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Banning Internet Cafes While Gambling on Guns

| March 24, 2013

Another happy customer. (Bryce Mullet)

Another happy customer. (Bryce Mullet)

It’s a tale of two triggers.

It didn’t take long, after the resignation of Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, for the Legislature to get busy banning those low-stakes gambling parlors called “Internet cafes.”

pierre tristam column flaglerlive.com flaglerlive There hasn’t been much wrong with those places. Most of them, anyway. They may be sordid little shop-front dives–gambling’s version of soft porn–but they’ve not been the magnets of vice their detractors claim them to be. Their clientele is generally the Medicare set, bored and often brittle men and women spending whatever’s left of their fixed income. What crime takes place in their vicinity is less grave or chronic than crime at convenience stores.  

As in any business–and I mean any business–Internet cafes had their dose of sleaze. If bankers could deceive millions of home-buyers into gambling on adjustable-rate mortgages, Internet cafes’ croupiers could just as well bilk veterans and other easy prey, as Allied Veterans of the World’s dozens of dives are accused of doing. The difference is that some 60 Allied Veterans officials have been arrested, while not a single banker has been brought to account for the mortgage debacle. Carroll’s mistake was to have consorted with Allied Veterans for a couple of years as a PR flacker.

Last week the Florida House voted to shutter all Internet cafes. The Senate is expected to follow suit.

Compare that reaction to the Legislature’s utter silence following the Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre on Dec. 14, where Adam Lanza murdered 20 children and six adults. A few Florida Democrats floated proposals to rein in the state’s all-guns, all-the-time culture. Each proposal was dead on arrival: repealing Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, imposing a tax on ammunition to pay for school security, requiring background checks on all gun buys, including at gun shows and in other private transactions, which account for 40 percent of all such buys. None of it went anywhere.

Instead, school district after school district adopted a variation of the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre’s mad idea to arm teachers. They sent in more school deputies, at crippling costs to already strained school budgets. It’s a psychological salve to parental anxieties, and terrific PR for cops, at taxpayers’ expense. It does little or nothing to stop school violence. But that arms race has been the extent of Florida’s response.

Not that gun-control legislation is going far anywhere. Colorado last week narrowed the allowance of running background checks to licensed firearm dealers and closed the so-called gun-show loophole tighter than most states. But it’s the exception. Most states either holstered talk of gun control or proposed going the way of Florida, the way Tennessee is wanting to allow workers to keep guns and ammo in private or public parking lots (an allowance Florida approved a few years ago, to Disney’s dismay). Whatever legislation Congress passes, if it does, will be a far cry from President Obama’s proposed controls on ammunition and better record-keeping.


Yet gun massacres are literally a daily routine in the United States. According to Slate’s GunDeath tracker, and as of the end of last week, 2,923 people have been killed by firearms since the Newtown massacre, 190 of those in Florida–including, on March 22, a 12-year-old shot and killed by his brother in a gun “mishap” in the Orlando area. The day before, a 13-month-old child was killed in Brunswick, Ga., across the border from Duval County (Florida’s murder hothouse) as his mother was pushing him in a stroller. The child’s mother was wounded in the attack.

The rare crime aside–because gun violence is so prevalent anywhere–no Internet cafe has ever killed anyone. Banning them is silly. Regulating and taxing them would have been smarter. But Florida knees jerk to their own irrational tunes. Internet cafes are banned because of one company’s corruption. Guns are worshipped despite their daily carnage.

Florida’s penny-ante politics have never been so simultaneously dumb and deadly.

Pierre Tristam is FlaglerLive’s editor. Reach him by email here. This column is also syndicated through Florida Voices.

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24 Responses for “Banning Internet Cafes While Gambling on Guns”

  1. Mel Bronson says:

    Tristam, do you really believe the dribble that you write or are you paid to print this idiocy by the progressive left political powers???

    Even you cannot believe these lies and fictions you write. Don’t you feel repulsive for writing such mendacity and liberal rot?

    • Anonymous says:

      Mel– Can you tell me where I can find those progressive left political powers ?
      I have been searching high and low and can’t find
      them anywhere.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mel– Can you tell me where I can find those progressive left political powers?
      I have been searching high and low for them and can’t find them anywhere.

