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Abortion Awareness on Campus

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It was a Monday. The South Oval of the University of Oklahoma was adorned with 18-foot pictures of aborted babies. On the ground, students and random passersby stood around the giant triangular exhibit, talking, yelling, and staring in disbelief.

“What do you think of this exhibit?” a teenager helping out with the event asked me.

I knew exactly what I thought about the event. In fact, I knew that the display would be there that day. It would be in same spot on Wednesday and Thursday too. The images are graphic, but people need to understand what abortion is and what it looks like.

“I’m pro-life,” I said, “and I think people need to see this and understand how awful it is.”

“What’s your name?” the boy said, holding out his hand.

“Jelani,” I said as I shook his hand. “I’m actually here to help out.”

“Oh, ok,” he said back. “Nice to meet you.”

The boy walked off to engage someone else in conversation while I stood looking at the pictures. I wasn’t completely shocked by the images of bloody, half-developed babies. I’d seen the pictures before.

The summer before my senior year, I took a speech class. We had to do an oral presentation on anything we wanted. I chose to talk about abortion.

I prepared my speech, and created a visual aid with pictures of abortion I had found on the internet. Some of the pictures I pasted on my poster board, were some of the same pictures that now towered above me.

I was not shocked as someone who was seeing the images for the first time, but I was shocked to see the images so big.

A group of girls now stood on top of a bench with signs. They yelled, “My body, my choice,” and “Keep abortion safe, legal, and rare.”

This display disgusted me more than the pictures ever would. They sounded so selfish.

I wanted to yell at them with my fist in the air, but I had to stay cool; I was there to engage people in calm, thought-provoking dialogue.

Yet, I was angered by these women who felt that their rights were more important than an unborn baby, so much so that it became ok to get rid of the child if it infringed on those “rights.”

Their chant about keeping abortion safe, legal, and rare frustrated me as well, considering how abortion in this country is anything but rare.

There are nearly 1.5 million abortions in the US each year. How is that rare?

The protesters insisted that they were not pro-abortion per se, they just wanted women to always have the choice to abort depending on the circumstances.

They asked repeatedly, “What if the woman was raped?”

The number of abortions administered due to rape account for 1% of abortions. I wondered what the reason for the other 99% of abortions was. It seems to me that the majority of abortions happen because of reckless decisions. If 1% of abortions are due to rape and a fraction more due to complications between the child and the mother, then not wanting to deal with consequences is really the only other explanation.

That is what Justice for All is trying to raise awareness about: the recklessness and senselessness of abortion.

According to their website, the mission statement of JFA is to “train thousands to make abortion unthinkable for millions, one person at a time.”

Their method for doing this is by showing the true horror and violence in 18-foot display on college campuses around the country. Frankly, I think it is the best way to get the attention of an apathetic society that often chooses to turn a blind eye to injustice rather than facing it head on. I share in their mission to raise awareness about abortion and hopefully put an end to it.

I am not a complete outsider to the issue either. I have a family member who received an abortion. I know firsthand that it affects more people than just the woman. When I learned that I had lost my family member, I spent a while mourning for them. I felt like the baby was my own child and I wished that I could have been there to stop it from happening.

I felt victimized right along with her. Some doctor had touched her body and did something to it that they had no right to do. It angered and saddened me.

I shared this story on the free speech board that JFA had placed near the exhibit.

As I continued to come to the exhibit throughout the day, I had doubts for a moment about whether the JFA exhibit was really accomplishing what it was supposed to. All the shouting of pro-choice protesters and the sometimes heated debates got to me. My heart became heavy and I had to walk away from it all for a moment.

Then as I reflected on everything, I realized that when something as drastic as the murder of millions of unborn babies was occurring, that perhaps a drastic measure had to be taken. And beyond that, amongst all the debate and fighting, true open-hearted dialogue about abortion was occurring. The message may have been controversial, but it was opening up minds and hearts.

I again reflected on the time I gave the presentation in speech class. After I presented my speech and poster, I remember hearing a girl say, “I’ll never have an abortion.”

That was my goal in doing what I did. If one woman decides that there is a better way than abortion, then that is one step in the right direction. After experiencing the Justice for All display and meeting the people who are passionate about its cause, I know that this is their goal too: ending the horror of abortion one person at a time.

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About Jelani Sims

  • DRF

    It seems to me that the majority of abortions happen because of reckless decisions.

    Please research this with the same diligence that you gave your other statistics. You will find that many women used birth control but found that it did not work or were mistaken about the risks of getting pregnant. The idea of making abortion safe, legal and rare is to devote time, energy and funds to increasing the reliability of birth control and increasing the availability of sex education.

    As for a doctor not having the right to touch your relative, he or she got that right when she gave him or her permission to do so. Check that; it wasn’t a right. It was a duty.

  • There are nearly 1.5 million abortions in the US each year. How is that rare?

    Well, there are 100 million women of childbearing age in the US, having sex an average of about twice a week, so that’s 10 billion times a woman can get pregnant. So 1.5 million abortions means that only about 1 in 6700 chances of conception results in abortion. That’s really very rare.

    then not wanting to deal with consequences is really the only other explanation.

    Abortion IS a way of dealing with the consequences. It may not be one you like, but it’s certainly a way of dealing with it.

    BTW, when you’re out ‘spreading the gospel’ around the world make sure you don’t do it in any of those countries where it is likely to get you thrown in jail. Oddly enough, all countries where abortion is strictly illegal.

