So, some maroooon on NRA's Facebook page opines on the Leland Yee gun-running scandal, "The problem is all these new people with foreign-sounding names!"
Calm down, paleface; this is the United States of America and we've all got "foreign-sounding" names, even the descendants of the people who were already here when the first Europeans stumbled ashore. Nope, the problem ain't names, skin tone or where your ancestors hailed from; the problem is crookedness and unAmerican ideas -- politicians on the take (or on the con) and incessant meddling into the peaceable interactions of residents of the U.S. --You can't own a defined "assault weapon" in California; Texas has a fat handful of felonies involving lobsters and in Indiana, if you light up a smoke within eight feet of any entrance to a commercial building, you are A Criminal. Yeah, even if it's the R. J. Reynolds building, those nice toasted Luckies will get you in more trouble than standing there "only reading Playboy for the articles." We've got a jillion laws (and more on the books every year), most of which are Nanny-type "for your own good" laws, or laws that limit entry to a trade or profession, or serve to protect (or bail out!) well-connected enterprises. ...Or outright create black markets through prohibitions.
That's the kind of environment that breeds crooks and sneaks, smugglers and bribery. You only get rum-running when you have Prohibition; you only get moonshining when there are laws severely restricting distilling; you only get turf wars between drug gangs when drugs are illegal and by golly, "tough, common-sense gun laws" breed gun runners the way filth and darkness attract cockroaches.
I suppose life -- and the policeman's lot -- would be happy indeed if all the bad guys were swarthy orcs from a Tolkien movie. Real life is a lot more complicated and includes liquor-smugglers with good all-American names like Burke and Featherstone, Kennedy and McLaughlin (not a one of those names originated within our borders, mind you, but they do flow trippingly off the tongue of English-speakers, for all you probably got one of them wrong) as well as scary furriners named things like Lee and Yee and Moriarty.
It is not the skin or the name makes the man, nor even the religion. It's how he treats his fellow man. Does he interact by persuaion and honest exchange, or by fraud and force?
For Leland Yee, the public man was well into coercion, applying the crushing weight of the state to control honest, peaceable persons; we should not be terribly surprised that the private man now finds himself facing very credible charges of oath-breaking and smuggling, of using the laws he supported to drive up his profit from violating those selfsame laws. --I have a lot more trouble with the crookedness than the smuggling.
What I don't have any trouble with is that he's from China (came here at age 3) and has a name other than Snodgrass or Smith. Big deal -- him and a few billion other people, otherwise different to one another. The United States is a polyglot nation, settled by a mad assortment of religious flakes, outlaws, younger sons and malcontents. And people who just plain wanted to be here. It's worked well for us. Get over it.
4 weeks ago