Feb 212007
Authors: Luci StorelliCastro

Do you know what would make my day? Well, winning the lottery would certainly be a major plus, but more to the point: It would make my day if the Colorado legislature would put an end to drafting meaningless and superfluous legislation.

Lawmakers bogged down with debates about whether 18-year-olds should be allowed to enter tanning salons make Colorado out to be a utopia. Let’s be honest, what other state can afford to regulate teenagers’ ugly fake neo-orange tans with all the other pressing social and economic issues that confront ordinary citizens? I am referring to those pesky issues such as health care, social security pensions, education, unemployment, and the list goes on.

More recently, House Bill 1011 was passed in the House by a 34-30 margin, with eight Democrats breaking ranks and joining Republicans in extending the 1985 “Make My Day” law. The newer, more insane version of the 1985 legislation has been pegged the “Make My Day Better” law.

Whereas the “Make My Day” law permits Colorado homeowners, without the fear of persecution, to fatally injure an intruder who has entered their property with the intent of causing them harm, the “Make My Day Better” bill has the added provision that business owners should also be allowed to exercise no restraint in defending their businesses.

Pursuant with the language used in the bill, if “any occupant” of a place of business has a “reasonable belief” that he or she is in imminent danger, the person is at free will to legally use force – no matter how deadly.

So, got a problem? Shoot it. That’s how we do things here in the old Wild West.

Is anybody else disturbed by the fact that our state’s legislation is catering to the motto of Dirty Harry, the National Rifle Association’s chief spokesman and superhero?

As reported by the Denver Post, Republican Rep. Cory Gardner, a chief architect of the “Make My Day Better” bill, contends that “(w)e have to stop treating the victim like the criminal.” Other supporters of the bill suggest that it will cut down crime rates and question why it is wrong to empower citizens to defend themselves in the face of acute danger.

The problem is, however, that the proposed bill has been crafted with overly ambiguous and vague language. For example, what constitutes a place of business? As Democratic Rep. Mike Cerbo elucidated, “(a) place of business can be anything. It could be a large ranch, small ranch. It could be a prostitute working in a motel.” What about schools for that matter? Should teachers be allowed to be toting guns around in their places of business (i.e. classrooms)?

Moreover, the line of thinking that encourages violence to fight violence is exactly the sort of reasoning – or better put, lack of reasoning – that has entangled this country in what has increasingly become the worst foreign policy blunder since Vietnam. The Bush administration thought it could cure the terrorist threat militarily and now, six years later, this country is more vulnerable than ever.

The proposed bill is no different. Democratic Rep. Gwyn Green was recently reported by the Rocky Mountain News as stating, “(w)e as a country have decided to solve our conflicts with violence. We’ll just blow people away . . . The legislation, I believe, encourages this culture of violence.”

Where do we draw the line? When is a threat really a threat? If current history has taught us anything, it is that preemptive assaults, even if justified by the most advanced intelligent agencies, are not the best course of action.

Lawmakers in the House that voted for this bill need to see an eye doctor for their short-sighted vision.

Luci Storelli-Castro is a senior political science and philosophy major. Her column runs every Thursday in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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