Monday, July 20, 2009

Dead Bodies, Gas Pump Hoses, and Gun Control

Recent headlines inform us that over 100 bodies were desecrated in an Illinois cemetery over the last several years. Recent headlines have also informed us of two other facts: The people who did this are facing serious charges, and the Illinois legislature is throwing around legislation that will respond to the crisis by increasing regulations for the cemetery industry in Illinois.

On a recent drive through the hills of my beloved West Virginia, I turned into a secluded gas station. There were only two pumps at this station, but taped prominently to each pump were signs written in magic marker on typing paper that said, "$50 Fine For Driving Off with Pump Hose Still in Tank."

As I paid for my gas, I had to ask, "So, is this a big problem in this area? I have never seen signs like that at other gas stations." The attendant gave me a somewhat self-satisfied look and replied, "It happened once, until I put up those signs." There was something about her tone that communicated how clever she thought she was. I just stared at her, not to be rude, but just not knowing what to say. She continued, "Over in Trenton, at Fred's store, there's this one girl that done it THREE TIMES." Apparently it wasn't thievery, just one person's serial idiocy. Or maybe two. There was apparently at least one other person out there driving around with a gas hose in his or her tank. This over-reaction clearly illustrates silliness that might not be so easy to see in other areas of life, especially in the relationship between politics and the masses.

My point is that, while these recent, headline-hogging desecrations may suggest some need for different regulations, e.g., better record keeping, I hope that the Illinois legislature does not over-react to the mindless melded millions who are up in arms over this obviously heinous, though isolated incident. Charges are already filed against the perpetrators according to existing laws. Clearly what they did is already illegal, probably in many different ways. So there is probably no need to uber-criminalize their activity in any rushed manner. However the legislature responds, let it be well-reasoned, time-tempered, and needful. There is no reason to hurry. Common sense should rule situations like this, not pitchfork and torch-type mania.

So I threw "Gun Control" into the headline above to merely draw attention to another parallel. Killing people with guns is already illegal, as is robbing people with guns, threatening people with guns, hurting people with guns, even "brandishing" is a crime. Convicts may not legally own guns, and supplying guns to them is also illegal.

Gun accidents by both well-meaning people and idiots may occur but do not kill as many people as cars, airplanes, boats, ATV's, and water-sports. Therefore the pursuit of additional gun control because of accidents is as often as not, an over-reaction to isolated incidents. Gun violence is already illegal in a hundred different ways. The pursuit of additional gun control because of gun violence is pointless. Criminals disregard both law and human decency. They have and will continue to disregard gun control measures . The result of increased gun control regulations will be that criminals will continue to use guns illegally, and law abiding citizens will have their gun use restricted even further. That is what makes criminals criminals, and law-abiding citizens law-abiding, unless of course additional gun control measures turn law-abiding citizens into criminals.

Dead bodies, gas pump hoses, and gun control all call for non-reactionary common sense. Take your time, do not allow the emotion of the moment to rush you to ill-conceived and disproportionate conclusions and solutions. Let reason rule. Not the momentary emotional monopoly of the mindless melded millions.

The parallels are endless. Can you recognize the dozens of other emotional over- reactions in politics? Can you see any emotional over-reactions in your own life? The millions can be emotionally mindless, but so can individuals. Take your time. Take a deep breath. Think.

From the Bills Blog at

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fishing Paint Creek

July 2009 004 - CopyPaint Creek is located south of Charleston off S.R. 61. In the summer and fall, sportsmen can catch trout, redeye or rock bass, bluegill and smallmouth bass. Most of the fish are panfish size, but that just means they fit the frying pan nicely. Trout can average about 12-15 inches. Smallmouths can be 10-12 inches. Redeye grow up to 10 inches but fight fiercely. The best artificial baits at this time of the year are usually small spinners like Joe's Flies, Rooster Tails, Mepps and Panther Martins. Paint Creek can be waded all along the way. Keep an eye out for copperheads on the banks.

July 2009 007 - Copy

Rainbow trout are stocked (March through May), but brown trout are native year around. These were caught July 1 along with a nice mess of redeyes and smallmouths.