January 25, 2005

Absolutism 201: Principle v. Pragmatism

To refresh, please see Absolutisim 101: Prior Restraint (if you haven't seen it before).

A lot of people have problems with Absolutists because of the conclusions Absolutism can lead to.

For example not many people want a 10 year old to walk into a grocery store & walk out with an Uzi. While I can vividly picture myself doing that at age ten & feeling rather damn good about life (much better than a bicycle) I can understand those concerns.

A lot of people won't accept a principle unless its application seems reasonable to them. If the conclusion of a principle seems too burdensome or absurd they discount the principle. For example if it was proven that buying petroleum products supported an evil organization & there was a principle that said you had to refrain from financially supporting evil organizations the obvious conclusion would be to stop buying petroleum products. Sounds great in theory but who the hell is gonna start walking everyplace & let a perfectly good car rust in the driveway? So that principle would be rejected because the practical implications are too burdensome.

This is where Absolutists really differ from other people - they'd stop driving if principle demanded it. They're more of a principle first type whereas others are a pragmatism first type.

Here's the thing though - Absolutists don't see it as a choice between principle and pragmatism. Both are intertwined & inseparable. The straw man listed above (or straw kid rather) is not something that marks a choice between principle & pragmatism.

Of course we wouldn't want most 10 year olds walking out of stores with brand new Uzis (after all they could drop it & damage the finish). We don't want serial killers grabbing shotguns fresh from the factory either. But in both instances crafting a law forbidding sale or possession isn't the pragmatic choice - it's the band aid most often used because the principled & pragmatic choice seems too simple.

For the kid the parents should determine what he/she may or may not buy. Failing that you have the store owner deciding who to sell to. & as a last resort there's the free market - know many 10 year olds who can pony up a few grand for an Uzi? With those three factors in place a law against sale isn't as necessary as you'd think.

& yes, there could be irresponsible parents coupled with an irresponsible store owner & a kid with a few grand - but those things could happen now despite the law.

The serial killer - that's too easy. If convicted of a heinous crime such as unjustifiable murder or rape - kill him. A lesser but still horrible offense? Keep him in jail until we're sure he's not too dangerous to have access to a car. If we let him out the problem wouldn't be lax gun laws (as you can get any firearm you want with the right connections & cash) but a lax criminal justice system.

In a lot of ways it's simply a difference of focus: the non-Absolutist pro gunner thinks some gun control laws are worth the intrusion on principle to achieve certain laudable ends (keeping people with harmful or negligent intent from possessing arms) but the Absolutist simply sees other more effective means of achieving those same goals without compromising on principles.

Desegregation is a good example. We all know that a result of the Civil Rights movement of the 50's & 60's was anti-discrimination laws & desegregation right? Now tell me what would be ideal - desegregation because of law or desegregation because of an educated & unprejudiced populace? We can all agree that the latter would be the best means of going about things. Some would argue though that the law provides a quicker means of achieving the same end. But the law only affects things on the surface & at the expense of a very important principle - free association.

Whether I feel it's right or wrong a person should be able to choose who he is around when he's on his own property. So if the owner of a diner wants to exclude black people then no law should force him to go against his inclinations. What should happen is people should stop eating there until he sees the light or goes out of business. It's a slower means of achieving the same end, but one without the hazards of stepping on a principle to ensure a desirable outcome.

It's similar to gun laws, with the exception that in most cases gun laws are not effective at the desired end. Registration? It doesn't deter those with harmful intent but it does help those who seek confiscation. Licensing? Again it doesn't stop murderers but it does soften the people up to accepting increased control over their Right to Arms with the perils of registration thrown in for good measure. Bans on certain types of firearms? It does nothing to curb crime but it does make criminals out of otherwise decent people simply for possessing a verboten object.

Want to stop crime? Want to stop negligent behavior? Education, not legislation is the best chance. But when we try to legislate who may or may not own firearms &/or of what type &/or in what circumstance we step on a very big principle (the Right to Arms) for no measurable gain.

It comes back to punishing people for having the potential to cause harm. Some see this as the only viable option; that a principle which would eliminate this as a possibility fails to address reality. But the Absolutist sees it differently: that there is not enough real or imagined benefit to justify neglecting principle.

Some things are a balance. Security & freedom cannot occupy the same space at the same time. If you have 60% security then you can have at most 40% freedom. Increase one & the other must decrease. This is not the case with principles. Principles are not lofty ethereal creations never meant to intersect with the material world. If they mean anything at all they must be acted upon & at times even in the face of dire consequences.

But often acting on principles does not result in the dire consequences we fear. Remember when you were a kid? Did you ever break something accidentally? Now the inclination would be to not say a damn word about it as that might forestall your parents figuring out you broke it. But depending on the circumstances if you confessed to them the punishment was not as harsh as you feared if there was punishment at all.

So it is with following the Absolutist path towards the Right to Arms. In theory some potentially bad situations could result but in actuality those would be as rare if not rarer than occur right now. 10 year old kids get hold of guns & act irresponsibly. Not that often but enough that it’s noticeable (even if statistically speaking it’s insignificant). Repealing the laws concerning gun sales & possession would not make the number of 10 year olds involved in negligent shootings jump. Responsible parents, responsible firearms sellers & the free market all combine to keep irresponsible 10 year olds from handling guns. I don’t see how that’d change because we repeal a law that punishes actions after the fact.

As far as prior restraint based gun control is concerned there isn't a choice between principle and pragmatism to be made. You can have both or neither. The Absolutist sees this where others possibly don't.

I can understand how people who view things as a choice between principles & pragmatism would dismiss the Absolutist view as untenable. & if it were such a choice they may have been correct. But it's not. You can have both. That's one the of the main hurdles Absolutists have in explaining themselves to others - trying to convince them that it's either both principle & pragmatism or neither, instead of following a principle or following a pragmatic approach.

Posted by Publicola at 04:59 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 24, 2005


I'll probably be posting later today & tomorrow but I wanted to get this out of the way while I knew for certain I'd be near a keyboard.

Tomorrow - January 25th - will mark two years for me as a blogger. Here's a link to last year's bloggiversary post.

For the helluvit here's an interview the lovely miss Annika did of me a while back.

I don't really have a "best of" section to point to, but there are some thing you might find interesting (if you missed them the first go around) in the Essays & Such category as well as the Hewit Arguments category, the Hobbesian Arguments category & the X Arguments category. (Hey - arguing is what I do best - or most often it seems.)

Thanks for your patronage. I do appreciate everyone who drops by - even those who disagree with me on certain issues. It's probably in bad taste to request your own bloggiversary present but there is something I'd like:

This past year I went shooting a handful of times. Never made it hunting. A large part of that was because I was blogging. What I want this year is simple: I want to be able to spend more time putting lead downrange than fighting (albeit through my meager means) idiotic gun control proposals. Anything you can do to help would be appreciated beyond words. It'd be nice if I could spend more time writing about gunsmithing or target shooting than gun laws & policies.

So ride your congress critters very hard. Make sure they understand that you & everyone you know will not tolerate any more gun control laws on the local, state or federal level. Hell, make them afraid for their jobs if they don't start repealing some of the laws we have now.

It's not very likely to happen that way but if you'd do one thing for me (& yourselves) this year then do that: put just a little more effort into stopping gun control laws.

Again I much appreciate you dropping by. Thanks to all of you who've read, linked, commented &/or argued with me & many thanks to the North State Blogs; the Rebel Alliance; the Munuvians & of course Pixy Misa.

Posted by Publicola at 05:02 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


Fuz is soliciting comments about the NRA's Board of director elections that are around the corner.

I've closed the coments to this post so mosey on over to Fuz's place & drop your two cents. If you're curious about mine - I'm not enamored by the NRA's elctoral process. It's a confusing little mess at best. But if I do come up with anything I feel is snarky insightful I'll post it over there.

Posted by Publicola at 03:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Around Colorado - And Beyond

Some odds & ends from Colorado.

Sen. Salazar (D-Co) gave some advice to his replacement. Salazar is leaving the state attorney general spot for the u.S. Senate. In that advice he discussed four pending matters he felt the new AG should pay attention to. Can you guess where the state's pre-emption law was on that list? If you guessed "absent" you'd be correct.

Now that's not saying Gov. Owens won't ask the new AG to get on the ball with the appeal. But it's not in the top four things on Salazar’s mind, & presumably it’s not on the new AG's mind either.

Meanwhile I'm in Denver as I write this, with property Denver prohibits yet the Colorado constitution exempts from prior restraint based law. & no, I haven't spent a dime since I hit the city limits nor will I spend one until I'm out.

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners has the 2005 billwatch page up. The only offering so far is a bill to eliminate some language from the "gun show loophole" law that the mindless sheep good people of Colorado hastily passed after being scared witless by two thugs who shot up a school.

& if you're wondering how Colorado's newest contribution to the Senate will be - look, he's a Democrat & he's been known to ask a drunken gun grabbing killer for advice.

From that same link you'll see that Kennedy says ex-Denver mayor Webb is among four contenders for the DNC chairmanship. Webb is the sniveling petty little bastard that pushed the lawsuit to invalidate the state's firearm pre-emption law when it comes to Denver. I do not care if he's out of office at the moment, he deserves to be shunned. If he does wind up heading the DNC we're gonna have an interesting time of it.

In other news of interest around Colorado I'm damned near finished with re-stocking my Garand. Considering my less than meager wood working ability this should rate front page on a local paper - well, if they weren't all staffed by gun-ignorant hoplophobes that is.

& if I seem a little bitter it probably has something to do with being 64 cents poorer every time I have to by a pack of smokes.

I was joking with a friend the other day when he asked for a cigarette; mainly ribbing him about voting for the damned tax increase on smokes. I believe I phrased it as "well you probably weren't fool enough to vote for that". In the next room his girlfriend chimed in with “I voted for it. Why?" The rest wasn't pleasant.

He stood in between us & tried to tell me that I couldn't win against her. Now this was after she justified her vote by telling me she shouldn't have to breathe second hand smoke. It was with great restraint that I didn’t tell her it was much more unpleasant for me to inhale a foul socialist stench. Anyway I calmly explained to him that I was not dependent on her for sex so my odds of losing were much less than his. I went on to explain that she was immoral for deciding to jack up the price of a product which she neither used nor sold & that I really didn't care about winning I just wanted her to realize that she owed me 64 expletive deleted cents.

They thought I was joking.

But she typifies the person who did vote for the smoke tax; pretentious, possibly well meaning, but statist as hell. For the record she went on to defend the merits of socialism against the evil repressive capitalism which enslaved us all. Now most voters probably aren't as hard core Marxist as she was, but it starts in stages. It's kinda like messing around with the Dark Side of the Force, "...once you start down its path forever will it dominate your destiny."

But that's all I know of interest that's happening in Colorado. When I get the Garand put together I'll take some pics & do a post on how I did it. & if I can do it any damn body can.

One last thing: Colorado is in the legislative hands of the Democrats. It's not going to be that much different than the RINO legislatures I've seen since I've been here, but I do expect some bi-partisan effort towards some rather nasty gun laws this year. For example I can see a state level "assault weapons" ban being proposed at some point. Mainly the RINO's can now claim any gun laws that are passed are the Dems fault, no matter how many Repubs voted for it. Rocky Mountain Gun Owners is the main opposition that the gun control lobby in Colorado will face. The NRA or its state affiliate the CSSA? Humanoid please.

The NRA is no friend of the Colorado gun owner - well unless he only likes to use his guns for duck hunting or NRA sanctioned target shooting. RMGO is. Think of them as a state level Gun Owners of America minus the leash.

I say all this to preface a pitch for them. If you'd like to join or just send an anonymous donation here's the link. They'll need all the help they can get this year - & until the legislature changes to a more gun friendly composition. They have to go defensive instead of offensive. Both are expensive but losing defense has more dire results than losing offense. Send them some cash if you can.

Posted by Publicola at 03:37 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 21, 2005

Safe Schools

David Codrea has an article in the February issue of Guns magazine called Safe Schools.

Go read.

Posted by Publicola at 04:30 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 18, 2005

Rest In Peace

In case you haven't heard Neal Knox passed away. It happened Monday the 17th after a struggle with colon cancer. Here's a message Mr. Knox wrote on January 5th, 2005 about his condition.

We've lost a great friend & he will be missed.

Posted by Publicola at 01:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 16, 2005

If This Keeps Up Maybe I Can Retire

As I don't think my blogroll is near big enough here are some new editions:

Hammer Of Truth; My Side Of The Couch; Old Blind Dog; One In A Row...; Pejmanesque; Scott's Space; The Micheal Bane Blog; & Wadcutter.

Give them a read.

Posted by Publicola at 01:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Posterity Forgot The Wrong People

mASSBACKWARDS (who I thought I blogrolled a while back but apperently I'm just now getting around to it) has a post on a very disturbing situation in Brighton, Massachusetts.

Man, wife & child are waiting on a friend. A knock comes at the door. The wife opens the door to find two masked men with guns barging their way in. Man sees wife being held at gunpoint. Masked man starts retreating with wife in his grasp. Man charges masked man, wrestles gun away & shoots masked man in the stomach.

What happens? The friggin cops arrest the man & steal his gun! The charges? His papers weren't in order & he defended his family.

The man in question, one Sean E. Roisten had let his FOID lapse about 5 months ago. He faces charges of unlawful possession of a firearm & assault with a deadly weapon. To top it all off the reporter Erin Smith listed his address in the story.

Let me cut off something right now: the article says that Mr. Roisten shot the masked man as he was fleeing & after he had been disarmed. Do not tell me he acted unjustifiably. His family was threatened by the actions of the masked men. The masked men were not above using deadly force as exemplified by their implied threats of it (i.e. pointing a firearm at Mrs. Roisten). Now I'm all for a speedy & fair trial & innocence should e presumed until guilt is proven. But Mr. Roisten was there as it happened. From his perspective these men were guilty of threatening the lives & well being of him & his family. That threat did not cease when the one masked man was disarmed, nor did it cease when both masked men headed for the door. The threat will only cease when both men are dead.

Now the threat was diminished when the one masked man was disarmed & it'll be diminished as long as the masked men do not come in contact with Mr. Roisten or his family. But they showed a deliberate willingness to use force against Mr. Roisten &/or his family. When they lost their advantage they ran. That does not mean they will not seek to gain advantage again or that their motives will be pure from here on out because they were bested in a confrontation.

It's like a man cheating on his wife (or vice versa): if a man wants to cheat on his wife but keeps striking out is he really being faithful? In the same light a man who is not a threat to your family because you can best him is still a potential threat.

In any event Massachusetts law probably severely curtails what I & I'd imagine most of you feel should be justifiable self defense. Legally Mr. Roisten may have committed a crime by shooting an unarmed intruder even though moments before he had threatened his family & was still in Mr. Roisten's house when he was shot.

But stealing his gun & charging him with unlawful possession? For defending his home? In Massachusetts unlawful possession is a felony. If convicted Mr. Roisten would never legally possess a firearm in the united States. I'd assume the assault with a deadly weapon is a felony as well.

Technically Mr. Roisten may have violated the law. Given the circumstances (as we know of them at the moment) I think we can all agree that he does not deserve a felony conviction. Here is some contact info for what I gather to be the appropriate parties:

Captain William Evans is the head of Boston Police Department's District 14. He can be reached at (617)343-4260

The commissioner of the Boston P.D. is Kathleen M. O'Toole. The number for the Boston P.D. is (617)343-4200 & there's also a public feedback form. The Boston Police Department's Office of Media Relations can be reached at (617)343-4520

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino can be reached at (617)635-4500 or via e-mail at Mayor@ci.boston.ma.us There's also a Mayor's on-line constituent services page which is an online form (requiring address) to file complaints of a non-emergency nature with the mayor's office.

Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney can be reached at (617) 725-4005 or via this web page.

Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly can be reached at (617) 727-2200.

As usual inform them of your displeasure at this turn of events & ask they drop all charges & return the property they stole from Mr. Roisten; namely his pistol. & mention that until they correct such behavior there's little chance you'll ever grace Boston or Massachusetts for that matter with your tourist dollars.

I'd be remiss in not pointing out that almost 230 years ago (not that far from Brighton, Massachusetts) a shooting war started between the people of Massachusetts & their lawful government because a military force (acting in what we'd think of today as a police role) tried to confiscate arms. Do you really think that any of those men at Lexington Green or Concord North Bridge would have thought it permissible because they didn't have the proper papers or they used a firearm to repel a boarder in their own home? Did Samuel Adams risk his life for this? Or would he hope fervently that posterity forget that these people running Massachusetts today are his ancestors?

Also check out Geek With A .45's commentary on the subject

Posted by Publicola at 12:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 15, 2005


Kevin of The Smallest Minority has a piece up entitled Why Ballistic Fingerprinting Doesn't (and Won't) Work.

Go read.

Posted by Publicola at 10:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

They Misunderstand

"There is a strong sense of protection of privacy by all of the administrators of DMV records, because we know the value of the information we've been entrusted with,' said George Tatum, North Carolina's Department of Motor Vehicle commissioner. 'We just want you to be who you say you are."

"The information you give us right now is confidential and private,' [Betty Serian, deputy secretary for safety administration at Pennsylvania's Transportation Department] said. 'It's not in any way compromised by this new legislation."

Those quotes came from this article concerning federal standards for driver's licenses. The article has a brief summation of the new legislation (though not a very specific one) & is centered around the concerns of people who fear that their information may be stolen & the responses from beauracrats in favor of the federal standards.

But nothing was mentioned about the concerns of people like me.

While worried about someone else stealing my identity the big problems I have with this are that the feds have no authority or business mandating this to the states (which they technically don't do - more on that later) & more importantly the feds do not have the need or authority to implement such a database as would be constructed under the new standards.

"States can opt out — refuse to make changes to their driver's licenses that will be required under the federal law — but then the licenses would be useless for any federal purpose, from getting benefits to boarding an airplane guarded by federal screeners."

So this is a different tactic than they usually use. Often when the feds don't have the authority to force the states to do their bidding (for example raising the drinking age from 18 to 21 or lowering the BAC limit from .10 to .08) they'll say that any state that doesn't do a specific thing will not receive federal funds until they do. Now they'll have the people of a state demanding their state comply so they can get their benefits or board a plane.

Ya know I'm still looking in the constitution for the justification that permits the feds to dictate standards for boarding a plane. I know they'll say it's the Interstate Commerce Clause but I find that to be a very broad reading.

But the feds have no reason to have access to that type of information. Hell, according to my copy of the constitution they have no authority to enforce the majority of the laws they pass concerning individual citizens. Course it will be raised that there wasn't a driver’s license to debate about during the ratification of the constitution. To which I will surely respond that generally permission to travel was not seen as a necessary or proper function of government back then.

Jed over at Freedom Sight has been covering privacy related issues quite a bit lately. He's posted about an identity thief getting caught, data aggregation company Choicepoint on Privacy, a discussion about Choicepoint vs. Epic, more on Choicepoint vs. Epic, in certain parts of Texas an SSN being required for trash collection, & privacy after death.

Gunner of No Quarters also posts a bit on privacy. Here's one on a court decision saying GPS transmitters attached to one's car by cops does not require a warrant. Here's one on Green Bay cops getting a person's fingerprints for traffic tickets with the follow up that Green Bay stopped after many complaints. He posted about Maryland admitting their "ballistic fingerprinting" program was useless (yes that's a privacy issue as well) as well as cops in Massachusetts going door to door for DNA.

But perhaps the most relevant one I've seen is from Gunner who simply posted the words of Edward Gibbon (author of The Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire [also look here]) concerning Athens:

"In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all — security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again."

Now some of you may be thinking that standardization of driver's licenses is a good thing. It will make it harder to steal I.D.'s & make I.D. required activities such as voting more fraud proof.

To this I must say bullshit. If cheating occurs in elections it isn't really hampered by having a tougher requirement for I.D. Sure, it'll stop the lone person who wants to vote in two different districts but it won't do much for the more widespread fraud that is more likely an organized effort. It'll make it a little trickier, but not much.

Stealing I.D.'s will be just as easy for the determined if not more so. Think about it - a centrally accessible database of driver's license info? If you fail to see that as potentially troublesome then you probably don't understand why Microsoft Works is an oxymoron.

But the most troubling part I see is this: a centralized database or even a centrally accessible database of driver's license info would also double as a centralized database of gun carriers. Most if not all states that issue CCW's or other gun related permits include such information in your driver's license data. For example if you run someone's license in Colorado & they have a CCW that information appears on the cops screen.

See where I'm going with this? Maybe not in 5 years or even 10, but 20 years down the road I can see this being used by the feds as a way of keeping tabs on gun owners. Have all states issue CCW permits & discourage if not outlaw open carry, or require a FOID as in NJ or Illinois & include that data in your DMV files & presto - gun owner registry.

A friend of mine has opined before that he has no problem with registration as long as it's not used for confiscation. The problem is that registration is only good for confiscation. It does not deter crime. In fact it encourages it because people such as myself & a few others will defy any registration law that is applicable to us.

The whole premise of registration is that if you register then you have no ill intent whereas if you don't register then obviously you're up to no good. That makes it as useful as a law requiring all gun owners to tie a pink bow around their barrels. Those with pink bowed firearms are the good guys while those that refuse to daintify their shooting irons must be no good scoundrels.

But registration is useful in denying people arms as well as making confiscation easier. Its denial feature is being used right now in D.C. & its confiscation feature has been used in NYC & California among other places. All within the last 30 years.

Anyway the federal standardization of driver's licenses will happen. It's simply a matter of hashing out the details. I find this disturbing on several levels, not the least of which is the de facto gun owner database it could be used for. But my main concern is that this is yet another instance in which the feds are touching an individual's life where they do no have the authority to justly do so.

Posted by Publicola at 09:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 13, 2005


If you're a blogger who is pro Right to Arms or at least sympathetic then you're cordially invited to a chat I'm hosting on Yahoo.

Send me an instant message (publicola_mu is my user I.D.) or e-mail me (add @yahoo.com to my user i.d.) & I'll give you directions.

The chat room is open now & I'll try to keep it open till at least 7 p.m. MST (but odds are a it'll be open later than that if the turnout is good). I'll do the same thing tomorrow starting around 5 p.m. MST or so.

Update: It's 5:20 MST & I have it up & running. Same room name as yesterday for those that were there. Anyone else e-mail me or instant message me for directions. & thanks to all those who stopped by yesterday.

Posted by Publicola at 03:56 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 11, 2005

Want To Fire A Gen-U-Ine Bullet Hose?

The Rocky Mountain Fifty Caliber Shooting Association has announced the dates for the 2005 .50 BMG Rifle & Machine Gun Shoot. It's to be held May 13th, 14th & 15th in Cheyenne Wells, Colorado. There's a $5 spectator fee per day & those proceeds go to the Cheyenne Wells Volunteer Fire Department.

They also have people who rent the use of their firearms. I've seen everything there from suppressed .22's to field artillery. Here's a post I did on last year's machine gun shoot complete with pics.

So if you ever wanted to fire a belt fed machine gun, a .50 BMG rifle, a full auto sub-gun or rifle, or a cannon then this is the place for you.

Posted by Publicola at 04:21 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

There's Still Time

Joe Huffman of The View From North Central Idaho runs this thing called the Boomer Shoot. Basically you shoot at things from 400 to 800 yards or so & if you hit them they blow up. It's being held this year on April 29th, 30th & May 1rst. The firts two days are shooting clinics & the last is the main event where you get to make thing go boom.

Mr. Huffman made an offer that if a blogger links his site (the Boomer Shoot one) & it gets over 100 hits then that blogger gets to shoot in the main event sans the registration fee. I probably won't make it up there much to my regret. I'd love to see what a Garand could do under those conditions. But alas I don't think time will permit me to head that way.

That should not stop you though; there are about 42 positions on the firing line left as I write this. The fee is $100 per spot for the main event (that does not include the precision rifle clinics). Not a bad deal if ya ask me. Check into it & if you're able then attend.

Posted by Publicola at 04:01 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

...& Nicki Wasn't There...

...I looked all around but all I found was a url on the stairs... < / shameless butchering of a Prince tune.

Nicki Fellenzer has decided to branch out. She's started her own blog called The Liberty Zone. Go check her out & give her congrats on her upcoming promotion.

In case you're wondering that is the same Nicki who was (& hopefully still is) a co-blogger here. We had a bit of a parting of ways - see I thought a wet t-shirt feature would boost traffic & she was totally opposed to the idea of me posting pics of myself in a wet t-shirt. Granted, I don't have a great chest but I figured my lower calf definition would compensate. Seriously she just wanted to do her own thing & I wish her nothing but the best. She's a good writer; gooder than I am. I look forward to see what she produces.

Also check out Kicking Broadswords if you have the chance. How can I not link to someone who says he not only agress with me but goes further?

Posted by Publicola at 03:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 10, 2005

Jean-Baptiste Lully's Spirit Lives On In The Firearms Industry

Jean-Baptiste Lully was a 17th century composer who stabbed himself in the foot with his conducting staff & died from complications (gangrene).

FreedomSight has a piece on a 60 Minute story concerning those evil .50 rifles. From CBS News.com we find Big Rifle A Terrorist Tool?

Jed does a find job pointing out some of the factual errors as does Ravenwood.

There's something I would like to point out. Coming from the CBS News.com article I found the following:

"This is exactly what the FBI learned in 1993 at Waco when Branch Davidians fired a Barrett .50-caliber sniper rifle at them.
In response, the FBI deployed Bradley fighting vehicles for protection. But even that wasn’t sufficient, and heavier armor was brought in.
What happened at Waco was one of the arguments made for banning the weapon in California. Other states are now considering a similar ban for fear of potential terrorist attacks."

Now if I recall correctly the Davidians did not use a .50 in their defense against the federal assault at Waco. If they had I'd have called it at least one self defense use of the .50 in recent times. Unless I remember incorrectly this is simply an old myth being drudged up again by an ignorant press. But even if it was true you should now see the real reason certain groups want the .50 banned: it's too effective at defense against government troops.

Now here's the really interesting part:

"But New York City’s Police Commissioner Ray Kelly says the .50-caliber rifle is in a class by itself. He agreed to show 60 Minutes just how powerful the .50 caliber is.
First, a police sharpshooter fired the NYPD’s own .30 caliber sniper rifle at a steel target. Downrange, three football fields away, the three shots from the .30 caliber rifle bounced off the half-inch thick steel.
'You can see it hasn’t penetrated it,] says Kelly.
Then the sharpshooter fired three rounds from a Barrett .50-caliber rifle at the same target.
'Went right through,' says Kelly. 'It is clearly a weapon of war, a round to be used in a wartime situation. It’s appropriate for the military. The effective range is about 2,000 yards. It’s a very formidable weapon.'
In other words, if the NYPD’s range had been 20 football fields long, instead of three, the .50-caliber rifle – firing ordinary ammunition -- still would have been devastatingly effective.
'Clearly, it is a very powerful weapon. We saw what it could do as far as going through armor,' says Kelly. 'It would be a weapon that could do a lot of damage – no question about that."
(emphasis in original)

Now think about this for a minute - who is arguing that a .50 rifle has no use outside the military? A city's police department which happens to own at least one. Ever been to NYC? Can you imagine any situation where a .50 could be used or would be preferable to a .30 ? Yet they own one & are saying that we peasants shouldn't because they have no non-martial use.

But that's not what struck me. They own one, therefore they were sold one. Odds are they'll be sold more & of many different types of weapons. Why?

Why the hell are the gun companies selling to government agencies that want to ban their products? Isn't that a little like a Cherokee helping out Georgia & the feds map out the Trail of Tears?

Again from the CBS News.com article:

"Even though the .50-caliber rifle is a military-grade weapon, federal gun laws treat it like any other hunting rifle, and Barrett can sell the gun to civilians. He says he needs to, because military sales vary widely from year to year.
'If it weren’t for the civilian sales, I wouldn’t be here. There’s a lot of defense contractors that would not be here,' says Barrett.
He has sold thousands of .50-caliber rifles to private citizens who, he says, want the guns for target shooting and big game hunting."

Military sales alone would starve any gun maker. That's a fact. Police sales are probably a bit more lucrative but I'd wager that there aren't enough to make up for a loss of the civilian market. Yet gun makers & dealers sell guns to the very agencies which enforce bans on their product.

NYC, Chicago, D.C. - they all have an almost complete ban on firearms possession by their citizens. Yet gun makers & dealers still do business with them. That's what I call selling yourself out of business.

Gun makers don't have a great history of supporting the Right to Arms. But you'd think that at least they'd have enough of a sense of self preservation to realize that selling guns to groups that want to ban civilian sales isn't a good business move.

Now I've been called idealistic at times & I admit that there's a few things I'd like to see happen that have a slim chance of ever being realized. But for the life of me I cannot fathom the politics behind gun manufacturers & sellers doing business with governments who want to effectively put them out of business.

If I owned a gun company or shop I'd write a very concise letter to any & all government agencies to inform them that there's no way in hell they'd do business with me while they're denying my product to the people in their jurisdictions. With the feds that could e problematic since the feds determine who gets the licenses to do business in the first place. Now that may have something to do with the gun makers doing their trade with certain government agencies. In fact I hope it is because I can't think of any other valid reason to sell guns to agencies that want them banned.

If you're in Denver or NYC or Chicago or D.C. the next time you go to your local gun store do me a favor: simply ask the owner of the store why he/she would do business with governments that ban their product? I'm curious as to what answers you'll hear.

Posted by Publicola at 04:42 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

January 05, 2005

Gun Owners As Ambassadors Or Assholes?

This started out as a comment to this post of Kim du Toit's which asked for feedback on this post of Mrs. du Toit's concerning whether gun owners have a moral or societal obligation to hold themselves to a higher standard of etiquette. It's a spin off of the discussion surrounding the recent arrest of Fish Or Man.

See I started out taking a small internet/cigarette break while about halfway through a batch of '06 brass that I'm prepping for loading (specifically this phase is uniforming the primer pockets & sorting the cases by weight). I started going on a bit & well, surpsisingly enough I went over what is (or should be) a comment length limit. So I decided to post it here instead of in the comments of Mr. du Toit's blog to A: save him some space & B: feign creativity. If it seems more rambling in nature than usual my apologies.

I thought about commenting when I initially read it (the Mrs.' post) but I didn't feel I could present my case adequately enough at the time. For what it's worth I still don't but I'll give it a shot.

Was Fish Or Man an asshole? Possibly. Does it matter? No.

I understand the arguments about a gun owner being a representative of all gun owners, but I disagree with it in practice as well as principle.

For starters if we seriously take the view that gun owners are a collective & we are subject to the image presented by the weakest of our PR agents then we've already lost. I'm sure between the people who shoot into the air on holidays, the drunks who carelessly handle their weapons & others of less than ideal judgment we have a bad enough reputation. Being an asshole to a cop who is tap dancing on your ability to be armed is simply not going to be an issue compared to the others.

Similarly we are not a collective. We're individuals; united in some areas, diverging in others. To hold all accountable for the actions of one is an old trick that we'd be better off leaving in the annul of history.

Mrs. du Toit mentioned something to the effect that we don't have the right to be assholes. I respectfully disagree. On my own property I have the "right" (& I'd argue the use of the term in this context - but that's a whole 'nother semantic issue) to act as I see fit as long as I do not unjustifiably interfere with another's rights.

