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Giorgio: Waco and Worcester

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

 

Paul Giorgio

Last weekend nine people were killed in a biker shoot out in a restaurant in Waco Texas, formerly home of the equally crazy Branch Dravidians. According to news reports, approximately 170 people were arrested in the melee and 18 were injured.  All the dead were bikers.

The brawl occurred in the Twin Peaks Restaurant located in Waco. The company suspended the franchise of the restaurant on Monday and the State of Texas shut the place down.  Regular patrons and the employees fled to the freezer to escape the carnage. At the time of the shooting the restaurant was full of families.

Texas is still the Wild West.

Texas has no laws restricting the ownership of handguns by anyone 21 years old or older. Although, they do have a law that prohibits someone from having a concealed weapon in an establishment that makes 51% or its revenue from alcohol sales.  I am guessing that Twin Peaks falls into that category. The Texas gun law also allows you to “Stand your Ground”, if you feel threatened.  This is the same law that allowed George Zimmerman to shoot Trevon Martin and go free.

We should be grateful that we don’t have these crazy laws here.

Worcester Council opposes guns.

However last week the Worcester City Council did interject themselves into the gun law debate.

It seems that a perfectly legal business, the Gun Parlor would like to relocate from Summer Street to Prescott Street.  The matter went before the Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday night.  The shooting range and store are allowed with a special permit.  The matter was brought before the council by a citizen’s petition filed by someone who does not liv in the neighborhood.

The site is in a manufacturing zone and has many small factories which back up to Rout 290. The Rural Cemetery is across Prescott Street from the proposed location.

The City Council voted 10-1 to oppose the business relocating.  Interestingly, Councilor Lukes voted against the measure because she said it did not go far enough.

We do need tougher gun laws.

While I am opposed to the ownership of Saturday night specials and automatic weapons such as AK 47’s and Uzi’s, I see nothing wrong with people owning rifles for hunting.

Currently gun ownership is legal in Massachusetts. Gun ranges and stores that sell guns are also legal. There hasn’t been a gun range in Worcester in quite a few years. The Boston Gun Range which was located on the Southwest Cutoff closed after a woman killed herself inside the facility.

Worcester is known for having some of the toughest requirements in the state for gun ownership. Worcester Police Chief Gary Gemme has been taken to court a few times because of his admirable but albeit, strict enforcement of gun laws.

Is Worcester anti-business?

The question that we have to answer is this:  We have a legal business that is being forced to move because the city wants a hotel on its current site. Should we force them out of business or out of the city?  Those are the only options, if the resolution passed by the city council bears any weight with the Zoning Board of Appeals.

The other option is that we show that we are business friendly and help them move into an appropriate location.  I happen to think that Prescott Street is appropriate.

I believe that guns kill. Others believe that alcohol kills and tobacco kills.  Some people feel that smoke coming out of the stacks of the few tax paying factories left in Worcester kills. We need common sense approaches to these issues. Or should we ban all these business in the city? 

 

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