Picking a logical path through the uplifting but unfundable State of the Union speech, followed by the economic meadow muffins scattered in rebutting Republican Ryan’s Roadmap for America, perhaps more appropriately entitled Roadblock for Americans, a scientist can only hope that politicians will eventually back themselves into a corner were it becomes possible to perform a simple experiment to immediately reveal their true legislative effectiveness. We can’t do such a test with health care as too many congressmen simply make stuff up and it takes too long. Does Ryan seriously believe that any insurance company is going to offer coverage for all individuals at $2300 a year under the conditions he sets forth for Universal Access? Maybe he could get a letter from some of the health and insurance folks who have donated so heavily to him as to what they are willing to provide for less than $200 a month . And how about Ryan’s social safety net that he morphs into a hammock that creates unemployment; right up there with the economists who claim that the Great Depression was really the Great Vacation because workers chose not to get a job.
Maybe the British are running closest to a controlled experiment with the Conservative budget cutting capers. A UK relative of mine described the current economic ethos of both countries as the “unholy love child which resulted from the union between Reagan and Thatcher” and has never forgiven them for abolishing genteel poverty as a viable lifestyle. Therefore it is perhaps appropriate that the Cameron government is running a little experiment that will give the U.S. a heads-up on what happens if you ‘stimulate’ matters by cutting huge chunk of middle and working class demand out of a consumer based economy. First tentative results are in with a 25 January report showing that the British GDP is shrinking, with more cuts to come. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/jan/25/uk-economy-shrunk-point-five-per-cent
Far and away the best experimental opportunity comes about as a result of the ridiculous statements by several congressmen concerning “concealed carry” as epitomized by Texas Republican Rep. Louie “Terror Baby” Gohmert. He states that his staff is working on a measure to allow members to carry guns, even on the floor of the House of Representatives. In a 12 January 2011 CBS interview, he commented that he “felt scared at times during last year’s health care debate…” I assume he feels that if any flaming liberal came up and threatened an unsuitable amendment, he would feel secure in his manly ability to protect America (and himself) So let’s have a vote on Gohmert’s legislation with the caveat that we have a congress-wide training session at the same time as the vote to add lethal force to their legislative deliberations.
Many police departments and military forces conduct training with paint ball weapons to give cops and soldiers the chance to see the results of pistol fire in real-world situations. The really popular handguns are available in paintball format. It is not necessary to use a Glock, as the Sig Sauer 226 (as used by Navy Seals) is available, and those congressmen who see themselves more as James Bond than action hero can pack a paintball replica of his favorite Walthers PPK. A session of congress would be set aside to discuss the gun carrying laws, with all members issued with the paintball pistol of their choice. Paint balls would be color coded depending on political persuasion, ranging from royal blue to deep red, with perhaps pink for those who supported the repeal of ‘don’t ask-don’t tell’.
All that the members would be told would be that on that day’s session, one, or possibly two “assassins”, using a particularly lurid lizard yellow-belly colored paintball, would appear at random and simulate enforcing their “second amendment remedies” on a member of congress. It will be recommended that appropriate face protection be worn, but those members who are certain that an armed colleague will drop the yellow bellied shooters with a couple of well placed splats will not be forced to wear it. Statistics on hits and misses and unintended victims will be carefully compiled, and the group that records the greatest number of misses (based on color) will be required to stay late and clean up Congress’ hallowed hall.
Of course, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to realize that the results are likely to be far different from the fantasy expressed by several of our congressman of the brave bystander whipping out his weapon and cutting down the assassin before he does his evil deed. In fact, anybody who takes a teenage relative to a paintball session will get a pretty good idea of the technicolor splatted mayhem that will most likely occur. (This is not recommended if you are of Muslim extraction, as you will be accused of giving the kid terrorist training) However, we can all wish that Congress would think a bit harder about the logic, statistics and likely outcomes of what they propose before foisting it on an unsuspecting public. Otherwise; splat…..we’re it.
Notes: for more information on Congressman Gohmert, you can watch the Daily Show doing some real reporting and covering how he got the Terror Baby nickname.
And, just to make sure that no one, not even Gohmert, tries paintball in as unprotected a manner as the young lady in the picture, here’s a link to advice for parents on paintball safety.