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Election '08

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The Federal Government and Natural Disasters

The recent tornado in Kansas was a terrible thing. I haven't seen total devastation on that scale in America since I was living in Florida and Hurricane Andrew went through the southern part of the state. No one, no community can fully prepare for a disaster of that magnitude and it requires the help of local, state and Federal officials to help get things back to normal.

However, it has long been my belief that politicians secretly welcome natural disasters for the opportunity it gives them to pander to the electorate. While they may certainly care about the people affected by these tragic events, politicians also use them to be seen as caring and to throw our money around.

For years I've thought that there should be a more rational and organized response to natural and other disasters than the current system of knee-jerk politicians swooping in and doling out our money in an inefficient and wasteful way.

As President, I would propose a national disaster insurance fund be established to deal with these horrible situations. Although, as they say, the devil is in the details, a rough outline of how I believe the plan should work and be set up would be as follows:

There would be a specific set of disasters covered under the insurance. For example, the policies would cover losses from earthquake, flood, hurricanes and tornadoes.

Current owners of property would have 5 years to decide to get into the program. After the 5 year transition period was over, if you didn't have the insurance, there would no longer be any Federal assistance to individual property owners in the event of a natural disaster.

For buyers of new property, they could decide to buy the coverage anytime after buying their property. However, if they did not purchase coverage, they would have no right to Federal assistance in the event of a natural disaster. The policies would be sold through existing insurance companies, much as earthquake coverage is currently sold in California.

No one would be forced to buy, but I would assume, much like fire insurance, that anyone who has a mortgage on their home or other property would be required to do so by their lender if they lived in a zone where there was the potential for any of these major disasters.

Prices would be kept reasonable by two key facts.

First, there would be a large number of property owners involved in the pool which would spread the risk. Between those property owners in hurricane, earthquake, flood and tornado zones quite a bit of the country and a tremendous number of properties would be potential buyers.

Second, the Federal government could subsidize the coverage - the subsidy coming from what is not given out each year in emergency disaster funding.

This program would accomplish several things.

First, it would make people responsible for doing what is necessary and proper to protect their property in the event of a catastrophic loss caused by a natural disaster.

Second, it would establish a true fund to pay for these events.

Third, it would allow people in certain parts of the country to know that they aren't underwriting the cost of the rebuilding the areas where these things always happen. Whether it is hurricanes in the Southeast, tornadoes in the Midwest or earthquakes in California, why should someone in Arizona or Idaho (where natural disasters are fairly few) be required to contribute their tax dollars to continually rebuilding beach front property or homes in "tornado alley"?

Finally, it would take away the ability of the politicians to use our money to further their own political gains - at least in this area of life.

One on the main planks of my Presidential Campaign platform is that of personal responsibility. If you have property, it is your responsibility to see that you have the proper insurance coverage to ensure that if something tragic happens you have the coverage to rebuild your house. I believe an insurance program of this kind is the government's "responsible thing to do".
Frank McEnulty - Independent Candidate for President | Give your feedback on this article. | Visit the campaign website

Guns In America

Guns are too easy. Easy to obtain, easy to use. So easy in fact that a child can operate one, but that's just part of the problem. Speed kills.

We have become a culture of instant and extreme gratification. Hard work and perseverance have become values from the past. In today's technology driven world the measure of how fast a thing is relates to its value. Computers, cars and of course firearms, all use speed and ease as their primary selling points. But when it comes to tools capable of lethal consequences, is speed really a good thing or can you just do more damage more quickly.

In the wild west, when everyone carried a firearm out of necessity you didn't have the mass shootings that are becoming all too common. Some would have you believe that this is because arming everyone acts as a deterrent. More likely the lower body counts were a combined product of fewer people and less efficient weapons. Back in the day you only had six shots and had to pause between each to reset the firing mechanism. Basically there was a lot more time for folks to get out of the way. It is damn near impossible to dodge 100 rounds per minute as many of the children in the ghetto can attest to.

Guns are a big part of the American persona, history, mythology and culture. Anyone who has ever fired one understands the allure. And in some rural parts of the country its not just ego, guns do in fact still provide both food and safety.

But let's be honest with ourselves, these are not the weapons we are talking about. There are many guns and accessories available today whose sole purpose is to kill human beings. You don't need armor piercing bullets for deer hunting, you need them to pierce armor. And how much stopping power do you really need for a raccoon? A hollow point will blow all the meat off of a squirrel, and yet we sell all of these as "hunting" supplies.

Every thing you need to start your own war on the world is available for immediate sale, legally. To just ban everything would be the easy way out. Different circumstances call for different guidelines. I'm just not sure there is ever a reason for a kid to own a tech-9 with a 200 round clip. No matter what we do, criminals will still find a way to obtain their firepower, let's just not make it so easy for them.
Kyle Pesonen - Staff Writer | Give your feedback on this article.

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