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Why did parents get to take off masks while grads had to wear theirs?
masked grads
Central Valley High School graduates were not told they could take their masks off as their parents were told they could do so. - photo by Jeff Benziger

What is the logic of having the graduates at Central Valley High School not being told they could take off their masks as the parents were told they could? The administrators and school board members weren’t wearing masks either in 95 degree weather but the students were kept in theirs.

Don’t get me wrong – I think mask mandates are ridiculous and nobody should have been expected to wear them in an outdoor setting. But to expect the kids to wear them while excusing the adults seems a bit off to me. In Hughson, where freedoms are taken more seriously, high school graduates enjoyed a mask-free graduation experience!

It’s not like the seniors were shoulder to shoulder as in a normal graduation. No, the students were spaced apart. It is a shame that on the most important evening of their high school experience that they had to wear those silly masks. Of any age group, those teens have the least to worry about the effects of a virus but for some reason they are the most scared.

If you tell me, “But Jeff, but Jeff, kids have died from coronavirus.” True, but very few. We are told that people of all ages have died from COVID-19 but they also die annually from the “regular” flu in which there is no grand media hype about it. Teen athletes have also been known to drop dead from heart attacks on the playing field too but we don’t stop playing sports because of it.

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Last week I shared a “conspiracy theory” about the candidacy of Jim Casey. Someone I respect had emailed me from another state and expressed his dismay, suggesting it wasn’t professional on my part. I did some thinking on it and I agree that I shouldn’t have done that – especially without giving Jim a chance to comment.

I offer Jim and my readers an apology.

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Why is a liberal’s answer to gun violence always to add further regulation to the tool used in a crime and not focus on the abuser of said tool?

They want you to think their next new law will be the – pardon the pun – magic bullet to end all mass shootings. They always seek to punish the law-abiding citizens with their gun legislation, which criminals ignore anyway, after all, they are by definition criminals. They don’t seem to be interested in finding a real solution – if indeed there is one – to getting at the root of the problem which is defective people who use weapons of all kinds to kill people.

Seizing on the violence at the San Jose shooting that left nine dead, California State Attorney General Rob Banta is ramping up the anti-gun rhetoric, weighing in on the Duncan v. Bonta case challenging California’s ban on the acquisition and possession of large-capacity magazines (LCMs). LCMs are firearm magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

In February, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted Bonta’s request to review the case after a divided three-judge panel upheld a federal district court’s ruling against California’s LCM restrictions. Banta argues that the district court’s judgment should be reversed: saying, “the data is clear: when LCMs are used in mass shootings, more people are injured and more lives are lost. This epidemic is a problem we have to face head on. We can’t afford not to.”

Surely the AG knows that anyone can take a duffle bag full of loaded legal handguns and use them in a mass shooting. In a piece written last year by Gary Kleck of the Florida State University College of Criminology and Criminal Justice stated that, “There are over 58.9 million firearms magazines holding over 10 rounds in private possession in the U.S. and at least 14.8 percent of private guns are equipped with magazines this large, while no more than 15.8 percent of U.S. mass shootings (four or more dead) in 2012-19 involved a shooter using such a magazine. Thus, mass shooters use LCMs with a frequency not significantly greater than one would expect based on the share of U.S. guns equipped with LCMs.” He concludes that previous research shows that LCM use is neither necessary nor helpful to offenders trying to shoot large numbers of victims in mass shooting incidents.”

A clip for a 9mm, for example, can hold seven rounds. Two clips can give you 14. Three clips, 21. Say again how many died in San Jose? The standard handgun can do just as much damage. So explain again how LCM or even bullet regulations will thwart mass shootings?

The San Jose shooting, like in the case of many mass murders, was done by a man who believed he was wronged. Perhaps our focus as Americans who want to see gun violence reduced should be looking at ways to prevent employees from becoming so disgruntled they want to kill. Samuel Cassidy had a lot of problems. His ex-wife, Cecilia Nelms, told reporters that he often spoke angrily about his coworkers and bosses and at times directed his anger at her about “unfair work assignments” and “would rant about his job when he got home.” She said he had mood swings that worsened when he drank and she alleged he had bipolar disorder.

Imagine if someone at that workplace was carrying a concealed weapon and could have stopped Cassidy on his gun-shooting rampage. Guns can be used for good purposes too and I consider taking out a mass shooter – as sad as it is – would be a good purpose.

Democrats know gun laws don’t work. They know that it gives the appearance that they “truly care.” But strip away the emotion and look at facts and it’s all just pontificating.

As I’ve said before, you can never stop all evil acts happening anywhere on the planet.

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When was the last time you heard of a criminal who obeyed the law?

Gun laws don’t work.

Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms said last week that “At least three times in May, Seattle officers encountered convicted felons who were carrying guns. Restrictive gun laws, embraced by Seattle voters over the past few years, didn’t prevent any of these criminals from getting firearms.” 

“What’s happening in Seattle is a microcosm of what’s going on across the country,” he added. “Check any big city and you’ll find reports of criminals with firearms because they ignore the laws that only penalize honest citizens, yet the gun control crowd refuses to learn anything from this pattern.”

Since 2014, two restrictive gun control initiatives bankrolled by the Seattle gun prohibition lobby have made it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to purchase legal firearms. Neither of these measures – Initiatives 594 and 1639 – have reduced homicides in Washington, as sold to the public. Indeed, last year saw Seattle nearly double the number of slayings over 2019.

