Webmaster Search Engine

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

McCain Lies About Oil Drilling and the Media Yawns

I don't really see how there is any serious prospect for solving either our energy security problem or our climate problem if the traditional media doesn't do any policing whatsoever of statements by major politicians. Here is McCain yesterday:

"... it will be vital that we continue oil production at a high level including offshore drilling. Now, the briefings that I have had with the oil producers, there are some instances that within a matter of months, they could be getting additional oil."

Standing in front of a large California oil drill, in what appears to be filming of a new movie, There Will Be Lies, McCain went so far as to say:
But there's abundant resources in the view of the people who are in the business that could be exploited within a period of months. So offshore drilling is something we have to do.

Okay, I can understand why he believes whatever stuff the oil producers make up -- they are lining his pockets now. And I understand the three reasons that McCain would lie to the public:

  1. His original "placebo" argument wasn't very compelling: "Even though it may take some years, the fact that we are exploiting those reserves would have a psychological impact that I think is beneficial."

  2. The truth is even less compelling: Ending the moratorium on coastal drilling holds no serious promise of reducing gasoline prices for US consumers even a single penny two decades from now according to Bush's own energy analysts (see "The cruel offshore-drilling hoax").

  3. Since he has no actual plan for getting us out of the economic mess Bush got us into, McCain is now going so far as "framing his support for expanded offshore drilling and other energy proposals as economic stimulants in an effort to woo voters concerned about the floundering economy" (Greenwire 7/29, subs. req'd). Seriously!

  4. But why does the media let a major party candidates get away with such disinformation? And it is disinformation. As a U.S. Energy Information Administration analyst told me earlier this month:

Ted Stevens Indicted On 7 Criminal Charges

In this Feb. 19, 2008 file photo, Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, listens to questions from members of the Capitol press corps., following his address of the state legislature, in Juneau, Alaska Stevens, the longest-serving Republican senator, has been indicted. (AP Photo/Chris Miller, File)

WASHINGTON — Sen. Ted Stevens, the nation's longest-serving Republican senator and a major figure in Alaska politics since before statehood, was indicted Tuesday on seven felony counts of concealing more than a quarter of a million dollars in house renovations and gifts from a powerful oil contractor that lobbied him for government aid.

Stevens, 84, is the first sitting U.S. senator to face federal indictment since 1993. He declared, "I am innocent of these charges and intend to prove that."

He is accused of lying on his annual Senate financial disclosure reports between 1999 and 2006 _ an indictment that caps a lengthy FBI investigation that has upended Alaska politics and brought unfavorable attention to both Stevens and his congressional colleague, GOP Rep. Don Young. Both are running for re-election this year.

Stevens' indictment further damages Republican prospects in the November election as Senate Democrats, who now enjoy a 51-49 majority, try to capture a filibuster-proof 60-vote majority. Stevens faces both Democratic and Republican challengers who are trying to capitalize on his legal woes.

The Justice Department accused Stevens of accepting expensive work on his home in Girdwood, Alaska, a ski resort town outside Anchorage, from oil services contractor VECO Corp. and its executives. VECO normally builds oil processing equipment and pipelines, but its employees helped do the work on Stevens' home.

Prosecutors said that work included a new first floor, garage, wraparound deck, plumbing and electrical wiring. He also is accused of accepting from VECO a Viking gas grill, furniture and tools, and of failing to report swapping an old Ford for a new Land Rover to be driven by one of his children.

From May 1999 to August 2007, prosecutors said, the senator concealed "his continuing receipt of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of things of value from a private corporation."

If convicted, Stevens could face up to five years in prison for each of the seven counts, although cases like this often result in lighter penalties.

Stevens said in a statement distributed by his office: "I have proudly served this nation and Alaska for over 50 years. My public service began when I served in World War II. It saddens me to learn that these charges have been brought against me. I have never knowingly submitted a false disclosure form required by law as a U.S. senator."

He said that in line with Senate GOP rules he was temporarily giving up the ranking positions his seniority has given him. If the Republicans were to take over the Senate, the party's most-senior senator would be in line to become president pro tempore, a mostly symbolic title but one that would make him third in line for the presidency after the vice president and speaker of the House.

Stevens was expected to turn himself in, prosecutors said. The case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, who was appointed to the bench by President Clinton, a Democrat.

