Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Are Mass Murders Uniquely American?

I noticed this post from Clayton Cramer over at Of Arms and the Law on Sunday, but have not had time until now to post it here. I used to read Clayton Camer all the time, but sadly of late I have not been as wide ranging due to limited time to do so. Cramer has an interesting take on the whole problem of mass murder when he asks Is Mass Murder Exceptionally American?

Cramer points out that none other than Barack Hussein Obama claimed that mass shootings and mass murder doesn't happen elsewhere in the world.  He implied that we Americans are particularly bloodthirsty, and therefore need to have our guns taken away by our betters.  But is that really the case?
The recent tragedies in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, Texas, are causing many Americans to wonder, “Is this kind of mass murder peculiarly American?”
The facts suggest otherwise.
There is nothing exceptionally American about mass murder or even firearms mass murder —even though some of the rhetoric accompanying these tragic events portrays the U.S. as singularly plagued by them.
After defining what is meant by the term "mass murder" and clearly excluding the genocides of the 20th Century committed by governments against their own people, Cramer goes on to document a number of mass killings that have taken place around the world. Moreover, he shows that even in places with gun control of the sort the gun grabbers so want to do in our country, that mass murders with firearms still occur. But the other thing that comes to light is that if a person has murder in their heart, anything can be turned into a weapon: vehicles, knives, clubs, it really doesn't matter.

The gun grabbers are generally aware of these statistics as well.  They know their arguments will not stand up to the facts.  So what is their motive?  Frankly, I believe the Left wants to take away the guns from the average citizen in order to gain a monopoly of force that will allow them to dictate their desires on this great country.  Sure, we could protest, but they don't have to listen.  Everything would then be like Obamacare where they imposed it over our protests, and even continue to keep it even after we elected a new government.  The Second Amendment is the only real threat the people have!  And then only if we are willing to use it. We may not yet be willing to use the Second Amendment, but as my last post makes clear, it is inevitable unless something changes.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Can This Country Remain Together?

I have noticed with growing concern the many people on both sides of the aisle who are endorsing the current version of further infringements to our right to bear arms. Let me note that the current push to put more information on more people into the National Instant Criminal Background System (NICS) is a further infringement of the right to bear arms.  The NICS itself is an infringement because it is a prior restraint on a right.  It is the same as if before I could publish this blog post it had to be approved by  someone from the government, who would demand that I prove to his satisfaction that the blog post contained nothing false.  "But a blog post can't kill anyone," you say.  If the ideas in that blog post become popular enough, they can start a revolution, which could kill many.  So, yes, the First Amendment protections carry the same weight as the Second Amendment protections.

Of course, prior restraints on First Amendment rights would never by tolerated, or would they?  As I write this, the Supreme Court is considering two cases involving our First Amendment rights to freedom of religious expression. But make no mistake that the constant drum beat for political correctness is also an attempt to get you to self censor yourself to conform to the dictates of the Left. So, it was with some sense of despair that I read John Hawkins post of November 18, 2017 a Townhall.com entitled Do Conservatives and Liberals Have Enough in Common To Keep a Country Together Anymore? After some explanation of his position, Hawkins comes to the heart of the matter:
Recently, a Republican group in North Carolina asked me to come out and speak. After my speech, there was a Q&A session and someone there asked me, “Is it time for people who love their country to get their guns, head to D.C. and do something about what’s happening in our country?”
Just to be clear, he wasn’t advocating a terrorist attack or a random shooting; he was asking if it is time for patriots who love this country to attempt to overthrow the government to help bring our nation back to Constitutional governance.
What DIDN’T happen is worth noting. Nobody laughed. Nobody shouted, “Oh, come on!” Nobody said, “Oh, that’s just crazy, Dave. You’ll have to excuse him and his wild questions.” Instead, people sat quietly and listened for my response.
This should unsettle you if you are a patriot, and if you are a Leftist, it should be frightening. The fact that people instead of feeling bullied, believe that their patience is being tested beyond the breaking point should be disturbing to the Left. I agree with Hawkins that the ground work has not been done. We need a formal documentation of our grievances, but no doubt many will feel that the blocking of Trump agenda and the attempt to impeach a duly elected President would be enough.
The longer version of what I told him is that he’s right to be concerned about the country and that, yes, it is entirely possible we won’t hold together long term. What happens when we – almost inevitably at this point – have a debt-driven economic crash which causes Social Security and Medicare to be gutted? Other than wanting to get those checks, what do we have holding us together anymore? Eating lunch at McDonald’s? Watching The Walking Dead? NFL games….oh wait, sorry. We don’t even have that anymore.
We have broken bonds as a nation before: first, with the British, then during the Civil War. Regrettably, we may be headed toward another break down the road. That’s not something anyone should welcome, but when large percentages of the population are forced to live under grating rules they disagree with in the strongest of terms, paid for with increasingly large amounts of tax money they didn’t want to give up and implemented by people they don’t like, respect or feel bound to as a people, no wise person should assume that will continue indefinitely.
I can not help but mourn the loss of a great if flawed nation. I urge everyone to pray for our nation, and ask for guidance to do the right thing.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Godless Atheism and the Texas Church Murders