Does this mean we should all be assholes all the time? By all means no. Personally I think Churchill had the right idea when he said that even when you're going to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite. Course that's not to say there's never a call for rudeness. I have a friend whose g/f went to work for the IRSS; another whose cousin married an atf agent, & I'm hoping to run into some bastard who voted to jack up my smokes by 64 cents a friggin pack. Sometimes rudeness is an appropriate alternative to violence, & an effective way of trying to shame someone into rethinking their life.

But frankly this talk reminds me of the NRA distancing themselves from the group in Va. that started carrying openly, or the NRA's state affiliate who called a man a loon (or something similar) cause he carried a shotgun into a city council meeting in Colorado Springs. It's no more than being ashamed of those who do what others wouldn't dare.

Jealousy is dangerous. There are some people in this world who will see another doing something he can’t or won’t do & spend incredible amounts of energy trying to stop that person from doing what he’s doing. It’s probably not the motivation of most people, but it motivates enough that stemming its spread should be a goal for all of us.

& that's not to say that we should uphold all gun owners for every action they've ever taken in their life. Rick Stanley got himself arrested on purpose to challenge Denver's ban against open carry. Well from everything I've heard (& granted this is hear say) he's a grade A asshole. He's even got some theories that would make y'all think I was a reasonable fellow. But that does not mean we "distance" ourselves from him because of his flaws. Point them out? Yes. Discuss what he should have or could have done better? By all means. Denounce him because he took a stand in a way we found socially lacking? No.

We don't need to "police" our own. It wouldn't be unwise to counsel our own or even just discuss things with our own. But placing too much emphasis on the group & not enough on the individual is always a bad idea. We have no moral authority over each other (I’m referring to gun owners specifically) to dictate how we are all supposed to act. What we can do is reason amongst ourselves on how we should act, but not to the point of being dogmatic about it.

The particulars of Fish Or Man's circumstance – we read his words. Not only does that mean we just had one side of the story, but it means we did not have a very valuable tool in discerning meaning; inflection. I've run across it before especially in chat rooms or messenger programs. Something typed can be ambiguous as to its intent. It can be meant in a humorous way but be taken as an insult. Or vice versa. So while on the surface it may seem Fish Or Man was being rude he could have spoken it all in a most reasonable manner but it came across as curt when typed.

In any case, the cop may have had a valid reason to pull him over & arrest him (the warrant) but to Fish Or Man the cop was being a jerk. He could have been under the impression that the cop was looking to exercise his “authority” on someone & Fish Or Man was the daily winner.

I don't reveal too much about myself but I don't think it's a secret that I'm a musician. I have long hair; I traveled amongst the several states frequently; had musical gear in the back seat of less than new & shiny cars. Couple that with (in my youth) having trouble paying for license plate renewals & inspections on time & I can assure you I've had a lot of interaction with cops (at least in the South). I'll grant that it's anecdotal but what I found was that a great many cops were average people. They'd have good or bad days & to varying degrees would either be very nice or very rude. I've had guns taken from me (luckily returned), my car searched, sniffed by drug dogs - everything short of a strip search. Some of the longest searches were because the cop just knew I had a years worth of heroin stashed someplace in the car. & some of the worst attitudes I've received from cops have been after extensive searches revealing nothing more incriminating than a pack of cigarettes.

All that is to say that I can understand anyone's apprehension at a cop pulling them over when they were not doing anything wrong (to their knowledge). I can also understand being less than friendly to a cop who seems less than friendly his/herself.

The bottom line though is that a cop can make life harder on you if you fail the "attitude" test. That's a fact. So it is usually unwise to flunk this test deliberately or otherwise. But that does not mean I will fault someone for being curt or rude to a cop when the cop was either rude or acting beyond the scope of his authority.

Now the absolute best thing to do when pulled over is give up your license, registration & proof of insurance, then give the cop no reason to even suspect you understand or speak English. That is w/o a doubt the best peaceful approach to any police contact.

But to be honest should the atf ever come in my house (which would be a feat in & of itself) & starting throwing my rifles into a trash can to haul away as evidence, I guaran-damn-teeya that they'll hear new ways of using profanity to question whether their lineage has been entirely human. Would it be the best thing to do in that circumstance? Probably not. & I wouldn't advise anyone else to do it. But personally if I get treated rudely I respond in kind.

Getting back to the point - when we carry we are not ambassadors to the world. We are merely people who carry openly. When I strap on my hogleg I have no societal duty to act more or less polite than when I'm unarmed. Now that's not saying we should walk around being asshats - just that the reasons for being nice to others is not grounded in your representation of the pro-gun cause.

Some will view any actions by a gun owner that acts rudely as indicative of all gun owners. Some people will also think a black man who doesn't say "please" & "thank you" means all black people are inconsiderate. It's no more than group association & should be shunned by everyone - not just gun owners.

Mrs. du Toit said that most people aren't afraid of the cops. I disagree. Perhaps it's because of my background & the circumstances in which I grew up & live but when I see a cop car in my rear view I don't think that there's a good person just doing his part for society. What happens is my pulse quickens as I check to make sure I'm doing at least 3 under the speed limit & doing a mental check of where my “papers” are. If I don't notice the cop until he puts his lights on that magnifies by ten - even when I'm 90% certain he's intending to pass me. So I respectfully submit that many people if not most are afraid of the cops to some extent even when they've done nothing wrong. It's not because they're armed - it's because they're agents of the state with too much power for any one person to wield.

Mrs. du Toit said that cop's should be able to charge someone with acting like an asshole & that cops themselves should be held tot he same standards. (More or less - if I've misread her intent my apologies.) With this I most heartily disagree.

A cop is not a citizen when on duty: he's an agent of the state. He has the force of the state backing his every move. Therefore he should be held more accountable for his actions than a non-government employed individual. If I was to call someone a foul name while instructing them on how to do something they'd probably (hopefully) feel no restraint against responding in a manner to defend their dignity. When a cop does that your desire for defense is tempered by a realization that he is an agent of the state & as such can make your life more miserable than you his. It's the equivalent of having the neighborhood bully approving the kid two years your junior telling you to call him "sweet daddy". If it was just the kid you could ignore him. But with the bully backing him up you would have to take on the bully as well as the kid.

So cops should be held to a higher standard than the person they stop on the street. Non-government agents should not be punished for any behavior towards a cop that they wouldn't be punished for if they did it to another non-government agent. If punishment is called for it should be no more harsh because a cop was involved than it would be if the person committed that act against their neighbor.

But again trying to drift back towards the main point - if we're talking about actions that are in fact threatening (i.e. waving a gun around a crowded room or talking about shooting people) that's one thing & it certainly should be frowned upon & punished by society. But for being less than someone's standards of polite? No.

I'm sure the du Toits are civilized people capable of comporting themselves very elegantly in most situations. But now we're getting into a matter of perspective. I may think their behavior is exemplarary in a given situation while a Gentleman's Gentleman or a NY soccer mom may not. Etiquette is largely a construct of society & within the borders of the united States are many different sects of society. What's appropriate in one may not be appropriate in another. So to judge whether someone was acting inappropriately (as far as manners go) requires one to A; understand the society he/she grew up in B; understand the society he/she interacted in & C; make a perceptual judgment as to which societal rules dominated the situation.

Let's call it Manners Relativism. But it's something to consider before we start requiring everyone to adhere to a certain standard. A child working was socially acceptable a few decades back & more recently than that carrying arms concealed was thought to be a mark of failing character or intentions in many places. In 20 years carrying openly may be shunned in most places like it is in the bigger cities. None of the above actions are clearly a case of right or wrong - only societal constructs.

(cue Tevya)

Now societal constructs aren't always bad - it's just that they're perceptual. Even when there's a majority of agreement as to what constitutes rude behavior & what doesn't it's usually based on traditions. If someone were to not show up when they said they were that's considered rude. Partly due to tradition but the underlying cause is a breech of contract. If someone interrupts you as you’re trying to say good morning by asking what you want that's considered rude chiefly because of tradition. I cannot think of any reason other than slighting someone's pride that such an action would be rude.

So again trying to drift things back to the point we should condemn gun owners for acting rudely as we perceive it. It could be a misconception of their actions. It could be a misconception of the etiquette they were operating appropriately under & most importantly we lack the moral authority to condemn a person because our perception of his actions leads us to think he was rude to someone else. There are exceptions to this paragraph most certainly. In fact it could be that this paragraph is an exception to some other more general rule. But in the specific instance being discussed (that of Fish Or Man's reaction to the cops) I think it applies.

& I'd be remiss if I did not mention this one last point: I've read Mr. du Toit for quite some time. I don't always agree with him or his bride but I can understand where we diverge & where we do agree. One of the reasons I read him is he's very blunt. I doubt anyone has ever read any in depth piece of his & wondered where he stood on an issue. Part of the mechanism he uses to express dis-satisfaction with certain people is to wish that they would be tarred, feathered, hung from street lamps so children could use their limp corpses as piñatas, etc.

Now there's nothing wrong with that. I've opined about the apparent shortage of tar & feather shops in seats of government myself. But I could turn Mrs. du Toit's point back around & say that because of Mr. du Toit's occasionally violence filled invectives that he's not being a good ambassador of gun ownership. & if I did that I'd be just as wrong as I feel Mrs. du Toit is in claiming that an individual gun owner has a moral responsibility to be a perfect PR machine for all gun owners everywhere.

Mr. du Toit is flawed. I'm flawed. Every person reading this & not reading this is flawed. We all do things that are not the best of all possible options from time to time. But as long as those things do not materially hurt another individual no one should bring societal weight down upon us for it. Talk to us in an effort to correct what is perceived as a mistake? Yes. But shun us because we appeared too rude to be a good example of a certain group? No.

One last thing: I think it is very rude of Mr. du Toit to refrain from picking up a Garand especially when he can get one from the CMP for less than $320 shipped to his door. What does it say of gun owner diversity when the most prominent gun blogger does not have an example of what may in fact be the perfect battle rifle in his arsenal? But by no means do I think I have any moral authority to condemn him for his action (or lack thereof). But less than $320... :) I can’t say that he should buy one for the greater good, but as a friend (as much as is possible on the net at least) I would ask him to reconsider. Did I mention less than $320? Shipped? :D

Posted by Publicola at 06:23 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

January 04, 2005

BATF + Person With No Harmful Intent = RCOB

Via End The War On Freedom I found this JPFO Alert. It's about the ATF trying to nail a guy for having a defective firearm & them getting caught doing it on tape.

Go read it. Then next time you're doing business with someoe & he/she mentions they work for the ATF very quickly & rudely tell them to get the hell off your property.

& if anyone orders the video the JPFO is offering on this do let me know.

Posted by Publicola at 08:49 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 03, 2005

Denver: Homicide Friendly But Gun Owner Adverse - Coincidence?

Walter In Denver posted about Denver's homicide rate for 2004. About a month & a half ago I posted about a bastard in a robe deciding that because of Denver's violent crime rate it could prohibit open carry. How do these two posts by two different bloggers link together? They show the illogic of Denver's position on firearms.

Walter got his information from this article in the Denver Post. The headline seems very startling:

"With Denver homicides up nearly 50%, a bafflingly deadly year nears an end"

Some people would be inclined to think that maybe Denver had a point in restricting weapons possession. I'm not one of those people, & as we dig a little deeper I don't think you will be either.

Now here is part of that bastard of a judge Meyer's reasoning behind the necessity for Denver's gun control law to be stricter than Colorado's:

"...Denver also suffers rates of violent crime far in excess of statewide averages. Id., Appendix C. These unique factors predominate over any need for statewide uniformity or any concern about extraterritorial impact..."

Again on the surface some people would think that Meyer's reasoning is sound. After all Denver does suffer from more crime than any other area of the state & this year the homicides increased 50% so maybe tighter gun control laws are necessary on the local level.

Here's the thing (as found in the Denver Post article):

"There is no common thread, such as gangs, drugs or handgun violence, that can explain the increase, police say...
This year, fewer than half of the homicides involved handguns."

Less than 47 people were killed through the use of a handgun. That could mean 46 or it could mean 1. But let's just assume it's 45. That's 45 people out of a city that holds a little over 550,000. That means for every person killed through the use of a handgun there were 12,222 people that weren't. Now to keep playing with the numbers if we assume there's 280 million people in the U.S. & roughly 40,000 died in car accidents last year then for every person killed in a car accident in the U.S. there were 7,000 that weren't. I won't get into the "x times more likely to die in a car than from a bullet" game but I think things should be in a little more perspective.

Now I have not seen the data that the Denver Post bases its numbers on. I might try to dig it up if I have time as I'd be curious to know if the total number of homicides did or did not include justifiable homicide. I do know that the Denver PD killed a few people this year but I have no idea if those were included in the totals.

The odd thing is the two specific crimes that were mentioned in the Denver Post story were stabbing; a man was killed in his home by multiple stabbing (30 times) & a cab driver was killed by multiple stabbings (39 times). The alleged murderer of both men is a 19 year old woman.

Only 15% (14) of the homicides were gang related & 9% (8) were the results of domestic violence. (I rounded the numbers & I'm relying on what the Denver Posts summarized.) The article did not mention self defense or justifiable homicide at all.

"Eight homeless people were targets. Fourteen women were considered murder suspects. A grandfather is suspected of shooting his grandson. A brother is accused of stabbing his brother. In just one month, three dead babies were found discarded as trash."

We can safely conclude that the three dead children found inside of a month were not the result of self defense. Everything else could possibly (though it's not probable that they all are) cases of self defense or otherwise justifiable homicide.

"Most of them are driven by emotion, conflicts and arguments,' said Denver homicide Capt. David Abrams."

Um, I thought all crimes against another person were driven by conflict? I suppose if you wanted to kill me & I wanted to be killed by you there could be a crime sans conflict but I guaran-damn-teeya that in the vast majority of homicides in the universe were because of a conflict; one person wanted the other person to die despite his/her wishes to the contrary. That being said the Denver PD has an astonishing rate of solved murders: 75%.

Getting back to the point (yes there was a point) it seems that homicide committed with handguns isn't the big deal that Denver convinced Meyer it was. In the last few posts on Denver's gun laws I spent a great deal of time arguing why in principle they were wrong. Now it seems that I can argue in pragmatic terms they were & still are quite wrong.

To put it bluntly the good people of Denver (both of them) seem to have forgotten a very basic rule of survival: always bring a gun to a knife fight.

Having a firearm is not the only thing that's necessary. A while back I argued (although in a different context) that the means to fight didn't mean much without the knowledge to fight & the will to fight. I think that's just as valid whether talking about resisting a tyrannical government or the local thug. I seriously doubt that a majority of people in Denver have either the knowledge or will to fight back & defend themselves. Therefore the means won't be the same equalizer it is in the hands of someone from say Lincolnton, North Carolina.

However the fault for this condition is not solely government; a lot of people want someone else to protect them. The government steps in & gladly takes this role along with all the power it can squeeze out of the deal. The problem is that government cannot protect you despite its claims. So we have a populace that is very willing to take comfort in a myth. For most people (a very sizable majority) the myth is never challenged. For at least 94 people in Denver in 2004 the truth was discovered the hard way.

This is what the sister of one of the stabbed men said about the reason for her brother's brutal murder:

"I just think that there are so many broken people in our society now, people who have not had the opportunities to grow up in safe, secure situations,' she said. 'They do not have self-control of their rage, and that disturbance spills out on other people."

No; that's not it. There have been & always will be people who commit violence towards others. There have been & always will be people who don't control themselves or even want to. It's no different now than it was 2,000 years ago save for trivial details like population density & technology. The basic premise is the same: some people will try to prey on other people.

What is perhaps a little different (though not much) is that more people seem unwilling to take the steps necessary to provide for their own defense. I'd assume that the majority of homes in Denver contain no firearms. A baseball bat, fire poker or knife would be what you'd have to use to defend yourself in the typical Denver home. & that's not because of some asinine law: the people simply don't want to confront the idea that they & not the cops are responsible for their own safety. (Not that Denver lacks some atrocious laws.)

Again from that bastard in a robe Meyer's opinion:

"As plaintiffs stated in their opening brief. 'Simply put, a bullet fired in Denver--whether maliciously by a criminal or negligently by a law-abiding citizen is more likely to hit something or somebody than a bullet fired in rural Colorado."

Now I do assume given the less than firearms friendly nature of the Denver Post that if negligent shootings were included in the homicide total it would have been mentioned. Since there was no mention of negligent shootings I'll assume they simply weren't numerous enough to be mentioned.

94 people killed in 2004. I'd say the key part that the city of Denver left out in its opening brief was that a bullet fired from a citizen acting in self defense would be more likely to stop a criminal than the cops would (despite their better than average rate of case solving).

So despite Denver's gun control laws homicides rose by half of their 2003 number. Most of the homicides were committed with an object other than a handgun. I'd say that Denver's gun control laws didn't help. In fact I'm sure in some cases they may have prevented people from defending themselves.

Carrying openly or concealed may not have prevented the rise in homicides. Ditto for having a firearm in the home. It's entirely possible that the number would have been the same or higher. But the difference is now we have 94 people presumably murdered, whereas it could have been 94 people with a plurality if not majority killed in justifiable self defense.

Merely having a firearm won't make the difference (usually) but if people arm themselves & gain the knowledge & will to defend themselves & their communities then at least they'll have a better chance of surviving.

Denver's homicide rate may go up again in 2005 or it may go down. The reasons are too complex to get anywhere close to a good idea of which way the numbers will fall. But if Denver were to drop its asshatted laws concerning carrying & possessing firearms & encourage its citizens to protect themselves then there'd be a better chance that some if not most of the ones who comprise 2005's homicide total would have at least deserved their fate.

I'm not holding my breath though.

Thanks again to Walter In Denver for posting about this & The Smallest Minority for writing so well concerning the responsibility of self defense.

Posted by Publicola at 05:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 30, 2004

Over-lawyered Seasonal Greeting

I meant to post this last week, but time got away from me.

Fellow Rebel Alliance member Rebel Yell posted A Holiday Greeting.

Please, put down all drinks before clicking that link.

Posted by Publicola at 11:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 29, 2004

The Ghost Of SF Future

SF doesn't seem inclined to listen to the ghost of D.C. past or the ghost of Chicago present, maybe this will help SF see the light:

"BRITONS are for the first time more likely to be attacked than burgled, police watchdogs warned last night.
Chief Inspector of Constabulary Sir Keith Povey blasted the rise in violence recorded by police as 'unprecedented'."

Note that this island nation has an almost (but not quite) complete ban on all firearms. If memory serves handguns are not allowed at all. Yet there's a rise in violence? How can this be? Easy - otherwise law abiding citizens (in this case subjects) being disarmed does nothing better than to embolden the criminals.

"He stressed: 'The public, police and the Government are rightly concerned about the level of violence routinely displayed on our streets.
There has been a troubling increase in the use of firearms.
Although the rate of increase has slowed, the overall picture is one from which one can derive little comfort.”

The government apparently isn't so concerned as to try something effective - like repeal the laws that prohibit owning the means of self defense. & since the last bits of the almost complete ban took effect on this island you'd think that the incidents of gun violence would be reduced wouldn't ya? I mean if it's illegal to possess a gun then the criminals will just stop using them right? Well the latest theory is that criminals who will use violence to further their crimes aren't opposed to violating laws concerning possession of objects.

"He also highlighted the terrifying knife culture spreading across the country.
His warning came within hours of a man going on a stabbing rampage in North London, leaving one dead and five seriously injured."

Knife culture. Lemme explain this knife culture: when a person with harmful intent knows his victims are armed, he arms himself as well. But in a place where his victims are almost 100% guaranteed to be defenseless he can cut a little overhead & just use a knife or a club or a freakin' rock.

But a man going on a rampage with a knife? There are two rules I want y'all to memorize:

1: Always bring a gun to a knife fight

2: Never bring a knife to a gun fight

Now since Her Majesty's government has negated most if not all ways of complying with Rule No. 1 then the violent thugs can break Rule No. 2 with little or no ill effects.

In Japan a while back a man killed a bunch of kids & wounded a bunch of other kids in a school using a kitchen knife. Now in England a man went on a rampage with a knife. Do you see this being possible in NC? Or Georgia? Or Arizona?
Do you see it being possible in California? Or Massachusetts? Or New Jersey?
Know the difference?

The people in NC, Georgia & Texas A: have firearms & B: even if they didn't they wouldn't just sit by while a fellow with a blade cut people up at random - well unless the victims were damned revenuers, but that's another story.

In California, Massachusetts & New Jersey A: firearms aren't usually carried outside the home & B: the people don't have the mindset to intervene. Now this isn't universal; there are some people left in all those states (& England as well) who don't think they should be good little sheep & totally dependant on the government for their protection. But I fear those good people are the exception rather than the rule.

Of course the British government claims the stats aren't as bad as Sir Povey claims. & in all fairness they may be correct: it's possible that crime isn't as bad as it appears on the surface. I'm not a statistician nor do I want to be. What I am is a person with a little common sense (not much but just a little). Common sense tells me that if you disarm a people then the thugs will have an easier time of it & act accordingly. It also tells me that despite what stats may or may not prove or disprove my conclusions about the effects of crime in a defenseless society the most important thing is that denying someone the means he feels is necessary to defend his life, family, property & community is immoral.

I wish the people of SF would vote down the proposed handgun ban, but I simply don't have faith in them. I feel they've become as dependent on government as the people in England. Anytime you depend on government for your safety you're already in a bad spot. Government will try to increase your dependence & if you allow that to happen your situation will get worse. Look at D.C., Chicago or England. Or just wait a few years & look at SF.

Posted by Publicola at 06:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 28, 2004

The Things You Learn While Look Up Older Posts

"I think you should be under house arrest.....as you are obviously deranged."

No, that didn't come from Xrlq over a disagreement on principle versus pragmatic approaches to protecting our Rights. That came as a comment by Lj to this post from March 4th of 2004.

The post was about Italians protesting the "cruel" treatment of house arrest given to an 90+ year old man. Turns out the man was only caught a few years before & his crime was committed in the 1940's. I made a post about how the man deserved to be under the house (as in dead) rather than alive for his crimes, but obviously Lj thinks I went too far.

& what were his crimes? He executed two Italian civilians & ordered the execution of a few hundred others in his service to the Reich. Actually he was an SS captain & there were 335 civilians murdered. But he was only following orders.

Here's more on the bastard in question; one Erich Priebke

I'll be honest: if a civilian had murdered 335 other civilians one by one I wouldn't be so angry about people asking for his release. I'd still oppose it but I wouldn't be so emotional about it. But when an agent of the government does it he does it with the backing of the state. If a man walks up to me off the street & kills me then it's a bad thing but not so much a betrayal. When an agent of your own government uses the weight of your own government to kill or otherwise harm you, that's a betrayal of trust on top of everything else.

So despite my less than rational manner of stating it I still say that bastard should be killed very slowly. Then the people who decry his treatment as cruel should be lined up against a wall & summarily bitch slapped by the descendants of the victims of the bastard in question.

But to Lj I'm the one who should be under house arrest. Interesting. I can't decide if that's sad or amusing.

Posted by Publicola at 06:41 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Gun Bloggers & The Year In Review

Alphecca isn't doing his Weekly Check on the Bias this week. Instead he's doing the Yearly Check. Of course it's a wrap up of what has occurred this year that concerns firearms. It's by no means exhaustive; he just sticks to the main stories.

Jeff touches on something that deserves a better look. I'm speaking of the late February/early March struggle in the Senate over the Lawful Commerce in Arms bill & it having an "assault weapons" ban renewal added on to it.

Via Instapundit you'll find Ed Driscoll has his top ten list of important stories in the blogosphere. Rathergate is mentioned of course, as is the violence during the campaign. Curiously enough there’s no mention of the "assault weapons ban”.

The thing that Mr. Driscoll has missed is the gun bloggers. More specifically the fight over the "assault weapons" ban last February/March.

Hugh Hewitt has a new book out called Blog : Understanding the Information Reformation That's Changing Your World. (Here's a review on it by Instapundit himself.) I haven't read it yet but I’d be curious to know if he mentions anything about the pro-gun bloggers as such. I've written three posts disagreeing with Mr. Hewitt's conclusions on the importance of the "assault weapons" ban. This won't be a fourth as I have no idea (only a hunch) if he mentions what I'm about to or not in his book. (Although at the risk of sounding like a suck up I do think I might get around to buying this book of Mr. Hewitt's. Despite my disagreeing with him on some issues I still think he's entertaining.) But I don’t feel that any book about blogs in 2004 would be complete if it didn’t mention the fight against the “assault weapons” ban. (If Mr. Hewitt does mention it [even in passing] I’d be most impressed.)

To sum up the House sent the Lawful Commerce in Arms bill to the Senate. The bill provided immunity for gun makers & sellers against lawsuits where someone used their product in a criminal or negligent manner. It in no way affected product liability claims. Bottom line was if you robbed a liquor store or negligently shot your cousin while cleaning it, the victims couldn't sue Colt or Joe's Gun Shop. If you got hurt because the firearm blew up when you were using it as you were supposed to then you could sue the hell out of Colt.

Anyway, in the Senate a deal was struck late one night to prevent a filibuster. The deal was any & all amendment could be offered to be attached to the Lawful Commerce in Arms bill. For the next three days all sort of gun control bills were offered & voted on. Two stuck hard; the "assault weapons" ban renewal & a McCain bill that would have essentially ended all gun shows in America. Finally the bill with its amendments was voted on & soundly defeated.

Now here's the "whys" of what happened:

The NRA & the firearms manufacturers wanted this bill passed. They liked the idea of not having to waste money defending themselves against frivolous lawsuits. Can't say as I blame them. Thing is they wanted it bad enough to play a very dangerous game.

The idea was that any bad amendments could be stripped off in a committee that would have to reconcile the House & Senate versions of the bill. That's how we got the gun control laws we got in 1994: a false belief that the committee’s could strip the bad parts out of the larger bill. So they figured ("they" being the NRA, firearms manufacturers & others who lobbied relatively pro-gun Senators) that it was a good deal: they avoid a filibuster & if any bad amendments get added on they'd get stripped out in a committee.

But the NRA & the Senate started to feel a lot of pressure. From who? From us. Message boards, chat groups & gun bloggers were watching this time. We didn't like the idea of relying on a committee to get rid of bad amendments. So at the last minute the NRA asked all Senators to kill the Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. Not because they thought things over. Not because they realized it was wrong to gamble with our Rights like that. They did it because they realized that now they couldn't give us a bullshit excuse when a gun control law got passed. They couldn't hide behind the veil of politics they so often claim is why a gun control law got passed despite their objections. They could not make deals in secret anymore. We have C-Span2 & we can post as fast as we can type. In an hour a few hundred thousand people can be told of a shady deal being cut in their name. In two hours those same people can call their congress critters & their NRA reps. Until they shut down the net they just can't conduct business like they had been.

Here's part of miss Nikki's & my postings of what went on during the debate over the Lawful Commerce in Arms bill. Also look here.

Bloggers alone don't deserve credit. Online columnists, message forums, news groups & other forms of electronic media comprise more traffic than the gun bloggers. The readers of blogs have often been essential to a blogger posting about something important, either by e-mailing the blogger or by leaving a comment to a post that the blogger explores further.

But that's something that was missed: gun bloggers & other pro-gun internet sites didn't just report the news - we helped shape it.

After that I think both presidential campaigns were run a little differently than they otherwise would have. Bush kept tight lipped about his support for the "assault weapons" ban & Kerry bent over backwards to try to convince us he wasn't anti-gun. I think part of what caused the actions of Bush was that he became aware that a lot of people who would have otherwise supported him would have stayed home if the "assault weapons" ban was still law.

As for Kerry, this brings me to another story that was missed as being covered by bloggers better than the mainstream media: his illegal shotgun.

Kerry accepted a semi-automatic shotgun that would have been banned if legislation he co-sponsored had passed. Further Matt at Stop The Bleating pointed out that the transaction was of a dubious legal nature & that Kerry could not legally take his shotgun home to Massachusetts. An interesting discussion ensued not just about the bill Kerry co-sponsored or the legality of the transaction itself, but of what exactly constituted a pistol grip. The story never quite developed the legs it could have, but between that, the big deal made of Kerry's quotes about hunting & the alleged goose hunt he went on (this is the funniest take I've seen on Kerry's alleged goose hunt - put down your drink & click it now) I think blogs did a fairly decent job of pointing out that Kerry's knowledge of guns came primarily in the form of voting to ban them.

Now bloggers don't deserve all the credit. The truth is most politically aware gun owners could have seen through Kerry a dozen ways till Sund'y. What the gun bloggers did was enable them to focus; to get the word out more efficiently.

Gun owners are more influential in elections than most would like to admit. But what the internet does generally & blogs & message boards do is help spread the word.

Pre internet - & really pre-blogs/message boards - gun owners were like kids watching an old western. All we'd talk about was the good guys shooting it out with the bad guys. Then came the internet & the message boards & finally the blogs. What happened was the topic changed from the good guys shooting it out with the bad guys to a discussion of how many times either the good guy or bad guy (usually both) shot his single action 6 shooter without reloading.

Take any major news story on guns from say the late 1960's till present. The common person will think it's just another news story, but gun owners will usually notice that it's full of factual & logical errors. An "SKS isn't concealable. A Colt 1911 isn't a machine pistol. There is a semi-automatic revolver but it's not very common & certainly too expensive to be used in crime. We typically know that "junk guns" are just a nice way of saying "disarm the poor people". We know "assault weapons" mean anything that looks scary to a gun prohibitionist. In short we know the press doesn't know a damn thing about the technical aspects of guns & they often come to the wrong conclusions about gun policy & gun law. But aside from talking to each other at the gun smith's or the gun dealer's shop it wasn't common knowledge.

The net changed all that: now we can not only point out the flaws with the press, but we can keep a close watch on the NRA.

There were other things worth mentioning; the spreading of news whenever a gun owner was mistreated by police; whenever important court cases came up as well as analysis of their outcomes. But helping sink the "assault weapons" ban was the big one for gun bloggers & gun owners alike. The Geek With A .45, Triggerfinger & myself even went in on a group blog just to make sure the damn thing died. Luckily though I think the point was driven home in March & it went out without much fanfare.

So gun bloggers (& the entire pro-gun online community) didn't make the headlines like the ones who busted Rathergate wide open did. I won't even argue that Rathergate wasn't a bigger story. What I will say is that Rathergate & most other blog originated examples of media bias are merely continuations of what gun owners have known for a long time & what gun bloggers have been pointing out so well but without the attention that other areas seem to receive. The press simply doesn't know a damn thing about guns yet reports authoritatively on them; hence all their reporting is suspect, or should be at least (hat tip to Say Uncle).

But for me & I suspect many others recognition isn't nearly as important as advancing the cause we believe in. (Hell I blog under a 2,000+ year old pseudonym - how important could recognition be to me?)

Still it'd be nice if the on-line pro gun community got a little recognition from the not so adamant pro-gun online community. Not so that we can get recognition individually, but so the cause can get more of the attention it truly deserves.

Posted by Publicola at 06:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 24, 2004

He's Been There And Done That Before Your Grandaddy Was Born

I often joke around about certain older gents still being grumpy cause they had to turn in their Krags for those new fangled Springfields. Well Homer Anderson is damn near old enough for that to be an accurate statement.

He fought in WWI. That wasn't a typo; World War One. He was in the Balloon Corps for a while until some genius in the Army figured out they weren't that hard to shoot down & nixed the idea.

