Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Why do You Need a Gun at the Outlet Mall

I have returned to Stately PolyKahr Estates.  We traveled yesterday.  This morning, I am catching up today on e-mails and any gun news that might have escaped my attention during our brief vacation.  However, I did want to recount something that happened Sunday, while we were still in the Atlanta area.

Mrs. PolyKahr and her friend wanted to visit the outlet mall for some shopping.  I went along to carry bags and generally be useful.  At one point, they went into a Wedgewood store.  Wedgewood is known for having lots of very expensive glass objects on its shelves.  Now, on such extended excursions as the trip to the outlet mall, Mrs. PolyKahr drives around on an electric scooter.  However, she wasn't sure she could maneuver said scooter with enough precision so as not to knock some very expensive glass off the shelf and break it.  So, she left me sitting outside on a bench, guarding the scooter and her purse.

At such times, I watch people, and their reactions to various stimuli.  Some were so intent on what they were immediately doing that they barely noticed anyone else around them.  Some almost tripped over me as if I wasn't there.  Others, especially mothers with small children, usually gave me a wide birth, which practice I heartily applauded.  After all, for all they know, I might be a child snatcher!  I also deduced that a bus had deposited a load of tourist at the mall, because I saw quite a few walk by in foreign dress speaking a language I didn't understand.

At one point, I spotted a man coming towards me, whose behavior seemed off somehow.  He wasn't moving as a man going from one point to another, but ambling along and stopping frequently.  I took note of the fact that he was a Latino wearing a dark blue jacket, but I couldn't make out the logo on the jacket at that distance.  I kept my eye on him.  As he approached, he noticed that he had been noticed, and turned toward the parking lot, turned again and stopped.  Realizing that he might be making a spectacle of himself, he went and stood by the Ked's shoe store, perhaps 50 feet away.  After a few moments, he went inside, though he had no child in tow.  After a few more minutes, he came back out, walked around me, and stood by the Wedgewood door.  He didn't look like a typical Wedgewood shopper either.  Of course, I kept my eye on him, and at some point reached my right hand under my coat in case I might need to get my gun out quickly.  He seemed to take note of this action, and moved off looking for an easier target.  I didn't even have to have my hand on the gun, much less brandish it.  While I believe that his target was the purse, he might well have had a knife, and might have used it to get what he wanted.  Now, I would not have shot him merely to save my wife's purse, but if he had pulled a knife, that would have changed the situation considerably.

There are several lessons to this story.  First, you need to be alert to anything out of order in your environment.  Despite news reports that the economy is growing, the facts say otherwise.  I can not tell you how many boarded up businesses we saw on the trip.  In such times, more people may become more desperate.  Outlet malls and other places where people gather may attract unwanted attention from pick pockets and petty thieves.  Since you must sometimes be in such places, have you thought about what you would do?  If you don't carry a gun, what other means of defense do you have?  Personally, I am thinking about additionally carrying a cane, and learning how to use it as well.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

"You have a gun?? You can't take a gun in there!!"

I have explained this many times, but it still keeps popping up. Why do I carry a concealed gun? Guns.com has a well written article explaining Why do Concealed Carriers Carry Concealed?. Go check it out.   A hat tip to the Gun Blog Black List, a great aggregation of gun bloggers around the world.

A quote:

Don’t believe me? Just ask yourself this, why would anybody go through the three-ring circus of getting a permit, forfeit their fingerprints over to Uncle Sam in the process and then spend the rest of their days becoming an armchair attorney just so they can navigate the labyrinthine system of state-to-state carry laws, if they didn’t have a well-thought out reason for concealed carrying? Just to waste time?

It’s my informed opinion that most folks who carry firearms do not do so because they are looking for altercations or because they’re afraid or exasperated by life, as Obama insinuated when he said people “cling to guns… as a way to explain their frustrations” while on the campaign trail in ‘08. They do so simply because they do not feel safe in 2012 America and no amount of data is going to change that. They know that a violent criminal isn’t going to be convinced to abort his felonious mission because of a bunch of statistics that show the crime rate he’s contributing to is actually going down; instead they take every individual story they hear about these horrible acts of violence seriously.

And no wonder—does it hurt any less to get shot during a downswing in crime? Do you think some eloquently delivered rhetoric about fewer robberies will convince your attacker you don’t have to hand over your wallet to him? Does a plummet in statewide gun crime change the fact a man was murdered down your block? Of course not.

While here in an undisclosed location in the Atlanta metro area, Mrs. PolyKahr wanted to visit the Atlanta Aquarium, having heard how fabulous it was. As we approached the ticket counter, Mrs. PolyKahr said "They won't let you take your gun inside," whereupon her friend blurted out "You have a gun?? You can't take a gun in there!!" I approached the unarmed guard, explained the situation, and was told I would have to leave it in the car. Now, I have become pretty expert at slipping it out of the holster and securing it in the car. North Carolina has a list of places you can't carry that would make any gun grabber's heart swell with pride. But her reaction disturbed me none the less. In all fairness, I could have simply not gone into the aquarium, but didn't want the hassle of hearing Mrs. PolyKahr complaining that I had ruined the day for them.