Tuesday's charges tarnish one of the most powerful and savvy of the GOP lions in the Senate. Stevens has coasted to re-election six times in Alaska but this year is in what has been viewed as the toughest race of his career against Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich.

Young, who is under scrutiny for his fundraising practices involving VECO, called Stevens "one of the most effective and honest legislators I have ever worked with."

"He has worked diligently to serve Alaska and has fought to make life better for people in every region of our state," Young said in a statement. "I hope people will not rush to judgment and will let the judicial process work. The process is based on being innocent until proven guilty."

Said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.: "It's a sad day for him, us, but you know I believe in the American system of justice, and he's presumed innocent."

At the White House, press secretary Dana Perino said, "The president has been working with Senator Stevens for many years, and he appreciates his strong leadership on key issues. This is a legal matter that the Department of Justice is handling, and so we will not comment further on it."

Prosecutors said Stevens "took multiple steps to continue" receiving things from VECO and its founder, Bill Allen. The indictment says Allen and other VECO employees were soliciting Stevens for "multiple official actions ... knowing that Stevens could and did use his official position and his office on behalf of VECO during that same time period."

VECO's requests included funding and other aid for the company's projects and partnerships in Pakistan and Russia. It also included federal grants from several agencies, as well as help in building a national gas pipeline in Alaska's North Slope Region, according to the indictment filed in Washington.

Stevens has maintained he didn't do anything for VECO that he didn't do for any other constituent or pro-Alaska interest. The indictment stops short of charging Stevens with bribery or other traditional corruption crimes.

Had prosecutors been able to prove any special treatment for VECO, that could have triggered much more serious charges.

VECO was once the dominant force in Alaska's oil services industry. Its founder, Allen, and vice president, Rick Smith, have pleaded guilty to bribing state lawmakers to push legislation to help the company. That initial investigation into VECO spawned the Stevens probe.

Allen agreed to cooperate with the FBI as part of a plea deal for a lesser penalty. That cooperation included letting the FBI tape his phone calls with Stevens, though those calls do not appear as part of the indictment.

Throughout the investigation, Stevens has remained an iconic figure in Alaska. A moderate Republican, he has served almost 40 years in the Senate, where he unabashedly steered money to his remote and sparsely populated home state. He often drew criticism from outside Alaska for going around the traditional appropriations process to obtain hundreds of millions of dollars for pet projects.

The Justice Department has closely followed that money, looking for where it intersects with the senator's son, Ben, who also is under investigation concerning financial ties to a company that stood to make millions off a piece of federal legislation his father wrote.

Tuesday's indictment comes a year after another Republican senator, Larry Craig of Idaho, pleaded guilty to charges arising out of a Minneapolis airport men's room sex sting.

On Capitol Hill, Sen. John Warner, R-Va., called Stevens a hero, adding, however, he didn't know any details about the indictment. "All of us have times that we have to deal with that are tough," Warner said. "I wish him the best."

Another GOP colleague, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, said, "I've known Ted Stevens for 28 years, and have always known him to be impeccably honest."

The last sitting senator to be indicted in federal court was Republican Sen. David Durenberger of Minnesota, who was charged in 1993 with conspiring to file fraudulent claims for Senate reimbursement of $3,825 in lodging expenses. He eventually pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges and was sentenced to one year of probation and a $1,000 fine.

In the Stevens case, Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich, chief of the Justice Department's criminal division, said prosecutors followed their policy of keeping politics out of the decision-making process.

"We bring cases based on our evaluation of the facts and the law," Friedrich said. "We bring cases when they are ready to be charged, and that's what happened here."

Original here


Andrea Mitchell Leads Media Pushback On McCain Ad

Sometimes, what gets lost amid all the hootenanny over which candidate the media is "in love" with is that there's no real evidence that anyone benefits when a reporter or a talking head fawns all over an electoral contender. More often than not, you just get a bunch of water-muddying ads, such as the ones that seem to blame Barack Obama for being a press darling despite having something of an aloof, and often prickly, relationship with them.

