Thom, Listening to your show, today, on gun control, I have to say that, as a gun owner and hobby target shooter, I agree that we need sensible controlls on assault weapons and high capacity magazines. Though I must add that one of the very best long range competition shooters this country has produced, has moved from bolt action to an assault type weapon because of its precision build.... What I'm not hearing anyone speak of, however, is, in my humble opinion, even more important. That is the desensitizing of a generation of youth in this country by the violence that is such a huge part of the "entertainment" industry. Violent video games, movies, and television have made resorting to violence, particularly gun violence, a much quicker reaction, perhaps on an unconscious level. Young people THINK this is a valid response, and have lost the moral imperative against it. No one who hasn't been in a war understands the reality of death. When our youth play at it day after day, and lose their internal prohibition against it, we see the outcome playing out in our society. In simpler times, when there have been lots of guns in our society (post WWII, for example) this situation did not exist. The moral underpinnings of our society were different! I have to think the entertainment industry is at great fault.
Secondly, tonight, you were speaking of "out of control police". In my father's day (I'm in my sixties), it really was about "To protect and serve". Today it seems to be much more of an "Us vs. Them" situation. According to the "Balko White paper" put out by the Cato institute in 2006, SWAT teams started in LA in the mid sixties. Under Regan , and later Bush 41, Posse Comitatus was softened, and SWAT team use went from the original "High Danger" situations to almost exclusive use for drug raids. On page 11 of this report, several changes in the laws were mentioned that empowered SWAT team use. In 1994, the department of defense "issued a memorandum authorizing the transfer of equipment and technology to state and local police. The same year, Congress created a "reutilization program" to facilitate handing military gear over to civilian police agencies." I believe there is an attraction to authoratarian types to police work (I do NOT mean to demean the many, many good men and women who work for our safety) who tend to push the limits of their authority.... I belive that these few, and there are examples in every state and city, cause most of the problems in dealing with the public. I agree with you that most police are underpaid and overworked, and most often in touch with the worst elements of our society. The public's biggest problem, though is that we no longer have any way to hold the police accountable for their actions when those actions collide with responsible, law-abiding citizens.... wheather it be a traffic stop or the occupy movement. How can we address this?