Thursday, January 31, 2013

Uncle Joe, Cops and Non-Cops

Joe Biden really does seem to have a tenuous grip on reality.  But I repeat myself.  Anyway, cops are not 'outgunned'.  How could they be?  They carry a pistol, spare magazines, a shotgun and often an AR-15 of some sort.  That's quite a bit of firepower right there, though for most people that is the "starter set" for a collection. Enough about that though, let's talk about why cops like armed citizens (seriously).

Something the politicians refuse to realistically factor in to the equation is the inherently dangerous nature of police work.  You could probably find some guy that rides a desk most of his career, never even has a close call and retires without a scratch, but that would be an exception to the rule.  After all, what person joins a force to whither away behind a desk for 30+ years? 

Police work 24/7 and during a typical shift, a cop has to repeatedly approach any number of unknowns.  That means sometimes they get to deal with things during bad weather, in the dark, in unfamiliar places and usually with unfamiliar people.  That says "high risk" right there (and somehow reminds me of cab drivers).  Add to this that some people have no respect for any form of authority, and others are just desperate for a variety of reasons, and you create a workplace that's almost bound to get some of the employees shot. 

And sadly, that's what happens.  Perp-on-Police shootings occur in rural and urban areas, often for reasons we will never know.  Responding to this reality, departments try to make sure police have the tools they need - ballistic protection, firearms, even a range of lethality for their weapons.  And damn it to hell, we want cops to be armed and equipped properly.  Anything less amounts to gross negligence.  Of course we also demand that police be screened and trained properly, and for the most part that does happen.  Sure, you may get a bad apple now and then, but you don't burn down the tree because of that.

At the same time, if we arm police to this extent, should non-cops also be armed to this level?  Joe Average could encounter any of the situations a typical beat cop might have to deal with.  The primary difference probably lay in the likely frequency of such encounters.  Playing an odds game with personal safety based on possibilities among different population groups is no basis for gun control.  Why?  All it takes is ONE encounter to end Joe Average's life or Bob Officer's life.  That sample of '1' is precisely enough reason to be armed. 

Another good reason to be similarly armed is what I call the "deputization effect".  If Joe Average, law-abiding citizen with his Glock 22 in deep concealment, is walking down the street and sees Bob Officer getting the bad end of a Perp-on-Cop assault, what should Joe do?  Call 911?  Run away?  Yell at the assailant?  While admittedly a personal choice, the right thing in my eyes is to assist Bob Officer in any way possible.  Whether that means cracking Perp on the head with a 2x4, stroking him with the butt of Bob's shotgun, or putting 3 in Perp's center of mass.  We want the good guys to win.  Bob's a good guy - he risks his neck daily.  Joe is a good guy - he carries, knows how to use his piece and knows in which situations to use it.  Perp is not a good guy.  Perp chose to play a dangerous game and he will likely win a dangerous prize.  If Joe is familiar with firearms, trained and so similarly armed, he has just helped a good guy and stopped a bad guy.  This is what society wants.  Society wants all upstanding citizens to 'be' the police if necessary.  I stress "if necessary" - you don't want to butt in unless Bob Officer asks for help or is in visible distress getting his ass beat.  Judgement call to be sure on the last one. 

A concept that is dead or on life-support in this country is that of "the people are the police".  The phrase means precisely what it says.  All citizens of moral courage have the requisite duty to uphold the law and see that society adheres to the law (note I'm not going to get into just vs. unjust laws in this posting).   Perhaps criminals are more dangerous now, or perhaps the majority of Americans are cowards - I don't know.  Whatever the reason, people lack the courage to do the right and proper things in civil society.  This does not mean you should go out and be a vigilante.  The concept is far from that, actually.  If during the conduct of your daily life you see bad things happening, you have a duty to intervene.  That could be a call to 911 and getting a license plate number.  It could require more immediate action (say in the event of an attempted abduction, rape or battery) on your part.  Remember, the police are minutes away and the victim may have only seconds.  Therefore, you only have seconds.  In acting properly in defense of society, the criminal underworld is slowly sent a powerful message that civil society will not tolerate this sort of behavior.  This doesn't mean you just draw and shoot.  Again, the idea is far from that.  It means you intervene and use appropriate levels of force if needed and as needed.  You help society, you help a victim and you help your local police force.  This, of course, requires Joe Average to think and react reasonably.