But it doesn't take affection, or leg-tingles, to do what Andrea Mitchell did today (via Jed Report), which is to take John McCain's despicable "Troops" ad and demonstrate what a high-toned piece of gutter fraudulence it is. Displaying nothing more than a studied neutrality in tone, and well-armed with the facts that she herself obtained while overseas with both the CODEL and the Obama campaign, Mitchell was a leader in the field of not letting lying dogs sleep. Terming the ad "literally not true," and confidently summing up the ad as "inexplicable."

[WATCH.]

Mitchell is absolutely right on the merits. From FactCheck.org:

It's a fact that Obama canceled a visit to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center at the last minute after planning it for weeks. And it's a fact that reporters and their cameras would not have been allowed to accompany him. Furthermore, Obama probably did go to the gym that day, as he does practically every day. So the bare facts stated in the ad are true, but they don't support McCain's insinuation.


We can't read minds and so are in no position to know Obama's motives, or McCain's for that matter. It's unlikely, however, that the absence of press coverage would have been a factor in Obama's decision, as the ad implies. Obama says he never planned to take reporters on the Landstuhl visit, and Department of Defense rules prohibited him from taking reporters on previous visits he made with wounded troops.

Reporters were not allowed to accompany him when he visited wounded troops at Walter Reed Medical Center on June 28. The small "protective pool" of reporters that routinely accompanies him was told by Obama's staff to remain outside, in the van, according to a reporter covering the campaign. Similarly, Obama visited wounded troops in Baghdad earlier in his overseas trip, but he did so without reporters and "without a lot of fanfare, just to say 'Thanks'," according to Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, who accompanied Obama.

It's true Obama made time for at least one workout while he was in Germany. And he has been known to dedicate more than a few minutes to his exercise regimen. Two reporters who cover Obama, and who were on this trip, tell us that the candidate works out every day, and sometimes twice a day. However, the video of Obama playing basketball featured in McCain's ad is from his time in Kuwait, not Germany.

This whole episode should be sufficient to demonstrate that a single reporter committed to doing a good job is worth a thousand sycophants.

UPDATE: Olberman and Maddow demonstrate that they have no trouble telling the truth about McCain's "unconscionable" ad, either.

Original here

Goodling Screened DOJ Career Candidates For Affiliations With ‘Abortion, Homosexuality, Iraq and WMD’

goodling.jpg According today’s report by the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), former Justice Department lawyer, Monica Goodling conducted detailed “Internet research on candidates for Department positions…designed to obtain their political and ideological affiliations.”

Apparently drawing on her experience conducting opposition research for the RNC, Goodling used a complex LexisNexis search string to screen candidates for affiliations or statements related to conservative flash points. The search string included such affiliations as homosexuality, abortion, and the 2000 Florida recount. This is the search that Goodling entered into the LexisNexis database to research job candidates:

[First name of a candidate]! and pre/2 [last name of a candidate] w/7 bush or gore or republican! or democrat! or charg! or accus! or criticiz! or blam! or defend! or iran contra or clinton or spotted owl or florida recount or sex! or controvers! or racis! or fraud! or investigat! or bankrupt! or layoff! or downsiz! or PNTR or NAFTA or outsourc! or indict! or enron or kerry or iraq or wmd! or arrest! or intox! or fired or sex! or racis! or intox! or slur! or arrest! or fired or controvers! or abortion! or gay! or homosexual! or gun! or firearm!

The OPR found that Goodling obtained this search string from a colleague who used it to screen political appointees. Goodling, however, used it in violation of federal law to screen candidates for career department positions. In addition, Goodling “instructed” a temporary assistant to “use the search string for all candidates she was asked to screen.”

According to the report, Goodling also used “www.tray.com and other web sites to get information about political contributions made by candidates.” She explained in her testimony to Congress, “Normally, if I found something that was negative about someone, we didn’t hire them.”

Original here

Children of the Night: Child Prostitution is America's Dirty Little Secret

Carissa Phelps was only 12 years old when she ran away from the Fresno County group home where her mother had left her. Hungry and alone, the runaway was befriended by a man three times her age. And the price of a hot dog and Pepsi was all it cost the man to get her to a seedy motel.

Carissa soon found herself drawn into the world of child prostitution. It begins with men who first befriend lost girls like Carissa, then force them to have sex with other adult men and take whatever money they earn. Twenty years later, Carissa has managed to escape the desperate "survival sex" lifestyle that has become a dead-end road for many young people.

