Sunday, October 8, 2017

A Modest Proposal 2.0 or Bulletproof 360

Acknowledgement: This blogger recognizes Irish satirist Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) and his original "A Modest Proposal" as the inspiration for what follows here. Those unfamiliar with this particular Swift work can read it at this link: http://art-bin.com/art/omodest.html

For your consideration, here is my modern Modest Proposal 2.0:

Now that the echoes of rapid, automatic gunfire and mass murder have quieted in Las Vegas, Nevada, the political Gatling guns in Washington, D.C. and across America are blasting away at the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the right to bear arms. This inevitable debate will lead to much hand-wringing, threats and promises to fight, until the gun controllers rhetorically pry firearms from the "cold, dead hands" of the most ardent gun advocates. Nothing real will likely happen to secure safety.

It must be admitted that gun ownership and its use is as fundamental to the American system of governance and freedom as the right to resist taxation and the right to speak our minds, criticize the state, assemble to protest against it in public or in private or shoot a handgun in the air on Independence Day. Essentially, without the Second Amendment and the unlimited and inalienable rights it guarantees to bear weapons, all other rights are at risk. That's why the founders wrote:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

The key words here are "well regulated Militia." Certainly Steven Paddock, the prolific shooter from Mesquite, Nevada was a one-man Militia. With more than 40 weapons in his personal cache and the ability to adapt them for automatic fire, he proved his ability to inflict significant harm on any conventional threat by injuring nearly 500 and killing 58 at a country western concert. He was within his legal right to own all those weapons. Since Militias are necessary for our country's safety and freedom, Paddock obviously had the need to drill and regulate his performance with his arsenal. What would our police, sheriffs, National Guard, Navy, Air Force, Army, Marines, Coast Guard and special forces do without the assistance of these Militias and more than 300 million guns in the hands of private citizens? There are many other one-person Militia's like Paddock. A review of the latest data reveals 3% of the U.S. population owns approximately 50% of all the civilian-owned U.S. weapons. In other words, there are millions of other Steven Paddocks in America who own from eight to 140 weapons. With that many triggers, it would be very hard to track if one goes missing or is stolen. That must be the reason only nine states and the District of Columbia require firearm owners to report a lost or stolen weapon. We can't expect these well regulated Militias to know where every weapon is at all times. It's estimated a half-million guns are stolen annually. They often end up in the hands of criminals.

So, what's the answer? Should we risk infringing on such fundamental protection of liberty and allow any restriction on gun ownership, when we already have so many laws codified at the federal, state, county and municipal levels?

I propose a more modest approach. One that protects lives without savaging a cornerstone of freedom like our sacred Second Amendment. We simply need to bulletproof our nation, and for that matter, the world. Bulletproof 360 is the answer. Before you scoff, consider these questions. Would you drive a car without your safety belt and airbags? Would you own a home without a working smoke detector? Would you go for a walk in the rain without an umbrella? Ultimately, even the AIDS epidemic was fought with condoms and safe sex as opposed to abstinence or the suggestion that anyone should alter a lifestyle.

The answer to rising gun deaths and the increasingly frequent mass shootings by Militias and murders by criminals is a bulletproof environment. For example: bulletproof glass on our homes to resist drive-by shootings; bulletproof car windows and windshields to protect against road ragers; bulletproof baby buggies, bonnets, diapers and bibs to defend infants, especially those who are shot by unsuspecting toddlers wielding weapons. Think of the innocent lives that would be spared by a global commitment to bulletproofing, when more than 7,000 U.S. children annually experience gunshot wounds and more than 1,200 die from them. It's the third leading cause of child mortality in America.

What's surprising is that law enforcement is not recommending this technology for citizens when they use it themselves. There is a long history of body armor protection. Knights in steel suits rode into battle against sword and lance and even musket ball. A recent PBS Nova episode demonstrated that century's old metal suits were impervious to a musket shot from close range. American troops fighting in the Middle East wear body armor, when it's available. Modern materials like Kevlar are much more light weight and can be created in a variety of designer colors. Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Dolce & Gabbana, Armani and Valentino would undoubtedly leap at the opportunity to work this protective weave into stunning apparel for the red carpet -- everything from dresses and suits, to brassieres, underwear, socks, shoes and boots, ties, hats and other accessories. Camo is an obvious option.
Imagine the boom in optometry of bulletproof eye wear and sunglasses.

Industry would scramble to develop newer and more effective materials to compete for consumer dollars, generating an unbridled economic boom in American design and textile industries. Virtually every consumer industry would be affected since we've clearly established the need for a bulletproof 360 society. With drones and the ability for snipers to perch at elevations, we'll need to consider bulletproof roofing; bulletproof skylights and walls; bulletproof vehicle side panels for cars, trucks, buses and trains. Besides the financial benefits and job creation, just consider how helpful it will be for Militias to be able to fire upon passing traffic without as much concern of injury or death.  Why not shoot at the driver who cut you off, when you're relatively confident he's taking responsibility for his safety and rocking his bulletproof apparel?

Just think, if only Trayvon Marin had worn a bulletproof hoodie, George Zimmerman could have stood his ground without consequence. In September 2017, Chicago Archbishop, Cardinal Blase Cupich declared all Chicago Catholic parishes and schools gun free. If the global church had adopted a bulletproof doctrine long ago, with vestments, altars and pulpits that deflect gunfire, the late Salvadoran social activist, the beatified Archbishop Oscar Romero, might be alive today. The same might be true for Dylan Roof's victims at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Extending this concept to universities and schools could have prevented the senseless deaths at, Virginia Tech, Columbine High School, Sandy Hook Elementary and the Amish school at West Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. If every child, teacher, principal and school staffer is covered in a bulletproof uniform or active wear, the likelihood of casualties declines. Plus, the apparel obviates the need for gun free zones at schools or even metal detectors.

Insurance rates for casinos, concerts venues and arenas are likely to skyrocket after the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino Militia mishap in Las Vegas. Expect insurers to demand tighter security at every entertainment and sporting event. Bulletproof 360 would shift the security paradigm from public protection to self protection. It might significantly mitigate a business's responsibility to protect customers who are injured on its premises, by shifting the responsibility for safety to the visitor.

Now picture country western fans wearing bulletproof cowboy hats, chaps and vests to concerts while gang bangers don bulletproof jackets and boxer shorts at rap events to protect their behinds from low-riding belt lines. Sports fans could wear bulletproof team merchandise including logo-emblazoned helmets. These could be very useful in Major League Baseball where hard hit balls bash spectators. I'll bet the parents of a certain little New York girl, a two-year-old toddler, wish they had put a bulletproof helmet and mask on her before they took her to a Yankees game in September.

All these bulletproof technologies and enhancements would be exportable, perhaps reducing our trade imbalance. And government would save resources, too. With bulletproof garb, cars and architecture, we could dramatically reduce the cost of defending presidents and other politicians with secret service.

Ultimately, that's what it's all about: personal responsibility and protection. The Second Amendment guarantees us the right to bear any arms to protect ourselves, especially from our own government. And if you can't take the responsibility to protect yourself from a stray bullet, you can't expect Militias to take additional precautions while regulating themselves. Bulletproof 360 is the answer to so many social, safety and economic problems.

The only catch is, how do we protect ourselves from those who choose to own an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) or a tank? It's their right, right?

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