A WHIRLWIND on GUN CONTROL at WVRC on November 17th
We began with the Pledge, led by DAN PRICE. LENNY and JACK took charge of the Song, which was My Country Tis of Thee and the tempo was good. (which I can afford to judge, since I’m a known expert on these matters…) RAY ZICKFELD gave the Invocation, ending with “May the Angels protect you, and the Heavens accept you” which got a very positive reception from the audience, of course.
A quick Insertion relative to last weeks program, from TONY MARRONE:
TONY has an excellent Four-Page summary of what you need at home to be prepared for an Emergency he will have these available at our next meeting on December 1st.
We had a lot of visitors. SHARON RHODES-WICKETT brought along Janet Janaway, Executive Director of PATH who spoke briefly later. Janet is a member of Inglewood Rotary, so we DID have a Visiting Rotarian, after all. ELLIOTT TURNER introduced his Special Guest, Florence Sampson, who is in Personal Management he claims it has taken him 7 or 8 years to get her to attend our meeting. SEAN McMILLAN, speaking for most of the rest of us, inquired if ELLIOTT really needed that much personal management and the answer is too obvious to comment upon, of course. PDG ANDY ANDERSON brought his wife, Pat. PP GEORGE DEA was accompanied by Janice. PP JIM DOWNIE, overcoming some competitive noise, pointed out that Margie was with him.
The Shopping Spree will be on Thursday evening, December 8th. You probably know the drill, and MIKE YOUSEM will take your reservation husbands and wives make a good team, by the way.
Friday, December 9th we meet jointly with the Santa Monica Club at Riviera NOT on the 8th at Bel Air.
And that midday, the Braille Holiday Luncheon will take place. It’s a lovely way to move into the spirit of helping others, and JACK HARRIS will sign you up. Since you can’t be at both Riviera with the SM Club and downtown with the Braille guests, your helping at Braille will count as a makeup, by the way. And President DON reminded us that we are invited to join LA Five on December 2nd for their annual SC/UCLA Football Preview. DON has the details, and he suggests those going should carpool, OK?
CANDICE DANESHVAR, President of our Rotaract Club, came forward. She reminded us that the Essay Contest, sponsored by PP GEORGE DEA, will only take entrees until November 30th. The subject is “How using the ways the Rotary 4-way Test and the values of Rotary have contributed to the betterment of your generation “
The Rotaract Clubs from all over District 5280 are hosting a Golf Tournament this Saturday night, November 19th. - It a Miniature Golf Course, so all can participate. CANDICE has details.
SHARON came forward with Janet Janaway of PATH. which stands for People Assisting The Homeless. Their operation, which is now citywide, started on the Westside, and their first office was at a nearby Methodist Church on Wilshire, which I hesitate to name for fear of being fined.
SHARON noted an Editorial in the Times on October 11th, which recognized the impressive services being rendered to the homeless community by PATH. There were leaflets on each table telling about about the forthcoming Imaginary Feast, in which donors provide a feast for others if you missed the notice, please call SHARON. She introduced Janet, who also spoke to us a couple of months ago. President DON presented her with our check for $800, and she then outlined the recent history of PATH in greater Los Angeles. They have become a National model for helping the homeless, and certainly deserve our continuing support.
PDG ANDY ANDERSON spoke about PACT, which is the local police support group. PACT provides needed items at the police stations that are not covered by their budget.
Examples include a Bike Patrol rack for their bikes, filing cabinets, toner cartridges for printers, and most impressive, Scholarships for Law Enforcement Explorers to attend college these are for $500, and can be extended to cover all four years. So far in 2005, PACT has spent $22,610.00 and they do make a difference.
President DON then reminded us to wear our Rotary pins and for those at the meeting, and NOT wearing a pin, five bucks was assessed. It’s expensive, not being properly dressed! DON then read the following:
Declaration of Rotarians in Businesses and Professions
This Declaration was adopted by the RI Council on Legislation in 1989 to provide more specific guidelines for the high ethical standard called for in the Object of Rotary; As a Rotarian engaged in a business or profession, I am expected to: Consider my vocation to be another opportunity to serve; Be faithful to the letter and to the spirit of the ethical codes of my vocation, to the laws of my country, and to the moral standards of my community; Do all in my power to dignify my vocation and to promote the highest ethical standards in my chosen vocation; Be fair to my employer, employees, associates, competitors, customers, the public, and all those with whom I have a business or professional relationship; Recognize the honor and respect due to all occupations which are useful to society; Offer my vocational talents: to provide opportunities for young people, to work for the relief of the special needs of others, and to improve the quality of life in my community; Adhere to honesty in my advertising and in all representations to the public concerning my business or profession; Neither seek from nor grant to a fellow Rotarian a privilege or advantage not normally accorded others in a business and professional relationship.
