Friday, July 31, 2009

What Rights Does Judge Sotomayor See

Jeff Snyder, the author of "A Nation of Cowards: Essays on Gun Control" wrote a piece back in 2001 for the Freeman entitled Rights Without Exception. If you have ever read "A Nation of Cowards" or if you ever read any of his columns in American Hangunner, you will know that he stands on principles in his writings. In this article, he discusses how our rights should be viewed by the courts, and contrasts that with how they are actually treated. I would note that the examples used are often gun rights, the right to keep and bear arms. In the latter half of the twentieth century, gun rights have become the canary in the coal mine. The courts have put free speech rights on an alter, allowing the most odious of expressions to pass, as long as they could find some redeeming value in what was said. On the other hand, the courts have generally treated gun rights as the red hair step child, who had earned whatever punishments society wished to rain down on it. But if the courts can interpret the Second Amendment out of existence, is there any hope to retain the other nine rights in the Bill of Rights? Ponder that as the Senate votes on the Sotomayor nomination.

The statements of rights in the Bill of Rights are categorical and contain no exceptions. This form suggests that the rights referred to do not vary to suit the circumstance, are not to be “outweighed” in balancing tests with other rights or interests, and are not subject to unstated exceptions: Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and so forth. Qualifications such as, “unless presenting a clear and present danger,” “except to the extent inconsistent with public safety,” or “unless outweighed by a compelling state interest” simply are not there.
Along the way, he first disposes of such silly arguments as the one that says if you truly have a right to keep and bear arms then that would include keeping a nuclear bomb. Yes, believe it or not when I have argued that the right to keep and bear arms includes machine guns, people have extrapolated that I was also arguing for keeping nuclear bombs and artillery pieces. I was not, and neither is Snyder.

In discussing whether there are legitimate exceptions to our rights, he discusses the "felon exception" at length. At the time of the founding, as pointed out, felonies were truly egregious crimes punishable by death. From that perspective, a "felon exception" really wasn't needed. But now that so many crimes, many malum prohibito-that is wrong because we say so, are felonies, one has to ask whether a "felon" who has paid his debt to society does not have the right to self defense in his home? For example doesn't Martha Stewart deserve to have aright to self defense? Do you really think she is likely to murder someone? Think how the "felon exemption" works in favor of anti-gun legislators. They know that a convicted felon may not own a gun. Therefore, the more behavior they can define as felonious, the more individuals they can put on the prohibited persons list, while looking tough on crime to their constituents.

Can a convicted felon be denied his right to free speech or freedom of the press? Can he be denied the right to assemble or to the free exercise of his religion? May convicted felons be subject to unreasonable and warrantless searches and seizures? May they, on arrest for a subsequent crime, be denied due process of law and the right to trial by jury; and, when convicted, may they be subject to cruel and unusual punishment? Surely crime would plummet if these rights, too, were subject to a felon exception for the sake of public safety, and if the police could summarily execute felons they suspected of committing crimes. But if those rights must be respected, why is the right to keep and bear arms a different kind of right that admits of such an exception?

Clearly, he is arguing that it is not a different kind of right. As David Codrea has pointed out, and I paraphrase here, if a man can not be trusted with a gun, he can not be allowed out without a custodian.

Well, what about majority rule then. Can't we all let our rights be decided democratically? I know from reading much of Snyder's other writings, that he holds a special scorn for this line of thinking.

The problem is that an exception has been introduced to the right whose scope is defined by action of the majority (through legislative action and subsequently through a majority of a panel of judges). That is fatal to the right because it makes the right a captive of majority rule.

So first we may note that if a right in the Bill of Rights is subject to an exception whose scope is defined by action of the majority (the legislative process), the right has been rendered subject to the will of the majority. That is, it has ceased to exist and has become a creature of legislative grace.
That is to say, your rights under this scheme, are defined by whatever your neighbors say are your rights. It is variable from one day to the next, and highly dependent on who you are. This means you really don't have rights at all.

Try to determine how far the government could go on grounds of public safety. For example, why is there an interest in public safety only in government buildings, airports, and school zones? Why not hospitals—indeed, all public property and all businesses open to the public? If you find a stopping place that leaves any private person with the right to keep and bear arms, explain why the concept of “public safety” indicates that you must stop there and not go any further.
Well, if we can't limit or restrict rights by majority rule, what about interpreting the purpose of rights? This seems like fertile ground for finding the limits of rights.

Another way in which rights are often limited is to “interpret” them in light of the purpose they are supposed to achieve. For example, those who oppose the private ownership of arms sometimes assert that the purpose of the Second Amendment is related to the maintenance of militias. Since militias no longer exist and are a discredited and ineffectual means of securing the common defense in the modern world, the Second Amendment has been rendered obsolete and and may therefore be ignored. Is this a legitimate way of imposing a limitation on the scope of a right, of rendering it less than absolute?

While the “interpretation” cited above is a misreading of both the words and history of the Second Amendment, the effect of interpreting a right by reference to its purpose is nonetheless revealed: it, too, leads to the destruction of the right!
What we are left with is that the rights enumerated in the Bill or Rights are fundamental, can not be ignored, or legislated away, or "interpreted" out of existence.

With the foregoing, then, I hope to have provided some basis for advancing the following claim: A right, to be a right, must be absolute, that is, subject to no exceptions, and held or respected as an end in itself, not as a means to some other end. Otherwise, it does not stand outside and above the law, but becomes subject to it, a mere creature of legislative action, majority rule, and the peripatetic opinions of judges. If the right is not absolute, you absolutely have no right.
As I said at the beginning, Senators should think about this as they vote on the Sotomayor nomination. Judge Sotomayor claims not to see a right to self defense in the Constitution. One wonders what other rights she does not see there.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Two New Blogs on the Reading File

I have been remiss in not acknowledging some changes to the blog roll, so here goes:

Welcome to Eternity Road and to Way Up North. You can access these to fine blogs by going to the Reading File.



Peering Ahead

The Curmudgeon over at Eternity Road today has an excellent post up, the third of three parts End Times for Freedom, Part 3, Peering Ahead. Your Curmudgeon details what I glossed over in
this post, and points out that at heart, all governments are essentially a criminal organization. To see the truth of this fact, just imagine all the things that the state does, for which you would be arrested and imprisoned, if not killed for doing. Can you legally run a lottery, even if it is for charity? But that is not the point of the article, that is just the lead in to explain what he is really getting at:

Your Curmudgeon's point here is twofold:

For some to possess power over the rest of us endangers us all;
The maintenance and increase of that power depends upon making us fear to oppose or ignore our rulers.

It's no longer possible, no matter what Saint Paul might think, to persuade private persons that submission to the State is morally obligatory. Nor does it take much thought or knowledge to realize that, whatever some might pretend, "our" State is a far greater threat to us than anything it purports to "protect" us from, including other States. What fear the State can engender in us must arise from other sources: its own power, and ominous but ill-defined forces of economics or meteorology against which free individuals and voluntary associations are supposedly helpless.

Our ruling class, as voracious a group as has ever afflicted any nation, knows this quite as well as your Curmudgeon.

Therefore, expect America's 88,000 governments, especially the one in Washington, to labor mightily to increase their power over us, and to fabricate additional spectres for us to fear. Watch for fresh assaults on the right to keep and bear arms. Watch for unprecedented exercises of police power, especially from federal agents. Watch for additional restrictions on the movement of money and the use of credit. Listen for indications that some new bug-bear, some chimera out of an apocalyptic fantasy, is being puffed up into a threat with which to justify the further expansion of State power. Each of these is a warning sign; each implies the necessary countermeasure.

Watch, listen, and prepare.

And pray.