Yesterday evening, I attempted to engage her friend in "reasoned discourse" on the issue. She said "Well, I don't like guns." "Fair enough," I pointed out, "but I never said you had to have one if you don't like them." I pointed out that concealed carriers are among the most law abiding citizens, exceeding even police officers. I don't think she believed me, but statistics show it to be true. "I just think that if some criminal decides to shoot me, then my time is up," she said. "But what do I do, if I am disarmed because of some policy, and I feel just as surely that it is my duty to defend my life, and that of Mrs. PolyKahr?"  I asked. She pointed out that you can't take a gun to a hockey game, as if that non sequitur should settle the matter.  I pointed out that I did not attend hockey games, but the principle holds that while I am being disarmed, a criminal would find a way to get a weapon into pretty much any venue he wanted.  I pointed out that they didn't check my ankles, so that someone could very well have been carrying in an ankle holster.  I also pointed out that the guards were not armed, so they would be very little help in saving her.  Eventually, she returned to "Well, I just don't like guns."

Unfortunately, that is the attitude of a typical gun grabber and gun bigot. If she had been brutally honest, she would have blurted "Tough! Because I don't like them, you can't have them!" Also, unfortunately, no amount of evidence is likely to change her mind.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Message the TEA party is Trying to Send

I don't have much time today, as I report from an undisclosed location near Atlanta, Georgia. But an article in the American Thinker today caught my eye. The article, by Joseph M Koenig is titled It's Not About Newt. Check it out.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What "Radicalized" Me

My wife, the lovely Ms. PolyKahr (who married me anyway) sometimes makes the comment that I have changed. I formerly didn't have what she considers "politics" on my mind all the time. I didn't used to listen to Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh all the time.  I used to play music on the radio, like "normal" folks.  I have to admit to having become "radical" about guns and the Constitution. She asks why that happened?

Arctic Patriot provides an answer in his post Having the Courage to Look in the Mirror. Please read the whole thing, and a hat tip to David Codrea at the blog War on Guns for pointing to it.

I fit the description they paint to a tee (except of course for obtaining explosives.)   I speak out on the Internet about abuses of people by the TSA, the police, the EPA, and other government entities. I feel I do not speak out enough. Every day there are stories all over the news of people whose Constitutionally protected rights are violated. Just today we learn that the Federal Government is forcing Catholics to purchase insurance against their religious objections, that Senator Rand Paul was detained by TSA for refusing a pat down, that another citizen, a Navy SEAL team member was arrested in New York City for possessing a 9 mm handgun and ammunition. All of these things violate Constitutionally protected natural rights of citizens.  Of course, I have guns and ammunition, and I am a small time "prepper" as well. Does this make me a domestic terrorist?  Since when is evaluating risks and taking steps to protect oneself and one's family illegal, or cause for extra scrutiny?

Arctic Patriot seems to be offering the Government an extremely good deal. He asks only that they keep him in Coca Cola while he teaches them to ask, "why?" But if you really want to know why, look in the mirror. Then re-read the Constitution. It should become obvious to you.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The War on Guns: Now for the Bad News...

The War on Guns: Now for the Bad News...

Go to the link for David Codrea's comments, then go to the Gun Owners of America link and read that. I'll wait. I will have my own comments after you do.

Read it? Good.

The GOA writes:

Well, this past Friday, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a setback to gun owners. The issue involved a lawsuit challenging Barack Obama’s illegal multiple sales regulations. [NSSF v. Jones, Acting Director, BATFE.]

Through those regulations, Obama has demanded, by regulatory fiat, that firearms licensees in four southwestern states report multiple sales of certain long guns to the federal government.

The GOA is absolutely right on both counts. This ruling upholds the violation of both the Constitution and explicit statutory law, and thus exposes the danger we face as gun owners in relying on the Courts as the only line of defense in these matters. The Courts have proven to be fickle on the matter. But then the GOA says we have another line of defense:
But the larger issue is this: Congress can block these regulations by simply cutting off the money to implement them. Last fall, we demanded that the House include such a prohibition in its giant money bill. But congressional leaders ignored the Second Amendment community on this and a variety of other pro-gun issues, including defunding ObamaCare.
Ignoring for a moment that the Republicans have largely been gutless when it comes to denying this regime anything it seemingly wants, here we see the real danger cutting oneself loose from the Constitution: the sacrifice of the rule of law. The President can simply refuse to obey Congress's instructions regarding any funding by issuing a "signing statement." Why not? There are no rules other than what you can get away with. It's the Chicago Way.  The Courts are obviously willing to let him get away with anything he wants. And the Congress's hands are not exactly clean either. Even the Republicans, who had a new mandate after the 2010 elections to perform within the strict intent of the Constitution have continually violated that highest of all laws in the land.

I had thought previously that there was a small chance of avoiding the fight to come through political means and at the ballot box.  Mea culpa, but I did not believe the lengths the left would go to, to transform the founders country into a fascist hell hole. Unless there is a miracle...Today, I feel like a Spartan at the Battle of Thermopylae.

Molon Labe

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I haven't been posting

No, it is not to protest SOPA, though that piece of legislation should go the way of so many bad ideas.  I have been sick for the last two days, and it doesn't appear to be going away soon.  As a result, I just have not been able to get up the gumption to read and think.  Posting takes a lot of the second item.

I will return to posting when I am feeling better.  In the meantime, please enjoy the other blog sites provided here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Security Theatre

Kurt Hoffman has a St. Louis Gun Rights examiner piece entitled Honor Martin Luther King by Defeating Racism Inherent to Gun Control,which got me thinking. Check it out.   The truth about gun control can be found first in the South, where the white population was afraid of a slave rebellion.  After the war, they recognized the fundamental rights of their former slaves, to the point that they actively tried to deny them their rights.  Then there was Alan Korwin's piece on Diplomatic Carry. Go check that one out too.  Korwin points out that diplomats carry, and have significant body guards around them carrying, despite whatever laws may prevent them from doing so.  It is a sort of diplomatic exemption.  Korwin's point is that a diplomat's life isn't any more important than that of one of the "commoners."