It's important to be similarly armed.  Good things will come of that.  Rank-and-file police support 2A rights and society needs to be supporting of police.


Hagman gets Jacked

Assemblyman Kurt Hagman (on our side, go look at his legislative history) recently became a crime victim in the form of burglary.  Taking stuff from a car creates no grounds for the use of deadly force, but someone trying to run you down probably does.

And he works with a bunch of people that want to disarm us all.  

Alan Gura aka The Steamroller

Alan opines on NY's new 7-round limit.  Watch, listen, learn.  Sounds like The Steamroller is getting warmed up.  I've met Alan once, and two things struck me about him.  First, he's a really down-to-Earth kind of guy -- easy to talk to, easy to understand.  Second, he's really bright.  Probably Einstein-bright.  And Alan could successfully explain this stuff to a child.

Glad he's on our side.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

California gun control roundup

OK, to put this all in once place, there are now 9 bills in the CA Legislature dealing with gun control. 

Follow the link, it's pointless to recap a recap. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

These people suffer rectal-cranial inversion, i.e. Jackie Speier

San Mateo County had a gun buyback this past Saturday.  The local rag tossed up an article with a couple of captioned pictures.  

First off, Sheriff Munks in San Mateo County is an alright guy, as is most of his staff (at least the ones I have talked to and dealt with).  But he's got a bunch of lib-loons to answer to, so when things like this come up, he gets put in a tight spot.  Do I blame him for the buyback?  Not at all.  I blame his bosses.  I also blame media representations like those above for pushing, even if subliminally, an extremist, anti-Liberty agenda put forth by the Despotic Patricians. 

So I figured, "Hey, I'm 4 cups of coffee into the morning, lets slice off a piece of my mind for the Editor-in-Fail."  And that's what is below.  Keep in mind that they will often publish these, so there are word limits (500, if memory serves).  I was doing my best to keep it short.  That means certain arguments are concepts cannot be elaborate.  I don't like it, but we're all trying to work from within to bring about change.

My reply to the Editor, for what it's worth:

Editor:                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                
I take exception to your headline, your editorial bias and your misleading                                      
representation of the buyback.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                
For example, one photo shows J. Speier holding one of "many" assault                                            
weapons.  Fact - assault weapons made up roughly 3.5% (24 out of 680)                                           
of the firearms turned in.  How is 3.5% of a whole "many"?                                                      
                                                                                                                
Fact - so called "assault weapons" are a misnomer.  They are rifles with                                        
cosmetic features.  "They look different, therefore they must be bad" is                                        
the subtext - a logical fallacy.  The idea hearkens back to darker days                                         
when a person with certain "features" was presumed "bad", i.e. skin color.                                      
Sounds intolerant to me, be it Selma in 1920 or San Mateo in 2013.                                              
                                                                                                                
"Every weapon turned in is one less life that might be lost or damaged by                                       
a firearm, whether accidentally or intentionally...."  Fallacy.  No one                                         
made similar statements during Cash for Clunkers about each crushed car                                         
being one less life lost or damaged due to a drunk now not having that car                                      
to drive.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                
A proper journalist would investigate these statements and think                                                
critically about how to craft a 'news' article.  What I see before me is a                                      
hit piece by a man with an agenda.  How about comparing 680 turn-ins with                                       
2.7 million NICS checks in December 2012 alone (each one representing a                                         
firearm sale).  These ill-conceived efforts don't even amount to a                                              
rounding error, but they make Speier & Friends look good.


Language counts

I'm tired of referring to the elected class in D.C. as tyrants or shills or criminals.  I felt that I needed something with a good ring to it, and a decent amount of bite. 

"Despotic patrician" is what I came up with last night. 

In other news, it looks like an actual AW *ban* is a no-go, politically.  That doesn't mean it is dead, since things happen in D.C. at the 11th hour.  But it appears that maybe a little light is filtering through the clouds of hysteria and unbridled emotion. 

