D.C.-based writer Paul Goldberg recently published his first novel, "The Yid." We talk with him about the story, how living in D.C. shapes his work and his 'day job' overseeing the influential Cancer Letter project.
Wintry weather brings school and work closures to the region before any flakes fall. The Boy Scouts of America announces a possible policy change that would allow the organizations that sponsor troops to decide whether to allow gay members. And a new report estimates cats kill billions of birds and mammals each year in the U.S. It’s your turn to offer your take on the week’s headlines.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIFrom WAMU 88.5 at American University in Washington, welcome to "The Kojo Nnamdi Show" connecting your neighborhood with the world. It's Your Turn. Your turn to decide what this conversation will be about by calling 800-433-8850, by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org, by sending us a Tweet at kojoshow or simply by going to our website kojosho.org and starting the conversation there with your comment on recent events in the news or anything else on your mind, 800-433-8850.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIYou would be forgiven for getting weather whiplash over the last week-and-a-half. The first real cold snap of the season brought a little snow with some putting the emphasis on little, calling foul on delays and closing for many local schools and the federal government before a single snowflake fell. Then temperatures rose to the 60s before taking another plunge today into tomorrow when we may see more snow.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIDo you think officials in this region overreact in calling for closures even before wintry weather strikes or is it, as you see, a prudent move? Remember in 2009 when President Obama poked fun at D.C. for shuttering schools after a mild storm? Do you remember that? If you don't then here's what he had to say.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMAMy children's school was cancelled today because of what, some, some ice. As my children pointed out, in Chicago, school is never cancelled. In fact, my seven-year-old pointed out that you'd go outside for recess. You wouldn't even stay indoors. So it's -- I don't know, we're going to have to try to apply some flinty Chicago toughness to this town. I'm saying when it comes to the weather, folks in Washington don't seem to be able to handle things.
NNAMDIOkay, we get it. When it comes to the weather, we're chicken but, well, we'll see. Well, how about Metro. Twice this week Metro riders have been stranded on trains. On Sunday, 44 passengers stuck on an orange line train for two hours after the train lost its weight -- no, it didn't lose its weight -- lost power at around 10:30 that night. Then yesterday during the evening commute, several trains carrying around 2,000 passengers got stuck on the green line in the area of the Navy Yard and Anacostia stops.
NNAMDID.C. fire officials arrived on the scene to find a small fire burning, whether that or something else prompted 50 plus passengers to decide to evacuate themselves by walking along a track bed. Well, accounts in today's Washington Post from passengers indicate little communication or instruction from Metro during that ordeal which included reported medical ailments, seizures, asthma attacks.
NNAMDIIf you were stuck on one of those trains call us and tell us what you experienced, 800-433-8850. Or if you just heard or read about the account, did you think Metro did enough to respond? It's your turn before we go to the phones where we have calls already awaiting us. On Monday the Boy Scouts of America announced a possibly policy change. If enacted, each organization that sponsors troops to decide whether to allow gay members who are currently banned across the board.
NNAMDISome say that proposal doesn't go far enough. They worry that groups that sponsor troops, many of which have religious affiliations, would choose not to change their policy and create a rift within the wider scouting community. What do you make of this proposal, 800-433-8850? If you're a former or current Boy Scout or troop leader we'd love to hear from you, 800-433-8850. And then there's gun control and lots more, but it's your turn, whatever you choose to talk about. We will start with Melissa in College Park, Md. Melissa, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
MELISSAHi. Thank you very much. I'm surprised I'm the first person that the call went through. I'm calling -- I live in College Park, Md. and used to live in Riverdale Park. And I read recently that the CAFRED's organization had to withdraw its application for development because their lawyer wrote some letters that were not -- that were falsified. And I wanted to know if there's any more information about that.
NNAMDIWell, I don't know if there's any more information about the falsification of letters but you are correct because at the last meeting, the Riverdale Park Town Council raised concerns about the CAFRED's plan, the placement and funding of the bridge that are supposed to be there among them. And that they recommended disapproval of the plan, the staff of the Riverdale Town Park (sic) Council apparently did or -- yes.
NNAMDIAnd -- because it failed to meet several conditions including placement and funding for the CXS crossing. So it is my understanding that for the time being that plan has been shelved. I do not know whether there have been developments since then. It says the developer will be sending an official letter to the towns and to the planning board conforming the withdrawal of their PPS. So we don't know where that's going to go. Where do you want to see it go or not go, Melissa?
MELISSAWell, I think that it's a very shaky situation. People that actually...
