cannot get access to weapons.

The greater tragedies in America are not the mass shootings. The greater tragedies are what happen everyday. Pick up any newspaper in any city on any day and count the number of gun death or shooting stories. Google “six-year-old shoots four-year-old” and count the stories. But, even those do not do justice to the greater tragedies that happen everyday. You see the number one reason for gun deaths in America is suicide with two-thirds of the approximate 33,000 annual gun deaths due to this reason.

In North Carolina, we wanted to make it a crime for a doctor to ask if a patient has a gun. Let’s say this doctor is prescribing medicine for depression. And, someone thought it was a good idea to make it against the law to ask if he or she owns a gun. In our state, we made it easier for guns to be on playgrounds, in bars and on college campuses. Go in any college counseling building and see the line of people being helped. The propensity for depression is higher on college campuses than in general society, since kids expect it to be nirvana and it is not. Folks, all it takes is one impulsive act and your child is dead.

And, to illustrate further the NRA’s reach, the House just passed a law to not fund gun death studies. Our Speaker of the House noted guns are not a disease and need not be studied. With 22,000 deaths per year by suicide, I would call that the final act of someone who has some depressive tendencies, which is a disease. I find this decision absolutely appalling and prima facie evidence of the undue influence of the NRA. God forbid we study why Americans are needlessly dying.

To be brutally frank, we can still support the Second Amendment rights without being foolish. And, we need not pass laws that are dubious the day they are announced. Responsible gun owners agree with non-gun owners on this issue as evidenced by the survey data and advocacy group participation. So, legislators please do your job and worry less about keeping your job. As very little useful legislation comes from focusing on the latter motivation.

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17 thoughts on “Time to stop trying to keep your job and start doing your job

  1. As the economist Schumpeter said long ago, these people are professional politicians and know nothing about “doing their job” — they are only adept at getting elected (with considerable financial help).

    • Sadly, but true. Look at what happened to Congessman Bob Inglis, who after seeing proof of climate change at the South Pole, tried to tell Congress to act on the problem. He was trounced by a fossil fuel backed Tea Party candidate in the next primary losing like 70% to 30%. Note, this was a sitting Congressman that was thrashed. He dared to do the right thing and paid for it.

      • You hit the nail on the head. In the end, it is we voters who are responsible for the dysfunction in DC, not only by electing these fools, but more importantly, the vast majority who refuse to vote because it doesnt make a difference. By not showing up to vote, they’ve allowed the big money to dictate our laws, perpetuating the dysfunction of DC.

      • You couldn’t be more true . . . Except . . . sooo many Americans are so easily swayed by politicians who hire professional opinion swayers to convince soft minds to believe whatever insanity they intend to spoon feed them. And the sad thing is, they do it. I clicked on one of those “Is Obama doing a good job” buttons, just to see where it led me – OMG!!!!! It was a deeply sick, deeply twisted, flag waving, Hatred spewing video sites that made me want to vomit. Hating on everyone who wasn’t rich, white, and male. . . who is in any way different from their Nazi belief systems. Humans are herd animals – they follow the biggest “Bull”.

      • Leiah, thanks. As an Independent voter, I get both parties surveys. Both have bias in them, but the one from the GOP gave me a letter of all of the perceived failings of this President (and there are some), but then asked me to fill out a leading survey, where certain answers were not present as choices. I could not just be an Independent, I had to lean right or be categorized as an Other, e.g. These surveys will then be portrayed to others, without them knowing the level of bias therein. And, the press is genuinely lazy, so they will quote from these surveys giving them more credence than needed. In today’s time, the truth does not matter, as if it does not work for you, you can use your own truth. The economy and job creation under this president have done pretty well and we are under one of the longest recovery periods in history, yet all you here from some is how bad he is doing and the worst president ever. Thanks for your enlightened comments, BTG

      • That is because they are so self centered and hateful. Sigh. They don’t care if there is a good job done – it is only if a Republican (or a Democrat, admittedly) is in office. Though I do think that the Democrats aren’t quite as bitter and vicious as the Reps. Of course, back in the Day, the Reps were actually the open minded ones… they forget that, though. And I agree – the economy, job creation is all much better (bush did his best to destroy this country and it is an awful lot to ask obama to fix everything immediately) but the health care is what I am proud of.

  2. Start with a positive question, you’re kidding? Only 81 % Americans want a background check? If I went to a sports store to buy a pea shooter, I would expect “someone” to check my” dangerous criminal” records. BTW, I bumped into an FBI person and asked if he would run my records to find anything I might not know or illegally placed in my records. So far , nothing. The title here “keep your job” is a major concern and what got my attention. This is very seldom, but sometimes Cops commit crime to have something to do “to keep their job” .. I have considered renting a billboard near a heavy travel freeway . It says ” Find a way around committing a crime this month and next – the worthless cops will be fired or become criminals”
    Now the subject of depression: This country was built by people that were inventive, needed a better tool to be more productive. Others noticed the tool worked and suddenly we have “PRODUCTIVE” One more soapbox stand announcement and I’m done for the day. Note: I have nothing against BMW cars or motorcycles, they are great, had one when I was a kid. ((( NOT AMERICAN)))
    The organization , the committee, the person that purchased the BMW motorcycles that were used recently on I 94 as vehicles for three motorcycle cops I happen to notice had people pulled over in a 15 mile stretch — Those people should be fired —

    • I agree on the 81%. It should be 100%. So many gun fair or individual transactions are made without it. Plus, the checks are done poorly in many cases. On the invention issue, we need to do our darnedest to keep innovation here, as it is portable.

  3. My pet peeve are politicians who run for a new position before their current job is completed.
    Employers will not tolerate a new employee to miss work and to campaign for a new career.

    The majority of political candidates are not unemployed. Most are already committed to work as a governor, senator or representative. They spent tremendous sums of other people’s money for a job they claimed they wanted. Then they decide to travel the country for months, begging for a new position. What happens to the issues they were hired to handle, the problems they promised to solve? Is it fair for candidates to receive paychecks for a job they abandoned?

    Politicians are employees, a campaign is an interview and the voters are the employers. Like all other employees, they need to complete the job they agreed to do or resign. Then they will can run for election to a new office and not before.

    • Teri, you are on the money. Plus, they campaign on the floor of Congress or Governor’s office. Ted Cruz is a great example of this. I think it is unfair to call Sarah Palin Governor Palin as she never completed her term and campaigned for three months of it. Thanks for writing. Please do come again. BTG

  4. Note to Readers: I did not want to add to many issues in my post, especially with no data to support this contention, but I believe a reason for the upswing in police officers shooting Black men, is our more armed society. To me, everything is related in our world, not unlike the kids parable about a butterfly’s wings causing wind a continent away. Police officers are more on edge because of not knowing who is packing heat, that they have to guard against a predisposition to act. I do think there is an additional bias to act, when confronting a Black man. I recognize we do not hear about the countless times of good or safe interactions, yet this bias to act is reflected in Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Blink” which speaks to instinctive actions flavored by experiences. In his book, he notes the positive results from training and retraining officers for those instances.

  5. Note to Readers: I read that Florida is considering a law that will permit guns on college campuses. And, just for a little seasoning, the Texas Voter ID law that was just ruled unconstitutional allows a concealed gun permit, but not a Student ID as an acceptable option. That speaks volumes.

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