Selwyn Duke says what I have been trying to say relative to the Sutherland church shooting, only Duke says it better, and more clearly than I have managed to say it. Duke's article is at the American Thinker today and is entitled Godless Atheism and the Texas Church Shooter. Duke writes:
“If God does not exist, everything is permitted,” wrote Fyodor Dostoevsky in The Brothers Karamazov. Mentioning this in association with Devin Patrick Kelley, the militant atheist who last Sunday perpetrated the worst church shooting in U.S. history, is bound to raises hackles. Of course, few atheists will descend into committing murder; in fact, I’ve known some I’d call “good people.” Moreover, note that I myself once not only didn’t believe in God, but like Kelley thought religious people were “stupid.” Yet is it possible a straight line can be drawn between atheism (the belief) and increasing crime and immorality? Ideas do have consequences, after all.
Duke's point here is that unless we rely on a higher power than we men and women, everything becomes matters of preference. We can dress it up with pretty words, but at the bottom, that is what it means, and Dostoevsky is correct that everything is permitted. The idea that there are actions that are moral and those that are not, indeed to even discuss values, becomes a matter of consensus based on human preference.
This brings us to the true meaning of “You can’t be moral without God”: If divine law isn’t real, no one can be “moral” because you cannot conform to a non-existent standard. “Moral” is as incomprehensible a term in a universe without Truth as “physical” would be in one without matter. So, if God doesn’t exist, neither atheists nor theists can be moral — only in or out of fashion.
The reality, my atheist friends should note, is that embracing any moral is a matter of faith. We cannot see a moral under a microscope or a principle in a Petri dish. Science cannot prove murder (or anything else) is wrong — only possible. For science merely tells us what we can do, not what we should.
People generally don’t come to terms with these implications of atheism because most don’t take their world view to its logical conclusion; many also wouldn’t want to, for it means staring true meaninglessness in the face. It means that all the causes moderns fill their lives with are mere vanity. Tolerance can’t be better than intolerance, love better than hate, or respect for life better than murder in a godless, Moral-Truth-bereft world.
For me, I have been where these people are, as Duke says he was too. It was the realization of the ultimate meaninglessness of everything, the sense that there is nothing, that our lives mean nothing, and go nowhere, that caused me to keep seeking.  Looking into the abyss I took Pascal up on his wager.  The road of faith before seemed weak, turns out ti be the greatest of strengths.  To place oneself in the hands of a being we can neither see, nor understand, but rely on him to make it right, actually takes guts and strength. And once I began to have faith, I could see that I had really been running on nothing but faith all along.

So what does this have to do with the Texas shooter?  What does this have to do with gun control?  Just this, if you believe that man is truly the measure of all things, and that there is no moral truth, only men's preferences, then our right to self defense is not a God given, pre-existing right that can not be infringed (morally) but is a privilege once granted to our people at some previous time in history,   It has no meaning in today's world.  Also if you believe this way, then Government is indeed the only thing that can civilize an otherwise barbaric people.  Unfortunately, the government cannot be everywhere, and prosecutors cannot bring even an approximation of true justice, if one can say that such exists.

What the framers intended, was that we would be largely self governing.  The laws would be based on Christian teachings and the moral law.  Government, in this scenario, would necessarily be limited.  The people would have a right to arms as a way to keep government in check because, as every Christian knows, we are all poor miserable sinners, in need of the saving Grace of Jesus Christ.  Under this system,  there is no need for the police to be everywhere, no need for prosecutors to provide perfect justice, because God provides the ultimate justice.  Note that murder would be rare because to kill another human being, is to kill an image of God.