Yesterday, a co-worker asked me how my weekend went, and we ended up discussing the Raleigh Gun Show put on by Dixie Gun and Knife shows, and the fact that Grass Roots North Carolina had done a land office business signing up new members (not, btw, due to anything I did. We had a new and enthusiastic member there.) He is from South Carolina, and was curious about the concealed carry permit system here in North Carolina. As I was explaining our shall issue system to him, suddenly, another person broke into the discussion to say that they had always been armed. "I would rather sit in jail than be dead," he said. He also pointed out that a concealed carry permit did not permit you to take it to very many places. I did not ask him if he were armed at that moment. Such would be a breach of etiquette among those who go armed. But good to know. Another says that "Hey, it's nobody's business if I am packin' or not." He is from New York, and he is correct. I have never advised anyone to do something illegal, and I did not do so this day either. Everyone needs to evaluate the risks according to their own lights, and act accordingly.

But all this got me to thinking about what is essentially Security Theatre, whether it is the TSA groping people, and finding your tube of toothpaste in your bag, or the Town of Garner posting "No Gun" signs on playgrounds. Crime can happen anywhere, at any time, to anyone, and it tends to happen where you least expect it. Coming out of your office at night, with no one else around, and suddenly there is some thug, and you hope all he wants is your money.  Wouldn't you wish you had a gun?

North Carolina doesn't want you to go into a place that charges you a price to go in, like a movie theatre, if you are carrying a gun. They don't want you to attend a parade if you are armed, or to run into a protest. They don't want you to take your family out to Ruby Tuesdays while armed, or to go to a hospital, or a financial institution (notice how broadly some of these things are defined.) All these victim disarmament zones are simply Security Theatre. The State will not guarantee your safety, and will not have anyone there to defend you. They also will not make the people who run these places have security on site to defend you. Instead, they depend on laws and signs to provide an illusion of safety. I know, from talking to a great many people that the illusion works on them, but I doubt it works on the criminal, and I know it doesn't work on the peaceably armed citizen who feels deeply the injustice of the State deciding for him where and when he can carry his self defense. I was in Ohio several years ago, right after the concealed carry law was passed in that State. I had gone to a range to get in a little practice. The range master and I struck up a conversation, and he mentioned that he had carried every day, everywhere he went, for 25 years.  He was another who believed it was better to be tried by 12 than carried by 6.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Who is Servant to Whom?

Nursing student Meredith Graves continues to garner headlines. In a piece on January 8, 2012, Kevin Williamson wrote I am Meredith Graves in the National Review Online. Williamson notes that when he worked in Philadelphia, he had a State issued concealed carry permit, exactly as Meredith Graves from her home in Tennessee, and how easy it was to violate the terms of that permit. If you have ever been to Philadelphia, you will know that Delaware, New Jersey, and New York are all within a quick drive of each other. Williamson relates a particular case in which he was taking friends to see the Liberty Bell. After explaining that it became routine for him to carry his gun whenever he went out:

So routine, in fact, that I sometimes forgot that I was carrying it, until something reminded me. That was the case when I was standing in line to take some visitors to see the Liberty Bell. Like Meredith Graves, I told the security guys that I had a license to carry a gun, that I was in fact carrying one, and asked them what they’d like me to do with it. They were typical government employees, of course, struck dumb by any unexpected turn of events.
Fortunately, he resolved his problem by placing the gun in his brief case, and checking the brief case in with the valet's desk at a nearby hotel. That in itself probably violated some law, but I doubt that Pensylvania will go after Mr. Williamson at this late date.

What I find interesting in most of the reports I read about either the Meredith Graves case, or the myriad of other cases involving otherwise peaceable citizens getting caught with a gun in New York City is that so few mention the outrageousness of someone sitting in jail for, much less being charged, when there was clearly no criminal intent; no mens rea. For peurposes of gun law in this country, a 3 year sentence would turn Graves into a prohibited person. How can a person be "prohibited" without having a criminal intent, much less an actual crime.  If she had kept her mouth shut, and kept her weapon concealed, would anyone have been the wiser?  It seems as if our masters intend to treat us like they treat school children with a "no tolerance" policy.  Williamson again:
Some will object: “You two should have known better. You should have made sure in advance that you were in compliance with the local law at all times.” And there’s something to that. (A Man for All Seasons and all that.) On the other hand, Meredith Graves and I are Americans, and the American government exists at our sufferance, not the other way around, and it sometimes needs to be reminded of that fact, especially when it is acting capriciously and incompetently, which is the rule when it comes to firearms and crime.
I am guilty as charged. But the larger point is, as Williamson indicates, in our society, the citizen is supposed to be sovereign, and the government is supposed to be our servant.  When will we begin to act like that is the case?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A New Writing Discovery

If you are a conservative libertarian and a Constitutionalist, as I am, you may have read some of Rachael Williams articles. But in case you haven't, here are two for you to sample.

The first, found at the American Thinker is entitled In Defense of Libertarians makes the point that...but let her explain it:

When I "came out" as a black conservative, I had to explain ad nauseam how the two were not mutually exclusive. I'm finding myself having to make the same point over and over with regards to libertarianism -- that the most vocal members of a given group do not speak for the whole. There is as much diversity of thought between fellow libertarians as there is in either the Democrat or the Republican Party. While I self-identify as a conservative libertarian, many people react to that label as though I cannot be both simultaneously.

