Clingin' in Pittsburgh
By Ralph R. Reiland
It took only a few seconds the other day to see how candidate Obama got the idea that we have a propensity in Pennsylvania to "cling to guns and religion."
I was in the lobby of the Jefferson Regional Medical Center in the outskirts of Pittsburgh leafing through a stack of magazines on the reading table. There was one copy each of Woman's Day and House Beautiful, but no Forbes, Newsweek or National Geographic. Everything else was guns and religion!
What first caught my attention, because I had just purchased two small fig trees at Lowes a few days earlier, was an article in the Believer's Voice of Victory about a fig tree on the road to Jerusalem back in Biblical times.
The parable told of a fig tree that didn't bear fruit for the hungry travelers and stated that man will not eat fruit from the fig tree "hereafter forever." I'm no Bible scholar, so I'm not sure if that meant that all future fig trees would be barren, or just that one tree, or if it meant that we should abstain from eating figs.
Either way, the tags on my new trees says I'll be getting figs by September, but I don't know who to believe -- Lowes or the Believer's Voice. And if the figs do happen to show up, I not sure I won't get hit by lightning if I eat one (remember the apple?). It's probably best to stick with peaches.
The gun magazines included an issue of America's First Freedom. Among the ads for combat pistols and ammo, there was a "Viva La Starbucks" editorial praising the refusal of Starbucks to ban legally carried firearms in their stores, despite threatened boycotts by gun control advocates.
The editorial quoted Boston Globe columnist Derrick Jackson as saying, "If Starbucks wants to run Wild West caffeine saloons, the least it can do is provide gunsmoking and nongunsmoking sections."
I wonder if Derrick considered that, just like second-hand smoke, bullets travel. Some nut could shoot right through the glass of the pastry case, past the blueberry crumb cakes, and straight into the hot coffee cup of some motor-mouth liberal who's arguing that the Second Amendment is obsolete.
Actually, Derrick has a point. If you think alcohol is a problem, you should see the minefields created by the over-caffeinated characters at my local Starbucks. The baristas have been reported to corporate headquarters in California for allegedly siding with the Democrats, and one guy has been banished by the regulars for sitting his Goldendoodle on the patio chairs. When he left, rumors flew that he had stuffed his big dog into his trunk.
Taking umbrage, the Doodle's owner called corporate to say his dog couldn't sit on the patio floor due to the other guys' discarded butts. Corporate sent him a gift certificate, which he said he'll wear pinned to his shirt forever. So far, no shots have been fired.
Understandably, people worry about individual acts of gun violence, but history shows that it's far more dangerous when governments strip citizens of the right to defend themselves.
On November 11, 1938, the day after Kristal Night in Germany, when the windows of stores owned by Jews were smashed, a new gun control was signed, including a provision that banned knives and clubs: "Jews are prohibited from acquiring, possessing, and carrying firearms and ammunition, as well as truncheons and stabbing weapons."
Permitted to "cling" to those weapons, millions might have been saved.
Ralph R. Reiland is an associate professor of economics at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh.
Ralph R. Reiland