Others, however, are not so fortunate. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, child prostitution has become a problem of epidemic proportions, with estimates ranging between 300,000 and 800,000 (five million or more are prostituted globally). Those figures are likely even higher when one considers how many street kids -- runaways, thrown-aways and cast-offs from the foster care system -- remain unaccounted for in America. Left to fend for themselves, these young girls and boys quickly become prey for small-time pimps and organized sex-trafficking rings.

Amazingly, many children are introduced to prostitution by family members or acquaintances such as parents, older siblings or boyfriends. The internet, especially websites such as Craigslist, Facebook and MySpace, has made it even easier to prey on children without being easily detected by law enforcement.

Child prostitution is America's "dirty little secret," one that cuts across racial and socio-economic divides. As Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin observed, "It's one of those issues that doesn't get discussed and therefore there's an assumption that perhaps either it doesn't exist at all or the young women and girls who are prostitutes are there by their own free will." Yet there is little to suggest that these children ever willingly choose such a lifestyle. Even the term "child prostitute" is something of a misnomer, suggesting that it is the child -- and not the adult handler -- who has opted to sell him or herself for sex.

Children who are sold for sex (the majority are female) typically range in age from 11 to 17, with some as young as 9 years old. Once they have been lured or forced into prostituting themselves, these children are subjected to a full range of injuries, diseases, pregnancies, mental issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder and depression and drug addiction, not to mention criminal and delinquency charges if they are caught. For those who are "rescued" out of the system, the stigma of having once been part of the sex trade is hard to overcome.

Yet while most people are barely aware of the sex trafficking industry, it infects suburbs, cities and towns across the nation. "This is not a problem that only happens in New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco," stated Ernie Allen of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. "This happens in smaller communities. The only way not to find this in any American city is simply not to look for it."

Unfortunately, Americans have become good at turning away from things that make us uncomfortable or stray too far from our picture-perfect images of ourselves. Yet the harsh reality is that this epidemic is largely one of our own making. Simply put, we have failed to prioritize or protect our young people, leaving them to fend for themselves.

There are a multitude of factors that have contributed to the explosive growth of child prostitution in recent years. These range from the rampant availability of porn over the internet and the unabashed peddling of sex by advertisers and the entertainment industry to a complete lack of role models for young people and a failure by religious organizations to engage or impact them in any meaningful way.

Yet it is the family -- and its breakdown over the past 40 years -- that has had the greatest impact on young people today. The rise of single-parent homes, the drop in marriage rates and soaring divorce rates are a testament to this breakdown. Just consider the family background of a child who has fallen into prostitution: typically, it includes an absentee parent, marital separation, domestic violence, substance abuse, prostitution activities within the family and neighborhood influence.

Sadly, while we as a society have failed to adequately register the importance of family on our children, those who prey on young people understand it all too well. According to a study conducted through the University of Pennsylvania, 75% of known child prostitutes work for pimps, who are adept at creating a pseudo-family environment by promising money, love and affection to children coming from dysfunctional homes who are seeking care and nourishment. These sexual predators then strip these children of whatever money they make and severely abuse them in order to establish a relationship of dependency.

So where does this leave the thousands of young people forced to sell themselves for sex every day just to survive to see the next day?

There are few cut-and-dried solutions. We can continue to throw money at the government -- with its task forces, sting operations and initiatives -- and comfort ourselves that something is being done. We can continue to give money to our churches and synagogues in the hopes that they will do something, perhaps by focusing on the inner cities and offering counseling and assistance to these cast-off children. We can even contact our representatives and insist that they get tough on crime by showing "no leniency" to sexual predators.

However, until each of us gets serious about this crisis, until we all start doing our part to target the underlying societal causes -- poverty, drug abuse and dysfunctional family units -- the gains will continue to be minimal. And tragically, it will be the children who pay the price for our neglect.

Original here

O'Reilly, Savage, Hannity on accused church shooter's reading list

Jim Adkisson, the 58 year old man being held in a Knoxville, Tennessee jail on murder charges stemming from a shooting during a children's musical at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church on Sunday, is said to have had a array of right-wing political books in his home, along with brass knuckles, empty shotgun shell boxes, and a handgun discovered by police who searched his home.