And like St. Paul, you will probably have to show courage in the face of threats, and may have to sustain some abuse. Be prepared, and pray.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Opportunity Costs of Goofball Warmening

First up today is Jonah Goldberg, who has a piece at entitled Planet Bull's Eye. I especially liked the sarcasm in this quote:

The year is 2109. Celebrations continue as mankind's heroic, century-long, quintillion-dollar effort to lower the global mean temperature by 1 degree has paid off: July 2109 is just as hot as July 2009. Few can contain their jubilation.

But even as the carbon-neutral champagne corks fly, the sky darkens. A projectile of a different kind is coming our way. An asteroid streaks across the skies, giving the media just enough time to spread the word. The New York Times, now beamed directly into subscribers' brains via digital-neural networks, fulfills ancient prophecy and warns that women and minorities will be hardest hit by the incoming object.
While Goldberg doesn't say it, the point is that spending huge sums of money to do...well...nothing insures that there won't be funds to invest in something else. It is the idea of "opportunity costs", the money one could have invested in something else if one hadn't invested in this. Its Bastiat's things unseen. It's the thing you didn't do, and what effect that thing might have had on society. For a real look at what we are forgoing by "investing" in cap-and-tax, try this article by Fiona Kobusingye also at today. Kobusingye raises the point that because of Goofball Warmening fears, the UN is telling Ugandans not to develop. But each day they don't have modern facilities like electricity, fresh running water and sewage disposal systems people die prematurely. If money that is being proposed to be stolen from ordinary tax payers were used to provide power plants, water and sewage treatment systems, and roads in Africa instead of going to greedy rich men, it would at least be doing something rather than nothing.

Goldberg again:

It makes you wonder. For all the rush and panic, the truth is, climate change -- if real -- is a very slow-moving catastrophe. Moreover, it happens to align with an ideological and political agenda the left has been pushing for generations: Unregulated economic growth is bad and must be controlled by experts; nature is our master, and we must be her servants. What a convenient truth for environmentalists.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Green Hell

Finally for today, I bring you this interesting article form the London Times by Antonia Senior, Blunt warnings about greens under the bed. She makes an analogy between the Communists of old, and the Greens of today. It is not a perfect analogy, of course, but it does bring up a point that I have made several times: that if the Environmentalists can't convince you, then you will be forced. If you can't be nudged in their direction, then they will put a gun to your head.

Ideologies often credit man with either more nobility or more venality than he deserves. In reality he is a mundane creature. He wants a home for himself and those he loves, stocked with food. And he wants to have the right to control his own destiny, own his own stuff, and to acquire more if he can without interference or fear of imminent death. Such low-level acquisitive desires support high concepts: property rights and the rule of law, without which there would be no foundation for democracy.

My desire to live a free, mundane life is a fundamental cog in our messy, glorious, capitalist democracy. It is built on millions of such small entrenched positions. Red-filtered, my desires are despicable and bourgeois and must be beaten out of me with indoctrination or force. Green-filtered, my small desires are despicable acts of ecological vandalism. My house is a carbon factory. My desire to travel, to own stuff, to eat meat, to procreate, to heat my house, to shower for a really, really long time; all are evil.
She also points to the religious nature of both movements, again with an imperfect analogy, but apt none the less. In a world without world views, nuclear power would be seen as the greenest of the practical alternatives, assuming that anthropogenic global warming exists. That it is not displays the rigidity that has come to dominate the Green movement. It is not about finding a way out of what some claim to be a pickle, but about forcing people to live the way others want them to live.

The old two-cow analogy is a useful one. You have two cows. The communist steals both your cows, and may give you some milk, if you’re not bourgeois scum. The fascist lets you keep the cows but seizes the milk and sells it back to you. Today’s Green says you can keep the cows, but should choose to give them up as their methane-rich farts will unleash hell at some unspecified point in the future. You say, sod it, I’ll keep my cows thanks. Tomorrow’s green, the Bolshevik green, shoots the cows and makes you forage for nuts.

If the choice is between ecological meltdown, or a more immediate curtailment of our freedom, where do those of us who are neither red nor green, but a recalcitrant grey, turn? Back to those small desires, and a blinkered hope that the choice never becomes so stark. If it does, I’ll take my chances with Armageddon.

Krauthammer thinks Obamacare is sinking

Charles Krauthammer is one of my favorite columnists. Oh yes, I know he is anti gun, and a lefty, but I appreciate his clear thinking and logic on every issue he tackles. Health care is an issue he is particularly capable of tackling since he used to be a medical practitioner. In Townhall today, he has a great article on why Obamacare is sinking in which he blames politics as usual for the problem. Krauthammer:

This is not about politics? Then why is it, to take but the most egregious example, that in this grand health care debate we hear not a word about one of the worst sources of waste in American medicine: the insane cost and arbitrary rewards of our malpractice system?

When a neurosurgeon pays $200,000 a year for malpractice insurance before he even turns on the light in his office or hires his first nurse, who do you think pays? Patients, in higher doctor fees to cover the insurance.

And with jackpot justice that awards one claimant zillions while others get nothing -- and one-third of everything goes to the lawyers -- where do you think that money comes from? The insurance companies, who then pass it on to you in higher premiums.

But the greatest waste is the hidden cost of defensive medicine: tests and procedures that doctors order for no good reason other than to protect themselves from lawsuit. Every doctor knows, as I did when I practiced years ago, how much unnecessary medical cost is incurred with an eye not on medicine but on the law.

Tort reform would yield tens of billions in savings. Yet you cannot find it in the Democratic bills. And Obama breathed not a word about it in the full hour of his health care news conference. Why? No mystery. The Democrats are parasitically dependent on huge donations from trial lawyers.

Didn't Obama promise a new politics that puts people over special interests? Sure. And now he promises expanded, portable, secure, higher-quality medical care -- at lower cost! The only thing he hasn't promised is to extirpate evil from the human heart. That legislation will be introduced next week.
Pretty much says it all. Go and read.

Meanwhile, another favorite columnist also has a health care column today, also at Thomas Sowell's article Magician Politics points out that Obama is trying to distract us from the fact that socialized medicine is going to cost us more by talking about insurance companies and the CEOs of big drug companies. But in an effort to lower some of the cost, the Obama administration may have an idea where to look (other than at trial lawyers of course.) A quote from Sowell's piece:

The government does not have some magic wand that can "bring down the cost of health care." It can buy a smaller quantity or lower quality of medical care, as other countries with government-run medical care do.

It can decide not to spend as much money on the elderly as is being spent now. That can save a lot of money-- if you think having a parent die earlier is a bargain.

The idea of a "duty to die" has been making some headway in recent years around the fringes of the left. It is perfectly consistent with the fundamental notion of the left, that decisions should be transferred from ordinary citizens to government elites.
And to lend credence to the thought that this is exactly what is planned under Obamacare, please read Michelle Malkin's piece today in entitled Ghoulish Science Plus Obamacare Equals Health Hazard. Malkin writes about one of the Czars Obama has appointed (without Senate advise and consent), John Holdren, and his long fascination with "population control." It is also worth a read.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Thune Amendment Not a Loss

Nikki has a post up analysing the "loss" on the Thune Amendment entitled It's not a loss for the gun lobby. Caution is in order however, as Nikki's posts are often rated R for strong language.

Frankly this still looks to me like a parliamentary move to slow down or impede progress. It certainly got Little Chucky Schumer all lathered up, which is always a good thing. Or maybe this amendment did exactly what it was designed to do, namely show the relative strength of those who feel that guns save lives. If that's the case, rest assured that the majority of Senators have gotten the message. Had we not been required to jump the 60 vote hurdle to overcome a filibuster, it would have passed.

