Paula Hendricks

Author ~:~ Writer ~:~ Book Designer ~:~ Book Producer

Archive for the ‘america | USA’ Category

Let’s License + Insure Guns

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I think we should license and insure all guns and shooters.

We license all kinds of things. Businesses. Motor vehicles — from motorcycles and cars to RVs, airplanes, and boats. We even license trailers. We often say cars don’t kill people, people kill people. But let’s know who is trained and licensed and who isn’t. It would give us more tools to manage the atrocities.

We license ham radios and operators. We license bicycles and dogs. We require permits to operate dangerous activities and machinery. We license pilots and doctors and nurses. We license cranes and people who operate cranes. I’ll bet we’re going to license private astronauts, too.

So let’s license guns and shooters. And make it work either federally or like DMVs so it can be searchable across state lines. Make the shooters demonstrate competency. Make them renewable, for both the gun and the shooter. We often issue licenses and permits only to those who have experience or training. And we make them prove it — through written tests, driving tests, 3rd party certifications. We know how to do this.

We don’t issue permits and licenses to just anybody. And we take those permits away for bad behavior. So background checks matter. For every sale. No loopholes.

And while we’re at it, let’s require insurance. I have to insure my car and have the option of insuring me in any car I drive. I have insurance against uninsured motorists. When I had an RV I had RV insurance. I have health insurance, renters insurance, well you get the idea. Even Wall Street insures its financial betting. Why not do this for guns and shooters?

Insurance people know how to assess risk. Let’s get them involved. They set higher premiums for a sports car owned by teenage male than a middle aged woman driving a Camry. They take into account all kinds of factors, from type of vehicle, to your driving record, the number of accidents you have, teenage drivers in the home, and what neighborhood you live in.

You can get discounts for safety features like air bags and antilock breaks, dead bolts on your door… you get discounts for education/ drivers ed and a good operating record. Let’s figure out how to do the same for guns. I’ll bet the insurance industry could get a handle on this pretty quickly.

I have an old car. Every year to renew my license I have to get a smog check. It’s good to have someone check to be sure the car meets some basic criteria on a regular basis. For guns, we could check to be sure they have not been modified or have safety features removed.

And maybe Chris Rock is right. Bullets could cost $5000 each.

We can ban certain kinds of guns and certain kinds of ammunition clips, but why not start with registration, licensing, and insurance? We can make it cheap to get started — charge just $1 for existing guns and raise the fees to a level commensurate with other licenses and permits.

I pay $104 for my old car registration on an annual basis. I will probably pay $50 for the special smog check to get it renewed. If i had a cat I’d pay $12 for a lifetime license in San Francisco and between $11-52 for a dog (based on neutering and age of owner). My drivers license could cost from $31-66. If I lived in Santa Monica my bike registration would cost $3. Bikes are not licensed in San Francisco, but you have to wear a helmet.

My insurance might run between $950 and $1400 a year for both auto and renters together. I believe people who do risky things (skydiving comes to mind) also pay higher insurance. But you get where I’m going with this.

I grew up in a car culture. California in the 50s and 60s. I couldn’t wait to get my license. I wanted to be a good driver. I took the classes and practiced with my dad. I have a good driving record and I’m proud of it. I have never given up my license, and can’t imagine being without one even if I give up my car. When my dad was old, he stopped driving but he hung on to his license, just in case, and because it was one of his identifiers. It isn’t a perfect metaphor, but I assume gun owners feel similarly. Why not make getting the license a source of pride? And getting the insurance industry to weigh in to help us assess risk.


Written by phwebnet

December 20, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Snow in Corrales

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Snow in Corrales. courtyard gate. corrales, new mexico. photo by paula hendricks.

Snow in Corrales. courtyard gate. corrales, new mexico. photo by paula hendricks.

Written by phwebnet

December 14, 2008 at 7:59 pm

A welcoming light (photo)

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San Ysidro church, Corrales New Mexico. photo credit Paula Hendricks

San Ysidro church, Corrales New Mexico. photo credit Paula Hendricks


Written by phwebnet

December 14, 2008 at 7:53 pm

Milk is about all of us

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I’ve seen Milk. Twice. The first time was opening day, Wednesday before Thanksgiving and it was raining. I went to the Castro Theater by myself.