NNAMDIWe did a whole show on it -- we did a whole show on it back in September -- September 26, 2011 if you'd like to take a look at it.
NNAMDIWhat do you think? They...
MELISSA...yeah, the people that live immediately around it are not -- don't want to see it happen because it's -- there's so many problems with it and it will -- actually it will interfere with the neighborhood so significantly.
NNAMDIAnd people think it'll bring a lot of traffic into the neighborhood that they don't want right now. What is your own feeling?
MELISSAWell, there hasn't really been any kind of planning as far as the traffic goes. It's kind of -- you know, just kind of a pipe dream. And the history of the area has not really been, you know, investigated as far as the roads. It's -- the traffic land is sort of like a little oasis. And, you know, personally I'd like to see happen to it the same thing that happened to the similar size parse of land in Tysons Corner that recently has been deemed to be a park. Because it's one of the few remaining pieces of undeveloped land within the beltway (unintelligible) ...
NNAMDISo you don't want to -- you're not one of those who wants to see a Whole Foods in that location.
MELISSAWell, I don't really believe a Whole Foods is actually going to go there. I think they're going to zone it for a grocery store and then it'll end up being...
NNAMDIOkay. Thank you very much for your call, Melissa. We'll see if anybody else has any more information about that. In the meantime, it's your turn. We move onto Clay in Silver Spring, Md. Clay, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
CLAYHi, Kojo. Yeah, I used to be a member of Troop 222 in Chevy Chase. And our little -- it was very militaristic and our squad was called the Redskins. Our squad leader was a Redskins fan. And we were very strict, very -- about uniforms and, you know, drill and everything. But when we went to, you know, Bert Adams Scout Camp I felt a little at the low end of the pecking order because there were a lot of things I didn't approve of. But another person who was close to me in that pecking order was a young man that I would say that may have, you know, ended up going towards a gay lifestyle.
CLAYHe was -- he like to wrestle with the other boys and it made some people uncomfortable. And people like him and myself, I don't really think that the Boy Scouts of America -- first of all they -- I think they need to follow the letter of the law as far as human rights is concerned and gays certainly should be a part of that. But I don't think they're set up to deal with -- I won't say people with -- kids with special needs, but people who are not just run of the mill scouts who, you know, go along and get along. And they're not -- they don't have psychologists, they don't have people who are trained to deal...
NNAMDIWell, you seem also to be suggesting, Clay, that they cannot change because indications are, given the voting that we have seen in several states in favor of gay marriage for instance, that we are in a culture that is changing, a culture that is evolving. And I guess the question is whether or not the Boy Scouts will also be evolving in that culture.
NNAMDIWhat has been specifically done is that individual sponsors will be able -- if the vote goes that way on Monday or next week -- individual sponsors will be able to decide whether to accept gay members or not. And it seems to me that those that do decide to do that will have to probably make some changes in the culture, so to speak, of the Boy Scouts. Do you think that is possible? Do you think it is likely?
CLAYWell, I think that the young men should be not only -- you know, go out in the woods and learn how to camp and, you know, get their merit badges, but they should also learn how to deal with other people, all kinds of people. And I think that should go across the board. That's just...
NNAMDIWell, do you think that the Boy Scouts can teach them that?
CLAYI think the Boy Scouts need to really take another look at themselves. And I think they need to (unintelligible) ...
NNAMDIWell, it seems like that's what they're in the process of doing.
CLAYYeah well, that's good but I also think that the -- that an issue whether to accept someone who is gay or not is not an issue at all. And I think that's...
CLAY...you know, just given...
NNAMDIWell, thank you very much for your call and for your thoughts, Clay. It's Your Turn. You can call on any issue on your mind, 800-433-8850 or you can send us a Tweet at kojoshow. Here now is Wayne in Westminster, Md. Wayne, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
WAYNEHow do you do. Yes. I'd like to speak on assault weapons and gun control. I think most assault weapons and most of your semiautomatic handguns are -- use a military technology, you know, gas assist, you know, which feeds the next round. After you fired a round it feeds the next round automatically into the chamber. So you can fire that way -- you can fire as many rounds consecutively as there are rounds in the gun -- in your magazine.
WAYNEAnd I think that is the basis of our major problem in this country. This technology is much too dangerous in the civilian population. It's caused the death of, you know, thousands of people. It's just too easy to keep pulling that trigger, you know. And people just -- they'll have time to act or react when people are doing this.
