Friday, January 14, 2011

Weeding Out The Assholes

All week we've been talking about the killings in Tucson. And about the gunman; how he just went out and bought a gun, and then went to two different Walmarts to buy bullets.

Then information came trickling in that he might not be mentally sound. Yet, he was still able to get his hands on a gun. And bullets. No checking. No testing. No "Hey, this guy looks a little too crazy to me, should I really sell him this gun?" moments.

When I decided I wanted to drive a truck and get a CDL (Commerical Drivers License), I had to go to a special school. In that school, this is how much time I had to spend on varying subjects regarding trucking:

  • 30 Hours of Classroom Training on General Knowledge, Air Brakes, Combination Vehicles, Hazardous Materials, Log Book, Map Reading, Trip Planning.
  • 40 Hours of Field Training on how to do a Pre-Trip Inspection, Straight Backing, Parallel Parking, 45 Degree Alley Dock, Coupling and Uncoupling, Sliding Fifth Wheel and Tandems.
  • 50 Hours on Road Training to learn Shifting, Highway Driving, City Driving, Right and Left Turns, Safety Procedurs and Defensive Driving Techniques
  • 33 Hours of Homework to work on my Pre-Trip Inspection, Safety Procedures, Log Book and whatever classroom assignments were given out.
  • 10 Hours for the Final Exam practicing and actual testing, both written and driving.

Now I'll be the first to say that 163 hours of training is nowhere near enough to understand how to drive a truck. That's why after I graduated from the school, I had to drive with someone sitting next to me providing further training, on the road and in the thick of real life situations for another 315 hours.

And even that isn't enough time to learn all you need to know to drive an 18-wheeler. In fact, there are veterans on the road right this very minute, people who have been driving more than thirty and forty years, who will tell you that they're still learning. They scoff at the "newbies" who are churned out of the schools and thrown into their own truck without any real idea about what to do. And they're right. You're given an 80,000 pound vehicle to drive. Willy-Nilly. All over the United States and Canada.

But I'm not finished...I also had to get (and pass) a DOT physical. And I'm required to get that physical every two years as along as I want to hold a CDL and as long as I plan on being behind the wheel of that truck. They want to know your health history. They want to know if you've had any illnesses or injuries in the past five years; any head/brain injuries, disorders or illnesses, any seizures or epilepsy, any eye disorders, ear disorders, heart disease or heart surgery; high blood pressure, muscular diseases or shortness of breath; any liver, kidney or digestive problems, any nervous or psychiatric disorders like severe depression, and loss of or altered consciousness, fainting, sleep disorders like sleep apnea, snoring or daytime sleepiness; missing extremities, spinal injuries, low back pain, regular or frequent alcohol use or any narcotic or habit forming drug use.

Then (oh yes, there's more), they check your vision. You have to have at least 20/40 (I have 20/15 in both eyes - that's better than 20/20!). Then they check your hearing - you have to be able to hear a forced whisper from five feet away, without any hearing aids. I can hear a pin drop. From a skyscraper. Then comes my blood pressure (120/82), my pulse rate, the good 'ol pee test to check for protein, blood and sugar in my urine. And once that's done, they start to check for actual abnormalities. That list is even longer.

Theeeennnnnn...after all that testing, I had to take more tests. I had to take a test to get my doubles/triples endorsement and I had to take a test to get my HazMat endorsement. That was a biggie. Not only did I have to take a written test, but I had to pay $90.00 to get my fingerprints taken and submitted to the state Bureau of Investigations. The TSA (Transportation Safety Administration) Hazardous Materials Endorsement Threat Assessment Program conducts a security threat assessment (background check) to make sure I'm not a threat; it's a program that was implemented to meet the requirements of the USA Patriot Act. The Patriot Act. I had to give MY fingerprints to be able to haul nail polish remover. Believe that??

So while I had to do all of this testing, pay all kinds of money, take written tests and skills test and let someone scan my Ten Little Indians, all that asshole shooter had to do was go shopping. Personally, I don't really think a regular person needs a gun. They don't need automatic weapons and they don't need extended clips. And you shouldn't be able to buy bullets in Walmart. But if someone needs a gun, must have a gun, won't feel complete without a gun....they should be
REQUIRED to PROVE they are capable, sound and skilled enough to use one.

Granted, people who pass all those tests might still snap, but the chances of weeding out the assholes are greater if you actually DO SOMETHING to weed them out.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Does It Fall Under Some Kind Of Secret Guy Code?
Over 140 Million Years In The Making
If “G” Means Good, Then “I” Must Mean Incompetent
Ft. Lauderdale Storm
You Don’t Need Makeup Or Starbucks


Anonymous said...

amen to that. I'd suggest that like your regular check ups, gun permits should also include regular checks. Of course, I also think there is little to zero need for the general public to have guns.

Anonymous said...

you do have to take a skills test to get your concealed handgun permit and you submit your fingerprints and go thru a background check...the problem was this nut had none of those done therein lies the problem...

The Daily Rant said...

Anon: So then how did he get one? From what I heard on the news, he bought it at Sportman's Warehouse.

That said, I agree with GrowFamilyGrow - there is little to zero need for the general public to have guns. Of any kind.

Anonymous said...

the public should have to go thru the same process we go thru to legally carry or purchase a handgun... i bet if you were in a bad situation and your life or your family was in danger you would welcome the fact that a fellow law abiding handgun owner would be there to protect you...