No matter how much sense something might seem to make, when it comes to banning something that an entire country has had free access to, the slope is so slippery it's almost impossible to comprehend. A hundred years ago the United States decided to appease a boisterous vocal small minority who called for the prohibition of alcohol in the United States. The 18th amendment which was called the "Volstead Act" prohibited the sale, manufacture, and transportation of liquor in the United States. For 14 years millions of Americans who indulged in any acts listed soon became criminals virtually overnight. Although it was not a crime to indulge in personally partaking of liquor, those who imbibed in saloons called "Speakeasies" were arrested by the authorities nonetheless. To say that the Volstad Act was controversial was being kind. History shows us it was probably one of the biggest blunders in America's 143-year history. We certainly have added a few doozies since then. Stupidy never completely takes a hike.
Suffice it to say that anybody in America during those 14 years the Volstead Act was in effect who wanted an alcoholic drink was certainly not denied. Enterprising bootleggers produced gallons of "bathtub gin" and rotgut moonshine during the so-called prohibition. By the late '20s, Americans were spending more than ever on black market booze. New York City boasted more than 30,000 speakeasies and Chicago was not far behind. Detroit's alcohol trade was second only to the booming auto industry in it's contribution to the economy. Nobody it seems took into consideration the loss in billions of dollars of the tax money generated by the alcohol industry, among other things, while the country was already bogged down in a depression.
The illicit hooch and those desperate to drink it also ran the risk of being struck blind or even poisoned. The most deadly tinctures contained industrial alcohol originally made for the use in fuels and medical supplies. The tainted booze is estimated to have killed over 10,000 people before the repeal in 1933. After Franklin D. Roosevelt called for a repeal of Volstad during the 1932 Presidential campaign, he won the election by a landslide. Prohibition was mercifully dead a year later. In New Orleans, the mood that reflected the rest of the nation was honored with 20 minutes of celebratory cannon fire.
My point in dredging up the infamous 18th amendment blunder is that old saying by George Santayana 'THOSE WHO CANNOT LEARN FROM HISTORY ARE DOOMED TO REPEAT IT." America is now facing a dilemma that is as controversial if not more controversial than booze in 1919. Mass shooting and deaths by gunfire have occupied the news almost on a daily basis. The calls for more gun control and more gun laws are a routine that most likely will never go away.
There were over 40,000 gun deaths last year in the United States including suicides. The deaths from firearms have risen every year for the last decade. The mass slaughters across America and in some cities, including Chicago have reached epidemic levels. There has certainly been no shortage of controversies between the gun grabbers and the gun enthusiasts. On any given day the controversy keeps percolating.
Gun owners are lined up on one side and the anti-gun folks on the other and they are constantly shouting past each other. Anybody who denies that they both have reasonable arguments is not paying attention. The 2nd amendment is a fact of life and attempts to skirt around it have not been very successful. It seems no amount of convincing is going to be enough. We have all heard the arguments on both sides. In my opinion, I have to ask those calling for firearm bans are we ready to make the same mistake as prohibition? The photo below is the first thing New Zealand tried. Gun buybacks are miserable failures. They are political stunts in place of reality. Criminals don't sell their guns back, they don't have to. Figure out why.
Are we ready to turn millions and millions of American citizens into criminals who own an estimated 350 guns in the United States and have never misused them once and refuse to be disarmed.? On the other hand, are we going to allow the slaughter of our people to continue at the epidemic proportions we are witnessing? The photo above tells the story of New Zealand's response, a shocked nation that recently suffered a mass shooting in which 51 souls were slaughtered. Immediately the politicians instituted gun bans and began buy-back programs. New Zealand has a population of 4.1 million people. They are in a struggle to make any programming work, let alone a new law, one that threatens to make a great number of their citizens suddenly criminals for not surrendering their guns. Keep in mind, America has approximately 346 million more people than in New Zealand.
Imagine the chaos that prohibition spread in a country that quite frankly did not take all factors into consideration. It's a lot to unpack for our politicians and for both sides of the gun debate, it may be the most important compromise that most of us will ever be involved with. However, in doing so let's hope we are prepared for the chaos that's sure to come instead of taking a great leap into a massive pile of DOO DOO. Santayana's words are most assuredly words to the wise. Please be wise and remember Volstead.
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