The reason I bring this up today is because it's his birthday. He's officially 107. He stopped playing golf two years ago, which was two years after he broke his hip. & how does he feel?

"When you're 107 years old, you start to feel old,' he said. 'And I'm in that age."

His memory of the war (that'd be WWI) is a bit fuzzy but he did say this:

"Most of our battles were really short,' he said. 'We were afraid we were going to get shot, but we didn't."

Now that's a concise summation.

So despite the low odds of Mr. Anderson reading this, a very happy birthday to you sir & many thanks for your service.

One complaint though: the reporter didn't even ask him if he missed his '17 Enfield. That's modern journalism for ya; just downright sloppy reporting.

Posted by Publicola at 07:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 23, 2004

Chapter One

"It's gonna rain later from what I heard".

Karen looked off in the distance wanting to believe Anna but she just couldn't see it raining anytime soon.

"Uncle Jimmy used to love the rain before..." she broke off as her voice choked on the words that she couldn't bear to think of. Karen looked down not wanting to start this conversation again. She hated it when Anna would talk about Uncle Jimmy. She hated it when anybody would talk about Uncle Jimmy. It was so embarrassing that she wished she never heard about him again.

"C'mon sis; it's time to go. We don't want to be late again do we?"

"No, I s'pose you're right. What's it gonna be about tonight?"

"Dunno. But we'll find out if we don't get detained again" Karen grabbed Anna's arm & guided her towards the car. Anna drove. Anna always drove. Karen didn't seem to mind; it was nice not to worry about lane shifts & watching the battery meter. Much better to let someone else take care of those things. Much better.

As they walked in the house an odd smell hit Karen. It was definitely chemical but not offensive; well if you didn’t know what caused it. Still she looked around out of habit. Nothing in the house could have caused the smell. She was certain of it. The last time she smelled that particular odor was decades ago. There was no way that the thing that caused the smell could be in the house. Now now; not since Uncle Jimmy had gone away.

The kids rushed downstairs. It took Karen back a little to see how big they were. She'd seen the kids every few days for the last 7 months & before that every week or so for years. Still it always surprised her to se how big the kids were. Jason was 16 now & Nikki was only two years younger. Not quite two years even. It didn't make her feel old though she was getting aware of how time was playing with her features. But it made her feel distant; like she was looking at two kids she'd never seen before.

"Now you two get your jackets; it might rain & we don't want to be soaked through the meeting"

Jason looked up at his mother. He knew it was hopeless but he never let that stop him from trying. "Mom, do we have to go to the meeting again? Cynthia asked me to meet her at the shop-center"

"What do you think your Aunt Karen thinks? Do you think she appreciates you wanting to miss the meeting so you can "kick" at that place?" Anna was smiling faintly like she always did when she had to tell the kids to do something she wasn't sure was right. Jason & Nikki only noticed her trying to use modern slang conversationally. It was one of her better attempts, but it still lost something in the delivery.

Karen looked on patiently. She could interfere; she had every right to interfere but she understood. Jason was a good kid. No, a good young man. It was only natural for him to feel drawn to girls his own age. (Or was Cynthia older? she'd have to check her notes later on.) But one day he'd realize that the meeting was more important than any social obligations he could arrange. It was through the meeting that he'd see his path in life, or at least part of it. He'd see how he fit into society & society fit into him. Once he got that then he wouldn't have any trouble getting Cynthia or any other young girl to pass the time with him.

Jason & Nikki got their coats after some fussing. Karen thought they were being playful but Anna knew they were dragging it out for a few more minutes. Not that they thought they could delay until the meeting was over, but so their mom would know they didn't want to get her in trouble again but they still hated the meetings.

"Hurry up you two. If you're ready in 5 minutes I'll let you drive my car Jason." Karen thought this would perk his spirits; Jason liked to drive & wasn't bad at it for only having a learner's permit. It worried Anna a little but Karen didn't think it was a big concern.

"Can I ride up front Aunt Karen?"

"Now Nikki, you know the law. You have to ride in the backseat. The front seat is too dangerous until you're 18."

Nikki didn't look too disappointed; just enough to draw attention away from Jason as he picked up a piece of paper that fell out of his pocket.

'Karen, are you sure you don't want to take the transit? It'll be..." Karen cut her off "No there are four of us. Driving will be just as quick. & if you're going to mention the parking the walk will do us good."

"I know. I just get worried about leaving your car there.' Karen just smiled. Barely, but a smile nonetheless.

It took 35 minutes to reach the Center. Traffic wasn't as bad as it could have been, but they ran behind at the checkpoint. Nikki forgot her I.D. again & Karen had to dig through her laptop to find her copy of Nikki's information. Karen felt sorry for Nikki when she saw the tears welling up in her eyes. She naturally assumed that Nikki was feeling bad over the delay she had caused & was truly sorry. That's why Karen didn't notice Nikki staring at the Public Officer's feet instead of looking him in the eyes like she did with most adults.

The reason they had to go to the meeting stemmed from something that had happened 8 months ago. Nikki & Jason could have got into a lot of trouble, but their Aunt Karen had bailed them out. Since she worked as a counselor for troubled youths she was able to arrange a joint custody agreement with the State. That & that alone kept them from being sent away.

Because of Karen's position & her training she felt very responsible for the kids & not just a little responsible for Anna. It wasn't just the Citizen in her: Karen really loved her family. She knew that love had limits, but didn't believe that it'd ever be tested.

So she decided to have another talk with Nikki later on about responsibility. It could wait till after the meeting.

Jason parked the car a little crooked bit still within the limits. Not too bad by Karen's standards. She doubted Anna could have done as well, and then felt a slight pang of guilt at the meanness of that thought. It was true & she didn't mean any harm by it, but thoughts could get away from you & turn into something bad. She knew that as well as any of the learners.

They got out & walked the 0.7 miles to the Center. The wind was picking up a bit but there was still no sign of rain. On the way they talked about the lessons the kids had went over that day in school. Nikki & Jason were both bright & that's what worried her a little. Not so much Nikki; she grasped her lessons well. It was Jason that caused the most concern. He grasped the lessons as well if not better than Nikki, but he had trouble accepting them.

"So Jason, why is a progressive tax important?"

"Cause it keeps everything fair; a person's greed won't hinder another person's happiness." He said the words but if Karen would have paid more attention she would have noticed the slightest lack of conviction. Anna noticed but didn't say anything. It worried her but she simply didn't know what to do about it.

"Nikki, what was the most important law passed in 2009?"

"Ummm, the Succesionist Act?"

'No, that was in 2008 sweetie. & it's the Secessionist Act"

"Ask me another question - I hate history"

That's why it's important for you to work harder at history. I know it can seem boring especially at your age but if you don't pass history you can't move into social studies."

"I know Aunt Karen" she said dejectedly "but my history learner is so boring. & he's got something growing on his nose."

"Don't make fun of him sweetie. Learner Todd is a good person. He can be a little dry sometimes but try to pay attention to him. He was one of the greatest minds of his day."

Jason looked a little puzzled. "What happened to him Aunt Karen? When I had him he just read from the book. He didn't seem that sma..."

"That's the lesson plan Jason. He has to follow the plan. It's the best way for you to learn."

'It was the doctors Jason" Karen turned to look at her sister "It took too long for treatment & then the doctors couldn't do much for him"

"You mean he's sick mom?"

"Not anymore; he was for a little while. It just made him tired is all"

"What did he have? What makes you tired after you get better from it mom?"

Anna jumped in quickly. "Jason, learner Todd had a chemical imbalance. He was fine until one day he started talking nonsense. Well not complete nonsense. You could understand what he was saying it's just it didn't make much sense; like talking about fairy tales as if they were true." Anna let out a small sigh as Karen started to play with her shoulder bag before she went on “He waited a long time before he went to the doctors. In fact his friends had to do intervention to get him to go. But the doctors did stop it from spreading. He doesn't lapse into nonsensical ramblings anymore, but he gets too tired to produce like he used to. Which brings us back to Nikki's question 'what was the most important law passed in 2009?"

"The Medical Rights Act?"

"Yes Nikki. Without it learner Todd would have had to pay for his own treatment if you can imagine such a thing."

The meeting would start in a few minutes but they were already walking up the steps. Nikki took a moment to look up at the pillars. It always bothered her to see the inscription on them but she wasn't sure why. The words themselves seemed harmless but strung together like they were they took on a meaning greater than their sum.

They walked in the Center. The doors slid closed behind them as the Public Officer manned the scanner they all had to pass through. It was crowded for a weekday meeting but they were able to sit together. The lights dimmed a little as a man approached the podium.

"Welcome Citizens. Tonight we'll talk about something a little different. The last few weeks we've stuck to the good topics. Now I think it's important, especially for the younger Citizens, to learn about the bad things that can happen if we're not careful. Tonight we'll talk about the evil called capitalism & the deception known as the free market. But let's start off with the national anthem"

They all stood up as the man hit a button & the introduction started to play. It wasn't the catchiest anthem ever devised, but Jason clearly thought that if there was a "sucky national anthem" contest held worldwide, the People's Democratic Republic of California would win hands down. They all started to sing.

Posted by Publicola at 09:55 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

A Question

Imagine you're in a bar, or a store or some other public place. A man walks up to you purposefully. As he approaches he starts swearing at you & accusing you of sleeping with his wife. You did not sleep with his wife but before you can say anything he then attacks you.

Do you:

A: try to reason with him because you didn't sleep with his wife

B: take the beating & wait to be vindicated later on

C: defend yourself

Leave you answer & any explanation you wish to leave in the comments section.

Posted by Publicola at 07:44 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

December 21, 2004

Weekly Check & Florida AWB?

Alphecca has The Weekly Check up.

Also he has the scoop on a proposed "assault weapon" ban in Florida, including the text of the bill.

If you've never done it before tell him thanks for all the hard work he does for us. Better yet, nothing says thanks like hitting his tip jar (it's the Yosemite Sam button on the right of his main page).

Posted by Publicola at 08:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pulling Them Back Down By Their Ankles

Jason's situation has generated a lot of comments around the blogosphere. Most have been supportive but a few haven't been. It's interesting how gun owners can turn so quickly on their own kind because of seemingly minute differences. Disagreeing with ideas & actions is one thing, but in a few places some people have been downright insulting. I was going to reply to a few of the former type in some comments sections of some other blogs (as the latter - the ad hominem crowd - is usually not worthing arguing with) but in the interests of feigning productivity I've decided to turn them into a post of my own.,

Now to address some opinions floating around:

Les Jones thinks Jason had a bad attitude, acted inappropriately & rebelled against the state.

Hell, I'll just fisk his comment:

"From Jason’s post it certainly sounds like the cop had a bad attitude, but I’m not sure that Jason didn’t have a bad attitude, as well. Challenging cops and defiantly asserting your rights - immediately after the cop has spied your gun - is not brilliant. Cooperation and a courteous attitude work a lot better, especially when guns enter the picture."

Asserting your Rights when they're being threatened is not something to be frowned upon, even if the manner wasn't ideal. Now being nice & courteous are generally good things, but right or wrong does not hinge on being polite. Jason probably should have not mentioned some of the things he did, but then again a cop should not use the "attitude test" as a measure of you being worthy of jail or not. Waiting till a law is broken or some other justifiable cause is given is appropriate, not a damn thing less.

& in Jason's case there was a warrant. Still, the cop should have controlled his ego better despite any rudeness, real or imagined, on Jason's part.

Btw, cooperation isn't a good idea. Goes against that whole 5th amendment thing. If a cop asks you if you saw a certain man heading in a certain direction, by all means cooperate. If he asks anything about you then forget you know English.

"Read some of the other posts on Jason’s site. He carries his gun in the open because he doesn’t want to pay the fee to get a concealed carry permit:

'I carry in the only legal manner available in Washington State for ME to exercise my right to bear arms for my protection and the protection of those around me, (open carry). Any other manner requires I pay the state another tax for a permit to carry concealed. I do understand the reasons for getting the permit, and I don’t fault in one person for making that choice. (Although, it does grieve me to know that some willingly accepts that treatment when it comes to the right to KABA).'

Jason isn’t the only one. There are some gun bloggers (including one or two on my own blogroll) who are just a little too eager to rebel against the state. "

Well I assume I'm one of the bloggers on his blogroll that are "just a little too eager to rebel against the state". I'll skip the lecture about it only being rebellion when there's legitimate authority you're defying. :)

But look, there's a serious perceptual disconnect when carrying openly in compliance with state law (& complying with the asinine provisions such as the magazine being removed) is seen as rebelling against the state's power.

Jason did not rebel; he carried in accordance with state law. Want to discuss my carry habits? that'd be different. But in Jason’s case it had nothing to do with protesting a law. It's hard to protest a law that you're complying with.

"Open carry makes people nervous as hell. Open carrying to make a political point - especially in a state like Washington where permits are available on a shall-issue basis - is stupid, in my opinion. This guy seems to have wanted to stand up to The Man and make a political statement. Now he’s getting to make his political statement, but I don’t think he likes it."

Again, it doesn't seem like he was trying to make a political point. He was merely complying with state law. As for open carry making people nervous - here's a news flash; owning guns makes people nervous as hell. Is that any reason to dispose of them (the guns, not the people)?

One thing I am sickened by is gun owners turning on other gun owners for being too pro-gun. In Virginia a group got together to carry openly & the bigger groups shunned them. In Colorado Springs a man peaceably carried a shotgun into a city council meeting & the bigger gun groups disowned him. It reminds me of black people who bad mouthed other black people for letting their hair grow instead of blending in with white people; acting "too black" in other words.

Eugene Volokh tells an old joke that I think is applicable to gun owners:

"There's an old Soviet joke about the man who visits Hell. In Hell, there are three giant cauldrons in which the sinners are being boiled. On the rim of one stands a regiment of demons, shoulder to shoulder, constantly using their pitchforks to smack down the sinners who are trying to escape. On the rim of the second walk a few demons, who occasionally whack someone down. The rim of the third is empty, but no-one is getting out.

'What's going on here?', the visitor asks. 'There are three kinds of people,' the Devil says. (In the original joke, they are Jews, Russians, and Ukrainians, but in honor of the Orange Revolution I've sworn off Ukrainian jokes . . . .) 'The first kind is in the first cauldron. When one looks like he's trying to escape, all the rest follow him. We need a lot of demons to manage them.

The second kind is in the second cauldron. Occasionally someone is trying to escape, but the others don't pay any attention. It takes just a few demons to deal with this kind.'

'The third kind is in the third cauldron: When one is starting to escape, all the others drag him back down by the ankles."

Now as to not having a concealed carry permit being stupid I disagree. What a few people fail to realize is that the fees for those permits might not be as easy to come by for everyone. I don't know Jason's financial situation, but I do know quite a few people here that would have trouble coming up with the $150+ for the permit & training here in Colorado. Plus finding the time to complete the training isn't always easy, especially where a state mandates multiple classes.

& then there's that pesky principle thing to deal with. I don't buy the argument that someone should cave in on their principles because it's easy. Would anyone argue that a person should cheat on his wife because it's easy to do? You may not agree with the principle itself & I can even understand arguing against following a principle you don't adhere to, but belittling those who do take principled views is not impressive.

But no; Jason wasn't trying to "stand up to the man". He was just driving while carrying. He didn't want to be mistreated (which he ultimately was) but defense is different than offense. If he'd have jumped out of the car & started quoting constitutions & laws before the cop said anything then perhaps Les would have a point. As it was relayed by Jason I don't think Les' assumption is correct.

Xrlq had this to say:

"...It sounds like Jason was legally in the right, but I fail to see what he is hoping to accomplish. Rather than expect every cop to know the legal definition of 'loaded' off the top of his head and not freak out upon seeing the gun, he should get a concealed pistol license and be done with it."

It is not unreasonable to expect any cop to know the applicable gun laws in his area. It wouldn't be unreasonable for him to know the applicable traffic laws now would it?

Now Xrlq left this in the comments to my previous post on the same subject:

"Garrum, you left out the fifth, most obvious option: get a concealed pistol license and be done with it."

At first the audacity of the comment (& the sentiment behind it) had me thinking I'd write a long & drawn out refutation of the idea that Jason should get a permit instead of carrying openly as recognized by state law. But there's perhaps a better response to Xrlq's advice:

Why should Jason or anyone else get a concealed carry permit when open carry is not infringed upon by law?

There are many other comments both praising & condemning Jason for what he did (& in some cases didn’t do). I can’t say some of the criticisms of him are unreasonable. I can say the criticisms of him carrying openly are.

Look, Jason's actions may have been less than ideal, but the bottom line is he did nothing wrong. He violated no laws (based on his account) & he did not deserve the treatment he got from the cops. If you wish to discuss the practical merits of carrying openly versus concealed I'm all for it, but there shouldn't be any disagreement that carrying openly is something that should not get you treated unfairly by the cops. It was legal for him to carry openly. We should at least be supportive of him on those grounds.

Posted by Publicola at 07:59 AM | Comments (19) | TrackBack

December 18, 2004

Arrested For Legally Carrying?

Jason of Fish Or Man was arrested. From his account it sounds like he was arrested & harrassed because he was a gun owner. He was carrying openly & in accordance with Washington state law. Go read what happened. I'll add some of my thoughts later on.

Update (12-21-04 07:50 AM): Jason has more (as does his wife) at Fish Or Man. he also has a Paypal button over there. If you have anything to spare throw it his way.

My thoughts as well as some additional links are in the extended entry.

Jason made some decisions that he probably should have made differently.
What happened on the road...well from his account he didn't seem to do anything wrong. But generally if you're doing a little under or right at the speed limit & a cop stays behind you for a while that's a good sign he's about to pull you over. Typically he's just waiting for an excuse; hoping you'll speed up or swerve a little bit out of nervousness. Anytime that happens it's a good idea if at all possible to casually pull over or otherwise get the cop off your ass. You might get pulled over just the same, but then again you might not. It's usually better to do what you legally can to keep a cop from following you. That being said it's a sad friggin state of affairs when law abiding folk get nervous because a cop is behind them. You should not have to feel like shaking a cop off your tail & you shouldn't have to feel nervous when a cop gets behind you.

Now when the cop kept asking Jason for his gun permit - some people really hate it when you correct them no matter how nice you do it. But sadly cops aren't known for their intimate knowledge of the laws they enforce.

Now I've been on the receiving end of a cop repeating the same question when his question is invalid so I can sympathize with what Jason must have been going through. Ever see an old movie where a Nazi or some other bad guy kept repeating the same question? It seems comical & from your chair you can think it'd be funny but it's entirely different when the person asking the same question has a lot of force backing him up. It's more intimidating than it seems & usually has the effect of unnerving you, which is what it's supposed to do.

Now here's where Jason did make a mistake: he talked to the cop about his circumstances. He told the cop a permit wasn't required then that he didn't need a permit. Doesn't seem like a big deal right? Wrong. The 5th amendment's provision against compelled self testimony is there for a reason.

Ideally Jason's response should have been that he has an uncle who's a lawyer & he'd (the fictitious uncle) would kick Jason's ass if he discussed anything remotely involving himself, though he'd be glad to talk about fishing or basketball. After that if the cop continued Jason should have merely asked if state law required disclosure of any firearms permits to cops, then no matter what the cop's response he should have said he wasn't at liberty to talk about himself in any manner.

Now this isn't a magic formula & the exact words used aren't that important. That's just what I'd have said if I had the presence of mind to phrase it like I wanted to. But cops can be intimidating & sometimes you say things you don't intend to or in ways you didn't intend when faced with the pressure they exert just by being there.

But more or less from this point on Jason should have said nothing. True, he might have gotten arrested anyway, but since that's what happened I doubt it could have been worse. Without you saying something cops have very little to go on. Any lawyer will tell you that a good portion of the time the cop doesn't have the goods on you until you start talking. The best bet is to not say a damn word more than necessary to inform the cop you won't be speaking with him. (Although my example is a little more than what's absolutely necessary it ideally will let the cop know you're not being unsocial towards him as a person which may or may not help ease things along.)

Next Jason would have been better off (but perhaps not) if he'd simply asked the cop why he was pulled instead of asking why the cop hadn't told him yet. What Jason did was put the cop even more on the defensive after his knowledge of the law had been questioned. Granted though, Jason was probably a little on edge after having a question he answered repeated to him.

Now Jason should have not said a damn word after the cop told him why he was pulled over. Why? Because it usually does no good to call bullshit on the cop when it's just you & him. Jason should have waited till he was in front of a judge before bringing up that the license plate bulb being out wasn't illegal (if in fact it wasn't). What Jason did though was give the cop a heads up that he'd have to lay it on a bit thicker, so he did.

Don't misunderstand me; I am not saying Jason did anything wrong. From what I can tell his actions & statements were perfectly understandable & shouldn't have gotten him in any trouble whatsoever. But dealing with agents of the state who have much power & much ego doesn't usually leave you any slack when you try to assert yourself. Whether or not his actions were understandable to you & I, it's obvious the cop took offense at them. & again in an ideal world that shouldn't be an issue. But it's not an ideal world. What I'm saying is that Jason could have done a few things that may have smoothed the situation over, or at least made it less severe. I'm not saying the cop was remotely justified in his reactions.

Jason did do something very very right: he refused to move when told to do so because it would have caused him to lower his hands. When excited cops are drawing a bead on you it's never a good idea to obey them when it means one of them could think you're going for a weapon. Jason thought clearly & that may have kept this from being a rant about a tragic shooting by a cop.

Again in the back of the squad car Jason should have not responded to the cops at all. It's pointless; all that will happen is you'll give them your own words to use against you. They aren't going to let you go at this point so you gain nothing by talking to them. You do stand to lose a lot, especially if your statements are misconstrued.

At this point, well Jason handled things as best could be expected. I can't really say anything other than he should have tried his best to not say a word to the cops about himself.

Now for the cops; from everything Jason said the cops were way in the wrong. If it could be proved that Jason’s story was true in significant part then each & every cop involved should be tarred, feathered & put into stocks in the town square for little kids to pelt them with rotten fruit. After a week they should be let go so they could start looking for employment.

As a whole though - what did any of you expect? This is what will happen when you delegate too much authority in any one group of people. Hell, the cops might be alright people off duty - but pin on the badge & it goes straight to their head. & I am in no ways saying the cops themselves aren't to blame; they made decisions. Even if power was tempting they decided to succumb to the temptation. But the approach we have of trying to weed out the ones that can handle temptation from the ones that can't is futile. We'd be better off if we removed as much temptation as possible from the system.

That being said, what's important now is dealing with the issue. Jason had his firearm stolen from him. Jason is facing various charges. For both he is going to need a lawyer. Lawyers aren't cheap. His is not an "ideal" case so the big gun groups won't help him. As I mentioned before he has a Paypal button. Hit it with as much as you can.

Also Mrs. du Toit suggests that anyone in the area be in the courtroom on Thursday the 23rd for Jason's hearing.

Joe Huffman plans on being there. Presumably he'll write about it & I'll link it as soon as I see it.

Say Uncle has contact info for the Spokane Sheriff's Department.

Now to be fair about some things: Jason had a warrant out for his arrest. Apparently it's a continuation of a previous incident in which he was bothered for carrying openly. So he would have been arrested regardless. For that I can't really blame the cops. A warrant is a warrant & unless the cop has some reason to believe something's amiss with it he will make the arrest.

But there is the question of why Jason was pulled over in the first place. It's entirely possible the cop ran Jason's plates & the warrant was part of the info that came up. What it seems though is that the cop pulled him over for other reasons & found out about the warrant later, though this is pure speculation. If the warrant was not know when the cop pulled him over then we're left with wondering why exactly Jason was pulled.

Some would give the cops the benefit of the doubt, saying that they could have had a perfectly reasonable (to them) cause for pulling Jason over. From my perspective I'm not as willing to give the cops the benefit of the doubt. Again it's just speculation but I have the feeling they pulled him over to further a fishing expedition. The hard part is proving a cop didn't have grounds to pull you over.

Now it could also be that Jason didn't give us accurate information, or left out some important details. I don't know that much about him, but I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt as his account seems credible on the surface. In other words I'm relying on his account because it's the only account I have to go on & from my limited experience with him I think he's on the up & up & has included every detail he could think of.

The bottom line? Jason would have been arrested anyway because of the warrant, but his treatment during & after the arrest was reprehensible. Whether or not he should have been pulled over in the first place is debatable, but it sounds like it was unmerited. If you can assist Jason in any way please do so. If you're near Spokane this Thursday try to make it to his hearing. If you have any occasion to do business with the cops involved very rudely decline. & if the Spokane Sheriff's Department calls you asking for donations calmly explain to them about you reluctance to donate to any group that is disrespectful of your Rights.

Posted by Publicola at 05:53 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

December 17, 2004

"Live Free Or Die"? Doesn't Ring A Bell...

You'd think after all those years of running license plates that a New Hampshire cop would at least be familiar with the concept.

"We don't want gun battles in the street over this,' Lt. Tim Brownell said. 'It's better if the employee and everyone else give up the money."

That comes from this story about adult stores being robbed & some employees of such stores deciding to arm themselves.

At least the employees & owners are showing more sense than the cops:

"I'm not going to use it without reason,' employee Shawn Watkins said. 'I just suggest someone not come in with ski masks on."

& before the cries of "damn right" die down...

"Watkins said he is ex-military with gun training, and Paone said his other employee was also in the military. Both said they believe they can handle themselves.
'We're prepared to fight,' Watkins said. 'We're not going to sit by idly and let someone get away with this."

& in contrast to certain national pizza chains, the owner of at least one store has the right attitude:

"Although Moonlight Reader has never been robbed, employees decided they need sidearms to protect themselves."
"I said, 'Absolutely. If you feel more comfortable carrying, have a blast. Don't do anything foolish,' Moonlight Reader owner Del Paone said."

Hmmm. Maybe someone should inform him that all employees are just a weapons reach away from becoming immoral homicidal maniacs? Or that he's greatly increasing the risk of suicide by encouraging firearms possession? But it seems like you'd have an easier time convincing him that no man wants to look at pictures, let alone videos, of a 20 year old blonde lady in a cheerleader outfit. In other words he sounds like he is capable of using logic rather than some variant of leftist emotion-think.

Oh, what prompted this?

"Police warned adult stores to be on alert after the two recent robberies. On Tuesday, a masked man with a semi-automatic weapon held up Spaulding Book and Video. Two weeks ago, a similar heist was reported at the 5th Wheel. Both incidents happened at night around closing time."

So the cops warned adult stores that someone seemed to be targeting them, then this asshat of a cop spouts off some bullshit about gun battles in the street & it's better to just comply? I hope this hypocrite has turned in his sidearm, lest he gets involved ina gun battle in a street while trying to arrest someone when he should just concede to the criminals demands that he back off.

Now the motto "Live Free or Die" comes from Gen. John Stark. Here's the full quote:

"Live Free Or Die; Death Is Not The Worst of Evils."

Gen. Stark sent this as a toast when he had to decline attendance at the 32nd anniversary of the Battle of Bennington, Vt. The battle took place in 1777. So I'm sure that the intent was not specifically to address freedom from armed robbery - well, at least by non-government actors. But the sentiment should be taken generally, as freedom can be threatened by government & non-government entities alike.

I could be way off base on this (& if so please correct me) but I'd think that Gen. Stark would not take kindly to an agent of the government advising New Hampshire citizens to just throw themselves on the mercy of thugs & comply with whatever demands they make at the point of a gun. In fact I'd go even further & wager good Confederate money that General Stark's boot would be firmly inserted into the rectum of one Lt. Tim Brownell if the good General were alive & in the room when the asshat spewed his asshattery.

Now to give you the full context of what Brownell said:

"According to New Hampshire law, carrying a gun is legal as long as it's not concealed. Legal or not, police said they are concerned about citizens potentially taking the law into their own hands.
'We don't want gun battles in the street over this,' Lt. Tim Brownell said. 'It's better if the employee and everyone else give up the money."

I'd also assume that "police" refers solely to the illogical opinion of Lt. Tim Brownell rather than a consensus of law enforcement officers spoken to. I may well be wrong, but if I'm correct it wouldn't be the first time that a reporter labeled the musings of one cop as a police consensus.

& NH law allows for carrying concealed with a permit. You probably know how I feel about permits by now (also look here), but still it's inaccurate to claim that open carry is the only legal means.

But again I must take issue with the phrase "taking the law into their own hands". If New Hampshire is a government of the people, then how can they not "take the law into their own hands"? Are the NH police (or more likely Lt. Tim Brownell) anti-voting? Are they anti-lobbying? Are they anti-litigation?

What the phrase usually means is that ordinary people would act directly in apprehending suspects & presumably punishing them after determining their guilt. Now bypassing the judicial process is something I'd be opposed to, as a fair trial is essential to any open judiciary system, but there is a distinct difference between what the phrase means literally, what it's common usage denotes, & most importantly the situations it's used in reference to.

I think I've covered what it means on its surface as well as what is implied by it in common usage. But what situations does it usually refer to? Very rarely will someone use the phrase "taking the law into their own hands" to denote apprehension, trial & punishment outside the course of government sanctioned entities. Were someone to use the phrase to denounce a lynch mob who attempted to hang a man based on less than concrete evidence then I'd agree it was used appropriately (at least according to its common, not literal, meaning).

But more often than not, in fact I'd say the vast majority of the time, its used to deflate the value of a non-government agent either enforcing the law (i.e. stopping a crime in progress) or in defending himself & his property from unjustifiable actions by another.

I think that would apply here; the asshatted cop in question isn't worried about adult store employees catching a crook then hanging him (though if crooks had that concern I'd think there'd be less active crooks in that area) but rather he's worried about the employees relying on themselves & not him for protection against armed thugs.

& "...legal or not..."? I hope that's just the reporter badly paraphrasing, but if it's not then what that particular qualifier means is that it's irrelevant if something is in fact legal. Now don't get me wrong, there are a lot of things that are legal that I wouldn't recommend doing or encourage others to do, but for an agent of the state to discourage a legal activity is offensive & should be offensive to anyone who hears of it. The government (including its agents while on the clock) should take no position one way or the other as to a action that is legal.

So more or less what the cop is saying is that he doesn't care if it's legal, he doesn't think citizens should protect themselves even after the cops warned them that they're in danger.

I've often thought about having an Asshat of the Week series. But the more I read I realize it'd have to become an Asshat of the Day series to narrow down the choices. Lt. Tim Brownell would definitely be a contender in either category.

But at least the adult stores in NH have more sense than say, a certain national pizza chain. They realize that an armed employee won't likely be a dead employee after a robbery. & again unlike a certain national pizza chain the adult store owners probably wouldn't fire an employee who used a weapon in justifiable self defense. Don't you find it a little odd that a company that makes food feels its employees are not to be trusted with arms whereas an adult book store does? < sarcasm > No, I'm not saying the next time you feel like a pizza go buy a porn vid instead, but then again you'd at least be doing business with a company (in NH at least) that doesn't employee unstable people who are just a weapons' reach away from going on a shooting spree. < /sarcasm >

But it's good that some people do realize that death is not the worst thing that can happen to you, & that "Live Free Or Die" is not just some old words on a license plate.

Posted by Publicola at 07:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

SF Proposed Gun Ban - The Text

David Codrea sent me an e-mail that contained the SF proposal. I'll include it in the extended entry without comment, as I believe it's self fisking.