WAYNEIf you had to cock the gun between every round, it would give the person being fired at at least an opportunity to get out of the way, to flee, to defend themselves, whatever. This is -- yeah, this technology is much too dangerous to be in our population in general. It's a military technology that doesn't belong on the streets. Thank you.
NNAMDIWayne, thank you very much for your call. Yesterday the Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony from both sides in the debate over gun control. Former Congress Woman Gabrielle Giffords -- you remember she survived a shooting in a Tucson parking lot in early 2011. She was the first to speak. She delivered a short and direct appeal for action.
GABRIELLE GIFFORDSThank you for inviting me here today. This is an important conversation for our children, for our communities, for Democrats and Republicans. Speaking is difficult but I need to say something important. Violence is a big problem. Too many children are dying, too many children. We must do something. It will be hard but the time is now. You must act. Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you. Thank you.
NNAMDIFormer Congressman Gabrielle Giffords. In relationship to what our earlier caller was saying on gun control, Giffords' husband Mark Kelly brought up the idea of limiting the size of ammunition magazines in his testimony, while NRA spokesman Wayne LaPierre voiced the belief that background checks would not be effective because criminals would circumvent them.
MR. WAYNE LAPIERREMy problem with background checks is you're never going to get criminals to go through universal background checks. I mean, they're -- all the law abiding people -- you'll create an enormous federal bureaucracy, unfunded, hitting all the little people in the country will have to go through it, pay the fees, pay the taxes. We don't even prosecute anybody right now that goes through the system we have.
MR. WAYNE LAPIERRESo we're going to make all those law abiding people go through the system and then we aren't going to prosecute any of the bad guys if they do catch one. And none of it makes any sense in the real world. We have 80,000 police families in the NRA. We care about safety. We support what works.
NNAMDIThat was NRA spokesperson Wayne LaPierre. Senator Dick Durbin said that that was the point, that as criminals circumventing background checks because the checks, which LaPierre voiced support for back in the late 90s, are meant to be a deterrent. We're going to take a short break. If you're trying to get through and the lines are busy you can shoot us an email to email@example.com. It is Your Turn, whether you want to talk about gun control, what the Boy Scouts are doing, what's going on with the weather and how jurisdictions are responding to it, Metro. And maybe when we come back killer cats, 800-433-8850. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
NNAMDIWelcome back. It's Your Turn. We go directly to the phones. Here is Scott in Washington, D.C. Scott, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
SCOTTHi. I'm reacting to your comment about the schools and businesses closing because of the snow. And I get very frustrated by this and I think it's part of just this alarmist weather forecasters and media. But also really a part of the risk of our society we live in where...
NNAMDIOh, we have accu weather and we have panic weather, but go ahead.
SCOTTRight, panic weather. And the heads, principals and the government, you know, at the least bit shuts things down because they're worried that they'll get, you know, accused if something bad happens. And I think it's just -- it's really inefficient and then frustrating.
NNAMDIListen to this email we got from Robin, Scott. Robin writes, "I spent 33 years in Chicago before coming here five years ago. Before that, I lived all over the country. I have never witnessed such weather whimpery as here. The conditions that close schools and offices here in the past week would not even be noticed in Chicago." Scott, what advice would you give to local officials about closings and the like in bad weather?
SCOTTWell, I think that people should just be reasonable and, you know, try to be strong in the face of -- you know, for one thing, realize that the weather reports are often hyped a lot. And it seems like we're fighting the last storm. There was the time a couple years ago where the snow came right at rush hour and there was a big mess but, you know, that doesn't happen very often. And it's just -- we just have to be a little stronger on these things I think.
NNAMDIStop just fighting the last storm says Scott. Thank you very much for your call. We move on to Angelo in Severna Park, Md. Angelo, your turn.
ANGELOYeah, Kojo. So talking about the Boy Scouts.
ANGELOI was a Cub Scout, I was a Webelo, I was a Boy Scout. I also was a leader for Cub Scouts. And something that I think is missed when people are talking about Boy Scouts and, you know, young men's sexual identity is that they get into Boy Scouts, into Cub Scouts at a very young age. So you have -- you know, even if you didn't do Cub Scouts -- yeah, the Cub Scouts, they start when they're in kindergarten -- or not in kindergarten but they start out when they're in elementary school.
ANGELOA Boy Scout could be as young as, you know, sixth grade, seventh grade, coming into scouting and spending years and years in scout, developing merit badges, working towards reaching these goals. And finally after years and years of effort they also mature and become sexually aware and aware of themselves. So you're not asking -- when people talk about keeping gay young men out of scouting, you're not talking about keeping them out. You're talking about kicking them out because you don't come into scouting at a sexually-aware age. You come into scouting as a child.