    Dave

  • If abortion is wrong because it looks so disgusting, I guess we should also outlaw giving birth.

  • Cindy D

    Jelani,

    I take it you support bringing back a reasonable welfare program for poor single mothers?

  • zingzing

    meatloaf should also be outlawed. both the food and the singer. never has a name better fit a persona. both the singer and the food. if meatloaf could talk… or sing…

  • Jelani,

    I live in a country where abortion is legal, and frankly the attempts to educate men and women not to have them are abysmally unsuccessful.

    I’m against abortion, but Jewish law does not forbid it, as the admonition against it does not deal with the commandment against murder, and the legal theory in Jewish law has nothing to do with the prohibition against murder. Israeli civil law allows abortion upon consent of a doctor that the fetus may harm the mother – consent almost always given.

    The culture that pushes abortion also pushes sex without consequences. And to be blunt, fucking makes babies. So, the idea that “fucking without consequences” is where you should start your educational efforts. Pregnancy is the natural consequence of fucking, and abortion is an attempt to ditch the consequence.

    That truth has to be stated that bluntly and that baldly. All the arguments about “my body, my life” can be met with that blunt, unkind, bald fact of biology. To tell a woman that she wants to fuck without the consequences – more to the point, to tell her boyfriend that – gets to the issue and cuts through all the arguments they want to make about their rights.

    In traditional societies, the idea that the wife is just a free sex service regardless of the consequence is very strong, so being against abortion can put you on the forefront of guaranteeing the rights of women.

    In “first world” societies, when you look just a bit further, barely turning the page of a newspaper, or scanning a web-site, you get to the root of the problem. At many of the articles I read here, the banner ad is for a website in Hebrew that hustles an on-line dating service. And the commercial shows a young thing with a tiny bikini on at the beach jumping her boyfriend, smothering him in kisses – over and over again.

    In short, you live in a culture that pushes sex without the merest thought of its most elemental consequence – and the cruel method used to ditch that consequence.

    You live in a culture of throw-away babies. And, to my shame, so do I.

    Mind you, Jelani, I’m not part of the crowd that wants to make abortion illegal. Doing so would violate Jewish law, and would create a market that a mafia here would immediately infiltrate.
    But the cultural war can be fought – and maybe even won here and there.

    Righteousness exalts a nation.

    If there are a generation of young men and women who view sex without consequences as fundamentally morally wrong, you will not see the abuse of abortion when it is truly needed.

  • Righteousness exalts a nation.

    I return to that point. Cindy’s suggestion. A reasonable welfare program for young single mothers, coupled with an adoption service that can match unwanted babies with barren parents MUST go along with any legislation that makes it very difficult to get an abortion, if the legislation is to have any meaning at all. That is as true here as anywhere else.

  • Jet

    Actions have consequences, banning abortions means more and frequent clotheshanger proceedures, and a loss of the woman’s ability to have children when she wants them.

    Consider what this world would be like if the religious right actually succeeded in cleansing everything they supposedly object to.

    Men and women most likely would live in separate dormatories, and sex would be only allowed to produce children, anything else like oral or anal sex between HETROsexual couples would be illegal and a jailable offense.

    Most people don’t realize that all those southern bible-belt sodomy laws pertained to straight married couples too you know!

  • Baronius

    Dave, if you compare the abortion rate to the number of planets in the universe, the number is even lower! About 20% of all US pregnancies (not counting spontaneous abortions or miscarriages) end in abortion. That seems high. But it’s not really about the numbers. If “only” 1.2 million guns were confiscated last year, the number wouldn’t seem low to you. It’s the injustice of each particular act that offends. Each particular unjust act that people like Jelani avert is a win.

    Ruvy is right, and so is DRF indirectly. Everyone’s had moments when they weren’t thinking about the consenquences, but the consequences are there. As a society, we’ve forgotten that sex makes babies, so you’ve got to figure that we’re just about the stupidest society of all time.

    Jet, the article doesn’t say anything about making abortion illegal.

  • if you compare the abortion rate to the number of planets in the universe, the number is even lower!

    Sorry, Baronius, but that’s a fallacy. You have no information about the abortion rates on other planets, because we do not know if any of them are inhabited or if such lifeforms as might exist there practice abortion. So let’s limit ourselves to Earth.

    Dave’s point is that every act of male-female sexual intercourse potentially results in pregnancy – and I would go so far as to state that pregnancy is not the intended goal in the vast majority of couplings. So the number of them that end in abortion – compared to the number that result in either an unhindered pregnancy or the death of all the gametes involved – really isn’t that high.

  • Jet

    Them damned hetrosexuals are always causing trouble ain’t they? There aught to be a law!!

  • Clavos

    Doc,

    I think Baronius was alluding to how many planets there are in the universe, not what, if anything, their birth rates might be…

  • The number of U.S. cancer deaths in 2007(?) was 564,000. The number of new cancer cases was 1.2 million. If we are going to compare the number of abortions (almost 1.5 million, according to the article) with something, these seem more useful benchmarks than the number of planets, the fertility rates or death rates of planets.

    I don’t suggest that a comparison is particularly useful, only that if there is to be one this makes more sense.

    I wonder. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

    Dan(Miller)

  • Clavos

    A woodchuck would chuck as much wood as a woodchuck could chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood.