What I am saying is that there is no need for gun control, and in any case, it would be ineffective if the reason is to eliminate peoples ability to murder each other.  More people are killed with other instruments and tools.  On the other hand, if it is to put a totalitarian system in place, which I believe to be the real reason, it will not have an effect.  I know the power the elites think they will get by forcing all of us to live as they think we should.  But it is an illusion, and illusive.  Too late they will realize the emptiness of their lives.  Meanwhile, if there are 300 million guns in America, only one of those guns actually was used to murdered 26 people and injured 20 others.  The other 299,999,999 guns did not do anything. 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Too many laws

Clark Neily over at Townhall.com asks If the Law is This Complicated, Why shouldn't Ignorance Be an Excuse? It is a fact that the average person can no longer know what the law is, and even lawyers do not really know all the law. Neily:
"Because I said so.” “Life isn’t fair.” “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.” These are some of the great cop-outs of all time, and the last one is particularly troubling in a country with so many laws that it is impossible to count—let alone read—them all. When was the last time you sat down with a complete set of the federal, state, and local codes setting forth the tens of thousands of criminal violations for which you could be sent to jail? If you answered “never,” you’re in good company. Nevertheless, America’s judges still cling to the proposition that it’s perfectly fine to lock people up for doing something they had no idea was illegal. But it’s not fine, and the justifications for that palpably unfair rule have only grown more threadbare with time.
Things have gotten so bad that even an act as innocent as sharing a Netflix password or a bank website password with a family member could potentially carry criminal penalties if the website disallows password sharing. The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 bans intentionally accessing a computer “without authorization,” and the Supreme Court has recently declined to hear a case from the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, United States v. Nosal, that held that password sharing could be prohibited by the Act. Although the majority opinion did not explicitly mention innocent password sharing, the dissent noted that the lack of any limiting principle meant that the majority’s reasoning could easily be used to criminalize a host of innocent conduct.
Emphasis is mine.  Nosal, for instance, was engaging in shady, unethical behavior if not outright fraud.  But there appears no provision for, as Neily notes, sharing a Netflix password with a family member.  Neily goes on to note that there are estimated to be 4000 Federal crimes, and 300,000 Regulations that carry the effect of law enforcing fines and jail time on the unfortunate who get caught up in them.  Then there are the State and local laws, ordinances, and rules that can further trip a person up.

One of the problems is the increasing number of laws prohibiting morally blameless activity that nobody would naturally think would be a criminal act.   For example, picking up a feather you find on the forest floor while out hiking:
Moreover, as noted, the increasing criminalization of morally blameless conduct makes the punishment of innocent mistakes even more likely. For example, federal law makes it illegal to possess the feather of any native migratory bird even if one just picks it up off the ground, and the potential penalties for doing so include fines and even time in prison. Think federal prosecutors would exercise their discretion to prevent miscarriages of justice under such obscure laws? Think again. Contrary examples are as numerous as they are horrifying.
Neily goes on to cite a number of examples. But we have seen other examples of the overcriminalization of the law before. Back in 2011 a Missouri family faced a $4 million fine for selling more than $500 worth of bunnies in a year. The Dollarwhite family didn't abuse their rabbits, and kept them exceptionally clean and well cared for. Apparently the Dollarwhites did not know about the obscure requirement to obtain a license when they sell to another for resale.  The license is to ensure that they are not abusing their rabbits.  But why didn't the USDA merely inform them of this "paperwork violation" and help them get licensed?  In my opinion the reasons for putting this family through hell can only be because of malice on the government's part.  And in the end, the Dollarwhite family did not do their due diligence by hiring an attorney and paying him to find out all the laws rules and regulations pertaining to the practice of rabbitry. 

But this gets to the heart of the problem, doesn't it?  If one has to consult an attorney before taking any action, knowing that one could be liable even if your attorney thinks you are allowed to do it, maybe the law has become to complicated.  Maybe its time to clip the wings of the regulators, and maybe its time to force our Congress to do its real job, and legislate sensible laws that we can all live with. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The problem with gun violence is people, not guns

Another shooting, this time in Sutherland Springs, Texas on Sunday at a church service.  Someone who should not have been able to buy a gun somehow slipped right passed the eagle eye of the NICS system run by those super sleuths of the FBI, and bought a gun from a gun store. He violated laws against murder, against felon in possession of a gun, and lying on 4473 form.  So the existing laws clearly did not stop him from murdering 26 people, and injuring 20 others.  And guess what?  The proposed laws won't stop the next guy either.  Why?  We'll get to that below.  First I want you to go to the American Thinker, and check out the article by Daniel John Sobieski entitled When Jeanne Assam's Gun Stopped a Church Massacre.