Though I will relate something a friend said to me concerning this: he told me it seems like SF is fascinated with the capitalizing letter "H". I asked what he was talking about & he said that SF has been known (for good or bad in each instance) as the hippie capital, the homeless capital, the homosexual capital & now it wants to nock out D.C. & Chicago as the homicide capital. After this the only thing that will be left for them is the herring capital.

I'm sure the fine folks in Alesund, Norway are concerned about this, but perhaps for much different reasons than we are.

Anyway, on to the text of this thing:

SAN FRANCISCO GUN BAN INIITIATIVE Prohibiting firearms distribution and limiting handgun possession.
Initiative ordinance prohibiting the sale, manufacture and distribution of firearms in the City and County of San Francisco, and limiting the possession of handguns in the City and County of San Francisco.

Be it ordained by the People of the City and County of San Francisco:
Section 1. Findings
The people of the City and County of San Francisco hereby find and declare:
Handgun violence is a serious problem in San Francisco. According to a San Francisco Department of Public Health report published in 2002, 176 handgun incidents in San Francisco affected 213 victims in 1999, the last year for which data is available. Only 26.8% of firearms were recovered. Of all firearms used to cause injury or death, 67% were handguns.
San Franciscans have a right to live in a safe and secure City. The presence of handguns poses a significant threat to the safety of San Franciscans.
It is not the intent of the people of the City and County of San Francisco to affect any resident of other jurisdictions with regard to handgun possession, including those who may temporarily be within the boundaries of the City and County.
Article XI of the California Constitution provides Charter created counties with the "home rule" power. This power allows counties to enact laws that exclusively apply to residents within their borders, even when such a law conflicts with state law or when state law is silent. San Francisco adopted its most recent comprehensive Charter revision in 1996.
Since it is not the intent of the people of the City and County of San Francisco to impose an undue burden on inter-county commerce and transit, the provisions of Section 3 apply exclusively to residents of the City and County of San Francisco.

Section 2. Ban on Sale, Manufacture, Transfer or Distribution of Firearms in the City and County of San Francisco
Within the limits of the City and County of San Francisco, the sale, distribution, transfer and manufacture of all firearms and ammunition shall be prohibited.
Section 3. Limiting Handgun Possession in the City and County of San Francisco
Within the limits of the City and County of San Francisco, no resident of the City and County of San Francisco shall possess any handgun unless required for professional purposes, as enumerated herein. Specifically, any City, state or federal employee carrying out the functions of his or her government employment, including but not limited to peace officers as defined by California Penal Code Section 830 et.seq. and animal control officers may possess a handgun. Active members of the United States armed forces or the National Guard and security guards, regularly employed and compensated by a person engaged in any lawful business, while actually employed and engaged in protecting and preserving property or life within the scope of his or her employment, may also possess handguns. Within 90 days from the effective date of this section, any resident of the City and County of San Francisco may surrender his or her handgun at any district station of the San Francisco Police Department, or to the San Francisco Sheriff's Department without penalty under this section.
Section 4. Effective Date
This ordinance shall become effective January 1, 2006.
Section 5. Penalties
Within 90 days of the effective date of this section, the Board of Supervisors shall enact penalties for violations of this ordinance. The Mayor, after consultation with the District Attorney, Sheriff and Chief of Police shall, within 30 days from the effective date, provide recommendations about penalties to the Board.
Section 6. State Law
Nothing in this ordinance is designed to duplicate or conflict with California state law. Accordingly, any person currently denied the privilege of possessing a handgun under state law shall not be covered by this ordinance, but shall be covered by the California state law which denies that privilege. Nothing in this ordinance shall be construed to create or require any local license or registration for any firearm, or create an additional class of citizens who must seek licensing or registration.
Section 7. Severability
If any provision of this ordinance or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid or unconstitutional, such invalidity or unconstitutionality shall not affect other provisions or applications or this ordinance which can be given effect without the invalid or unconstitutional provision or application. To this end, the provisions of this ordinance shall be deemed severable.
Section 8. Amendment
By a two-thirds vote and upon making findings, the Board of Supervisors may amend this ordinance in the furtherance of reducing handgun violence.

Posted by Publicola at 07:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 16, 2004

If You Stay It'd Better Be To Set Up A Resistance Cell

If you're in California, specifically the Bay area, leave. Don't pass Go. To Hell with the $200. Just get out while you can.


Jed at FreedomSight as well as James at Hell In A Handbasket both have more on this. What's "this"? What's the reason to abandon California?

San Fransisco wants a ban on handgun possession. A complete ban. This is not a "junk gun" ban, nor an "assault weapons" ban. This is a "Mr. & Mrs. San Fransisco turn them in" ban. Now according to the SF Gate story I think they're just talking about handguns, although the reporter uses the words "guns" & "firearms" in some spots. I'd assume it's a handgun ban & the reporter is (surprise surprise) just ignorant of the difference.

"San Francisco supervisors want voters to approve a sweeping handgun ban that would prohibit almost everyone except law enforcement officers, security guards and military members from possessing firearms in the city."

Of course cops will need guns. After all cops' lives are valuable, unlike the peasants of SF.

"The measure, which will appear on the municipal ballot next year, would bar residents from keeping guns in their homes or businesses, Bill Barnes, an aide to Supervisor Chris Daly, said Wednesday. It would also prohibit the sale, manufacturing and distribution of handguns and ammunition in San Francisco, as well as the transfer of gun licenses."

Again I think they just mean handguns. Someone needs to tell this reporter that "guns" & "firearms" can be interchangeable while neither is with "handguns". But so no handguns or ammo. Lovely.

"Barnes said the initiative is a response to San Francisco's skyrocketing homicide rate, as well as other social ills. There have been 86 murders in the city so far this year compared to 70 in all of 2003."

Yes; thugs who break laws prohibiting murder & assault will obey a city ban on handguns. Why doesn't the city just ban not being nice to other people?

"The hope is twofold, that officers will have an opportunity to interact with folks and if they have a handgun, that will be reason enough to confiscate it,' he said. 'Second, we know that for even law-abiding folks who own guns, the rates of suicide and mortality are substantially higher. So while just perceived to be a crime thing, we think there is a wide benefit to limiting the number of guns in the city."

Good Lord. They hope that by making them illegal cops will be able to confiscate them. Such compelling logic is beyond me. First of all this is Cali. & not just Cali; this is SF. Were this NC - any part of NC - a cops life insurance rates would not be nearly as cheap after such a bonehead measure was enacted. Don't get me wrong; the folks back home wouldn't just start gunning down cops, but one cop by himself wouldn't disarm one Tarheel. As long as the cop didn't mention it everything would be just fine for all concerned.

Or as I'm still kind of amused by it, here's what someone said in the comments to this post from The Smallest Minority about a similar occurrence:

"That reminds when my 8 year old daughter was at a gunshow with me and we were staffing a 'gun rights' booth. The discussion was HOT and heavy with a large group of people around.......I caught only a piece of the discussion that my daughter was having with the LEO.......the LEO said 'What if the President gives the order for the Police to take all the guns?'.....my 8 year old told the LEO 'Don't come to my house! We'll shoot you and bury you in the backyard!'
The LEO just stopped with this look on his face.............and then he walked away."

(thanks to Geek With A .45 for pointing that one out.)

But alas this is SF we're talking about. Things would be different in America.

But suicide? Please, please tell me it's a misquote & this pitiful bastard isn't trying the old "gun owners are more suicidal" bullshit. Kevin at The Smallest Minority is the blogger to go to for a good refutation of bogus stats. Hopefully he'll take some time & post yet again why this statement by the jack ass is not worth as much as a road killed skunk on a hot highway.

"The proposal was immediately dismissed as illegal, however, by Gun Owners of California, a Sacramento-based lobbying group. Sam Paredes, the group's executive director, said the state has for years had a 'pre-emption law' on the books that bars local governments from usurping the state's authority to regulate firearms." (Link added of course)

Unfortunately as we found out here in Colorado, some judges won't let pre-emption get in the way of a good gun ban.

"The amazing thing is they are going to turn San Francisco into ground zero for every criminal who wants to profit at their chosen profession,' Paredes said. 'People are going to be assaulted, people are going to be robbed, people are going to be pushed around by thugs and the police are going to be powerless to do anything about it."


"Under the language of the measure, the ban would not apply police officers, security guards, members of the military, and anyone else 'actually employed and engaged in protecting and preserving property or life within the scope of his or her employment."

I wonder how hard it'd be to hire yourself as your own bodyguard?

"If approved by a majority of the city's voters, the law would take effect in January 2006. Residents would have 90 days after that to relinquish their handguns."

Hence it should be called the April of 2006 Flee Frisco Act. (If it was NC it'd be the "shoot at anything in blue just like yer grandpappy did" bill.)

"Five supervisors on Tuesday submitted the proposed ban directly to the Department of Elections, one more than the minimum needed to get the measure on the ballot without signatures from registered voters. The next election is scheduled for November 2005, although Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has talked about calling a special election before then."

I wonder how the stealth pro-gun candidate will react to this?

"Besides Daly, the sponsors include Supervisors Michela Alioto-Pier, Tom Ammiano, Bevan Dufty and Matt Gonzalez, the outgoing president of the 11-member Board of Supervisors. Consisting of four Democrats and a Green Party member, the group is nonetheless considered 'ideologically diverse' by San Francisco standards, Barnes said."

By SF standards one has to look right to see past Lenin. Nuff said?

"How many residents would be affected by the ban is unclear, since California does not require residents to register handguns that are kept in a private residence of business. Only 10 people in San Francisco have been issued concealed weapons permits allowing them to carry guns and the city has only three licensed gun dealers, Barnes said."

10 CCW licenses? See I'd like to think that the number is due to people carrying without begging for permission or paying a fee to exercise their Right to SArms, but odds are in SF not a lot of people apply, & only those ten were able to go down on the issuing official well enough persuade the guy in charge to give them a permit. I wonder if Difi still has her carry permit. She was a SF resident if I recall.

& actually Cali does have handgun registration. It happens at the time of sale for new handgun purchases, & there's a form you're required to fill out if you move to Cali & take your handguns with you. It might not be searchable by the press, but from what I understand there is statewide registration.

< sarcasm > Luckily we all know that registration has never been & will never be used for confiscation. < / sarcasm >

"Washington, D.C. is the only major American city that currently bans handgun possession by private citizens. Andrew Arulanandam, director of public affairs for the National Rifle Association, said San Francisco officials are remiss to use the District of Columbia's experience as a model.

'If gun control worked, Washington, D.C. would be the beacon. However, it's the murder capital of the United States,' Arulanandam said."

Heh. Score one for the NRA.

"Penalties for violations have not been set, but would be recommended by the mayor in consultation with the police chief, the sheriff and the district attorney, according to language in the measure."

Oh I disagree; the penalties have been set. An exodus of the kind of people a crime plagued city needs most; a lack of tourism dollars from gun owners across the country; a much narrower selection of gun makers to acquire weapons for the cops from; losing at least three SF businesses. Now what's not set is the price the officials will pay & frankly that depends on how many gun owners in SF decide to stick around. If there's a sizable number & they're as stubborn as I am, then after the first confiscation attempt on any one of them I'd expect, nay hope that the city council members who backed such bullshit would know how Dr. Frankenstein felt when he looked out of his castle & saw those pesky peasants with their torches & pitchforks.

"Barnes said that since initiative was crafted with input from the city attorney's office and an outside consultant to avoid potential conflicts with state law, the supervisors were confident it would withstand legal scrutiny.

'We'll see when and if it's litigated,' he said."

In other words to hell with the law & the people's Rights. Cali is bad for gun owners as it's too damn long constitution does not mention the Right to Arms. Judges in Cali seem to be mroe sympathetic to victim disarmament than in other places. All that added together means there's a good chance this SF ban, if enacted would survive a legal challenge. The only shot they have is getting a judge to apply the 2nd amendment from the U.S. constitution via the 14th amendment. Not impossible, just unlikely as hell.

I have friends in Cali. In fact a very dear friend in the Bay area. I'll tell you like I'll tell them: unless you honestly think you can fight this kind of bullshit, either through legal, legislative, or covert means, then get the hell out of Cali. There are several states that won't be foreign to refugees from Der People's Republik of Kalifornia, Colorado being one of them.

If I was from Cali I'd be tempted to stay & fight. Course I have no idea how that would balance against a desire to just let Cali go to Hell & prove to the rest of America that Cali's way leads only to death. But I understand the desire to fight for your home.

If you don't have those kind of roots there, leave. Do it now & beat the rush. Come help strengthen one of the states that doesn't think Lenin had some good ideas they just weren't pushed hard enough.

Whatever you decide I will try to help in any way I can. There are a lot of good people in Cali & even in the Bay area. I fear though that they are outnumbered. Then again common sense seems to be outnumbered out that way.

This SF law will probably get voted on. & if it gets voted on it'll probably pass. If it gets challenged in court it'll likely survive.

As I was looking at The High Road for more info on the SF handgun ban I came across this thread. It's about a Californian expressing frustration because of an economical surplus handgun being taken off Cali's "approved" list. There's decent talk of leaving Cali v. staying.

Here's The High Road thread discussing the proposed SF handgun ban.

Now assuming SF goes all out in each step (getting it on the ballot, passing it, surviving a legal challenge) it'll be bad for any SF residents gun owning or not. In ten years think of it as D.C. with hipper bars & cheaper drugs.

But there is something that can be done. The first thing I'd ask is that you call Hugh Hewitt, Michael Medved, Michael Savage & any other conservative/republican/non-socialist talk show hosts that you can think of & inform them about this. Generate some discussion. If they attempt to downplay it simply ask if in 2001 they thought SF would allow gay marriage. Hopefully that will let them realize it is more than feasible in SF.

Next tell any businesses you trade with that deal with the SF government that they can have your business or SF's, but not both. I'll try to find out which gun maker deals with the SFPD currently.

Getting in touch with the SF tourism board or whatever the hell they call it would be a good idea. Tell them you simply can't imagine spending the money you were going to spend in a city that disrespects your Right to Arms.

Finally if you're a SF resident call the chamber of commerce & tell them you intend to move before the ban goes into effect.

I doubt any or all of those things will help or prevent this from happening in SF, but it's worth a shot. After all, if God was willing to spare Sodom because of ten good people then we should try to keep SF from going to hell, as I know there's at least one decent person there, & presumably hundreds if not thousands.

Update: Geek With A .45 sent me this link to Doe v. San Francisco. It's a case from 1982 where a San Fransisco handgun ban was struck down as violating Califonria's pre-emption law.

The Geek feels it's binding & that SF won't be able to survive a challenge based on this precedent. I'm still skeptical. SF could be just taking a shot in the dark that the courts will be more sympathetic to its desire to ban all guns. But also it could be taking advantage of a change in the law or a newly enacted law. Also it could just have a new angle that they feel will let them win in court should their ban be challenged.

"Barnes said that since initiative was crafted with input from the city attorney's office and an outside consultant to avoid potential conflicts with state law, the supervisors were confident it would withstand legal scrutiny.

'We'll see when and if it's litigated,' he said."

Barnes is an aid to Supervisor Daly. Now it's possible he could be bluffing or the legal advice they received was flawed. But I would presume that SF wouldn't be discussing this unless they thought they had a fighting chance.

In any event I hope The Geek is correct. But my inner skeptic won't let me dismiss this. After all I live in a state that has a pre-emption law & just moved from a city that has a gun ban in spite of it.

Update: Leland Burrill at Bernalchemist has a post up concerning SF's proposed handgun ban. In it he links to this story of an 83 year old man who uses a revolver to kill an armed intruder. Guess where he lives. Now granted the story is dated 2000 but I think the point is still as valid almost 5 years later: people use firearms for self defense. & unlike Tim Lambert's assertions if the old man would have lacked a firearm he wouldn't have had another means of effective defense.

So SF wants a community of defenseless prey for its criminal class. That's what the result will be, despite protestations of the public good.

Prof. Volokh has more on why you should pay attention to what SF is trying to do. He also points out is much more far reaching than first thought. It would only ban possession of handguns but it would ban the sale of all firearms & ammunition.

< sarcasm > I'm glad there's no slippery slope at play, aren't you? < /sarcasm >

Posted by Publicola at 06:48 AM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

December 15, 2004

Happy B.O.R. Day

Happy Bill of Rights Day. (Although I find it kind of ironic that the great socialist bastard of the 1930's & 1940's was the one to have signed the resolution acknowledging them, considering the blatent disregard he showed for them.)

Here they are, courtesy of a bunch of men in the 18th century who hoped their contribution to the U.S. Constitution would be taken seriously.

Posted by Publicola at 03:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 14, 2004

Check Please....Weekly Check That Is

Jeff's got hsi Weekly Check on the Bias up. If for some reason you haven't read it yet now's as good a time as any. As usual you won't be disappointed - well, not with Jeff;s work at least. The things the media tries to pass of as news...well that's always disappointing.

While I'm at it there are some new posts up at The Shooter's Carnival. Give them a read as well.

Yet another link to check out; miss Rachel is back & she's not promising to be as nice as she was before. Yes, you read correctly. She's going to stop holding back her anger. Now I've seen her get pretty worked up before & if that was showing restraint...well let's just say I'm aquiver & skeered all at the same time.

Posted by Publicola at 08:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 11, 2004

Don't Start None, Won't Be None

I've went a round or two with XRLQ before. We've disagreed on a few things & discussed them in more or less a reasonable manner. I even devoted a category to our disagreements. But now he's went & done something fairly low:

"CCW Licenses. Some schlocks who should thank their lucky stars that they live in a shall-issue state, choose to carry without a permit anyway as a matter of principle. The rationale is that you shouldn’t have to ask the government for permission to exercise a right (or, worse, a 'Right'). Puh-leeze. It’s all well and good to argue against licensing generally, but the reality is you need a license not only to drive a car, but to build a house, to expand on a house you’ve already built, to sell stocks and bonds to the public, to sell insurance policies issued by another company that needs a separate license of its own, and even to teach in a public school. We license all sorts of crap, and until that changes, objecting to a license to carry a gun anywhere other than your own property (or someone else’s, with the owner’s consent), is really not that remarkable. Rather than stamping one’s feet over the fair, nondiscretionary licensing systems in place in most states, why not focus instead on the really crappy, criminal paradises like California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island, which condition the right to bear arms on political connections, or on the hard core criminal paradises like D.C., Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and Wisconsin, which deny that right altogether? Priorities, people."

Note where the hyperlink in the word "schlock" leads to.

Now from Merriam-Webster we find the following definition:

Main Entry: schlock
Pronunciation: 'shläk
Variant(s): also schlocky /'shlä-kE/
Function: adjective
Etymology: perhaps from Yiddish shlak evil, nuisance, literally, blow, from Middle High German slag, slac, from Old High German slag, from slahan to strike -- more at SLAY
: of low quality or value
- schlock noun

Now since Xrlq is a lawyer, it's very tempting to use another Yiddish derived word to counter his reference to me. I won't pretend that I'm a big enough person to not stoop to his level. In fact if we were discussing this over a drink or twelve I can guarantee that a very colorful use of profanity would be used to question whether his lineage was entirely human. But it just isn't that interesting in this format to play the dozens, especially with what amounts to an unarmed opponent.

I will counter that the premise surrounding Xrlq's remark is flawed. In effect what he's saying is "principle, schminciple - you have more Right s than me so stop complaining". This seems to be the same attitude that makes people feel alright about turning in their neighbors for violating a law that does them no direct or indirect harm (such as carrying sans license).

His examples? Well I'll admit that licenses are required for all the activities he listed. What he's doing is saying that because those laws are on the books & have been for a while that makes them okay, so since licensing laws for guns are on the books they must be okay too.

A license to drive: Nope. It's not proper to require a license to drive. The idea originally was to make sure people knew how to properly operate those new fangled horseless carriages. Now it's all about revenue. There are more effective ways to ensure a person has the ability to drive safely, like requiring the passing of a test before purchase of a vehicle or simply enhancing liability laws to encourage some form of driver's education. But as a matter of principle no, I don't think a good argument exists for licensing drivers as we do currently.

To build or expand on a house: Hell no. A property owner should not ever be required to obtain a license to build on his own property. That's just immoral. It’s in effect saying that the city or county or state owns the property & you need their permission before you build on it. Property Rights far outweigh any need, real or imagined, for buildings to comply with any codes set by a government entity. & as a practical matter - you want me to wait three months, go through a half dozen inspections, employ union &/or state licensed contractors instead of doing some of the work myself & pay how many hundreds of dollars to build another room onto my house? Now that will cause massive amounts of profanity directed at the person demanding such conditions.

I could go on, but the gust is just because licensing is required for other activities does not mean that it's okay to license an enumerated Right.

Why not focus on states that don't even have shall issue licensing? Easy - I'm not in one of those states. Were I in one of them I would push for a repeal of the prohibition on carry - not a licensing system where I have to grovel for permission & pay a fee to exercise a Right. don't get me wrong; if someone in one of those states needs my help I'll give what I can. But right now I'm in Colorado. So Colorado will get the most attention.

Xrlq has mentioned annoyance with my choices in capitalization before. Many philosophers have used proper nouns to make a point. I wonder if he cringes when he reads of Plato's world of Ideas and Chaos? Does he roll his eyes when he reads the Declaration of Independence? I mean not only does Jefferson capitalize "...Life, Liberty & the pursuit of Happiness..." but the "c" in course. I'll point out that Rights receives the proper noun treatment as well. So I'd say that my use of "Rights" or "Right" is not without precedent. Being a lawyer Xrlq should respect precedent. In other words until he starts bitching at Plato & Jefferson & all the other before me who use capitalization to highlight some important ideas, he should just get off my back.

I have issues with the rest of his list, but those will have to wait for some other time. Us schlocks have pretty busy schedules ya know. & I'd hate to spend so much time trying arguing with a lawyer that I'd have to speed to get where I was going.

Posted by Publicola at 07:45 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Workplace Violence v. Workplace Defense

This is interesting. Not just because of the subject matter, but because it's an unusually balanced piece for the mainstream media. There are a few things that should be brought out & discussed more in depth.

It starts off recounting the tale of Ronald Honeycutt:

"Ronald Honeycutt didn't hesitate. The Pizza Hut driver had just finished dropping off a delivery when a man holding a gun approached him.
Honeycutt wasn't about to become another robbery statistic. He grabbed the 9 mm handgun he always carries in his belt and shot the man more than 10 times, killing him.
Honeycutt faced no criminal charges, because prosecutors decided that he acted in self-defense. But the 39-year-old did lose his job: Carrying a gun violated Pizza Hut's no-weapons rule.
'It's not fair,' says Honeycutt of Carmel, Ind., who has found another pizza-delivery job and continues to carry a gun. 'There is a constitutional right to bear arms. If I'm going to die, I'd rather be killed defending myself."

Needless to say I haven't spent a dime at Pizza Hut or any other chain (such as Papa John's or Domino's) because of their corporate policy concerning security. I am glad Mr. Honeycutt was able to find other employment, it's just a shame he was fired for defending himself.

"Employers have long banned guns from the workplace as part of a violence-prevention strategy, but those policies are being tested as states pass laws making it easier for residents to carry concealed guns - in some cases, crafting legislation that strikes down employers' attempts to keep guns off company property.

That means employers, who have traditionally shied away from such politically charged issues as gun control, are filing lawsuits to preserve their no-guns-allowed rules. Gun owners are also fighting back, boycotting companies that ban guns or fire workers for having them."

Now perhaps I'm just unaware, but I would have thought that workplace bans on firearms were a relatively new thing - say within the past 10 to 15 years.

As for the "violence prevention" policies being tested because of concealed carry laws; I would have thought that they were tested with every violent crime committed in the workplace or against an employee. I'd have also thought they failed miserably.

But big business hasn't typically shied away form gun control. Somewhere on the net there's a nice long list of companies that donate to various gun control groups. There's also a list of companies that donate to pro-gun groups. Sadly the former is more numerous than the latter. But I don't think as a whole one could say employers shy away form gun control issues, since so many big companies seem to be supportive of gun control.

& yes, gun owners are boycotting certain places. It'd be damned impossible to boycott every company that supports gun control or restricts self defense, but the more prominent ones are seeing a drop in revenue. How big a drop? That's hard to say, but I'd assume it's noticable. However I'd also assume that the drop is attributed to other things than pissing off gun owners.

"Are we promoting open firefights in the parking lot?' says Paul Viollis, president of Risk Control Strategies in New York. 'For legislation to permit employees and contractors to bring loaded firearms to work in vehicles is blatantly irresponsible."

"...promoting open firefights..."? Good Lord, why can't we hear from someone who didn't get their knowledge of firearms related issues from watching Schwarzenegger movies (remember the ones where he used the guns he’d like to see banned)? You cannot promote a firefight simply by not preventing someone from being armed. What you can do is promote a slaughter of your employees by denying them the means for defense.

The opening line & the subsequent illogic behind it stems from the idea that otherwise peaceable folks start going on shooting sprees if they get upset & there's a gun nearby. In effect this is saying that they think their employees are all on the verge of becoming homicidal maniacs. They only lack the equipment, not the lack of morals or ability. If we assume this is true then who the hell is in charge of hiring these people? when you see "Chuck Manson" on the application doesn't it make you think that maybe the position didn't need to be filled after all? But apparently Mr. Violis believes that all Pizza Hut employees are of the same moral caliber as Mr. Manson. Either it's true in which case I wouldn't be eating the food there at all or Mr. Violis is lying through ignorance or malice about the situation. My bet is on the latter.

What is blatantly irresponsible is Pizza Hut's security policy. I used to work for that particular company & I became very familiar with it. In essence if you are robbed, either in the store or outside the store while on the clock, you must comply with any demands made of you by the robber. Also you are verboten from having any weapons of any kind, including pocket knives & pepper spray. Using them would be unthinkable to the folks at corporate.

Let me explain this a little more bluntly: if you're approached by a robber you will be unarmed per company policy & if said robber demands that you give him oral sex you could be fired for not complying with his demands. In theory if he tells you to impale yourself with a sharp stick & you do not do so you could lose your job. Now I'll grant that most managers have a little more sense than to enforce company policy to its extreme, but move up the chain of command & the level of common sense decreases dramatically. In any event if you refuse any demand by a robber or you fight back with or without weapons you will not have a job with Pizza Hut. That's blatantly irresponsible.

"In 35 states, practically any non-felon can obtain a license to carry a concealed weapon, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Those states require law enforcement officials to issue a license to carry a concealed weapon unless the person is in a prohibited category (generally, a convicted felon). Employers can still generally ban guns inside the workplace as long as they post signs or take other clear steps stating that no weapons are allowed, legal experts say, but some legislators are calling for new laws that would take that ability away."

Great. They're getting their facts on gun laws from the Brady Bunch. That's like asking Charles Manson to explain the laws on multiple homicide.

It's not just felons though; it's anyone who is convicted of a crime which the maximum sentence is over two years or over one year (depending upon the circumstances). Get convicted & spend 1 day in jail you're treated the same as if you had to serve 2+ years. Also domestic violence misdemeanors will disqualify you, as will a known addiction to drugs, or a revocation of your U.S. citizenship. Those are federal laws concerning possession of firearms. State & local laws may or may not be as strict. But in general every state has those federal laws incorporated into their concealed carry laws, even Vermont & Alaska.

"The ability of companies to ban guns in their parking lots is coming under strong attack. In Oklahoma, a number of employers, including ConocoPhillips, are trying to overturn a law that allows employees to keep guns in locked vehicles on company property. The law was supposed to go into effect Nov. 1, but enforcement has been blocked as legal wrangling over the bill continues.

Gun-owner groups say employers who ban guns are stripping away workers' right to defend themselves on the job. Roughly 76% of all workplace homicides are robbery related, compared with 7% in the general population, according to an unpublished 2003 report by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)."

& the gun owners groups (hey - it least it wasn't the dreaded "gun lobby") are correct: the companies that prohibit firearms even in vehicles are intruding on a person's ability for defense. But it's a bit more complex than that & I'll try to cover it at the end of this article.

"Having a gun is what Terry Pickle believes saved his life. In 2001, the owner of Pickle's Pawn Shop in Salt Lake City, was at work when two intruders broke in. They didn't ask questions or demand money. They simply walked in and opened fire.
But Pickle and his son, David, grabbed the loaded guns they carry and fired back, injuring one. The intruders fled, firing at a customer as they left. Pickle says he now knows firsthand that guns on the job can deter crime and keep employees safe. The two men were later caught and sentenced to prison, with one serving 10 years and the other serving 71/2 years.
'It saved our lives,' Pickle says. 'We would have been shot, probably dead, had we not had the ability to protect ourselves. They came in shooting. No words, nothing."

Course incidents like this don't get nearly the amount of coverage as say a workplace shooting where an employee or ex-employee starts murdering people. So it's not unrealistic for people to think this is an exception rather than the rule when guns are in a place of employment. I'd wager that more people stop or deter crimes with firearms during the course of their business than use them for harmful purposes. Also another benefit is that once a person uses a firearm to drive off, wound, kill or apprehend a robber that place & the places close by are going to be safe for some time. Criminals don't typically try to rob places where their intended victims are capable of & willing to shoot back. This is not an absolute rule, but it's true more often than not.

"But others say laws that now allow guns in parking lots infringe on employers' property rights - endangering all employees and creating a situation in which a potentially violent worker who gets upset could have easy access to a firearm."

These "others" are partially correct; such a law does impede on an employer’s property Rights. (More on that in a bit.) But what they get stone cold wrong is the reasoning behind such gun prohibitions. Employees are not universally endangered by being allowed to carry arms. As for "...creating a situation in which a potentially violent worker who gets upset could have easy access to a firearm..." it's nonsensical. If an employee is that close to the edge, then a firearm will either be in his possession despite company policy, or he'll find some other implement to use.

What inevitably occurs whenever such a statement is made to counter the reasoning behind a gun prohibition is that if an employee who goes off his rocker has a gun he can kill more people before he's stopped. What they fail to realize is that in most companies the employee who are being killed will do one of two things; run or hide. There usually won't be two or three large employees who rush the homicidal maniac & take him down. That applies if he has a gun or a knife or a really big stick. So the idea that a knife would be less deadly than a gun is not necessarily accurate in this situation.

In any event we're still left with the idea that employees are so near a mental & moral collapse that the mere presence of a deadly object will turn them into homicidal maniacs. If that's true then it's the hiring policy, not the weapons policy that needs to be examined. If it's not true then the justification for such bans loses some steam.

Course they don't seem to consider the endangerment caused by having defenseless employees. If a handful of people are armed in a company, then A: that's a deterrent to anyone who thinks about walking in & shooting the place up & B: if someone attempts to shoot the place up you have at least a few people right there who can try to take the murderous bastard out rather than wait 5 to 20 minutes for the cops to get there & determine they need more cops (another 5 to 10 minutes).

"In 2003, Doug Williams, an employee at a Lockheed Martin plant in Meridian, Miss., left the building, retrieved a shotgun and a semiautomatic rifle from his truck and returned, shooting 14 workers and killing six. The company bans guns on company property, but acquaintances said in news reports that Williams carried guns in his truck for target practice."

< sarcasm > Wait, if the company banned guns on company property then how did this murderous bastard get guns on the company property? Surely a person intent on violating a criminal law (murder) wouldn't go so far as to violate company policy, would he? < / sarcasm >

I wonder how many employees in Mississippi would have been packing if Lockheed Martin didn't prohibit carry inside the workplace? This example doesn't bolster the case for prohibiting weapons inside the workplace. There was already such a policy in place. What it does do is show how ineffective such policies are at disarming people with harmful intent.

