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home : opinion : opinion April 29, 2016

12/23/2012 6:01:00 AM
Editorial Column: It's time to change our change

Alan Choate
News Editor

The Treasury Department recently released a voluminous study of various alternative metal combinations that could be used to make our nation's coins more cheaply.

The conclusion? No surprises there: "More study is needed."

No, it's not. I've got a solution, and it won't take months of study to work it up: Get rid of the penny and the nickel.

Those coins are useless and costly. Pennies cost more than two cents each to make and distribute, and nickels cost 11 cents. The metals used to make them - copper and, in the nickel's case, nickel - are getting more expensive.

There are 6 billion pennies made a year, according to the director of the U.S. Mint. Nickels are produced in the hundreds of millions. All so they can end up in change jars and Coinstar machines - heck, I've got a Crown Royal bag partly filled with unused small change in my room, and our newsroom has a coffee can half-filled with pennies that might, one day, pay for some newsroom beer. (Dear Human Resources: Not IN the newsroom, of course. Please don't write us up.)

The savings would be modest by federal spending standards - $200 million or so, according to information I've been able to find. And there are legitimate concerns about price rounding if these denominations are eliminated. Still, it would be worth it to get the government out of the business of producing change that nobody uses.


Here's something that's not worth doing: Arming teachers.

I can't believe anyone thinks this is a good idea. Even one school shooting is too many, of course, but while these events get a lot of attention, they are rare. Given everything that could go wrong by bringing guns into the classroom, it's inconceivable that this is a legitimate solution.

First of all, most of the teachers I've known are not the take-down-a-gunman type, no matter how much they're trained.

Exceptions are out there, of course. I'm thinking of my third-grade teachers, who were almost definitely the inspiration for Marge Simpson's sour-brained, chain-smoking sisters. I can easily see them charging down the hallway, spraying Dirty Harry .44 Magnums or maybe even .50-caliber rounds from a Desert Eagle, and they probably wouldn't have cared if a student or two got caught in the crossfire.

Most teachers would, though, and such casualties would certainly happen. Furthermore, in an instance where teachers were taking on a shooter, when police showed up, could they separate friend from foe? Or would they take out "multiple shooters," only to learn later that they shot allies?

More realistically, guns in a classroom could be grabbed by a student. Mayhem guaranteed. There are even cases where teachers have roughed up students who are discipline problems - why provide the option of pulling a gun on a room full of teenagers?

The idea of using armed police officers is slightly less insane than arming teachers, but all the problems with introducing guns into schools still apply. Plus, there are real-life examples where on-site, armed security did not stop a massacre.

We'll be hearing a lot of proposals on gun control in the aftermath of what happened in Connecticut, chief among them (most likely) a reinstatement of the assault-style weapons ban, a prohibition on high-capacity magazines and shutting down the so-called "gun show loophole." That last one is a good idea; the other two only provide the illusion of action, especially given how many of those products are already in general circulation.

The real challenge is stopping mentally ill people who want to stockpile an arsenal, pick a target and then wantonly kill people who are simply going about their business. If the National Rifle Association and related interests want to avoid the lashing that's falling on them, they'll use their money, connections and brain trusts to figure out how to meet that need.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

“Got any snappy comeback on why it was okay for the liberal host to lie about this?”

Nope, because I did not see anywhere where the “liberal” host lied! But then I don’t feel that people with differing opinions are all liars. Too bad that you do.

Posted: Monday, December 24, 2012
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking

@Anson’s Nephew

"Uhh, no he was not. Just the usual NRA bS about video games and not guns killing people."

Yeah Meet the Press was terrific.....especially the host. Here is one little piece of his performance.

"Later the host suggested that guns don’t prevent violence in schools (he cited the mass shootings at Columbine and Virginia Tech). “But you would concede that, as good as an idea as you think this is, it may not work. Because there have been cases where armed guards have not prevented this kind of massacre, this kind of carnage. I want you would concede that point, wouldn’t you?,” Gregory pleaded.

But ah, AN, the real fun came after the show was over from the Weekly Standard:

"The NBC host would go on the rest of the segment to suggest that armed guards might not be effective in preventing mass murders at school. Which is perhaps an interesting theoretical argument.

But when it comes to Gregory’s own kids, however, they are secured every school day by armed guards.

The Gregory children go to school with the children of President Barack Obama, according to the Washington Post. That school is the co-ed Quaker school Sidwell Friends."

The schools website lists 11 in their security department. That information comes from the Washington Post.

Typical liberal hypocrite. He claims armed guards in schools will not work. And yet he insists his own kids be protected by armed security guards at their school.

So who was spouting BS on Meet the Press, the guest or the host? Got any snappy comeback on why it was okay for the liberal host to lie about this?


Posted: Monday, December 24, 2012
Article comment by: Nick Schmidt

Cheap Coinage - nothing is easier.
The German Democratic Republic,
bankrupt 1989, had aluminum coins which were called aluchips". But why not erase one or two zeros on a US banknote ? Then the copper becomes cheap again
compared to the face value.

Posted: Monday, December 24, 2012
Article comment by: Explination of

I would just like to give everyone an actual explination of what the ominious sounding and often mis-represented "gun show loophole" really is. Gun shows and their vendors - like every other federally licensed firearms dealer - require that a background check be done upon purchase of firearm. However, it is not illegal for private citizens to sell guns to other private citizens. Thus, you will occasionally see two private gun owners who meet at a gun show legally sell or buy guns between each other. It is not a "loophole", and as a matter of fact is no different then selling your gun on THE KINGMAN DAILY MINER classifieds section.

Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2012
Article comment by: And Your Point?

@ Alan Choate

Plus, there are real-life examples where on-site, armed security did not stop a massacre.

Can you not name one? Show us an example.

@ Linda

"Not every woman is Sarah Palin"

That is a scary thought! Sarah Palin is just a Romney in Drag!

"Piers Morgan is as scary as a shooter frankly."

I'm pretty sure Piers Morgan is on a Part-Time work visa, so he cannot even buy a gun in the US. Additionally, since he is a temporary visitor, why does CNN allow him to disrespect "AMERICAN" citizens in their own country?

Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2012
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

These apocryphal stories sure get old, but moving on ...

“Wayne LaPierre, in spite of Meet the Press's obnoxious host today, was brilliant.”

Uhh, no he was not. Just the usual NRA bS about video games and not guns killing people.

“Quit letting the mentally ill run the streets with nothing to stop them,…”

Stop the republicans from denying funds to care for the mentally ill – THAT would be a major step forward.

“…stop the lies about various guns, etc.”

You mean like “various” guns loaded with 100 rounds kill a lot of people?

Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2012
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking

Well if they want to make our money out of a material that reflects what it will be worth by the time obama is done .............. they should make it out of compressed fecal matter.

Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2012
Article comment by: R H

First things first: NO ONE wants to mandate that teachers be armed. That is a very deceptive statement . The only discussion is whether we should allow free citizens (who are employed by school districts) to defend themselves and those they care about while they are at work. This gun-free zone stuff has only proved to establish 'spree shooter protection zones'. Spending money to put cops at every school is a waste of money unless the parents (rather than the taxpayers) want to pony up the money for it.
Secondly :There is no 'gun show loophole'. Citizens who are not licensed by the ATF have every right to sell guns they posess legally. If they sell them at a gun show , that is no different than selling them in the classified pages of the Kingman Daily Miner , to a friend , or family member , or any other free citizen. If you wish to enable a defacto gun registration scheme with only 'approved' transfers occuring (with the requisite logging of serial numbers on form 4473) than be honest about it rather than throwing around this 'gun show loophole' jargon.

Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2012
Article comment by: joker wilde

About time someone wrote a sensible column in this newspaper. Maybe the feds should round up all the guns and issue muskets. Those are the arms we had the right to bear when the Constitution was written.

Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2012
Article comment by: Linda Athens

Good grief! This man has certainly sold women (the majority of teachers I believe) down the river.

My Mother, the most genteel woman ever born as everyone who knew her would testify to, once hacked a snake in half in our living room with a hoe while defending me.

She also shot quail and rabbits and my aunts went on every deer hunt with their husbands and with their own rifles. My Mother's Mother, 4' 10", slung chickens around by the neck, slammed them down on her tree stump and whacked their heads off with her own very sharp axe before preparing them for the stew pot.

This man has not a clue what a woman defending children will do. Does Mama Grizzly come to mind Mr. Choate? Not every woman is Sarah Palin but most women will do whatever it takes to make children safe and that would certainly include shooting a shooter.

More importantly, why let a crazy shooter get that far. Have armed guards at every school.

What is good enough for every wealthy Hollywood celebrity, person in Congress and the POTUS should certainly be available to every school child in this day and age. Armed guards.

Wayne LaPierre, in spite of Meet the Press's obnoxious host today, was brilliant. Quit letting the mentally ill run the streets with nothing to stop them, stop the lies about various guns, etc.

And as Lindsay Graham said, he has a gun at home. Making it illegal for him to buy another one just like it will do little for the problem. DUH! The liberals are absolutely rabid over this issue, cannot even talk coherently about it. Piers Morgan is as scary as a shooter frankly.

Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2012
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

Some believe one day all money will be electronic data based, but the only glitch with that idea is say the sun erupts in one of those bursts it did in 1850's knocking out the telegraph lines and instead knocks out all electronics that idea has one huge hole in it, but money could be made easier to make, cheaper, have to agree with this editors letter, as to arming teachers that is also a idea with glitch issues, many are unqualified even with training, hence a armed unqualified teacher shooting into a crowded school hallway might cause more casualties than they avoid, even law enforcement with their psychological tests fail to weed out the unfit, hence we have the occassional rogue cop who is not fit, no perfect solution exists, but bullet proof glass, bullet proof doors, a alarm system similiar to a fire alarm but that lets teachers know to lock the glass room doors, one armed, trained, retired or active duty cop at the entry way, behind bullet proof glass with a gun port might stop one from shooting his way in, but a hidden gun pulled out suddenly will mean who shoots first and straight as to if a crazed gunman wins or loses!

Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2012
Article comment by: They Are Not ALL Nervous Fumblers

When it's MY child whose life is threatened by a crazed killer in the classroom, I definitely want an armed teacher in there! I would feel slightly more secure knowing that an armed police officer would be there in seconds to back up the teacher, and the swat team would be there minutes afterward! Time is crucial in this type of situation. Teachers who are trained, tested, and who feel comfortable with carrying a concealed weapon should be armed to protect our children in the classrooms. Possibly teachers of students from 7th grade up could have a similarly-armed Teacher's Aid with them in the classroom to help them with the larger, more unruly students (which they shouldn't have to face that type of student alone anyway).

Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2012
Article comment by: The Fox Hound

I couldn't agree more but get ready for a lot of fall out over this because cause you write for the Miner. Tell Rich to have someone read this to him.

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