Sobieski's point is that only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun. It is a hard fact, one that can only be ignored, but who's truth can not be denied. Only when confronted by someone else with a gun do these people finally stop, either shot by the good guy with a gun, or by suicide, or rarely by surrendering.  Guns are not inherently evil in and of themselves.  I have yet to see one jump up of its own volition and begin shooting up the place.  They also have no power to turn an otherwise good guy into a bad guy.  A gun does not, like some movie scene suddenly start calling out to the person in possession of it "Come use me to shoot a bunch of people in a church."  There is no evil spirit in the gun.  Guns are also not magic talismans, instantly shooting down people without aiming as in movies.  No, a gun must be trained with and the skills one develops are perishable.

Interestingly, gun violence has gone down as the number of guns has grown.  It is as if John Lott was right all along.  Today you are less likely to be killed by gun fire that at any time since the 1960s.  By the way, you are approximately twice as likely to be killed in a traffic accident as with a gun.  But what has increased is the number of mass shootings.  Glenn Beck speculated yesterday that the increasing number of mass shootings may have to do with  way the media seems to lionize these people.  In any case I have made a policy  of not including the name of the shooter in any of my recent posts.

One of the interesting things about mass killings is that most have occurred in legally defined gun free zones.  Schools, shopping malls with no gun signs, theaters with no gun signs, churches, government offices and so on.  To me this speaks of the killers deliberately planning to kill as many people as possible without having anyone else armed with equivalent force.  In other words, evil intent.  Which leads me to the idea that it is not the guns that are the problem to be solved, but rather the people wielding them.

The solution for guns in general, and mass shootings in particular lies with a recognition  that the world is a morally ambiguous place, at best.  People with evil intent are everywhere, and even those with the best of intentions often do evil anyway.  The idea that the police can be everywhere and stop every bad thing from happening is an illusion.  Police can not be everywhere all the time.  And even if they could, the police are not angels, but composed of the very same people that inhabit the rest of the world.  Whether you attribute the evil that stalks the world to the devil or to man's perversion, the fact remains that it is the people themselves that must be dealt with, not the instrumentality.  How does it help to leave even more victims defenseless in even more locations?  What is needed is more responsible people with guns in more places to be able to quickly respond with a gunman decides to do evil things.     

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Our Country is Under Siege

Today, David Soloway asks at the American Thinker Is Islamic Reform Possible?. He then answers with a resounding "No!" He goes on to suggest things we can do to limit the damage. I agree with most of Soloway's article, and most of his policy prescriptions. The one bone I have to pick is his insistence on calling Islam a "faith." Islam is not a faith, and nowhere in the Koran is there a requirement that its adherents had to demonstrate "faith." Rather, Islam demands obedience. If you do the various duties required of a proper Muslim, you are golden. What you believe or think is of no importance. If you can justify something legalistically, then you are allowed to do it, no matter how perverse.

This is in sharp contrast with Christianity, where what you believe in your heart affects how you relate to the world. You must believe in your heart that God humbled himself to become a man (while still being God), suffered and was tempted as man is, but lived a perfect life, and became THE innocent sacrificed for our sins, to be raised. The bad news is the Good News! God has done for us what we could not do for ourselves. I may be a poor miserable sinner, but when God looks at me, he sees Christ, and is pleased. Thus God deliberately fools himself to save a sinner like me. Alleluia.  Jesus taught that if you murder a man in your heart, it is the same as if you had murdered him in the world.  Thus it is in your heart that you must change, and that will change your outward practices.  Islam doesn't address the inward man.  More wonderful still, the Holy Spirit does the work of remaking you if you let him in. 