"Impulse attacks, some employers say, is a major reason for banning guns on company property. In an average week in U.S. workplaces, one employee is killed and at least 25 are seriously injured in violent assaults by current or former co-workers, according to Department of Labor data. Most of those attacks involve guns."

A lot of employers say that "impulse attacks" are the main reason they prohibit arms in the workplace. A lot of employers lie. So called "impulse attacks" would have to be a lot more prevalent for it to be sufficient justification for such policies. What "impulse attacks" do is provide an easy & convenient excuse to justify such policies that are enacted for an entirely different reason: reducing company liability.

What most companies fear more than losing a dozen or so employees a year is being sued because one of their employees shot someone. Now if the employee acted in a criminal fashion contrary to company policy the company is usually off the hook in most states. But if an employee acted in compliance with the law & company policy didn't prohibit his actions then a company can be sued.

To make that clear, if Joe D. Employee walks in & starts shooting up his co-workers, the employer cannot be sued since Joe Employee committed a criminal act (well unless there was extreme negligence on the part of the company, like providing him with the gun & ammo). But if Joe Employee shoots a robber that's pointing a gun at him or one of his co-workers, then said robber’s family (we hope Joe would be a good shot & use an effective projectile in this case) could sue Joe & his employer for the wrongful death of their robbing, murderous relative.

Do not believe that any employer enacts a weapons prohibition by employees for any other reason other than limiting liability. I don't doubt that some lower & possibly even middle management people think that's why their bosses are banning weapons in the workplace, but the truth is it's all about cash. It’s much easier to pay off a dead employee's family than to fight a wrongful death suit brought by a robber.

"Do you want your mail guy or delivery guy carrying a loaded gun when he comes to the door?' asks Patty Sullivan, a Pizza Hut spokeswoman. 'What if he's not happy with his tip?"

Humanoid please. If the delivery drivers are that unstable how the hell can you trust them to drive through residential neighborhoods with a 4,000 pound battering ram under a time limit? Again, either Pizza Hut needs to have a serious overhaul in it's Personal (I believe Human Resources is the politically correct term used currently) Department or this lady is simply trying to use a lie to generate emotional support & sympathy for her view with the general public.

She wants you, as a customer, to be frightened of the idea of a delivery driver carrying a gun to your door. That way if all else fails she can say the customers are frightened of the idea of driver's packing. She won't dare mention that she & others like her wanted & encouraged customers to be frightened of driver's packing. She'll just use whatever means she can to accomplish her goal - preventing employees from carrying to reduce company liability suits brought on by injured robbers or the relatives of dead robbers.

Just as an aside when I was delivering I always carried & never thought about shooting someone because of an inadequate or non existent tip. Company hiring standards couldn't have fallen so low since I was there, could they?

"Sullivan says the company takes a number of steps to help ensure drivers' safety, including confirmation calls to new customers who place an order, limiting delivery hours in high-crime neighborhoods and training drivers never to go inside a home."

Bullshit. The steps they take are to have the employees sign a compliance with all robbers statement as well as one that says you'll be a good little unarmed & defenseless employee. Most decent managers give a quick lecture on avoiding suspicious deliveries & not entering homes, but I'd hardly call that extensive training. & let's be honest here; say you just took 5 deliveries in an hour & a half. You got a little over a buck per delivery in tips (which would have been more had not the person who gave you two twenty dollar bills for a $39.98 order told you to keep the change & closed the door in your face) & this next delivery is an old lady in her 80's. Even if you aren't a nice person you're gonna walk in the house & put the pizza where she asks you to in the hopes she'll tip. There's no "extensive training" given to explain why you shouldn't do that or when it might be permissible to do it.

as for limiting delivery hours in high crime neighborhoods - that's funny. I was delivering on a bad side of Charlotte, NC. We had drivers robbed, beat up, cars stolen & damaged - you name it. Everything short of fatalities. Did we stop delivering? Nope. Know why? Cause as bad as some neighborhoods were, we knew that not all people in those neighborhoods were bad. So we didn't deny them our service. We just made a few adjustments. The manager couldn't ask who was packing & who wasn't since it was against company policy, but he mentioned something to the effect of no one should ever go into a certain area without a gun & a lack of common sense, & then ask who wanted to take a delivery there. But stop delivering in a bad neighborhood? I'd heard some stores did that, but I don't recall mine ever doing so. Course when the driver's are packing & word about it gets around the bad neighborhoods aren't so bad.

But if Ms. Sullivan is so prejudiced against gun owners that she wouldn't feel comfortable having a pizza or anything else delivered to her by one, then she doesn't deserve to have food delivered. If her "not feeling good" about my possessing a weapon over rides her employee's Right to self defense, then I hope she feels very very bad forever.

"But as more states pass laws allowing residents to carry concealed guns, employers who haven't taken a stand regarding guns on the job are being forced to choose sides."

No. No one is being 'forced" to choose sides. If a company wants a prohibition of weapons carry by its employees that's the company’s decision. It could just as easily not have any policy on it what so ever. The only one's being forced to do anything are employees who become subject to such disarmament policies.

"An Ohio law that went into effect in April in most cases allows employees to have concealed guns on company property except where explicitly banned by employers. If employers don't ban weapons, employees can bring guns onto the work site without informing their bosses."

That's the way it was prior to the Ohio concealed carry law, the only difference being that the carry was either open or "illegal". This is not a new law that says carry is okay unless otherwise prohibited on another's property. As far as I now that's the way it's always been in Ohio with a few exceptions (such as laws prohibiting any sort of carry in bars & such).

"Employers have updated policies. Others have said, 'We don't want to raise the issue.' Businesses feel pressure from groups threatening boycotts (if they ban guns),' says Jackie Ford, an employment lawyer in Columbus."

& that's a good thing. Instead of using government, gun owners are using consumer power to effect change. A free market solution is usually preferable to a government one.

"At Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio, the law has brought discussion and debate.
'What if a plumber or truck delivery guy or Coke machine guy has a gun with them?' says Howard Korn, campus police chief. 'The law is still being worked through. There's been a lot of discussion about this."

What if that plumber with a gun stops someone from raping someone else on campus? What if the Coke machine guy uses his gun to stop a school shooting?

Mr. Korn seems uncomfy with the idea of common workers packing. Yet despite whatever good intentions he or his crew may have, the odds of them being able to stop all crimes on campus are slim. It'd be much better to have people armed & capable of defending themselves & others rather than relying on campus security.

"And in Minnesota, a 2003 law generally allows employers to ban guns from their buildings if they post signs and inform visitors of the ban, but they can't restrict employees with permits from having firearms in their cars in the parking lot. The law is currently not in effect because a judge in July declared it unconstitutional; an appeal is pending. Many companies have responded by posting no-guns-allowed signs.
'Employers don't want guns on their property. The concern is for the hothead employee who has an altercation and heads out to their vehicle, and they have a gun there,' says Mary Krakow, an employment lawyer at Fredrikson & Byron in Minneapolis."

Sounds like some businesses in Minnesota are doing so well they want to alienate a portion of their customers. Again if they're that worried about employees snapping heir problem isn't having weapons on the property, but unstable employees.

"So far, some state courts are siding with employers who want to keep guns away.
At an America Online call center in Ogden, Utah, a security camera recorded three employees transferring guns from their cars. They were parked in a strip mall parking lot that included parking for AOL employees, lawyers say. The employees were off work and planned to go target shooting.
All three were fired by AOL for violating a workplace-violence-prevention policy that banned guns. The three fired workers sued, saying the policy violated their right to bear arms. Utah allows residents with a permit to carry a concealed firearm in a public place; you don't need a permit if it's not concealed.
But the Utah Supreme Court in July sided with AOL and said employers have the right to set policies banning guns in the workplace."

I hope this reminds you of where to spend your dollars at. Or rather where not to spend your dollars at. Here’s a visual aid courtesy of A.F. Branco:

"Even as employers wage legal battles to ban guns, some state legislators say companies should have less control. They support legislation that would allow employees with proper gun permits to carry concealed weapons on the job, not just into the parking lot.
'Companies are prohibiting the rights of employees to protect themselves,' Democratic Oklahoma state Sen. Frank Shurden says. 'I am in favor of letting a licensed permit holder carry the gun in the workplace. There's no reason to fear law-abiding citizens."

I'll get into Ok. Sen. Shurden's solution in a minute, but he is right: there is no reason to fear a person with no harmful intent even if they have a gun.

"Gun-owner groups say the real risk is that workers unable to have guns could be attacked and have no means of self-defense."

Ayup. It's especially bad when a person is killed that would have been armed & capable of defense except for some prohibition on carrying imposed by an employer or business owner or government.

"About two-thirds of employers have written policies that specifically address weapons in the workplace, the reporting of violent incidents and threats of violence or violent acts, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. Large employers are more likely to have such policies."

Of course larger employers are more likely to have such policies, such larger companies have more to fear from wrongful death lawsuits filed by the family of criminals.

"Gun advocates also are pushing for laws that would make employers who ban guns liable if workers are injured in an attack on company property. 'We're fighting back,' says Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation in Bellevue, Wash. 'Employers have rights. But if you don't allow an employee the means to protect themselves in the parking lot, there can be liability for the company."

More on this in a minute.

'Employees such as Robert Wisniewski agree. The 53-year-old nurse in Brandon, Fla., says he started carrying a gun in his car after he was the victim of an attempted carjacking when driving home from work.
But he stopped carrying the gun, he said, because he works at a veterans' hospital where weapons aren't allowed in the parking lot.
'When I go to work and hit that parking lot, I have to go unarmed, even though my state says I have the right to have a gun,' says Wisniewski, who is also a firearms instructor. 'I'm not one of those gun nuts, but you should have a right to defend yourself."

Auer contraire Mr. Wisniewski, you are one of us "gun nuts". YA see, you're saying you have a Right to a firearm. Like it or not that lumps you in with the rest of us. But despite your insulting tone towards your fellow gun nuts we'll defend you & your Rights just like we defend the Rights of those who would take them away. We either all have them or none of us have them.

But it is wrong to be prohibited from having the means of defense. & I hope you feel especially insulted because they not only think you're one of us "gun nuts", but that if you're armed you'll lose all moral discretion & start killing people randomly.

Now what you've all been waiting for: I'm against laws that require employers to allow guns on their property. Why? Well it's their property. They can ban anything or nothing on it as far as I'm concerned. The government, be it state local or federal has no authority to tell them what they can & cannot have on their own property. Want to ban guns on your property? That's your business. Want to ban black people or white people from your property? Again that's your business. Want to ban or require smoking on your property? Your call. Government is wrong when it intervenes in a matter that involves your property & what you allow or don't allow on it.

But it's foolish for anyone to ban guns from their property. A person who intends to do harm won't heed the ban just like he won't heed laws against assault or murder. People who didn't intend harm will heed the ban & won't be able to defend themselves or you.

So what to do? Pass laws stating that anyone who bans employees or customers from possessing arms on their property are strictly liable for any criminal actions brought on by someone else that result in distress or injury. In other words set the law up to make it easier for injured employees or customers or the relatives of deceased employees or customers to sue the hell out of any company that denied its employees & customers the means of defense. An employer will either stop prohibiting weapons possession on company property or he'll spend a lot of money on private security to try to shore up the odds of stopping a criminal before any harm is done.

Another thing to do is pass a law requiring safe storage facilities for any property owner who prohibits weapons on their property but has no nearby public parking facilities. In other words a way for employees to have the means of defense to & from work while not having access to it on the job. It's not a perfect solution, but again I'd hope the expense of maintaining such a storage area would cause a company to revise its policy & not prohibit carry at all.

& a note about delivery drivers: most that I knew carried only in their cars. they didn't usually carry into the stores & rarely carried onto anyone else's property. Pizza Hut & other such companies prohibit all carry when on their clock. That means even if a driver parked off the company's property & left the gun in the car they could still be fired if found out. Does the company have the power to do that? Yep. Should they do it? Nope. Again they're not worried about workplace violence - they're worried about avoiding lawsuits brought on behalf of criminals injured by employees acting in self defense.

A few years back th e morning crew of an Arizona Pizza Hut walked in to find the night crew in the cooler. All were dead. The families of the night crew sued the maker of the gun used by the criminals to kill their loved ones. I forget if they lost or if it was settled out of court, but they missed an opportunity to rake up a fortune. They could have, & should have sued Pizza Hut, since Pizza Hut's "no weapons" & "comply with the robbers at all costs" policy was much more responsible than the gun maker for the employee's deaths. But the family (or the family's lawyers) didn't see pursuing that strategy as desirable as suing an "evil gun maker".

So what my solution would be is to pass laws highlighting the liability of any company that prohibits employees or customers possession of weapon. In addition I'd ask any self respecting gun owner to stop throwing their cash to companies that prohibit self defense. Combined those two things could do much to accomplish our goals (not being denied the means of defense) without the unpleasant side effects of direct government involvement.

As it stands now, some companies such as Pizza Hut & Papa John's & AOL forbid their employees from carrying the means of defense. Do not spend money with those companies until they change their policy & please inform them of what you're doing & why. If they see enough of a loss in their bottom line they may reconsider. Or some other company will see a market for your dollars & compete with them for it. But even if neither works I'd say it's better to spend money elsewhere than give it to people who disregard thier employee's &/or customer's Right to self defense.

I will say that this is one of the more balanced pieces I've seen on any gun issue. More could have been said, but all in all it was damned closed to fair. For that many many thanks to Stephanie Armour of USA Today.

Posted by Publicola at 06:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 08, 2004

A Voice Made For Telegraph

Since everyone else seems to be doing it I figured I'd give it a try. Give it a listen & let me know what you think.

this is an audio post - click to play
Posted by Publicola at 08:51 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 07, 2004

Illinois Can Go Straight To Hell

Imagine you're in your 80's. Now let's say you have someone break into your home while you're there. You spend about 45 minutes fighting with the punk who's in his early 20's. Let that sink in: in your 80's you fight for three quarters of an hour with a man that's 60 years younger than you are. Now imagine you get tired of this hand to hand stuff & grab your rifle. You buttstroke the punk & fire a few warning shots but he's still coming at you. You end up shooting him, then holding him at gunpoint till the cops get there. He'll live, but after he gets out of the hospital he'll go to jail. Think you done good right?

Now imagine this happened in Illinois & you don't have your Firearms Owner Identification Card. Now imagine the sheriff stealing all your guns right in front of you. Imagine wondering if charges will be pressed against you.

If your name is Leonard Gamage you don't have to imagine.

Some choice quotes:

"I do not have a gun permit so they had to take my rifles,' Gamage said. 'The sheriff told me if I get my permit, he would see what he could do to help me get them back.
I never use them, but they have been in the family a long time."

They didn't have to take his rifles. & don't even draw breath to tell me about the rule of law. Even in Illinois the Right to arms trumps any bullshit that the legislature comes up with to make its citizens dependent on the state for protection. Had to take the rifles my ass. What’s saddest is that the old gentleman thinks the sheriff was proper in doing so.

"Gamage said the sheriff and other officers told him he 'did a hell of a job,' defending his property.
'If nothing else I hope this prevents other intruders from breaking into someone's home,' Gamage said."

He did do a helluva job not only defending his property, but fulfilling his obligation as a member of society. Because of his actions this particular young punk won't be robbing anyone for a little while.

But since the sheriff did a piss poor job of protecting his constituents Rights Mr. Garnage won't be able to do a helluva job again now will he? Let me say this again; any government agents who enforce any law that deprives a person of a Right are the kind of bastards that Patrick Henry hoped would not be remembered as Americans.

Mr. du Toit wrote a few days ago about a survey of policeman. In it 53% of respondents said they'd go door to door to enforce a total firearms ban. He was surprised the number was that high. I'm surprised it's that low. Yes, I know a rural law enforcement agency will have a lower number of cops saying they'd bust down doors to take away the people's guns, but all in all I think there'd be more than enough to do the job.

So what we have is an old man, a veteran no less, who just repelled an attacker & held him at gunpoint till the cops could get there to back him up who then had his means of defense stolen from him by a bastard with a badge who thinks he's just doing his job.

Mr. Garange fought for his country to be disarmed by his state after defending his property & life? To make things worse it's possible that the local D.A. will try to make him do time for not having his papers in order.

Personally I think Mr. Garange should have run the sheriff off his land when he started talking that confiscation bullshit. & if he'd have had to use force I'd have hoped it was disproportional. Vastly disproportional.

As it stands now many thanks to Mr. Garange for doing what he should have done with the young punk.

& Illinois can go straight to hell, with McDonough County Sheriff Mike Johnson tied to the bow.

Thanks to Gunscribe at From The Heartland for posting about this.

Posted by Publicola at 08:36 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Maybe They Misunderstood The Question?

In Thailand for some odd reason dropping paper birds out of a plane does not stop people from committing violence. In other breaking news spitting into the wind does not keep your face dry.

"A massive airdrop of paper birds intended to promote peace failed to halt violence in Thailand's restive south, with a spate of new attacks Monday that targeted soldiers and local officials.
The bombings, shootings and arson attacks came hours after Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said Sunday's airdrop of nearly 100 million Japanese-style origami cranes over the predominantly Muslim region had achieved an 'enormous, positive psychological effect' toward peace."

The perpetrators of the violence are referred to as "Muslim separatists" in the article. For some reason they didn't seem to appreciate the might, power & out & out compelling message of the air dropped origami.

"[Prime Minister] Thaksin [Shinawatra] said Sunday the paper bird airdrop showed residents of the three southern provinces that they are part of Thai society, and that their countrymen care for them.
Hours after Thaksin spoke, the owner of a tea shop in Pattani was slain by gunmen, grenades were thrown at the homes of two policemen in the same province and arsonists set fire to a state school in Yala and a teacher's house in Narathiwat."

I don't know which is worse: the Thai government thinking dropping a bunch of paper birds would erase all evil & hatred from everyone's heart or this new story which seems to think this was a credible strategy. Hell, for a moment I thought it was a tongue in cheek jab with the government’s idea being almost self ridiculing until I found this paragraph:

"Bangkok's heavy-handed response has not helped the situation.
The government came under strong criticism after 85 Muslim demonstrators died on Oct. 25, including 78 who suffocated or were crushed when soldiers bound and stacked them on top of each other in military trucks."

Now I'll be the first to say that people dying at the hands of a government is a bad thing most of the time. This wouldn't be one of the exceptions. But I cannot see how it has anything to do with the peace cranes not working. Nor do I think that the murdering bastards in question (that'd be "Muslim separatists" for anyone in the press or on the lef - wait; that was almost redundant) would have been satiated had the government not murdered several score of protestors.

It's really not that difficult to understand; some people make a choice to try & kill you until they either succeed or you submit to their demands. Pace cranes won't stop it. Joining hands & lighting candles won't stop it. Singing Cum Baya won't stop it. You can either let yourself be killed, submit to their demands, or kill them before they kill you.

Then again maybe if the peace cranes were made out of recycled paper....?

Posted by Publicola at 01:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 03, 2004

Trust Who?

I was waiting while having some work done to my car. Normally I brave the elements & watch the mechanics automotive technicians rob me blind perform the valuable, timely & economical service to my vehicle. Today it was colder than usual. I'm not sure what the wind chill was but I opted to hang out inside the waiting room. While looking for something to read I happened upon a Field & Stream magazine, from October of 2004. In it was an article that I thought was very interesting, about conservation, or rather the politics thereof.

The article was written by Bob Marshall & is called The Conservamentalists. The gist is that the Sierra Club wants to work with the hunting groups like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation & the Boone & Crockett Club.

Mr. Marshall does a fairly decent job of exploring the issue, which is whether or not to ally with the Sierra Club given its record. However there are a few things that are not emphasized enough & a few others that were neglected.

For starters let's look at who the Sierra Club endorsed in 2004; Schumer, Boxer, Salazar, Mikulski, Obama, Pelosi, McCarthy, Maloney, Rangel etc. & of course Kerry. Out of all the congressional races in 2004, the Sierra Club endorsed 11 Republicans & 2 Independents. The rest were Democrats, & as you may have noticed they endorsed some of the worst opponents of your Right to Arms.

Now I'm not getting all mushy on them or anything but the NRA got this one right,

"Kayne Robinson, the NRA president, forcefully rejected the overture in a controversial speech he gave to the OWAA, in which he sought to link the unrelated issues of conservation policy and gun control politics. 'Virtually every elected official [the Sierra Club] discusses favorably in their literature is dedicated to banning guns,' claimed Robinson. 'We’re not taking part of this,' he said. But spokesmen for other prominent sporting groups weren’t so eager to turn their backs on the enviros."

Now this could be just an unintentional choice of phrasing, but notice where the word "claimed" is used. While it's technically accurate to say that Robisnon claimed the Sierra Club has a history of supporting anti-gun candidates, it conveys the implication that it's merely speculation on Robinson's part, when as you can see it's pretty accurate. "Stated" would have been a better choice of word, but perhaps I'm just reading too much into it.

“It goes without saying that this would be one of the most positive developments in recent history for conservation,' says Paul Hansen, executive director of the Izaak Walton League of America. 'To make it meaningful, however, the Sierra Club, and the rest of the mainstream environmental community, will have to be willing to listen to sportsmen’s concerns, something they haven’t been good at in the past. But this is long past due. At the end of the day, we’re fighting for the same goals.'

That could be surprising news for many sportsmen. For decades the common thinking has been that—unlike hunters and anglers who define themselves as conservationists—environmentalists are a bunch of tree-hugging radicals out to close public lands to hunting and fishing—and to take our guns. So when leaders of sporting organizations say, 'Let’s kiss and make up,' it’s only natural for sportsmen to wonder if they can trust the environmentalists."

Now this was unbeknownst at the time this article was written, but in light of recent developments in NJ I'd say the "common thinking" about the Sierra Club's attitude is accurate.

"This is a victory for good government but it's also a victory for the bears,' said Jeff Tittel, head of the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club... 'It's the best Christmas gift they could have this year."

Now contrast that with the following quote made by Bart Semcer who (among other things) is "the Sierra Club’s representative for fish and wildlife policy in Washington, D.C".

“Our official policy is pro-hunting,' Semcer says, 'because it recognizes sport hunting as a legitimate wildlife management tool. The same goes for fishing. And we’re not anti-gun. We have no policy on guns, and we stay out of that debate because there are other groups that specialize in that issue. Do we agree with everything that the sporting groups support? No. But we have much more common ground than we have serious differences.”

Perhaps Semcer should tell that to the NJ chapter?

Now to be fair I have some issues with some of the conservation groups. In 2004 a bill was introduced in the Colorado house that would have doubled fees for hunting & fishing licenses. It was HB1208 & thankfully died a relatively quick death. What was troubling about it was not only the Republicans who supported it but the conservation & hunting groups that did. This article from the Grand Junction based Daily Sentinel laments the bill's demise mentions that hunters & conservation groups were supporters of the bill.

One thing I found funny was that the Sentinel called the doubling of fees a "modest increase". Also the piece starts off with this sentence:

"Frankly, beyond their understandable interest in supporting politicians who respect the constitutional guarantees of the Second Amendment, we've never understood why so many hunters and other outdoorsmen with an abiding love for wildlife are willing to support GOP politicians who consistently vote against their interests and the interests of wildlife itself. "

All I can say is if you vote for people who want to ban guns then that makes it much harder to hunt. I might be off base, but I think that should provide some understanding to the Daily Sentinel.

If you click this link & scroll down to HB1208 you'll see that not only did the Audubon Society support the hike in fess, but had this to say about its demise:

"Despite testimony from most of the sportsmen’s groups in the State, no one was able to overcome the opposition of the NRA and related shooting associations."

So because of knowing these things about some of the sportsman's groups I wasn't too surprised when I saw that some were saying an alliance with the Sierra Club would be a good thing.

On some issues there is common ground & temporarily allying ourselves with Sierra or other environmental groups would be a good thing, but overall they have too many interests that are contrary to ours. Unless they make a very dramatic change in their views about the Right to Arms in general I'd chalk this up to them attempting to use us for their own agenda. & that some sportsman’s clubs are thinking about it means we should keep our eyes on them as well.

Posted by Publicola at 05:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 02, 2004

Sen. Hillman on Meyer

At ColoradoSenate I found an article written by Sen. Mark Hillman about Meyer's decision in the Denver home rule v. state gun law case. Sen. Hillman is the majority leader in the state senate until January 12th when the Dems take the state over.

For more on Meyer's decision look here. Some interesting points are made by Sen. Hillman about Meyer's decision:

"• Unlike the legislation for concealed carry, Senate Bill 25 fails to set forth a comprehensive regulatory scheme that serves as uniform authority for open carry of firearms.'

In other words, Judge Meyer would likely have stricken down a concealed carry law that simply said, 'Any citizen who isn’t a criminal, drug user or mental patient may legally carry a concealed weapon without obtaining a permit.' The merits of such a law can be argued, but the policy is no more or no less constitutional than existing law."

Actually I'd argue that Colorado's constitutional provision excepting concealed carry form acknowledgement as a Right is conflicting & nonsensical, therefore the current "shall issue" CCW permit law is unconstitutional. (Here's more on Colorado's concealed carry law.)

But it is an interesting point; Meyer would likely have ruled against a permitless CCW law. Thanks to the Republicans in the state house & the NRA's Colorado affiliate the CSSA we'll never know for sure as they saw fit to kill a permitless concealed carry bill earlier this year. Bastards.

It's an interesting observation though; since Meyer viewed having an extensive system of regulation as necessary to trump a Denver law he probably would have ruled against a permitless concealed carry law. Bastard.

"• A gun carried under your jacket is a matter of statewide concern, but that same gun becomes a local matter when you take off your jacket."

It never made sense to me either, but I'll go one further than Sen. Hillman.

A gun carried openly is considered & in theory at least treated as a Right in Colorado, but if you put your jacket on over said firearm you need to beg for permission & pay a fee to get a permit for it?

"I voted for both SB 24 and SB 25 because an “inalienable right” is just that – a right which cannot be pre-empted by government, whether state or local. Although Colorado’s constitution gives home-rule cities broad authority, nowhere does the home rule amendment authorize cities to infringe on constitutional rights."

Now I'll grant I'm not as familiar with Sen. Hillman as I should be, but it'd be disappointing if he was against striking down laws that prohibited concealed carry or ones that required permits for them. If an inalienable Right cannot be pre-empted by state or local government, then how would he explain Colorado's insistence that the state can permit or prohibit concealed carry as it sees fit? For that matter how can he square his statement with laws against possession of any weapon? Perhaps he's on our side as it does kind of seem from his statements, but then again he does seem to imply that some regulation of possession is acceptable (his voting for SB 24).

All in all Sen. Hillman did a good job of refuting a few of Meyer's justifications. Go read his whole piece, & check on Colorado Senate when you can, as the next few years should be interesting. & I hate interesting years.

Update: Here's another article penned by Sen. Hillman. Very interesting. Give it a read.

Posted by Publicola at 01:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 30, 2004

A Few Good Links

There are some new posts over at The Shooter's Carnival. I didn't write the post at the top of the page (The Smallest Minority did) though I do recommend it, despite not knowing what he means when he refers to me as a "...Garand fanatic".

& Alphecca has the Weekly Check on the Bias up. Don't forget Jeff will be on The Cam Edwards Show at 2:30 EST on Tuesday to give a live Check on the Bias. Tune in if you can.

Posted by Publicola at 06:17 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 28, 2004

Coming To Terms With Gun Control

One of the biggest problems pro-gunners (& especially Absolutists) face is public relations. Good old fashioned PR. We keep getting our asses kicked on it & there are a few reasons why.

One of the most prevalent is that terms we either take for granted or don't know exists wind up being used against us. Take "pistol grip" for instance. A few months back there was much talk over a sporting shotgun that was gifted to Sen. Kerry having been subject to a weapons ban he co-sponsored. One of the main talking points was whether or not his shotgun had a pistol grip or not. It did but most people, including some avid gun toting folks, didn't realize it.

Now the term "pistol grip" had been used amongst gun makers & owners since sometime in the mid 19th century, but the anti-gun crowd in the past few decades did such an effective job of commandeering our language that a lot of people thought the gun control lobby's definition was the correct one. So let's look at a few terms that the anti-gun lobby has used to our detriment, along with the actual definition of each term:

Pistol Grip

The anti-gun lobby's definition - A conspicuously protruding grip underneath the action of the gun, usually with a sharp angle, designed to allow accurate spray fire from the hip without the need to aim.

The actual definition - An area underneath or behind the receiver that is curved or angled to facilitate a better grip with the strong hand.

Assault Weapon

The anti-gun lobby's definition - A firearm that bears a physical resemblance to a military weapon & therefore possesses the same capabilities as the military weapon is most closely resembles. It is usually implied if not outright stated that machine guns are what's being discussed, despite every anti "assault weapons" law dealing only with semi-automatic firearms.

The actual definition - Federally none. (At least as of September 13th, 2004) Some states still have "assault weapon" bans in place. A working definition would simply be a semi-automatic firearm capable of accepting a detachable magazine that possesses a certain number of cosmetic features, such as a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the firearm or a bayonet lug.

The term "assault weapon" was derived from assault rifle. An assault rifle is a selective fire firearm chambered for an intermediate powered cartridge & possessing dimensions that are less cumbersome than a full sized rifle. Hitler coined the phrase when he named the StG-44. But as will be shown in our next example the anti gun lobby is not ashamed to borrow terms from genocidal maniacs or racists to further their goals.

Saturday Night Special

The anti's - A cheap handgun (in terms of price) that will flood the poorer neighborhoods & cause an increase in violence involving firearms.

The actual definition - First, we must recognize that the origin of the term is Niggertown Saturday Night. “Saturday night special” is merely a variant on that phrase. Next, we must look at who would be most affected by a ban on these firearms - poor people. Simply put, it's a phrase designed to vilify handguns that poor people can afford that came about through altering a racist term. But then again gun control, racism & elitism have usually been linked.

High Powered

The anti's - Any firearm that can cause damage to an object it hits. For example the SKS & AR-15 are high powered assault weapons.

The actual definition - A cartridge that produces a certain amount of energy &/or velocity from a rifle. There is no distinct number for either velocity or energy but generally rifle cartridges that fire a 150 grain projectile close to 3,000 feet per second would be considered high power. Also High Power is the title of a very popular type of rifle competition. But to provide examples a .30-06 Springfield or a .300 Winchester Magnum would be considered high power. The 7.62x39 (the cartridge most often used in the SS & AK-47 variants) & the 5.56x45 (very similar, but not identical to the .223 Remington & used in most AR-15 type rifles) would be considered intermediate cartridges. & the cartridge, not the firearm is what the term refers to.

Point Blank Range

The anti's - A distance very very close.

The actual definition - The distance which you can shoot & hit a certain sized target without adjusting your sights. Let's say you have a rifle chambered in .30-06 that shoots 2" groups at 100 yards & you're shooting at a target that's 10 inches in diameter. Let's also say that you have your sights set so the bullet will hit 4" high at 100 yards. That means you can aim at the top of the target & hit it at a distance of 335 yards or so without adjusting the sights (assuming you're firing a 168 grain boat tail hollow point with a ballistic coefficient of .450 at roughly 2,650 feet per second with sight 1.5" above the center of the bore). That's point blank range. It's not only cartridge dependent, but target dependent as well. Using our above example if our target was only 5 inches in diameter, then our point blank range would drop to 75 yards unless we altered our sights before hand (as the above listed example would hit a height of 4" at 100 yards & with the 2" variable of the rifle that'd mean at the 3 inch mar we'd have to alter our sights to make a hit on the target). If we changed it to hit 2.5" high at 100 yards then our point blank range for a 5 inch diameter target would be around 260 yards.