  2. Mr. Smith says:

    People die in and by cars daily so if your theory is right we should ban cars as well? What about unhealthy food? That kills people right?

    The old saying holds true “Guns don’t kill people, People kill people”. Law abiding citizens do not need to be punished for the criminals committing crimes. Not to mention a little thing called the United States Constitution and the Second Amendment.

  3. Stevie says:

    In an expert tone, the complainer in chief has spoken once again with nothing to say about anything.

    If the schools can’t protect the children, shut them down.

  4. Sherry Epley says:

    My letter to Ron DeSantis:

    Dear Congressperson DeSantis,

    As your constituent from Flagler Beach, I am writing this letter to let you know that my husband and I, along with many of our friends and neighbors, are in favor of a huge change in our “armed to the teeth” culture. We personally feel much LESS secure in this society where many of our neighbors carry and use guns to settle disputs that in the past were settled in much more peaceful ways. Just last year, a barking dog and an “all too handy” gun left a man dead in his own yard, with two families tragically impacted, just a few streets away from our home. There is hardly a day that goes by where we are not assaulted with reports of murder splashed across our television news programming.

    From an economic perspective, our state is loosing essential tourists dollars because people from other countries are literally afraid to visit Florida and the USA because of our horrible gun society. We have personal experience of this FACT. We have been exchanging our home in Flagler Beach with people in other countries for 7 years. On at least 6 different occasions, I have had inquiries to Europe and Australia rebuffed saying that the USA is a far too dangerous place for a safe holiday.

    We do not believe the writers of our constitution envisioned allowing “weapons of mass destruction”, AKA assault weapons, large clips of ammunition, or any gun to be purchased more easily than buying an automobile. Why does any civilized culture need such thing? Our government is US. . . are we now a nation of people afraid of themselves?

    We implore you to think beyond any campaign contributions or pledge you may have made to the NRA, or any other entity that would keep you from doing the “right thing”. Your generation is the hope of a more healthy, safe, secure future for our state and our country. We hope that you really do want to represent ALL of the citizens who want to live peacefully in your district.

    We ask you to have the courage and fortitude to introduce/support any federal legislation that requires universal criminal and mental back ground checks, a 3 days waiting period, and a national registration/license for the purchase of any gun under any circumstances. In addition, we ask that you also introduce/support any legislation that bans the sale of all assault weapons and any clips that carry more than 10 bullets.

    Thank you for your time and consideration,

    Sherry Epley

  5. Anon says:

    The first three comments reinforce your message.

  6. Edman says:

    I also applaud you, Mr. Tristam, for shedding light and not just vitriol on important subjects. Loud chest beating noise from NRA hacks has just made this country more dangerous. We can protect our rights while also protecting our citizens. I am sick and tired of the slippery slope theorists stopping any progressive and positive changes for our country.

  7. FRANK DILIBERTO says:

    Pierre……..you cant be serious????????????????????????

  8. christina b says:

    A lot of you are missing the point–the point isn’t so much about “gun regulation” (or not) as it is about “priorities”. The state will absolutely fall all over itself to make “feel good” legislation to close those bad old Internet gaming parlors, but they won’t move on something that is literally a matter of life and death.

    You know doggone well that the only reason the cafes are being closed is because the state can no longer cash in on them through any back doors. The whole “scandal” and its accompanying “legislation” is ridiculous and in the end, fixes nothing.

    What a damn waste of time. What bread and circuses and hubris.

  9. B says:

    The Second Amendment you worship so dearly was written back in the times when the right to own a firearm referred to a MUSKET! The need for anyone other than the military and law enforcement to own or possess assault weapons is absurd! Why any private citizen would need to own a weapon capable of holding more than five rounds is beyond me. If you cannot hit your target with five rounds……YOU DO NOT NEED A GUN!!! YOU NEED TRAINING!!! The fact that the number of law enforcement officers that are dying on a daily basis while serving warrants is growing at record numbers should frighten you!

    The response to arm teachers and stockpile armed deputies in our public schools is doing nothing but inviting another disaster in our schools! Trigger happy cops in rural areas with minimal experience in high stress situations firing rapidly into a crowd of students will only result in more death and chaos! Closing the loopholes at gun shows and private sales to require a background check is a simple solution, and would simply cause you to wait an extra day to buy your gun.