  • That may be the answer, but I think forty-two is a better one. However, that is merely a statement of opinion, not fact, in case an ombudsperson is lurking.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Clavos

    Aahh, but it is a learned opinon, counselor…

  • Clavos

    opinion, too…

    But not in the same sense as Judge Hand’s opinions were Learned.

  • If the woodchuck is getting so much wood, he’s probably going to get some female woodchuck pregnant and have to get her an abortion.

    Dave

  • Jelani –

    No one likes abortion. Everyone on both sides of the issue know that it is a tragedy. But if you’re the one who knows that you’re not ready to raise a child, who knows that once that child is born, your own chances for completing your education are greatly diminished, who knows that you have little or no support from your own family, the decision is not so easy.

    If we want to take the anti-abortion argument to its logical conclusion, then what are we to think of a political organization that has no problem with, say, pregnant women drinking alcohol or driving without a seat belt? Are you going to pass a law saying that if a pregnant woman drinks or rides in a car without a seat belt, that they are guilty of child endangerment? Are you going to require establishments that serve alcohol to ask each woman whether she’s pregnant before they serve her alcohol?

    I am the foster dad of a child with fetal-drug syndrome. Another foster child of mine had fetal-alcohol syndrome – and this child has since passed away. Each of these children costs the state about a quarter million dollars in taxpayers’ money every year.

    Abortion is a tragedy…but who should be the one making the decision whether that is right for a scared young girl who sees her own future going down the tubes? The government?

    It’s not just a matter of rape, but of what kind of household the girl was raised in, of her own level of ability to provide for that child.

    I strongly recommend you read Freakonomics. It’s a truly non-partisan book that gives conclusions based only on the numbers – and those numbers show that there is a strong likelihood that the great drop in the crime rate in the 1990’s is directly attributable to Roe v. Wade in the 70’s. Why? Because children who are unwanted or who grow up in broken household are much more likely to commit crimes, and the otherwise unwanted children who would have been in their late teens and early twenties were no longer there in the 90’s to commit crimes.

    That’s a sad, hard truth to bear…but it is the truth. It is fact. Leave your emotions out of it and see where your reason takes you.

  • Dave,

    I think you may be suffering from species confusion. It’s woodchuck, not woodpecker.

    Dan(Miller)

  • This reminds me of the tale of Judge John Knott of Arkansas, who sentenced a man named Lester Yeshudbi to jail for procuring an illegal abortion in 1974.

    It turned out that Mr Yeshudbi was himself a judge from the State Supreme Court, sent undercover to investigate why Knott was still sentencing abortion cases even though Roe v. Wade had rendered them legal.

    According to the recorded transcript, the sentencing in Knott’s subsequent impeachment trial began thus:

    “Judge Knott, Lester Yeshudbi judged…”

  • What only Doc has alluded to here is the role of sex, specifically intercourse in modern society. The notion that people have intercourse with the intent of making babies – at least in most of the western world – is rarely the case.

    The notion that people should abstain from coupling except when attempting to conceive comes from another place in time. Much more often than not, people screw for pleasure. There remains a significant segment of our society that believes such activity is “dirty” or sinful. In that regard, those people can kiss my ass.

    As I believe that we humans are the closest thing any of us know of to actually being gods, it is then our purview to make life and death decisions, which we do everyday.

    Most abortions result in the destruction of a mass of cells. Even in the case when a discernible fetus is terminated, it is not a living, breathing, self aware being. The fact is, we don’t seem to even blink when killing actual human beings – often by the thousands, yet we get all hand wringy when it comes to abortion.

    No, it’s not pretty, but then as is noted above, there are a lot of things we do and encounter on a daily basis that’s not pretty. The assumption that an unborn fetus suffers any pain or mental anguish is – as Stan might say – bollocks. The same can hardly be said for, say a family rooted out of their home, forced to their knees and then beheaded one by one.

    In a perfect world, abortion would not exist. However, in case some of you all haven’t noticed, the world we currently are living on does not provide us a “perfect” life. So called “pro-lifers” make assumptions about the motives for women who opt for abortions. There are likely as many reasons for doing so as there are women who decide to have them. This is just another instance of one segment of a society forcing its beliefs on others via legislation. It’s the same crap as those who oppose same sex marriage.

    B

  • I think Baronius was alluding to how many planets there are in the universe

    Still a fallacy, Clav. Just a false analogy rather than a reductio ad absurdam.

  • Baronius

    Glenn says that abortion is a tragedy. Baritone says that most abortions result in the destruction of a mass of cells. What’s so tragic about the destruction of a mass of cells?

  • Clavos

    or absurdum…:>)

  • Baronius

    Dread, I was saying (I guess clumsily) that the numbers game seems unimportant, and the relative rarity of an injust act shouldn’t affect our perception of it. I guess I was accusing Dave of a false analogy.

  • Doc –

    I recommend “A Boy and His Dog” by Harlan Ellison – the book is good, but I really think you’ll appreciate the movie.

  • Cindy D

    Glenn,

    I forgot they made that into a movie. I had meant to see it one day. He’s one of my favorite writers.

    It was a great story. I read it in The Beast that Shouted Love at the Heart of the World.

    Did you ever read Deathbird Stories? It’s my favorite Harlan Ellison collection.

    Thanks for the reminder. It is something to look forward to.

  • Cindy D

    I think Dr.D would very much like Harlan Ellison, if he hasn’t already indulged.

