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Front Page » March 12, 2002 » Opinion » Ponders 'anti' groups' rationale, actions
Published 4,417 days ago

Ponders 'anti' groups' rationale, actions


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By RICHARD SHAW
Staff writer

Have you ever wondered what the people who belong to "anti" groups do for fun? You know the people I mean - the ones who are so taken by a cause that they seem to spend all their time trying to tear down something they are upset about.

I have to ask: Do these people have lives?

We all have causes that we are dedicated to or, for those of us who are older, had causes at one time. That's not to indicate that causes aren't good; they can be very good. Of course, it all depends on the cause.

In the last few days, I have been reading about a number of groups that were "monitoring" the 2002 Winter Olympic Games and associated celebrations or activities the members consider wrong. The causes are far-flung from one another and I am sure there are many more I haven't even heard of.

I find that the majority of these groups seem to have three characteristics.

First, the members often go after people who are doing something that is perfectly legal in our society. The groups claim they are against the illegalities associated with whatever it is the members oppose.

But the groups usually would like to get rid of the legality of a particular thing as well. Then it would be totally illegal and they could really go after the individuals they think are wrong.

Second, the groups usually have a good reason to feel the way they do, but carry it too far. The members' way of dealing with a problem is like using a sledge hammer to drive a finishing nail into the wood.

Third, the groups always seem mad as hell and want to prove it to everyone. When I get upset at home that way, everyone in my family just turns around and leaves. It's hard to protest something when everyone you want to have listen to you walks away, but that is what most of us do when these guys start ranting and raving.

Some of my fellow members of the press listen to the groups. They must find it difficult to come up with really good positive stories that concentrate on this stuff and then seem to take the "anti" side in their reporting. Examples abound.

First, there are the anti-gun groups. The members were concerned about people who have permits carrying guns around during the Olympics.

Personally, I am more concerned about people carrying guns around who intend to use the weapons on me. Those are the people these groups should be concerned with and those people don't even have hunting licenses.

It doesn't help that some of the members of the press help the groups out by perpetuating the misconception that concealed weapon permit holders are dangerous people.

A couple of weeks ago in the well-known Rolly and Wells column in the Salt Lake Tribune, the writers took the director of the Utah Olympic Public Safety Command, David Tubbs, to task for stating that, of the 41,800 concealed weapons permit holders in Utah, he didn't know of any who had used a weapon illegally.

Dave, you just shouldn't make statements like that; you know the antigun lobby is going to try to make you look like a fool. The two Trib columnists actually succeeded in doing so.

Rolly and Wells brought up the fact that, since 1994, 64 concealed weapons permit holders have had the licenses revoked because of felony level convictions. Five of the criminal complaints involved homicides.

The columnists went on to describe the various classes of crimes to make the situation look more dramatic and then pointed out that 480 more permits during the same time period were revoked for non-felony violations.

I don't question their statistics at all; no group of people is perfect. But what I think would have been more fair is to also look at a cross section of 41,800 individuals from Salt Lake County and evaluate their record of homicide, arrests and crimes during an eight-year period , then compare the findings to those statistics. I haven't checked it, but I bet the rates are much higher.

That is the size of Murray city, where I grew up and where my father still lives. As nice a town as Murray is, in eight years there have been a heck of a lot more murders than five, many of which were caused by automobiles, knives, fights and various other actions besides guns.

No concealed weapon permit holders may not be perfect and some may have gotten involved in crimes, but if you gave me the choice of sitting by someone who had a permit at any kind of an event or someone I didn't know and who might be carrying a weapon, I would sit by the permit holder every time.

The list goes on.

There were the anti-alcohol groups, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a group comprised of members who were against the rodeo being conducted in Davis County at the same time as the Olympics and many others.

While visiting the Olympic City about halfway through the winter games, I personally encountered two anti groups, but I am sure there were many more present at the activities.

One group was standing in front of the Salt Lake LDS Temple grounds, carrying signs that claimed the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the devil's church.

Other individuals were handling out leaflets that condemned the Mormon religion for not being Christian.

The messages weren't anything that I haven't heard before. But it was really kind of weird to see all of the guys standing out in front of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' headquarters, condemning to their hearts content, while no one from Utah's predominant religion were out there looking for lost souls.

Some of the groups' members were really pushy. It just goes to prove that nuts reside in every belief system.

The other was a group of people across from the medals plaza who were waving signs that said "Millions for the games while billions starve."

I asked the members of the group about their philosophy and all they could say is that we should send everything we have to starving people all over the world rather than living in luxury like we do.

The group members told me that, if we all lived alike and that no one had more than anyone else, the world would be a much better place.

I asked the group what the members thought the world would be like if everyone had the same things regardless of how hard an individual worked or how ambitious people were and they said a it would be a better place.

I tried to take a picture of the group. But for some reason, the photos all turned out blurry, kind of like the members' thinking.

I am sure it won't be very long before all the groups with members who were protesting or monitoring the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City release their reports about how bad things were while the games were going on.

I just wonder if anyone, except the people who are interested in creating the reports and furthering their own individual goals, will even read the reports.

I know I won't.

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March 12, 2002
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