11-year-old with a loaded AR-15 visits Idaho Legislature — OK with Idaho!

11-tear-old Bailey Nielsen, her AR-15 and her Grandad
Keith Ridler/AP

An 11-year-old girl appeared Monday at a legislative hearing in Idaho, toting a loaded AR-15 assault weapon. Bailey Nielsen was with her grandfather, who is supporting a proposal that would allow visitors to Idaho who can legally possess firearms to carry a concealed handgun within city limits.

“Bailey is carrying a loaded AR-15,” Charles Nielsen told lawmakers. “People live in fear, terrified of that which they do not understand. She’s been shooting since she was 5 years old. She got her first deer with this weapon at 9. She carries it responsibly. She knows how not to put her finger on the trigger. We live in fear in a society that is fed fear on a daily basis.”

He said Bailey was an example of someone who could responsibly handle a gun, and lawmakers should extend that to non-residents.

On one level, this is a civics lesson for idiots. The fools who believe all this crap. If you know how to use a firearm, kill animals without hitting any human beings – that’s all that should be required for gun ownership and carrying them around loaded. At hand, I guess, to deal with the next emissary of Satan who magically appears in downtown Boise, threatening to hand political power over to some insufficiently-white furriner.

On the other, it is considered reasonable in many jurisdictions that by the time someone reaches the age and understanding required, say, to vote, then, you are likely to have the maturity and good sense not to use basic motor skills to slaughter another citizen who just happens to piss you off, that moment.

Many nations have stronger requirements and haven’t collapsed in Liberal/Conservative anarchy. I would be more strict than that and I also am a gun-owner. Have been for more years than Bailey’s grandad has been alive.

It’s raining polls in America

Polls have become an essential part of the news, particularly in the run-up to an election.

Reports on polls feed into what’s often called “horserace coverage” – who is ahead or behind, whether the candidates’ relative standing has changed since the last poll, and what their chances are of winning on election day.

What the reporting on polls doesn’t reveal is anything substantive about a candidate’s position. The emphasis on horserace coverage means that, in the short term, there is a lost opportunity to keep voters informed about issues and policy rather than the candidates’ standing.

In the longer term, it can have a negative effect on how democracy works.

I’ll second that emotion.