  • Ellison repudiated the movie and sued to get his name taken off of it. He’d probably rather you didn’t watch it.

    Instead, as blogcritics, you ought to go read The Glass Teat, one of the greatest examples of critical essay writing of the 20th century.

    BTW, Glenn, are you aware that the author of Freakonomics has used those same analytical skills to totally demolish the arguments for gun control and to argue that gun ownership is directly responsible for reductions in crime?

    Dave

  • I love Harlan Ellison!

  • Dave –

    The only reason I recommended the movie was because it ended with the greatest pun I’ve ever seen…and I thought Doc – with his ‘Judge Knott’ story above – might enjoy it.

    And I’m well aware of the Freakonomics author’s demolition of the gun-control arguments. I did read the book. If you’ll look at my posts, I do NOT advocate total outlawing of guns, for as the author points out, many more children die in swimming pools than by guns at home. BUT what he does NOT dispute is that states with lax gun laws have significantly higher rates of gun-related crime and guns legally purchased in those states have a significantly higher rate of being used in gun-related crimes in states with tougher gun laws.

    What I advocate is what makes sense for all: Guns cannot be eliminated – that is flatly impossible. Therefore, register all guns, require safety training in every class of firearm for prospective owners, destroy all guns found in illegal possession or used in a crime, and have background checks on all buyers (including those at gun shows).

    These are not onerous requirements, Dave. These make sense and will lower the crime rate. If you don’t think so, then name even ONE modern country that has less-restrictive gun laws than America and is a safe and peaceful place to live. Even ONE. Hint – Switzerland’s laws are MORE restrictive than ours….

  • Cindy D

    Christopher,

    Have you read Deathbird Stories? I would think you would particularly like that collection.

    “Deathbird Stories: A Pantheon of Modern Gods is a 1975 collection of short stories written by Harlan Ellison over a period of ten years[1]; the stories address the theme of modern-day “deities” that have replaced the older, more traditional ones. The collection, with its satirical, skeptical tone, is widely considered one of Ellison’s best.” (wikipedia)

  • Glenn, there are good gun laws and bad gun laws. Laws which keep guns out of the hands of criminals and protect the gun rights of lawful citizens are desirable. Laws which encourage training and the development of gun skills – like CCW laws – are generally a good thing. Laws which place stronger punishment on the use of guns in the comission of a crime are good. Laws which restrict access to guns or discourage gun ownership for law abiding citizens are inherently bad.

    Dave

  • Dave –

    Look again – I’m NOT against gun ownership. I AM against guns being too easily accessible to those who shouldn’t have them.

    I thought about it, and I think CCW laws would be good in EVERY state. Why? Because in order for someone to have a permit for a concealed weapon, he or she must first register that weapon…and I think I can say that a registered weapon is far less likely to be used in a crime.

    But I see nothing in your reply disputing the four requirements that I want, so I’ll repeat them here:

    * register all guns;
    * require safety training in every class of firearm for prospective owners;
    * destroy all guns found in illegal possession or used in a crime;
    * and require background checks on all buyers (including those at gun shows).

    Is there anything here that restricts gun ownership by law-abiding citizenry? No. What it does do is keep them honest. Right now it’s too easy for someone to purchase guns where they’re not required to be registered, and then take them to a more-restrictive state and sell them on the street to make a big profit.

    THAT, sir, is why it has been PROVEN that guns from states that do NOT require registration are MUCH more likely to be used for crimes than guns from states where registration is required.

    Frankly, Dave, I’ve learned that when someone starts spouting uber-patriotic drivel about the ‘war’ on the Second Amendment, I bear in mind Samuel Johnson’s caveat: “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” IGNORE the oh-so-patriotic rhetoric and look at the NUMBERS. Gun ownership is NOT threatened (the Supreme Court just strengthened it, remember).

  • Here are the standard counters to your standard arguments:

    * register all guns;

    So that the government has a list of who to confiscate them from when the police state is instituted, as happened in New Orleans after Katrina.

    * require safety training in every class of firearm for prospective owners;

    Less unreasonable, but it’s just a ploy to make it more inconvenient to own a gun, thereby discouraging gun ownership.

    * destroy all guns found in illegal possession or used in a crime;

    Just wasteful. The guns didn’t commit a crime. Why not sell them and use the proceeds to help finance law enforcement?

    * and require background checks on all buyers (including those at gun shows).

    Because this presupposes that all buyers are criminals and treats them that way. It also puts an onerous restriction on private individuals who want to sell their private guns.

    THAT, sir, is why it has been PROVEN that guns from states that do NOT require registration are MUCH more likely to be used for crimes than guns from states where registration is required.

    It’s also been proven that stolen guns are used for crimes more than legal guns regardless of state of origin. So let’s make stealing guns illegal. Oh wait, it already is.

    BTW, I’d rather see a college student with a loaded gun than a loaded uterus.

    Dave

  • Baronius

    Glenn, you’ve made the comment several times that you support the destruction of guns that were used in a crime. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why. Is it like putting down a dog that’s attacked someone? Does a crime make the gun crimier?

    Guns aren’t illegal. Police destroy drugs because the drugs themselves are illegal. They sell confiscated property because there’s nothing illegal about a seized car or boat. There’s no reason not to resell guns.