I sat in this old movie palace in a crowd of men and women, gay and straight, old and young. Quiet. Waiting. I loved this movie, Both times. The first time, it was more about the story. I didn’t know much about Milk – oh, I knew he was one of the first openly gay men elected to public office and that he had a big big smile and that he and Mayor Moscone were murdered in City Hall and that Diane Feinstein was then President of the Board of Supervisors. I knew there were marches and still are. I think I knew there was a book about him. I knew there was a restaurant on Castro Street called Harvey’s.

I saw the movie twice because there were pieces I didn’t get the first time. There were side stories and complexities that I only caught glimpses of the first time. Why did I like it both times?

The top layer story is interesting and it’s about where I live and the people who have shaped this city. The next layer is about courage. Personal courage – to be who you are, say what you think, take a stand. The next layer was about how you get stuff done in life – how messy the process is; how long it can take; how important a single voice can be.

I came out of the theater wanting to know those people – Cleve Jones and Anne Kronenberg. I wanted to know more – about how they got involved and why. Maybe I’d find out why I seem to be so slow on the political side of things and so far ahead on technology. I have avoided politics almost all my life – my mother was a political junkie and until this year, I certainly was not.

What I saw in Milk was how important politics is. How important the whole process, and it is a process, is. One of the phrases that stands out for me is “It’s not about winning.” It’s not about winning. It’s about standing up. It’s about speaking out. It’s about taking a stand and having conversations. It’s about messy relationships – personal and political and economic.

Now I know for sure I want to add my voice to the discussion – about sustainability, and the multiple bottom line – profit, people, planet. And I see now that I must get more involved… in politics. I must be willing to live a far messier life than I have so far. I must be more vulnerable and more courageous and not worry about winning. Just being in the conversation is critical.

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Written by phwebnet

December 8, 2008 at 6:30 pm

Our President-Elect reads books

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It matters to those of us in the book world that people read, or don’t read, books. We have all read the sad statistics* about books and reading, such as:

  • 58% of US adult population never reads another book after high school
  • 80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year
  • 42% of college graduates never read another book
  • 33$ of high school graduates never read another book
  • 57% of new books are not read to completion

And yet… our president-elect, Barack Obama, reads books. And there is a great picture of him ( at the airport in Bozeman Montana – he has his finger in a book to mark his place. What a great image!

Why does this matter to us?

Books are important. Books are about ideas and about communicating ideas. Some have called Obama brilliant, curious, and prepared. I believe books are part of who he is and who he has become. Reading is a critical act and helps train our brains to be critical as well. Words allow our minds to imagine things as we read, where pictures and TV and videos can often limit this activity.

It matters because the president leads us by example. Others will copy him. More people will read books because he does. The fact that he reads books and talks about what he reads and his staff talks about what he reads makes me believe that the statistics about reading books may well rise over the next few years. They may even rise in our poorer communities. He even admits he reads books more than once. This has to be good for everyone in the book world.

There also seems to be a book bubble right now. I see books by the left and the right and everything in between – by reporters and professors and intellectuals.

It’s good to know many are reading books and that books seem to be in the news more now. But, in some ways this doesn’t really affect us. We still need to go through the steps of publishing – making sure our books are written, edited, designed, and produced professionally. And to succeed, we need to market our books and our authors well.

But what it does do that helps us is perhaps give us confidence that we are moving into a time when books matter, when ideas matter, when thoughtful consideration of issues matters. This is true no matter your point of view. And this is true for fiction as well as non-fiction. I find myself interested in what progressives and economists and conservatives have to say. I find my brain lighting up with all these points of view and this sense, this deep sense, that all these words printed on pages matter and I am at a feast.

What a great time to be in the book business!

* Sources for statistics about books, the book industry and reading:

Written by phwebnet

November 30, 2008 at 9:11 pm

Where is my bailout? Who’s looking out for me?

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I look at all these economic experts and I don’t see anyone who represents me. Where is labor represented? Where are the unions? Where are the folks who can help the underemployed, the self-employed, and the ones who will not get any unemployment benefits? Where are the folks who can advocate for green solutions? Where is the oversight?

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Thanks for leaving us alone to vote

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We owe the world a big thank you. They left us alone to vote. There were no attacks on American soil, and as far as I know, there were no attacks on embassies or consulates. The world watched, but didn’t interfere. Thank you — all of you.

I had wondered if we would need UN poll watchers. I had been holding my breath that AlQaeda would attack or do something to push us in one direction or another. I had heard rumors that we might have troops in our streets to keep the peace. I was afraid someone somewhere would do something to draw our attention from our own election. And they did not.

Thank you. I hope we can return the favor.

Written by phwebnet

November 6, 2008 at 6:16 pm