Most gun owners are not aware of the actual definition & instead have taken the anti's version as gospel. This is even sadder as the anti's definition is all implication. I have never heard an anti or reporter (wait- that was redundant) explain exactly what point blank range is, only that the term is used to imply that the distance was short, say within a few feet. On a man sized target one should assume that the point blank range for any rifle cartridge is at least 200 yards, & with most pistol cartridges at least 75 yards if not 100. Even the lowly .22 Long Rifle has a point blank range of roughly 140 yards (assuming a 12 inch tall torso is being shot at). It's just not nearly as descriptive a term as most people think.

Junk Guns

The anti's - Inexpensive handguns that are not safe due to their low price & are the choice of criminals in low income areas.

The actual definition - As with "Saturday night special" this term is used to drive prohibitions on firearms that are most accessible to those with limited means. The firearms usually labeled as "junk guns" are affordable for most people at prices of $150 or less. The quality of workmanship will not be on par with a firearm costing two to three times what the cheaper guns cost, nor will it stand up to as much use before certain parts wear down. But it will serve its main purpose which is to provide a way for people to defend themselves if they can't afford a more quality firearm. The term itself is an anti-gun lobby invention but its based on a very old premise: disarm the peasants.

Cop Killer Bullet

The anti's - A bullet that will penetrate a bullet proof vest, thus enabling a criminal to kill cops despite their bullet proof armor.

The actual definition - Again this is a term made up by the anti-gun lobby. It relies on a misunderstanding of how bullet proof vests work to achieve the purpose of banning firearms chambered for certain cartridges, or to at minimum ban certain types of ammo.

Bullet proof vests are rated for certain purposes. There is no vest that will stop any & all projectiles fired at it. What the manufacturers of these vests do is give it a rating which means that most of the time a vest with a certain rating will stop certain types of projectiles fired by handguns & in a few cases rifles. Even with a vest rated to stop a .44 magnum you can alter the type of projectile or increase its velocity or weight & defeat a bullet proof vest. when it comes to rifles there are only a few vests that will stop one shot from certain rifle cartridges, & that is accomplished by using ceramic plates in the targeted area 9along with having the vest weigh about 15 pounds). To put it more in perspective, the .30-30 lever action your granddaddy used to hunt deer with will penetrate the majority of bullet proof vests. So will most muzzleloaders that your great great great great great granddaddy used to hunt deer or fight the redcoats. It's simple physics: a vest rated to stop a projectile with a certain amount of kinetic energy will not stop another projectile with more kinetic energy.

So "cop killer bullets" could be (& has been attempted to) construed to cover any & all rifle cartridges as well as a good portion of handgun cartridges used primarily for hunting since its implied definition is simply anything that will penetrate a bullet proof vest.

Sniper Rifle

The anti's - A rifle having the ability to hit a human being at a great range, usually aided by a scope & in such a powerful cartridge that severe injury or death at long distance is possible.

The actual definition - Your hunting rifle, if you take the anti-gun lobby's definition to its logical conclusion.

A sniper rifle as used in the military sense is simply a military rifle (or one altered for military use) that enables a sniper to perform his duties. A certain level of accuracy is required as is a certain level of power in the cartridge, but depending upon the requirements of the specific unit any bolt action hunting rifle chambered in .308 Winchester or .30-06 Springfield can be made into one with little effort. The main concerns are getting the rifle to shoot acceptable groups (usually around 1 inch at 100 yards, but sometimes smaller depending on the criteria for the unit) & utilize a telescopic sight. About $150 at a gunsmiths shop will turn a Remington 700 in .30-06 into a rifle that could be used by a military or police sniper. Where the duality comes in is that many hunters use rifles that could be handed straight to a military or police sniper without any modification whatsoever.

"Sniper rifle" is merely a term used by the anti-gun lobby to vilify rifles commonly used in hunting & competition, since the criteria for all three endeavors sometimes overlap. It's just a way to desensitize the public to bans on hunting guns. The term's use isn't that different in operation from how they use "assault weapons" to justify bans.

These are not all the terms that the anti-gun lobby has used with devastating effect against us. But it should give you a good idea of how we're getting our ass kicked in the PR war we're fighting. To be fair the anti-gun lobby would include most of the mainstream press as well as the gun control groups themselves, since many articles in papers are little more than re-worded press releases from those groups. The mainstream media's understanding of firearms is largely based on information provided by the gun control groups. For whatever reason we have not been that effective in educating journalists as to the technical facts involved in the various issues concerning gun control & gun Rights. This is to our detriment, as a good portion of the public learns about firearms through the mainstream media. I admit at times I was misinformed by a new story over one issue or another. Looking back over those terms I think you'll recognize one or two that you or someone you know was mislead by at some point.

That's how effective their efforts have been: even gun owners have been known to accept their terms at face value.

The only suggestion I have is to thin about the words being used before you start your arguments. It's not always easy, but it'd be preferable to correct an inappropriate definition before moving to the substance of the argument. In some cases by citing the correct definition or pointing out the nonsensical definition being used, you can have the argument right there. After all, if a person is decrying the "point blank range" of a shooting with an "assault weapon" their argument falls apart when you explain what "point blank range" is, point out that most muzzleloaders have a "point blank range" of 100+ yards on a human sized target, & then proceed to show that "assault weapon" has no meaningful definition.

What we need to do is alter the nature of the debate. We need to stop playing defensively & put the anti-gun lobby in that position. It will meet with little success if we continue to allow them to define the terms we use when we argue with them.

Posted by Publicola at 03:55 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 24, 2004

I Support The United Nations

No, not that United Nations. I speak of a much older organization.

Read Were the States Sovereign Nations? by Brian McCandliss to understand which United Nations is deserving of support. Found via The Southern Nationalist (on one of his back pages)

As for what I think of the UN you were thinking about when you read the title, let's just say I agree with Fred that blue makes a very distinctive target. (Also see here, here & especially here.)

Posted by Publicola at 04:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 23, 2004

Weekly Air Check?

Not only is Jeff's Weekly Check on the Bias posted at his site, but he talks about it on Cam Edwards' Radio Show.

Go read. And listen.

Posted by Publicola at 04:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 22, 2004

Ashamed Of Winners? Or Afraid Of Winners?

Gunner of No Quarters has a post up called Avoiding Winners? In it he questions why the CCRKBA & the NRA distance themselves from the Virginia Citizens Defense League.

There are several explanations that come to mind. Two seem plausible, though hard to take.

The first is that some gun owners (& by extension pro-gun groups) have developed a shame of gun owners. Or to be more precise a shame of gun owners acting like gun owners. It's not as far fetched as it may sound; for a long time (& possibly even today though less commonly) some black people were very critical of other black people whom they thought acted in a way that reinforced stereotypes. If you recall the motivation of the sergeant (played by the late Adolph Ceaser) in A Soldier's Story you'll be in the ballpark with this theory about the bigger pro-gun groups treatment of certain gun owners. The idea is that if a gun owner acts too openly pro-gun, such as by wearing arms or carrying them into public functions, then all gun owners will get a bad reputation because of the fear they will engender in the non gun owning public.

The following was written by Anthony J. Fabian, president of the Colorado State Shooting Association (an NRA affiliate):

"As for Don Ortega being 'one of ours,' Spencer could not be more wrong. We advocates of responsible firearms ownership continuously strive to separate and distance ourselves from the kooks in our ranks, while liberal gun-haters like Spencer are proudly identified and defined by the kooks in their ranks."

Mr. Ortega carried a shotgun into a city council meeting in Colorado Springs, Colorado. That was all. He never threatened anyone or did anything to cause concern. Well except for that whole exercise of a Right thing. Yet Fabian took pains to make sure Mr. Ortega was not regarded as a typical gun owner.

)Side rant about the CSSA: those bastards have helped pass gun control laws here in the state. The "shall issue" law we have is in large part because of them. The Vermont style carry law we've been trying to pass has failed because of them (again in large part). There's a particularly nasty law they helped pass in 2000. It allows the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to deny firearms purchases based upon arrests. Not convictions, but arrests. I have a friend that was recently denied because of an arrest some years back & once the appeal is settled (which should take 30 days or so) I'll write about it more in depth. But suffice it to say the CSSA is not high up on my list of "friends of the people". I passed their booth at a gun show last weekend & after seeing their flyers telling of what they'de done for Colorado it was with great restraint that I did not start a loud & profanity laden discussion of what they've done to Colorado._

In any case, they view gun owners who don't hide the fact as a threat to their agenda. That's one theory as to why the bigger groups try to distance themselves from the smaller ones that seem to be accomplishing things.

The other is a little harder to swallow, but in a sense just as plausible as any other explanation there is. Simply put the NRA does not want to go back to being a sports shooting organization. They expanded their membership & their budget dramatically when they got into politics & no one on the board wants to go back to the pre-68 days. So it's in their best interests to fight gun control, but not so much as to be effective about it. No sense in winning your way out of work, right?

Now this could be a deliberate decision on the part of the major players, or it could be a subconscious one; win small victories here & there but don't do anything to drastic that will achieve a big victory as that will decrease donations. Perhaps that's the underlying thought behind all the "incrementalist" strategy theories we hear from the bigger groups. Maybe that's just poor strategy. No way to tell for sure.

One thing is for sure: the bigger gun groups aren't retaking any ground. Hell, they're barely holding on to what we have as far as gun rights go, & in no small part that's because of people like you & smaller gun groups raising all kinds of hell at the politicians when they try to pass more gun control laws (the "assault weapons" ban being a good example, particularly the fight we had in February/March of 2004 in the Senate).

Could there be other reasons for the bigger groups trying to disassociate themselves from the smaller ones? Sure. & some other reason might be more accurate than the ones I've opined on here. But the record that the larger groups have seems to support either (perhaps both) of the theories I'm leaning towards. They don't want you to be too pro gun, nor do they want any major victories.

They don't even have any coherent strategy for achieving victories, least not that I've been able to discover. A popular excuse for this is that they don't want to broadcast their grand plan for victory to the other side. Look, it's been, what - 26 years since the NRA started really getting into politics? If they had a grand strategy they'd have sprung it by now or at least done enough for us to be able to discern a pattern.

The gun control groups don't seem shy at all about their agenda. In fact here's a paper on how to implement gun control across the globe. The U.N. has its own department for gun control. & here are some more links for international gun control efforts worldwide. If the other side is so open to the point of posting "how to" guides on weapons confiscation, then why the hell won't the NRA tell us of its grand strategy to thwart them?

Now let's look at some specifics for the other side's game plan. & before you smugly sit back & say it'll be a cold day in hell before they try that stuff here, realize that a good portion of it is already in place. From "Stage II" of "Weapon Collection: A Step By Step Guide" we find the following:

"Objectives and goals may include:

* Collecting a specific type of weapons or a specific number of weapons which is either causing significant damage to civilians (e.g. hand-grenades) or having a particular impact on the level of stability.
* Supporting programs that address larger violence issues, such as reducing the practice of resolving conflicts by violent means.
* Reducing the frequency and lethality of armed violence.
* Reducing the number of accidents and acts of domestic violence.
* Publicizing the connection between weapons and violence.
* Developing norms against weapons use.
* Increasing awareness of the negative consequences of weapons possession and misuse.
* Enhancing community solidarity.
* Improving relations between the community and/or the military as well as developing local institutional capacity to deal with arms proliferation in the future.
* Disrupting the weapons supply and local arms markets.
* Reducing the visibility of weapons in the community.
* Initiating the program as a launching pad for a broader community development project."

Any of that seem familiar? Hell, some of it is supported by the bigger pro gun groups, such as "reducing the visibility of weapons in the community". That's the main reason the VCDL is getting snubbed by the NRA & CCRKBA, & damned if they ain't enforcing "negative consequences of weapons possession". In fadt supporting Project Exile & its variants does just that, as most of the laws Project Exile seeks to enforce are laws against possession, either of a certain type of weapon, carried in a certain manner, or by certain classes of people.

Now let's look at some more from the suggestions to create a weapons free society:

"* Education and awareness programs that emphasize the dangerous effects of the proliferation of weapons in society.
* Improving policing techniques and practices to enhance the public image of the police and the confidence of the population in the police.
* The enforcement of laws and regulations regarding the possession and misuse of weapons.
* Capacity-building within national, regional and local law enforcement agencies
* Youth at-risk counseling programs.
* Community-building programs in areas such as peaceful conflict resolution, public health, education and sustainable development."

Again, these are all familiar to most of us if we look around. Not only are they being implemented at least in part, but sometimes with the help of the NRA & other pro gun groups. Project Exile & the traditional support for law enforcement agencies the NRA & other pro gun groups espouse seem to fit right in with the enemies plan.

So again, I see no evidence of any pro gun plan at work. I see isolated efforts here & there, but nothing that can be linked together to point to a strategy. & for those of you who are thinking of correcting me by mentioning the concealed carry laws that have been passed, I'll beg to differ. Concealed carry permits are a form of gun owner registration in which you pay a bribe & grovel for permission to exercise a Right. I know that most of you see it as a positive step, but I see it as a step backwards, not forwards even in places where concealed carry (or all carry) was prohibited beforehand. Besides, even if we think of concealed carry laws as a good thing, the NRA has been known to back inferior concealed carry laws when better alternatives were available (& possible). So I still don't see any grand strategy at work. Nor am I willing to buy into the strategy being so brilliant that I, a lowly blogger, just can't see it.

The fact is that the bigger gun groups have more in common with some of the bigger anti-gun groups than I'm comfy with. Not the least of which is the distance they try to keep from smaller groups or individuals who carry openly or otherwise seem successful in their efforts.

I don't have a definitive answer to Gunner's question. I just have my two theories that I discussed along with some disturbing observations. I do know that if the NRA won't come up with a plan then we need to. & we need to do it without having to act ashamed of gun owners who aren't afraid to exercise a Right (even if that means holding up a rifle more modern than a flintlock).

Posted by Publicola at 06:23 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 19, 2004

Good News From The Courts For A Change

Kevin of The Smallest Minority has a nice post up detailing two dismissals of lawsuits against gun makers. What's even more interesting (almost unbelievable in fact) is that both came from the Illinois (yes- that Illinois) Supreme Court & both were unanimous.

Go read Kevin's post for the details.

Posted by Publicola at 02:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


It's National Ammo Day.

Go out & buy 100 rounds of ammo, or components to load 100 rounds. Then go wish Kim du Toit a happy b-day.

Here's a well kept secret: many people know Mr. du Toit started National Ammo Day but few know why. Ya see, he was feeling guilty about the amount of ammo he purchased (enough to hold off a few regiments for about a week provided the barrels didn't melt) so he started this National Ammo Day thing to keep from looking like the ammo aficionado that he is. Yep - he just wants you to appear to be as avid a gun nut as he is. He figures if a bunch of people are buying 100 rounds on the same day then he won't feel so odd about having to beef up the suspension in his truck to handle his weekly ration of rinfire ammo. < /good natured almost humorous jest >

Go buy some ammo. Then shoot it & go buy some more. Don't let Mr. du Toit have all the fun.

Posted by Publicola at 02:07 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 18, 2004

Pennsylvani Alert

Geek With A .45 has the details about a gun control bill heading to the Pennsylvania House today.

If you're in Pennsylvania then go read The Geek's post & start dialing your reps. Then call your friends & tell them to dial their reps. The Geek just got there; if you don't want him to move again then help him stop the gun control that's being proposed. (No he didn't mention moving, but if Pa starts passing gun control laws then that's gonna make him feel jittery. I know it does when it happens wherever I'm at.)

Posted by Publicola at 05:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 17, 2004

Rocky Mountain Low

Ya know, I was looking forward to doing a few things around here; cleaning a new acquisition; writing about said new acquisition; loading some ammo for said new acquisition; writing about some older acquisitions; perhaps even watching a movie.

But nope. I'm here reading a very interesting court opinion that's based on a very flawed premise. That would be the opinion in Denver v. Colorado concerning Denver's gun control laws & Colorado's preemption law.

Dave Kopel was kind enough to send me a link to the .pdf of the ruling in this case. There were a few minor surprises but nothing totally unexpected.

Meyer starts off by explaining how the "home rule" thing works. More or less if a mater is of local & not statewide concern then a city that has home rule status if the final authority - not the state legislature. In an area of mixed concern (partially state, partially local) then state law trumps local law unless local law can be viewed to harmonize with state law. & of course if it's a matter of statewide concern then the state wins hands down. He then explains the criteria for making such determinations.

Now let's look at the basis of a flawed decision:

"It is noted that the State's interest in regulation of firearms is based in part on a desire to protect the constitutional right of a person to keep and bear arms. See C.R.S. §§ 18-12-201(e), 29-11.7- 101(a)(b) (2003)."

Huh? The state must regulate a constitutionally acknowledged Right in order to protect it? Does this mean if we don't get our church goer licenses we'll lose the freedom of conscience?

Actually he might be partially correct if he's implying that the state felt it necessary to regulate counties & cities that had firearms laws. In other words he would be correct in saying that state has an interest in passing laws that restrict city & county laws that would violate a person's Right to Arms. But by doing so he would be laying the groundwork for a decision against Denver unless...

"This right, however, is not absolute and does not automatically preempt firearm regulation. Contrary to the declarations in Senate Bill 25, the right to bear arms has not been held by the courts to be a fundamental right. See Trinen, 53 P.3d at 757 (citing People v. Young, 859 P.2d 814 (Colo. 1993)). Moreover, the right is specifically limited where the constitutional provision states that "nothing herein contained shall be construed to justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons." See Art. ii, § 13, Colo. Const."

Ah. As I feared. No Right is Absolute if it can be taken or tampered with by force. It's the same reasoning that says you didn't really own that money since it was stolen from you.

The courts have not held the Right to Arms as Absolute. Hell, most still insist it's a collective rather than an individual Right. But what if, maybe, just maybe, the courts (who are made up of judges who mostly were lawyers) are out to lunch on this one? What if their collective head is so far up their collective robe that they just made an error?

The courts are not infallible. Far from it. What makes matters worse is our case law system & a few doctrines (such as stare decisis) in which a case ruled by a higher court is binding on a lower court no matter how obviously flawed the higher court's reasoning is. (& no I don't have an effective alternative to propose; I'm just pointing out one of the flaws with our current system.)

What has happened with the Right to Arms is that one case was decided badly, another case was decided less than correctly & misinterpreted & thus we have judicial precedent that denies an individual Right to Arms, let alone any possibility of said Right being Absolute.

I've written about a lot of this before. Please see the following:

Rights are Absolute

Concealed Carry & Prior Restraint: It's Not Like Yelling Fire

Reasons Against CCW Permits

The Means, Knowledge & Will to Resist

Florida Constitution & concealed carry

Response to Eugene Volokh concerning levels of judicial scrutiny & the assault weapons ban being constitutional

Colorado's new CCW vs. Colorado's old CCW vs. Colorado's proposed but tabled CCW

Absolutisim 101: Prior Restraint

As He Told The Miller's Tale: Problems With U.S. v. Miller

I will submit that the courts have gotten it all wrong about the Right to Arms. It is an inherent, fundamental individual Right that is by its very nature Absolute. Not that it cannot be touched upon but that it cannot justifiably be touched upon by government.

"Firearm regulations promulgated by the State or a local municipality under the home rule amendment may coexist with the constitutional right to keep and bear arms so long as such regulations are a reasonable exercise of the governments' police powers. Fee, e.g., Robertson v. City and County of Denver, 874 P. 2d 325 (Colo. 1994) (upholding Denver's assault weapons ban); Trine n, 53 P. 3d 754; People v. Pflugbeil, 834 P.2d 843 (Colo. App. 1992) (order depriving mental patient of right to weapons)."

Now here's the conflict: I see nothing in Colorado's constitution which excepts the Right to Arms to "...reasonable exercise of the governments' police powers". In fact, with the exception of the concealed carry language, I'd say Colorado's constitution exempts ownership & possession of weapons from the governments' police powers, reasonable or not. But somehow the courts have decided that the governments interest in controlling people firearms is an obvious exception to the protections of the constitution, even if said exception is never written down or implied in the text.

Judge Alex Kozinski spoke of this type of jurisprudence in his dissent regarding the decision not to re-hear Silveira v. Lockyer en banc:

"Judges know very well how to read the Constitution broadly when they are sympathetic to the right being asserted. We have held, without much ado, that 'speech, or . . . the press' also means the Internet, and that 'persons, houses, papers, and effects' also means public telephone booths. When a particular right comports especially well with our notions of good social policy, we build magnificent legal edifices on elliptical constitutional phrases - or even the white spaces between lines of constitutional text. But, as the panel amply demonstrates, when we're none too keen on a particular constitutional guarantee, we can be equally ingenious in burying language that is incontrovertibly there."

And so Colorado's constitutional acknowledgement of the Right to Arms is casually dismissed by Meyers. I will refer you to an essay called Trust by Kevin of The Smallest Minority. I think it sums up a probable motivation by Meyers & his ilk to dismiss the Right to Arms as being subject to the state. (In any event it's an interesting read.)

Now we come to the particulars of this case:

Firearms in Vehicles: More or less Meyer sides with the state, thus negating most of Denver's law where it conflicts with state law. In effect this means that people with CCW permits can carry in Denver, & a concealed firearm may be carried in a vehicle. Meyer specifically struck down some language in a revised version of Denver's prohibition on carrying firearms in vehicles. The phrase "when there is a direct and immediate threat thereto" was judged to be conflicting with state law in an area of state & local concern & struck down, as was the phrase "while traveling into or through the city to or from another jurisdiction, regardless of the number of times the person stops in the city or the other jurisdiction" thus making Denver's law against concealed carry of firearms in vehicles invalid for most purposes. He does uphold a section of Denver law that states firearms must be unloaded unless they're carried for self defense, but this concerns open carry rather than concealed carry.

This should demonstrate how ridiculous the concept of concealed carry laws are in general, at least in states where open carry is okay. Would someone explain to me the practical difference between carrying a loaded gun concealed, or an unloaded gun openly? Or vice versa. Hell, I'm still wondering why concealed carry is treated any differently than open carry. Aside from the 19th century arguments about an honest man wearing his guns for the world to see I see no compelling reason to regulate or prohibit either form of carry.

Open Carry of Firearms: Denver law has some affirmative defenses for carrying openly. An affirmative defense is simply a shift of the burden of proof from the state to prove you were doing something wrong to you to prove that you were not doing anything wrong. Think of it as guilty until proven innocent.

To quote from Meyer's opinion:

"Section 38-117(b) of the Denver Revised Municipal Code makes it unlawful for any person 'to carry, use or wear any dangerous or deadly weapon, including, but not by way of limitation, any pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun . . . or any other dangerous or deadly weapon.' It is not an offense if the person has a permit and is carrying a concealed handgun or if the person is carrying the weapon in a private automobile for hunting or self defense. Section 38-117(f)(1) and (2). Affirmative defenses to a charge of openly carrying a firearm are listed in §38-118(a) and (b) and include carrying the weapon in a person's own dwelling, place of business or own property, carrying the weapon in defense of home, person or property when there is a direct and immediate threat, for use on a hunting trip or target shooting, transportation as a collector or licensed dealer, and moving personal property from an old residence to a new residence"

Now just to show how disdainful Denver is of the Right to Arms, openly carrying a pistol can get you cited or possibly even arrested but graciously if you can prove to a judge that you were in your own house or business then the charges will be dropped. Hell, you might even get your pistol back.

Now here's this gem from Meyer:

"State law contains no restriction on the open carrying of firearms, nor does state law expressly permit the open carrying of firearms".

If there is no restriction on an activity, then it's legal. While I can understand why he pointed out that there's no prohibition on open carry on the state level, his following sentence about it not being expressly condoned implies that there's some ambiguity to the law.

Once I went to cash a check at a bank I used to do business with. The lady behind the counter didn't seem enthralled by my appearance & that came through when she informed me that if I didn't deposit all the money from the check into my account then if the check bounced I'd be liable for that amount. She seemed a bit taken aback when I told her that if the check didn't bounce then I'd get to keep it. (Maybe it loses something in a written format but in person it was funny as hell.)

But aside from the seemingly prejudicial slant to the judge's comment, he's wrong. State law does not prohibit open carry, but it is expressly condoned as a matter of Colorado law. The Colorado constitution has a provision that says the Right to own & carry arms shall not be questioned, but this doesn't justify carrying concealed. Now since concealed carry is excepted from the constitution's acknowledgement that leaves only open carry. So open carry is indeed specifically protected by Colorado law. Not by statute, but by the state constitution itself.

Now to his credit Meyer calls Denver on an outright lie: they argue that their law about open carry only regulates it, but Meyer points out that it's on its face a prohibition, not a regulation. Unfortunately that's where the good part ends.

"Denver is by far the most densely populated area of Colorado. See Appendix B to Plaintiffs' Brief in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment Denver also suffers rates of violent crime far in excess of statewide averages. Id., Appendix C. These unique factors predominate over any need for statewide uniformity or any concern about extraterritorial impact. Uniformity in itself is no virtue, Denver v. State, at 769, and uniformity in this area seems to have diminished value due to the wide diversity of localities included in Colorado. As plaintiffs stated in their opening brief. 'Simply put, a bullet fired in Denver--whether maliciously by a criminal or negligently by a law-abiding citizen is more likely to hit something or somebody than a bullet fired in rural Colorado.' Unlike the legislation for concealed carry, Senate Bill 25 fails to set forth a comprehensive regulatory scheme that serves as uniform authority for open carry of firearms. Also, unlike transportation of concealed weapons in automobiles, it should be relatively simple for a gun owner to recall that he or she may not carry a sidearm openly in downtown Denver as is possible in rural Colorado. History is also on the side of the local ordinance. Since 1973, Denver has regulated the open carrying of firearms in public. The State has been silent on the topic until Senate Bill 25"

Hmmm. so stats show Denver has more crime than other areas of the state. I wonder if Meyer noticed that those stats were probably compiled after Denver had set in place its gun control laws. Not that I believe correlation equals causation, but obviously if Denver's rate of crime is higher than the rest of the state while Denver has stricter gun control laws, then I'd say that would make a case that Denver's gun control laws don't really help reduce the crime rate.

Now notice how Denver's brief seeks to talk about firing weapons as a reason to prohibit their possession. The argument is that a shot in a densely populated area will more likely hit someone than a shot in a sparsely populated area. I could also add that fishing in a lake will likely result in catching more fish than fishing in a bathtub. Denver has laws against discharging a firearm within the city limits. Those aren't in dispute. What is in dispute is the Denver law concerning carry & possession. I agree that there are some places where you should discharge a firearm unless the circumstances are extremely dire. I agree that laws prohibiting firing guns in certain areas are okay (for the most part - there are always exceptions). What I will argue is that carrying a weapon does not usually result in discharging one. But Denver wants to equate carrying with negligent discharge or criminal use. It doesn't mention justifiable use, as in self defense. Nor does it mention that the majority of defensive firearms uses do not involve firing shots. Unfortunately Denver was more persuasive.

& for the life of me I keep forgetting that it's illegal to carry a pistol on my hip while walking through downtown Denver. See I keep falsely assuming that the Colorado & U.S. Constitutions mean I can do that. Course I assume the framers of both documents would have included language to make it obvious that Denver does have the authority to step on a Right that existed before government & that the feds & state are forbidden from interfering with.

The judge is simply wrong: it is not correct to assume that concealed carry in a vehicle is different from open carry as a pedestrian. Nor is it remotely logical to say that Denver prohibiting open carry isn't something people would fail to know whereas they'd be fuzzy on how the law applies when they're in their car carrying concealed.

Let me try to break this down for the judge: the state & federal constitution acknowledge the right to own & carry guns. The state constitution distances itself from concealed carry, therefore open carry is the only option left. Since a Right cannot be protected if it is nonexistent, we are forced to conclude that the Colorado constitution, by its exception of concealed carry, applies to open carry implicitly. Therefore unless "Constitution Free Zone" is stamped on all the entrances to Denver it is not reasonable to conclude that a person would know Denver law trumps 2 constitutions & an inherent Right.

"The Colorado Constitution, while protecting the right to bear arms, does not specifically commit regulation of open carrying of firearms to either state or local government."

Ummm ya think maybe it's because the Right to Arms is excepted from the powers of government???? That's kinda the point behind a bill of rights - to keep government from imposing on them. So it's not a stretch to assume that since the Colorado constitution didn't say whether state or local government could infringe upon it then neither can infringe upon it.

What's even worse is that Meyer declares it an unconstitutional infringement for the state to intrude on any city or town's desire to ban open carry. I cannot begin to express my disbelief at the irony of his phrasing.

So open carry in Denver is illegal.

"Assault Weapons" & Saturday Night Specials:

Let's get one thing out in the open. The original phrase was "niggertown Saturday night special". Language is one area where the anti's have been hammering us, even to the point where they can co-opt a phrase blatantly racist in origin & have it used by everyone to further the anti's goals. Racism was a key component of early gun control, & odds are had more than a little to do with Colorado's exception of concealed carry in its constitution. The anti's don't want you to know about the racist origins of gun control, even when they push racist phrases down our throats.

Meyer makes an issue of the state not acting to preempt Denver law before now, since the two laws in question have been in effect since 1989 & 1975 respectively. That is unpersuasive to me, as the amount of time it takes to correct an injustice is not always proportional to that injustice.

Nevertheless Meyer finds both Denver laws are okay & the state can't interfere. Seems Denver has an increasing problem with "assault weapons", despite a city wide ban & having had a ten year federal ban. The Denver law touches on possession though which the federal ban didn't. In any case Meyer fell for Denver's bullshit about "assault weapons" being more dangerous than other types of weapons & them being a special problem that deserved prohibition. The affordable firearms ban was upheld as well, although without as much detail being given other than it was a local, not a state matter that seemingly touched upon sales as opposed to sales & possession.

Juveniles & Safe Storage:

Both Colorado & Denver have laws prohibiting loaning or otherwise furnishing a minor with a firearm. Colorado law has exceptions, such as when hunting with parental permission. Denver law doesn't. Denver's safe storage law has a self defense exception when it comes to minors. Again Denver argued that their prohibition was merely regulation & Meyer rightly called them on that. Meyer strikes Denver's juvenile in possession law but upholds the safe storage law.

Firearms in City Parks:

Meyer says that state law grants cities the final say over its parks & other such property. He again makes a big deal of the state not intervening since Denver passed its laws concerning firearms in parks (around 1996).

"Denver's park system is unique to it, especially with regard to its extensive system of mountain parks and parkways. Any need for uniformity is vastly outweighed by Denver's judgment that its citizens are safer without guns in the parks. There is no extraterritorial impact to this ordinance. Commuter routes typically do not traverse parklands, and it is riot an unreasonable burden for visitors to Denver to inform themselves as to restrictions on guns in parks. The State has not shown any substantial interest in requiring a municipality to open its parks to all guns, as described above, the bare interest in uniformity is unconvincing."

