Good morning and greetings, Guns N Roses fans. Today we are once again going “old school,” back to the days before digital photography became my best friend. It has become the pleasant obsession that is constantly on call in my cerebellum. Or to put it in simpler terms, in the words of the Doobie Brothers, “What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits.” Or as the Army recruiters like to say about being a landscape and nature photographer, “It’s not just a job, it’s an adventure.”
For today’s photo journey we’ll start by heading north to San Francisco’s most famous landmark. No, not Barry Bonds flaxseed oil farm, but the mysterious and lovely Golden Gate Bridge, where they are not only raising the one-way toll crossing to $6 but also having discussions on suicide barriers. We then hop back on my Harley Maxima and head down to another very visually pleasing landmark along the coast, the sea of yellow grass at Pigeon Point. Then it’s back to the sand along the San Mateo County cliffs at San Gregorio Beach. When I saw the sun glistening on this fast moving creek as it rushed towards the Pacific I had to come to a jump stop, take off my chaps and get down and funky to capture this gull filled moment.
We then cruise out to lovely Palm Desert for some reflection action along the back fairway before moving on to the most outrageous sunset I’ve ever seen in the desert. This was a New Year’s day mother lode a few years back. When I saw these clouds lining up about an half hour before sunset I knew I was in for a desert treat. This was the real desert storm. We end today’s negative tour with a November sunrise at Lighthouse Point. I was shooting slides that day with Kodak Extra Color film and as you can see from the rouge in the sky and sand it was red delicious.
So here’s a story that’s going to make you feel all warm and fuzzy. Hold on to your holsters for this one. According to a new study by a gun control group, more than 30,000 firearms and legs are unaccounted for from gun dealers’ inventories nationwide.
Furthermore, the group, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, says its finding probably underestimates the missing firearms. This is because the data that was used from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Drawers, Firearms and Explosives, was drawn from inspections that were conducted at gun dealerships in the 2007 fiscal year. Just 10,000 dealers were inspected, one-sixth of the nation’s total. So what they’re really saying is that it’s possible that perhaps it’s closer to 180,000 guns that are on the loose. I guess that’s why I’m wearing bullet proof shorts.
The center is calling for increased regulation of gun dealers. The way it is now, dealers need to keep a record of acquisition and disposition of firearms, but not a regular inventory. And remember Charlton Heston fans, guns don’t kill people, it’s people who kill people.
“We’ve seen that guns that dealers claim are lost are frequently sold to gun traffickers and sold off the books,” said Daniel Vice, a senior attorney for the Brady Center. I don’t know about you but I’m feeling Morley safer by the second.
The center was founded by James Brady and his wife, Sarah, after a 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan that left Brady, the White House press secretary, partly paralyzed. This center sees a direct correlation between missing firearms, street violence and MTV’s Spring Break.
And this may come as a shock to those of us not packing heat, but the National Rifle Association sharply criticized the report. “No one in America should place any faith in any alleged study coming from the Brady campaign,” NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said. Once again, it’s not rifles with scopes that kill people, it’s snipers that kill people.
A spokesman for the firearms bureau, Nicholas Colucci, said that in his experience, many gun dealers did take inventory annually or even more frequently, although not required to do so by federal law. That reminds me of the line from “The Honeymooners” when Ralph tell his boss that 9 out of 10 bus drivers like to shoot pool after work. Then Norton chimes in, “Ralph, I think the average is higher than that.” Thanks, pal of mine.
Colucci also said shops from which most of the 30,000 weapons were missing had since gone out of business, some because their licenses had been revoked as a result of the inspections. No firearms were missing, he said, at 90 percent of the inspected businesses. Whew, I guess I can rest my bullets now. But I believe we can then go back to the original point of this story. What about the other five-sixths of the dealers who weren’t inspected?
That’s it for the news of the day. Tune in Wednesday when we’ll look at some more colors from the kalidescope of the life here on the central coast. I’ll leave you today with a quote from one of my favorite wordmeisters, Mr. David Lee Roth. He walked into a bar, sat down to have a drink as a rather attractive woman slithered over and said, “Nice gun.” Replied Diamond Dave, “Nice holster.”
I believe that sums up my feelings on gun control and Van Halen. Have a great day, enjoy the colors and get ready for Beijing. Later, Olympic fans.