A report from the local Knoxville news details the findings from Adkisson's home, along with key statements from a document written by Adkisson related to an apparent motive behind the violent attack that rocked the suburban community:

"Adkisson targeted the church, Still wrote in the document obtained by WBIR-TV, Channel 10, 'because of its liberal teachings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country, and that he felt that the Democrats had tied his country's hands in the war on terror and they had ruined every institution in America with the aid of media outlets.'

"Adkisson told Still that 'he could not get to the leaders of the liberal movement that he would then target those that had voted them in to office.'

"Adkisson told officers he left the house unlocked for them because 'he expected to be killed during the assault.'

"Inside the house, officers found 'Liberalism is a Mental Health Disorder' by radio talk show host Michael Savage, 'Let Freedom Ring' by talk show host Sean Hannity, and 'The O'Reilly Factor,' by television talk show host Bill O'Reilly."

Further details from an earlier AFP wire report:

"It appears that what brought him to this horrible event was his lack of being able to obtain a job, his frustration over that, and his stated hatred for the liberal movement,' Owen said. 'We have recovered a four-page letter in which he describes his feelings.'

"Owen said Adkisson had specifically targeted the Unitarian church.

"'It appears that church had received some publicity in the recent past regarding its liberal stance on things and that is at least one of the issues we believe caused that church to be selected,' he said.

"'He indicated also in that letter that he expected to be in there shooting people until the police arrived and he fully expected to be killed by the responding police,' the police chief said."

A newly released AP report has more details on the background of the accused, a veteran who was a helicopter repairman in the 70's, a 'specialist' who was then downgraded back to 'private' before discharge:

"Adkisson, a 58-year-old truck driver on the verge of losing his food stamps, had 76 rounds with him when he entered the church and pulled a shotgun from a guitar case during a children's performance of the musical 'Annie.'

"Adkisson's ex-wife once belonged to the church but hadn't attended in years, said Ted Jones, the congregation's president. Police investigators described Adkisson as a 'stranger' to the congregation, and police spokesman Darrell DeBusk declined to comment on whether investigators think the ex-wife's link was a factor in the attack.

"Adkisson remained jailed Monday on $1 million bond after being charged with one count of murder. More charges are expected. Four victims remained hospitalized, including two in critical condition.

"The attack Sunday morning lasted only minutes. But the anger behind it may have been building for months, if not years.

"'It appears that what brought him to this horrible event was his lack of being able to obtain a job, his frustration over that, and his stated hatred for the liberal movement,' Police Chief Sterling Owen said.

"Adkisson was a loner who hates 'blacks, gays and anyone different from him,' longtime acquaintance Carol Smallwood of Alice, Texas, told the Knoxville News Sentinel.

"Authorities said Adkisson's criminal record consisted of only two drunken driving citations. But court records reviewed by The Associated Press show that his former wife obtained an order of protection in March 2000 while the two were still married and living in the Knoxville suburb of Powell.

"The couple had been married for almost 10 years when Liza Alexander wrote in requesting the order that Adkisson threatened 'to blow my brains out and then blow his own brains out.' She told a judge that she was 'in fear for my life and what he might do.'"

Adkisson killed two members of the church, and wounded six others during the shooting before he was overcome by church members who held him at bay until authorities arrived on the scene. He carried a shotgun into the church inside a guitar case along with 76 shotgun shells, but only managed to fire off three rounds before the congregation subdued him.

He faces first degree murder charges in the death of 60-year-old Greg McKendry, was hailed as a hero for shielding others from gunfire, Linda Kraeger, 61, who was visiting the church from Westside Unitarian Universalist Church, was also killed. Among the wounded, three remain in critical or serious condition.

None of the children were injured during the shooting.

Original here

Sen. Stevens indicted: 7 false statements counts

Sen. Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican senator and a figure in Alaska politics since before statehood, has been indicted on seven counts of falsely reporting hundreds of thousands of dollars in services he received from a company that helped renovate his home.

Stevens, 84, has been dogged by a federal investigation into whether he pushed for fishing legislation that also benefited his son, an Alaska lobbyist.

From May 1999 to August 2007, prosecutors said Stevens concealed "his continuing receipt of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of things of value from a private corporation." The indictment released Tuesday said the items included: home improvements to his vacation him in Alaska, including a new first floor, garage, wraparound deck, plumbing, electrical wiring; as well as car exchanges, a Viking gas grill, furniture and tools.

