…and, predictably and disappointingly…it’s now happening. The yeahbuts.
Measure 114, which I wrote about a few days back is poised for passage.
It’s a gun control state law. Given the trajectory of gun violence in our country and state as well as the impact of the GOP’s usual law and order campaign platforms on our local elections this year, I’m not surprised it passed. It’s a strange nexus: everyone agreeing crime – and gun violence in particular – is an issue that needs to be addressed.
What isn’t surprising about that nexus is people vocally splintering off from the proffered solution: a gun control law. Don’t get me wrong, I know this is Oregon, so I expect our solution to be either cutting edge and aspirational to the rest of the country (our Oregon Health Plan) or weird enough for it to qualify as a solution but to also leave outsiders with nothing more to say about it than “bless their hearts” (legalizing all drugs for personal use).
I think this gun control measure fell squarely into the former category. Anyone who doesn’t understand the allure of guns has probably wondered why their use is less regulated than automobiles or the privilege of driving one. If you’re me, you’ve also wondered why procreation isn’t more regulated, but that’s a different synaptic misfire for another blog.
This measure required permitting prior to purchase, training guided by law enforcement and banned high capacity magazines.
For me, pretty ideal – let’s just hope it doesn’t create a similar loophole for others to exploit that creates a larger issue in 20 years like the Oregon Health Plan did. That loophole was a gateway to other governments shipping their criminal, ill and addicted population here at the most minimal of opportunities “For their own good”. Ironically, those governments were in some of the most second-amendment-loving-est counties in the reddest states: Texas and Arizona.
My fellow liberals who opposed the measure objected to the infrastructure burden it placed on law enforcement. This was they same objection they had to our now unseated City Commissioner’s, Joann Hardesty, solution to Police Violence – Portland Street Response. It was a solution that created unarmed response teams of a paramedic and a mental health counselor to situations that weren’t crimes so much as nuisances to others: domestic disputes, disorderly conduct…stuff like that that cops aren’t trained to respond to. Well, that passed, but with such restriction – one neighborhood was provided with a budget small enough that it could basically staff the initiative normal Monday-Friday business hours. It took years for this successful program to get that budget expanded to fully staffed throughout the city. To be honest, I’m not sure we are 100% there – because of the infrastructure burden.
To me, that’s all coded language for racism at worst and white privilege at best: those are other peoples’ problems, not ours…why should our taxes have to pay for the solution?
Well, with gun control, it’s a little harder to make it other people’s problems. Someone we know might be impacted. Or possibly ourselves.
To those liberals – and any who object – I made an atypical response: everything else we’ve tried has failed, we need to do something different.
I object to my own default argument. Earlier in this post I made comparisons to how unregulated guns are compared to cars, so I can make an argument better than the opposite equivalent of “This is the way we’ve always done it”, so why don’t I?
I don’t know.
Maybe I was expending my fight against other priorities – like our three-way race for the Governor’s manse or Joann’s latent racism burdened race for re-election – and didn’t have it in me to go to the mattresses over gun control?
I’m leaning toward the simpler of the two: fatigue. I just don’t understand how voting for gun control isn’t a no-brainer at this juncture in our country’s collective experience.
Here we are, though, being dragged backward into the “But our rights!” argument. I’m tired of engaging at that level of discourse. Fuck that noise. If it takes a mass-shooting on your own block or within your bloodline to spur you into action, well, don’t wait for me to wish that plague on your house…but fuck you, too, if that’s your NIMBY mindset.
I don’t care if this is a heavy burden to implement and enforce. The base salary for Portland Police is over $75k and lateral hires – anyone with experience – is closer to $100k. Officers can expect to earn another third of their base in overtime. We’ve had around a dozen officers each year who regularly earn over $200k. And let’s not mention the retirement benefits they receive, which are beyond what the normal working class can hope for.
If you have a job with high rewards, fuck you for complaining because we vote something in that makes it hard.
If you think cops deserve to be highly compensated because their job is dangerous, I don’t disagree…but this makes it less dangerous.
But now for the predictable part. Sheriffs are already – and I mean already as in before vote tallying even began – coming out with statements refusing to enforce the new law.