Of course more onerous things are still on the horizon - magazine capacity limits, quasi-registration schemes, the mess the Despotic Patrician Cuomo pushed through in N.Y., other local and state regulations and the like.

On the upside, Firearms Policy Coalition is growing, having added 5 new member organizations.  I have noticed a lull in certain aspects of the pushback.  This is common and to be expected.  Both sides ramped up post-Sandy Hook, the Despotic Patricians decided to come out with a plan to dictate new rules to the plebians, and the Civil Rights activists started a large counter-push.  Now that reality is sinking in with those callow humans who seek re-election to the seats of power, they are reflecting, as well as attending to other business (you know, the business of actually governing). 

So there is necessarily a short break in the action.  However, this is NOT a time to rest.  In fact, NOW is when it is time to start a counter-offensive.  Not only must letters, emails, faxes and voicemails of opposition CONTINUE to flood their offices, but meaningful counter-proposals must be made public, pushed and eventually pinned on the so-called leadership of local, state and Federal government. 

You do not win a war simply by holding ground.  You win a war by meeting the enemy, destroying them and pushing into their territory.  They want to make laws?  Fine.  Have them make laws FOR the People, NOT against the People.  Some ideas (previously floated, not necessarily mine, either):

1.  Reciprocal LTC (I have a problem here with this being a state-not-Federal issue.

2.  Eliminate GFSZ, aka 'target' zones.

3.  Elimination of waiting periods in states.  Cooling-off periods have never been shown
     effective or useful.  NICS is sufficient.  Anything else is becoming an unreasonable
     burden on exercise of the right.

4.  Elimination of 'permits' or 'cards' merely to buy/possess.  An alternative here is to turn those
     cards into LTCs.  You'll see a surge in LTCs thereafter (a good thing).


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Weekend blurbs

Obama - it's NOT about "hunting" or "skeet". 

This is sad.  Gun buyback - most of the stuff is shotguns and rifles, but the politicians of course go and poke noses at the Things That Look Like Assault Weapons (but aren't).  At least one seller was smart enough to turn in junk to help buy a new firearm.

DHS doesn't consider them "assault weapons." 

And in unrelated news, the smoker is fired up and the salmon is in.  Just doing some fish from Costco, nothing special.  I can hardly wait for trout season.  Smoked trout is tasty and I've been without for 9 months now. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fax the daylights out of them

Senators and Representatives still seem to accept faxes.  This is good.  Why?  Because there are a number of FREE fax services out there (some here, no affiliation).  Use them if and when you can.  Fax their offices daily.  Keep faxing.  Send letters and emails, leave voicemails or messages. 

Bury them in "OPPOSE" correspondence, people!!!

Feinstein is a dangerous extremist

Might as well co-opt their own language.  She doesn't want to take guns, but she wants to see the supply dry up.  She doesn't want to take your guns, she just wants to make them so impossible to obtain that her law works as a de facto ban, if not de jure.

She has set out on a course to illegally alter the governing document of the United States of America, via unethical, illicit and immoral means.  The holdings of the Supreme Court of the United States of America mean nothing to her - she does not respect the final opinions of a co-equal branch of government and seeks to overturn their Constitutional holdings via legislation.  That is something the Constitution does not allow in its own plain language. 

She has thus openly refuted her oath of office and publicly refuses to uphold the Constitution.  These are grounds for removal from office, trial and punishment.  Diane Feinstein, a known sociopath, likely suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

In other words, Diane Feinstein is a radical left-wing extremist, mentally ill, and suffering from delusions.  

Monday, January 21, 2013

(lack of) Chinese civil rights, firsthand

On Gun Appreciation Day, a recently naturalized citizen of Chinese origin gave a speech.  It is worth a watch.  To call it though provoking would be a gross understatement.  To call it a warning to our supposed 'betters' in D.C. and state legislatures would be more on the mark.

VT gun range raises a middle finger

Over in Vermont, the Burlington city council voted to ban semi-auto rifles based on their appearance, as well as standard capacity magazines.  So a local gun range said "That's nice, your cops can't train or shoot here any more.

