Stupid is as Stupid Does

This image has not been photo-shopped.

The photo accurately shows Denise Tarrant holding her 2-week-old grandson, as she pays for dinner at All Around Pizza in Virginia Beach, Virginia last month (Feb. 18).

Why is this grandmother openly “packing heat” in a restaurant?

Well, she’s taking advantage of a 15 percent discount offered to any customer who walks through Jay Laze’s pizza establishment “carrying a gun or their concealed handgun permit…

“It’s been awesome,” Laze said of the response to his special second amendment rights discount. “80 percent of the customers in his Holland Road shop took advantage of the discount, he said.

“Some carried 9 mm pistols,” Laze said, “and one did bring in an AK-47.”

Here’s my question to Mr. Laze: While Grandma Denise is paying for her pizza with one hand, holding a 2-week-old with the other, what’s to prevent someone… anyone, from walking up from behind, taking her gun and threaten or harm others?

Thanks to the state of Virginia’s “open carry” laws, you can meet many of these same gun-totin’ folks in stores, banks and, yes… even hospitals.

CNN’s Piers Morgan interviewing Laze (Feb. 26), asked “How do you know the people that come in to get your discount are not mentally ill or criminals?”

Laze’s response: “Umm, I guess because they can walk in on their own two feet and they drove here?” (No joke. He answered in the form of a question.)

According to an unscientific survey attached to this story that appeared in The Virginian-Pilot, when readers were asked: “Are you more or less likely to visit a restaurant that gives discounts to those who bring a gun?” 58 percent said that they were “More likely” to visit; 10 percent said, “No difference,” while only 31 percent said, “Less likely,” (as of Mar. 17).

Is this really the way we want to live in America?

Forget about a sense of responsibility to others, let’s make sure everybody and grandma can exercise their rights no matter the consequences.

Now hold on, Jim, you’re going much too far, this time! You’re talking about a small-business owner and gun rights activist who clearly has a part missing when it comes to responsible decision making. No responsible individual would ever take such irresponsible, contrarian action!

Really?

After a New York State Supreme Court judge struck down Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to curtail large, sugary drinks from being sold in the city, along comes the Mississippi State Legislature, who, according to a The New York Times report(Mar. 13), “wants to be the sole government body that controls its buffets, barbeque and sweet tea.

“Informally called the ‘anti-Bloomberg bill,’ the legislators of Mississippi, “the state with the highest rate of obesity in the nation, have passed a bill saying that any law that might restrict what Mississippians eat or drink has to go through them — barring federal regulations.

“That means that cities or counties cannot enact rules limiting soda size, salt content, shortening in cookies, toys in fast-food meals for children, how a menu is written or just about any other aspect of the daily dining experience in Mississippi.”

“In its government blog, The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson recorded this exchange between lawmakers:

“ ‘We’ve got an obesity problem in the state of Mississippi, haven’t we? Of major proportions. Childhood obesity especially. Do you think that immoderate use of a Coca-Cola is good for a man?’ asked Representative Steve Holland, a Democrat who voted for the bill.

“ ‘I don’t see where it would kill him,’ answered Representative Gregory Holloway, a Democrat who fought for the bill by arguing that “if you want to go eat 20 Big Macs, you can eat 20 Big Macs.’

“ ‘All right, what about the excessive use of a Coca-Cola? If you drink 10, 15 a day?’ Mr. Holland countered.

“ ‘Probably would have some effect on your kidneys,’ Mr. Holloway answered.

“ ‘Dang sure would,’ said Mr. Holland.”

To be clear, Bloomberg’s bill never limited the number of sugary drinks an individual can buy and/or consume, only the single-serving size.

“It would be irresponsible not to try to do everything we can to save lives,” Bloomberg said in an interview.

This is the same mayor who initiated a ban of trans-fats as well as requiring the posting of calories on restaurant menus, both of which have been adopted by many cities around the country. Similar to his drink ban, Bloomberg made a series of public statements reminding people that no one is prohibited from ingesting products made with trans-fats at home.

To take issue with the ban is one thing, but to have legislators – charged with the welfare of its citizens – to actively pass a contrarian bill, particularly in a state with the highest level of obesity in the country, is just plain dumb.

The reality is we’re better than this.

Responsibility includes the aspect of self-restraint. An ethical person always takes into consideration how their actions might affect others, and strives – to the best of their ability – to maintain self-discipline.

We can always take issue with legislation that we don’t believe in. That’s part of our DNA. But let’s do so in a manner that takes into account and advances the long term interests of the many rather than the few.

Adapting a quote from Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw: we are made wise not by our rights, but by our responsibility to each other.

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