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One doesn’t need to travel very far to get a taste of the true nature of leaders of Black Lives Matter.

BLM is far from the civil rights movement of the 1960s. It’s a radical, anti-police, Marxist organization.

In Turlock Jaimee Ellison, the 24-year-old co-founder of Turlock BLM movement, was arrested on Sunday, May 30 because she interfered with police who were arresting a man who was driving the car she was in. Police were called out because of a report of vandalism and that one occupant of the car possibly had a gun. Ellison started berating police when they got there. Driver Swede McDaniel, 34 of Modesto, was on Post Release Community Supervision and searchable. (If you ask me, McDaniel should never have been released from prison early but that’s what the Democrats want.) When officers informed McDaniel that they were going to search him and the car and proceeded to remove him, officers saw the handgun on his seat.

Ellison tried to physically intervene with the officers, allegedly pushing two of them more than once, with one strike forcing a piece of the officer’s equipment to bust his lip.

Turlock police gave Ellison repeated warnings and told her she was under arrest, but she resisted when they attempted to cuff her. She was booked on two felony charges of battery on a peace officer and attempted rescue of a prisoner. McDaniel was booked on the charges of felon in possession of a firearm, prohibited person possessing a firearm, and probation violation.

Her BLM cronies – who apparently don’t understand the concept that when you violate the law and fight police you go to jail no matter your skin color – sent out a social media message that read: “Turlock PD finally got their hands on our beloved comrade. They have always been active and vocal in their community, and now the system is fighting back. Stand with the community TONIGHT in direct response to this violent assault.”

Ellison was later released and attended a protest at Turlock Police headquarters. She said: “You all treat us like animals then you want to say that racism isn’t real.”

Who was the one acting like an animal?

Ellison must believe that if one’s skin color is black that one should not have to face the consequences of breaking the law. A felon in possession of a gun – inside a car, no less – is breaking the law. So is shoving officers who are charged to carry out enforcement of the law.

She told our sister newspaper, the Turlock Journal: “you don’t always have to put people in the back of cop cars. You don’t always have to treat people like they’re animals or you have some higher moral power over them.”

Stop. The law IS precisely based on a higher moral law and police DO have the power to enforce those laws. So you’re wrong, Ms. Ellison, you’re not above the law.

It’s unfortunate for our nation to see the dangerous ideas in the heads of young radicals who have little respect for the law or others. We expect this kind of behavior in the Bay Area but not in the Valley where the long standing values have been to respect others, the law and police – not cause more trouble for law enforcement.

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Democrats are at it again … attempting further mollycoddling of prisoners. As I’ve stated before, Democrats want to protect people from consequences of their bad behavior. They “save” people from the effects of their lawlessness, to become the political heroes who “earn” their ever-faithful voter base.

Last week the state Assembly passed AB 1474, which would for the first time require prosecutors and judges to consider the economic costs associated with lengthy criminal sentences. Why do this? It’s another step to steer offenders away from prison.

The bill, authored by Woodland Hills Democrat Jesse Gabriel, would require prosecutors during sentencing to state on the record the estimated cost of their recommended sentence, and require judges to state the estimated cost of the sentence imposed.

Gabriel is concerned that the state is spending too much money on prisons and not enough on “other public policy priorities, including education, housing, human services, public health, and environmental protection.” (Global warming is, of course, so much more important than keeping evil doers from threatening life and property).

The state’s inmate population has declined by nearly a quarter and the persons on parole population by nearly one half. However the state Corrections Department has increased spending by approximately 30 percent, from 2010 11 to 2019-20. California currently spends more on corrections than Texas and New York combined.

Well, why is that? Well, take a look at the annual mean wage for prison guards. As of May 2016 that was $70,020 in California – the highest in the nation – while states like Texas are between $34,430 and $49,000. Also, thanks to federal court orders, prison health care costs have exploded to $20,000 per inmate.

Gabriel states his bill is intended to: “end California’s failed experiment with mass incarceration.” Alas, the true goal.

What is Gabriel’s alternative? Keep kicking out criminals onto the streets so they can break into our homes and cars and kill us?

If there is a problem with the state spending too much on prisons, look at how other states have reduced the cost – not release criminals onto the streets.

People like Gabriel have no business getting elected as legislators. If only people would wake up.

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If this isn’t the biggest waste of state tax money I don’t know what is.

Gov. Newsom – facing a recall election this year – is further bribing our citizens other than the $600 checks issued to some by wasting $116.5 million for prize money in his “Vax for the Win” program to get people vaccinated. They include

• $1.5 million for 10 “grand cash prize” winners picked by random draw on June 15.

• $50,000 for 30 winners picked by random draw on June 4 and 11.

• $50 gift cards for the next 2 million Californians to get fully vaccinated.

• Californians who are already vaccinated are automatically entered in drawings for the first two prize categories.

Can you imagine a government official dangling money in front of people to get vaccinated? That ridiculous and wasteful idea alone deserves the man to be recalled.

But like Mitt Romney said after losing the 2012 election to Obama: “You can’t beat Santa Claus.” And that’s precisely why they take money from our pockets and give it out like it’s their own money. There’s nothing altruistic about their strategy to give, give, give.

Americans should know better where this is getting us – buried in mounds of debt. If you care about your future grandchildren, we’ll stop this insane spending.

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