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More gun laws won’t rid us of evil intentions

It’s really disingenuous to see lawmakers continually pushing for more gun laws, like it’s going to do anything about defective people misusing them on others.

The Democrats are proud as punch of introducing more gun laws and not one of them will prevent future tragedies. They can try all they want but they fail to acknowledge a truism: we live in a fallen world and evil people will continue finding ways to kill others.

And let’s not be fooled by their terminology of “gun violence,” as if the guns are going around indiscriminately shooting people. It’s “human violence.”

Leftist state Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills) is one of those who thinks more gun laws will prevent evil acts. The state lawmaker chastises Congressional Republicans for blocking what he calls “common-sense reforms” but Republicans know that such laws won’t keep mentally defective people from getting and using guns for evil purposes.

The so-called progressives are engaged in a one-sided approach – take away guns from law-abiding citizens who want to be able to protect their families and also those who enjoy target shooting and hunting. Felons won’t abide by any gun law; that’s apparent by how police pull over car after car where a criminal is carrying a loaded firearm which they are forbidden to possess. When it comes to mass shootings, Democrats focus on the instrument, not the user. It’s easier to target guns when the real issue is mental illness among many young people.

There are many youth who have some really twisted ways of thinking. I have my ideas of the root causes. It’s a spiritual problem for sure. 

I learn a lot of things by watching documentaries, particularly the quirky things going on in society. The documentary on the July 14, 2019 murder of 17-year-old Bianca Devins by her estranged boyfriend Brandon Clark was especially eye-opening. When Devins decided she didn’t want a monogamous relationship with Clark, he planned out every detail of how he would kill her on video, down to the music that would be playing. He video recorded the whole gut-wrenching act. He then posted images of the dead social media “star” on Discord. Aside from hearing about this demented young man, and knowing people enjoyed looking at her throat slit open, I was troubled that many young men forwarded the grisly images of the dead girl to harass her family with some making comments that she deserved it. Apparently there are young men known as “incels,” a member of an online community who consider themselves unable to attract women sexually, typically associated with views that are hostile toward women and men who are sexually active. The incel ideology has already inspired the murders of at least 16 people. One example is that of Elliot Rodger, who killed six and injured 14 in 2014 in Isla Vista, California in an attempt to instigate a “war on women” for depriving him of sex. The loser then took his own life. In their twisted worlds, they can’t get attractive females so they despise them and their beauty and celebrate when one is killed. It’s a true sickness.

The internet has opened all up to all and it isn’t always good.

A similar sickness seems to be in the dark background of every mass shooter. The mass shooter feels like the world owes him something and he’s going to take his misery out on others. We coined the term “going postal” because a lot of post office workplace shootings have taken place by men who felt they were deprived of something better.

Democrats should focus on mental health issues rather than guns.


* * * * *

Santa Claus might as well cancel Christmas 2022. There is little need for him since the government has played Santa Claus the past two years, doling out billions under the guise of COVID relief.

Federal leaders are spending money like there is no tomorrow. Add on top of that the socialistic programs ushered in by frail Uncle Joe and you have a recipe for indebting future generations beyond what we can imagine. Their tax burden will be greater than others thanks to politicians – who won’t live to see the carnage – who are merely buying votes of young Democrats.

* * * * *

The city of Ceres has received over $11.6 million in two rounds of federal funding and found a way to spend most of it. A big chunk of that went to pay bonuses to some “essential” city employees who worked during the pandemic – which was totally wrong – while those of us in the private sector didn’t get an extra dime. But why should we get extra pay? We got paid for the wages we agreed to with our employers.

Americans did, of course, receive COVID relief but I considered that merely a reduction in my already high tax burden.

In past meetings, now council candidate John Osgood III raised hackles, insisting that ARPA is unconstitutional (Congress constitutionally controls the federal purse strings and can do as it wishes). He also asserted that the city of Ceres should return the millions it received (like it wouldn’t be wasted elsewhere). His is an interesting view that I’m not sure will play well to the electorate in District 4.

