The Saturday open line: Arkansas ideas and gun nuttery on parade | Arkansas Blog

The Saturday open line: Arkansas ideas and gun nuttery on parade



It's a glorious Saturday. Hillcrest Harvest Fest continues as the Arkansas Times wraps up its Festival of Ideas.

I caught presentations on the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival (the Beatles' secretary is coming) and the KIng Biscuit Blues Festival (insight on the internal debate about growing the musical lineup to accommodate demographics — dying off of bluesmen and their biggest fans) and a positively uplifting autobiographical tale from Pine Bluff rapper Epiphany, who's taking hiphop to the world.

It was SRO at the Old State House for my panel with Mayor Mark Stodola, Sen. David Sanders and City Director Ken Richardson. Community Correction Department Director Sheila Sharp, deputy Dina Tyler, Parole Board Chair Mary Parker and City Director Erma Hendrix were among those in the audience. Richardson, as I expected, press hard on the economic and educational roots of crime. Sanders was complimentary of the new parole regime if not of past practices. He drew objections from many with his advocacy of stiff jolts of prison time for parole violators. One employer of a parolee said that such a stiff response to minor violations set back people trying to get their lives together. He favored a day or two of confinement, rather than re-integrating someone completely to the prison culture. Stodola lamented the heavy burden Little Rock bears from parolees and said, though general rehabilitation efforts clearly weren't enough, that the city was doing more than most.

Best question came from an audience member who asked the panel for a one-word answer to the question: Rehabilitate or incarcerate? The vote was 2-1 rehabilitate. I'll let you guess who voted which way.

That video above, featuring a profane, machine-gun-toting gun nut? It's a small town Pennsylvania police chief. Make that WAS a police chief.

 AND SPEAKING OF GUN NUTTERY: The gun fetishists who are working to turn sloppy legislative drafting into totally unregulated arms carrying in Arkansas decided that the time to have another parade of fetishists openly showing off their the strap-ons in Jonesboro perhaps should be postponed for a few days. Why? The recent death of a youth in a Chick-fil-A parking lot while handling a pistol a grandfather of another youth had left in a pickup. Ready access to firearms does increase the chances of accidents. The gun nuts would have held their strap-on parade if the death had been in an act of violence?

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