UPDATE: Paul Valone, the Charlotte Gun Rights Examiner, and a man with a lot of experience watching Carolina politicians at work has the real skinny on what went down with the Thune Amendment over here. I had wondered why our junior Senator, Democrat Kay Hagan had voted for the amendment, and now I know. Isn't politics wonderful?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Half the Health Care at Double the Cost

Ann Coulter says all that needs to be said on health care today in a column at entitled Take 2 Aspirin and Call Me When Your Cancer is Stage 4. The money quote:

Isn't food important? Why not "universal food coverage"? If politicians and employers had guaranteed us "free" food 50 years ago, today Democrats would be wailing about the "food crisis" in America, and you'd be on the phone with your food care provider arguing about whether or not a Reuben sandwich with fries was covered under your plan.

Instead of making health care more like the DMV, how about we make it more like grocery stores? Give the poor and tough cases health stamps and let the rest of us buy health care -- and health insurance -- on the free market.
Along the way, she makes the point that our current health care "crisis" was caused by government intervention into a system that was working just fine before. So the politicians solution is more government intervention. If it didn't "work" the first time, do it again only harder.

Except, you see, it did really work, but not like you would think. No, what it did do was put money in politicians campaign funds, and gave them more power. You see, individual practitioners have no real incentive to lobby the Congress, but as soon as you put a bunch of regulations in place, people have a reason to go and try to get advantages for themselves. Only too late, they realized they had sold their liberty and professional integrity for temporary monetary gain, as this guy did. Listen to the undercurrent of bitterness in his voice as he tells his story. Then tell me you think we need a "government option." Frankly, I think we need to free the insurance companies to offer a wider range of insurance options, and let people select what they need, like in a grocery store.

The War on Guns: Buy a Car, Horrify an Anti

The War on Guns: Buy a Car, Horrify an Anti#links#links

I'd buy a car or pickup truck from this guy any day. Too bad he is apparently out in Missouri. Too bad more car dealers are not like this guy. It warms my heart to see someone stand up to a gun grabber.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Thune Amendent

David Codrea has an interesting article over at the National Gun Rights Examiner today entitled Does Thune Amendment Treat a Right like a Privilege? Go read the whole thing.

The reason I have not reported on the Thune Amendment are two. One is that I figured it was being offered as a poison pill to slow down, or stop legislation. This is not to say that Mr. Thune does not want it, but I don't know how realistic Thune believes it to be. The other reason is that I am of two minds about the issue, but believe David Codrea's is the more principled position.

Keeping and bearing arms is a natural right, an attribute of being human, that is recognized and enumerated by our Constitution, as not to be infringed. The right to arms naturally follows from the right to life. If you can not defend your life, it is hard to say you have a right to it. For an example of what happens when governments are not kept in check, see Stephen Holbrook's article Nazi Gun Control. The article is pretty graphic, and I expect his book will leave no calumny of these miserable leftists unreported. Unfortunately, governments in this country have seen fit to infringe on this right in spite of the Constitution. They have done this for various expedient reasons, all the while claiming that such expedience is required to solve some trumped up emergency or other, none of which should have been allowed to override the Constitution. As a result, the population has become habituated to going about unarmed, and police departments see nothing wrong with arresting those who seek to claim their natural rights. Such is the state of affairs in which we find ourselves.

So, finding ourselves here, what is wrong with extending full faith and credit to concealed carry permits? How are they different from drivers licenses or marriage licenses? I will hear, no doubt, that there are not uniform training requirements. But drivers' training isn't uniform either, and we are all imperiled more by the poor driving skills of others than we are from concealed carriers. Interestingly, many State constitutions claim the citizens enjoy a right to be armed, but they may not carry concealed. Now, I have heard arguments that while being armed is a right, concealing the fact is not. This idea is a relatively modern one born of romantic notions of the wild west published in Penney Horribles, and not particularly historic. During colonial days, a gentleman was not dressed unless he had a pistol in his coat pocket. Holsters were not widely available until after the civil war. But this line of argument would be rendered moot if most states simply followed their own constitutions and recognized open carry by its citizens. As I said, we find ourselves here now, so what to do?

Like Codrea, let your conscience be your guide. There is danger in allowing this to go through. Eventually, someone will propose to make the standards uniform, which, surprise, surprise, can only be done by applying all the gun control we have been fighting all these years. It will be seen as "reasonable" and the NRA will look like recalcitrant children if they fight against it. But you decide. For myself, I choose not to call my Senators on this one.

Democrats committing partisan suicide

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann opine today on that the Democrats are proposing to commit suicide. I have my doubts about the whether that is true or not, but it's a happy thought.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Saying What We Mean

Over at the Eternity Road, Francis W. Poretto has unleashed the Curmudgeon again with On Saying the Right Thing. Would that I were able to produce such prose as a Curmudgeon rant. But we do what we can.

The Curmudgeon's point however, is that our language has been, and is being polluted on a daily basis by those who, quite frankly, are lying to us. The use of euphemisms to get out of calling a spade by its real name has become a national tragedy. The Curmudgeon:

If Orwell and your Curmudgeon are correct in their belief that the rectification of our language is essential to undoing our political sins and restoring freedom to these United States, this business of using "rights" and "values" interchangeably should be our first target. After all, what is the premise for any argument for "universal health care?" Health care is a human right. What is the premise for any argument against the right to keep and bear arms? The value you place on toting a gun matters less than others' right to walk the streets without fear. What is the premise for any argument against restrictions on abortion? A woman has a right to control her own body; the fetus has no rights we're bound to respect. And what is the premise for your argument against aiding the freedom movement in Iran, President Obama? Does it apply equally to Honduras's conduct of its own sovereign affairs? If not, why not?

Learning to say what we really mean, and requiring others to do so as well, is critical to our nation's future. Haul a duplicitous statist mouthpiece up by his rhetorical short hairs at your next opportunity; you'll be doing more for the cause of freedom than you can imagine.
Here the Curmudgeon hits on a topic dear to my heart, the deliberate obfuscation of meaning by conflating and confusing ideas to make something sound more inthe mainstream of American thought than it really is. Rights are attributes of being human. Having a right does not generate an obligation on anyone else to provide you with that right. For example, you have a right to life. But nobody has an obligation therefore to feed you, to house you, to clothe you. You may exercise your right to life by living in a cave, eating honey and locusts, and wearing a leather loin cloth. What no one has the right to do is to take your life. On the other hand, no one has an obligation to defend your life either,especially the police. You have a right to arms for your defense of your life. You do not have to exercise that right, nor is anyone obligated to provide you with arms. On the other hand, you do not have right to feel safe, particularly if feeling safe imposes on the rights of others to be armed. I have felt perfectly safe in a crowd of people all carrying side arms. Several times. Where you choose to feel safe is entirely within your own control. But enough.

My wife was working, with her daughter, to potty train our grand daughter. Of course, she used words like "make stinky" to describe the act of shitting. I suggested that the verb "to shit" was a more precise description. Of course I got frowns, and she informed me that using such terminology would make the child sound unsophisticated. Perhaps, but it would also teach her right from the start to say what she means. Perhaps we all need to sound less sophisticated, and say what we mean.

Horrid Details Emerge on Obamacare

Anthony Martin has more details on Obamacare in his Columbia Conservative Examiner article Horrid Details Emerge on Obamacare Legislation. Many thanks also to FlecksofLife for doing the yeoman's work that our "representatives" should be doing, but do not.

More Obama Lies

David Limbaugh takes apart the proposed Obamacare in an article today on entitledMore Health Care Lies. Once again, I recommend you read the whole thing.

He makes the same point about the VA Hospitals that I did yesterday. The problem with the VA Hospitals is not that the doctors and nurses who work there don't want to provide quality care for their patients, but the government budgeting process itself. There is a tendency to want to show off the new, the sexy, and to take funds at the expense of the not so glamorous.