We need MORE ranges, retailers, distributors and manufacturers to do this.  I call it "The Barrett Protocol."  Back when California banned .50BMG rifles, Ronnie Barrett said "F.U." to law enforcement in this state.  (the URL is legit, the text of various letters from Barrett are in the forums).

The problem is that LE rank-and-file should be (and often are) on OUR side.  The problem is with the chiefs pick by liberal extremists, the sheriffs that have to stand for election in liberal counties and the unions that are generally bought and paid for by liberal government largesse.  Hurting your neighborhood patrol cop by limiting his ability to buy parts and ammo, or by getting extra range time, is NOT a good thing.  But if enough of them feel the pinch and if enough of them bitch to the chief and the union, those gripes will in turn make it to local legislatures.  Maybe. 


California SB53 - De Leon and (stupid) Friends

By the way, in case you were wondering, it's not just your guns these guys want.  They also want to make it more or less de facto impossible to buy ammunition.  This one is called SB 53.

I suggest folks take a look.  Between coming for the guns and the ammo, trying to make a public health issue of gun ownership, and trying to make an environmental issue out of projectile materials, the Anti-Freedom crowd is coming at us from all sides.


Is 65% a minority?

The anti-liberty crowd argues that the 2nd Amendment being a backstop against tyranny is a position held by only a "radical" and "extreme" minority. 

Sixty-five percent think otherwise.

Even among the libs, a majority agree.  That part surprised me.  Of course I suppose it could have been skewed by blue dog Democrats in the survey, but still. 

Meanwhile, 6 months ago, about the same number of folks thought that the government had too much power and that there was too little individual freedom.  Maybe this suggests a pattern.

Nagin goes down

You probably remember Ray Nagin, mayor of New Orleans when Katrina came through and laid waste to that city.  Well, he's on the hook now for bribery.  He was also a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.  Funny, it seems that MAIG members keep getting busted for being slimy pieces of shit.  Must be the M.O., and it makes perfect sense to me.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Sorry, been swamped the last few days

Plenty to update and talk about, like the travesty in New York State, or the mimics in neighboring states, but most of you should already be aware of that. 

Since I'm a lawyer in a parallel dimension, I follow some of the ABA's musings.  Some of you may have heard about the opinion in Moore v. Madigan, where the 7th Circuit struck down Illinois blanket ban on concealed carry.  It was an interesting case, and it set up a circuit split with the 2nd, over Kachalsky.  Splits are good things, since this gives SCOTUS a better reason to grant a cert petition.  Often SCOTUS will wait until there is a viable split, and only then step in to resolve the question.  Otherwise, you'd have different parts of the country operating under different interpretations of the Constitution (I'll leave 'interpretations' for a later entry). 

Well, the Intelligentsia is at it again, this time in the form of Garrett Epps writing in The Atlantic.  Mr. Epps teaches Constitutional Law of the University of Baltimore, and had not-so-nice things to say about Chief Judge Posner (author of the Moore opinion).  Epps completely misses the point, taking one piece of wry judicial humor out of context and proceeding toe excoriate Judge Posner. 

Epps fails to actually address the soundness of Posner's rationale, and that is unforgivable.  Lay people may easily dismiss a judge, and that's fine.  For a law professor to so flippantly lay bare such contempt without thoughtful discussion is foolish.  It hurts Epps's reputation and unfairly sullies the reputation of the court written about. 

The article.  It's worth the read, and it's not too full of legal mumbo-jumbo.  And for the record, I did send a polite email to Mr. Epps suggesting that he civilly debate the issues, rather than throw pejorative language at the court. 

I did stop short of suggesting that his use of phrases like "hebephrenic jape" might be indicative of a deeper, personal problem.  And for the record, yes, I had to look up "hebephrenic" and "jape" and I am not ashamed to admit it.  Odd that someone who teaches legal writing would resort to 50-cent words.  Hmm.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Dear New York State:

"We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the Courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who would pervert the Constitution." -Abraham Lincoln



Now then, what we've got here is the Senate, Assembly and Governor of New York State perverting the Constitution.  Pretty plain and clear.  Something else - the 2nd Amendment was put in place to prevent and remedy outrages like the S.A.F.E. Act. 

Government has invoked the response required of the remedy. 