If you can start the day without caffeine, if you can be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains, if you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles, if you can eat the same food everyday and be grateful for it, if you can understand when loved ones are too busy to give you time, if you can overlook when people take things out on you, if you can take criticism and blame without resentment, if you can face the world without lies and deceit, if you can conquer tension without medical help, if you can relax without liquor, if you can sleep soundly every night,
If you can do all of these, then you are probably the family dog.
PP RON LYSTER introduced our Speaker, Professor Eugene Volokh. He graduated from UCLA at age 15 yes, that’s right, graduated in math-computer science (he and I would have lots to talk about…) then worked for 12 years as a computer programmer. He is still a partner in a small software company. Professor Volokh then attended law school, clerked for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (ho hum) and now teaches at UCLA. Among his courses is a seminar on firearms regulation policy.
On this subject, he believes the Q&A is a significant portion, and he encourages questions, of course. His basic position is that gun control causes us to lose some of our freedom, and the gains, generally, are minimal. Why do we want to have guns? For self-defense, essentially. He estimates there are about 250 million guns ‘at large’ in the U.S. They are useful for those who aren’t rich the rich can, and do hire armed guards. Having your own gun is similar to having your own security guard. The harm from guns is usually the result of poor training. Which would you rather have guarding your house, an armed patrol or an unarmed patrol? So, guns are effective. The overwhelming majority of those who use guns are criminals, and they aren’t likely to take gun control laws very seriously.
In response to my question, he said that about 80 million are handguns the rest are rifles and shotguns. So outlawing guns won’t disarm the criminals they already have them. There are between 500-600K gun crimes every year in the U.S. And note a common bumper sticker: If guns are outlawed, only criminals will have guns. There are about 800 fatal gun accidents every year that’s compared to 40, 000 fatal car accidents yearly. While twice as many homes have a car, as compared to gun ownership, gun accidents don’t compare in numbers.
He discussed assault weapons the AK 47, for example. The public may be confused about terminology here Assault weapons are semi-automatic, which means they fire each time you pull the trigger, whereas an automatic weapon continues to fire as long as you depress the trigger. Automatic weapons have been completely banned for years and they wouldn’t be a factor in use anyway, since most incidents involve a small number of almost-continuous firing rounds. He also noted that there is a perception that gun ownership is enshrined in our Constitution, yet the facts are that almost no one, on either side of the argument about gun control, mentions the Constitution.
There is a theory that we should control ammunition but there are probably billions of bullets out there now, and how effective would such a ban be? Safe storage is another program that is suggested. But if you truly have your gun in safe storage, it won’t be available when you may need it About 200 kids, aged 12-14, kill themselves each year, and he believes extra regulation would have little effect on these numbers. He compared the theoretical results of gun control at a college campus with the harm caused by college students who drive after drinking and cars are, indeed, much more deadly.
Q&A PDG BILL GOODWYN If citizens are not allowed to have weapons, does that reduce crime? Most states say so, but the stats don’t support those results. ED GAULD - Florida passed a gun law saying it was OK for self-defense. This is OK for Florida, but there isn’t much interest elsewhere. TONY MARRONE, what if every house had a gun? Remember that 17 to 20 thousand gun deaths each year are suicides. FLOYD DEWHIRST, In Switzerland, every house does have a gun it’s the law. That’s because in their army, every member has to take his weapon home when not on active duty. RAY ZICKFELD, How do they do when guys are not allowed, as in Japan? It doesn’t make much difference. And finally, a quote from Blackstone “An armed population would deter government tyranny.” Dr Volokh, you certainly gave us an amazing sets of stats and opinions and you did a lot better than our last speaker who was against gun control. Thank you.
If progress means moving forward, what does congress mean?