One other point that Obama says is supposed to be a feature is that the "government option" provides a way to keep the private sector honest. Unfortunately, it is Obama who is selling snake oil here. If he wanted to regulate minimum standards of services that all health care providers must offer, he could do that without competing against them using their, and our, money to do so. What Obama really hopes to do is slowly entangle each and every American in a government run health insurance scheme. At that point, the government would be able to dictate every aspect of our lives if they can tangentially claim a hook to health. Red meat is already being blamed in certain circles for causing cancer and heart attacks. A dedicated crusade, with astroturf groups springing up like wild flowers, and funded by some foundation with an axe to grind might result in the loss of your hamburger. Now a nice McDonald's hamburger doesn't sound like much, but right now it is your choice to eat one or not. Soon enough, you will no longer have that choice. What else won't you be allowed to choose?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Obamacare: Three Lies

From the New York Post today comes Perils of Obamacare: Three Big Lies by Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute. I recommend you take a gander at it and see if you think Obama lying, or just plain incredibly naive.

One of the points Obama makes is that "quality will improve." When has anything that Government does been either high quality or particularly efficient? Think of the Post Office, or the DMV. If they could run a health care service that provides high quality, wouldn't the Veterans Administration hospitals be the best in the world? But the fact is they are not that good. I understand that the Senate Bill specifically exempts Senators from having to go on Obamacare. That fact tells me all I need to know about how good Senators who wrote the bill think Obamacare will be.

Hint: Not very good.

Why You Are Not Paranoid to Carry a Gun

This is somewhat old news, but I thought it fit in with yesterday's posting. This comes from Daniel White, the Cleveland Gun Rights Examiner, dated July 7, 2009 entitled Shotgun Robber is an equal opportunity bandit. Here's the money quote:

One of the arguments used by the gun control crowd is that people who choose to be armed for self-defense are paranoid. Do you really need a gun for protection when going out for coffee? Or pizza? Or a burger? Or to pick up your prescription? Apparently so, according to the above list.

The truth of the matter is that anyone at any time and in any place could find themselves confronted by an armed criminal bent on violence. That person wasn't deterred by laws prohibiting armed robbery, assault, menacing, or restrictions on ownership (I'll bet when this guy is caught he turns out to be a repeat offender prohibited from owning firearms). He wasn't deterred from robbing a restaurant that has a class D liquor license and therefore prohibits the public from carrying a firearm inside, and if anyone honestly believes that a "no guns allowed" sign would have made him go elsewhere I have a couple of bridges still in inventory at low, low prices.
The other day my neighbor and I were talking out by the road, where I had come to pick up my trash barrel, and he had coincidentally done the same thing. After the pleasantries were accomplished, and we had caught up, he mentioned he was taking the course for his concealed carry permit. But, he wouldn't carry on his person often, mostly just in his truck because he didn't think he went into risky areas. I assured him I thought it was a good idea, but that my philosophy was that predators could strike anywhere, any time, and you just never know. Surely the gun owner in Richmond didn't think he needed a gun just to go into the store where he confronted the shooter that day. Therefore I carried my weapon on my person wherever it was legal to do so.

Then I pray I never have to use it, but I remain prepared in case I do.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

More on Richmond Shooting

From Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizen's Defense League. This was taken in its entirety from the VCDL Mini-Update of 7/17/2009. :

On Friday I received a surprise call from the gun owner who has been in the press this week for saving lives at a Richmond store. The gun owner used a replica 1875 Remington Army .45 Long Colt with a 7 1/2 inch barrel to stop a criminal who had shot the store's owner.

He wanted to remain anonymous, but called so that the story could be set straight, as much of what was in the press wasn't accurate.

Board member Dennis O'Connor and I ended up meeting with him today (Saturday) at the Golden Market store, where the shooting had taken place one week earlier.

Besides being able to actually see the layout of the store, Dennis and I got to see the security videos of the shooting!

We also got to meet the store owner who had been shot twice during the hold up, but is now back at his store. More on this great man later.

Here is what we know from talking to the gun owner and watching the videos: The gun owner (GO) was in the store waiting in line to pay for an item when the bad guy (BG) came in wearing dark sunglasses and trying to coverup his face while brandishing a revolver. The BG yelled for everyone to get down and before anybody could react, immediately walked over to the store owner and in a cold-blooded fashion shot him twice. The owner then dropped down behind the counter. It wasn't more than 2 seconds after the BG first walked in the doors that he shot the store owner.

Those shots at the store owner missed a teenage boy's head by inches.

The GO yelled for the BG to drop his gun as the GO drew his gun. The BG opened fire on the GO. The GO returned fire, hitting the BG as the GO dove hard for the floor behind some barrels full of ice and drinks.

The BG ran towards the back of the store, aiming his gun at an innocent man laying prone on the floor. Luckily the BG was too distracted by the GO to shoot the man. There is no doubt in my mind that the man would have been shot in cold blood that day if it weren't for that GO returning fire.

The BG kept trying to get to the front of the store by walking up various aisles and firing shots at the GO as he did so. At one point cans of tinned meat exploded on a shelf as the BG took a shot at the GO.

What was bizarre was that the BG actually was strutting around like he owned the place while under fire! As he approached the front of one aisle, he again pointed a gun at a person on the ground and was about to execute him, when he was again distracted by the GO.

Finally the GO spotted the BG at the front of an aisle standing in the open.

Much to his surprise, the GO discovered that when he dove hard for the floor he had somehow broken the trigger on his gun!

But the gun was a single action, so the GO pushing himself up with one arm, aimed the gun, pulled the hammer back and let it fly forward - twice.

Although seriously wounded three times, the BG came at the GO. The BG tried to grab the GO's gun since the BG's gun was out of ammunition. A life-and-death struggle began. The GO got a grip on the BG's gun and the GO hit the BG twice hard on the temple with the 7 1/2" barrel on his rather heavy gun.

The BG finally broke off the engagement, tried to run out the front door, but collapsed at the door.

The GO secured the BG's gun and keeping an eye on the now unconscious bad guy, called 9-1-1.

The BG has now died (he was in critical condition since the shooting).

The police showed up a minute or so after the 9-1-1 call and initially had everyone in the store at gun point and handcuffed some until they could figure out who was who.

What really impressed me was that on the surveillance video, the owner, while shot twice by the BG, was walking around making sure that all of his customers were OK after the shooting had ended. He only let himself collapse after he was sure they were OK! Words fail me on this. I am so glad that he made it. What a dichotomy - a BG who shoots an innocent person without provocation, almost killing a teenager while doing so - caring for no one but himself. And then the store owner who, while seriously wounded, making sure his customers were OK. Evil exists and so does Good. Both were on display in those two minutes of terror. Luckily only the bad guy was killed. The owner was walking with a limp, clearly in some pain. :-(

A lot of people owe their lives to that GO. However, he is having none of it, saying that he simply did what he had to do.--The GO wanted me to share the following points:

* Buy a quality gun - don't use some cheap $90 gun to protect your life. He considered his gun to be a good one and even then the trigger broke under the extreme stress of a life-and-death battle.

* Practice with your gun, get training, and be good with that gun.* More and more BGs are choosing to kill in cold blood to get what they want. If they can't live the "good life, " then they don't care if their crimes send them to jail.

* He also noted that fewer and fewer BGs are getting any jail time.

--Here are my thoughts from watching that tape:

* Talk about a cold-blooded, fast attack where an innocent was shot without warning! Unbelievable. Situational awareness is really important. Luck doesn't hurt, either.

* Open carry was an advantage in this case because in the video I saw just how fast the GO managed to draw his gun and begin to return fire. You always hear about how open carry is so bad tactically - you'll be the first one shot, etc. Oh, yeah? The GO had a HUGE gun in plain sight and he was NOT shot. Who got shot first? An unarmed store owner.

