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Cuba, Missouri
June 12, 2003     Cuba Free Press
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June 12, 2003

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4A Opinion June 12, 2003 The Cuba Free Press Backgrolmd checks coming more qmcldy The Justice Department announced last month that the FBI's ability to speed up the background check process prior to gun sales has been greatly improved over the past year, du to their "technolo- gy improvements." For those of us who wish to legally purchase a handgun, shotgun or long rifle, "*his is encouraging news. It suggests the red tape may be getting easier to cut through. False matches in the National Crime Information Center's system have been all but eliminated, which helped raise the immediate response rate in background checks from an average of 71 percent in 2001 to 91 percent in 2002. What that means is not only can gun dealers get the required information about a potential purchaserawhether or not he's a convicted felon or otherwise banned from buying gunswalmost instantly, but also that the informa- tion being shared is more often than not actually correct! The Justice Department plans to distribute $48 million to help states improve their criminal history v What I Think Chris Case record keeping abilities, which should streamline the information system even further and possibly reduce inconsistencies in the remaining nine per- cent of delayed gun purchases. The attorney general, John Ashcroft, said the criminal check system running more smoothly will "make our country safer by barring access to firearms by felons, illegal aliens and others who cannot legally own guns." What he didn't mention is even more important in my view--that legal buy- ers exercising their rights as Americans to bear arms can do so with less bureaucratic hassle. Since gun checks first came into being as an extension of the Brady Act gun control law a decade ago, there have been more than 36 million back- ground: checks and only 563,000 denials (some rightfull so, others not). That's a measly two per- cent who were denied their guns. Depending upon how you look at it, either the system is doing pre- cisely what it was intended to do by weeding out a small percentage of unwanted gun buyers, or else it has been hardly worth the time, labor and costs required to implement the checks because only a tiny fraction of total (legal) purchases have been made by potentially restricted buyers. Whatever the case, at least we can feel satisfied that govern- ment is doing its best to hurry up the process. Stirrin' the Pot Wilson I. I believe 1-h00l- Hi1100Yy AiAa't- 2.. I believe A'tA'b ke i i-L,al- boxt-. "3. I o00lso believe ia g00at-o00 Clot,s, o00aA 00-ke "TooFk Guest Editorial Here's to navmg a-green' By Jack Stapleton Jr. Missouri News and Editorial Service Psychiatrists, as is their wont, have a tendency to view society from the viewpoint of whatever happens to be, if you will pardon the term, the cur- rent mental fixation of the month. Since September 11, America's shrinks have been focusing on the most recent manifestations exhibited by a nervous nation while wonder- ing aloud how each affects our behavior as the U.S. tries to remain calm and collected, even when we're invading an unfriendly nation like Iraq. Or when the White House sched- ules another presidential address to the nation, this one about Iraq, Syria, North Korea or the national headquarters of the Democratic Party. As might be expected, our attempt to remain as calm as humanly possible hasn't been helped by Washington bureau- crats, particularly those from the newly formed Department of Homeland Security. Someone connected with that agency, and I'm certainly not pointing my finger at Secretary Tom Ridge, has devised what is being called an "Anxiety Meter," a multicol- ored graphic to inform us of the degree of terrorist danger we're facing at any moment of the day or night. When he proudly unveiled his colorful chart, the former Pennsylva- nia governor boasted his ter- rorism experts would provide us with a color-coded guide about how to view foreign threats anywhere at any moment of the day or night. I recall trying to remember the five colors that'@eie cho- sen and their ranking on the anxiety meter but became con- fused when Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld assured us he was getting closer and clos- er to terrorist weapons of mass destruction and was not the least bit red-faced about the lack of success thus far. "Am I blue?" Rumsfeld asked rhetori- cally, "Not in the least, and our critics make all of us connected with the amazing success of the Iraq invasion understand how yellow they are when it comes time to protect our great democratic freedoms, includ- ing the right of free speech." Trying to do my bit as an open-minded citizen I did the best I could to remember on an immediate terrorist notice what each of Secretary Ridge's colors meant as well as their proper order in this new disor- derly age of anxiety--after repeating numerous times that red was the worst color we could receive some morning on the early news and where yel- low ranked in terms of orange or blue in the great scheme of things. The only anxiety color I could