Being a conservative libertarian isn't a contradiction of terms; it's actually a description of me as a whole more than just my political beliefs. I am conservative in my values system, libertarian in the belief that truly constitutional government should be small and have a limited impact on one's life. There's nothing ideologically impure in that.
In order to give Americans the freedom and liberty intended by the Founders, Constitutional government must necessarily be small and limited. Why? Because there is no "collective will." There is, instead a plethora of differing ideas and opinions among 300 million different Americans. To truly govern with the consent of the governed, the Government must get out of the way and allow everyone to live as his own concience dictates. The role of government, particularly at the Federal level should extend only to ensuring that one person's exercise of his rights does not deprive another of his, to provide for national defense, and ensure regular trade among the several States.
A lot of times, the only difference between a conservative and a libertarian is the "why." As a libertarian, I want Roe v. Wade overturned in part because the basis of the judiciary's ruling was in regard to the safety of abortion (which holds no bearing on the constitutionality of it) and also because abortion infringes upon the rights of others in the most obscene of ways: infringing upon their right to life. Many conservatives' argument against abortion is that it is morally abhorrent and a sin against human life and against our Creator. I agree on that, but I don't agree with Perry or Santorum on an all-out federal ban on abortion.
I also agree that to abort a child is murder, unless the life of the mother is endangered by bearing that child. In other words, the mother has a right to self defense. As for the Constitutional merits, let us just say that Roe v. Wade could be the poster case for the idea that the Justices should have to return to the Constitution, rather than precedent each time they decide a case.

The second article appears in an online e-zine called Undoctrination, where Rachael Williams is a staff writer. The article, entitled Expunging the Constitution One Ruling at a Time talks about recent rulings made by the Courts that are erasing rights protected by the 4th and 5th Amendments. This is very dangerous for anyone who comes under the scrutiny of the police. Under these rulings, the police can enter any home on a trumped up excuse, and once in, seize anything they can find to use against a person, and have that "evidence" stand up in Court. Indeed, it has now become so routine that Hollywood uses the device in popular cop shows to keep the pace up, and frankly because Holleywood script writers are often just plain clueless. Now, I admit that is is frustrating when someone who is doing something actually criminal gets off because the police did not go through all the legalities. But today, it is possible that someone could come crashing through your door, possibly announcing themselves, possibly not, with a gun and wearing a mask, put you in handcuffs, look at your bookshelf and notice several books like A Nation of Cowards by Jeff Snyder and Men in Black by Mark Levine, notice that you reload ammunition, see your guns and ammunition supplies, and conclude that you were a terrorist. Under these conditions, you could be detained indefinitely with no right to a lawyer, nor a right to a writ of habeas corpus. This breach of our Constitution is little short from the infamous Gulags of the Soviet Union, or the concentration camps of Nazi Germany.

Go and read more from Racheal Williams at Undoctrination.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Stupid Party Miscalculates Again

Jonah Goldberg has an interesting article up at National Review Online entitled Romney's Authenticity Problem. The article makes the point that the "Establishment Republicans" have been pushing Romney as the only one who can beat Obama. But now, they are having second thoughts:
The most persuasive case for Romney has always been that if he’s the nominee, the election will be a referendum on Obama. But that calculation always assumed that rank-and-file Republicans will vote for their nominee in huge numbers no matter what. That may well still be the case, but it feels less guaranteed every day.
We've been trying to tell you for some time. Unless you cough up a true blue, honest to goodness Conservative, a lot of your conservative base is going to sit out the election.  The reasons why should be obvious if you think about them.  We know we embarrass you.  Our insistence on our Second Amendment rights, our professed belief in God and his great gift of grace, Jesus Christ, our sense of being rugged individualists, all seem to strike you as distasteful.  We must seem like a bunch of rubes, hicks, and hayseeds crashing your masquerade ball.  But ever since 1972, the conservatives have had only one place to go.  So we have accepted your abuse, hoping that someday you would see us as a valuable partner in setting the agenda of this great nation.  Yet here we are again, with a liberal, possibly progressive, masquerading as a conservative.

Anthony Martin, the Conservative Examiner explains some of our problems with Mr. Romney in a piece entitled Reality Check: Why Romney is the Likely Nominee. Mr. Martin:
But first it is important to understand Romney from a purely traditional conservative point of view. He is no real conservative in the traditional sense but a Republican from the old eastern liberal establishment cabal in the tradition of Nelson Rockefeller, Gerald Ford, and Henry Kissinger. This is in stark contrast to Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, and modern conservatives such as Jim DeMint.
After explaining that choosing such candidates has usually cost the Republicans the White House, he goes on to point out that:
Conservatives have warned essentially since the last Presidential election that if they choose another nominee from the liberal establishment, it will spell disaster in the general election. But so far, Republicans have not heeded the warning. They are poised yet again to make a major mistake by choosing a candidate in the Rockefeller tradition.
So, why would "The Establishment" do that? I have heard theories that, for instance, what they really want is the Senate. But, even if the House stays Republican, and the Senate goes Republican, the chances of making any significant policy changes are next to nil if the Presidency remains in the hands of Barack Obama. There will be no repeal of ObamaCare as long as Obama is in the White House. If it is not repealed soon, it will never be repealed, and the United States will continue its leftward slide into third world irrelevance. So, again, why?
A conversation led by Neil Cavuto of the Fox Business Network the other evening provides the answer. Cavuto had 3 guests on his show to talk about Obama's decline and Romney's rise. Someone mentioned, perhaps Cavuto himself, that as Wall Street has had the opportunity to evaluate Obama from an investment/economic perspective, the financiers have dropped him like a hot potato. They are putting their money on Romney, according to Cavuto, who has significant contact with the movers and shakers among the Wall Street fat cats.
Rush Limbaugh is fond of saying (and I am paraphrasing here) that conservative ideas work every time they are tried. He also says that leftist ideas have failed in every country they have been tried. Don't you think it is time we tried a winning formula for a change?

