Monday, October 24th, 2016

Guns, polls, and charity


Publication: Waukesha Freeman (Conley); Date: Nov 3, 2011; Section: Opinion; Page: 8A

Guns, polls, and charity
No Wild West, but there is chili

So far, so good. As of Tuesday you could apply for your concealed carry permit and the Wild West hasn’t broken out.

Listening to some of the law’s critics, you would think that every creepy character with a potential for violence was just given a free gun and directions to your child’s playground.

Oh, no, people have guns again!

Of course, people had guns before. Sometimes they even took them along to protect themselves, even though the law frowned on it.

Until Tuesday, Wisconsin was in a strange place legally. You could carry a gun out in the open and the law was on your side. But if you put it in your pocket so as not to upset the neighbors, that was illegal.

Now people can apply for a permit to carry a gun to defend themselves without it becoming a fashion accessory faux pas. If the pearl-handled revolver doesn’t match the lady’s purse, she can put it inside the handbag.

As for the bad guys, they already had guns. If they were really interested in following the law and applied for permits to carry a gun, odds are they’re not really bad guys.

On the other hand, real bad guys that intend on committing a crime with a gun aren’t likely to be sitting in a four-hour class learning about the legal consequences of drawing a weapon to defend themselves.

So the next time you read about an armed robbery, don’t say it’s too bad that the law allowed the crook to carry a gun. The law doesn’t allow that.

On the other hand, the next time you read about a woman who saved her own life by pulling a gun out of her purse to defend herself, you won’t have to read how the prosecutor is debating whether to charge her.

That’s if, of course, she took the time to take a class and send in for the permit.

* * *

Good news for fans of Gov. Scott Walker. Public Policy Polling, a Democratic polling firm, put out the latest poll numbers and Walker’s approval rating is slowly creeping up.

In May, Walker’s approval rating was 43 percent. Now he is up to 47 percent. Among independents, it’s gone up from 40 percent to 52 percent.

As the public is discovering that Walker’s fiscal reforms did not mean the collapse of civilization in Wisconsin, public dislike of budget cuts and curtailed collective bargaining privileges has begun to subside.

That’s bad news for Democrats who were hoping to recall Walker.

Those numbers have shifted in Walker’s favor, too. Support for a recall overall has remained about the same, but among independents, support for a recall has dropped from 50 percent to 40 percent.

It doesn’t help Democrats that they don’t have a standard bearer for the public to rally behind. When the choices so far are state Sen. Jon Erpenbach, former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, and former congressman Dave Obey, union leaders have to be wondering what kind of bang they will get for their campaign dollars.

On the flip side, because campaign contributions are not limited during the recall process, Walker will be able to raise unprecedented amounts of money to defend his record. Walker’s reforms may be more popular after a recall attempt than before.

* * *

I want to remind people near the village of Wales about two upcoming events to help your community.

The first event is one of my favorites, the 2011 third annual Municipal Chili Cook-Off, being held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13, at Kettle Moraine High School. Bring some canned goods or a cash donation to aid local food pantries and you will get to sample a great selection of chili.

Everything from wild game chili to vegetarian chili will be there. It’s a great time and a great cause, and I hope to see many of you there.

The other event is a blood drive from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 23, at the Wales Genesee Fire Station. Please contact Pauline in the clerk’s office in Wales at 968-3968. I’ll be there and so should you.

Yes, I’m going because they’ll have cookies.

(James Wigderson is a blogger publishing at and a Waukesha resident. His column runs Thursdays in The Freeman.)

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