ANGELOAnd you're asking these young men, who are young -- well boys who are babies struggling with their identity trying to figure things out, to throw away years of effort, self declare themselves as, you know, I no longer belong to this community which meant so much to me and remove themselves from it. I think people don't get that and what they're really asking of these young people. That's my point.
NNAMDIThank you very much for sharing that with us, Angelo. It is Your Turn, whether you want to talk about the Boy Scouts or anything else, you can call us at 800-433-8850. Or if the lines are busy go to our website kojoshow.org and join the conversation there. Here now is Tony in Ashburn, Va. Tony, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
TONYOh Kojo, thank you so much for taking my call.
TONYI am the -- I'm the grandson of a Boy Scout leader who started a troop in 1930. My father's an Eagle Scout, I'm an Eagle Scout and my son is an Eagle Scout. So I come from a long line of scouters and I grew up in the 70s and became an Eagle Scout in 1974. And in those days, you know, the values of scouting have never changed. And although it's not spoken of directly, certainly inclusion is part of the scouting ethos, at least as I understood it.
TONYAnd the challenge that we had when I was a boy was African American. You know, there just weren't that many black kids in scouting when I was a young kid. That has changed thankfully. And I think that the Boy Scouts -- as society changes, so too has scouting. And so I believe the scouting movement has no real choice but to be inclusive.
TONYAnd they have a great -- they have an extraordinary protective system. Two adults must always be, you know, with a scout organization if they're out on a hike or on a camp. There's always the two-adult rule so that the children -- so that the boys are protected from sexual assault. And that includes sexual assault from other scouts, not just from the adult leaders. So I just think it's the typical growing pain. And we can look at the United States military as a perfect example. You know, the transition from gays being kicked out to Don't Ask, Don't Tell, to post-Don't Ask, Don't Tell. And then there's -- you know, (unintelligible) falling apart.
NNAMDISo you think that the scouts will simply adjust to it. As a single parent raising two boys, the Boy Scouts were very helpful to me when my sons were growing up and became Boy Scouts, in terms of learning a lot of ways in which they could be independent. So maybe we're just all evolving, Tony. Thank you very much for your call.
NNAMDICat lovers, you may want to block your years. A new report has found that cats in the U.S., both pets who venture outdoors in feral or alley cats kill about 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals a year. Up to four times the amount previously estimated. Some go as far as to say the cat is an invasive species that pose a threat to certain endangered bird and small mammal populations. Which may explain why an economist in New Zealand has proposed that his country eliminate their feline population altogether.
NNAMDIGareth Morgan said that what he means by elimination is that elimination is the most humane way possible. Existing pets should be spayed and neutered and allowed to live out their lives but no new cats should be allowed to be born or imported. Morgan points out that your cat is actually a friendly neighborhood serial killer. How do you feel about this? Do feral or outdoor cats roam your neighborhood? Have you noticed a change in the number of smaller mammals and birds as a result?
NNAMDIIt's Your Turn. You can either shoot us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 800-433-8850. Tell us if you think Fluffy is quite that dangerous. We move on now to Jason in Prince William County, Va. Jason, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
JASONHey, Kojo. I'm a huge fan, thanks. Just wanted to speak about the Boy Scout issue. I have a long history and my family in the military. I'm a former Marine and there's a lot of really practical value with the scouting program, so much so that I'm taking my girls -- my twin ten-year-old girls through it myself. But I've always been a little uncomfortable with some of the post-1960s dogma that started to accompany the original Robert Baden-Powell curriculum.
JASONSo I’m encouraged to hear of these potential changes but I wanted to comment on the fact that there are alternatives. There are parallel organizations, one by the name of the Baden-Powell Service Organization. So, you know, there are other ways that you can get this knowledge instead of just through the tradition of BSA program. And I'm not speaking ill of the BSA program at all, just that there are alternatives.
NNAMDIOkay. Thank you very much for mentioning that. Those alternatives will probably continue to exist even as the BSA, the Boy Scouts of America apparently continues to evolve. On to Steven in Baltimore, Md. Steven, your turn.
STEVENHey, Kojo. I just wanted to weigh in on the gun issue.
STEVENI'm a convicted felon and I can probably get my hands on 10 guns in less than an hour.
STEVENAll of the old people that are in my family that have died, their guns are just sitting around the house. Nobody ever says anything about those. I have an uncle that went to Vietnam. His collection is awesome and he's been dead for 10 years.
