You might have heard about SB 1130, a Republican bill that would have “eliminate[d] the crime of selling, transferring, or possessing with the intent to sell or transfer blackjacks, brass or metal knucks, throwing stars or oriental darts, switchblade knives, ballistic knives, or other similar weapons.” Throwing stars? Oriental darts? How about we just call this one the “ninja” bill for short? Ha.
Anyway, believe it or not, this bill passed both the State Senate (25-13, with mostly Republican support but also a few “ninja”-loving Dems) and the House of Delegates (56-42, with only one “Democrat” – Johnny Joannou, who is de facto a Republican – supporting it). But then a 100% predictable thing happened: the media heard about this crazy bill and started writing about it. And writing about it. And writing about it some more. Clearly, it wasn’t going to be much longer until this story was all over the comedy shows and national news as well, yet again mocking Virginia Republicans for their embarrassing/crazy/extreme antics.
And then, suddenly (no coincidence here I’m sure! heh), House Republican leadership decided to hold a revote, at which point the “ninja bill” got crushed, 83-17. What on earth happened? Did someone use the “brass knuckles” on our “ninja” or something? Or was it more “brass knuckle politics” at work?
Based on what I’m hearing from my House Democratic sources, it’s most definitely the latter — politics, not policy. The background is that House Republicans have been doing whatever they can to keep things quiet this session, the political strategy being not to play into House Democrats’ intent of creating “dilemmas” for Republicans, and instead to head into the 2015 elections (for the entire General Assembly) without anything to rile up the Democratic “base.” For the most part, this strategy appears to have been working pretty well for Republicans, with a nice assist from the corporate media (e.g., this egregiously awful excuse for a “news” article). And then, creeping like a black-clad ninja, suddenly the “ninja bill” threatened to provide Virginia Dems, not to mention national comedians, for some great material that wouldn’t, let’s just say, play into the image Virginia Republican leaders want to portray. Thus, the “ninja bill” vanished — poof! — barely having left a trace that it was ever there in the first place. Meanwhile, we can all feel safe and secure, knowing that in Virginia, there are at least a FEW (very few) limits when it comes to lethal weaponry. I know, what a relief that we can now “only” be maimed/killed by pretty much any OTHER form of weaponry, but (hopefully) not blackjacks, brass or metal knucks, throwing stars or oriental darts, switchblade knives, or ballistic knives! Feeling better now?