Finally, More Mainstream People Recognize the Fascist Regime

For three years I have been saying that Obama is setting up a fascist system, and I have wondered if it might not turn into a fascist dictatorship. In fairness to those who have argued that Obama is transforming the nation into a European Socialist State, there were elements of that too.  But to tell the truth, whether it is Communist, Socialist, or Fascist is not really important.  All these systems lead to the same place; a place governed on a collective theory that is foreign to American soil. 

In all fairness, George Bush set some of the precedents that, in the hands of a man like Obama, became weapons used against ordinary Americans. I had forgotten that Naomi Wolff had tried to make the case that Bush was setting us up to live in a fascist dictatorship earlier.  However, I was reminded of it by an article in the American Thinker entitled Obama's Fascist America in 10 Easy Steps by Timothy Birdnow.  Particularly with the Patriot Act, Wolff had some reason to feel unease.  The provisions in that act, if turned on Americans, denied our Constitutionally protected rights.  Also, the TSA was a creation of the Bush administration, and it has only grown more thuggish since its establishment.

Birdnow only hits the highlights. If the full list of lawless infringements of the rights of Americans committed by this regime were cataloged, the article would have become a book. This regime, has engaged in crony capitalism, elimination of the rule of laws, and tearing up the Constitution to a degree never before seen. The property of Americans has been stolen from them to enrich "friends of Barack."  More comes to light every day. His "signing statement" for the recently passed National Defense Authorization Act indicate that Obama no longer sees a need to follow Congressional directives, even though he signs them. If Obama sees no reason to follow Congressional directives, it is a sure bet that the agencies of the Executive Branch, like the EPA, no longer see a need to follow them either.

Then there are the blatant lies, told right to your face, that both he and you know are lies. Most politicians will tell you what you want to hear, if they can convince themselves that such a spin serves some higher purpose. I don't believe that most politicians overtly and intentionally lie. They may spin the truth sometimes, but not intentionally lie. But this administration lies all the time. They lie to Congress about the deals they make, they lie to the people in speeches. Glenn Beck had a piece on GBTV the other day, with the author of the book How Do You Kill 11 Million People, Andy Andrews. The answer is you lie to them. If you lie often enough, and big enough, and with enough sincerity, you can get them to cooperate in their own murders.

The NDAA is one of the scariest Acts passed to date.  That it was supported by those supposedly on our side makes it even more of a betrayal.  True conservatives should know that there is no such thing as a "collective will" that can be expressed by one man.  True conservatives, those we used to call liberals before liberals became leftists, try to persuade, but in the end, huge swaths of life are not touched by government, not because they don't want to, but because to touch them means a loss of a governing majority, and a loss of legitimacy.  The Left, on the other hand, does believe in this "collective will."  They believe it so fervently, that they go to extraordinary lengths when the theory is shown to be false.  They create in their minds the notion of "false consciousness" that blind "the masses" who must be led by a "vanguard" to true consciousness of the collective will.  But they recognize too that some can not be "educated."  They have a solution for that, too.      

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Jeff Knox Makes a Christmas Wish. Santa Gives Him Coal Instead

Jeff Knox has a good article over at World Net Daily entitled All I Wanted for Christmas: Fewer Stupid Gun Laws that points out the enormous annual costs of gun control. Hat tip to David Codrea of the War on Guns for pointing me to the article.

Knox firsts points out the personal costs of gun control:

In order to take advantage of the great deal from my friends in Prescott, I had to either drive up there or call and have the gun shipped to a dealer closer to my home in the Phoenix area. Driving up to Prescott takes over 2 hours each way and would burn close to $50 worth of gas. Having the gun shipped down to a local dealer would add a $22 shipping charge plus a $35 transfer fee from my local dealer. Either way, I would have to fill out paperwork and get approved through the NICS “instant” background check system.

My sister, who lives in Prescott, could have gone down to J&G and picked up the gun for me, except that’s illegal. If she were buying the gun for me as a gift, that would be OK, but if she were to buy it on my behalf or with the intention of selling it to me, that would be considered a “straw purchase” and she could face 5 years and $50,000 in penalties.
But that's not all. If you wish to carry your gun legally, you must also get a Concealed Handgun License. In some States, that can be as much as $100 dollars every five years, plus training requirements. Altogether, it can cost you quite a bit to exercise your right to keep and bear arms. Remember too that a lot of gun control laws grew out of the war on so-called "Saturday Night Specials," those cheap guns supposedly used by poor people to defend themselves against those who would prey on them. We may now have a higher quality class of firearms, but at what price?

