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The wild and wacky world of modern-day governance

Stuff I've read about recently:

· I've always been a big fan of a well-written headline. It has to be succinct, punchy and informative, all at the same time. That's why I was bothered by the Arizona Daily Star's headline that read, "House OKs fix for gun checks; NRA is on board."

Why the redundancy? The House couldn't pass gas unless the National Rifle Association was on board. The average U.S. House of Representatives member has to get written permission in advance from his personal NRA lobbyist before wearing a striped tie on a Tuesday.

However, it is a good bill, one that sprang from the Virginia Tech shootings. It would require states to automate their lists of convicted felons and the mentally ill, who are, by law, prohibited from owning a gun.

The Virginia Tech shooter, Seung-Hui Cho, was nuttier than a Star Trek convention and should have been barred from purchasing a gun. But the state of Virginia never forwarded that information to the federal clearinghouse. Now states will have to find the resources and money to do so. Let's hope it helps.

One last thing on the Virginia Tech shootings: Just as at Columbine, there were fake-ass do-gooders who insisted on placing wreaths or crosses in memoriam of the shooter(s) and well as all of the victims. That's offensive and repugnant. There wouldn't be any need to place wreaths if these murderous jackasses hadn't formulated the thought, "I can't get a girl to like me," or, "Some inconsiderate person made me feel uncomfortable," and then decided to address their hurt feelings by snuffing out innocent lives. These killers don't deserve to be remembered; they deserve only to have their graves pissed on, on a daily basis.

And finally, for those Christians who the TV people always seem to find, the ones willing to "forgive" the killer within hours of the heinous acts, let's get this straight: Unless that guy shot YOU, you have no place to be forgiving him for anything. Only the victims and their families have been accorded that unwanted right by the dastardly deed. The rest of y'all need to go find a flagpole around which to pray.

· Pima County reached a $1.95 million settlement with the family of a man who impaled himself on a guardrail near La Cañada Drive and Orange Grove Road in 2005.

Pedro Forrer was driving along, high on marijuana and with prescription bottles for morphine and gabapentin (an anti-convulsant that acts as a painkiller) in his truck. Both drugs have warnings against driving while taking them.

He swerved into oncoming traffic, hit a car and then crashed into the guardrail, which had been installed by Pima County. The attorneys for Forrer's family, apparently believing that it's perfectly OK to be driving while impaired, blamed the county for the construction design of the guardrail ... and won!

In fairness, the county's decision to bend over was hastened by the fact that the judge wouldn't allow his legal and illegal drug use to be introduced as evidence.

Ah, the legal system. The only institution in America that makes Fox News appear to be fair and balanced in comparison.

Whatever happened to partial liability? If the guardrails were unsafe, the county should owe a small amount, maybe to be put away for his kids' college educations. But how was he not partly--if not mostly--liable for what happened?

· On the subject of car crashes (but not accidents), an Ahwatukee man was arrested and charged in the deaths of a family of four on their way to church. The man, whom The Arizona Republic casually referred to as an "undocumented Turkish immigrant," was going between 39 and 54 mph on an off-ramp when he crashed into the back of the family's van, which burst into flames, killing the married couple and their children, ages 6 and 4. The family's vehicle was stopped at a red light at the bottom of the off-ramp, and this idiot hit them.

Court records show he had been involved in six other crashes in four years and complained about "blacking out" because of a neurological disorder he has and/or the powerful drug he takes to deal with it.

Quick! I need somebody to stand up and refer to this guy as part of the backbone of our economy that illegal aliens make up.

Or better yet, tell me: How was he driving a car? How did he get his prescription? And why wasn't he held without bond, as called for by the passage of Proposition 100?

· Finally, letter-writer Sam Washington (who's actually an old basketball buddy of mine) took me to task for challenging the cell-phone talker in the doctor's-office waiting room. (It wasn't a gynecologist, as Sam claimed.) He said I'd be upset with dog owners who let their animals run free in an area where the dogs are supposed to be on a leash.

Well, yeah. That's part of personal responsibility. You can't do whatever you want if it hurts somebody else. Jeez, Sam, you're a lawyer, for crying out loud.

What do they teach in law school these days, besides how to sue the county, even if you're at fault?

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