* I am betting that the BG was on drugs, big time. He was hit with THREE 45-CALIBER BULLETS, with at least two of those hits causing grievous injury, and he continued the fight as if he had not even been hit at all! In fact he was strutting like a peacock who owned the place as he was walking up and down the aisles trying to get to a position where he could shoot the GO. As a gun owner, you need to be prepared for that eventuality and keep shooting the BG in his center of mass until he stops his attack. Don't think one shot, or even two shots, are going to do it. And a head shot might well be what it takes to stop such an attack quickly.* If you are out of ammunition, a gun does make a great weapon with which to bludgeon someone in hand-to-hand combat.

* This shooting bolstered both sides of the argument about how much ammunition one should carry. The good guy got off only four shots (of course his gun had a broken trigger and that didn't help). The bad guy got off six shots and ran out of ammunition (thankfully). But in my mind, and having had some advanced training, I think an extra magazine for a semi-auto, or a reloader for a revolver, is a good idea. With someone like the BG above, if you run out of ammunition before he does, he will execute you. Period.

Now for my thoughts: 1.) Having a gun on your person, and knowing how to use it is good insurance. To those who say "Well, I never go into areas like that" I respond that any area can be an area like that. I don't go into them either if I know there is going to be trouble, but as here, you can be minding your own business and find yourself in need of a gun.

2.) I need more training.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Closing of the escape routes

Finally, today, Mike Vanderboegh brings us Christian Resistance: "Pardon me sir, but your fig leaf is on fire. Vanderboegh quotes extensively from a Leon Wolf posting that points out that the Obama administration is rapidly removing all possibility of political action in regard to abortion policy, leaving pro-lifers with no alternatives but to submit to something many find immoral, or to take up arms. I made a similar point about closing off the possibility of political action in this post, though mine was not nearly as eloquently written. Wolf, in turn, quotes Megan McArdle:

My argument is that abortion, like slavery, is becoming in this country an issue upon which people have no reasonable political recourse. I’ll go further, and say that the process by which 7 judges enforced their consciences on the
American public was itself borderline illegitimate; it was first, not in their
proper job description, and second, a bad way to run a government
It is, indeed, a bad way to run a government. A great deal of the art of politics is managing the often disparate goals of people coming from different cultures and backgrounds. It's called compromise, and we often have very low opinions of our politicians because the practice it. Fascism and communism seek to make everybody nominally the same, and when it can't do that, they seek to kill or imprison those who don't go along. But our Constitution deliberately allows for endless debate on various topics, until a substantial majority come to believe one side or the other. By substantial, I mean 70% or more. The gun control debate is an excellent case. Gun control activists and gun rights folks have been debating this topic since at least the 1960s. Initially, gun control seemed the sure winner. But as time moved on, and people began to see the effects of gun control, and read the counter arguments, gun rights gained, until in May of this year:

CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll. May 14-17, 2009. N=1,010 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.

"Which of the following comes closer to your interpretation of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution? In addition to addressing the need for citizen-militias, it was intended to give individual Americans the right to keep and bear arms for their own defense. It was only intended to preserve the existence of citizen-militias, and does not give individual Americans the right to keep and bear arms for their own defense."

Individual Gun Ownership Only Citizen-Militias Unsure
% % %
5/14-17/09 77 21 2

The Supreme Court in the Heller decision confirmed a widely held belief. That this debate has been going on for at least 50 years, with no one being killed over it is testament to the genius of our Founders. But the angry Left can not be satisfied with this slow, deliberative process. Like angry children run amok, they want to destroy it all NOW.

I can not remember where I heard of saw this, but it was probably a movie when I was a kid. A wise Indian chief had his enemy surrounded on three sides. His second in command ordered the nearly victorious Indians to close the gap, and kill all the warriors. The Indian chief countermanded the order. When asked why, he responded that you always wanted to leave the enemy a means of escape. When pressed further, he explained that he didn't want to children of these warriors growing up with vengeance in their hearts.

The administration could learn a thing or two from old chief.

Does Sotomayor nomination undermine the basis for a republican system?

George Joyce has a great thought piece over at The American Thinker today, entitled Sonia Sotomayor's Troubled Eyes. In it, Joyce argues that:

What America needs right now is courage and mutual respect -- not empathy and sensitivity. Anyone with an ounce of dignity should be appalled by the patronizing behavior on display since the Senate confirmation hearings began. Showing empathy to a woman with a frightening history of color consciousness on the bench and in many of her personal statements may score political points with voters in some swing states, but this dubious strategy comes with a profound price tag: the degradation of American civic life.
Hannity used to have (perhaps he still does) a regular feature on his radio show called "Man On The Street Thursday." In it, he picked random folks of the street in New York and asked them some basic current events questions such as "who is the Vice President?" or "Who is the Speaker of the House?" He also question people on current pop culture items like who is currently winning on American Idol. Few were able to answer his civics questions, the unspoken subtext of which was "since the know so little about what is going on, how can you respect their opinions or their votes?"

There's the rub. Using democracy as a tool to inform and legitimize a republican form of government depends on everyone respecting others opinions, based on a belief that everyone has some basic level of knowledge. But:

In fact, what the conservative pundits fail to recognize is that progressive intellectuals like Obama and Sotomayor have helped to convince much of America to replace mutual respect with partisan solidarity. In other words, Obama's damaging policies are merely the symptoms of a much deeper revolutionary vision that seeks to undermine the very basis of democratic society: mutual trust and respect among individuals.
Joyce points out that by showing "compassion" and "empathy" for one side, instead of using "impersonal standards impartially applied" Sotomayor shows contempt for both the "victim" and the "oppressor," but not surprisingly, herself as well. Had the Ricci case been allowed to stand, then everyone would always be wondering if the black fire lieutenant who showed up to fight the fire was truly competent, or was he an affirmative action token who couldn't fight a fire in a waste basket? His men would question his orders, and some might take it upon themselves to do something else, possibly further endangering their own lives, or the lives of others. On the other hand, if the test is seen as an impersonal standard, and is applied impartially, these sorts of questions never come up.

Joyce again:
We make demands on each other by subjecting ourselves to "impersonal standards impartially applied." Out of this comes the mutual respect and trust that
forms the basis of good societies.

The Liberty Sphere: Stealth Congress-Obama Scheme in Shadows

The Welshman has the scoop on what is flying under the radar in The Liberty Sphere: Stealth Congress-Obama Scheme in Shadows . Naturally, it is nothing good. So called "hate crimes" are thinly disguised attempts to require opponents to sit down and shut up. Now let's be clear. When you arguably steal elections which makes peoples votes not count, and then refuse to prosecute those cases as Eric Holder did recently with the Black Panthers, when you pass laws to make speaking out crime, when you appoint judges who make a mockery of the rule of law, you don't leave those who take their (former) liberties seriously much choice.

The Sotomayor hearings

Between visiting a couple of gun stores yesterday, and mowing the lawn, I managed to look in on Fox News coverage of the Sotomayor hearings, though I didn't follow them closely. I found Senator Coburn's question very interesting. He asked point blank if she believed in a right to self defence. She answered that people had other means of defence. Huh? What other means would those be? In the dark of night, when no one is around, who defends the young woman who just came out of her building at 10:00 pm from a rapist who has been lurking for several hours? Does she believe that Superman will come to her rescue, hearing her screams with his super hearing? Then she proposed to go home, get a gun, and come back and shoot the Senator. It was all a joke, we are to understand by the laughter. That, Judge, would be murder, not self defence. Too bad Coburn didn't follow up the question. If that is what she thinks of as self defence, no wonder she is anti gun. On the other hand, if her view of the law is skewed, won't her rulings only serve to further skew the law? I suspect she needs a remedial course in the law, not to be set up as the final arbiter of the law.

