Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Chance favors the prepared advocacy group

The Clash, "Guns on the Roof," from Give 'Em Enough Rope, 1978.  Lyrics.... "Guns guns they're made to shoot."

I have a blog entry from 2008 ("How will Obama relate to DC?") that opines about the local reaction to the successful candidacy of Barack Obama for president.  The talk was about what would Obama do for DC?  I countered that if you had plans and agenda at the ready, you could shape the discussion and get a lot more of what you wanted.  Leaving your hopes to the good graces of others is usually a losing proposiotion.

Similarly, I met with some college students in a project involved on Georgia Avenue NW around the same time, and this came up, about how do you engage people, get action, etc.  I said, you need to have a good idea of what you want beforehand, and be prepared to take advantage of events as they unfold, not unlike how the Bolsheviks seized opportunity in 1917 to foment revolutionary change in St. Petersburg and Russia.

Note that the line I use is "chance favors the prepared city" which is just a riff of the line from Pasteur, "chance favors the prepared mind."

So the NRA's call that all schools should have armed police officers to protect them from crazed gunman (I don't know why they left out shopping malls and movie theaters) makes me ponder this as it relates to gun control.

It makes no sense.  If we need to pay 55,000 to 110,000 people to sit in a school armed and ready, then we really need gun control.  That's $5+ billion per year in wages.  I guess that's the kind of jobs program that conservatives can get behind--hiring armed conservatives.

And that doesn't include paying more armed guards to stand in every movie theater (think about the multiscreened locations with 20 or more separate theaters) with night vision headsets, and in public squares, at universities, and in shopping malls, where you'd need dozens of armed "officers" in the not quite 1,100 enclosed malls (probably strip shopping centers and grocery stores are ok so far without such coverage) to guard us.

This is one of the dumbest proposals I've ever heard.  If guns are that much of a problem, the logical response is to restrict access to guns.

Or at least make it very expensive (not unlike smoking), for example the suggestion of a tax on guns and bullets, this came up over the summer.  See "If Guns Do Not Kill, Tax the Bullets" from the New York Times and "Chicago Area Proposes First Local Tax on Guns, Bullets" from the Wall Street Journal.

In short, I don't understand why the handgun control lobby isn't prepared with an agenda, call to action, etc., to put into play after a particularly egregious massacre.  Taxes on guns and bullets, and extremely high excise taxes (for example in the Netherlands the excise tax on new cars can be as much as 100% of the cost of the car) on assault weapons might be another way to make it harder for the nefarious to use guns for killing.

The NRA's call for armed guards in schools is not like Speaker of the House John Boehner's "Plan B."  Are these serious proposals, or just faux proposals designed to add noise to the discussion, to make it impossible to get to any resolution?

"Prepared" advocates have to be prepared for that as a contingency as well.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home