retain for more than 60 seconds was green, which is a favorite shade and so became the most easily remembered. Trying to be helpful even while missing the mark, Terrorist Czar Ridge assigned a descrip- tive word to each of the five anxiety classifications. As might be expected, the highest anxiety classification---red---as been assigned the description of "Severe." The one just a step lower is orange and it has been labeled "High." Right in the middle of the colors is bright yellow, but it's been designated as "Elevated." Fourth ranking blue has been labeled "Guarded" and last but not least, the anxiety color green bears a reassuring "Low" des- ignation. Let me warn you, trying to recall the anxiety colors, their ranking and their designations can be extremely frustrating, which is where the psychia- trists (See Paragraph 1) come in. Several have voiced concern about "added stress" created by the coding system, which somehow seems a relatively small problem when a terror- ist-captured jet airliner is headed for your office building. Most of us won't need any color flash from Ridge's department to react to such an No one seems turning America's protection over to a brand new federal the best path to take I think a Washington might be at this point: Don' t give to the U. S. Census which just what reluctantly, that overcounted the lation by 1.3 million after originally undercounted the by 3 million. If Washington can't rately count citizens ground, how can we accurate count of Muslims getting ready us all to der your friendly psychiatrist is his hands in hundreds of new den patients who are color-blind? GOOP KIPS REMEMBEg PAD'S PAY... DADDY! --I$ THIS [::)FII 00NOUGH FOR YOU? nv.barr yscarfoons.com . GOOD PAPS I?,EMEMBER Flle, E SAFETY! Your Thoughts Calling them back LETTER TO THE EDITOR Dear Senator/Representative: I am profoundly disappointed that it was necessary for me to call a special ses- sion. However, the budget presented to me is not only out of balance, but also moves our state backward. As a result, our state faces the gravest of circumstances. As you have discovered, it is not possi- ble to balance Missouri's budget without either finding new revenue or making dev- astating cuts. The budget presented to me makes dev- astating cuts to education and vital servic- es, and it is still $367 million out of bal- ance. Our state can do better. Missouri can do better than a budget that does the fol- lowing: * Moves 13,000 working adults off health insurance - a move that pushes low- income workers back on welfare; * Deprives 5,800 mentally retarded cit- izens of services and cuts psychiatric care for 3,200 mentally ill adults and 800 emo- tionally troubled children; * Jeopardizes higher education and prices it out of the market for many low and middle income students; and * Turns back the substantial progress we have made in education and causes an estimated 3,400 teachers and staff to lose their jobs. Not only are these cuts inconsistent with Missouri values, they are also unnec- essary. At this special session, I urge all legis- lators to turn their full attention to find- ing the revenue needed to prevent the dev- astating cuts to education and vital human services and to meet our constitu- tional obligation to balance the budget. Our work is far from over. I think our state deserves better than the budget pre- sented to me. I am confident that if we put this issue to a vote of the people, we will do better. I trust the people of this state. I trust their common sense, their fairness, and their values. My plan allows the peo- ple of Missouri to vote on whether they support closing corporate tax loopholes and other sensible tax reform efforts or whether they are willing to accept this level to education and other The citizens of Missouri honest and factual discussion, i deserve our focused attention on the! at hand. And, they deserve the ty to vote on the direction our take at this important time in In closing, I want to you my desire to work with you. we can fashion a budget that efficiently addresses the real great state and our great people. Gov. Bob EDITOR'S NOTE: The above sent to Missouri Senators Representatives by Missouri Holden prior to the rive session. Share your views... The Free Press welcomes comments and suggestions from will consider for publication any letter or article submitted. To be letters must be signed and include an address and daytime phone The publication of any letter or article does not necessarily reflect the ion of this newspaper. We reserve the right to edit any letter or reject letter or article submitted. Letters should be 200 words, or less. Mail: Letter to the Editor Cuba Free Press PO Box 568, Cuba, MO 65453 Fax: (573) 885-3803 E-mail: news@cubafreepress.coz CUBA FREE PRESS I I0 SOUTH BUCHANAN CUBA, MISSOURI 65453 PHONE 573-885-7460 Publisher & Editor ROB VIEHMAN Circulation JANICE RANSOM Advertising SANDY MORICE Printing RUSS NEW Post Office Publication No. 565-180 June 12, 2003-- Volume 44 Number 3 Cuba Free Press www.cubafreepress.com Address all communications in care of the Cuba Free Press, P.O. Box 568. Periodical Class Postage paid at Cuba, Missouri. Published weekly each Thursday morning at Cuba, Mo. 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