This time its different.
This time, the massacre of 20 first-graders, six of their teachers and the shooters mother at Newtown, Conn., will break the national impasse on guns.
But not here.
Not in Idaho.
What was the Gem States reaction to the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings, which killed 32 and wounded 17? A legislative debate about whether to arm students at its public campuses.
Four years later when Jared Lee Loughner shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 18 more outside a Tucson, Ariz., area supermarket, killing six, including a 9-year-old girl, Idaho quickly moved on. And last summers mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., killing 12 and injuring 58 others, faded into background noise.
Did the killing of two and wounding of another at the Clackamas Town Center near Portland, Ore., get more than its 15 minutes of attention?
Sure, this is about insanity and the consequences of inadequate mental health care or outright neglect.
And no, you can not blame all guns. There are more than 300 million in the United States. You cant confiscate them, nor would you want to.
But why cant you do something about assault rifles capable of firing a round per second? Or ammunition magazines carrying 30 rounds or more?
Sure, Idaho has its sensible middle, people who recognize that guns already are regulated in the U.S. You cant own an automatic weapon. You cant fire a gun across a highway or in public. Why is reauthorizing the Brady law considered such a radical step?
But is this swath of reasonable Idahoans a continent or an island? All you hear are the loud and angry voices who consider every conversation about gun laws an assault upon the sacred American way of life.
Even if this sensible middle were to carry the day, it would be pointless. Idahos political culture is wedded to the National Rifle Association.
Few politicians outside the Democratic enclaves of Boises North End or Blaine County dare stand up to the NRA.
For an Idaho Republican to do so invites a primary challenge from the right.
Some will lead on this issue. Some will follow. But heres an educated guess: Idahos political leaders will resist, frustrate and impede any effort, in fact any dialog, on toughening gun laws. For doing so, theyll draw applause, votes and accolades at home.
JEER AND CHEER
Post Register, Idaho Falls
JEERS to those who didnt get the message sent by Idahos voters Nov. 6. The list includes Gov. Butch Otter, Idaho Senate Education Chairman John Goedde, a Republican from Coeur dAlene, Darrell Deide, a former state senator who heads up Idahoans for Choice in Education, and the Idaho School Boards Association. All of the above are talking about pushing pieces of the Students Come First laws during the 2013 legislative session.
Idahoans did not equivocate on the Luna laws. They defeated them overwhelmingly. Proposition 1, which limited collective bargaining rights for teachers, received 43 percent support. Proposition 2, merit pay, earned just 42 percent support. And Proposition 3, computers for kids and big bucks for Hewlett-Packard, received 33 percent support.
And yet, not even two months removed from their drubbing, the Students Come First advocates are back with the same old, rejected ideas.
CHEERS to the Idaho State Tax Commission. Idahos leading business lobby wants to eliminate the personal property tax on equipment. Now, thanks to a recently released Tax Commission study, we know exactly what that would mean for local governments across the state.
Repealing the tax, and not replacing the revenue, would cost local governments in Idaho $140,926,951. Given the widespread support for this tax cut, from Otter and a number of key legislators, the Tax Commission report is a great public service.