Inspection- Of Voting Rights, Guns and an Old Friend

by Ken Carman

 A friend from back in the dinosaur days and I were yakking on FaceCrack, debating to a certain extent, about gun rights and how intrusive the state can, or should, be. More specifically: the left v. the right, who is intrusive, and who isn’t. Dean’s position was that it was pretty much always the left, or “the ‘extreme’ left.”
 Of course, knowing me so well, dear readers, you know I didn’t counter with examples from the “extreme” right, right?
  I always love that phrase, “extreme left,” Ken writes with a sardonic flare, having grown up as a conservative in the 60s and seen, and argued with, real “extreme” leftists, like one named Susan who did a coup d’etat in History class one day, or far more to the point: the bombings, the massive marches, robberies, so many flag burnings, Kent State…
  OK, I admit: the Susan example was more what an “extreme” leftist might do, if Susan had had something more dangerous than a water pistol, though these days we wonder if she might have been shot, or dragged away by Homeland to some place portrayed by supporters of such as no worse than a Tickle Feather Torture Chamber.
 Still, to my point: the use of “extreme left” these days sometimes seems, if nothing else, quantitatively blind, historically hyperbolic and all too convenient for those wishing to frighten others with some mostly mythical, always evil, army predominately made of straw.
  No, Dean, I’m not specifically referring to you, he who is approximately as old as moi’.
  I can smell the old man smell from here through my computer screen, can you smell me? Do ancient old fogies like us have a sixth sense when it comes to sensing the presence of each other? Is that because we’re closer to becoming the eternal the undead, or is it just our constant, “Get off my lawn,” war cries?
  I would type that my position really was that “only the right” wants governance to be intrusive, but I’m too much a relativist, and realist, to sincerely believe that. Plus, there are certainly times when the state should be intrusive. “Murder?” What, if my neighbor pisseth me off I can’t run my zero turn mower over him? Damn! Damn! Damn that intrusive liberal, commie, fascist, Nazi, conservative, socialist… OK, why does spell check tell me I have to capitalize “Nazi,” but not Commie, or Fascist, or…
  English, inconsistency be thy name.
 I could go on a rant about extremism, or even just capitalization, I’d never, ever, do that.
 Hardly ever.
 OK, “frequently.” Satisfied?
 My real intent here is to use our previous discussion as a launching pad to explore how no single issue, like the state being more, or less, intrusive, exists in a vacuum. Explore how the “logic” many of us use that conveniently marginalizes intrusiveness in some cases, but exaggerates intrusion in other cases, results in making the stands we take hardly logical at all.
  You basically stated that the state should have voting cards for everyone, even with fingerprints, but when we got to guns you leaned towards more of a slippery slope argument. Yet, whether we’re talking voting ID cards, or gun regulations, we’re still talking intrusion, necessary, or not.
 Either might go to extremes that could qualify as a slippery slope.
 Either could qualify for becoming too intrusive.
 And, I would contend, either could be done rationally, with a light touch and with an understanding, a sensitivity, required to make sure both rights are respected, protected.
 It really depends on what we do, or don’t do, and how much we tolerate, or allow government to go over board.
 A brief note: I’m not that much against your card suggestion as long as citizens don’t have to pay for the right to access their rights, or jump through unreasonable hoops to access those rights. Driving long distances to get some permit or card, having to take off from work to do that, take some rigged test: whether voting or gun rights would be beyond unreasonable.
 Accessing rights shouldn’t be some game of, “No, you have to jump higher than others, monkey.”
 If some massive database to run gun purchases through could be abused, certainly the same could be said of voting-related databases. In fact, we already have had that: several times. Just one example: in 2000 Jeb Bush used a database of Texas felons, yes, “Texas,” to knock voters off the rolls with similar names in Florida. Yes, “Florida.” The same strategy was used in 2004. If, I remember right, it was attempted in 2008, challenged by Dems… but challenged too late to stop it. Not sure about 2012.
 The points here being “intrusive is intrusive,” and abuse isn’t gun issue database specific.
 And does it make sense we should absolutely trust the state when it comes to voting or guns? Of course not.
 When it comes to guns some would argue the right is absolute, so let’s allow four year olds and inmates in our most dangerous prisons to carry loaded concealed weapons.
 Hey, preschool teachers and prison guards, sound like a par-tay, hey?
 When it comes to voting some would argue nothing should limit voting rights.
 Of course that’s nonsense: otherwise newborns could vote.
 (OK, no jokes about we might be better off in some cases since we seem to be approaching a country not unlike the one in Idiocracy!)
 In our society all rights have limits, the trick is finding that not always happy, but better than all limits or none, balance. So I am not against limited limits on the right to vote, or gun-related rights.
 And let’s remember: no “slope” by necessity has to be “slippery.”
 If stop and frisk works, as some seem to suggest, then wouldn’t it be also advisable to at least know if someone with a record of violence is purchasing? How about having ammunition with propellant that can be traced back to the purchaser if used in a crime?
 When someone registers to vote, um, checking to see if the info provided is right? Yes… but not with some list from Texas applied to Florida, or assuming every John Doe is that same John Doe? (Duh.)
 Our problem in society when regulating, limiting, rights is less too much regulation than stupid, counter productive, legislation. Oh, and politically driven regulations.
 Anyone remember during the hay day of the first Black Panthers the NRA was pro-registration?
 How about political advocates posing as poll watchers at the polls pulling out voters they felt “questionable” and making them do a never to be counted “provisional?”
 The ability to use our rights should be fair for all who have a right to them, until proven otherwise. Those in power shouldn’t be in the business of selectively harassing them mostly because it’s politically convenient, and inconvenient for that community, or group, to have rights.

Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
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Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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