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Politics: North Carolina

What does it mean to carry a concealed weapon in North Carolina?  It means that you are about 20x more likely to obey the law: via Coyote Blog

A front-page story in today’s New York Times tries to stir up alarm about liberalized carry permit laws, which let people carry concealed handguns if they meet a short list of objective criteria. To illustrate the hazards of that policy, the Times cites crimes committed by permit holders in North Carolina. How many crimes? Excluding traffic offenses, the Times counts 2,400 over five years, of which 200 were felonies. More relevant (since critics of nondiscretionary permit laws worry that they contribute to gun violence), “More than 200 permit holders were also convicted of gun- or weapon-related felonies or misdemeanors, including roughly 60 who committed weapon-related assaults.” That’s a dozen gun assaults a year. How many permit holders are there in North Carolina? According to the story, “more than 240,000.” So 0.2 percent of them are convicted of a non-traffic-related offense each year, about 0.017 percent are convicted of a felony, and only 0.005 percent are convicted of a gun assault. The Times concedes that the number of permit holders convicted of crimes “represents a small percentage of those with permits.” More like “tiny.” By comparison, about 0.35 percent of all Americans are convicted of a felony each year–more than 20 times the rate among North Carolina permit holders.

I didn’t know this.  However, it kinda makes sense.  See, in order to get a conceal carry permit, you have to have a clean record.  Considering that most criminals begin young, this would seem to only include law abiding people.  Do folks suddenly have occasion to make a poor decision?  Certainly.  But not typically.

I don’t like guns.  I think they’re dangerous.  But they’re less dangerous than swimming pools and I have no problem with people having them.  I even let my kids play with swimming pools.

I also think that it’s okay to regulate guns.  No one needs a fully automatic assault rifle.  And you’d be hard pressed to convince me that we need armor piercing ammunition to take down Bambi.  We already agree that criminals shouldn’t have guns.  So it isn’t a case of “should we regulate” it’s more of a case on “where do we draw the line.”

The more I see that gun owners are safer and law abiding, the more I’m willing to push that line out a little further.

Occupy Raleigh welcomed a sister Occupy group today to the City of Oaks; Walkupy.  Together, the two groups planned to march from the Capital to the Occupy Raleigh camp some blocks away.  During the march, 6 or 7 members of Walkupy were arrested:

RALEIGH — Six protesters taking part in an anti-Wall Street march were arrested as they spilled over the sidewalks and into downtown streets late Saturday afternoon.

The group of up to 50 protesters attracted police attention as they chanted and wove through several streets. As the group marched west on Hillsborough Street, police told them to stay on the sidewalks, according to a statement Raleigh police issued tonight.

Police said despite being ordered several times to disperse, some of the group refused. Police said they warned protesters they would be arrested if they didn’t comply.

More and more the Occupy movement is proving itself to be nothing more than some lefty hippie left-over protest group.  More interested in “self” than in goals.  More proud of being arrested than in generating results.

Too bad really  Too bad.

Even as the unemployment rate is going down, and maybe more because people are opting out of the workforce, it still is true that getting a job working for the government is a good bet:

Durham, N.C. — The Durham County Board of Commissioners’ recent approval of salary increases for county employees of up to 32 percent, which has raised questions among some.

While most county employees were awarded raises of up to 4.25 percent, County Manager Mike Ruffin received a 10 percent raise and the clerk to the Board of Commissioners, Michelle Parker-Evans, got a 32 percent raise.

Nice.

In 2010, Republicans took control of both the North Carolina Senate and the North Carolina House for the first time since 1898.  That’s more than 100 years.

And guess what happens when taxes are reigned in while spending is cut:

Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina’s revenue collections are still ahead of projections set when legislators drew up the state government budget this year.

The General Assembly’s top economist told lawmakers Tuesday the state’s coffers have taken in $115 million above the roughly $6 billion expected through Oct. 31, the first four months of the fiscal year.

The presentation by Barry Boardman to a legislative oversight committee said the amount of taxes withheld from worker paychecks is improving and corporate income tax collections are above targeted levels.

The revenue surplus was about $150 million through September.

The fact that we have a spending problem can only be denied if you are a die hard Statist or a liar.

Apparently the protesters aren’t aware that private property is, you know, private:

Raleigh, N.C. — Six members of the local anti-Wall Street “Occupy” movement were arrested Friday afternoon after staging a protest at Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh.

Mall police arrested the protesters around 2:45 p.m. when the group began to demonstrate in the mall’s food court, Sughrue said.

I can’t help but feel dismayed by this.  Somewhere, at some point, some school failed these people.

Okay, so, I like to engage in debate.  Most especially I enjoy debating people that I tend to disagree with.  I suspect that this has to do with the fact that there is little to gain in debating someone you actually see eye to eye with.  This creates a condition where I only really interact with people who are not necessarily open to my point of view.

However, most of the time, I stress most, I engage with people who “put it out there”.  That is, I’ll engage people through this media.  Blogs, chat rooms or even Facebook.  I typically don’t engage friends, I try not to at least, family, or co-workers. Each to their own in their own daily lives.

So, when I see Occupy Raleigh, a group of people who have banded together to make a point, I might wanna engage them.  I might wanna challenge their facts, their assumptions and their solutions and conclusions.  This becomes more true as they take advantage of public largess and organize in a public manner.

They protest daily.  They have created a blog.  They have a Facebook page.

They encourage dialogue and discourse.

But those are just words.  You see, the Occupy Raleigh movement i n specific, and I suspect the type of individual involved in general, suffers dissent not at all.  They will do everything, EVERYTHING, to suppress your voice, your opinion and your viewpoint unless it conforms to their ideology.  The tolerant Left is a massively repressive regime when it comes to dissent.

They march in protest of CEO speaking at Universities here in Raleigh.  They claim they are denied freedom of expression when they are yanked out of the room.  But when it is THEIR forum, THEIR stage, and anyone tries to speak out against the mob, they shut you down.

I have long avoided confronting the Occupy Raleigh folks.  Some have come here and I try to make my case; I stay away from their forums.  However, the other night I decided to create a Facebook presence for Pino.  I don’t mind these freaks knowing who I am, but I don’t wanna expose my Facebook community to these guys if I can help it.  And I posted a ling on their wall.

It was deleted within 20 minutes.

Then I commented one of their posts.  Nothing untoward, same tone I use here.

I was called a troll.

Later I defended my position and let well enough alone.

Tonight, I got an email telling me that they had replied to my post.  I went to Facebook and they had deleted all of my comments and I’m now unable to post comments.

The left image is from my personal page, the right image from my Pino page.

If you dissent, you will be silenced.

This people, is how the Left rolls.  It’s how they’ve ALWAYS rolled.  They claim tolerance and compassion and understanding, but when those same qualities are demanded of them, they balk and and refuse.  They censor, the repress, the silence and they are brutal in the totality of it.

These people don’t represent the 99%.  They don’t wanna hear open and honest debate.  They aren’t about new ideas.  These people are Marxists.  They are Stateists.  These people are hard core Liberal actors bent on changing the way in which America was created.  They don’t like risk and reward.  They don’t appreciate Individual Liberty.

These organizations are damage.  And reasonable people route around damage.

The Occupy Movement gathers strength amongst it’s supporters from the fact that they claim to represent the 99%.  That means that they feel 99% of American’s are being fairly depicted by these people’s actions.  That somehow, the words and ideas and thoughts and thesis of this movement is embraced by the 99% of American’s that are not the richest 1%.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Much of us not in the top 1% realize what it means to succeed in America, what it takes to make a life that is better than the one given to you as a child.  It requires risk, sacrifice and hard work.  It means that things we might otherwise hold dear to us will have to be passed by or delayed in order to achieve the goal.

And sometimes that doesn’t work out.  For some, it means that a life is spent in futile frustration agonizing over business ideas that never took hold.  For others it might mean a life of unrealized potential; an otherwise qualified corporate President is relegated to a life of middle management due to circumstances. And, in some cases, it means that decisions that are made are wrong.  Or if not wrong, less right.

But in aggregate, the fact that Americans all, poorest to the richest, have the best life ever afforded any group of people belonging to a nation in the history of the world is proof enough that Capitalism is the greatest anti-poverty program going.

But that isn’t enough.  For some, they have to make the papers, the news, the limelight.  They have to scream out that the world just isn’t fair and that somehow, of course, it’s not their fault.

And that’s where the Occupy Movement comes in:

RALEIGH — Protesters from the occupy movement disrupted a speech at N.C. State University Wednesday afternoon by the head of Wells Fargo Bank, but the program resumed after police escorted about a dozen protesters from the building.

There were no arrests during or following the outburst that occurred about 4:45 p.m..

John G. Stumpf, the president and CEO of Wells Fargo, was on campus as part of an executive lecture series sponsored by NCSU’s Poole College of Management.

His remarks were disrupted when protesters scattered amongst the audience of about 400 stood and started speaking. One woman protester began a speech and the others repeated and amplified her words.

The protesters said, “John Stumpf, we won’t take your home, but we will take a moment of your time. Your leadership has led to the death of the American dream. Wells Fargo is guilty of widespread predatory lending and holds over $5.7 billion in student debt.”

I suspect that John G. Stumpf has created more jobs in his singular life that the number of jobs that will be created in aggregate of the Occupiers escorted from that room.  Further, the benefit to society by having Wells Fargo around is lost on many, if not all, of those Occupiers.

Proof?

They hold it against this man that his bank holds $5.7 billion in student debt.

I ask you, how willing would YOU be to borrow money to some kid to get a degree in Eastern European Social Studies with a focus on Slovakian history?

All over the pace e are seeing and hearing that the private sector is struggling.  We’re not adding jobs, or if we are, just barely.  And even then, the news is that wages are going down.

But how about government jobs?

Durham, N.C. — The Durham County Board of Commissioners’ recent approval of salary increases for county employees of up to 32 percent, which has raised questions among some.

While most county employees were awarded raises of up to 4.25 percent, County Manager Mike Ruffin received a 10 percent raise and the clerk to the Board of Commissioners, Michelle Parker-Evans, got a 32 percent raise.

Good work if ya can get it.

 

There was a lot of debate around the Mississippi legislation that would have defined life at conception.  I’is no secret that this was nothing but a method to move to make abortion illegal.  The pro-life folks want to codify that life exists and therefore, that life has claim to individual Liberty.

While I resonate with the concept I diverge in two areas:

  1. I don’t think that human life begins at conception.  Shortly thereafter?  Sure.  Heartbeat, brain activity and blood flowing?  Yeah, then.  Then’ish.
  2. We don’t have to work that hard to make this point.

There is already bi-partisan support for this concept.  In fact, that support passed new legislation into law that will take effect here in North Carolina tomorrow, December 1.

RALEIGH, N.C. — More than four years after a pregnant woman was killed outside a Raleigh convenience store, a law named for her unborn son that criminalizes the murder of a fetus will take effect Thursday.

State lawmakers passed the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, often referred to as Ethen’s Law, in April. The legislation deems that anyone who commits murder, manslaughter or assault against a pregnant woman is guilty of the same crimes against the fetus, regardless of whether an attacker knows about the pregnancy.

I do not find it consistent to be charged with a crime against a human being unless you committed that crime against, you know, a human being.

We all  know, ALL of us, that life begins well before literal conception.  What we’re doing is just negotiating on the time.  As such, we know that the kid in the womb is just that, a kid.

So, we’re not arguing about what’s going on when there is an abortion, a child is dying.  We’re just saying we’re okay with the taking of that life when it suits us.  It would be refreshing, as if, the Liberal Left would be honest and admit that.

I’ve seen people drive all over creation to find a gas station that sells gas for $0.02 cheaper than they can get at their local fill-up.  In fact, they’ll spend 15 minutes to obtain cheaper petrol.  I see the same thing with folks wanting to buy a CD, or a book or a video game.

People react to price variance, often outrageously so.

Further, I acknowledge that we need to pay for roads.  Society needs to be burdened to cover the cost of building and maintaining this infrastructure.  Currently we use gas taxes to cover this.  However, with the advent of more fuel efficient cars, and all electric cars as well, that tax may no longer be appropriate.  It is continuing to fall short of requirements, though I suspect this is in large part due to the fact that gas taxes fund other things besides roads and bridges, and so another method is required.

I think that method is tolls.

We have long ago mastered the technology that allows us to gather and collect tolls without having to stop at toll booths thereby slowing traffic.  We can do this automatically and accurately.  Now the only thing preventing us is fear of change.

By tolling a rod we are able to directly collect funds from the vehicles using those roads.  AND we can tax some vehicles more than others.  For example, an 18-wheeler is going to impact our highways much more than a Prius.  We can tax the truck more.  And, from a capacity perspective, we are able to tax our roads in order to increase capacity.

As I mentioned above, people will go to great lengths to avoid even a small increase in price.  It is my expectation that as we increase the cost of driving on a road during peak times, fewer people will drive during those times.  This will spread traffic out  more evenly and allow for much more traffic on our roads than we currently experience.

And I’m glad North Carolina is going to experiment with this use:

Raleigh, N.C. — Growing congestion on Interstate 540 could require an expansion of the state’s first toll road, part of which is set to open to traffic next month, a regional transportation planner said Wednesday.

The Triangle Expressway is an 18-mile stretch of road that includes the western part of 540. Tolling is scheduled to begin in January on a 3.4-mile stretch that runs through Research Triangle Park

The rest of 540 is currently free, but planner Chris Lukasina said that could change in the future.

The long-term plan for the road, slated for completion around 2035, includes widening it from six lanes to eight, Lukasina said. Two of those lanes could become toll lanes, with varying costs throughout the day depending on traffic.

“At different times of day, or as congestion picks up or slows down, they can change the toll on that particular lane,” Lukasina said.

In other words, drivers will be able to pay their way into a faster lane.

I’ll be fascinated to see how this works.

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