Thursday, April 21, 2005

Law Bans Open Containers in Vehicles - Irresistible Headlines - Law Bans Open Food, Drinks In Vehicles

Officials have discovered that the ordinance bans all open containers in vehicles -- not just containers of alcohol.

That means an open can of soda, or even an open bag of chips in the car, is technically against the law, and could be subject to a $50 fine.

What about an open box of baby wipes? An open CD case? An open container of tissues? What a great law.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

City Government

This past week I attended my first city council meeting. We live in Spanish Fork, Utah. Both my wife and I wish that our city offered an option for curbside recycling like we had when we lived in Orem. We heard that the issue would be an agenda item at the city council meeting so we decided to attend.

We arrived a couple of minutes late, with our infant and 1.5 year old in tow. We found the council chamber was pretty full. The back of the room had windows where you could look in from the hallway. In the hallway was the equipment used to show the proceedings on the city cable network. The sound was also piped into the hallway. Grateful for that, we camped out on some couches where we'd have a bit more freedom of movement than we would by going into the meeting room.

The meeting was an interesting learning experience. I found myself both pleased and annoyed with the level of citizen involvement. There were issues where public comment was welcomed and the comment was seriously considered and discussed. Yet on the issue I cared about, solid waste disposal, there was no opportunity to express my support for the recycling option. I think I will be following up the meeting with emails to the council members. I am grateful that I have some avenue for feedback to them, even if it isn't in the public meeting. In the future, I think that only Keryn or I will attend the meeting. Keeping both kids quiet for the duration of the meeting was just too much of a challenge.

Friday, April 01, 2005


Guns and gun issues don't usually get me very riled up. I've never been much of a shooter beyond boy scout camp. With the recent mass-shootings (largely overshadowed by the Terri Schiavo affair), the issue of gun control raises its head again. John Lott at National Review wrote a piece containing some startling statistics about gun issues. I would be very interested to read a counter-point to this piece. I know that selection of statistics can affect the telling of the tale and a cross check is always wise--I'll watch for it.

Before he cites any statistics, he makes a very compelling point about the futility of designating a school, church, or government building as a "gun-free zone":
Suppose you or your family are being stalked by a criminal who intends on harming you. Would you feel safer putting a sign in front of your home saying "This Home is a Gun-Free Zone"?

Lott then cites some of his own research in saying:
Bill Landes and I have examined all the multiple-victim public shootings with two or more victims in the United States from 1977 to 1999 and found that when states passed right-to-carry laws, these attacks fell by 60 percent. Deaths and injuries from multiple-victim public shootings fell on average by 78 percent.

No other gun-control law had any beneficial effect. Indeed, right-to-carry laws were the only policy that consistently reduced these attacks.

Everyone should have guns!

Then on radio I hear tape of a 9-1-1 call by a five year old girl telling the dispatcher that her parents have been shot by an angry neighbor. My body recoils and I immediately turn off the radio. Who wants to live in a society where everyone is armed to the teeth, able to turn a fist-fight into a massacre. Not me! I wish that nobody carried weapons. My heart breaks when a friend tells me about her dead brother because of an accident in a home with a hand-gun.

Let's just banish the things and be done with it!

I wish this were an easier issue. Did the founders give us a right to bear arms for the purpose of overthrowing our government? Did they intend for people to carry them around? Does it matter what they intended? Does it matter if we still have militias? Are the law-enforcement benefits of right-to-carry laws outweighing the devestation caused by gun accidents and misuse? Tough issue.