Soloway points out that because there is no command and control structure in Islam, it is devilishly hard to effect changes.  Indeed, the only way is for all of us to get in the faces of Muslims and constantly urge them to change everything about Islam:
In “Reform Islam or Live the ‘New Normal’ Forever,” Roger Simon argues that Donald Trump’s often frustrated travel ban on problematic countries, though not illegal, is insufficient. “It's only a meager beginning in dealing with a situation that has not changed in any real sense since 9/11, as the events in New York Tuesday testify. If we do not move even more seriously to prevent them, they will indeed become the ‘new normal.’ ” The violence, he continues, “will never be squelched until the ideology is defeated and reformed… We must all now be obnoxious, politically incorrect busybodies and get in Islam's face, demanding reform in every way possible, economically, socially, theologically and, yes, militarily.”
This is a bravely unpopular stance to adopt vis à vis Islam that will surely be opposed and condemned by progressivists and offended Muslims. In fact, however, it does not go nearly far enough. Islam is a notoriously resistant and tentacular faith. I have long argued in book and article that Islam cannot be reformed. For starters, it features no single “pontifical” authority that could institute real change. Moreover, the canonical network is too intricate and too vast to admit of effective modification. Expurgating the Koran, were it even possible, is only the tip of the sand dune. The hundreds of thousands of Hadith would need to be reviewed and amended, as would the Sunnah and Sirah, the five schools of jurisprudence, Twelver Shia, centuries of ulemic literature, and the underlying cultural predispositions, beliefs, ideals, and orthodox practices that form the bedrock of 57 Muslim nations and the West’s Muslim populations.
I understand why the Left seems to adore Islam. Islam isn't a religion at all, but a totalitarian political system disguised as a theology. Rather than demand that the man change, as Christianity does, it codifies and tolerates the perversity of mankind. Osama Bin Laden supposedly spent some time in London and found their morals to be loose. What then would he think of the Muslim practice of marrying a prostitute for an hour, having sex with her. and then divorcing the woman. Is that what he calls living morally?  The Left loves Islam because they don't have to change, they just have to not be caught, same rules they live by now.  As a bonus, they get to tell everyone else how to live.  As for offended Muslims, this jihad goes on in their names, so either they own it or renounce it.  But if they renounce it, they also have to renounce Islam itself.

Soloway goes on to note that we should ban all Muslim immigration since the practice of taqqiyah prevents us from knowing whether they are individually moderate or not.  But we also must investigate every Mosque and be ready to close down those that are preaching jihad.  It is in  these Mosques that many young men are radicalized.  Now the left will say that we can not do that because the 1st Amendment.  But understanding that Islam is not a religion as we haave understood such, but a totalitarian ideology that is at odds with the founding of this country, allows us to ban it, just as we have banned Mormons in the past.

This country is under siege from multiple enemies. We have a Leftist 5th column,  We need to rediscover our heritage, which was to stand for our principles while walking humbly in the world.  We also need to rediscover Christian values, if not Christianity itself. 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Professors want the Supreme Court to limit gerrymandering

So, here we go again.  Some professors want the Supreme Court to, as they say, "limit gerrymandering", so that they can put more anti-gun Democrats in power at the state level to get guns out of the hands of Americans.  This is just rich.  Here in North Carolina, the state government was run by Democrats, for Democrats for over 100 years.  Gerrymandering was of course practiced, and nobody said a word.  Now that the Republicans have taken over, its lawsuit after lawsuit to end gerrymandering, at least until the Democrats take over again.  What hypocrisy.

But the question on the table is about guns, isn't it?  Over at Townhall.com, Beth Baumann has a piece from November 2, 2017 entitled Washington Post: Supreme Court Could Make a Move on Guns...In An Unconventional Way. The argument boils down to this:
The professors believe the reason "significant new gun laws" haven't be enacted in recent years is because gerrymandering has allowed the GOP to stay in power.
Nothing fancy here, just that the Democrats are losing, so it needs to be changed, because the American people once again don't know what is good for them, so we, their betters, must decide for them. And while it is stating the obvious, apparently Ms. Baumann is forced to say that boys will be boys, and politicians will be politicians:
There's one simple reality behind gerrymandering: It has always taken place and it always will. Asking people to put their political differences aside to draw these lines is unfathomable. That's asking political movers and shakers to put their political aspirations and beliefs aside for the greater good of their constituents.
But what about guns? How does this affect guns, you ask?
Liberals have an absolute obsession with the NRA. How a liberal feels about guns and the NRA has become their litmus test. That being said, these professors are no different. Arguing that gerrymandering is the way to fix America's "gun violence" problem is just...stupid.
The Second Amendment is a fundamental right protected by the United States Constitution. Those of us who want to protect ourselves for self-defense — or simply because we want to utilize our right — shouldn't be punished by anti-gunners who feel we're overstepping our boundaries.
These professors should be absolutely ashamed of themselves...
That is, if they had any shame, but they do not.

Once again, the professors argument presupposes that the problem lies with the instrumentality, rather than with the person wielding the instrumentality. But guns are inanimate objects. They do not jump out of their holsters of their own volition and begin shooting people. A person has to make the decision to take hold of the gun and direct it towards another person and pull the trigger.  There can be no justification for doing that short of defense of self or ones family from imminent death or serious bodily injury.  Also the fact that absent a gun, a car, a hammer, an ax or screwdriver will also do says that eliminating guns will not stop crime.  Therefore the motives behind the anti-gunners push for gun control is to give the government an overwhelming monopoly of force.

And of course, that can't be spoken about out loud...