Tuesday, June 14, 2016

They hyperbole and cynicism over the call for a ban on 'assault rifles,' Griffith Field at BHS gets a makeover and lamenting the death of the library tax

* … GUN CONTROL: In the wake of our nation's bloodiest mass shooting, it is only human to demand something be done, be it expanding background checks, doing more to keep weapons out of the hands of the mentally ill or outlawing so called "assault rifles." The focus today seems to be on the AR-15 'assault rifle,' but let's remember some basic facts: the technology behind the
AR-15 was first developed in the late 1890s and is the same technology used in rifles for deer hunting or target shooting. Yes the AR-15 looks menacing, but at its core it is simply a semi automatic rifle not unlike those used to shoot varmints or squirrels. It is not the rifle or the design that makes it lethal, but rather the ability in some states (not in California) to use it with high capacity clips along with "push button"magazines to make for easier fast reloading (also outlawed here). Those are two distinct issues; the look of the weapon and the larger clips that make it lethal. The idea of regulating designs that "look" menacing is akin to banning Corvettes because they look faster than my Subaru. Both are capable of inflicting great harm in the wrong hands. I am all for a robust debate on how to keep weapons out of the hands of madmen, but concentrating on the cosmetics of design seems to appeal more to emotions, rather than logic. A good first step for the rest of the country may be modeling their own gun laws on those of California, which already outlaws the configuration of the AR-15 used in Orlando. (Below a 1940 assault rifle with the AR-15)

 * … DRILLER FOOTBALL: The renovation of historic Griffith Field at Bakersfield High School is well under way. The field has been torn up as have some of the field buildings. It's worth a look-see if you are passing through the downtown area.

* … LIBRARY TAX: Still reeling from the defeat of the library tax, Pete Parson offered this assessment: "Is it merely coincidental that the number of voters who opposed the library tax and the number of illiterate persons in the county are approximately the same?"

 * … RETIREMENT: Thanks to all of you who were so kind to reach out to me noting my retirement. Barbara Fleming sent me this sweet valentine which I so appreciate: "I know you announced your retirement, and being retired myself, I am glad for you. Knowing this and opening my Monday morning paper to your column, I yell -'NO!'  I don't see your face but a stranger looking out at me. On a serious note, I want to thank you for your sometimes humorous and sometimes serious reflections about we, as citizens of Bakersfield, and concerns for society as a whole.  Your writing has made my soul smile and my brain engage." Thank you Barbara, and remember I will still occupy this space on Wednesday and Friday.

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I can't decide if I need an XL coffee, a hug, eight shots of vodka, 826 chicken nuggets, or two months of sleep."

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "I hope I get a chore list cleverly disguised as a Home Depot gift card again this Father's Day.

 * ... PIES: And finally there was this query from Donna Boyt: "I am just wondering if people remember Scotty's Pie shop that was located what would now be between Brundage Lane and the Highway 58 on ramp, facing Chester Avenue? Best pies ever, and always a line out the door waiting to purchase one. Does anyone know the type of chocolate they used?  Have never tasted it anywhere else."

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