Or else all of you in NY State are just softly bleating sheep, blissfully heading to the abatoir.  Line in sand: drawn.  Gauntlet: thrown.  Expect no help beyond your own borders. 


Something from SHOT

The Mossberg MVP Flex, from Shooting Illustrated.

Seriously, though - what's with all the platforms these days sporting, from the factory or aftermarket, M4 stocks?  Are they handy?  Somewhat.  A bit unstable in some ways, and not always easy to get a good cheek weld. Probably the last thing I'd want on a varmint rifle.

Still, I like the MVP concept.  

Monday, January 14, 2013

SB 47 (Yee, California)

Text of the proposed legislation is here as of this posting (note: PDF download). 

Highlights:

Redefines an "assault weapon", for California purposes, as:

  1. (1) A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and does not have a fixed magazine but has any one of the following:

And defines "fixed magazine" thusly:


  1. (b) For purposes of this section, “fixed magazine” means an ammunition feeding device contained in, or permanently attached to, a firearm in such a manner that the device cannot be removed without disassembly of the firearm action. 

Note that in addition to (1) above, other definitions of "assault weapons" under CA law still stand, i.e. specific rules for pistols, shotguns, firearms short of an overall length minimum, etc.  I'm just being brief here to highlight a few things.

The proposed law also re-opens "assault weapon" legislation:



  1. (c) Any person who, between January 1, 2001 and January 1, 2014, lawfully possessed an assault weapon that does not have a fixed magazine, as defined in section 30515 and including those weapons with an ammunition feeding device that can be removed readily from the firearm with the use of a tool, shall register the firearm by July 1, 2014, with the department pursuant to those procedures that the department may establish.
This is actually really interesting.  Given the number of "offlist lowers" (OLLs) that have come into California since 2005, that means CalDOJ is going to likely be flooded with registration paperwork between the time this bill passes and 7/1/14.  However, this also has some potentially interesting side effects for OLL owners, and may even act as an amnesty period for anyone who didn't know how screwed up our laws are and moved here after the last registration period closed, didn't know they had to register last time, etc.  

Registration is really kind of a toss-up here.  On the one hand, you can configure just about any newly classed AW (especially AR and AK rifles) to evade this ban.  Hence, you won't need to register.  But, registration would have some benefits for those willing to go down that road (I'm not, screw that noise).  

Basically, Yee's going to help introduce a pile of even more dangerous (in his eyes, not mine) "assault weapons" into California.  Furthermore, other than preventing use of a Bullet Button or other magazine lock kit, he's not going to keep future AR and AK type rifles out of California with this tweak.  The door is open, and he can't shut it, at least not all the way.

Dumb.
 

Money to burn

Well, not so much money, but political capital.  For the uninitiated 'political capital' basically means "How many favors can I horsetrade in exchange for what I want to get done?"  The president has a limited amount, as does the legislature (in whole and in part), and even to some extent the courts have some to use.  I won't go into the deeper dynamics, but know it exists.

So in his first term, Obama pretty much used up what he had with the health care debacle. However, with reelection he gets a new 'deposit' in his bank, and like any paycheck-to-paycheck American, he had it spent before it was in the bank.  This leads me to conclude that the whole gun control smokescreen we are seeing now is, at least in part, manufactured.  This was coming, probably as long as 4 years ago.  He just now got the cash in hand (Sandy Hook) and he's getting ready to spend it (Biden, Congress).  It's the Statist agenda come to fruition, and we're all going to suffer from it. 

Now as I mentioned, even the courts (SCOTUS, especially) has a limited amount of capital to toy around with.  We see this as far back as the 1790's, and a more recent example would be SCOTUS weighing in on the health care mandate, and giving it a pass.  On the other hand, they spent some capital in 2008 and 2010 with the Heller and McDonald cases.  With new gun cases being petitioned to SCOTUS regularly, they'll eventually have to take one (Kachalsky?) and decide what to do with it when the time times.  Problem is, do we want them to spend it on a carry case, or on something more important, like whatever Obama & Friends are about to do?  It's kind of a sticky situation for the courts, more than it is for Congress. 