    I also note your specificity about training prospective owners of any gun in the use of every gun. Again, you’ve mentioned it more than once, so it must have some meaning to you. Maybe I’m the only one who doesn’t understand it, but please explain it to me.

  • Baronius

    Dang it, Dave, I should have refreshed my browser sooner. You made the same point I did. But I have thought of another reason to destroy guns used for crimes. Once they’ve been defiled, no other man would want them.

  • Mark Eden

    It’s probably an economic thing Baronious. Glenn must hold significant stock in Ruger or S&W.

    Mark

  • Mark Eden

    o

  • Every vehicle driver must obtain and maintain a license. To obtain this license, the prospective driver must take and pass both a written and practical exam to insure that he or she has at least a nominal understanding of the rules of the road, and the ability to safely operate a vehicle in traffic.

    Every vehicle owner must register and license every vehicle. Fairly meticulous records are kept regarding any infractions or mishaps a driver may have. Under some circumstances, a driver’s right to operate a vehicle may be diminished or curtailed altogether. Certain infractions while driving can land a person in jail.

    Why?

    There are a number of reasons including taxation and so forth, but the primary reason is that a moving vehicle has the potential to destroy property and to do bodily harm. A moving vehicle has the postential to be deadly. And that is not even the intent or purpose for which a vehicle is designed, built and operated.

    The overwhelming majority of all guns are designed, manufactured and purchased for one reason: To wound, disable or kill other human beings. Neither that “C” model Glock pistol in your night stand, nor that 357 Magnum under the seat of your car are there for any purpose other than to shoot someone else.

    But, no. We shouldn’t expect people to register and license their ownership of such devices. Nor should they demonstrate that they have any idea how to use them. Just buy it. Take it home. Load it up. Slide it into your nightstand drawer or place it under your pillow and hope to shit that in a moment of panic when you wake up thinking that a burglar is creeping up the hallway, that you don’t blow your balls off, or shoot your wife’s Aunt Marybell as she is making her way to the john in the dark. Hell, it’ll be fine. It’s just like a camera, right? Just point and shoot!

    And yes, by all means, let’s arm kids on college campuses. What a fucking great idea! Just think how having 18 – 22 year olds armed will add spice to frat parties. Imagine the new dimensions, the possibilities for frat/sorority hazings. Just imagine how it will force a professor to think twice before giving some gun totin’ slacker an “F” on a term paper or final exam. Of course, presumably, the professors – you know, those crazy liberal, pinko-commie professors – will be armed as well, so maybe the prof and the slacker could take it outside with the rest of the class at heal, to watch them duel it out – ten paces, turn, and SPAT! That could sure make that 8AM British Lit class more interesting, no? Yeah, arming college kids would be, well, just the coolest. Maybe the gun makers could produce some handguns in cool colors, maybe to match their cell phones or Ipods or Laptops. That’d be great!

    How about the vision of a pregnant coed WITH a gun. Yeah, that’s the ticket!

    B

  • I agree, Baritone. We should do away with drivers licenses. Good argument.

    As for arming students, I refer you to the wise and patriotic kids at < http://www.concealedcampus.com“>Students for Concealed Carry on Campus.

    Dang, now I want a gunmetal blue iPod.

    Dave

  • Well, hell Dave, let’s do away with ALL licensing. That’s the way to go, right? No requirements of any kind. No record keeping. No government oversite.

    No licenses for doctors, nurses, lawyers, hell – barbers, oh, and hey – pilots! Screw it all. Let em all just take their fucking chances.

    Of course, those “wise and patriotic kids” represent the majority of those seeking “higher” education.

    B

  • BT, I’m all for reasonable government regulation. And I have to point out that all of the groups you mention are NOT licensed by the government, but by private boards or organizations.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    Notwithstanding B-tone’s passion, many “licenses” issued in these Untidy States ARE nothing more than revenue generators.

    There is absolutely no valid reason, other than revenue, for states to force citizens to purchase license plates for their vehicles. The same goes for most city occupational licenses, when such are issued with no requirements other than payment of a fee.

    Other examples: hunting and fishing licenses (seasons and bag limits can be enforced without them), radiotelephone operator licenses (unlike ham licenses, no proficiency required), boat registrations, etc., etc.

    Licenses which require demonstration of a degree of proficiency in a trade are another matter, but the vast majority have no such requirements.

    They’re just another form of taxation.

  • I beg to differ. The State of Indiana issues licenses for doctors, dentists, anasthesiologists, pharmacists, occupational and physical therapists, pharmacists, funeral directors, psychologists, nurses, several other medical practitioners, barbers, all types of real estate practitioners etc., etc., etc.

    Even in the case what you refer to as “private boards or organizations” have what is the equivalent of government authority. An attorney cannot practice law without a license. and could be arrested for doing so.

    B

  • Cannonshop

    Hmmmm… Okay, so let’s see…

    If gun use/ownership were similar to a driver’s license, then the fees collected would go to the construction and maintenance of public facilities where the gun owner could operate their licensed device (like, say, shooting ranges), the criteria would be an age requirement, and a demonstration of proficiency to a state official from the Dept. of Licensing. Notably, somewhere to demonstrate this proficiency would have to be maintained in most jurisdictions (hmmm…LOTS of shooting ranges!). To assure uniform quality, the State would probably need to pay for instructors for the licensing people-after all, your drivers’ test isn’t administered by just anyone, and there are criteria.