NNAMDISo the fact that you are an admitted, convicted felon and can get your hands on a lot of guns says what about this gun control debate that we're having?
STEVENThat the guns are out there, they're everywhere. And unless -- I can understand both sides of the coin but unless there's some type of collection -- and that's what the NRA is so afraid of -- crazy people can -- not crazy people but people that should not have their hands on guns can always get them.
NNAMDIBut you raised two points. One of them I guess can be in response to saying that you would be an ideal candidate for a gun buyback program. Police departments and several jurisdictions around the country offer these gun buyback programs to get guns off the street or in homes such as your relatives that are not in use.
NNAMDIThe other is we all tend to use the word crazy a little bit too loosely but when we were discussing this the last time somebody said, it is not people who have mental health issues that we should be protecting ourselves against, but people who have a history of violence. And they're not necessarily the same people. What do you say?
STEVENI agree. I have nephews that I know should not be anywhere near firearms but they know those guns are there. The folks that still live in the house, they look at them as -- with sentimental value. That was their father's gun. He served this, that and the other and he was a collector but they're still there. They would never give them up. They never use them. They never clean them but those 15-, 16-year-old nephews know that they're there.
NNAMDIThank you very much for your call. Steven pointing out just one of the other obstacles that we, as a society, have to face when it comes to the -- what some would call the proliferation of guns in our society, what others would call the appropriate respect for the Second Amendment. We move on now to Carol in Clinton, Md. Carol, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
CAROLHello, Kojo. Thanks for taking my call. I was not on the Metro train yesterday that actually got stopped in the tunnel but I was on one of the subsequent trains and we had to depart at the Navy Yard station. And it was complete chaos. There were people standing, actually waiting for a train, even though there was an announcement that there weren't any trains running past Navy Yard. And there were just hundreds of people on the platform and just outside the station at the corner of M Street and New Jersey.
CAROLThere were hundreds of people with nowhere to go, no instruction. There weren't any Metro employees or shuttle buses as announced for about an hour. And it was just awful. We were impeding foot traffic and the traffic that was trying to move in and around M Street. It was just awful.
NNAMDIWell, you know, here is this email, Carol, that we got from Mike in Southeast Washington. "I caught the circulator bus home from Anacostia Station last night without much trouble. But what's up with (unintelligible) cops? Transit police are trained to use machine guns at Quantico but have zero crowd control skills. That's really the skill they need to get riders from a broken 1,000-passenger train onto 60 passenger buses." What you're saying, Carol, is that you would have appreciated the presence of anyone from Metro to assist riders who were stuck.
CAROLAbsolutely, yeah. It would've been great to have one or two employees on the platform or at the -- you know, at the outside of the station, please, you know, shuttle buses are on the way. We're getting them. You know, be patient. You know, kind of parting the traffic so that those people on bicycles and that were just walking around M Street could get by. I saw at least one elderly gentleman almost get hit by a car because he was -- you know, the people, you know, on M Street were getting -- were impatient. And, you know, they weren't being very (unintelligible) ...
NNAMDIHow about communication, Carol? Did you have any idea what was causing all this, what was going on?
CAROLYes. The conductor actually did say that there was a fire at the Anacostia station. She was very -- she was very helpful in that respect but -- and she -- but she also said that there were shuttle buses at Navy Yard, which was not true but maybe that wasn't her fault. She didn't realize, you know, that she wasn't being given correct information.
NNAMDIEveryone seems to agree at this point -- certainly everyone who was involved that there was a lack of appropriate communication. And that if there is to be appropriate communication, not only does it have to be transmitted swiftly but it has to be accurate. And apparently not much of that happened yesterday. Carol, thank you very much for your call. Here now is Christopher in Alexandria, Va. Christopher, your turn.
CHRISTOPHERHi, Kojo. I want to change the subject totally. Recently you had three conversations. One about the debt of Metro, one about walking cities and one about transportation congestion.
CHRISTOPHERI would -- my suggestion would be, build a ring subway around the beltway. The land rights are already owned, so that wouldn't be a problem. The cars would come in (unintelligible) ...
NNAMDIWait a minute. Allow me to make sure I understand what you're saying. Are you saying build it around the beltway or replace the beltway with the ringed system?
CHRISTOPHERA ring metro...
NNAMDIOkay. In addition to the beltway.
CHRISTOPHER...that would go around the beltway.
CHRISTOPHEROkay. And like, for example, if it stopped in Rockville there's already a walk-around city there in Rockville.
