Chatter: April 20

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Reading the Tea leaves

The Facts:

A group of about 1,000 Tea Party members went to the state capitol Thursday to protest taxation and federal influence.

Our Opinion:

The Tea Party deserves representation, but so do the millions of other North Carolinians. It does them a disservice when major political parties play to the likes of the Tea Party.

Many law-abiding Americans spend April 15 each year putting the last touches on their tax return, fulfilling one of the basic tasks of citizenry and contributing back to the system which provides all residents with rescue services and basic law and order — just to acknowledge a small part of what taxes go toward.

This image was in stark contrast to what members of the Tea Party did Thursday. The fringe element of about 1,000 people at the state capitol seized the day as an opportunity to protest Tax Day and, presumably, the state of the government.

The right of speech and protest are essential to American democracy, without them people are little more than pawns in the hands of the empowered.

But it’s disturbing to see political leaders — the empowered — acquiesce to a radical group like the Tea Party for fear of isolating a political base. Honestly, it’s pathetic to hear that the likes of Claude E. Pope Jr., chairman of the Wake County Republican Party, would go to speak at an event for the Tea Party. Radicals deserve representation, but not from a political party attempting to serve as an umbrella for a broad group of interests.

It speaks to the inefficiency of the U.S.’s two-party political system when an umbrella party which should represent a majority of constituents feels the need to hone in on a group of people defined by a desire to avoid taxes and fight federal influence.

Regardless of your political preferences, liberal or conservative, it’s disheartening to see this sort of mindless politics. For successful political discourse, political parties must be allowed to actually represent their constituents; neither umbrella party does that right now, with both playing preference to some of their most extreme elements. It’s not just the Tea Party; it’s the lack of political diversification.

Until Americans have a choice of viable third parties, these groups will continue to play a part in larger, umbrella-like organizations.

— “”A cup of tea for everyone,”” The North Carolina State University Techinician editorial board, April 19

Bang bang Arizona

After its passing of a bill unfairly targeting immigrants as criminals, Arizona legislation has once again stepped off the deep end. Arizona has become the third state to allow people to carry a concealed weapon without requiring a permit. Gov. Jan Brewer signed the bill into law on Friday, favoring the constitutional right to bear arms. The measure takes effect in July and could not be a bigger mistake in this day and age.

With everyone worried about health care and costs of the federal program, the state of Arizona has gone in the completely opposite direction. The dangers of the new law, which allows anyone over 21 to simply walk into a store and buy a gun, are immense. The passing of the law will only increase the number of accidents due to untrained kids owning firearms. Police are also rightfully concerned with shooters in stressful situations, who accidentally strike innocent bystanders with stray bullets.

Letting a recently legally-allowed-to-drink 21-year-old to buy a firearm could lead to dire consequences. The individual wakes up on his milestone birthday and goes out to a bar — following a binge-drinking rampage with his friends, he goes out to buy a weapon and, while the salesman sees the inexperience in the birthday boy, he has the right to purchase the gun. With no classes required or permits needed, there is sadly nothing stopping him from showing up on the late news as the guy who went on a birthday killing rampage.

Those who argue that the law is just another step in protecting our civil rights seem to be stuck in a different century. The law is archaic and was meant to protect our freedoms from an oppressive government rather than give us uncontrolled use of firearms. It was a compromise back in the 1700s, and it is a mistake today. It simply does not apply to the modern world. Those who fear another suppressive government fear the wrong thing — rather than “”protecting”” our freedoms, we must face the economic blunders to which our government exposes us. Taking trillions of dollars of taxpayers’ money is only one example, if that. Firearms are simply not the right method of fighting back.

There are lots of 21-year-olds who lack the maturity to sit through a high school health class on “”safe-sex,”” let alone handle a firearm. In these cases — as they are predominant — people should know how to operate a gun and the law regarding it. Without this law or any required courses, the case for safe gun handling can hardly be made.

— “”New gun law endangers everyone,”” The Rutgers Daily Targum editorial board, April 18