But there is another message which could get lost in Mr. Knox's article:
There were some 16 million NICS checks conducted in 2011 at a direct cost of more than a billion dollars. That billion dollars comes out of your paycheck, and the value received for it is highly questionable. There has never been a single study indicating that the background check system has reduced violent crime. Still, a NICS check is required every time I buy a gun from a dealer. It doesn’t matter how many guns I already own or how many I have recently purchased. Each time I wish to add to my collection, I am placed under suspicion and investigated anew. Couldn’t those billions have been used to fund proven, effective crime-fighting programs or to keep serious criminals behind bars longer?

One of the principles under girding our legal system is that we are innocent until the State proves us guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. We often take that for granted, but there are many places where you are automatically guilty until you prove yourself innocent.  But our system is supposed to assume we are innocent. The background check turns that principle on its head. Now you are guilty until the State satisfies itself that there is no evidence of your guilt. Further, by imposing a background check before you purchase your gun, the State is creating a prior restraint. Imagine if I had to get permission from the State prior to publishing this blog. Do you think they would let me? Do you think most of the articles that are linked to in the blog would have been published. "Shall not be infringed" means that no prior restraint should be placed on the keeping and bearing of arms.

Of course, I can hear you now saying "but we don't want criminals to have guns! What's to keep the criminal from just going in and buying a gun from Walmart, if we didn't have this background check?" My answer is that criminals don't get their guns through legal means. They steal them, of purchase them through the black market. Criminals don't get a background check, only the law abiding individual submits to it. So, what is the real purpose? Who is inconvenienced by it?

The answer to these questions becomes obvious with a little thought.  By some counts, there are 20,000 gun laws on the books at the Federal, State, and local level.  Nobody can be aware of all of them, much less observe them all.  Because of background checks, concealed carry laws, and a stunning array of other laws that you might not know about until you break one, most people no longer carry a gun as a matter of routine.  That is, of course, the purpose of all those laws.   

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Perfect Murder

I had a conversation with our Pastor, in which he mentioned that he was personally against the death penalty.  He pointed out that the death penalty did not serve as a deterrent, therefore it should be dropped. I admit that I had not given a whole lot of thought to it, but I felt it should be available as a prosecutorial option, rarely used to be sure, but an option.  If we acknowledge that man has free will; that man is in fact a moral agent, then we have to allow the death penalty for the taking of a life.  The criminal who decides to kill another had a choice.  He was not forced to kill, a gun was not held to his head. And clearly, the law does not sanction killing other people. He could have avoided committing the crime.  I am aware of the studies that claim to show that the death penalty is not a deterrent to committing murder.  But if the same methods were used for other crimes, I doubt they would show that the penalty for robbery deters robberies either.  Thus we would have no penalties for any crime.  I don't know about you, gentle reader, but I am not ready to face the Hobbesian world that would result.

My thinking about the death penalty took a slightly different turn today when I read an article in the American Thinker entitled Crime Without Punishment by Lester Jackson. Jackson presents the practical side of eliminating the death penalty, and it is not pretty.

Out of thin air, a right has been officially and surreptitiously created exclusively for select previously convictedmurderers: the right to commit, cost-free, further violence, and even further murders. When judges, legislators, and governors make capital punishment impossible in willful defiance of great public support, they liberate those already serving life sentences to fearlessly perpetrate as many additional vicious crimes as they can because they face no greater penalty.
This sounds ominous, but aren't these guys already in prison? How can they commit more murders? Jackson tells us in gory detail:

A recent vivid illustration occurred when a lone Oregon elected officeholder joined elected officeholders from other states (e.g., New Mexico, New Jersey, Illinois, and potentially Connecticut) in defying the public. (Last July, the Supreme Court fell one vote short of saving a brutal murderer based on a never-enacted law proposed by a solitary legislator.) On November 22, Gov. John Kitzhaber declared a death penalty "moratorium" during his term in office, expressly barring Gary Haugen's scheduled December 6 execution for a barbarous slaughter while serving a life sentence. In 1981, Haugen raped Mary Archer and beat her to death with repeated blows from his fist, a hammer, and a baseball bat. In 2003, together with another inmate, Haugen murdered a third inmate, David Polin, by stabbing him 84 times and crushing his skull. After humbly seeking expert consultation with "mostly myself," Kitzhaber found all this insufficient to warrant execution.
Or this:
In 1981, while serving multiple life sentences for multiple murders, Lemuel Smith beat, strangled, bit off the nipples of, and murdered Donna Payant, a 31-year-old prison guard and mother of three, finally throwing her body into the garbage to be compacted. (This was not the first time he sank his teeth into his murder victim's nipples.) A 4-3 majority of the New York State Court of Appeals used this case to foist their unpopular moral values upon an unwilling public by declaring unconstitutional the state's death penalty law. Despite legal window dressing which the minority found specious, Smith himself left no doubt that, at bottom, the bare majority valued his life, but not the lives of the guard or Smith's previous torture-murder victims, to say nothing of possible future ones.
What is driving this seems to be yet another Leftist "do-gooder" idea that somehow we may be executing huge numbers of innocent people. Cases like the case of 57 year old Michael Morton who spent 25 years in prison, but was exonerated due to DNA evidence lend credibility to the argument. And one has to applaud the work of people such as the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence (NCCAI) who are looking into, and finding, people wrongly convicted of crimes and freeing them. At the same time, they should be going after overly zealous prosecutors who may have stepped over the line in their efforts to make a conviction. The defense should always be given more latitude than the prosecutor, and any exculpatory evidence should be turned over to the defense. Prosecutors should always be trying to find the truth, and not merely try to get convictions.