CHRISTOPHERIf it goes to Silver Spring, a walk-around city could be there almost.
CHRISTOPHEREach place it goes there could be a walk-around city. If the Metro owns the air rights above the station they put in it would offer them financial money to help their debt. And...
NNAMDIWell, that's -- go ahead.
CHRISTOPHER...and one more question. The more roads Maryland and Virginia build, the quicker they slam them into the city the faster they add to the congestion and lag time the people trying to get to work.
NNAMDIWell, you know, when you talk about the cities at which you would suggest the subway stops on building around the beltway, a lot of jurisdictions are looking at using more density around Metro stops in order that people will not be living in the exurbs anymore, and that seems to be a general trend to development, but obviously that is not in terms of the rail system, the plan that Metro is building. Metro's plans include the possibility of new tunnels.
NNAMDIIn the core of the system, to separate lines that currently share tunnels, they're also calling for building Express Tracks along the Silver, Orange Lines in Virginia, as well as expanding current lines. So I don't think they're going to go for the idea of building an entire new system, but Christopher, thank you very much for sharing it. We've got to take a short break. It is Your Turn.
NNAMDIIf you are on the line, stay there. We'll try to get to your calls. If you want to talk about the report about cats and the devastation they're calling, it's 800-433-8850, or if the lines are busy, shoot us an email to email@example.com, or a tweet @kojoshow. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
NNAMDIWelcome back. It's Your Turn, where you decide what we're going to be talking about with your emails to firstname.lastname@example.org, your tweets @kojoshow, or your comments on our website, kojoshow.org. You can also call us, 800-433-8850. Back to you, that would be you, Rich, in Narberth, Pa. You're on the air.
RICHHi, Kojo. You know how some people say first-time caller, long-time listener? Well, that wouldn't be true in my case, because I'm a first-time caller and I've never heard your show before, but I'm very impressed.
CHRISTOPHERI've noticed in the first half of the show that credentials seem important, so let me tell you who I am. I have three years as a Cub Scout, seven as a Boy Scout. I'm coming up on my 47th anniversary with the Boy Scouts of America, but all at the local level, 11 as a scout master, and the balance has been as an assistant scout master and cub master.
NNAMDIBona fides understood.
RICHThe other scouters who came before me have really covered the topic very, very well on Boy Scouts, except I think there's one stone left unturned here.
NNAMDIPlease turn it.
RICHAn article that I read recently in salon.com, I think it was on the 29th, two Eagle Scouts who are gay weighed in on this, and I think they made the point very well. If you want to know what's going on, you follow the money. It seems like a weather balloon that scouts are deciding whether National, not scouts, if we divide them up right now, National is deciding whether it's going to be financially advantageous to go with the -- what seems to be the majority, and the ethical decision which is that, you know, being gay is about as pertinent as being black or Jewish or Hindu, or anything else for that matter.
RICHOr whether they're going to want to stick with a large portion of their funding which are evangelical conservatives who don't want anything to do with that in what they view as their private organization.
NNAMDIHence the decision that will be coming forth will be the decision to allow sponsoring groups to make the decision because the argument that you're making, Rich, is that those sponsoring groups that are affiliated either with religious or evangelical organizations will simply continue the policies as they are and the BSA will continue to rake in the money that it is.
RICHI'll address that two way. First, Boy Scouts of America is a top-down organization. Basically, everybody does what National says, and National is really going to be like anybody else, controlled by the money. But secondly, and more importantly for me, how would you feel about your local private organization being allowed to -- or deciding whether or not they were going to allow blacks or Jews or no whites, or you pick the diversity and exclude it.
NNAMDII wouldn't have it. I wouldn't have it. I'd hate it.
RICHRight. Which is exactly what I think National is proposing, yes?
NNAMDIWell, you I think have capsulized it correctly, that does seem to be what National is proposing. How do you -- what do you feel the response to that should be?
RICHWell, if the millions of people who have been touched by scouting over the years in a good and positive way, if they want their sons touched in a similar manner, and even daughters now, they shouldn't be boycotting the organization, they should be supporting their local troop, finding a troop that's aligned with their views, joining the troop and working within the organization. If National sees increased enrollment as a result of this announcement, then the weather balloon is going to blow the direction that I think we'd all like to see it go.
