Just Plain Dumb

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Save Our Guns

Posted By on Tue, Dec 27, 2016 at 10:41 AM

An activist raising awareness - JONATHAN HOFFMAN
  • Jonathan Hoffman
  • An activist raising awareness
You may recall a few years ago the City held a oddly named “Gun Buyback” event, oddly named since the City of Tucson did not sell the guns in the first place. During the one-day event, people were encouraged to trade any firearm for a $50 Safeway gift card with “no questions asked.” It was a strange activity for the city since it was providing a service that is already available in the private sector; anyone can take a gun to a gunshop and sell it to the licensed dealer. Unlike the licensed dealer, however, the “no questions asked” caveat made clear that the city was willing to act as a fence for stolen property.

Currently there are no plans for more “buyback” events, but a related controversy has arisen. The City of Tucson is having most firearms it acquires destroyed. There is apparently no good reason for this beyond the propaganda value of generally vilifying weapons. Some say that “putting them back on the street” makes Tucson a more dangerous place; or, to put a finer point on the same idea, some of these guns have been used in crimes and if they were set free would no doubt continue their criminal rampage.

Let’s ignore the kind of creepy superstitious thinking behind this policy and look at the reality of the situation. These guns are consumer items that are sold every day all over Tucson. There are around 200 licensed firearms dealers in greater Tucson. The number of guns in Tucson will be determined by the local market, not by how many are destroyed by the City of Tucson.

Regarding the bad “crime guns,” perhaps with a little counseling, these “crime guns” might be willing to sign a contract agreeing to practice lawful behavior in the future and then they could be released to the streets.

I hope that the Tucson City Council does not decide that it dislikes other items that come its way. I would hate to see them stop auctioning off recovered bicycles and chop them up instead. Or do an Auric Goldfinger number on “crime cars.” Yikes!

I mentioned that Tucson is having most of the guns destroyed. The City apparently likes rifles and shotguns that are not semi-automatic; those it will sell. It’s those nasty handguns and semi-autos that need to be destroyed. It is trendy today to view bolt action and pump action rifles and shotguns as good guns, while handguns and anything semi-automatic are the bad guns. This is based on fashion more than fact. Is a .22LR target pistol mare effective in combat than a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun? The correct answer is that it depends on who is on the trigger, not some aspects of the firearm's functioning.

By the way, If you want to get a libertarian to see red, tell him that the scary guns can be picked up by law enforcement, if it wants them, but must be destroyed rather than end up in the hands of a citizen. Yes, such is the case with the city’s destruction program. If the police are the good guys, and it’s alright for them to use the bad guns, how bad can those guns really be? If the law abiding citizenry and the police are on the same side and in partnership, then they can have the same tools.

So now the Attorney General of Arizona is seeking a clarification from the court on whether the City’s program is legal. Along with ten other states, Arizona has passed into law legislation that discourages this sort of wasteful and destructive behavior. If Tucson continues to destroy guns, then the state will withhold a heap big chunk of state shared revenue. Tens of millions of dollars are at stake. Tucson believes the law to be invalid and has taken the state to court as well.

There are a few interesting legal questions. Is the program a strictly local issue and therefore under the authority of the cities? Do charter cities (Tucson is one) have authority in this area while others do not? Is it an issue of firearm regulation for which the state has preemptive authority? We may find out the hard way. Let’s hope that members of the Tucson City Council experience a few lucid moments and not go to war with the state on this. There has been more than enough stupidity already in this regard.

Jonathan Hoffman is the Weekly's libertarian columnist.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Gowan Caves on BS Background Checks on Reporters

Posted By on Tue, Apr 12, 2016 at 1:10 PM

Who's smarter? House Speaker David Gowan or a bag of hammers?
  • Who's smarter? House Speaker David Gowan or a bag of hammers?
Arizona House Speaker David Gowan caved this morning on his plan to require background checks for reporters before they could go about their business, as they have more than three decades, on the floor of the House of Representatives. 

