Sunday, August 24, 1997

Interesting series beginning today in the LA Times on the failure of laws to control assault weapons. The first one is a little long to send out (3K) but I'll keep it and the subsequent articles around for a week or so and send them out to anyone who missed them. It says that legislators (federal and California) failed to write legislation that would outlaw copycat weapons, so some weapons are sold after major changes like taking the bayonet off or changing the name. Right, changing the name of a gun can make it legal to sell. Also, they refused to ban the most popular weapons, figuring they had too large a constituency. Weapons manufactured before the laws went into effect are allowed to be sold, so the companies worked up a massive stockpile, and items like large-capacity gun clips are imported from other countries, so that no one can prove they weren't made before the law went into effect.

Also a story about the Mexican national who was released from Texas prison after 14 years on death row because the police pressured witnesses, found himself a national hero in Mexico, appeared in a soap opera...and crashed his car killing himself 4 months after he got out of prison. By the way, Rodney King is also back in jail; I think he tried to run his wife over. Some people should learn to stay away from the horseless carriage.

In 1946 Congress revoked an earlier promise by the government to pay Filipino soldiers the same benefits as American soldiers for fighting the Japanese, including the right to emigrate, GI benefits, etc. Congress said that they had been on inactive duty during the war. Half the inactive Filipinos became permanently inactive while inactively strolling through the jungles of Bataan or in inactive Japanese prisoner camps. Some of them are protesting daily in MacArthur Park in LA, which shows their bravery.

By the way, the definition of GI, my little challenge to y'all, provoked by the new Demi Moore vehicle, which by the way opened the same day I believe as the local DA in whatever hick state the Citadel is located in said that setting female recruits on fire wasn't illegal under the hazing laws. GI, as in GI Joe, is a World War II term standing for general issue. What I find fascinating is that a sarcastic, bitter term made it into general parlance without anyone seemingly knowing its origins. My Webster's gives definitions without saying what it stands for. The term is a parody of military bureaucrateze, as in "30 entrenching tools, general issue, for dirt, removal of". The idea is that generals would requisition 1,000 "general issue" soldiers, whom they would think of as generic units, and dispose of them just as offhandedly.

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