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Carmen Macdonald

A passion for fishing and hunting grew into a career that's included Alaskan guide, media sales, writer and the politics of outdoor recreation. My company, Vaunt Marketing, represents industry-leading brands in the US and Canadian markets.

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January 12, 2016

Booze, Weed & Guns

by Carmen Macodnald

I watched the President of the United States' recent town hall on guns. My takeaway was pretty straightforward, the outcome of his recommended legislative actions would not solve the issue, but every life matters and we need to do what we can.

"Do what we can" seems to be a modern theme. I hear the exact same words used with regard to banning lead bullets for the sake of condors, purging hatchery fish from systems for the sake of wild fish, and in this case specifically, eroding the 2nd amendment to what is history's second greatest collection of documents.

When I hear "do what we can," it now sends up immediate red flags. I can sense the feel-good-and-accomplish-little that is to immediately follow.

And then I start to wonder about the individuals espousing the ideas, and how their emotion came to land so strongly on the topic being discussed. The President wants to save lives, and his cause is guns. Why? Why guns?

How do guns measure up? When compared to say- booze and weed?

In these recent discussions I learned that 30,000 people lose their live annually to guns. Two-thirds of these apparently take their own life, so 10,000 lives are taken by guns, by others.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 88,000 people die annually from alcohol-related causes, nearly 3X that of guns.

But then its not only death that causes destruction. And in the case of alcohol, over 17 million people in the US share some sort of alcohol use disorder. Somewhere there's a child going hungry because of a drunk right now. Someone else is most certainly being beaten. And by the numbers, it's likely there's a sexual assault taking place too.

This study sheds some interesting light. They studied 7,459 unintentional injury deaths, 28,696 homicide cases, and 19,347 suicide cases. They weren't studying guns, but most certainly there were guns involved as a percentage.

Blood alcohol level was tested in a high number of the studied cases: 88.2% of homocides, 84% of unintentional injury deaths and 81.7% of the suicides. Of these cases, "The aggregate percentage determined to be intoxicated (BAC, >/=100 mg/dL) was highest among homicide cases (31.5%), followed by unintentional injury deaths (31.0%) and suicide cases (22.7%)." Alcohol was involved in more than 1 in 5 cases. If the goal is to do something, 22- to 33% is one heck of a goal.

And yet, when I turn on the television tonight, I'll most certainly be told how alcohol will make me more interesting (maybe even the most interesting), better looking, a better dancer and simply super cool.

If I owned a winery, I would be a celebrated individual and perhaps a member of the social elite. If I owned a craft brewery, I'd be a rock star- the ultimate in cool. Oregon would be stumbling over itself to help me open markets for my inebriating wares.

Of course, not all drinkers are, or have, problems. It's just a percentage. And hell, we've got government involved from the top to the bottom to save the day. We have a fully deployed social structure to treat dependency and problem drinking.

And still the deaths are 3X those of guns.

Alcohol is available at every convenience store, gas station and grocery store in the state to every jackass over 21. But somehow guns steal the attention.

I missed the constitutional amendment that protects my right to purchase and consume alcohol.

And then, there's weed.

While the POTUS is working to erode the Constitution, the federal government is turning a blind eye to state law that's directly in conflict with federal law and allowing illegal production and sale of dope.

Take a hit and consider that. You can't make this stuff up.

While parading against guns and gun violence, Oregon and Washington have openly welcomed death.

December 13th: Driver was high on marijuana when he killed NE Portland cyclist, police say

October 6th: Woman hit in Gresham crosswalk by driver accused of smoking pot has died

July 13th: Police: Man high on pot killed Beaverton woman in crash

Those took about 8 seconds to find.

The more I see these topics discussed the more I realize we don't give two bits about death. Oregon will give tax breaks to the purveyors of alcohol death then rally in support of stricter limits on guns. Our drug-loving populace voted to legalize more death and unleash at least 300 chemicals found in marijuana on the human brain.

But dude, stoners don't get violent. I know, they just get stupid and kill other people through their stupidity from time to time.

Not overlooking the tiny percentage of medicinal uses where users realize exceptional benefits, on the whole booze and weed are useless. (I am on the lookout for the revolution hemp fiber is to bring to the textile industry)

And on the other side, every one of my guns can put food on my table and protect me from the jackasses mentioned earlier.

Our government was designed to include a balance of power within itself. Guns are the balance of power between the government and the citizens.

As soon as we lose sight of that, it's over.

I have great respect to for those with the commitment to make a difference. There are big issues staring us right in the face, and we're surrounded by low-hanging fruit that does not involve undermining the Constitution.
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