* * * * *

Speaking of millions of ARPA dollars sitting in city coffers, why hasn’t anyone suggested that the Ceres water tower be made to look presentable rather kept in its unsightly state of blight? There is $550,000 leftover in round 1 ARPA funds, enough to cover rehabilitation of the tower. I mean, if the city could afford to pay $1.5 million in bonuses to reward employees for merely showing up to work through the pandemic, it could take care of a major community concern.

But Acting Public Works Director Sam Royal told me that he believes the tower should come down. If that’s the sentiment then the city needs to have an honest conversation with the community which feels a nostalgic fondness for the iconic tower. As it stands, the Ceres water tower is the largest and most visible example of blight and the city is the property owner. Maybe code enforcement needs to cite city leadership to remedy or abate! 

* * * * *

Quick Quack Car Wash needs a better PR person. They held a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, Aug. 23 at the Ceres Gateway Center and didn’t bother to let the Ceres Courier or the Ceres Chamber of Commerce know about it. They had been planning the event for three weeks with the Modesto Chamber of Commerce and not the Ceres Chamber of Commerce. Ceres Chamber officials caught wind of it the day before.

Hey Quick Quack, you’re opening in Ceres, not Modesto. Not a good first impression.

* * * * *

Politics is a strange business and makes many office holders dishonest. They scratch and claw to keep power and connection because some people find their status and meaning in positions of power.

I remember a time in the 1990s when candidate Mike Soffa ran for Ceres City Council. We had a problem with our type setting equipment (those were the days of layout and paste-ups before everything was paginated on a computer). We had published some candidate statements and Soffa’s verbiage turned out lighter print font than others. It wasn’t intentional but we also had no time to fix the problem.

Soffa was convinced that I had it in for him; he accused me of deliberately making his copy look weak and pale. I rolled my eyes.

That episode came to mind last week when I read that Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot accused a conservative super PAC of deliberately darkening her skin tone in an ad promoting a GOP candidate for governor of Illinois.

Her claim was to disparage the GOP as racist, of course. 

Lightfoot, in case you didn’t know it, is black. She wasn’t so much concerned about the ad highlighting how dangerous a place Chicago is with weekend gang shootings. No, she made it all about her and her skin color. Her skin color appears noticeably darker in the ad versus the original footage, news reports said.

News flash. Politicians routinely darken the opposition in TV ads to make them look more sinister. They also slow down video and find the worst video and make it grainy too.

The mayor, in denial that her city is violent, said, “I’m Black and I’m proud. Everyone knows it. No need to use cheap tricks to darken my skin and try to scare voters with false narratives about Chicago.”

False narratives about Chicago? So far Chicago has had 437 homicides this year so the GOP ad filled with scenes of live shootings is reality. But Lightfoot pulls the race card to insist the commercial used “racist tropes against Black Chicago.”

I understand Lightfoot doesn’t want to admit that Chicago has a tremendously serious black-on-black crime problem. But Republican Darren Bailey has a right to call attention to the fact that his Democrat opponent, Gov. J.B. Pritzker, signed a bill eliminating cash bail – just another bill to let dangerous criminals free to roam the street. 

* * * * *

Oh that narcissist governor of ours. The poor guy is delusional.

Last Wednesday in his apparent campaign for president, Newsom held a press event in which he bragged about the success of the state to reduce homelessness. He announced funding awards for 2,499 housing units at what he called a “nation-leading” Project Homekey site in Los Angeles County.

Newsom hasn’t put a dent in the problem. It’s been a colossal waste of money. In the past three years, California has thrown a total of $17 billion at the homeless crisis and yet federal data shows that the homeless population has grown in California despite the myriad of available programs.

One such program in Los Angeles was so expensive that it ended up costing $837,000 to house each homeless person!

Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher of Yuba City said the governor’s office must have made a typo on the press announcement since California leads the nation in homelessness, not in homeless solutions.