Given the ongoing roasting that Gowan was experiencing in press, it was only a matter of time before he'd admit defeat and let the press back on the House floor.

Howie Fischer, the dean of Capitol press corps, has the details here.
The Weekly would like to point out that we were telling voters that House Speaker David Gowan was a nitwit way before it was cool.

Back in 2006, we noted that Gowan was "as dumb as as a bag of hammers" after he sent out hit pieces targeting his then-opponent, state Rep. Marian McClure. (McClure was a class act and Gowan isn’t fit to shine her shoes, BTW.)

Despite his lack of smarts, Gowan—with the help of public dollars from the Clean Elections program—eventually managed to weasel his way into the House. And he has risen to the spot of House speaker, mostly because there were enough Republicans who figured he was the least dangerous alternative because he too dumb to get much of anything done.

But since landing that speaker job, he’s has had plenty of bad press, mostly based on his own inability to keep his piggy little snout out of the public trough.

So perhaps it’s not surprising that he tried to ban the media from reporting from the House floor.

Last week, as almost everyone now knows, Gowan’s team told all members of the Capitol press corps that they had to go through a bullshit “background check” to ensure that they didn’t pose some kind of security risk.

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Into the Mild: Rednecks For a Better World

Posted By on Mon, Mar 21, 2016 at 10:30 AM

Houston, Texas – December 2015

Could first impressions be worse?

There they were, the four of them talking so loudly to each other that they were almost yelling. Their Cajun accents were so strong that they would have better fit in a cartoon. Their voices drowned out the conversations in the seats next to them. Two of them had the lower lip and gum decay that only a lifetime of chewing tobacco can inflict on someone, and they all wore amazingly greasy hair. Despite the frigid December weather, they boarded the plane in sleeveless shirts and ripped jeans. Did I mention that they were loud?

My mind was set.

I fortunately sat far enough away that their voices faded out after 30 minutes and I slept deeply. I was awakened to an intercom announcement: “We are now making our final descent into Istanbul, please turn off all electronics and return your seat to the upright position.”

“Idunmind if they speak Turkush here, suhlonguz everone understanz English too!” cackled my Cajun friend. It had to have been a joke. Nobody who willingly leaves their own country really thinks like that. But nobody else was laughing. Not even the others in his group.

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Thursday, February 25, 2016

'Damn Daniel' is a Lame Meme

Posted By on Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 9:00 AM


About a week ago, the Internet unearthed its latest meme—the ever-popular, always annoying "Damn Daniel" Vine

Most viral videos are at least a little funny, but "Damn Daniel" is not. Daniel Lara, the Vine's namesake, wears white Vans, but that's about all he does. The line, "Damn, Daniel, back at it again in the white Vans," spoken by Lara's friend, Joshua Holz—the guy behind the camera—is the alleged "humor" behind the Vine.

The Vine isn't really that funny, IMO, but I guess Ellen saw promise in the 14-year-olds behind it because she invited Lara and Holz to her show, giving them free "Damn Daniel" merch and Ellen-brand fame. 

"Damn Daniel" was pretty dumb. It made me wonder why the "Lebron James" kid or the "What Are Those" guy weren't invited to Ellen—those Vines were actually funny, after all. 

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Monday, February 15, 2016

Into the Mild: A New City, New Job, and New Overdose

Posted By on Mon, Feb 15, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Salvador, Brasil


I’ve never touched a drug in my life. The only possible exception would be when we tried to make a delayed-fuse piccolo pete bomb by poking a hole in a cigarette, putting the fuse of the piccolo pete through the whole, then inhaling to try to light the cigarette. It didn’t work. Instead I just coughed a lot and learned to hate the smell of tobacco. I don't drink alcohol. I even avoid caffeine when I can. Despite this, I ended up overdosing on legally purchased sleeping pills while using them for their stated purpose. Life’s a bitch, eh?

click image The sign at the entry to our hostel
  • The sign at the entry to our hostel
My first job in Brasil was at a holistic retreat in Arambepe. I worked daily from 7 a.m. to noon, handling anything from construction to helping at ayahuasca ceremonies. A month later, I went to coastal Salvador to work at a hostel. Overnight, I went from starting work at 7 a.m. in Arambepe to working nights and ending at 7 a.m. in Salvador. I enjoyed the night shift quite a bit. I only worked thrice a week and spent the first three hours of my shift hanging out with amazing people that I would be hanging out with at night anyways, then spent the rest of the night ironing sheets and watching Breaking Bad.  

