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Thursday, Jul 24, 2014
Tom Jackson

The Right Stuff: Guns in the trunk, jobless benefits shrunk

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Tom Jackson’s conservative opinion column is published each Sunday. Read The Right Stuff on TBO.com at tbo.com/tomjackson/

Last week, The Right Stuff found rich opportunity in the areas of gun rights, unemployment checks, Chris Christie and so, so much more. Here’s a sample from the blog:

The epiphany registered by University of South Florida administrators Monday arrives just as a jolting study by a Quinnipiac University economics professor has gained a wide audience, presenting a bracing confluence of events.

Finding itself on the wrong side of an appellate court ruling directed at the University of North Florida, USF now allows firearms to be stored in vehicles on campus.

Before swoonish gun control advocates trot out images of Wild West shoot-’em-ups erupting in USF’s notoriously congested parking lots, let’s bring in Mark Gius, whose recently published survey tested the relationship between tough firearms laws and public safety.

His finding — where concealed-carry permits flourish, gun deaths tumble; conversely, gun deaths are highest where laws discourage or make impossible weapons carrying — surprises absolutely no Second Amendment rights activists.

In short, USF is measurably safer this week than it was last week and would be even more so if the Legislature repealed its ban that keeps CCW licensees from exercising their Second Amendment rights elsewhere on campus.

After all, despite their depravity, mass murderers demonstrate an unerring shrewdness when it comes to picking their targets. Always, they go after areas that have been declared gun-free zones. Which they are, until the bad guy shows up.

***

Once again — and amid commemorations of the 50th anniversary of the “War on Poverty” no less — Republicans find themselves inside another exquisite box constructed by Democrats.

Long-term unemployment remains a problem in America. Predictably, Democrats, always eager to spend other people’s money, want to keep sending checks, no strings attached. Republicans tend to agree, but they want the jobless benefit extension offset with spending cuts elsewhere.

Republicans also want to steer the conversation to one about why there’s still a clamor for extended unemployment benefits. They want to discuss, as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio did Wednesday, ways in which the federal government can more effectively promote job growth and economic expansion without cutting more checks to individuals, promoting dependence on the public purse.

Well. A drowning man doesn’t want to know about plans for an unsinkable boat — he wants a life preserver. And while happy to hear about improved nautical designs — but later, OK? — almost every witness to the bobbing man’s predicament wants to throw him that line, and only a few will dare ask why he wasn’t wearing a life jacket in the first place.

So there Republicans are again: Back in the box. Their battle to get out, while proper and prudent, won’t be an easy one.

***

Heck, yeah, it’s fun having sport with Gov. Chris Christie (R-Boardwalk Empire) over revelations about Fort Lee’s “traffic problems” on the George Washington Bridge.

Pundits have hammered Christie for the atmosphere that allowed staffers to wreak freelance vengeance, as well as being clueless about their activities. If these complaints ring familiar, you have paid attention to the scandals that have poured forth from the current White House, from “Fast and Furious” to Benghazi to the IRS to if-you-like-your-plan-etc. and so on.

But give Christie some credit. He stood on the carpet in front of the nation and (assuming he wasn’t lying) took the heat, and he fired the miscreants.

Compare that to a president who is routinely surprised by misdoings in his administration; routinely proclaims his fury and dismay; routinely vows to get to the bottom of things; routinely forgets about the whole thing the next day; and, within weeks, routinely casts the whole kerfuffle as a figment of Republicans’ overactive imaginations.

And nobody gets fired. Well, some generals. Abuse the public and you ride right along. Or you get to transfer. Or a promotion. Or you retire with full government benefits. But fired? Yougoddabekiddin’.

tjackson@tampatrib.com

(813) 371-1851

Twitter: @tjacksonTBO

Blog: tbo.com/tomjackson/

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