On the other hand, Congress is more susceptible in some ways to the whole horsetrading game.  This is why you should let each of your critters know that a bad move on their part will inevitably result in a serious overdraft on their account, i.e. no more electoral wins.  Obama hasn't a care, since he's out at the end of this term.  Biden, as much as he may want to be president, isn't going to get the nod.  If he does force the nod, he's not going to make it to the top.  That would be like electing Rainman, minus the cool savant tricks, to be POTUS.  No way.

This is a long game, now.  What happens in 3 months is irrelevant, compared to what we do with POTUS elections in 4 years, SCOTUS picks (someone will end up going in 4 years, I suspect) and SCOTUS cases.  We're not playing checkers, we're playing chess.  (While that is oft cited by a certain subset within the gun rights community, I have come to learn that the notion is hardly original - Jefferson basically lived the idea of "chess, not checkers" - you can't fool a student of history!)

What I am ultimately suggesting is that you CONTINUE to pester the White House and Congress about this, tell them "NO!"  But also remember that the Civil Rights movement didn't just go home after Brown v Board of Education.  That was 1954, and the work still isn't done.  Bigger changes didn't come until the late 60's. 

Keep Calm and Carry.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The camel's back is officially broken

The D.C. Attorney General (more or less like a county D.A.) won't file charges against David Gregory for a flagrant violation of law


As of January 11th, 2013, we are no longer a nation of laws.  We are a nation of the Rule of Man, the Rule of Influence and the Rule of Power. 

What Biden didn't say is giving me a headache.

I realize it's too early to say (at least as an outsider) what proposals Biden intends to push on us, but I found something, or the lack thereof, interesting.  I haven't heard the words "assault weapon ban" out of his Porky Pig mouth. 

So far I've heard "mental health" (fine), "information sharing" (split on this), "magazine ban" (do not like), "video games" (1st Amendment is still there, too, Joe) and a few other terms that don't greatly surprise me(background checks, loophole, etc.).  But I haven't heard the magic and toxic words of "assault weapons ban".

Granted, Feinstein and Boxer and Pelosi and McCarthy and their gaggle of cronies are going to push that one, so it could be the Veep wants to let Congress hang itself without their help (other than an autopenned signature, perhaps).  Tactically, something is going on here, and I'm not sure what.  Could it also be that in the meetings (I'm thinking about Wal-Mart, here) there was some give-and-take?  By any other name I call that sort of thing "selling us out, cheap".  In other words, our side will support magazine limits and some other stuff if you guys will leave one of America's most popular sporting rifles alone.  If that's the case, it's going to be time to Zumbo some people/organizations.

And for the record, universal background checks are something I actually don't support.  I sold a car to a private party last year.  I didn't have to run a background check on him to make sure he his license wasn't suspended or that he wasn't a drunk or drug addict.  He showed up with cash. I showed up with car and title.  A few signatures and an exchange of cash later, he had a new ride and I had some money in my pocket.  For all I know, he could have taken that vehicle and mowed down a pile of kids waiting for a bus around the corner while he did fat lines of coke off the back of a hooker.  In a free society, "that ain't my problem."



"Doing" something for its own sake

Came across this bit and wanted to share.  I'm not familiar with the author (I probably should be), but he makes a few interesting points.  What he doesn't say outright though is that the logic for taking 'action' post-Sandy Hook is circular.  Circular reasoning is circular, and all that. 

Brass vs. Steel in your AR-15

The folks over at LuckyGunner posted results of a test between brass-cased and steel-cased ammo in an AR.  I'd say it was fairly scientific and enlightening, to say the least.  They burned up something like 40,000 rounds, so I'll take that to mean they were serious about getting a decent answer.

Long story short - brass appears to be more reliable, but steel can get you by in a pinch.  I was especially surprised by the lack of extractor wear between steel and brass cases. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Oh, Wyoming

I guess it shouldn't surprise me that a state like Wyoming is raising, or attempting to raise, the middle finger to Our Betters. 

Of course, this has been done before, and hung up in the courts.  That whole Federal preemption thing is a real bitch, to say the least.  Reality would seem to be that States want to send the Feds a clear message - "we don't like what you're doing."  And of course the Feds are laughing all the way to the courthouse to drop off the 12(b)(6) motions. 