In addition to working when I usually slept, I also started sleeping in a very active dormitory. These changes in my sleeping pattern completely threw off my internal clock. I was lucky to get four hours of sleep in a day. It started to catch up to me quickly so I went to a pharmacy and asked if they had anything light that could help. I declined the first thing offered and took the cheaper of the two medications. The recommended dosage was one pill, so I took them for a couple mornings. I looked up the pill online to see why it wasn’t working better and found out that it was generic brand valium. Normally I would worry about that but I still struggled to get more than four hours of sleep and I was exhausted all the time. I figured that valium or not, if I wasn’t getting more than four hours of sleep a night with it, it couldn’t be too dangerous to up the dosage. I finally felt horrible one night and took two.

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Monday, February 1, 2016

Into the Mild: The Adventures of Jason and Hobbes

Posted By on Mon, Feb 1, 2016 at 11:00 AM

Traveling alone can be tough. When all of my snooty friends couldn’t join me because they had families or careers they couldn’t walk away from, I had to get creative in my search for a companion.

I left Tucson in June of 2014, traveling with a group of 500 soccer fanatics to watch the World Cup in Brasil. We were hundreds of strangers from across the US and everyone seemed to bond almost immediately

Then, after two weeks, they were gone.

I next stayed with a friend from Brasil, though she usually had school and I spoke no Portuguese at the time.

Then, after two weeks, I was on my own again.

I worked in Bahia for a month, then left and never saw my coworkers again. I repeated the experience in Salvador. And Ecuador. And Peru. You see the pattern. I was surrounded by people who wouldn't stay in my life. I was alone in a crowd. I wanted a permanent travel companion, flexible and adventurous.

So I made my own.

First came the pattern. I found this nifty guide, printed out a PDF of the design, bought some fleece, and got to work.


hobbes3.jpg


I started with the arms and legs. They were the easiest pattern, and as I had never sewn before, the least noticeable if/when something went wrong.

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Friday, January 29, 2016

Arizona Is Back on Comedy Central Thanks to Dumb High School Kids & Their Racist Stunt

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2016 at 8:17 PM


The dumb Phoenix-area kids who spelled out the N-word on their T-shirts got the attention of the Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, although he gives them credit for "using asterisks to spell out hateful words." Ah, progress!

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Paranoia Strikes Deep: Stoned Weed Smugglers Call Cops on Themselves

Posted By on Fri, Jan 22, 2016 at 11:45 AM


EastIdahoNews.com has posted the audio of two pot smugglers who got a bad case of The Fear after smoking their own stash:
Authorities have released a 911 phone call from a drug trafficking arrest that has people shaking their heads.

The call, released by the Rexburg Police Department and obtained by EastIdahoNews.com, details an incident nearly a year ago on Jan. 23, 2015, when two out-of-state drug traffickers got high and called police to turn themselves in.

Leland Ayala-Doliente, 22, and Holland Sward, 23, were traveling from Las Vegas to Bozeman, Montana, with some 20 pounds of marijuana. Court documents show the men were using marijuana during their trip and when they entered Idaho, they felt they were being followed by undercover police officers.

Rexburg Police Cpt. Randy Lewis told EastIdahoNews.com that at the time they weren’t being followed by anyone.

Once they reached Rexburg, the pair exited U.S. Highway 20, parked their car and called 911. They said they just wanted the police to stop following them. 

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