I also found it interesting that she backed away from many of her previous sayings. For instance, she claimed the "Wise latina" line was a rhetorical flourish that back fired. Now, many people do not use language all that well, and can fairly claim that what they said wasn't what they meant. But lawyers believe in the power of words to control men. Judges should be precise in their language, meaning what they say, and saying what they mean. Therefore she is either incompetent, or she is committing perjury now. Either way, she should not be confirmed.

By the way, one of the gun stores I visited yesterday had .45ACP ammunition in abundant supply. In fact, they had both Magtech and PMC. The sale that drew me in was 10% off on guns and optics. There was one Henry lever action, in .30-30 that called my name, but I resisted.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Guns save lives-even single action ones

I got this report in the Virginia Citizen Defense League (VCDL) alerts this morning. I will let Philip Van Cleave, president of the League tell the story:

Guns Save Lives

On Saturday, a violent criminal shot a store clerk, had the customers in the store lined up, and while reloading his revolver told the customers that he was going to kill them all. Then a person open carrying a single-action Colt .45 came in and shot the criminal in the stomach, saving at least six or seven lives. I received a detailed account from a VCDL member who was at the scene (but not the person with the .45). One of the things I was told is how some of the customers were telling the police that the open- carrier was a hero and how he saved their lives. If that's not being a first-responder when no one else was there to help, I don't know what is. Here is the press coverage (and there won't be a word of any of this on any of the national news broadcasts):

Richmond Times-Dispatch

Two shot in South Richmond store
By Reed Williams
Published: July 12, 2009

A gunman who had wounded a shopkeeper and opened fire on several customers was stopped yesterday when another man shot him at the store in South Richmond, authorities said.

The violent attempted robbery took place shortly after 1 p.m. at the Golden Food Market at 2701 Jefferson Davis Highway, the same store where another man was shot last month -- and only three blocks from the scene of another robbery in June that left a shopkeeper dead.

Owners of as many as a dozen Jefferson Davis-area businesses flocked to the scene of the shooting, and many were rattled by such a brazen daylight attack, said Council woman Reva Trammell, whose 8th District includes the Jefferson Davis corridor.

Trammell, who arrived outside the store shortly after yesterday's shootings, described a frenzied scene. One man told Trammell that the man who had shot the robber was a guardian angel.

"Whoever did it probably saved their lives in there," Trammell said of the shooter.

Police did not identify anyone involved in yesterday's shootings.

The man who shot the robber is a friend of the store owner, and he was wearing a holster with a Western-style revolver, said Managing Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Tracy Thorne-Begland.

After the suspect shot the store owner and opened fire on patrons, the owner's friend shot the suspect once in the torso, took his gun and called police, Thorne-Begland said.

Thorne-Begland said it appeared that the shooting of the suspect was justified, although he emphasized that the investigation was in the early stages.

Police said they expect to file charges against the suspect.

The store owner's injuries did not appear life-threatening, authorities said, but the gunman's injuries were said to be life- threatening. No one else was hurt.

Anthony Gregory, who lives near Golden Food, said he was in the store about 15 minutes before the shootings, and that while he was there, he saw a man with a baby making a purchase.

Gregory said the owner told the baby, "Welcome to the world. This is a dangerous world, so be careful. But don't worry, God will protect you."

Police Cmdr. Steve Drew said officers had been patrolling up and down Jefferson Davis yesterday and recently have bolstered their presence in the area. He said it was unusual for a commercial robbery to happen so early in the day.

The previous shooting at Golden Food took place late the night of June 12. And three nights earlier, a co-owner of the Come and Go Food Market, which is about three blocks north of Golden Food on Jefferson Davis, was shot and killed in a robbery.

Authorities said it was too early to know whether any of the three shootings on Jefferson Davis are connected.

A few hours after yesterday's shootings, Said "Sam" Messaf, the man who was shot June 12 at Golden Food, was at the store to help another man shut down the market.

Messaf described how he had been helping out at the store June 12 when two robbers came inside. One man opened fire, reaching over the counter and shooting as Messaf cowered behind it, he said. Messaf was shot six times in his legs.

He said he suffered nerve damage in his left leg and has trouble sleeping.

Trammell said residents and business owners were scared by the recent violence but have faith that police are doing their best to stop it."I'm still shook up," Trammell said.

"I'm not afraid, but we've worked so hard on Jefferson Davis -- so hard in that area to bring crime down."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Goldman at the center of cap and trade

Today's American Thinker has a article detailing several suspicious links in the chain of events that led to the current economic downturn in Will Dems allow Goldman to manipulate cap-and-trade market? Goldman Sachs, and its employees need to be scrutinized hard for a number of coincidences which all seem to have Goldman coming up...well...golden while other seem to be suffering. Could it be that Goldman, rather like casino owners, stacks the game in its favor? More to the point, does it use the Government to do its bidding? It is an interesting coincidence that many of our recent Treasury Secretaries have come from this firm. It is also interesting that Goldman employees gave so much money to the Democrats, particularly "The One." Would Democrats deliberately pass legislation that would harm so many Americans, people who voted for them, to pay off one firm?

Casino owners, as private businesses, are entitled to ensure they make a profit. After all, no one forces anybody to go in and gamble. If you choose to do so, you should know that the odds of winning are, over time, with the house. But if it is something you enjoy doing, and can afford it, then go ahead. Cap-and-trade on the other hand, will not be something you can choose to engage in or to opt out of. The prices of any energy source will already have cap-and-trade built in. This must be stopped.

Criticizing "The One"

Today, John Hawkins offers Five Criticisms of George Bush that Could be Better Applied to Barack Obama on I was wondering when someone would get around to pointing these things out. He starts off with this:

Most liberals in this country are intellectually dishonest which is why they don't have the slightest qualms about grotesque double standards. That's why Al Gore can live in a mansion that consumes energy like a football stadium while he tells you to cut back. It's why Sarah Palin can be sliced apart for things said by Tina Fey on Saturday Night Live while Joe Biden is treated seriously despite being the biggest doofus ever to occupy the Vice-Presidency. It's also why Barack Obama gets a free pass for many of the same things that George Bush was criticized for doing. Here are just a few of the criticisms aimed at George Bush that could be better applied to Barack Obama.
Then it gets better. Go take a look. Mr. Hawkins is on fire today.

But this double standard issue gets very annoying at times, and a lot of the Dems in Congress seem to get away with it. Dems were quick to remind everybody that Sotomayor should be treated with kid gloves, lest Republicans lose the Hispanic vote. (Frankly with all the pandering that Bush and McCain did to the La Raza crowd, if they didn't get their vote, nobody with an R after his name was ever going to get it.) Of course, the Repubs were never going to treat Sotomayor like Dems treated Robert Bork, or Clarence Thomas, or Sam Alito, or Chief Justice Roberts, or...well...anyone the Repubs have nominated since Bork. That was just projection. The Dems feared that their version of the golden rule might finally be working in the halls of Congress.

I have never been sure that Robert Bork was all that conservative, but I do believe the man would have reined in some of the legislating from the bench that has happened in the years since his nomination. Interestingly, the name "Bork" has become a verb, "to bork" meaning to lie and mistreat someone who eminently deserves better because you disagree with them.

Monday, July 13, 2009

More on Judge Sotomayor

Dave Hardy has links to Prof. Nelson Lund's pieces in the Politico and a law review article on his blog Of Arms and the Law. Hint, Prof. Lund doesn't think much of Judge Sotomayor's jurisprudence concerning incorporation of the 2nd Amendment. More telling though, is what does this say about her other 'legal' opinions. Would you hire this woman as your lawyer?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Stop the Sotomayor nomination

A Washington Times article by Tom Lobianco Wedenesday raises the idea that Judge Sonja Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination may be in danger. I certainly hope so, but I have my doubts. The NRA issued a weasel worded letter to Senators here. Clearly, NRA is holding some of its political capital in reserve. After all, in case Sotomayor becomes a Justice, they don't want her to be predisposed against them going in, not that Sotomayor would hold it against them, of course.