    Huh, I like that bit. Lots of shooting ranges so I can operate my state-licensed firearm (which, accordingly, would have to be devoid of illegal modifications, much as my car must have proper insurance, good tyres, brakes, working turn indicators, and headlights, and not be linked to a Nitrous oxide system or have other illegal modifications to use on public roads…)

    Firearms for testing would have to undergo a safety inspection (which is also nice-wouldn’t want to buy a handgun and find that it’s so badly out of time that it’s hazardous to shoot…)

    But the really FUN part is, like with automobiles, if you’re on private property, the government can’t tell you what kind of gun, how it works, or what accessories it has strapped to its frame, you own-for that matter, like an automobile, the government couldn’t prevent you from operating your firearm on private property without a license! It just means you can’t carry it around in public without a license (or more particularly, can’t carry with the intention of using in public-well, we already HAVE concealed and open carry statutes, don’t we?)
    This is a direct similarity to automobile licensing in most states.

    The really GREAT thing, of course, is that if I get my snazzy “Gun License” in, say, New Mexico, it’s good in New York City-because we’re treating guns like we do cars, and if your car is licensed in New Mexico State, you can drive in NYC (though it’s not recommended) and you won’t go to prison for the simple action of going through a particular City…and if (under such a regime) I WERE to go to New York with my licensed gun and my license in my pocket, I’d be able to find a public gun-range where my range-fees are subsidized-because it’s paid for by the system of gun-licensing.

    Hmmm… might see a resurgence of competition shooting-sports and high-power rifle competitions, a situation that I don’t regard as a bad thing at all. Further, if we required everyone (even pacifists) to learn to shoot, and get proficient at the range, maybe the “Mystery” and “Power” allure of “Gunz” would finally be got rid of, we can move on from hearing about this mystical “power of the gun” that turns ordinary people into criminals (something I still don’t get- shoot, stab, beat, push out a window, run over by a car, blown up-dead is dead, Murder is Murder, people are scum, and it’s not the fault of some kind of evil totem thing that they are.)

    Honestly, I’d not be opposed to such an approach, but there’s a down-side I can’t get around. It’s far, far, easier to ban and restrict, than it is to actually regulate, and unlike driving a car (which is a privelage), Bearing Arms is a Right. Even the Supreme Court recognized it (finally).

    AND they’re giving illegal aliens driver’s licenses. I’m not reassured at the idea that non-citizens who didn’t come here legally might be licensed to carry a handgun LEGALLY.

    AND I don’t trust my government to do much of anything either competently (even building roads, I’m sorry to say), nor even-handedly (Universal licensing schemes translate into “Party Apparatchiks and Friends of the crooked-but-powerful”, as demonstrated by New York and Chicago.)

  • Cannon,

    Ludicrous bullshit!

    B

  • Condor

    let’s do away with ALL licensing. – Baritone

    Your papers please! (spoken with a German accent).

    That’s a joke, but it kind of has a ring to it.
    We have no rights, only privledges that the government allows us to have. Oh sure they’re called rights, but the meaning has changed. I hate it when the meanings of words change, it keeps thing so confusing.

    Abortion? Choice? Where does the choice begin and where doesn the choice end.

    The choice begins with:

    Do I have sex or not?
    Do I have unprotected sex or not?

    If I have sex and it’s unprotected and I become pregnant…. I would contend that that is where the choice ends and the responsibility begins.

    Is abortion just another way to ditch responsibily? Why? Because we can?

    As a male, I am totally unqualified to make that argument, but as a man looking through the glass darkly (so to speak), I would accept the resonsibilty… but hey, that’s just me.

    How’s that for syntax ZingZing? You are the substitute grammer teacher today? Aren’t you?

    Oh and by the way teach, WTF kind of syntax did Twain or Hemingway employ?

  • Condor

    “I AM against guns being too easily accessible to those who shouldn’t have them.” – Glen

    Good point, I’m ALL what I call the “Cowboy Program” which is to own a sidearm, rifle and perhaps a shotgun, then carry them everywhere, always. Handguns in the nightstand kill children. Carry it. Then put it up at night. I think guns are nice pieces of machinery. A tool, an appliance, nothing more.

    Here’s some facts to ruminate with:
    1. 41% = drop in the firearm murder rates from 1991 to 2006.
    2. 70 million = increase in the number of guns owned in the same period
    3. 5.4 = the murder rate per 100,000 in 1993
    4. 3 = number rate per 100,000 since 2000

    If you own a firearm, keep it close or keep it locked up, hidden, etc….

  • C-shop –

    First off, the eternal conservative ASSUMPTION that governments can’t do anything competently –

    Well, gee, then WHY do the TOP TWENTY-SEVEN countries on the list of nations by life expectancy ALL have government-run Universal Health Care?

    And WHY did Alan Greenspan recently admit that the deregulated financial sector did NOT act in accordance with trickle-down dogma and landed us in the current economic meltdown?

    And if governments can’t even build roads properly, then would you please point out ANY example of a nationwide network of roads that was ever built privately? (btw – don’t try to use the railroads as an example, because John Q. Public doesn’t have a train in his garage) If you’re going to gripe about the government, then at least have the courtesy to point out a SOLUTION.

    And if government can’t do anything right, then explain the satellite communications (built privately but largely put into space by the government) without which we can do pretty much squat anymore?

