Saturday, April 12, 2014

Chews Your Weapon

Let me say this right up front: I am not into guns. That's not to say that am ignorant of the historical underpinnings of their use and possession. I also get that there are legitimate sporting uses and security needs. However, I don't see why some common sense regulation and registration wouldn't be a good idea. And no, I am not worried about a slippery slope towards that day when the government will break down the doors looking for my Glock. Now, that set of views may be reasonable to some, unreasonable to others. After all, I live in the Northeast, which to many is gun-control bubble, and that in a very, very, very large swath of the country there are those with views diametrically opposed to mine. And I'm OK with that as well. We are all allowed to plead our case and go from there.  

That's why I find it so hard to say that I've found an issue where I am firmly in the same corner as the NRA.

Yes, the National Rifle Association. To those of us in the liberal, elitist, left-leaning urban cores hugging the edges of the country, it's an organization which seems to take the most extreme positions possible, ones that defies logic in any group's approach to advocacy. An organization that, if the surveys are to be believed, takes views that are even at odds with a majority of its own members. An organization that has become the poster child for much of what is wrong as to the way the positions on any topic are debated and discussed in that non-functioning body that is Congress, and indeed, any state legislative body. But on this one particular piece of business, it almost crushes me to say I stand shoulder to shoulder with, perish the thought, Wayne La Pierre.

That's not to say that I support the specific law in question that is working its way through the Florida legislature. Mind you, we're not talking about the "Warning Shot" law, a statue that effectively expands the controversial "Stand Your Ground" legislation. The second law makes it legal to fire back if you're being threatened, and has been cited as justification in numerous tragic situations from the Trayvon Martin case to the movie theatre shooting by an ex-cop. This new law says you can fire a warning shot with the same legal justification. From my standpoint, both are bad ideas. But it's Florida, and what else needs to be said.

No, the law I'm talking about is the so called "Pop Tart Law." Drafted in response to a Maryland situation where a student was suspended for gnawing his toaster pastry into the shape of a firearm, the Florida bill aims to protect a student's right to do just that. Or in the actual wording of the bill, students will be protected from suspension for "brandishing a partially consumed pastry or other food item," along with other similar offences. That includes toy firearms made of Lego, drawing a picture of a gun, or using a pencil or pen or even your thumb and forefinger to simulate the same. (For some reason, perhaps because of the general heat and humidity associated with the locale, the law makes no mention of Super Soakers.)

Not surprisingly, the NRA sees real merit in this point of view. While I don't see why there needs to be legislation to this effect, I would have to agree with the concept. After all, I believe in the overall intelligence of the teachers and administrators in a given school district, and will leave it to them to exercise their ability to differentiate between a real threat to the school population, and a bunch of third graders playing with their food. After all, if a kid nibbles his or her slice of organic bread into the shape of sea turtle and then bites off the head, I wouldn't want to see them sent to the principal's office for violating the Endangered Species Act.

Now, I know this sounds suspiciously like common ground and common sense, two things not allowed in politics these days. But there you have it. To be clear, I'm not going out to buy a Second Amendment tee-shirt. But if we can agree that breakfast foods are generally not dangerous as firearms, just think where that could lead. A boy can only hope.


Marc Wollin of Bedford used to like Pop Tarts, but it's been a while. His column appears regularly in The Record-Review, The Scarsdale Inquirer and online at, as well as via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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