I sent an e-mail to both my Senators requesting that they do not confirm Sotomayor, and force the President to make a better pick. I made the points that:

* She has spoken out against the Heller decision in which the Supreme Court recognized the individual right to Keep and Bear Arms.

* Expressed disdain for private gun ownership dating back to her senior thesis at Princeton University, where she wrote that America has a "deadly obsession" with guns and that the Second Amendment does not guarantee an individual right to firearms ownership.

* In United States v. Sanchez-Villar, she stated that "the right to possess a gun is clearly not a fundamental right." In addition to her record opposing the Second Amendment, she has also strongly advocated judicial activism.

Lest I become trapped here by my disdain for "judicial activism" let me explain. When judges substitute their own prejudices and predispositions for a fair reading of what the law says, I consider that "judicial activism." There have been too many such cases in the last 40 years, and each one undermines the rule of law. It may also be described as legislating from the bench. On the other hand, if the Legislative branch passes, and the Executive branch signs a law that is unconstitutional, I expect a judge to recognize that fact and to strike it down. All three branches have a duty to the Constitution. For example, if the Legislature passes a bill reinstating the unFairness Doctrine, I would hope the President would veto it, as is his duty. But if he signed it, then I would expect the Supreme Court would strike it down as unconstitutional. Such "judicial activism" is not, but is instead their duty.

The rule of law is what our Constitution was founded on. In theory, everyone knows the law, and everyone will be treated equally if brought before a court. Ms. Sotomayor's thinking suggests she does not believe in the rule of law, but instead believes that certain people, for whom she has "empathy" should be treated better than other people for whom she does not. That is the rule of men. If she takes us down that path, the destination is ultimately the rule of the Strongman.

I watched the Postman with Kevin Costner again last night. The movie itself takes all the usual bows to liberal ideas like goofball wormening, but Will Patton plays an excellent General Bethlehem, being thoroughly tyrannical and proud of it. That is what we face if we go down that path; warlords who treat the rest of us like peasants. If only it were as easy to end such treatment as Costner did. I especially liked Costner's line "Wouldn't it be great if wars could be fought by the assholes who started them". Indeed. But I have a feeling that if our system of laws becomes much more strained, no one's liberty, or property will be safe.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

It's really not my problem

The "Liberal" world view is, I have to confess, a facinating one to me. That's because I live among them. Glenn Beck has a saying that we surround them. Well, I have to tell him that from my perspective, they surround us. Therefore I was interested to read in The House of Eratosthenes a posted entitled Tired of the Charade, Pretending it's My Problem. I felt a little of that "deja vu all over again" as I read the piece and the comments.

I live as I said, among such people, and discussions of politics and religion are verboten in polite company... except when they are not. Sometimes I simply can't resist throwing in several facts to dispute what would otherwise be a total take down of an evil strawman. At that point, everyones' eyes narrow as they sense that something evil has walked in the room. The good people begin getting out their pitchforks, tar, and feathers. At that point, my bride, bless her heart, will kick me under the table. Later she will excoriate me for discussing politics or religion in public. If I point out that it was already being discussed, I will get further tongue lashing, so usually don't point that out. You see it is never the naked emperor walking through town that is the problem, but me who like the little boy, has to point out his nakedness to everyone. I too am tired of the charade, pretending it's my problem.

A Climate of Fear

I offer up Dan Kennedy's piece today on entitled Obama's Climate of Fear. In the story, Dan talks to a number of small business people who are anxious that they not be named in the article for fear of Government reprisals. I have heard Rush Limbaugh express similar things from people he has talked to on a "no names, but here is what they said" basis.

The Thugocracy. Obama and company have taken off the thin veneer of civilized behavior, and shown their true faces as just thugs. As George Washinton said "A government is like fire, a handy servant, but a dangerous master." These people mean to be our masters, and to rule us.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Of Governments and Conservatism

I should have posted this last October as my opening post. But it took me a long time to distill my thoughts into something I thought worth posting. To all two readers out there, sorry it has taken so long, and I hope you enjoy. This blog is animated by the ideas contained herein.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Sarah Palin

I have largely stayed out of the story that Sarah Palin has resigned, largely because I did not really know. I saw it on Fox News on Friday, where the story trumped everything else. Like many I was initially shocked, but realized after her explanation that it was necessary to take herself off the target list to keep from being totally swamped by these reckless claims. Being Governor of Alaska is not supposed to be a suicide mission. Of all the things I have read, and I have read some outlandish theories as to what she might be up to, Douglas MacKinnon's article at today strikes me as being most plausible. Palin resigned, I believe, for the reasons she gave in her resignation speech, plain and simple. But what caused the deranged attack on her can not be understood simply as political. According to MacKinnon, the truth is uglier than that, far uglier. Take a look.

Sarah Palin is the reason I voted for a presidential candidate at all last year. McCain is no conservative, except in the addled minds of the Left, where anyone who shows any decency at all is suspected of being "Conservative." Romney is also not a conservative. Michael Steele is proving to be another statist liberal in conservative clothing. Indeed, it is looking more and more like the party truly doesn't matter, we will get more Statists no matter which party we elect. Sarah Palin appeared to break that mold.

Was she experienced enough? Well, she had more experience than "The One." Did she know enough? As we are learning, she knew as much, or more than "The One." People keep saying that although she is smart, her "judgements" are not "right." What do they know that I don't? Her instincts surely were better than "The One's."

But now she has taken herself "off the market" so to speak, and I for one, mourn her loss. I believe she would have been a good leader in a movement lacking leaders at the moment.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Of Government and Being Conservative

Then God said "Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness...." Genesis 1:26.

Shortly thereafter, mankind bit into the apple, and the rest is history. From that moment, mankind needed rules and regulations to keep him from killing everyone else. Such rules were initially provided by the strongest man in the tribe, under the unquestioned assumption that might makes right. The weaker, or less ruthless men were forced, at the point of the spear, to do whatever the Strongman desired. The point of the spear might well mean death, so folks tended to tow the line. The Strongman, of course, had the best of the women, the best of the cattle, indeed, the best that the tribe could offer. Everyone else had what was left.

It seems it wasn't long before the Strongman (now called the Chief ) looked around and realized that conquering another tribe might have advantages for himself. So, he set out to conquer all the other tribes' Chiefs around him, which he did, at the expense of his people. Of course, in the self aggrandizing ways of all men, he had to have a new title to distinguish himself from the lesser beings around him. Chief of chiefs wouldn't do. After much thought, he thought of King. How grand! The new title let him pretend that somehow he was more than just the strongest and most ruthless Strongman. Eventually, it occurred to him to strong arm the priests into declaring that their gods had decreed a divine right for him to rule his "subjects," rather like the mafia today will take over a business by offering to "protect" them from...well...themselves. It probably also occurred to him to write down his idea of laws as a legacy to "his" people. And I am sure the people were "pleased" to receive these laws.

Now, ruling a State does require cash. The have to be paid. They needed weapons and gear, food, water, time to train, etc. Unfortunately, our "King" had no source of cash, but hey, since everyone else was living under his "protection" why not institute a system of payments off the top of every transaction. Yeah, that's the ticket, a tax! And while he was at it, some extra would be needed to hold grand parties, and a place to hold them, and a staff to serve them, and...well...the usual retinue of a Court. We couldn't have our King look less regal than the next King over, or the other thugs might get some ideas about taking over our Kingdom.