Californians can see with their own eyes the growing homeless camps and filth in their communities. The Stanislaus County Civil Grand Jury just reported that while over $30 million has been allocated to address homelessness in the past three years, the lack of accountability is “problematic and can undermine the public’s confidence in our public agencies.” The report also noted that the county’s homeless population has grown from 1,613 in 2005 to an estimated 2,900 last year.

Democrats have resisted every Republican bill to address homelessness. To even the casual observer, Newsom’s approach is akin to putting a bandage on a severed limb. Simply providing shelter to someone struggling with a severe mental health illness or drug addiction won’t result in any long-term solutions. The answer involves a holistic approach with more emphasis on accountability and treatment for mental health illnesses and drug addiction. Experts have been saying this but Sacramento remains deaf.

* * * * *

Two weeks ago I celebrated my 61st birthday.

My 10-year-old grandson relished in telling me that the birthday card his mother – my daughter – was handing to me contained something that would make me laugh. 

I can honestly say that I as a 10-year-old was vastly more innocent than my 10-year-old grandson. Gaming and social media has made today’s kids more jaded, less innocent, exposed to more crudeness and crassness than when I was a 10-year-old in 1971. Video gaming has pre-empted book reading.

My grandson wrote some very sweet things in my card, saying that he loved me and that I was an “awesome dude.” It melted my heart.

I couldn’t but help to notice that his handwriting, shall we say, lacked uniformity. Okay, it was sloppy. No cursive writing as kids aren’t taught that anymore. He used all block letters. One word was misspelled. His lines were wavy and letter size was inconsistent. I can show you homework I did at his age and it was textbook cursive and my lines were straight.

I would argue that disciplines of good handwriting and even music help build more disciplined character. Even making one’s bed every morning is a discipline that translates to other areas of life, like showing up for work on time.

But I digress. My grandson wrote a P.S. that sounded like pure Conner. “61 years old boomer.”

He knows how that word, boomer, gets under my skin, even if in jest because he saw my prior reaction to being called a boomer. I’m sure that he learned that term from watching the smart-alecks on YouTube video gaming channels. The younger generation uses that term to be dismissive of my generation not because they dislike older people but because they reject our conservative and traditional values. But honestly they’ll wise up as they get older.

Some values musn’t go away, like:

• It’s best to hold your tongue instead of everything pass through a broken filter.

• It’s best if kids can be raised with a mom and dad together.

• It’s better to be paid for hard work (because it’s honorable and strengthens character) than being paid by the government for being a slouch.

• America is a great country and we are blessed to live here despite those who despise it and call it racist.

• We can learn from history and its rights and wrongs – but not if we erase it.

• Kids raised in families who attend church tend not to go shoot up their schools or the mall and, honestly tend to be more considerate and helpful to others and appear to be happier.

• Using the F-bomb is not appropriate in public and is a sign of vocabulary deficiency, a verbal laziness if you will.

And while we’re on the subject of words, the word is “vacation,” not “vacay.” The word is “conversation,” not “convo.” The word is “merchandise,” not “merch.” People think they’re being trendy in the use of abbreviated words but it sounds ridiculous.

Many of the younger set are missing basic manners.

I was sitting inside a fast-food restaurant on Wednesday as a young lady sat in the next booth. She was an employee eating on her break. For the next 12 minutes or so she subjected me to a loud Facetime conversation with her bestie (uh, translation, her best friend). Apparently she wasn’t concerned about bothering paying customers and certainly not bothered that her private conversation was loud enough for all to hear.

I later saw this same young lady checking her phone while in the kitchen.

Yeah, there’s a lot the adults aren’t teaching the kids anymore. I guess that’s because they want to be their friends, not their parents.

Thanks for letting me rant.

This column is the opinion of Jeff Benziger, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Ceres Courier or 209 Multimedia Corporation. How do you feel about this? Let Jeff know at