Thursday, April 18, 2013

Angry? Or stoned? Our Illinois House was “hard” at work on Wednesday

There is a sense where political people try to appear to be civil to each other – at least to each other’s faces.

BOST: Don't make this man angry!
They keep the cheap shots limited to situations where they can always try to claim that they really didn’t say something stupid, or perhaps there is an unreported context in which the nasty comment makes sense.

WHICH IS WHY I was surprised to read the Chicago Tribune account of how the Illinois House of Representatives on Wednesday rejected a measure meant to implement a “concealed carry” law for Illinois.

Not that I’m shocked they’re considering the issue. It comes up every year. And this year, there’s a court order saying something needs to happen by June to implement a version of the law.

But reading about state Rep. Scott Drury, D-Highwood, and his pot shot at state Rep. Michael Bost, R-Murphysboro, just struck me as a bit too cold and calculated – even if there might well be an element of truth to it.

Bost is among the legislators who wants a state law that makes it legal for as many people as possible to obtain a permit letting them carry a pistol on their persons when they’re out in public.

DURING THE WEDNESDAY debate, he became all hot and bothered – like many other legislators did as well.

But Drury was the one who used Bost’s shouting and screaming to say, “We don’t want someone like that carrying a concealed weapon.”

Would Mike Bost really whip out a pistol at a moment’s notice and fire a round or two at the toes of a political partisan whose rhetoric was particularly displeasing to him?!?

DRURY: Too low a blow?
That was a low blow, even if the idea that firearms and tempers do not mix is a totally logical concept. Too many otherwise law-abiding people do stupid things when they get angry.

AND THAT IS what came through in the debate over this particular version of “concealed carry,” which is one meant to give significant authority to the police to determine who can actually have a permit letting their pistol be legal.

The ideologues over at the National Rifle Association are an uncompromising bunch, and they’re not going to shut their holes until they receive something that makes it next to impossible to deny someone a permit.

Or at least, to deny a permit to anyone who isn’t exactly like them. There are certain people whom I’m sure even they don’t want to have firearms – only instead of trying to get the guns away from those people, they seem determined to change the law to give themselves the authority to shoot those people.

Which is why I always have had hang-ups with the concept of “concealed carry.” I don’t trust it, or the people who seem most vociferously in support of it.

WHICH IS WHY it may well have been appropriate that the Legislature – along with overwhelmingly killing off this particular bill – also wound up giving approval to a nice mellow mood with a medical component in mind.

I’m referring, of course, to the idea of marijuana being permitted for medicinal purposes. People who could get a prescription from their doctor would be allowed to use the drug.

Not that they’d be allowed to grow it themselves. They’d have to buy it from specific state-licensed facilities, and could only get so much at any one time.

In short, enough for their own use – and not a stash for good times at a “pot party” or any other nonsensical concept the ideologues dream up.

MOST OF THE opposition to this seems to come from the conservatives who have lapped up too much of the drug-related rhetoric that has spewed forth for the past half-century. As though voting for “pot” means voting for “liberal freaks.”

Will this soon be a common sight in Illinois? The Illinois Senate and Gov. Pat Quinn still have a say before anything is official
Does this mean the drug of choice for the alleged “real people” is alcohol? Because getting drunk has always struck me as being way too similar to getting “stoned.” The people who vote against the drug for medicinal use (the bill passed the Illinois House with one vote to spare) seem more interested in playing politics at the expense of medicine.

And maybe a little inhaling during the “concealed-carry” debate is what was needed to mellow out the mood of the House to avoid the cheap shots. For it certainly took a day like Wednesday for a sex education measure (a program emphasizing health concerns) to slip through the legislative process with little (by comparison) controversy.


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