This went on for centuries. Kings came and went, as did kingdoms. Dynasties grew under strong Kings, then eventually died out as the decedents of the strong King became soft and indolent. History seems to revolve around the Great Men, and nobody seems to have given any thought to their "subjects." But there was thinking going on. Christ had preached that each man would be judged individually for his actions, and his inaction; for what he said, and for what he thought. He would be judged not as a member of a group, but for himself alone. This raises a dilemma. How could a subject, who was not free, indeed in many cases was a peasant who could not even decide to go elsewhere, be subject to the laws of God? The Apostle Paul answered to some extent in
his letters, and these are deemed authoritative as far as they go. But layers of thought and philosophy built up under the church, eventually culminating in the direct philosophical forbears of the Founding Fathers such as John Locke. Man is a free creature, a moral actor, who must have certain natural rights guaranteed to carry out his mission as a moral actor. Otherwise, if a man is not free, how can he be judged?

The gun, strangely enough, is what put teeth behind these philosophical ideas. Open hand techniques, like Karate, require many years of training to master. Interestingly, to be most effective, the attacker has to play along, offering up attacks which the style is designed to counter. I remember my sensei demurring when asked which style was most effective, pointing out the the true master never had to throw a punch in the first place. The sword also requires many years of training to master. Both techniques require a great deal of strength as well, leaving women, the old, or infirm unable to participate, and thus to be at the mercy of the strong, the young, and the ruthless, which tells us why the strong man was the dominant figure for so long. Initially, the invention of firearms tended to strengthen the Strong Man against his enemies. But as time wore on, firearms became more sophisticated, powerful, and easier to use. By 1776, it had become possible to target and kill a specific officer at a distance. The individual at last had a weapon at his disposal which equalized the disparity in training and strength among men. Technological innovations such as the cartridge, and smokeless powder have only made guns more powerful and easier to use.

Which brings us to gun control. There are two types of people who profess a belief in gun control, the pacifist and the tyrant wannabes. As to the first, I am sure there are some out there who truly abhor guns. I feel for these people because what the truly abhor is not guns, but what the gun can do in the wrong hands. These people do not feel they can judge the men who murder, rape and rob as bad or evil, so they blame the instrumentality instead. What they fail to see is that the victims of crime, with whom they are empathic, would be just as dead had they been killed by the sword, or spear, or bow and arrow, or a nail gun for that matter. It is not guns that are the problem, but evil men and women who use guns in that manner.

Then there are the tyrant wannabes. They do not believe that the individual is a moral actor, do not believe in natural rights granted by God, and do not trust the common man with the potential power to take a life. These are the people who say that only the police and military should have guns. Notice that if they had their way, government would have a monopoly of power. But governments, as we have seen, are just thugs all dressed up in a show of pomp and circumstance to appear bigger than they are. They all have fancy titles, like President, or Congressman. They call each other "The Honorable" or the "Gentleman from the Great State of", but strip all that away, and government boils down to "do as I say, or you will face the consequences, up to being killed." Of course, the tyrant wannabes believe they will be in the catbird seat, able to dictate to the rest of us, the unwashed masses. What they do not want to face up to is that government is jealous of power, does not want to share, and too late they will find that they have been used as just tools of the thug.

Which brings us to why I started this blog, and continue to publish it even though it often takes several hours a day. As a Conservative, I believe that each individual is a free, and moral actor. If that is true, then the role of government must be limited to certain enumerated duties, and that we must jealously guard against any expansion of those duties beyond the bounds set forth in the Constitution. I believe that if government truly derives its just powers from the governed, then government can not exercise any power that I myself do not have. For these reasons, I also jealously guard my guns, and choose to exercise my right to keep and bear them. As a grandfather, I do not want my grandchildren to curse me because they no longer have their natural rights honored by their government.

Finally, lest you believe I am anti government, nothing could be further from the truth. We do need government to perform certain duties it would be impractical to perform for ourselves. These include providing for the national defense, treating with foreign nations and among the several States, providing a national currency, upholding contracts and a few others. The enumerated powers of government were all set out in the Constitution, and if government would stick to doing those things, this blog would not be needed.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Left Calling for Armed Revolt

An article published July 2, 2009 entitled "Glenn Beck: Extreme Left Calling People to Arms" points to a book by Leftists that point blank calls for armed revolt :

While the government warns that right-wing extremists could be domestic terrorists, and The New York Times, says I could incite those crazy conservatives to violence, the extreme left is actively calling for violence!

As world economies go down the tank and unemployment continues to rise, disenfranchised people are set to explode.

The dangerous leftist book that could spark this is "The Coming Insurrection." This is a call to arms for violent revolution, authored anonymously by a French group called the Invisible Committee who want to bring down capitalism.
Frankly, I have seen nothing to indicate that patriots who want a restoration of the Constitution are calling for armed revolt. Indeed, most do not want that if it can be avoided. But, more and more, they want to be prepared if it cannot. On the other hand, Leftists are actively calling for armed revolt. Perhaps the alphabet soup agencies, as representatives of We the People, should be going after them instead of us.

We have a President to fails to obey the law, even ones he passed, we have a Congress and a Supreme Court who subvert the law. We have alphabet soup agencies who lie, cheat, and sometimes steal to get convictions of members of We the People who are supposed to be presumed innocent. All of these scoundrels represent YOU. Would YOU do that? I didn't think so. Why are We letting Them get away with doing it. We must take political action now to restore the rule of law and the Constitution in this country. Without a rule of law, you have either anarchy or the rule of Strong Men. History shows that anarchy leads inevitably to Strong Men.

Restraunt Carry in Georgia

David Hardy over at Of Arms and the Law has a link to the Atlanta Gun Rights Examiner article by Ed Stone entitled One Year Anniversary of HB89 Arrives Without Dire Consequences. Here's a quote:

Sometimes it is helpful to remember what people like this say, especially when it is being repeated the next time a new piece of legislation is introduced. At what point do honest, logical people cease paying attention to it? At what point do we cease to ascribe the motivation for such speech to innocence and honestly good intentions? With one year of experience behind us involving hundreds of thousands of Georgia firearms license holders, any detached observer would have to conclude that these people have now lost all credibility by making such outrageous claims and predictions.
Indeed. But they never do. The gun grabbers continue to make wild predictions of blood in the streets which never comes true, but then another State takes up the legislation and low and behold, the same people are at it again, and nobody ever calls them on it.

Here in North Carolina, we have had similar bills several times, only to have them bottled up in committee by the anti-gun "Representative" Deborah Ross. Ross ran unopposed this last time, so she doesn't feel the need to know...."represent" the people. While States all around us seem to have no problem with carrying a gun into a restaurant that serves alcohol, as long as the person carrying doesn't drink it, Ms. Ross seems to feel that we in North Carolina are made of less stern stuff. Of course, criminals carry in restaurants and everywhere else. Things don't change because the only folks Ms. Ross is disarming are the ones who follow the law in the first place. You see, gun control is all about control.

Happy July 4th!

Things will soon be getting crazy, but I thought I'd take a minute to wish everyone who stops here a Happy July 4th Holiday. Here on the PolyKahr estate, for the moment, we can all pretend that we are still free people. No, I will not celebrate by going to the range, but by having friends and family over to eat a lot of food, play games, and enjoy the day.

I also thought I'd leave you with this essay from today's by Carrie Lukas entitled Government Growth Challenging Liberty This July 4th A quote:

We are constrained today because our government is already so large and over-extended. That problem will only get worse. Due to promises the government has already made—most specifically spending on Social Security and Medicare—the share of the economy that government will demand is going to continue to balloon.

This isn't just a matter of dollars and cents. This means that your children and grandchildren will have less control over the money they earn and their property because they will have to pay off liabilities accrued this year. That generation will have less to meet global challenges and each family will have less to meet personal ones.
She goes on to bemoan the tendency each of us has to say, in essence, "there ought to be a law!" and the zeal with which politicians seem to step over themselves making such laws. Its a bad bargain in which the people always lose, and the Government always wins. Stop asking for more from Government, and do more for yourselves. In the end, you'll be glad you did.