Guns, guns, guns, and murder
By Alan Eisenberg, Editor
The entire country seems to be in a turmoil because of ferocious gun debates taking place everywhere. Vice-President Biden has been appointed by President Obama to head a guns and violence task force. At this time sources say there over 300 million firearms in homes, cars, places of business and people’s pockets. That’s one gun for every person. Almost everyone either has one or wants at least one. The national conversation has been prompted by recent mass shootings and massacres. The first target in the activists sights are the high-powered military style automatic weapons. The owners say they need them for hunting and self-defense. Use of a “Bushmaster” would turn a deer into a lead statue in five seconds. A human being target would become Swiss cheese. The NRA insists that ownership, possession and use of all firearms is protected by the Second Amendment. The founding fathers probably knew nothing about Bushmasters and AK 47s. The NRA has begun a campaign to abolish all “gun-free zones” at schools. They want armed guards and armed teachers at all schools. Perhaps all children should be armed with guns at birth. The next problematic area is that the use of the high-powered guns requires use of high capacity magazines. With these ammo machines one can kill 200 people in five seconds. And one Teflon bullet can penetrate 3 people, and even police wearing armor! Guns don’t kill people, it’s bullets that kill people. And people kill people. Why? Some are worked up after seeing violent video games and movies. Or violent TV shows. Or the nightly news! Many of the worst killers always turn out to be mentally ill. Announcements are already being made by NRA people and politicians that there will be no changes made legislatively, and any politician who tries will be run out of office. The President can issue effective (maybe) executive orders. If one doesn’t want to pay full price, there’s always Wal-Mart, America’s biggest weapons purveyor, or better yet, gun shows where no one gets checked for felony records or mental health commitments. Even that isn’t the best method anyway, because there are millions of nut-jobs cruising around who have never even seen a doctor. Is there a solution for all of this? We would love to read your suggestions; contact firstname.lastname@example.org, with your opinions. The photo is of Ted Nugent, the number one pro-gun guy. Nice, hmmm?
Representative Zamarippa Again Stands For The People
By Alan Eisenberg, Editor
Governor Scott Walker recently confirmed that he will not consider or grant pardons while he is governor of the state. All previous governors granted pardons. The move has an impact on minorities throughout Wisconsin. As Walker knows, a pardon can open a door for better employment and a multitude of other societal benefits. The local daily reported on the situation this week, but their article was loaded with inaccuracies. State Representative JoCasta Zamarippa how ever took a different stance, and went on the record to indicate that she has begun “her own legislative investigation to look into ‘de-politicizing’ the pardon function and removing it from the Governor’s control.” Many states regulate the pardon function by relegating the responsibility to departments of divisions or corrections, and treat it in a totally NON-partisan way. Governors seeking higher office or re-election can suffer negative consequences if they grant the wrong person a pardon. Non-partisan entities cannot. Standards usually call for long periods of good behavior and/or community acceptance and a long list of other requirements, all of which Walker intents to ignore. Most people believe that offenders should get a second chance if they meet the requirements. Some people believe that even minor offenders should be stigmatized for life. It is possible that the legislature may hold hearings on this important subject in 2013. Some states have recently moved to completely decriminalize some offenses. Should a person in Colorado convicted of mere criminal marijuana possession now be eligible for a pardon? A related topic is expungement in Wisconsin, which is totally left to the discretion of a trial court judge and restricted only to those convicted of misdemeanors between the ages of 18 to 21. All judges are also political officials, who often have one eye on the ballot box. A pardon or expungement does not erase a police record. A pardon is not reported to the convicting court, either. A fresh look at these processes is needed.
Marijuana: It’s Time to Re-think It!
By Alan Eisenberg, Editor and Craig M. Pradarelli, M.D.
Sometime in the early part of the last century the State of Wisconsin made the possession of marijuana unlawful. This followed a move by the US Government which eventually made marijuana a Schedule 1 Narcotic. Schedule 1 narcotics are those which have no recognized medical use. There has been much research which demonstrates that there are long list of legitimate uses for marijuana in the treatment of health and disease. A good example of this is Dronabinol which is an extract of the marijuana plant. Other examples are found simply by going to Pubmed.com and reviewing the voluminous research that is available to be read there. As is evidenced by the fact that there is now extracts from the plant being used in every day medicine along with the fact that marijuana now has numerous other uses demonstrates the fallacy under which marijuana became a Schedule 1 narcotic.
Reviewing the literature from the time of the prohibition of marijuana reveals reasoning behind this prohibition range from racist to outright lies and mischaracterizations as shown in the movie Reefer Madness, which is regarded as propaganda. Divisions of the U.S. Government have made statements about marijuana which have no basis in fact. The reasons for these actions remain a mystery to scholars and numerous other experts. As we now know, there are official medical uses for marijuana and its extracts. There is little supporting evidence which overstates the dangers of this plant. There have been outright falsehoods placed in the media about this plant and it leads us to ask the question “why does this plant remain unlawful to possess in the State of Wisconsin?”
It also seems that the laws prohibiting the possession and use of marijuana are in opposition to the will of the people of both the United States as well as the State of Wisconsin. The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found 17.4 million Americans were using marijuana in 2010. Other research indicates that a significant number of Americans have reported to researchers that they have tried the plant. While not necessarily legal in Mexico, a huge portion of the population uses it there. Twelve states allow use of “medical marijuance” which was accomplished after vast research. Two states allow use for both medical and recreational purposes.The current prohibition of marijuana is financially damaging to both the economy of the State of Wisconsin as well as the United States. Currently the majority of marijuana consumed in the United States is grown outside of the United States. By virtue of the fact that marijuana is unlawful to grow in the United States this prohibition forces the trade deficit to increase. In other words marijuana prohibition is forcing US dollars to leave the country and forcing huge exxpenditures for unnecessary law enforcement. As you are aware the State is having problems meeting its budget. While there have been some efforts to obtain a balanced budget there are still huge agencies such as the Department of Natural Resources which for reasons that escape logic are taking funds needed to properly fund the rest of the state, and instead purchasing land that is not needed by the State, preventing funds from being generated by the property taxes of these lands.
Associated with the prohibition of marijuana is the cost of enforcing the prohibition. The late Milton Friedman, a noted and well respected economist, estimated that the annual cost associated with prohibition of marijuana was 7.7 billion dollars annually. Roughly 2% of that is the cost to the State of Wisconsin associated with the prohibition of marijuana or roughly 106 million dollars.
The same study related the following “Revenue from taxation of marijuana sales would range from $2.4 billion per year if marijuana were taxed like ordinary consumer goods to $6.2 billion if it were taxed like alcohol or tobacco.” Again assuming 2% of this for the State of Wisconsin would yield 48 million dollars to the State of Wisconsin. It must be pointed out that every day in the State of Wisconsin there are numerous cash sales of marijuana which the State is not currently receiving any portion of the sales tax which it is properly entitled to. When looked at in its totality the prohibition of marijuana did not come as a result due to a demand from the populace, was based on nonfactual information and hysteria, did not account for the fact that it has medical uses, is used by thousands of Wisconsinites recreationally irrespective of the prohibition, and is extremely expensive to enforce the prohibition and would generate savings and revenue if legalized. At this time, some legislators are considering legalization.
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