Justice Department officials were holding a news conference later Tuesday to discuss the charges.

Messages left Tuesday at both Stevens' Senate office in Washington and his campaign office in Anchorage were not immediately returned.

This video is from MSNBC's News Live, broadcast July 29, 2008.


Original here

Southern U.S. town proud of its mandatory gun law

By Matthew Bigg

KENNESAW, Georgia (Reuters) - The Virginia Tech killings have set off calls for tighter U.S. gun laws but anyone wanting to know why those demands likely will make little headway should visit Kennesaw, a town where owning a gun is both popular and mandatory.

The town north of Atlanta had little prominence until it passed a gun ordinance in 1982 that required all heads of a household to own a firearm and ammunition.

Kennesaw's law was a response to Morton Grove, Illinois, which had passed a gun ban earlier that year as a step to reduce crime.

But it also was an affirmation of what gun advocates say is a blanket U.S. constitutional right, under the Second Amendment, for citizens to keep and bear arms. Gun opponents challenge that right and say the language in the Constitution is open to interpretation.

The Kennesaw law has endured as the town's population has swelled to about 30,000 from 5,000 in 1982.

"When the law was passed in 1982 there was a substantial drop in crime ... and we have maintained a really low crime rate since then," said police Lt. Craig Graydon. "We are sure it is one of the lowest (crime) towns in the metro area.

Residents say they are comfortable with the image the gun law projects on the city as a bastion of gun freedom.

"There's been no move to get rid of the law. Why would you?" said Robert Jones, president of the Kennesaw Historical Society. "The law is a great tourist attraction. It's the town with the Gun Law.

"People in Europe feel they need to be protected by the government. People in the U.S. feel they need to be protected from the government," said Jones, the owner of a .357-caliber Magnum.

FAMILY TRADITION

Many U.S. citizens see gun ownership as an essential freedom on a par with free speech and the view is particularly strong in rural areas and the South where sport hunting is often a family tradition.

In a bid to expand gun rights, a bill was introduced in Georgia's state legislature to allow individuals with no criminal record or history of mental illness to conceal a weapon in their car.

The state Senate adjourned debate on the bill on Tuesday, fearing it would send the wrong message in the wake of the Virginia rampage.

Dent "Wildman" Myers, 76, styles himself as a keeper of the flame when it comes to Kennesaw's gun ordinance. His downtown shop contains a cornucopia of artifacts, including old uniforms and dozens of flags of the Confederacy that fought the Union in part in defense of slavery in the Civil War. At the back is a Ku Klux Klan outfit with a noose and a hood.

There also are posters praising defenders of the white race, White Power CDs and a sign that reads: "No Dogs Allowed, No Negroes, No Mexicans." Someone had crossed out the first part of the sign and added "Dogs Allowed."

Myers said he wanted to protect the values that made the town and the South distinct from other parts of the United States.

"They destroyed anything historic and replaced it with the PC (politically correct) stuff. It's become a cookie cutter town," Myers said, his hands resting lightly on two .45-caliber guns at his hips. He said he considered his guns to be tools, much like a rake or a shovel.

Since the Virginia Tech shootings, some conservative U.S. talk radio hosts have rejected attempts to link the massacre to the availability of guns, arguing that had students been allowed to carry weapons on campus someone might have been able to shoot the killer.

Without guns the students of Virginia Tech were "26,000 sitting ducks," said Chris Krok of Atlanta's WSB radio in a view echoed by many residents of Kennesaw.

When the town's gun law was passed, about 70 percent of households likely owned a gun, Graydon said. But Atlanta commuters have since swelled the town's population and gun ownership now is about 50 percent.

An amendment to the gun ownership law grants exceptions to convicted felons, conscientious objectors and those who cannot afford a gun. No one has ever been prosecuted for failure to own a firearm, Graydon said.

The law may deter criminals but proactive policing and close police liaison with community and business groups were the main reasons why crime has stayed low, he said.

Some residents said they found the law objectionable or silly and simply ignored it.

But Linda Warman, who works in a Kennesaw shop, said she lived alone and was taking no chances.

"I wouldn't hesitate to use it," she said of the gun she keeps loaded with hollow-point bullets. "My little .22. It'll do whatever I want it to."

(Additional reporting by Nahed Eltantawy)

Original here