What I figure this boils down to is the Courts, long ago, negating the last 20% of the Bill of Rights in large part.  I think we're looking at an example of the law of unintended consequences.  The Court (SCOTUS) put its tail between its legs long ago in the FDR administration.  Despite a few instances of the Rhenquist court saying "hey, wait a minute!", they still did so in rather hushed and deferential tones.  So, you get what we have now - the states are effectively powerless. 

Oh, sure, states pass all the laws they want (California just had 800+ go into effect 10 days ago!!), but the area of law which is Federally preempted grows by leaps and bounds every year.  Eventually I suspect we will be at a point where state legislatures need special dispensation to pass almost any law and absent that dispensation, the state law will have no force or effect.  Does this sound familiar, maybe something you've read in a historical document written on crumbly old parchment, about abuses suffered by certain semi-sovereign entities?  It should. 

The Acts of the Legislatures of the States shall, in due course, become null and void, ultimately rendering them non-sovereign administrative territories of the Federal government.  The end (and I figure this is 50+ years out) of state sovereignty will just be another failing of our government institutions.  Fortunately, I won't be around to see it. 


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wal-Mart and Gun Control Talks with Joe Biden

Apparently part of the "conversation" Uncle Joe is having about gun control included an invitation to Wal-Mart.  In case anyone has been under a rock for the past 20 years, Wal-Mart sells sporting goods, ammunition (in many, but not all stores) and firearms (not in California, though).  Initially, Wal-Mart said "No, thanks."

Seems they changed their mind.

Now corporate is taking calls on the subject.  You can reach them at (479)273-4000 and express your thoughts (politely) on the upcoming "meeting".  For what it's worth, I suspect these meetings with the pro side are going to be more like lectures than an actual dialogue.  Expect nothing less from this administration. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Power vs Right

So in the wake of the Journal-News nonsense, wherein they published the names and addresses of a bunch of N.Y. gun owners, Gawker comes along and does something similar.  Which brings up the all important question of right versus power.

Since this information is available to the public, anyone can file a request to obtain it, and then do with it as they please (for the most part, but the outer limits are pretty wide before you run afoul of the law in a civil or criminal context).  It is the right of the public to have that information, and most of us realize that information is a form of power.  Organizations that control information (government) and disseminate information (media) find themselves in positions of power on a daily basis.

One side argues that "just because you can do something that doesn't mean you should do it" and another side argues that "it's public, it can be out there, it is of no consequence."  I fall in the former category.  All power is a double-edged blade and the use of any power may have long-reaching consequences.  Furthermore, the use of power, as it goes on, is susceptible to the law of diminishing returns.  Use of power is also often a sort of moral hazard, in that the costs of the consequences rarely, if ever, impact the wielder thereof.

I think it is beyond debate that the media is, at best, only thinly veiling their agenda here, that agenda being to cow and terrorize the law abiding among us.  Media does not like that law and they do not like those who choose to abide by it, so they want to wish us away.  Being that they do not have such supernatural powers, they do the next best thing and engage in widespread intimidation.  Earlier on, the pushback was also in the form of implicit intimidation in the form of names, address and images of those working for the Journal News.  While I'm not sure that was a mature thing to do, I noted that there was no false veil of purpose - we admitted to wanting them exposed and vulnerable, shamed and intimidated.  After all, this is what they had done to gun owners, and the Journal-News folks deserved nothing less than the best.

So, is that the proper role of our media?  To intimidate and cast aspersion upon people?  Last time I checked, and granted it has been a while, the media existed to report facts and relevant information for patrons to consume.  The press was never meant to be a branch of executive power (the de facto outcome, here), nor was it ever meant to terrorize fellow citizens (I thought the government did a good enough job of that on its own, but perhaps I'm mistaken).  Is the media exercising its rights, and in the process abusing its power?  I think the answer is a resounding 'yes', at least in some quarters.

I suggest that we terrorize them back, where it hurts - in the wallet.  There are plenty of alternative media outlets to follow (many digital, at that) who still adhere to journalistic principles.  They are by no means perfect, but they are not of the old guard.  It's time to cast off the bonds of Mass Media Power, embrace alternative-but-accurate sources of information, and let the overgrown vines die under their own weight.