Mind you, this number – three – represents less than 10% of Oregon sheriffs. That’s better than the resistance to the national gun control initiative in 2013 where that number was closer to one-quarter of Oregon sheriffs.
And what’s the top-line objection?
“This is an infringement on our constitutional rights”.
No, it isn’t, Redneck Cody., please submit your letter of resignation.
First of all, these are elected officials openly saying they are not going to enforce the will of the people. If that’s your stance as an elected official when you don’t agree with new laws, then you can’t quote the constitution. It’s not the Bible, with it’s a la carte interpretations. When you’re elected, you are sworn in making a commitment to uphold and protect the constitution. You aren’t sworn in with any “yeahbut” exemptions. So, yeah…do your job, quit or get voted out or even recalled/impeached.
In this scenario, these sheriffs are acting more like a jury of someone’s peers – presumably before they’ve even committed a crime – than they are someone elected to a leadership position in a community. You can’t lead from the middle of the pack, after all. Get up there and lead.
Secondly, if you’re going to quote the constitution in your argument, understand it. Again, not the Bible, so no picking and choosing.
The words “well regulated” are right there for everyone to see. If you’re objecting to a ban on high capacity magazines, then you’re objecting to the constitution itself.
Traitorous toddlers, that’s what these people are.
Plus, the very next word in the text of the amendment is militia. If you haven’t or wouldn’t serve in the military, your argument is starting off on shaky ground. Sure, the next part of this 27 word “right” – that has had countless words written and argued in interpretation of its meaning – speaks to the right to keep and bear arms. Awkwardly capitalized, by the way. But if you’re arguing that gun control is an infringement upon your rights here, I have some questions:
A) You’re not allowed to keep missiles or nukes as a private citizen, is that an infringement of your rights? Because those are also arms. At least be consistent in the ridiculousness of your argument. What, you don’t need a missive silo to feel safe? Oh, just enough high caliber rounds to – literally, not figuratively – cut a human in half without reloading? Got it.
B) How many guns do you need to be able to keep in order for your “right” to be fulfilled? Two arms and two hands is the human norm, is two guns sufficient to fulfill your right? Again, the militia must be well regulated, shouldn’t you – as merely a private citizen – not also be at least somewhat regulated? Guns aren’t single use, you can reload them. It’s not like you need more guns as long as the manufacturers continue to create them in a reloadable fashion, you should be ok, right? I mean, they’re guns, not accessories. You don’t need a closet full of them so you have a gun for every occasion, right? This accessory is for two occasions only: self-defense and recreation. That second need is also on shaky constitutional ground, in my opinion. So, again, two seems plenty. That’s not the control we’re voting on, though, is it?
No. Licensing, training and minimal limitations. That’s what the measure mandates.
But what do I know?
For once, I seem to know how not to overcomplicate something.
As voters, it’s not our job to tell the government how to do something. Our job is to tell them what to do.
After that, their job is to fucking figure it out.
So, 114 seems to have passed. Elected officials get to vote, just like everyone else* and that’s where their opinion matters. Once the people speak, they need to shut up and get the job done.
You’re in Oregon – just do it.
Oh, and good news…the Democrats have held the governor’s mansion! Sadly, Joann didn’t fare so well, losing out to someone with a 180 degree different opinion about the police.
But it’s Portland, we’re progressive but we also only just voted slavery out of our state constitution, so if crime is a pinch point in our politics, the black lady with an axe to grind with the police is definitely gonna have to go. The good news is we finally voted to replace our weak mayor, four at large elected commissioner form of city government that no other city this size uses with an even weaker mayor, three commissioners elected from four city districts form of government that also no other city uses at all…so I bet Joann will be back. And there isn’t enough gentrification possible to keep that from being a position she will hold as long as she wants in this city of very underrepresented black people.
I wasn’t – in case it wasn’t obvious – a fan of the proposed governmental change, but it did need to happen. If this was the only option, so be it. It wasn’t the only option, but the other, better option didn’t have the assurance of implantation that a referendum does. That worried me. But the bright side is more people representing more specific parts of our population. That I like. And if it’s a shit-show or laughing stock form of government? Well, we oughta be used to that by now.
*almost everyone else, but that, too, is another blog.