NNAMDIRich, thank you very much for your call. Your use of the Civil Rights analogy was particularly effective because people say if you allowed local officials in the south to decide whether or not African-Americans should be allowed to vote or participate in other activities, then we would still be segregated today. So Rich, thank you very much for your call. It is Your Turn. We are interested in your ideas, so we go to Mazar (ph) in Falls Church, Va. Mazar, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
MAZARHey, Mr. Nnamdi, nice to talk to you.
MAZARMr. Nnamdi, every time, you know, in a lot of the country even the policemen don't have guns. Maybe a baton, but not guns. Here, every time I see something on TV that says well, it's my right, it's the Second Amendment, you know, those sort of things, I'm wondering -- we made amendments to the Constitution before, why can't we amend the Constitution and say hey, you know, this is not 200 years ago where we need guns and everybody's, you know, not sure who's going to attack them from under a bush or whatever.
MAZARSo we are a civilized world. Why don't we act like a civilized world, amend the Constitution and say, hey look, guns should not be allowed in every Tom, Dick, and Harry's hand? Does that -- does that not make any sense? I never hear anybody saying let's amend the Constitution, because every time there's a discussion, oh, this is my right, you cannot take my rights away. Well, why don't we amend it?
NNAMDIWell, Mazar, what you are citing is a perfect example of the use of the phrase easier said than done. It's really easy to say that. Are you prepared to be the one who launches the movement to instigate the process that it will take the amend the Constitution? How difficult do you think that process would be?
MAZARI wish I was the brave and adventurous person or someone who could do that, but I'm thinking that it can be done, but until you -- how many children have to die?
NNAMDIWell, what I'm suggesting to you is that if you're saying it can be done, you know the old phrase, Mr. Say ain't nothing, Mr. Do is the man. If you are in fact saying that it can be done, then people of like mind as yourself, I guess have to launch a movement to do it. Clearly there is...
NNAMDIClearly -- wait. Clearly there is a movement in favor of maintaining all access to guns by people who say we support the Second Amendment. Clearly there is a movement for gun control. Now you're talking about a movement to amend the Constitution again. You're talking about a completely different movement.
MAZARDoes that not make sense, Mr. Nnamdi? If I keep saying, hey, my belief is in this tree, and until we change that tree, we can't change people's minds, you know. (unintelligible) Constitution, well, this is my right. Well, what if we said hey, we don't have that right anymore, or we have the right but we have to be responsible. How can you have, you know, all this stuff and not...
NNAMDII am suggesting -- I am suggesting to you, Mazar, that it is a right that so many millions of American treasure, that the attempt to start a movement to revoke that right is likely to lead for a lot more than you might be counting on right now. But, as you said, it is a suggestion that some people may take very seriously. Do have to move on. Thank you very much for your call. We move on now to Debbie in Leesburg, Va. Debbie, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
DEBBIEHi, Kojo. How are you today?
DEBBIEI'm calling about the feral cat issue that you mentioned earlier.
DEBBIEI have a small horse farm in Leesburg, and I wanted to have two cats to help keep the mouse problem down, and we got our cat through an organization of people who rescue these cats and then get them fixed, give them their shots, and then they adopt them out to people like me who are looking for an outdoor cat. Now, I started off with two, and now I have four, and if, you know, you could just keep taking them in because there's just so many of them.
DEBBIEAnd I can attest to the fact that they are natural born killers. These cats, I feed them cat food, they have a very good life, they are constantly hunting. They hunt birds, snakes, mice, anything, frogs. I'm constantly finding the remnants of what they get.
NNAMDIYou know the study did mention that even if cats are well fed, they will do all of the things you say that they have been doing.
DEBBIEThey do. And I know there are other barn owners out there who do not feed their feral cats, or do not feed their barn cats because they want to keep them hunting, but that is a mistake. You need to feed them because then they hunt even more. I am positive that the eco-system in my neighborhood has been changed by these four cats, you know, because I don't even know -- I mean, I know what I see the evidence of, but I don't, you know, I don't even know how much more there is that I don't know about because they're hunting at night.
DEBBIEBut I just cannot look at their little faces and think about putting them to sleep. I've heard some veterinarians gave in who have been saying that we should put these animals to sleep, and I can't -- I cannot put, bring, you know, most people like me are animal lovers. We can't bring ourselves to put to sleep -- put down a perfectly healthy animal.
NNAMDIIt's even hard when you use the word they hunt to think that you're talking about those same angelic-looking animals with those little faces. Hunt? No. They don't hunt. Yes. Apparently they do hunt. Debbie, thank you very much for your call. Here is Charles in Alexandria, Va. on this issue. Charles, your turn.
