Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Creative Destructors -OR- Oil and Water

If you're driving along the interstate away from the big city you're cruising along at 70-75 mph. There's even a tollway in Texas where you can legally drive at 85mph. Almost universally, when you cross an established (imaginary) line approaching a population center your legal speed limit drops to 55 mph. When you exit the highway, you encounter another LOWER speed limit on the exit ramp. From there the limit goes up and/or down based on the local thinking on what rate/limit balances safety and expediency factors and concerns. At the local level such things can be highly subjective and arbitrary for a variety of reasoning. Nowhere in this country, that I've seen, are posted limits an accurate reflection of actual driving habits, but the lines are clearly established.

We deal with such things on a daily basis, devoting little thought to adapting and adjusting to local conditions. Your brain registers signs and warnings at the same time it's listening to your vehicle's surround sound system. You slow down in school zones, stop at red lights, you're hopefully aware of time and relative dimensions in space and your spatial relationship to external factors. There are elaborate processes in place to regulate and monitor behavior. These too range from laissez faire to compliance checkpoints. It can be total nonsense to no nonsense and anything in between.

Despite the patchwork pattern and wildly differing emphases, in general, people adhere to the rules of the road without undue hardships. Rarely is there widespread protest or unrest surrounding the rules in general. On the contrary, the loudest, shrillest voices are proponents of stricter regulation and enforcement to address acute LOCAL anomalies. All of this, despite vast differences in equipment and driving aptitude.

If you are a motorist, you encounter the spectrum on a daily basis. You share the roads with vehicles of every size, shape and condition; driven by individuals of every conceivable ability who've somehow met and maintained the minimum qualifications for their state. Through exhaustive proxy wars, they've determined that a .08 blood alcohol content is the standard for impairment. Below that you're okay, at or above that level and you're dangerous to yourself and others. Fair enough?

I know "drivers" who are seriously impaired before they even turn the key with a BAC of 0.00. Be honest. You know them too. You see them every day on your daily commute. They can be oblivious, distracted, hyper-caffinated, multi-tasking (badly), harried, depressed, elated... That they are driving a motor-vehicle is not what they're thinking. They've driven this way every day too. They can do it in their sleep and more than a few come close each day. You never know what they might think (or not think) to do. You get behind the wheel and you take your chances, but you most certainly don't do it alone. You rely on the laws to keep the roadways relatively well-regulated.

We grasp most of the logic behind limits, but we just lose our collective shit when anyone tries to apply the same logic and guidelines to guns and ammo. Trying to limit or regulate guns in densely populated areas is turned into an assault on freedom. The first step to totalitarianism!

"Any limit on gun ownership anywhere is a threat to gun ownership everywhere!" Really? Of course not, but when your diet has consisted of a steady stream of such counter-intuitive nonsense, and you deeply believe that civilization hinges on your personal arsenal, and you've never understood anything about city life or the people who choose to live packed in like sardines, and you judge such places by the things you see and hear via your satellite dish, well Bubba, you're the expert.

The west wasn't settled by guns in towns. It was settled by prohibiting guns in town. If checking your gun at the town line was unacceptable, you didn't go to town.
You stayed free in your rural paradise. Free to carry openly without hassle. Free to hunt and shoot for sustenance or sport. Free to believe that when the city folk came to disarm you, you'd fight back. That threat was never real. City folks aren't interested in running your life. They would appreciate the same from you. You solve problems your way, based on your situation, which might require you to act as your own sheriff. Those same solutions when attempted in a densely populated urban environment do not facilitate the same outcomes.

When you hear the intractable rhetoric of gridlock over our bullet problem, one faction is believably absolute in their resolve to stand against ANY further encroachment of their Second Amendment rights. They caved, too easily some will say, on private ownership of fully-automatic weapons, on shoulder-fired rockets, RPGs, mortars, tanks, cannon and tactical nukes, so they're not about to make the same mistake again.

They're simple folk and like it. They don't want city folks telling them nothin'!
Guess what? City folks are fine with that. They'd appreciate a little bit of good ol' fashioned reciprocity. What works in rural don't work in urban and vice versa.
Agreed. Live and let live. When you cross density thresholds you adapt. Rural folk are practical? If given the chance, they might be practical about gun control?

Can we pass limits and regulations that embrace the geography?