Now it would seem from the language used that Denver owns parks & other recreational land outside its city & county limits. If this is correct then another justification of Meyer's is factually in error:

One of the most ludicrous things I've ever seen was a sign in the Rocky Mountain National Park. I saw it after being in Colorado all of 72 hours. It had warnings about bears, mountain lions & other natural dangers. Right below these warning in much bigger print were the words "NO WEAPONS ALLOWED". Now this was due to an executive order signed by Bill Clinton making it a felony to carry firearms in a National Park, but the reasoning is just as absurd if Denver has parks outside of downtown.

Bears, mountains lions, deer, elk, moose, snakes & a few other varieties of creatures are not uncommon in Colorado. Bear & mountain lion would be the two most identifiable as dangerous, but have you ever seen a moose up close? How bout a pissed off moose? We ain't talking anything out of a Disney pic or rerun of Northern Exposure here. Bullwinkle will ruin your day. Snakes & to a lesser extent coyotes can also be a threat. & these critters don't read city limit signs & turn back. My first year here there was a bear that wandered about 10 blocks from where I was living at the time - & I lived ten minutes from downtown Denver.

So the state does have an interest in keeping bans on personal arms from being implemented in parks. Ya see there just aren't enough park rangers to respond instantaneously in the unlikely but entirely possible event that an animal attacks someone. The state, being a representative of the people (in theory at least) has an interest in not encumbering self defense from predators of the no legged, two legged or four legged variety. Aside from the animal danger where would you plan to rob, rape or kill; a place where the people have guns, or a place when the government has graciously disarmed your prey for you?

& did I mention that a ban on carrying arms runs afoul of two constitutions?

But now back to the ludicrous: Meyer upheld Denver's law banning openly carried firearms in parks, but said that Denver could not ban concealed carry (with the appropriate permission slip) in parks.

The state dropped its arguments against several Denver laws because the state conceded that they did not conflict with state law. Aside from discharging firearms & brandishing there were a few that seemed troubling on the surface, though I admit I haven't delved into the particulars yet. One regards identification & records of weapons sales. The other is a presumption of possession concerning a firearm found in a vehicle. As I said I haven't had time to explore those provisions yet so if any of you have then feel free to leave a comment or e-mail.

Another thing I haven't done as of yet is to secure copies of the briefs from both sides. I really have trouble imagining the state not being able to make the more persuasive argument, unless of course the state approached it from a non-Rights angle.

In other words if the state argued that the Right to Arms could be breached but only by the state then the ground was shaky. If the state would have argued that the Right to Arms is something excepted out of the powers of government then it would have had much more stable ground to work with. Of course this would have negated the state's justification for some of its gun control laws which could be a reason that tactic wasn't used.

If the state's arguments weakly defended or ignored a Rights based approach then I'd point to this as a prime example of compromising or taking a moderate approach being harmful to the cause. We do not gain back ground by incrementalism: we gain it back by direct & persuasive actions.

Meyer had a tough case I'll admit. Weeding through the home rule provisions & the relevant case law is not something one does for fun on a weekend (unless you're really really twisted). But most of his reasoning was based on a faulty premise: that the Right to Arms can be trampled on. Another mistake in reasoning was predominate: that gun control works.

In effect Meyer's conclusion would make it equally possible for Denver to outlaw a certain religion within its city & county limits. Yes it's true that Meyer only said the Right to Arms was not absolute, but if possessing the means of self defense may be restricted at a government’s whim, then how hard would it be to apply that reasoning to religious practice? or printing & reading material? Or any number of things we regard as Rights that government should not touch upon?

I'm a bit calmer than I was when I initially wrote about Meyer's decision. So I can now reflect on my words & say that Denver can go straight to hell without being accused of being rash about it.

& yes; I'm still violating Denver law anytime I have need of passing through its limits. I try to minimize the need for such but some things are unavoidable. One thing that is avoidable is that I haven't spent a damn dime inside Denver since I found out about Meyer's bitchslap of my Rights. I can't say for certain that I'll always be able to keep from spending inside Denver, but I can attest that as cheap a bastard as I am it shouldn't be that difficult.

One thing I would like to see is gun shops & manufacturers refusing to do business with the Denver P.D. There's one store that I regretfully won't be able to purchase anything from as it's within the city limits, but I do intend on stopping by there & explaining why & asking if they'd consider suspending all sales to Denver P.D. employees until such asinine laws are repealed. In the meantime there are other gun stores (though I will miss the one in question). In fact, if the assure me they will stop any & all sales to the city & county of Denver & its employees while these laws are in place I probably could bring myself to trade with them again.

So there you have it: with a CCW permit you can carry in Denver. You can't carry openly. You can carry concealed in your car with or without a permit. You can't carry openly in parks, but you can with a permit. You can't possess "assault weapons" (unless you're just passing through) or sell or buy "...Saturday Night Specials" within the city of Denver. You can loan your kid your gun for target practice but you have to lock it up before & after.

In Denver, according to Meyer & the city's administration, you do not have a Right to Arms; you have a privilege. It can pass almost any laws it wants to, excepting ones that interfere with the states prerogative to restrict your privilege to Arms.

Arvada, Thornton, Broomfield, Lakewood, Edgewater, Wheat Ridge, Littleton, & Westminster are but just a few towns that are minutes away from Denver (traveling westward that is). They all have fine shops, restaurants & other attractions that will make it less burdensome to spend your money outside of Denver. If you need a particular service located within Denver e-mail me & I'll try to find an alternate for you so your tax money doesn't go to a town that disrespects your Rights.

Again, until sanity prevails either in the courts or the city council, don't patronize any business inside Denver.

Posted by Publicola at 02:45 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Seegars v. Ashcroft

Triggerfinger has done an exceptional job in gathering all the material he could on this case. Seegars v. Ashcroft is a case challenging D.C.'s almost total ban on firearms possession. It's the NRA's attempt to not be outdone by two lawyers from the Cato Institute & is inferior to the Cato lawyers case (Parker v D.C.) Both cases lost on the first go round. On Wednesday November 17th the Seegars v. Ashcroft appeal will be heard.

Triggerfinger &/or a friend will be live blogging the proceedings. Be sure to hit Triggerfinger's tip jar as the documents he provided did not come cheap.

Here are some more links for you on the subject (in roughly chronological order):

Parker vs DC: The Origins of Seegars vs Ashcroft

Cato Legal Scholars File Second Amendment Challenge to Washington, D.C. Gun Ban

More on DC gun challenge/ NRA donates to GMU

NRA launches lawsuit against DC gun ban that could interfere with the Cato Institutes lawsuit

Seegars v Ashcroft: The Complaint

Seegars v Ashcroft: The NRA seeks consolidation

CATO Attorneys to NRA: Butt Out! NRA Counsel Charged with Professional Misconduct & Damage to Case

Fisking of the NRA & Senator Hatch's bill to partially restore DC gun rights while negating CATO's lawsuit.

Cato Experts: NRA, Sen. Hatch Try to Prevent Supreme Court from Hearing 2nd Amendment Case Hatch's "D.C. Personal Protection Act" would invalidate D.C. residents' lawsuit

D.C. Second Amendment Federal Court Hearing: Annotated Transcript of NRA Case Proceedings by Roy Lucas (This was done a few weeks before Mr' Lucas' death.)

Seegars v Ashcroft: Oral Arguments

OK, I'm LIVID! (Kevin of The Smallest Minority isn't happy with the NRA's oral arguments)

Seegars v Ashcroft: There can be only one... with Standing

Seegars vs Ashcroft: Does the 2nd Amendment reach the Capital?

Seegars v Ashcroft: A collective right?

D.C. Gun Case Appeal

Good News On The DC Second Amendment Case


D.C. Gun Ban

Posted by Publicola at 01:06 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 10, 2004

Bush Fights For Gun Owners? My Ass

Say Uncle has the scoop. The Justice Department (which answers to Bush) is asking SCOTUS to reverse the 9th circuit ruling that said the commerce clause of the constitution didn't permit federal gun laws (the NFA in particular) to apply to home made arms. Go to Uncle's & read up on it.

Posted by Publicola at 04:26 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 07, 2004

Another Gun Control Debate

I'm participating in one over at Stop The Bleating. Shocking, I know. But it may be interesting.

The post in question is titled Howling In Outrage To Shake The Pillars Of Heavan & is a response to this post by Tung Yin called Is it really a good idea to let people carry guns on planes? which was a response to a post of mine over there called Why Bush Is Bad For Us In The Long Run.

Mosey on over & give it & all the other posts a look see.

Posted by Publicola at 05:55 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Warning: Denver Does Not Want Your Business

The city of Denver can go to hell. Straight to hell. No passing go, no two hundred dollars. Straight. To. Hell.

Why? Because the bastards not only argued that their local laws that infringe upon the Right to Arms trump a state pre-emption law, but the courts have agreed with them.

I first heard of this at the Rocky Mountain Bloggers Bash while talking with Jeralyn of TalkLeft. She told me about the story in the Rocky Mountain News so many thanks to her for the tip.

Let me start off by telling you that I try to keep profanity to a minimum around here. Usually I'll take a few minutes before I write about something that incenses me & compose my thoughts in a more rational, PG-13 type manner. I won't break with that tradition now, but it's damn hard.

Two names to remember: Assistant City Attorney David Broadwell & Judge Joseph E. Meyer. The first helped argue that Denver's gun laws trump state laws that protect individual Rights. The second decided that Denver's gun laws trump the state's attempt at protecting individual Rights. If Denver were a ship heading for hell these two should be on the bow.

"I agree with the city's argument that open carrying is a matter of purely local concern, in at least insofar as Denver is concerned,' Meyer wrote in his ruling.

'Denver is by far the most densely populated area of Colorado,' Meyer's decision said. 'Denver also suffers rates of violent crimes far in excess of statewide averages."

Open carry or concealed carry is not a matter of local, state or federal concern. It's an individual matter not subject to approval or disapproval by the state. By claiming that a city has the power to regulate or prohibit it the judge, among other things, spoke very clearly to the question of individual Rights: he doesn't recognize them.

Another interesting possibility: since Denver's alleged interest in regulating behavior trumps state law (even when Denver's law violates the state constitution) this means Denver can establish a city-wide religion, or ban certain religions, or quarter police officers in a citizens home against their wishes, or compel you to testify against yourself.

I'll grant that that may be a slight exaggeration, but depending upon how the ruling itself was worded it's not much of one. If Denver can ban firearms they can ban newspapers or pamphlets. Will they? It's doubtful anytime soon at least, but it's possible (again depending upon how that bastard Meyer worded his decision).

& since I'm not going to be shy about calling Meyer the sunuvabitch he seems to be, it's possible that this blog could be banned in Denver. & that bastard Hickenlooper (the mayor) is far from blameless in my eyes & I'll gladly inform him of the questionable ancestry that could cause such a logical disconnect as to pursue this damned court action in the first place - so maybe that will get me banned in Denver. Or perhaps this blog will be banned in Denver because I'm about to advocate people violate the laws in Denver.

Yep: if you live in or have need to pass through Denver ignore the gun laws. Try not to get caught, but ignore them.

& lest you think I'm a hypocrite, I violated Denver law tonight. I was within the city limits with a firearm in my vehicle. Since I don't have a CCW that pond scum judge by the name of Meyer would agree I was violating Denver's ban on carrying firearms, despite two constitutions to the contrary. I also had a high capacity magazine.

I intend to avoid Denver whenever possible, but seeing as how all the east & southbound interstates run through it I can guarantee that I will violate Denver law again.

What I will not do is spend money inside the Denver city limits if I can possibly avoid it. Being the cheap bastard I am I'm pretty sure I can avoid it.

& no, I'm not trying to get this blog banned in Denver. I could care less actually whether the city of Denver even acknowledges my existence.

Owens hasn't decided if the state will appeal the case as of yet. I'd hope he would but it wouldn't surprise me if he avoided the issue altogether. Hell, I'm still wondering how Owens & Salazar (who claim they're pro-gun - at least to an extent) managed to screw up what seems to me a very simple, direct, persuasive argument: a city cannot pass laws that violate protections afforded to individuals in a constitution concerning their Rights.

I'm damn tempted to move back into Denver, get a folding stock for my 10/22 (or hell, get someone to fabricate a bayonet mount for it), buy a few more high capacity magazines, get a $100 pistol (i.e. junk gun) & store them unlocked (violating Denver's safe storage laws). But I won't. Not because I fear the Denver PD, but because I won't pay taxes in or otherwise spend money in a place that holds my Rights in such disdain.

& I will take the title of bastard myself in this. Why? Because I wasn't in the courtroom. I filed no amicus curiae brief on behalf of the state. I didn't make my voice heard by the court in an attempt to keep them from drifting down this dark & ignorant path they apparently are coasting along on. It's partly my fault as I used to live in Denver.

A note to satisfy my lawyers (at least the ones who read my blog): before violating any law know the law. Understand what it does & doesn't do, & most importantly understand why it violates your Right. Be prepared for some form of consequences should you get caught. & do not do anything else illegal while engaging in civil disobedience of a law that is at best constitutionally questionable & at worst a heinous infringement of a Right. If you're caught it may not be cheap or easy to walk away, but if you feel the law is unjust then do not comply with it.

Hopefully that will appease my lawyer friends.

In any event let me reiterate: the city of Denver can go straight to hell.

Posted by Publicola at 01:40 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 04, 2004

A B-day Gift

No, not for me. At least not anything material I'm getting. This is almost as nice though.

Some of you know I have a slight interest in M-1 Garands (like Kim du Toit goes through a few rounds of ammo each year). In fact someone joked that since I didn't mention a Garand in my interview with miss Annika that he assumed it was an imposter. So it's safe to say that if we've exchanged e-mails, phone calls, carrier pigeons or communicated in any other way I've tried to talk you into buying a Garand or twelve.

I doubt that my persuasive abilities are the cause behind it, but Kevin of The Smallest Minority has finally gotten around to buying a real battle rifle. He's been shooting for a while & from what I've seen he's not a bad marksman. I can't wait to see what he can do with a Garand. True, an off the rack M-1 shouldn't be expected to do more than 3 or 4 inch groups at 100 yards, but for modest amounts of money &/or effort they can get under 2 inches.

Still, I'm bitchy. It's not enough that we become a nation of riflemen: we need to do so with real rifles. (Not that the Garand is the only real rifle out there, but in my not so understated opinion it's the pinnacle. The Ideal Rifle as it were.)

Congrats to Kevin. & thanks to Kevin.

Now how about you? Got Garand?

Posted by Publicola at 03:32 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Revenge Of The Commentors?

In the comments to this post (Revenge of the Purists (I Prefer the Term Absolutists) a good fellow by the name of Charles expresses disagreement. I'll attempt to respond to his concerns here.

Let's start off by reviewing Charles' comments:

"Bush has taken a lot of flak for not being libertarian enough on guns. I think he's not being given nearly enough credit on guns. With 9/11, the DC Sniper, and Columbine, he had not only an excuse to press for the AWB but huge pressure to do it. He had the best political opportunity to press for new restrictions that I can think of ever. We in the pro-gun community tend to forget that the general populace that didn't know what the 'assault weapons' 'ban' was supported it 3 to 1 and the gun owning populace supported it 2 to 1 (because they're Fuddites, as you so aptly describe them.). He took flak in the debates because of it, and had to just take it. It was just not a political reality that he could have tried to defend it there. But despite 9/11, despite the DC Sniper, despite Columbine, we had the first plain increase in gun liberty on a federal level since the Fourteenth Amendment applied the Second Amendment to blacks.

'Bush's support of the AWB, McCain's bill to close down all gun shows, & his insistence upon government regulation of the 2nd amendment as exemplified through Project Exile would be it. It's not that Bush isn't pure enough; it's that he's anti-gun.'

If Bush was anti-gun, the AWB would have been renewed, and the gun shows would have been closed. We haven't the numbers to have stopped him. We are loud and dedicated, but in the end we have one vote each.

We spend most of our time just trying not to slide any further on the slippery slope. But this one time, just when events were most against us, we gained ground. Usually we have a choice of a Republican who's only a minor enemy, a Democrat who's a major enemy, and Libertarians or Constitution Party candidates who are friends but won't get elected. Despite Bush's lip service to the AWB, I think he genuinely took a risk to come through for gun rights, even if it was sub-rosa rather than standing on principle.

'It didn't happen because us "purists" (the term I prefer is Absolutist) raised hell on the phone with our senators & talked a bunch of non-purists & Fuddites into doing the same..'

Yes. That's a big part of it. And to reward them for our first advance in a century, in a hostile political environment, we'll vote Libertarian anyway. And our calls will be worth what next time? They will be worth CRAP. They will be calls not from potential supporters, but from the enemy. They will know that pissing off gunnies is as inevitable to a Republican as pissing off Communist Party supporters.

I think if we ignore that to be gun absolutists or purists and vote Libertarian/Constitution in this race we no longer send the message 'You must become more libertarian before we'll vote for you', but the message, 'You can't convince us vote for you until John Q. Public thinks you're a dangerous lunatic.'

Think about it: the first federal ground gained in a century. I think the first federal ground gained for the general populace, besides Supreme Court decisions, since the Second Amendment in 1789. This is not a small thing."

K, now on to the specific points he raised:

Columbine happened during Clinton & after the AWB was law. Bush could have made emotional appeals invoking Columbine, but it wasn't the hot item it was under Clinton.

As for September the 11th, 2001 it wouldn't have made much sense to use that as a reason to ban guns of any type as knives were the weapon of choice. Now it could be (& I attempt to) used to demonstrate that prior restraint based firearms laws such as the ones that disarm passengers don't accomplish their stated goals (disarming those with ill intent) while making life more dangerous for those that have no harmful intent. We lost an arms race to guys with razors. I can't express how sad that is for our country.

The DC Sniper - his rifle was post ban legal. Plus it was stolen. Other than getting the support of a few soccer moms who would have already been behind anything Brady or Boxer endorsed it just couldn't have been a convincing argument.

So the specific examples cited simply aren't as good for a gun control advocate as they may seem & they'd have been dicey for Bush to use if for no other reason than they'd have shown a failure of the gun laws & law enforcement.

Bush could have very well changed the nature of the debate on the issue. He could have calmly explained what the AWB did & didn't do. Hearing the President tell you that the ban only affected semi-auto's & then only cosmetically would have swayed a lot more minds than me & other bloggers writing about it constantly. Jefferson was of the opinion that when the public is ignorant on a matter that it was best to enlighten them. Bush could have done so. He didn't.

As for it being an increase, I'm reminded of Yoda at the end of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Obi Wan mentions in passing that they won. Yoda seems shocked & tells him it was not a victory because the Clone Wars had begun.

We did not gain any ground. We re-gained a little bit of ground that we should have never lost in the first place. & we had to fight hard to do even that. & if you overlook the Hughes Amendment I would remind you of the FOPA which did get rid of some of the more burdensome provisions of the GCA of '68. I see it as a net loss because of the Hughes Amendment, but most argue that it was a gain for us.

The AWB sunset was important not because it gained us anything, but because it kept the anti's too busy to do anything else. Not that I'll complain about buying new 11 rounders, but it wasn't the only thing we've had go in our favor since the 14th Amendment (which I should point out doesn't "incorporate" the 2nd Amendment in the view of most courts).

Bush being anti-gun or pro-gun is not evidenced by the laws that passes, but rather the laws he supports. It's true he could have been more active in his support of the AWB, but so could quite a few people that wanted it. In the end your calls made the Senate & possibly Bush realize that pushing the issue wasn't in their own best interests. I don't think gun control is as important to Bush as some other issues, but that doesn't mean he's pro-gun.

It's true we don't have enough votes in the Senate to survive most gun control bills, but we do have a workable plurality that can filibuster, & congressional leaders who realize how damaging any vote could be so they try to keep it from coming up. As long as we remind them of our resolve then we have a chance ot block gun control bills.

As for Bush taking a risk, he had a simple choice: piss off his gun owning base or piss off soccer moms whose vote he wouldn't likely get in the first place. He did what was smart, not what took courage.

As for voting against senators who are on our side, I never suggested that. I only recall asking people to vote against Bush & against any senators from any party that gave a yes vote on the AWB being added to the Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

But here's something to ponder: what happens if we keep voting for republicans who support gun control? The easy answer is a popular quote form some politician whom I can't recall when asked about voting for gun control - "what are you gonna do; vote democrat?" By not voting our principles we are just as marginalized as you think we are by voting our principles. Short version is that if an anti-gunner comes up for re-election then don't vote for him. Otherwise our influence diminishes.

If we all voted for the most pro-gun candidate, even if they're third party, then the message would get back to republicans. They won't see us as the enemy but merely as another voting block to sway. You see Kerry with the shotgun? That wouldn't have happened if we'd have kept voting republican no matter what.

I do understand where Charles is coming from & I appreciate his taking the time to write about why he disagrees with me. I just disagree with his disagreement. For gun owners to be a political force we must not vote for anti-gunners no matter the party they belong to. To do otherwise leaves us nothing to back up our words with. If you voted for Spector or Boxer or any other anti-gunner then it becomes much harder for you &/or your friends to make demands.

Another thing: Bush's dad supported an AWB (albeit through executive order as it turned out rather than by pushing for a new law). Odds are he was taught that some gun control is okay. I don't see Dubya waking up & thinking of new ways to lose the race. Bush simply feels there's no wrong in gun control laws but he does possibly see the political danger they represent. Perhaps it's the way they were raised, or maybe it's just advantageous (at least seemingly) enough in their minds for them to support it. In any case we have to watch them. & damn close at that.

Posted by Publicola at 04:01 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 03, 2004


It's all over but the counting. & the lawyering. & the blogging about the counting & the lawyering.

voted. Not for Bush though. Not for Badnarik either. I went with Peroutka. Long story ehind that decision but more or less I felt he was a better representative of my views. Not that I thought he'd have a chance at winning, but if he got enough votes it would send the same message to the republicans that they should stop leaning left & send one to the libertarians: either shape up or get behind this party.

For senate I went with Coors. While not perfect on the gun issue he has potential. Plus he seems to be reminiscent of an actual federalist. In short I think he might turn out alright. I could be wrong though. & considering he's trailing Salazar (whom some damn rag around here claims supports the 2nd amendment) we may not get a chance to find out. Be a shame though: my first vote for a republican for naught. At least this should prove to some people that 100% agreement isn't necessary - the high 80's to low 90's will do til we can work on them.

I went with Clyde Harkins for the house seat. He's American Constituion Party (like Peroutka) & seemed a better choice than Beauprez.

If it came down to a republican & a democrat, I wnet republican. If there as a libertarian or american constitution party candidate I went with one of them instead.

Of course I voted no on amendment 36 (the altering of the electoral college thing) but then again I voted no on every damn thing, except a local measure to change county elections to the first tuesday of November. No judge was safe for retention, no tax was secure in passing - at least if my vote was the deciding one.

Amendment 35 looks like it'll pass. That bumps the tax on cigerettes from 20 cents to 84 cents. 8.40 dollars a carton in tax. I smoke the cheap stuff; $20 per carton. It'd be 18 without the state tax we have now. If amendment 35 passes it'll be $26.40 per carton. That's the cheap stuff. We'd be looking at $31.40 for name brands, assuming they have a $23 base price (minus the state tax).

I'm from North Carolina. Back home we're partial to our tobacky & unpartial to revenuers. Needless to say I'm not happy. Switching careers from guitarist to tobacco smuggler has crossed my mind. Tarheels used to run shine. I don't think tobacky would be that hard a transition, & in spirit it'll be the same. & if you think I'm serious & wish to talk me out of it let me assure you that it's not necessary. Oh I am indeed serious, you just won't be able to talk me out of it.

Bloody socialists. I've been asking every damn body I know how they voted on amendment 35. I pity the statist bastard who tells me they voted yes. (No, I won't take a swing at them no matter how tempting, but using language they've probably never heard before to call their ancestory into question is very probable).

Some other taxing measures look like they'll pass. Bastards.

Getting back to the general election, it's close but I think Bush will pull it off. Course Kerry will challenge it in the courts & it'll be up in the air for a while. What concerns me most is Bush or the senate trying to push through an "assault weapons" ban between now & January. It's possible it'd come after January, but I try to worry about no more than 2 months at a time. I'll keep watching for it though & I encourage you to do that as well.

The libertarians & the american constitution party didn't seem to have enough of a turn out to affect things much if at all. That's discouraging but not surprising unfortunately. Too many people were caught up in the alleged urgency of this election to vote third party & risk "throwing away" their vote.

I have three posts I'm meaning to write. All responses to arguments that are brewing either here or on another site. In fact an interesting one will be over at Stop The Bleating. In addition I have a post or two I'm meaning to write for The Shooter's Carnival (yes they'll include gun pics as well as target pics). That's in addition to the real life concerns that seem to have been eating up so much of my posting time. I did make it to the range a few times in the last few weeks. Matter of fact one trip was to the Boulder Rifle Club. Nothing like shooting a Garand in Boulder. It's even more satisfying than chain smoking on the sidewalk in front of their city hall. But more on that when I get around to writing the posts for The Shooter's Carnival.

So I'm gonna be busy. To steal a line from Bradley Felton, "I vote for more ammo."

Posted by Publicola at 03:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 29, 2004

X(rlq) Marks The Spot

It's easier to respond to Xrlq's comments as a post. Plus it gives the illusion I'm being productive. Here's what he left in regards to this post.

"I still don't get your Fifth Amendment argument. There is no general "privilege against self testimony," if called to testify in court and asked what I had done on date X, time Y, I can't invoke my fifth Amendmend privilege just because the testimony is about me. I can only do so if such testimony would be self-incriminating."

Actually you could use the 5th amendment to prevent punishment for not talking about your activities. You couldn't use it to prevent talking about someone else, but anything that involves you directly (as in what you did, when you did it, etc...) is protected.

Look at it like this: You tell the judge you were at Starbucks at 10 a.m. Well turns out a man fitting your description robbed that Starbucks around 10 a.m. Even though you were unaware of it your statement could be used to incriminate you.

Plus if it could only be invoked when you knew you would be incriminated that'd be a de facto admission of guilt. Think the framers were that stupid? Or that devious? The 5th amendment would mean nothing if it only covered instances where you knew you were guilty.

"You misunderstand me on throwing one's vote away. I never said voting for the guy who doesn't win is throwing your vote away. I said voting for a guy who has no chance of winning is. If one candidate is clearly going to win, then you have no real "vote" anyway, and might as well "throw it away" by voting your conscience. But if exactly two individuals have a decent chance of winning, casting a vote for a third individual who doesn't is indeed throwing it away."

I didn't misunderstand: I followed his logic to its rational end. If the only votes that matters are for the likely winners, then it's not that far a stretch to conclude that the only votes that matter are for the winner alone. Everyone else might as well have just stayed home since their guy lost.

But voting isn't just about picking the winner - it can be used to sway the direction of the winning & losing parties. Not always, but sometimes. In this instance the repubs will look at how many votes went to the Libertarian & Constitution parties. If it's sizable they will try to swing those voters. Dtto with the dems the greens. Just because you don't vote for the winner or one of the two favorites doesn't mean your vote is wasted as it still can have some influence, albeit in the long run rather than the short.

See Xrlq thinks throwing it away is really throwing it away. He doesn't see the forest (long term effects on the party or parties) for the trees (who wins the election).

"As to the value of acting on principle, I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. I think some principles are good, others not so good, while others still are downright awful. If someone does something productive, great. If they do something bad, the fact that they did so on principle doesn't do a f'n thing for me. Carrying without a permit 'on principle' is stupid. I wouldn't fault you for it if you lived in Illionois, New York or urban California, where permits are difficult or impossible to obtain. But not getting one in Colorado? Not cool. May issue and won't-issue violate the RKBA. Shall-issue doesn't. You are fortunate to live in a state with gun-friendly laws. It's not asking too much to comply with them."

Huh? How is shall issue not violative of a Right when no issue or may issue is?

& the statement "Carrying without a permit 'on principle' is stupid" speaks volumes about Xrlq.

Asking for permission & paying a fee in order to exercise a Right demeans that Right as if it were a mere privilege. To say it's lacking intelligence is a pretty freakin' unintelligent thing to say.

It is asking too much to comply with the law in this case. For starters I don't need your permission or the states permission to exercise a Right. Carrying concealed is no different than carrying openly. Second paying a fee for the exercise of a Right is generally frowned upon in case law. With guns it seems to be an exception but that's mainly because the government (of which the courts are a branch lest ye forget) tends to view itself as having dominion over us even where Rights are concerned. Finally I & a lot of other people don't have $100 for the class & $150 for the permit. Even if I did the first two would keep me from spending it that way, but being the pragamatic guy he is I think Xrlq can see that $250 every four years could be draining on the poorer people in this state.

"If Badnarik did in fact finally obtain his driver license and pay off his taxes, this is the first I've heard of it. Obviously, that would put things into a very different light. I'd still criticize him and anyone who votes for him, but I would no longer criticize him on the specific grounds of being a lawbreaker. [Though I reserve the right to refer to his past crimes to show something else, e.g., that he is an idiot.] On the other, it would also destroy your 'principle' argument, as it would show that in the end, Badnarik didn't stand for his 'principles' after all; he caved in to the Man."

I do wish I could find the link. It's interesting as it discussed some problems with the LP as an organization. I'll agree that their strategy has been less than encouraging. & yes it would kill that "principle" argument to a degree. Course if Xrlq criticizes him as being an idiot for his past crimes, then his ground to stand on whilst defending Bush would be less stable. I know a lot of people who view drunk driving & (alleged) cocain use as less than intellectual activities.

I doubt I'll sway Xrlq's mind, but hopefully he has a better understanding of our disagreements.

Posted by Publicola at 06:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Revenge Of The Purists (I Prefer The Term "Absolutist")

This is another post where I start off by saying how much I respect his work, but disagree with him.

I respect Clayton Cramer's work but I really disagree with him.

(Told ya that's how it'd start off)

He makes another pitch for Bush. No surprises there & that's not my main point of contention.

He starts vilifying "purists" again.

"There is one group of gun owners that I am especially upset with--and those are the self-righteous gun rights purists, who complained that Bush wasn't pure enough. They insisted that because Bush agreed to sign a renewal of the federal assault weapons ban, they could not vote for him."

Um, nope. Bush's support of the AWB, McCain's bill to close down all gun shows, & his insistence upon government regulation of the 2nd amendment as exemplified through Project Exile would be it. It's not that Bush isn't pure enough; it's that he's anti-gun.

"If the choice a few days ago had been between George Bush and a wishy-washy Democrat, I could understand the purists who voted Libertarian or did not vote for President at all.

But that wasn't the situation this election day. John Kerry was clearly our enemy. President Bush appointed an Attorney General who has defended the Second Amendment as an individual right. Do you think Attorney General Ashcroft made a decision like that without consulting President Bush?"

Ashcroft: the second amendment is an individual Right subject to reasonable government regulations.

Brady: the second amendment is a collective Right subject to reasonable government regulations

Kerry: I like to hunt, but not with AK-47's. 7 about the other day: it was the wrong goose at the wrong place at the wrong time. (couldn't resist that one)

The difference between Bush & Brady amounts only to the level of lip service given gun owners. It does not matter if you believe it's an individual right or a collective one if you feel government can regulate it.

You cannot regulate a Right. You can regulate a privilege. A Right, at least an individual, inherent Right, is beyond legitimate government regulation. By adding the qualifier, Ashcroft turned his meaning around & nullified what most assume he meant.

"I believe that you can do whatever you want to do, unless I say you can't."