    YES, THERE ARE MANY THINGS THAT GOVERNMENT CAN’T DO WELL…and things they shouldn’t attempt at all…but YOU, C-shop, are trapped by the conservative rhetoric that government must never be trusted with anything. For every example you provide of a corporation doing something better than government, I’ll provide you one of government doing something better than a corporation.

    Does this mean that I think the government should run everything? Hell, no! (please forgive the curseword) What we MUST do, though is see what government DOES do better than the private sector (like health care and environmental management and regulation of financial markets) and let the government do exactly that…WITH the oversight that conservatives loathe.

    I think your biggest mistake, C-shop, is not understanding the true motivation of government workers, the great majority of whom are NOT driven by the ‘profit motive’. Instead of trying to make a profit, that great majority try to do the best job they can so they can get promoted. YES, there are backstabbers, and YES, there are slackers, and YES, there is internal politics…but do you REALLY think that such aren’t found in corporations?

    Organizations that are driven by profit rather than by duty to a higher ideal will almost always experience a higher level of corruption. Point out any corrupt government in the world…and you can rest assured that the companies and corporations within that country are at least as corrupt and probably more so.

  • Cindy D

    Government excels at doing exactly what it does Glenn.

    In 1994 60% of the population wanted increases in social programs. They were 6:1 against increases in military spending.

    The government cut social programs and increased military spending.

  • Clavos

    …the true motivation of government workers…

    Umm, let’s see…that would be marking time in dismissal-and-layoff-proof sinecures with no accountability, until retirement (at an early age), then going to work for the very people you dealt with in the government, and double dipping!!

  • Clav, don’t forget the ones who retire early and then get rehired by their old agencies as consultants, earning twice their original salary, plus their pension for doing the same job.

    Dave

  • How about the thousands of government workers who go about doing their jobs, generally for a great deal less than what they could make doing similar work in the private sector, put in their 30 years in obscurity, and retire to live out their lives on a very limited and fixed income, ultimately being forced to give up what little they may have in order to be allowed the privilege of being warehoused in some rat infested nursing home, being fed dinner through a straw out of a blender, suffering open bed sores on their backsides until they have the good grace to die?

    Oh, btw Glen, your resorting to profanity in #51 above (I’m shocked!) invalidated your entire comment. I’m so disappointed.

    B

  • B-Tone. I don’t see how the grim outcome you depict is unique to government employees or especially associated with them. Most government employees have far better retirement packages and benefits than workers in the private sector.

    Dave

  • Cannonshop

    #51 Glenn, nice shill for our public masters-most “Civil Servants” are civil servants because they’re smart enough to pass the test, but too incompetent to get a real job.

    The payoff isn’t “Duty”, it’s “POWER”. The power to coerce, to make other citizens beg and prostrate.

    Once upon a time, we might have had real “Public Servants”, Glenn. The interstate Highway system was built on a tax base that was roughly 3% of the income generated in the general populace. From Atlas to Apollo was only about a nickel per citizen-at a time when the average income was over five grand a year.

    We don’t have “Public Servants” anymore. We have a government that DESERVES our mistrust, sir.

    A government that operates and behaves JUST LIKE A BIG CORPORATION with only one difference-it isn’t there to serve its customers, it’s there to enslave them, to exploit them, and to expand itself and its presence in their lives.

  • C-shop –

    nice shill for our public masters-most “Civil Servants” are civil servants because they’re smart enough to pass the test, but too incompetent to get a real job.

    Wrong! I’ve worked in both sectors, and the background checks and competency factors for government workers – especially for those that require a security clearance – are FAR more stringent than what I’ve seen in the private sector! NOT ONCE did I see it otherwise. What you’re claiming is a complete and utter fallacy, part of the continual conservative talking point about the corruption of government…and that talking point is false.

    Dave and Clavos –

    One doesn’t work for twenty years thinking, “I’m only doing this because after twenty or thirty years I’ll go work in the private sector for twice the money.”

    I don’t know how old you are, but perhaps you’ve forgotten that the motivations of young men (and women) who just enter on a career usually have a great deal more to do with sex/house/car/sex/beer/travel/and-more-sex…and NOT on double-dipping at some point a few decades in the future.

  • An addendum on that last post – often the motivation is that the government job is STABLE and will be there ten, twenty, thirty years away…whereas jobs in the private sector are not nearly so stable.

    Frankly, that speaks more poorly of jobs in the private sector IMO, because if you want a stable family life, then you need a STABLE JOB…which is a major reason why FAR more poor people than rich join the military.

    If the private sector provided truly STABLE jobs, then this wouldn’t be the case.

  • Clavos

    often the motivation is that the government job is STABLE and will be there ten, twenty, thirty years away…whereas jobs in the private sector are not nearly so stable.

    Exactly, because in the private sector, you are held accountable, and if you don’t (or can’t) perform, you get fired, whereas in the “civil service,” it’s almost impossible to fire even a lazy-ass non-performing dickhead.

    And, I speak from experience. In my misspent youth, I worked a couple of federal jobs until I realized that promotions weren’t based on merit, but on seniority, and that, though I probably wouldn’t be fired, I was bored with the the job, the people, and the work rules, which stymied creativity and initiative.

    In federal service, I more than once had a supervisor tell me I was doing too much, to pull back and stick to the quotas set by the job description, even though those were way less than any competent person could achieve.

    As far as background checks are concerned, I had mine–the FBI even questioned my grade school teachers and parents’ friends/neighbors), but those had nothing to do with anything concerned with competence, they were for a high level security clearance, which I was granted.

