GUN CONTROL

One of the difficulties in the debate over gun control is the definition of exactly what turns a semi-automatic weapon into an "assault rifle." Regulating (or outlawing) weapons by design or how lethal they "look" is foolhardy when the internal mechanisms are basically the same as a hunting rifle, which is why I found this piece in the Washington Post by Leah Libresco so interesting. Libresco works for FiveThirtyEight, a website that focuses on opinion poll analysis, politics, economics, and sports blogging. Said Libresco: "When I looked at the other oft-praised policies, I found out that no gun owner walks into the store to buy an 'assault weapon.' It’s an invented classification that includes any semi-automatic that has two or more features, such as a bayonet mount, a rocket-propelled grenade-launcher mount, a folding stock or a pistol grip. But guns are modular, and any hobbyist can easily add these features at home, just as if they were snapping together Legos. As for silencers — they deserve that name only in movies, where they reduce gunfire to a soft 'puick puick.' In real life, silencers limit hearing damage for shooters but don’t make gunfire dangerously quiet. An AR-15 with a silencer is about as loud as a jackhammer. Magazine limits were a little more promising, but a practiced shooter could still change magazines so fast as to make the limit meaningless." If the Las Vegas shooting demands a national conversation on gun laws, and I for one think it is appropriate, then we need to spend less time focusing on "doing something" and more on doing something that works.

BOBCATS

Remember those two bobcats that were seen off the bike path below the Panorama Bluffs? Doug White spotted two more, adult bobcats on the bike trail two to three miles east of Enos Lane in August. "The female had already crossed while the male just stood motionless at the path's shoulder while I rode by. I wasn't about to stop to take a picture. Since they are so rare here, I wonder if they are the same pair."

CAROTA BURGER

I checked the Santa Carota burger off my bucket list when I accompanied a group of friends to Temblor Brewing Co. to try the famous grass and carrot-fed beef. My verdict: a delicious half-pound burger but at almost $14 with a side of fries, perhaps a little too rich for my wallet. Still, it's worth a try.

SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK

"I'm having people over later to stare at their phones if you want to stop by."

GOOD FORM

Frances Quiroz gave a shoutout to local Dr. William Baker. "My 17-year-old son broke his fibula playing football. I couldn't get him into an orthopedic, because no one would see him. I was referred to Dr. Baker by the athletic director at my son's school. Within 30 minutes we were sitting in his waiting room ... and he managed to get my son seen by an ortho within hours. After the day I had, dealing with the stress of my son having a broken leg, not knowing if he needed surgery to repair it and none of the ortho doctors the urgent care referred us to would see/access him .... the care Dr. Baker and his staff treated us with was so overwhelming that it literally brought me to tears. I would recommend Dr. Baker to anyone and everyone. I feel blessed to have him as my son's doctor. His kindness, care and generosity is not easily found."

MORE GOOD FORM

Hats off to Tony Martinez, who is now volunteering his time with a nonprofit that helps needy families renovate their homes and neighborhoods. Martinez, a retired Bakersfield police community relations specialist who ran for mayor this last go around, is working for Rebuilding Together/Kern County, a group formerly known as Christmas in April. The organization is helping homeowners in the "Carnation tract" of homes near McKinley Elementary School make basic repairs on their homes.

Email contributing columnist Richard Beene at rsbeene@yahoo.com. His work appears here on Wednesdays and Fridays; the views expressed are his own. Read more on his blog at BakersfieldObserved.com.

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