In principle that's exactly what Ashcroft said.

But Mr. Cramer is too easily enamored with certain phrases, like individual Right, to realize that it's not as cool as it seems. He has the same problem with "shall-issue".

"If a federal assault weapons ban had made it to the Oval Office, and Bush had signed it, I could understand the purist disdain for Bush. But it didn't happen, because George Bush and House Republicans did an incredibly sly job of making sure that no assault weapon ban came to his desk. This largely defused the assault weapon issue as part of the campaign."

Nope. It didn't happen because us "purists" (the term I prefer is Absolutist) raised hell on the phone with our senators & talked a bunch of non-purists & Fuddites into doing the same..

Bush acting behind the scenes seems as plausible to me as the Governator being a "stealth pro-gun" candidate.

Bush may have wanted the AWB issue to fade away. If so it's not because he was against it, but because he realized that pissing off the gun owning base was not a way to ensure employment for the next 4 years. It's not that he was on our side; it's that he was (rightly) afraid to cross us.

"If you are one of those gun rights purists who did not vote for President Bush this year--and are now cringing at the prospect of what President Kerry is going to do to your gun rights--I sure hope that you learned your lesson. The rest of us are going to have four years to repent for your decision."

Oh bloody hell. Ever think that if we're repenting the decision to accept "reasonable gun control" (like licensing & background checks & permits) made by non Absolutists? Ever think that the real cause is not that we started taking a stand but that y'all never did?

If Kerry gets elected then he'll push for more gun control. A renewed AWB & McCain's de facto gun show prohibition are likely. Oddly enough it's just as likely with Bush. What strikes me as different is that Kerry would have a much harder time getting either through a Republican controlled Congress than Bush would.

Bush would be more dangerous cause you’d have people like Mr. Cramer & Hugh Hewitt either defending or excusing his actions while most people thought that it wasn't really gun control or bad gun control cause Bush is pro-gun & wouldn't do something like that.

With Kerry we'd all (at least most of us) see it for what it was & do what we could to stop it. There wouldn't be a large faction of gun owners defending Kerry's moves or motives.

I'm like Han Solo - I'd prefer a straight on fight to sneaking around. I'd have preferred to have a case before SCOTUS like Silveira simply because it'd put things out in the open. Either the court would agree or disagree & we could take it from there. Now we have circuit courts that are against us, with one partial exception.

& that is where the danger for us lies. If Bush or Kerry signed a bill that prohibited weapons possession outright & appropriated funds for confiscation, we'd all know what to do. We'd realize who was on our side & who wasn't.

But now we have a "reasonable measure" here & a "common sense measure" there which in the end will accomplish the same thing, only there won't be a clear & concise rallying point for us to mount a defense.

Kevin of The Smallest Minority has a few quotes up on his page.

"The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities."
- Ayn Rand

I always liked that quote, which is why I included it even though it's not the quote I was going to use. Here's the one I'll talk about:

"This far, no further."
- Me ("Me" would be Kevin)

He means that there's a line drawn. He will not accept any more restrictions on his Rights. & it's a good sentiment, but I have one that's better:

"Start backing that ass up; we 'bout to start repealing stuff"

We cannot win if we hold the line. If we try for simply a stalemate then we will lose. We must retake ground we've lost. We have to go on the offensive. We have ot start getting rid of prior restrain based gun control laws & we must change the mentality that is accepting of them.

With Bush if we're lucky we'll stay where we are. Odds are though in November or February he'll push for more gun control. It's not a question of him not being "pure' enough, but of him being anti-gun.

With Kerry he'll try to push for more gun control, but we'll have an easier time blocking him. It's that grid lock thing everyone keeps saying is bad.

Mr. Cramer is upset with people like me. Good. I've been upset with people like Mr. Cramer (that'd definitely include the NRA leadership) for a long time now. While he's mad that we'd not vote for a candidate he approves of some of the same kinds of gun control he does (I'm speaking generally, not specifically) I'm mad that any gun owner fails to see the dangers of all forms of prior restraint based gun control &/or acts to counter those dangers.

I hope his anger will make him act, but not against the ones who he calls "purists" (again. Asbolutist has a much nicer ring to it) or accuses of being Democrat trolls. I hope he writes a nice angry letter to his reps telling them that he's not going to condone any more gun control & he'll put his vote where his ideology is.

Posted by Publicola at 04:51 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Told Ya So

I talked to an intelligent, beautiful woman the other day, & more importantly I have proof.

Sure, Glenn Reynolds may get a few trillion hits a day, but he never was interviewed by miss Annika. I think I'm one up on him this time around.

& welcome to all the folks who meandered over here from miss Annika's site. Kick off your shoes & - no wait, leave the shoes on. Just make yourself comfy & don't be bashful about arguing if ya disagree.

Posted by Publicola at 12:49 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 28, 2004

X(rlq) Rated

As expected Xrlq responded to my post criticizing his post of Say Uncle's post. Unfortunately that's about as clear as it gets.

Here's Xrlq's latest.

I don't necessarily agree with his summations of my points, but for the helluvit I'll work with them.

For starters:

"No one should ever be criticized for adhering to his principles.

The problem with the first assumption #1 is that it overlooks the fact that adherence to one’s principles is only as good as the principles themselves. In a race where the Democrat is barely distinguishable from the Republican, and where the Libertarian candidate offers a reasonable alternative, voting for the Libertarian candidate might make sense, in principle. But in a race like this one, which pits an imperfect libertarian incumbent against a perfectly socialist challenger, that principle might not be such a great one to adhere to after all. And where, as here, the Libertarian challenger is certifiable nut, then I must question what on earth kind of principle would possess anyone to cast even a protest vote for him."

If Xrlq had stuck to critiquing Uncle's choice (Badnarik) on his merits or lack thereof as a candidate I'd have had less material to work with. I make no bones that Badnarik isn't the best Libertarian candidate they could have chosen. I disagree on areas where Xrlq finds fault with him, but that's something to delve into later.

Xrlq seemed to be saying that Uncle wasted his vote because Badnarik has no chance of winning. He objected to Uncle voting on principle rather than pragmatism. That's what I took exception to.

If you have a principle that you strongly believe in that doesn't affect me in any material way odds are I'll let it be. If that principle of yours does affect me, then I'll examine it & either agree with you or argue with you about the particulars of said principle. What I won't do is belittle you for having a principle, even one I disagree with.

Let me try to simplify it: principles are good to have, even if they're misguided because it's better than having no principles. Disagreement with the specifics of a principle is fine, but it's not cool to disparage someone for simply having principles.

"Something incoherent about the Fifth Amendment

Assumption 2 is really not an assumption at all, just some incoherent ramblings about the Fifth Amendment which have nothing to do with the topic of my post. There’s little to say here, beyond the fact that Publicola made a pointless effort to “debunk” a statement that was obviously tongue in cheek, or so I thought."

I didn't seriously think Xrlq was making a serious statement concerning the 5th amendment. I assume he understands the difference between government & private actors & how the Constitution only applies to the former.

My objection was to the phrase "privilege against self-incrimination". I'd have the same problem if he attempted to use a sarcastic reference to the "separation of church & state". It's not so much that these phrases aren't found within the text of the constitution, but that they convey a meaning not found in the constitution.

The 5th provides that government shall not compel testimony from a person about his/herself. This is different than protecting from self incrimination. How? If it protected merely against self incrimination many many problems would arise, the chief of which being an invocation of the 5th being a de facto admission of guilt.

So the proper term would be "privilege against self testimony", not what Xrlq used.

Again, it wasn't that I thought he was seriously mentioning the 5th, it's that even in jest he got it wrong.

"The only way to 'throw your vote' away is not to vote at all.

Assumption 3 is simply divorced from reality. Come November 2, either George W. Bush or John F. Kerry will be elected President. The chances of anybody else winning, be it Ralph Nader, Michael Badnarik, the Easter Bunny, or your own name as a write-in, are infinitesimal. If you insist on casting a vote for anyone not in the running, you are casting a protest vote, nothing more. You might as well just leave the presidential entry blank, or stay home on Election Day. Either course of action will make just as big of a statement as voting for a non-serious candidate will."

Well, I'll be fair & admit all this revolves around the actual meaning behind "throw your vote away". What I assume Xrlq means is what I assume most people mean - that a vote cast for anyone other than Bush or Kerry is equivalent to not voting at all. The problem is voting is not just about picking the winner, it's about trying to influence politics.

A protest vote is just as valid as a vote for either of the two major parties. If enough people vote for a specific third party candidate then the major party closest to that third party will take some notice. It may cause a shift in the major party's stand or it may not. But in any event it's not a wasted vote. It's counted just like all the others & is a valid demonstration of participation in politics.

But following Xrlq'a logic to its ultimate end then the only votes that are not wasted are those cast for the winner. Everybody else wasted their vote, if we follow Xrlq's logic to its end. This makes the political process no different than gambling. You pick a horse, lay down your money & if he wins you win. If he loses you wasted your cash.

Again I'll submit that no vote is wasted, even a non-vote, as long as it was cast or not cast deliberately.

"It’s OK to break laws, as long as you honestly believe that it is immoral for the government to enforce them against you.

Assumption 4 is a variant of what I like to call Galileo’s fallacy, which is that Galileo was thought a crackpot in his day but turned out to be right, therefore, my crackpot theories must be right, too. Here, similar reasoning is applied to the concept of civil disobedience: it is sometimes appropriate to disobey immoral laws rather than work through the normal, above-board channels to change them. Therefore, it is generally appropriate and wise to flout laws you don’t like. Sorry, it’s not. Breaking the law should be a last resort, not the first. Want to lower your taxes? Then vote Republican, don’t help yourself to a private 100% tax cut while everyone else has to pay more."

Nope. The gentleman generalizeth too much me thinks.

It is acceptable to disregard laws that violate either the law itself (as in a statute conflicting with the constitution) or a basic Right.

Specifically as far as taxes are concerned, Xrlq sees them as taxes, nothing more nothing less. Badnarik & others view them as theft. It seems reasonable to me to attempt to avoid theft, either performing it or succumbing to it.

As far as Badnarik's arguments that the progressive income tax is illegal, he may be right or he may be wrong. To me it's immaterial because whether sanctioned by the courts & the law or not, it's immoral to take someone's property against their wishes. Xrlq cannot see that line of reasoning; therefore he dismisses it as simply not liking a law.

& voting Republican doesn't achieve the desired result. Badnarik & others don't want to pay a few percent less in taxes each year; they want to stop having their money stolen from them by the government. Show me where on the Republican platform they discuss eliminating the progressive income tax & even I'd consider voting Republican. But a point or two less does not a cessation of theft make.

I know I'll get a nice long diatribe about the effect on society as a whole, followed by some form of "...& what if everyone decided to stop paying their taxes?" Short answer is the effect on society as a whole is worse when society as a whole treats the individuals that make up said society poorly. Stealing money from them is a form of poor treatment. Society would be better off, both pragmatically & principally if it sought another means of paying for the things it wants.

& if everybody stopped paying their taxes that'd be one of the best damn things that ever happened to fans of small government. You cut off the feds income, you decrease their influence. Conversely you give them more income, they'll grow. Course it does depend on how much you want to walk the walk after talking the "smaller government is good" talk. For me though I'd prefer as small a government as possible.

"Alternatively, if that’s not OK, then anyone who breaks some laws is morally indistinguishable from anyone who has ever broken any others.

Assumption 5 draws a false moral equivalence, assuming that if it’s generally not OK to break any laws, it must be equally not-OK to break all laws. Thus, the possibility that Dubya may have tried coke in his 20s is supposed to count for just as much as the fact that Michael Badnarik willfully and deliberately flouts the law today, and even encourages others to do so. Sorry, I call bullshit on this. I may not be completely without sin, but I’m picking up the stone anyway. Nobody’s perfect, but that doesn’t mean we’re all equally imperfect, nor even close."

Ah, nope again. My point was that Xrlq is using one standard for a candidate he doesn't like & another for a candidate he does. He's being hypocritical in other words.

The laws of this country are vast & damn near everyone has broken at least one. So taking Xrlq's main objection to Badnarik (he's a lawbreaker) then we find that no one would be fit for office (including Xrlq) by his standard. & hey, I'm cool with that. I'm not a hard core anarchist but I can't say it's easy to recall the reasons against it when I look at how government typically functions.

If you set your standard for disqualification as breaking a law, then breaking any law would disqualify someone.

As for moral equivalency - let's say Bush did in fact do cocaine 20+ years back. Did his cocaine use harm me back then? Did it harm anyone other than himself? Did it break anyone's leg or pick their purse? Then I could give a damn about it. Same with Badnarik. His violations of law don't seem to affect me or anyone else as far as our Rights are concerned, so I could give a damn. Now if Badnarik or Bush had committed armed robbery or assault it'd be a different story. So I would say that Bush & Badnarik are on the same playing field as far as law breaking goes (again assuming Bush did do coke).

I can hear Xrlq drawing a deep breath to tell me that since Badnarik is still committing a violation of law then it's different. Here's where I'd interject that last I heard Badnarik cut the IRSS a fat check to cover the years he missed right after he accepted the LP nomination. Ditto with the drivers license (again if I heard correctly). But even if he didn't his violation of statute law hurts me no more than Bush's cocaine use (again, if it did happen) 20+ years ago.

It's not that breaking any law is the same as breaking any other law to me; it's that if Xrlq's logic is to be consistent then that's the way he should look at it.

"Publicola probably packs heat without a permit, but adheres rigidly to speed laws. Presumably, this has something to do with whether or not it is a good idea to vote for Michael Badnarik.

Assumption 6 is a bit hard to follow. Publicola hints, but does not actually come out and say, that he carries without a permit. He also doesn’t say what state he lives in, so it’s tough to evaluate whether he is flouting a law he could reasonably have complied with by obtaining a permit, or if he has the misfortune of living in a state that requires him to make a Hobson’s choice between being safe or being legal. [I assume he doesn’t live in Alaska or Vermont, the two states that permit concealed carry without a permit.] In any event, I’m not clear what this issue has to do with the wisdom of voting for Michael Badnarik."

Lord, let me be patient.

For starters I'm in Colorado. I pack when & where I wish & have no permit.
I have principles, so despite Colorado's shall-issue law I'm still left with a Hobson's choice: I can either be safe & do my part to protect my community if the need arises, or I can grovel for permission to pay money to exercise what should be recognized as a Right instead of a mere privilege.

Now I wasn't trying to demonstrate that since I carry without government permission that you should vote for Badnarik. I was merely trying to point out that sometimes decent people break unreasonable laws as a matter of principle & this is a good thing, or at least not something that should disqualify them out of hand for public office.

It has nothing to do with Badnarik specifically, but serves as a talking point for whether a person who violates any law should be deemed fit or unfit for office.

Further I tried to show the difference between my violating a law that violated my Rights & my adhering to a law that I disagreed with but could be harmful to others if I disobeyed it (the speeding thing). The former affects no one but me if I get caught. The latter could have serious repercussions aside from getting caught.

"Anyone who violates a law they disagree with is next Rosa Parks or the next Martin Luther King, Jr.

Assumption 7 should be self-fisking, but in case it’s not, flouting an allegedly unfair tax is not even remotely comparable to fighting Jim Crow. For one thing, the Jim Crow laws were on completely plane from the tax code, making such comparisons borderline insulting. For another, the Jim Crow laws were also unconstitutional, thereby making them invalid as a matter of law. Citizens have a duty to obey the law; they have no duty to obey 'color of law,' especially under circumstances where openly setting out to get caught, and then fighting a bogus prosecution may be the only way to get a legitimate issue into court. Not so for the tax 'honesty' liars, whose frivilous 'legal' arguments have already been dealt with by too many courts, too many times."

Nope. I was pointing out that many people violated the law that were not necessarily unfit for office. This wasn't to compare the tax honesty movement to the civil rights movement (although I would argue that in principle both have admirable goals). It was to point out a flaw with Xrlq's standard that a law breaker is automatically unfit for office.

Now MLK - he would not be unfit for office because he broke the law. Personally I think he'd possibly be unfit for office because of his alleged communist sympathies, but that's just me. But if I were to adopt Xrlq's reasoning then I wouldn't vote for MLK because he violated the law & encouraged others to do so.

See the difference? It's not that Badnarik = MLK, it's that sometimes decent people break immoral laws & that should not be cause for discrimination against them.

As an aside, didn't the civil rights movement seek to gain fair treatment for a class of people? Is that so different than those who oppose the income tax on the grounds that it's theft of & disregard for property & property Rights? But that's another topic not necessarily related to the argument I was trying to make against Xrlq's standard.

"The word right is a proper noun.

Asumption 8: it’s not. It’s a common noun like any other. Whatever point you were trying to make by capitalize it, you just end up looking silly."

< sarcasm > Oh, that did me in. I'm busted. When a person whose name is of questionable pronunciation accuses you of being silly there's no adequate defense. I might as well hang up blogging. < /sarcasm >

In philosophy it's not an unusual practice to capitalize a common noun in order to convey that the noun is of more importance than is usually ascribed to it. That's why I capitalize Rights. If that makes me look silly so be it. But hopefully it'll make some think that a Right is more than just a word to describe some benefit of government, & they'll think about the distinguishing it from a privilege.

To sum up Xrlq simply didn't get it. It's possible that he'll never get it. It's possible that my ineloquence coupled with my tendency towards the verbose makes it too cloudy for him to understand my points. Then again it could be that he's so mired in his views that seeing or understanding an alternative is something he can't or won't do.

I'll try to make it plain: criticize Badnarik on his views all you wish, & on some things I'll agree with you. But don't condemn someone for acting on their principles even if you don't understand or agree with them. Concentrate on the principle, not the person trying to adhere to it. Not only would you stand a better chance of changing minds, you wouldn't seem unprincipled yourself.

Posted by Publicola at 05:30 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

"Now Listen To My Story 'Bout A Man Named Jed..."

Head on over to FreedomSight & wish Jed a (belated) Happy Blogiversary.

Posted by Publicola at 03:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 26, 2004


If you've spent any time on the internet instant messaging or hanging out in chats rooms you know what the title means. If not you don't want to know. You don't need to know.

You just need to click this. Right after you stop drinking any liquids that could stain your monitor. Trust me.

Do it now, before that fowl butcher lines his campaign with the feathers of goslings who gave their lives because he couldn't admit he made a mistake.

Thanks to Tim Mcnabb who left the link in the comments to this post at Spoons.

Posted by Publicola at 10:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Concealed Carry For A Paraplegic?

A reader sent me the following question in an e-mail:

"Do you or your readers have any suggestions for a paraplegic seeking a good concealed-carry sidearm?"


He included a link to this post over at Brain Shavings. Here's the question asked in full:

"...what pistol(s) do you recommend for a paraplegic with limited grip strength, who wants to carry a concealed weapon while in a manual wheelchair?

It'll be carried in either a shoulder holster or a holster positioned in the small of the back. The jurisdiction is Ohio, so the rules & restrictions are not an issue. It should be relatively lightweight and easily concealable, of average reliablity (or better), with better-than-average stopping power, a caliber of .38 or larger, and shouldn't be too hard to break down and clean. Magazine capacity, appearance and price tag are immaterial. Utility über alles."

Say Uncle took up the question in a post of his own. Say Uncle's a Glock fan. I'm not. If you want to buy a Glock that's your decision, but not one I'd imitate.

That being said I think a Glock might be less than a good choice (all its other faults aside) to meet the specfic needs of a person with limited grip strength. The trigger pull may be too long & heavy.

Enter JMB. A 1911 clone by any of the reputable makers would seem ideal, espcially in a Commander or Officer's length pistol. Kimber has a few options to choose from for compact pistols. Springfield Armory Inc has ultra-compact & micro-compact pistols. Para-Ordnance, Colt & many others make decent (depending upon one's standards) 1911's that are chambered for cartridges starting with .4 & otherwise meet the criteria set out above.

The reason the 1911 is perfect is the single action trigger pull which will be easier to reach & operate. You're looking at 4 or 5 pounds or so for the trigger pull. 1911's are usually very easy to field strip & they can be had in concealed carry friendly options, such as a lightweight frame & shortened length.

Next on my list would be another design JMB had his fingers in; the Browning Hi-Power.

CZ has some excellent offerings which are based on the Hi-Power design. The main difference is the Hi-Power is a single action whereas most CZ's are double action.

Berreta as well as Taurus both have large frame offerings that should meet all the requirements. Taurus also has some medium framed pistols (scroll down for the double action pistols) that should serve the purpose.

EAA has the Witness series of pistols (in steel or polymer framed versions as well as full sized or compact versions of each) which I can't seem to stop hearing good things about.

Ruger has its P-series of pistols which would be worth a look.

The reason a double action pistol is okay is that, provided it has a manual safety instead of just a decocker, it can be carried just as a single action would be carried. This allows for a shorter trigger pull length as well as a lighter trigger pull than a double action only pistol such as the Glock or the Taurus Millenium series.

All of the pistols I recommended above would more or less fit the criteria. Thye can be relatively light weight (say around 30 ounces give or take a few), chambered in a decent cartridge (most are offered in 9x19mm, .40 S&W & .45 ACP), are fairly easy to field strip for cleaning, & have suitable trigger pulls for a person with grip strength issues.

Now will all of those pistols be perfect? By all means no. It could turn out that not one of them fills the person's needs. But if that's the case then a compromise will have to be made, most likely in caliber. If a 32 ounce pistols is too much weight to hold while aiming, then reducing wieght will almost necessitate reducing cartridge size. If grip strength is an issue with a .45 ACP that weighs 38 ounces, Lord knows recoil will be problematic if the wieght gets dropped down to 28 ounces.

So if none of those suggestions seem workable, I'd have to advise looking at a .380 ACP or perhaps even a .32 ACP.

Of course if I were in a wheel chair I wouldn't worry too much about carry weight, as I'm sure I could find some way to hide a small mountain howitzer on the wheel chair itself. In all seriousness I would, if possible, look into a short barreled pump action shotgun for carry in such a situation. If you wish to explore that option without running afoul of the Gun Gestapo, permits (actually tax stamps) for most short barreled pistol gripped shotguns run around $5. You just have to wait however long it takes the ATF to get off its ass & process the unconstitutional paperwork.

But a single or double action (not to be confused with double action only) pistol by any of the makers mentioned above (or by others that I neglected) should suit the needs listed. I didn't mention any revolvers because frankly I don't have as much experience with revolvers as I do semi-automatics. A revolver could be an adequate choice but I'll stick to talking about semi-auto's as they're what I know best.

Of course this is open for discussion & if anyone has some thoughts or recommendations to chime in feel free to do so.

Posted by Publicola at 05:19 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

October 25, 2004

How Dare You Act On Your Principles!!!

Say Uncle is a blogger I've known for a while. I'll make no secret that as much as a person can become one over the internet, I regard him as such. He posted about his decision to vote for Badnarik instead of Bush or Kerry. He's been talking about it for a while & finally did it this past Saturday.

Xrlq has been arguing with Uncle & myself over Badnarik for a while on & off, primarily in the comments of any post where Uncle indicated he was leaning Libertarian. Well he went ahead & posted his thoughts on Uncle's decision on his own blog. This will be a fisking of not only Xrlq's post, but of those of a like mind.

"Today Uncle waived his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and openly admitted to throwing his vote away on the Looneytarian candiate, Michael Badnarik. I’d throw the book at him if he lived in a swing state like Florida, Ohio, New Jersey or even Hawaii (!), but since he lives in safely red Tennessee I will let him off on a technicality, even if he has cast a half a vote for the more libertarian of the two real candidates to 'lose the popular vote,' a concept which means nothing legally but much politically in terms of propaganda value."

The very first thing I should point out is there is nothing in the 5th amendment to the U.S. Constitution that protects against self incrimination specifically. The relevant passage reads, "...nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself..."

Like separation of church & state, self incrimination has made its way into the Constitution despite a lack of ratification. The purpose of the 5th amendment, in its relevant part to our discussion, was to prevent the state compelling testimony from a person accused of or with the potential to be accused of a crime. If it were only applicable to statements that were incriminating then it would be logical to assume that silence equated with a confession of guilt. So in the first sentence Xrlq makes an error in understanding. Unfortunately not the first or the last.

He then waxes on about how horrible Uncle's decision was, using a slang popular among certain republicans to describe the candidates party. He graciously decides to let Uncle off the hook since Tennessee will likely go Bush & Uncle's vote won't change the outcome.

"For anyone else tempted to throw his vote away on Badnarik as a matter of 'principle,' I’d like to remind you just how silly that principle is. It’s one thing to vote for a Libertarian candidate who you know will never win, in order to send the message that you want the major parties to be more like him. It’s quite another to do that for an individual who is totally unfit to hold any elective office whatsoever, thereby encouraging the LP to field more of the same in future races. Like his predecessors, Michael Badnarik is a September 10 moonbat. Unlike any of his predecessors, however, he is also an unrepentant criminal who proudly admits to driving without a license and refusing to pay income tax. His running mate, Richard Campagna, appears to be relatively law-abiding, but scores equally high on the kook index by proudly sporting a fake Ph.D. Yup, these are two guys who deserve your vote, if only to 'send a message,' whatever the hell kind of message that may be."

Ah, throwing your vote away. It's a shocker that he used that line.

You know how you throw away your vote? You don't use it at all. Other than that your vote is no more thrown away than if you voted for one of the two major party candidates & your guy lost. For the "throw your vote" away logic to be consistent, then everyone in the 1990's who didn't vote for Clinton threw their vote away. In other words, it's bullshit. I'll argue that even those who don't vote out of a deliberate decision don't really throw their vote away, since not voting is as much a political Right as is voting itself. So to say that Uncle threw away his vote simply because his guy probably won't win is reducing the political process to a juvenile game. It would be more about picking the one most likely to win instead of the one you want most to win. That's fine if you have money on a horse race, but American politics should be a little bit above that, don't you think?

The amazing thing is that Xrlq can at least spell Principle. I have doubts of his ability to define it though I hope I'm mistaken.

He rattles his saber against Badnarik's offenses, saying they make Badnarik unfit for office. Yet he'd vote for Bush or Kerry?

Bush, like every president before him, uses his office to enforce laws that violate of the Constitution &/or the natural, inherent Rights of the individuals within the u.S. Kerry has voted many many times to pass laws that do the same.

Now you tell me who's more unfit for office: a person who violates statute law out of a belief that such law is in conflict with the Constitution & his Rights, or a person who uses his office to promote & prosecute laws that conflict with the Constitution's acknowledgement of natural, inherent Rights?

Of all the asinine, hypocritical views to take I have to admit this one gets close to the top of my "but surely you misunderstood the question???" meter.

Badnarik didn't pay taxes for a while. He drove without a license for a while. This makes him unfit for office?

Bush rigidly enforces gun laws that violate the constitution. He supports adding to the number of unconstitutional gun laws. He didn't veto the McCain-Feingold Campaign law despite its clear constitutional conflict & even implied that it could be strengthened (in spirit, not that law itself). But this makes him an eligible candidate?

I can understand not voting for anyone because they violate the law. In fact I've made the argument to Xrlq that due to the scope & complexity of the various federal, state, & local laws that we're all criminals to some degree. His response was less than heartwarming.

From the comment section in question:

"You assume without evidence that I am a criminal; I’d invite you to specify which criminal statutes you think I violate. I will plead guilty as hell to violating speed laws all the time, and sometimes making illegal u-turns when no one is coming. Those are infractions, not crimes. I don’t care if any political candidates speed, assuming they don’t do so to the extreme levels that do constitute crimes (e.g., 100 mph on a residential street)."

He misses the point. I wasn't accusing him of any specific crime; rather I was stating that due to the number & complexity of laws that chances are he has committed a crime at some point. Most likely unknowingly, due to the volumous nature of laws within the u.S.

What he did admit to is speeding & making illegal u-turns. He justifies them by distinguishing them as infractions rather than criminal actions. He then went on to say he'd excuse any politician who violates the same laws he does. & that's mighty generous of him. Mighty generous.

I don't speed. Not to any meaningful degree. If I'm going over the speed limit, it's because I didn't notice it creeping up to 48 instead of 45. Before it hits 49 though I pull it back down to 45. I don't pull illegal u-turns even if nobody is coming. Why? Some of you know I admit openly to breaking certain laws, especially those concerning carrying concealed without a permit. So why would I adhere to speed limit laws yet disregard those about carrying?

Whether I carry or not does not concern you. It has no effect on you at all, unless you're looking to rob me or otherwise do me harm. Then it will be something you're keenly aware of.

Speed limit laws do affect you. I don't necessarily agree with all the limits set in place in all areas, but I'll concede that since most people don't drive as well as I do that most of the speed limits are reasonable. Egotistical of me to think that? Yes, but less than simply ignoring laws that do impact other people because they're viewed as mere infractions.

If you speed you're taking a vehicle beyond what the state considers safe limits for the road you're on. That'd be like shooting a .30-06 at a backstop only rated for the .308 Winchester. Sure, odds are it'll handle it & everything will be fine, but in the event that something goes wrong it'll be worse because you ignored the safety limits that were set in place.

So I drive like an old lady because I'm never in so much of a hurry that I'm willing to risk anyone else's safety for it. I carry because I'm not willing to risk my safety simply because I violate a law that violates my Right.

Now as for Xrlq disagreeing with Badnarik's stand on the issues I'll accept that as a legitimate critique. In fact I'll even agree that Badnarik's views concerning Iraq are a bit off the mark at least. I'll go one further admit that the Libertarian Party could have picked a much better candidate (Russo comes to mind). But that's not because I feel Badnarik is a criminal. It's because I disagree with his stand on a few things.

If Xrlq would have contained his venom & just disagreed with Uncle's choice on grounds of where Badnarik stands he could have possibly made a convincing case. Instead he chose to use the "throw your vote" away theme as a prelude to accusing Badnarik of being unfit for office. I won't go through the entire list of people who are unfit for office according to Xrlq's definition, but they include the likes of Martin Luther King, jr., Rosa Parks, & Harriet Tubman, as well as a good chunk of those who occupy elected offices right now.

What Xrlq fails to understand is that violating an immoral law does not reflect badly upon a person. Defending an immoral law on the other hand does. But acting on principles is often frowned upon by those who lack them. Hence his post denouncing Uncle for acting upon his.

& for the record Xrlq thinks I'm unfit for office as well. I take a slightly different view: most offices are unfit for me. We both get to the same place (i.e. I will not be seeking your nomination for anything) but take very different ways getting there.

I'll close with a comment left over at Say Uncle's by a fellow name of Jason of Fish Or Man:

“Laws are for everyone.'

Xrlq: Your words seem to describe the founding fathers as criminals unworthy of office. Is this something you were trying to say? Would you follow this law as well: kill your first-born son? It’s was a law once too. Because someones principle’s cause them to draw the line before you do, (or possible ever would), does not mean they are unfit for anything. In many ways, the uncompromising person is BETTER fit for office, (they don’t get blown around with the wind).

But really, what about those unfit criminal founding fathers?"

Posted by Publicola at 04:29 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Congrats Times Two

My good friend Jeff of Alphecca & Tarazet fame has hit two milestones this last week: On Friday he hit the two year mark for his blog & on Sunday he turned 50 years of age.

While you're over there checking out his Weekly Check On The Bias wish him a happy blogiversary & a very happy b-day.
Hell, considering all the good work he's done someone out to head over to the CMP & buy that boy a Garand.

Posted by Publicola at 02:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack