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Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The NRA's Legislation Passes

Today, the House of Representative voted to protect gun manufacturers from the law suits that have and could arise when their products are used "improperly" during a crime. Then, in the article posted as a link in the title of this post, the claim is made that what happened in Katrina illustrates how important it is for the population to be armed.

It seems almost ridiculous to make this argument but:

1) Katrina proved more than anything that people shouldn't be able to walk into a K-Mart and get a gun
2) Guns aren't being used "improperly" during crimes. They are being used as weapons, which is their purpose.
3) If you make a product that is expressly used to shoot things or people; you should be ready for the consequences of that action. If you can't absorb a lawsuit or the risk that your product won't kill someone, maybe you should sell sweaters.

Amazing how the Bush agenda is stalled across the board, but the House (including many Democrats) can still find time to put corporate interests and powerful lobbyists above our lives.

4 comments:

devore said...

it amazed me, how the right wing locked in on the katrina looting story, instead of the class elitism that stranded thousands of poor behind. perhaps they felt guilty enough that they had to distract themselves from the visible proof that the society they are trying to build does not care for it's weak, poor or old. V. Christian, yo?

That said...

Over 40,000 people a year die in car crashes.

Should victims be able to sue car manufacturers because someone used their automobile "improperly?"

Are liberals interested in saving lives? Or fighting a political fight with a yahoo gun group who don't represent everyone who think American's do have a right to arm themselves, for good or ill.

Seems to me, gun manufacturers should be forced, by law, to develop and deploy as many safety features as possible. This is the most fair and most effective way to curb gun deaths.

I mean, guns will always be made. And criminals buy them on the black market.They should be treated the way automobiles were treated in the 40's and 50's -- death machines that need to be made safer.

An average of 21K people a year die from gun related death. The overwhelming majority of these deaths are people who themselves own guns.

Live by the sword, die by it. It's a right.

Freeman said...

Hey there Captain,

A fair response, and I'm not one to say, for example, that fat people should be allowed to sue McDonald's willy nilly because they don't realize hamburgers and soda are bad for you. But I think they have the right to make that case in court.

That being said, I fear that the idea of "frivolous lawsuits" is overstated. It's difficult and expensive to engage in a suit, and it's rather rare to hear of one that actually bears much fruit (except for like, a check for $5 for being a part of a class action suit from a mass e-mail.)

The car statistic is a bit of an apples and oranges comparison. A car is not expressly intended to kill anyone. And it may well be possible (I don't have the figures in front of me) that more people have cars than guns. I would expect that if every single person that owned a car, owned a gun, the figures for gun deaths would be a little bit higher.

The gun lobby sells a product that is intended to kill. It's possible, however unlikely, that a good case can be made against. I'm not a lawyer. But protection for the gun lobby in legislation strikes me as an act to please the NRA and nothing more. The gun industry isn't in danger of going out of business...why do they need these protections? It's possible for a child to swallow a toy and die; but still legal to sue Mattel for not putting a label on the toy.

We need to be fair in this: do people have the right to sue or not? If they do, then they should be able to sue according to what they believe is true and fair. If the suit has no merit, let that be decided in court, where those decisions should be made. To make it impossible to sue on particular industry only serves to protect people that risk to make dangerous weapons and make a great deal of money in the process.

The idea that there are certain industries that attain a privileged status by law in one that should make us uneasy.

devore said...

Well, I wouldn't say it's expressly apples and oranges. But the point is: do you want to shiv the right to bear arms, or do you want to save more lives. Politically, gun control is a death kiss in large swaths of the nation and to turn it into a safety issue rather than a strictly ideological one could lower the gun death total.

Us Southerners love the boom sticks. Partly, I think, it's because their is still a living history of a time the Federal Government tromped below the Mason-Dixon and started effing stuff up. Not that the Rebels didn't deserve it. But in the South, guns really symbolize absolute personal freedom. Likewise, in the North, gun control is a code word for crime which is a code word for race.

THAT SAID, I agree that the real issue here are the Bushies, whores of the medical industry lobby (well, not just THAT lobby...so many to choose from) are trying to limit lawsuits.

At one point, they tried to cap ALL malpractice suits to 250K.

Let's say you lose a parent to gross negligence by a doctor or hospital staff?

250K is how much your grief and anger is worth.

Freeman said...

Devore, you're right. When I think Gun I think Race. Meaning, race away from Confederates.

Why exactly do you think we Yankees want to take away the guns of Southerners? Because you won't stop waving that creepy flag.