    When you sell or buy a car or motorcycle, you have to register the title transfer with the clerk of court. When you sell or buy home, you have to register the transfer of the deed with the clerk of court and property appraiser’s office. When you apply for a job, you have to submit to a background check. But when you sell or buy a gun…you simply hand your money to the other person, collect your gun, and go on your merry way! Am I the only person that sees a problem with this? Is our government really this ignorant to this fact simply because the NRA has the Republican Party in its back pocket to do whatever they wish?

    You can look for me to be running for public office sometime in the near future. My platform will be to regulate firearms and have every firearm (including shotguns and long guns) in the state of Florida registered with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Any sale of a firearm must be documented and a background check on the buyer performed by the seller, and must be accompanied by a photocopy of the buyer’s driver license and concealed weapons permit. I will also push for a 5% tax on all firearm sales and ammunition sales…..the proceeds of which will go to increase the salaries of uniformed law enforcement officers and firefighters. School Board positions would become strictly voluntary! I would eliminate salaries for these positions statewide and utilize the money to enhance our schools and not political ambitions!

    Also, I will work myself to death to abolish tax code loopholes for banks, corporations, and the super wealthy. Simply closing these loopholes will not increase the tax rate on them, but simply eliminate the slight-of-hand method they have used for decades to avoid paying taxes! Watch out Wall Street!! Contracted professional athletes will be slapped with a 3% tax on their contracts, the proceeds of which will go towards education funding and to increase teacher salaries. They seem to forget that if it was not for the teachers who helped them along the way…….nobody would ever know they were good at a sport! Everyone will pay their fair share! EVERYONE!

    • Anonymous says:

      Its not just the second I like but all of the bill of rights. Once again we have a far far left view of what the second is and why we have it.

  10. Sherry Epley says:

    RIGHT ON B! I would vote for you!

  11. FRANK DILIBERTO says:

    B………..Are you serious? Do you really belive what you write?
    I WOULD RATHER VOTE FOR MICKEY MOUSE.
    Good luck !

    • B says:

      I am sure you voted for Mickey Mouse back in 2000 and 2004 when you voted for George W. Bush…..and then again when you voted for Rick Scott as Governor! You can see what a wonderful job those two have done for our country and our state!

  12. Karma says:

    or people who think a universal background check for selling guns or a ban on assault weapons will accomplish anything is ignorant or ingenuous. This country has had a war on drugs for the past 30 years with very little success. I would bet you could ask 75% of high school students where to buy pot and they would know where to find it. Guns would be no different.
    Was not there an assault weapons ban in place during Columbine? Look how well this worked out. Chicago has some of the strictest laws on the book regarding guns and yet criminals and gangs (drug related also) walk around with an arsenal of weapons and everyone knows it. There are some places in Chicago that are so dangerous even the police won’t go into them.
    The 2nd Amendment states ” A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. Ever wonder how many JEWS would love to have that right during WW2?
    New York state will pay you to turn in your neighbor if you think they illegal guns. Know anyone else rewarded for turning in their neighbors and co-worker?

  13. "My Daily Rant" says:

    Pierre; The Second Amendment is protected by our Constitution the Internet has no such protection.
    Liberals love to add their own wording or read something into it.The constutition is worded as our
    founding fathers wrote it.

  14. Legally says:

    Hey B, how come the very regulations and taxes you are proposing haven’t worked in Illinois and New York? You Democrats are the poster children for the definition of insanity! You never learn!!

  15. Deep South says:

    Perhaps they should charge a “Cover Fee” of maybe $ 20 or $ 50 to get into these Internet Cafes. Many of us just go for entertainment. I have always gone to the horse races, dog track, casinos out in Las Vegas, and my limit is $ 200.00.

  16. Sherry Epley says:

    Anyone who would like to express the need for better gun control to our new Congressional House Representative, Ron De Santis should attend his town hall meeting on April 4th at 7-8:30 PM at the Embry Riddle University in Daytona- Lemerand Auditorium, in the Willie Miller Instructional Center. Let’s ask for more peace and tranquility in our neighborhoods and in our country. Please let your voices be heard!

    • IMO says:

      Congressman DeSantis assured me in hos respoinse to my e-mail to his office he has no intention of supporting any law that infringes on the 2nd Amendment and my right to bear arms.

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