    There’s a certain mentality, centered on mediocrity, necessary to work for the government, and I don’t have it.

    So I got smart and got out.

  • Clavos

    The old aphorism that government work attracts those who can’t qualify for private sector jobs, while hyperbolic as many such claims are, is nevertheless rooted in a grain of truth, and no amount of protestations to the contrary can negate that.

    Sure, there are some (few) very high level civil service jobs which require initiative and intelligence to perform, but the vast majority of civil service (and military) jobs are filled by drones marking time.

  • Ahem…

  • Clavos

    Present company excepted, of course!

  • Well, strictly speaking I don’t work for the government. Although housing authorities operate with federal money and under the CFR*, they are independent entities with their own boards and policies and enjoy a great deal of autonomy in the way they do business.

    * I mean the Code of Federal Regulations. Down, Pablo!

  • Irene wagner

    Do federal mandates (and the political maneuvers required to get the “right” kind of justices and reps in place to enact them) cause too much polarization across a nation that needs a unified approach to so many other problems? I don’t know. Jelani Sims, switching focus from the political arena to the work of changing one heart at a time might be the best way to raise awareness and respect for life in the womb that will last through the generations.

    Some people will be just as passionate as you are with presenting the pro- side of the argument, but others will be immensely grateful for being warned about falling into something that might cause them immense sorrow later on. Then there are those who have had abortions themselves, or encouraged with perhaps far too heavy a hand) women to get abortions. These may, after the fact, become aware of the humanity of those they had a hand in killing, and feel enormous inner pain and guilt, sometimes mixed with self-protecting defensiveness.

    Your bio mentions an intent to preach the gospel. There are some, again, who will mock you for taking a stand for Christ, but these may be the same people who need to hear it, who will eventually respond to God’s love and be changed forever. There is no sin, not even abortion, no wound in the spirit of a truly penitent person that Christ’s Blood cannot cover and bind up. God gives a fresh start–and many fresh starts along the transformational road to glory. Keep fighting the good fight, Jelani Sims.

    To the rest of y’all, you know I’ve paid my dues, and then some, responding to “what about this discrepancy in the Bible” questions. For a season or two, there is no time for BC arguments, much as I enjoy them. I happened to take a peek into BC, and wanted to thank and encourage Jelani Sims.

  • Well, actually they don’t. But the blanket characterizations government employees are painted with here are presumptive and unfair. The great majority of government employees do their jobs – and yes, for generally less pay than their private counterparts – without gaining any advantage either during or after their tenure in government. The assumption that government workers are lazy, inept, or on the make any more so than those in the private sector is bogus and unfair to them. Most government workers are honest, capable and hard working, often at jobs that are mind numbingly boring.

    B

  • I speak from experience. In my misspent youth, I worked a couple of federal jobs until I realized that promotions weren’t based on merit, but on seniority, and that, though I probably wouldn’t be fired, I was bored with the the job, the people, and the work rules, which stymied creativity and initiative.

    In federal service, I more than once had a supervisor tell me I was doing too much, to pull back and stick to the quotas set by the job description, even though those were way less than any competent person could achieve.

    Clavos’ description of employment with the federal government is painfully accurate. Not all agencies have stupidvisors (a term my father-in-law the postal worker taught me) telling workers to cut back – some agencies are based on raising cash, and there the stupidvisors are no different from sales execs elsewhere.

    “More! More! More!”

    But my wife was a federal employee for 27 years. I itched and yearned for a federal job and took test after test – it paid so much more than shovelling Whoppers to customers did. She kept telling me, “Ruvy, you’d be miserable there. You have initiative and you’re creative. They’d grind you down with petty rules and regulations.” My wife, in charge of supplies for the office, had to order pencils and pens from St. Louis! She couldn’t go downstairs and buy a package of either from the stationery shop!

    She focused her life on her sons and me, and in spite of all that, there were many days when I had to comfort her from the way managers mistreated employees there. For the most part, they know next to nothing about motivation or management, and get their jobs by seniority and often by being related to some bigshot somewhere.

  • Most government workers are honest, capable and hard working, often at jobs that are mind numbingly boring.

    Baritone,

    Most jobs at the federal government do not have to be mind-numbingly boring. When you accept the Henry Ford model of the factory worker turning one screw all day long, or the military model of soldiers marching around like so many dummies on a carpet (you should have seen the recruiting office in Minneapolis!), you encourage an atmosphere of mind-numbing boredom, which, sure as shit, encourages an atmosphere of constant and petty rule breaking – just like kids chewing gum in school.

  • Arch Conservative

    “Everyone’s had moments when they weren’t thinking about the consenquences, but the consequences are there. As a society, we’ve forgotten that sex makes babies, so you’ve got to figure that we’re just about the stupidest society of all time.”

    Yes it seems like too many are having those moments too often Baronius. It’s not just abortion. It’s everything from the way we overextend ourselves on credit cards and then bitch about our debt to the way we feel we are entitled to what our neighbor has even though he’s worked twice as hard to get what he has.

    We’re becoming a nation of whiny excuse making crybabies who shirk individual responsibility at ever twist and turn.

    The black Jimmy Carter is bound to exacerbate the situation even further.

  • Jet

    My boyfriend’s back,
    Now you’re gonna be in trouble

    Day-lie Day-lie my boyfriend’s back!