I love the newspaper. LOVE it. Sometimes there are gems in there that make me smile. An article that made the front page today was one of those grin-inducing pieces. You can read the full article here (it's shorter than this post) or you can just read my excerpts.
The basic bit of the story is that a state senator from here in Utah Valley (as if we needed to be seen as bigger yokels) wants to honor John Moses Browning with a holiday. What? You've never heard of John Moses Browning? He's apparently a Utah icon (who I'd never heard of) who is known for developing guns. The state senator who wants to honor Browning knows it would be too difficult to try to add in another paid holiday, so he proposes the day be combined with another existing holiday. Which holiday does he want? Wait for it...wait for it...Martin Luther King day. I'm not joking.
If you think that's not silly enough on its own, just wait until you see what the senator has to say about his choice. This is copied directly from the article.
"I see them as complimentary," he said. Browning is known for developing a variety of guns, including the gas-operated machine gun. Madsen said he plans to meet with the NAACP to discuss his proposal.
"We'll see if they can take it in the spirit it's intended," Madsen said.
Really? If you think someone might take a proposal badly, they probably will. Perhaps the senator has forgotten that Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed by someone shooting a gun. Duh. But the story gets better. The idea has support from other state senators. I'm a little disappointed the quote lumps most state Republicans together because it sounds like they all think it's a good idea and, as a fairly staunch Republican, I highly doubt the great majority think it would be a good idea. Anyway.
For Madsen and other Senate Republicans like Majority Leader Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City, guns don't equal violence.
"Guns keep peace," Jenkins said. "I kind of like the idea of making his birthday a holiday. I'm all over that."
Madsen isn't stuck on King's holiday, saying that it was only because of the closeness of Browning's birthday that he chose it in the first place. He wants Browning's holiday to be the same as an established holiday so it can get the recognition he feels it deserves.
Guns in the right hands keep the peace but there's still the pesky fact that the wrong hands held the gun that killed someone who already has a holiday. I can hardly believe it and I've been laughing about it all day. I suppose it will offer comic relief on the floor of the state senate after they talk about things like increasing class sizes and budget shortfalls.
To finish off the story, there is an update. If accepted, the holiday will not fall on MLK day. That story is here (also very short) and includes the reaction from the Salt Lake branch of the NAACP. Maybe they'll have to give up the attempt at a paid holiday and can combine it with something like Valentine's Day or the first day of school. I see them as complimentary.