You know what’s fun? Talking to a comics reporter like Tom Spurgeon, who actually knows who you are, what work you’ve done, and is familiar with all comics generally.
SPURGEON: With the superhero monolith in comics, it seems like everyone that doesn’t draw giant, muscle-bound figures gets lumped in together into their own group, where you may or may not have all that much in common. I know the Hernandez Brothers were an example for you because of how they employed their style, but I wondered about the style itself that you employ. I know that you’ve studied a wide range of cartoonists; is there anyone you see in your work that maybe nobody else does?
COOVER: I learned a lot from Milton Caniff.
SPURGEON: Well, okay. My goodness.
I picked up “Gingerbread Girl” on a lark while I was at the Baltimore Comic-Con because I like Ms. Coover’s art very much and because I enjoy Paul Tobin’s work on “Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man.” GG is a great book that I recommend to anyone, and they were both super nice people and signed my copy!
The long and short is that various interests are lobbying Gov. Bob McDonnell to repeal the state background check and rely only on the federal background check. The most politically illustrative part of the story is at the end though.
Virginia’s background check system is the first of its type in the nation, but in recent years it has been ridiculed by gun buyers who complain about the slow processing times and the $2 fee they are charged.
State Police attribute any delays to a growing number of requests for checks as staff assigned to the task has shrunk.
Ignoring the whining about a $2 fee attached to a $360 revolver, there’s a nice example of the political recursion that goes on all to frequently in this country.
Conservatives claim that across the board government programs and policies don’t work - that they’re the cause of instead of the solution to problems. So they start lowering taxes and depriving governmental offices of funding. Well, once the funding goes away the workforce shrinks. One the workforce shrinks the process goes slower. The process is going slower, which means government isn’t working. Government isn’t working so we should lower taxes and cut funding. And on and on it goes.
Now, the obvious endgame for Republicans is the repeal of all the laws they don’t like (meaning all the laws that actually protect and help people), but since they can’t outright repeal the background check laws they’re just going to make funding for it evaporate and kick the can upstairs to a federal government they’re also currently trying to break.
While there is much overlap between the two programs, state police officials have cautioned that current gun restrictions unique to Virginia might not block a sale if the federal system were the only screening method in place.
To make it happen, several differences between the two background check systems would need to be reconciled.
State police officials say Virginia rules for protective orders apply to more family situations than federal standards. They note that Virginia’s drug policy disqualifies buyers for longer periods of time, and that rules also differ on foreign-born purchasers.
Virginia law blocks people with juvenile felony convictions from obtaining a weapon, but the state severely limits access to state juvenile criminal records, so information about youthful felonies doesn’t appear in federal background checks.
A possible solution to that has been offered by Chesapeake Del. John Cosgrove, a Republican who previously filed legislation to allow juvenile records to be shared with the U.S. attorney general.
Except the federal screening process isn’t as thorough as the state-level exam. No big, though, right? It’ll only let in a few more violent spouses, parents, and relatives…but what’s a little bloodshed between family? Also, in the spirit of keeping the government as small as possible and putting a premium on privacy, we’ll be more than willing to share any juvenile records you might have with the federal government.
Glad, that covers all the problems…
Other differences between the state and federal systems involve how they view mental health treatment. Both bar those who have been involuntarily committed from purchasing guns.
Virginia law also specifies that someone evaluated under a temporary detention order who then enters voluntary treatment would be barred from purchasing a weapon - a nod to Virginia Tech gunman Seung-Hui Cho’s history with the mental health system.
Or not. The fact is, for all of Virginia’s problems - and there are a myriad - the state has responded, if not progressively, at least sensibly to problems in the past. There are good reasons why we have the laws on the books that we have. I know folks have short memories, but the Tech massacre wasn’t that long ago, and there was another shooting this year! And those are just the highly publicized results of gun crime. Countless others go unnoticed on a large scale because they happen in Norfolk or Richmond instead of Blacksburg or Charlottesville, but they still happen.
But to move past the gun issue and back to the problem at hand, we’re faced with another example of conservative hypocrisy. We’re for smaller government, except when it suits our needs. The federal government is the enemy, except when it can help my states budgetary needs. We don’t want to fund anything, but we still want services.
At this point, I’m not asking for responsible government, I just want them to admit that they use government services the same as anyone else.
I understand why it gets bandied about, but the notion that tolerance, fellowship, and understanding are anathema to Southern culture bothers me. Musicians are, of course, terrible surrogates for the surrounding society because the act of creation alone sets them apart. Still, the beautiful music about the values listed above made by artists from the Allman Brothers Band to Stevie Ray Vaughan to Sam Cooke and many, many more just defies the stereotype.