While the work of the NCCAI is important, what is the actual percentage of people convicted of a capital crime are actually innocent? Do our courts actually convict a large percentage of innocent people, while we know that they let many dangerous and violent people go free?

Frankly, I suspect it is part of the Leftists plan to create as much chaos and havoc in society as they can. Removing the death penalty, and at the same time advocating for a system that lets repeat offenders back out to commit more crimes undermines peoples confidence in the law.  A panicked public will not always make the best decisions, allowing a politician to come riding to the rescue and offer to "fix" it for them.    

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Potentially Productive Citizen Rots in a New York Jail

The New York Post has an article calling for a more common sense approach to New York's gun laws when tourists are involved. The article, entitled Common Sense on Guns makes a point that when so many states now have shall issue concealed carry laws, people who have no criminal intent (mens rea) are likely to show up carrying guns for self defense from time to time. That being the case, perhaps New Yorkers should stop panicking and throwing the book at them, as they appear to be doing to Tennessee medical school student Meredith Graves.  Graves visited the 9/11 memorial over the holidays, noticed the gun free zone sign at the entrance, and asked a security officer where she could check her gun.  Graves is a permit holder in Tennessee.  The security guard promptly called police who arrested her.

I feel sympathy for Ms. Graves, I really do.  New York City gun laws are irredeemably unjust, and as these fine criminal defense attorneys explain, they don't even obey Federal law that protects travelers merely transiting through their airports. New Yorkers seem to take their gun control very seriously, and ignorance of their laws does not let you off the hook.

Fortunately, there are ways to find out about the laws of any state you may be traveling through.  Your first stop should be Handgun Laws US. The keeping of this information is done by volunteers, but the information for my state, North Carolina, seems up to date. Looking at NYC, we see that New York City does not honor any other state permit, including New York State without a NYC endorsement. Then, there are the Attorney Generals of the various states. I have to admit that the New York State Attorney General's web site doesn't seem to mention guns anywhere, but that might just be a clue.

New York's gun control law is called the the Sullivan Act, named after a notorious Irish mobster, New York State Senator, and influence peddler in the corrupt Democrat machine known as Tammany Hall. Around the time of its passage, in 1911, the Italian mafiosi were taking over from the Jewish and Irish mobs. The Italians would shoot first, and ask questions later, if at all. So, to disarm them, Sullivan got his law passed. It didn't work, of course. The criminal element, the Irish and Jewish mobs and the mafiosi, ignored the law. The people who were disarmed were the peaceable citizens. The sordid history of laws like the Sullivan Act, or of laws that sought the disarmament of the black community in the South should cause considerable soul searching for anyone advocating for more of these laws. Gun control laws don't end violence, they merely embolden the criminals among us. And they catch people like Meredith Graves, who wasn't going to shoot anybody.

Update: National Review Online had an opinion piece by Robert VerBruggen. VerBruggans opinion is that Graves should rot in prison. NRO is a New York City publication. What fascinated me, though, were the comments, many of them well argued. Jeff Knox even makes an appearance. Go and take a look.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Liberty and Virtue, Rights and Responsibities

Two excellent think pieces from the American Thinker today are both on the relationship between freedom and liberty on the one hand, and the need to exercise virtue on the other. Liberty without virtue becomes in short order licentiousness. Licentiousness leads inevitably to authoritarian regimes to impose at least the outward appearance of virtue.  Stated another way, our rights have corresponding responsibilities.

The first is an article entitled Timshel, America by Cindy Simpson. Simpson points out that the English translations of the Bible have translated Genesis 4:7 wrongly. The English translation of the verb "timshel" has been "shall" which would indicate that God ordered Cain to overcome his sinful thoughts. But the actual Hebrew text is that Cain "may" overcome his sinful thoughts, or he may not. It is up to Cain.

In point of fact, it is up to each of us, every day. We have free will, as God indicates in this passage. But to exercise our liberty, we must learn to govern ourselves. Indeed, that used to be the main point in raising children; to take barbarians who display all the attributes of a sociopath, and train them up to govern themselves in civil society. Simpson:

Dr. Patrick Deneen, in his presentation "Community AND Liberty OR Individualism AND Statism" for the I.S.I. conference on "The Language of Liberty," explained that in earlier times, liberty was considered "the cultivated ability to exercise self-governance, to limit ourselves in accordance with our nature and the natural world. The various practices by which we exercise self-limitation and self-governance is comprehensively called virtue...the inability or unwillingness to exercise virtue was tantamount to the absence of liberty...Thus, for the ancients, law was not an unnatural imposition of humanity's natural freedom; rather, law (ideally, a self-imposed law) was the necessary and enabling condition for liberty."
The breakdown in the system of virtues which had previously obtained began in the early part of the 20th century. The "flapper" was an open and visible sign of that breakdown. While certainly most of the supposed flappers were merely trying to look like the in-crowd, the in-crowd youth became more licentious, using drugs and having casual sex out of wedlock. The great depression put an end to the age of the flapper. It was the hippie generation that truly overturned the old virtues that they considered outmoded. Too bad they had not studied a little more history. Any time that it is perceived that the people can not, or will not exercise virtue on their own, then the State is eventually called upon to impose these virtues by force, and of course the State is all to happy to oblige. But by imposing virtues by force, the State takes away the very essence being virtuous, and infantilizes the population. Simpson again:

While our personal New Year's resolutions are still fresh on our minds, another kind of resolve for "We the People" must also be contemplated: the vital need to halt the loss of individual freedom -- an eroding movement that has gained in momentum and threatens to ultimately transform our nation into a tyranny that commands of its people, "do thou." We must strive to assert the responsibility found in "thou mayest."
The second article at the American Thinker, on the same theme, is America: The Living Portrait of Dorian Gray by John Griffing. After going through a litany of liberties lost, and Constitutionally protected rights ignored, Griffing writes this:

At the root of all these changes is not merely one political deviant, or even some organized conspiracy to overthrow freedom and decency in America. It is the collective abandonment of God and associated moral virtue by a once-God-fearing people.
He goes on to sound the alarm, not unlike an Old Testament Prophet:

More recently, a gang of about fifty teenage girls is reported to have camped outside a classmate's home with guns and knives, shouting death threats at the intended victim. Two police who intervened were beaten within inches of their lives by this lawless teenage mob. Teenagers no longer fit the Americana Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello mold.

Few can deny that a substantial shift in community instincts has occurred. Remember when the injury of a fellow citizen would bring the help of others, and maybe the police? Now it brings phone-cameras and crowds of entertained observers. Something is terribly wrong in America.
Yes, something is terribly wrong in America. What is wrong is that we no longer value or practice traditional virtues. Please understand that true religious faith is not required to practice virtue, but it does help if more people trust in Divine Providence. How else can we hope to change a generation of people who seem to have embarked on a nihilistic path without a firm reliance on God.

Freedom itself is the result of a nation with laws. And nations with laws are the product of cultures grounded in religious morality. The two items are inseparable. Legal boundaries are based on moral boundaries. For example, why is it wrong to kill if there is no God, or alternatively, no universal source of morality?

In the same way, what is done in private cannot be separated from what is done in public. At some point, worlds collide, and lawlessness is unleashed. Warped minds in private will always yield warped behavior in public. This claim is substantiated in numerous psychological studies.
We are often at pains to assert our natural rights, but those rights have corresponding responsibilities. Our right to bear arms presupposes that we will not use those arms to murder our fellow man. The right to a free press presupposes that we will not commit libel. Once we no longer recognize our responsibilities, our rights disappear as well.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Winston Salem Journal Gets It Wrong on Guns in Parks

"Yet anytime you and I question the schemes of the do-gooders, we are denounced as being against their humanitarian goals. They say we are always "against" things, never "for" anything. Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant, but that they know so much that isn't so... "  Ronald Reagan, A Time for Choosing October 27, 1964.

The Winston Salem Journal is at it again, compounding ignorance with an anti-gun agenda to create an editorial more notable for lies and half truths than for useful information.  The first thing the Journal should do is its own research.  You see, concealed carriers are actually 5 times LESS likely to shoot somebody than the average person in North Carolina. Indeed, as the NYT inadvertently proved, people with concealed carry permits are far more responsible than the average person when it comes to murder, violent crimes, or drunk driving. That is not to say that those who have a permit to carry are perfect but it does point to this group being far safer than the norm.  If I had a group of concealed carry permit holders around me, I would feel pretty safe.  Go and check out The Truth About Guns website for all the facts.

Next, the editorialists seem to take a great leap of logic off the page and into the great blue sky with this closing statement:

On this page, we recently praised the Winston-Salem City Council for exempting most city parks from the new state law allowing those with concealed-carry permits to strap on their handguns in public parks. We support the Second Amendment, but it has to be applied with common sense.

We realize that there are plenty of responsible permit holders out there, but most have never had to fire at a human being in the midst of an emotional situation. And while troublemakers may be relatively few, the damage and tragedy they can inflict is large. Expanding concealed-gun rules is not worth the danger to the rest of us — and to our children.
Now the great leap occurs here because they assume, apparently that if concealed carry permit holders did not have guns, nobody would. Right? How else to explain the thinking going on here. It is rather like the You Tube Video seen here. But if dissuading people who mean to do you harm was so easy, I doubt guns would have been invented in the first place. So which would you rather have when your children are playing on the teeter-totter and some bad guy tries to abduct them: a cell phone, or a cell phone and a gun. It has become cliche, but when seconds count, the police are minutes away.  And if there is you, with your gun, and someone else has a gun too, chances are your bad guy is going to run away.

The editorialists close with a typical tag line that conjures up the notion of "for the children." It has become so well worn that it should be a trademarked term.  In any case, two can play at that. I take my grand children to the park when it is nice out. Mrs. PolyKahr is convinced that sending the kids to the park helps to wear them down when it comes time to go to bed. I am not so sure, but that's a story for another day. Having been permitted to carry, believe me I want that advantage if someone tries to abduct my grand kids. You take a fat old out of shape fart like me facing a fit 20 year old armed with at least a knife, possibly a gun? Hell, yes I want to equalize the odds if I can.

But there is moral argument to be made in favor of the idea that the peaceful armed citizen should be allowed to carry anywhere he chooses.  The State, be it the city or the county, ultimately can not prevent someone who means harm to others from carrying pretty much anywhere that person chooses, short of setting up an oppressive police state.  Perhaps this is what the Winston Salem Journal wants, but it is not what we have now.  Laws on the books only allow prosecution after the peaceful armed citizen is dead, and signs only warn that the bad guy is about to incur another charge.  That being the case, the defense of our lives, and the lives of our young, depend on us alone.  Shouldn't we then be able to make our own determination about where and when we are going to carry a weapon?  Why should I let others, who will not be there if the gravest extreme should rear its ugly head, make those decisions for me.