Friday, June 27, 2008

You get what you vote for

In the 217 or so years since the Bill of Rights was enacted, the Supreme Court has been loath to rule on the Second Amendment, the one that talks about the right to bear arms.

All through history, the highest court went around the question of what the introductory clause of the Second Amendment means. The amendment states: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

The argument has always been: Does the amendment speak to the right of all people to bear arms or only those in the "well regulated militia"? The high court always has danced around that.

That changed yesterday (June 26, 2008). The Supreme Court, by a 5-4 margin, decided that the framers meant that everyone has the right to keep a gun in the house for personal protection.

When I was a student, I had a friend who was a gun nut. He loved them, loved to drag me to gun dealers. I gawked in wonder and shock about what was for sale at these places. We're not talking about the Hoffman's Gun Shop-type places, large, well-advertised places on the up and up. We're talking here about people operating out of their basements, sheds, garages and what have you.

These guys had .50-caliber machine guns, assault rifles and Tommy guns. One guy had a Swedish anti-tank grenade launcher, complete with ammo. Cash and carry.

Well, these guys are going to be in their glory now. Whose fault is it?

I blame all those who didn't think it was important enough to vote in the 2000 election. Because of you, and, of course, some election slight-of-hand in Florida, we got George W. Bush. He gave us Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito.

We have always had the right wing on the Court, now peopled by Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, thanks to Ronnie Reagan and Papa Bush. But the Roberts court decided to decide and now that has given every drooling mouth-breather the right to have a gun at home.

Yes, yes, I know that the bad guys will always be able to get guns. This decision won't change that.

I'm not afraid of guys like my friend Big Mike. He's a bear of a man, a former college football player. He's a manly man; he hunts for deer and elk and other creatures and has many guns. He also knows what he's doing around a gun and knows that if there is trouble on the doorstep, he can handle it with a baseball bat and fist and doesn't need to go find the 12-gauge.

The people I'm afraid of after this ruling are the nebishes, the pip squeaks who have been given permission to go get a weapon that even Dirty Harry would avoid. They have no idea how to handle this gun. The hard knock on the door may elicit a gun-in-hand response from someone who doesn't know that the safety is off and you shouldn't put your finger on the trigger unless you are ready to fire.

Something to think about when knocking on doors to sell Girl Scout cookies or to welcome a neighbor. If you hear a "click-click" sound, hit the deck.

So those of us who are upset about the presidential choices this year, we had better think twice about not voting.

Look where that got us eight years ago.

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It's Friday and I hate to leave the week full of doom and gloom, so let me tell you about my Monday this week, as promised. It's a nice story.

This is baseball season and my son-in-law Mike, the one who really knows about baseball, had invited me to accompany him and my granddaughter, Shoshana, to a Mets game. Seattle was in town to play the Amazins, and that sounded good. There is a connection to the Seattle team in the family, so even though we're both Boston Red Sox fans, we could root for Seattle on day.

Alas, the weather didn't look as if it would cooperate and schlepping down to Queens is a hassle if you're not sure the game will go on.

By mid-afternoon Monday, it looked as if the thunderstorms would hold off until later in the evening, so we decided to drive to New Britain and watch the Rock Cats take on the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. It was an inspired decision.

First of all, both teams are AA affiliates of major-league organizations, so you get to watch future stars early in their careers. The Rock Cats are part of the Minnesota Twins organization, and the Fisher Cats are allied with the Toronto Blue Jays. The fact that they are AA clubs means that some of these guys are only a couple of years away from the Show, the major leagues.

Watching minor league baseball has some other things going for it. First of all, it's convenient. Parking is pretty cheap; $3, and for $2 more, you get to park within a minute's walk of the entrance.

Then, you can walk up and buy tickets for great seats. At Fenway Park, where the Sox play, they're sold out until the Apocalypse, and the last time I tried to buy seats from a broker, it was $100 each for standing room.

In New Britain, top price is $12. For $10 each, we got front-row seats right behind the on-deck circle, very close to home plate. I wasn't cheap for the two bucks each, but Mike wanted to sit behind the screen because these players hit lots of foul balls and it could be a little unsettling for a kid to have baseballs flying around.

The food also is reasonably priced -- $10.50 for three large cups of Turkey Hill ice cream.

We had a ball. The Rock Cats lost, but there was plenty of excitement -- a Fisher Cat out in a close play at home and two guys crashing together chasing a fly ball in the outfield. Say, that's what we probably would have seen had we been at the Mets game.

There are two franchise teams in Connecticut, the Rock Cats and the Connecticut Defenders (formerly Norwich Navigators), who play in Norwich. The Defenders are affiliated with the San Francisco Giants, but that relationship may be in its last year. The Bridgeport Bluefish are part of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, but are not affiliated with any major-league team.

Page 3

A couple of shout-outs. Happy birthday to daughters Andrea and Malka (also known as Melanie), who both celebrated their birthdays on June 26. That's right, same day, three years apart.

Happy 60th wedding anniversary to Eli and Rebecca Lazerson on North Haven. Wow--talk about staying power. They're two very nice people and stalwarts of the Jewish and general communities, so let's wish them many happy returns.

Have a great weekend and for those in the Tribe, a wonderful Shabbos.

Until next time...

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