Short takes on the news
A bad example • He who glorifies the gun, is humiliated by the gun. Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, is perhaps the most vocal and visible advocate for the right of Utahns not just to own firearms, but to do just about anything they want to with them. The other night, he did more than 100 anti-gun activists to undermine his cause. He left a gun not just any gun, but an AR-15 assault rifle in his car, from which it was, not at all surprisingly, stolen. The car was locked. And the gun was in a case. But the decision by someone who should know more about guns, and the responsible use thereof, than most of us showed some extremely poor judgment. As a result, a very dangerous weapon that should not be abroad on our streets is now in the hands of a criminal. That sound you hear in the distance is the sound of laughter at the irony of the whole incident. Except local police officers, those most endangered by the existence of still another floating assault rifle, almost certainly don't find it funny at all.
A wake up call • Utah politicians are generally opposed to the regulatory overreach of the far-away, excessively liberal, 10th Amendment-ignoring federal government. Except when they aren't. Gov. Gary Herbert the other day criticized the federal government's failure to keep a more watchful eye on the Chevron pipeline that has, three times in as many years, broken or cracked and spilled petroleum products into state waterways. The most recent was the 27,000 gallons of diesel fuel that spilled into the Willard Bay State Park. The best way to read Herbert's statement is to stress his promise that the state will do a better job of policing the pipeline. In a state where the powerful seldom do anything to regulate, or even question, anything done in the name of the extraction, transportation or refinement of fossil fuels, it was a very welcome statement indeed. Now, if the state would just use its own authority to crack down on the creators of the Salt Lake Valley's horridly polluted air, instead of relying on weak federal standards, we might be getting somewhere.
Once more into the breach • State officials are doing what they should to help those potentially injured when sloppy security practices enabled a person or persons unknown to hack into the state's health payment system and steal the personal information of an estimated quarter million Utahns. The state will pay $1 million for another year of credit protection, and the Legislature has authorized $300,000 for the Department of Health to upgrade its IT staff and security. Constant vigilance is the price of putting everything online.