CHARLESAh, speaking of the killer cats. You know, if I have a problem with rats in my yard, I can deal with them. I know my neighbors have to keep control of their dogs and keep them on leashes. But when I have neighborhood cats using my garden as a litter box and killing birds at my bird feeder, I have almost no recourse.
NNAMDIThese are feral cats?
CHARLESIt could be neighborhood cats or feral cats, you know.
CHARLESNeighborhood cats might be coming from a quarter mile away.
NNAMDISome of my neighborhood cats are feral cats. They just...
NNAMDI...live in the neighborhood, yes. They hang out in the neighborhood.
CHARLESI'm hoping that this study that came out will help illuminate how these cats are decimating wild bird species and maybe bring the laws more into place with how we can deal with them. Right now, if I were to try to do anything with these feral cats, the penalties are very stiff.
NNAMDIYeah. Charles, thank you very much for your call. I'm surprised that we're not hearing from the cat lovers in our audience. 800-433-8850. Dorie, where are you when we need you? On now to Absalom in Washington D.C. Absalom, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
ABSALOMYeah, Kojo. Just a couple of things real quick. One is, you've never had me on the show to talk about gun control, and I think there is a black perspective to that.
NNAMDILet me tell you this perspective that Absalom Jordan, Jr. is going to indicate right now is a perspective that in my memory goes back at least 40 years of Ab's participation in it, so Ab, go ahead, please.
ABSALOMOkay. One of the statements you made the other day was that how was allowing firearms in the home, and then I can't remember what the rest of it was, but the point is that you talked about allowing firearms in the home. And the reality is as -- that's if we had to have permission to have firearms in the home. Kojo, one of the things that troubles me is that for 30 years we were denied a constitutional right and the Supreme Court merely reaffirmed the right that we had to have firearms in the home.
ABSALOMSo when you use the phrase (unintelligible), that kind of shows a bias as if we need permission to do it. So I wanted to address that. The second thing is, Phil Mendelson focused attention on protection of federal officials and a diplomat. Well, Kojo, the Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia has ruled that the government is under no obligation to provide protection to individual citizens. So if the government doesn't have to protect us, and that means the police don't have to protect individual citizens, then who is...
NNAMDIBut Ab, you seem to have taken a leap of logic there. I mean, why do the police exist if not to protect us?
ABSALOMI'm saying to you, Kojo, that Carolyn v. Warren decision says that the police don't have to protect us.
NNAMDIWell, Ab, are you in favor of any regulation of firearms at all?
ABSALOMYes. Look, Kojo, I introduced legislation through the Council when citizens could do it to provide for gun control in the city. And I don't have a problem with saying that you want to keep it out of criminals and what have you. But what I'm saying is that Phil Mendelson's position has been he doesn't believe in ownership of firearms period. And for 30 years residents in this city were denied our constitutional right.
ABSALOMThat was a civil rights issue just like a moment ago when you were talking about the Boy Scouts and what would happen with a civil rights issue being left up to local officials. We were denied that right, and I'm saying the Carolyn v. Warren decision makes it very clear, the police do not have to protect us, Kojo.
NNAMDIWell, the police may not have to protect us according to your interpretation of the Constitution, but those of us who pay the salaries of the police, pay them with the expectation that they have to protect us. But Ab Jordan, Jr. is a well-known activist in the District of Columbia. Ab, good to talk to you. Got to move on. Have time for one more. Luke in Fredericksburg, Va. Luke, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
LUKEYes. I just wanted to build an analogy between a feral cat and gun control, and that is, if you, you know, you can think about the feral cats as a problem, and I know that somebody has eluded to the fact that they're hunters. Well, perhaps we should declaw the feral cats, but then they would not be able to defend themselves, which would be the same as taking our citizens and pulling their gun rights away and pulling their guns away.
LUKEWe would have citizens going around that are just like cats, I guess, with no claws. So I think it's a really interesting thing, and you have to really think about, you know, the humane aspects of people not being able to defend themselves in this country. I guess to summarize, I don't think it's the people and the legal gun owners that are the problem. I really think it's the criminals and those who are mentally unstable.
NNAMDIThank you very much for your call. And Luke, you are the last. Thank you all for participating in this edition of Your Turn. "The Kojo Nnamdi Show" is produced by Brendan Sweeney, Michael Martinez, Ingalisa Schrobsdorff, Tayla Burney, Kathy Goldgeier, and Elizabeth Weinstein with help from Stephannie Stokes. Our engineer is Toby Shriner. Natalie Yuravlivker is on the phones. Thank you all for listening. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
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