Things That Are Very Popular

  • 95 percent disapprove of people using cell phones in movie theaters. (Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel Poll, 2014)
  • 97 percent believe there should be laws against texting while driving. (The New York Times/CBS News Poll, 2009)
  • 96 percent have a positive impression of small business. (Gallup Poll, 2016)
  • 95 percent believe employers should not be able to access the DNA of their employees without permission. (Time/CNN/Yankelovich Partners Poll, 1998)
  • 95 percent support laws against money laundering involving terrorism. (Washington Post Poll, 2001)
  • 95 percent think doctors should be licensed. (Private Initiatives & Public Values, 1981)
  • 95 percent would support going to war if the United States were invaded. (Harris Survey, 1971)
  • 96 percent oppose legalizing crystal meth. (CNN/ORC International Poll, 2014)
  • 95 percent are satisfied with their friends. (Associated Press/Media General Poll, 1984)
  • 95 percent say that “if a pill were available that made you twice as good looking as you are now, but only half as smart,” they would not take it. (Men’s Health Work Survey, 2000)
  • 98 percent believe adults should watch swimmers rather than reading or talking on the phone. (American Red Cross Water Safety Poll, 2013)
  • 99 percent think it’s wrong for employees to steal expensive equipment from their workplace. (NBC News Poll, 1995)
  • 95 percent think it’s wrong to pay someone to do a term paper for you. (NBC News Poll, 1995)
  • 98 percent would like to see a decline in hunger in the world. (Harris Survey, 1983)
  • 97 percent would like to see a decline in terrorism and violence. (Harris Survey, 1983)
  • 98% would like to see an end to high unemployment. (Harris Survey, 1982)
  • 95 percent would like to see an end to all wars. (Harris Survey, 1981)
  • 95 percent would like to see a decline in prejudice. (Harris Survey, 1977)
  • 95 percent don’t believe Magic 8 Balls can predict the future. (Shell Poll, 1998)
  • 96 percent think the Olympics are a great sports competition. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution Poll, 1996)

Reagan On Automatic Weapons

On January 17th of 1989, 24-year-old Patrick Purdy returned to the Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, California, he had once attended as a child. After parking his station wagon behind the school and setting the car afire with a gasoline-filled beer bottle, Purdy walked to the school playground with a (legally bought) version of an AK-47 assault rifle and, shooting from behind a portable building, sprayed the area with an estimated 106 rounds in the span of three minutes, killing five children and wounding thirty others before fatally shooting himself in the head with a pistol.

The horrors of the Stockton schoolyard shooting prompted renewed debate over restricting public access to weapons like the type Purdy had used at Cleveland Elementary School. On February 6th former president Ronald Reagan, then just a few weeks out of office, attended a 78th birthday celebration thrown for him at the University of Southern California, where he delivered a 22-minute address that touched on such topics as the federal deficit, the constitutional amendment limiting presidents to two terms, and the recent Cleveland School massacre. 

In 1994 Reagan was a co-signatory (along with former presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter) to a letter urging the U.S. House of Representatives to support a ban on the domestic manufacture of “assault weapons” such as semi-automatic AK-47s:

To Members of the U.S. House of Representatives:
We are writing to urge your support for a ban on the domestic manufacture of military-style assault weapons. This is a matter of vital importance to the public safety. Although assualt weapons account for less than 1% of the guns in circulation, they account for nearly 10% of the guns traced to crime.

Every major law enforcement organization in America and dozens of leading labor, medical, religious, civil rights and civic groups support such a ban. Most importantly, poll after poll shows that the American public overwhelmingly support a ban on assault weapons. A 1993 CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll found that 77% of Americans support a ban on the manufacture, sale, and possession of semi-automatic assault guns, such as the AK-47.

The 1989 import ban resulted in an impressive 40% drop in imported assault weapons traced to crime between 1989 and 1991, but the killing continues. Last year, a killer armed with two TEC9s killed eight people at a San Francisco law firm and wounded several others. During the past five years, more than 40 law enforcement officers have been killed or wounded in the line of duty by an assault weapon.

While we recognize that assault weapon legislation will not stop all assault weapon crime, statistics prove that we can dry up the supply of these guns, making them less accessible to criminals. We urge you to listen to the American public and to the law enforcement community and support a ban on the further manufacture of these weapons.

Sincerely,

Gerald R. Ford

Jimmy Carter

Ronald Reagan

Polly O’Brien

My grandmother on my mother’s side was Polly Anne (Tracy) O’Brien. She had been adopted back in 1922 and passed away at 62 in Leesburg, Florida on May 11th, 1984. She’s buried at Pleasant Garden United Methodist Church Cemetery in Guilford County, North Carolina.

She went her entire life without knowing who her birth parents were. Because so much time has passed, my mother was able to receive Polly’s birth certificate from the state of Illinois, and it listed her birth parents.

My grandmother’s birth mother had been Rhoda Betty Bingaman. She was born March 15th, 1905 in Williamson, Iowa, and at 18-years-old she gave birth to my grandmother in Moline, Illinois. She passed away in 1991 (at least six years after my grandmother) and is buried in Oakdale Cemetery in Cedar, Iowa.

My great-grandmother by birth had married Mylon Bernard Morris, and together they had two sons and two daughters. Mylon passed away in 1968.

Mylon Morris’s obituary as published in The Des Moines Register on August 2nd, 1968:

My great-grandfather by birth was Harry W. Bladon. He was a 24-year-old student living in Clearfield, Iowa at the time of my grandmother’s birth.

According to the 19th page of the December 28th, 1918 edition of the US Bulletin, he had been seriously wounded while serving as a private during World War I.