Relativity

As some of you may recall, this article last week sparked a minor outrage.  Basically, the idea is to scrap the Constitution and come up with a new one.  In my own terms, it's what I'd call a "wishy-washy" constitution.  Or in other, more erudite, words - constitutional moral relativism.  "If it feels OK, it is OK". 

No, thank you.  I prefer the rule of law to the rule of fancy.

When writing your elected critter

It's early and I haven't had much coffee yet, so this morning's post will be short and sweet.

When (NOT "if") you get on the phone or write a letter to your local elected critter about all this gun control nonsense,  I encourage you to make part of the dialogue something like this:

"Since you have no proof that prior measures work, and since we already know criminals do not care about laws, why do you believe that punishing GOOD people will somehow stop BAD people?"

And then hammer on it.  Politicians are often masters of the 'redirect', aka 'the bob and weave'.  Why?  It is their lifeblood.  It's also something good lawyers can do in their sleep, and in some ways they're trained to learn the techniques (judges like to play 'pop quiz', for example).  Do not let them deviate.  Do not let them evade or answer-by-not-answering.  Each of us needs to hold their feet to the fire.  Even if you only get an emotional, illogical answer, that is a win.  Expose that answer, exploit it for what it is - irrational and lacking in foundation. 

In other words, you and I and everyone else need to continually work to discredit each and every politician out there.  Publicly. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Woke up to a surprise

I was amazed to see this article in the local virtual bird cage liner & fish wrap. Like we've been saying for a long time, and have to continue saying, the "assault weapon" term is bogus, and this kid proves it.  Service Rifle is challenging, to say the least and this kid shoots pretty well.  Unfortunately in CA, unless his rifle is registered, he's hemmed in by our stupid "assault weapon" laws, which makes things at least slightly more difficult for him.

Push this issue with the grabbers.  There is no such thing as an assault rifle.  It's a made up term, by the Statists, to scare the sheep (another step towards, and method of, control.) 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A quick thought and bleg for input.

If the government generally dislike the Constitution in whole or in part, what keeps them from steamrolling the whole thing?  I think this is a question about perceptions and I'm curious to know what other people perceive.

Undoing the 22nd Amendment

Now tell me, why would someone want to do this?

Some people are starting to gnash teeth and send up loud cries about this, but I'm genuinely confused.  The 22nd Amendment is a relatively new one, and the republic stood just fine without it previously.  I'm guessing there are at least two sides to the argument.

On the one hand, you have those who would argue that we did fine pre-22nd, we would be fine without it.  That is a distinct possibility, but I find it to be thin and unsupportable.

The other side can argue that the rise of mass media, the speed of communications, social media and the 'cult' aspect of the modern presidency mean the 22nd Amendment is a vital check on all of the above.  Let's face it - each day our republic turns more and more into a democracy.  To put a fine edge on it, replace 'democracy' with 'mobocracy'. 

The power of unthinking, cowed, obsequious masses was not an unknown in 1787, and for that reason, among others, our government was established as a representative republic with democratic principles.  After all, you can technically have a representative republic based on authoritarian principles (see also: Communism).  So if the founders so feared the mob, why did they not institute term limits in 1787? 

The answer to that is very simple and relates to their 18th century outlook on people and government.  The theory (proved wrong, now) was that men (and eventually women) without merit or virtue, without courage or conviction, would summarily be voted out of office, replaced by some better representative or executive.  In other words, an informed public simply would not tolerate Criminal Congressmen or Presidents.  On the other hand, if a leader was effective, meritorious and upstanding, the people should be allowed to retain that individual.  Good leadership is good (in the absolute sense of 'good').  Naive?  Perhaps.  Unreasonably so?  Not for 1787. 

And the founders instituted other safeguards, among them the electoral college.  Yes, another thing the ignorant masses want to see abolished, which would take us even closer to a democracy.  The picking of electors, and the fact that electors are constitutionally not bound to vote for any given candidate, meant that enlightened electors could see a fraud for what it was and say "No" to the fraud and put in place someone worthy of the presidency.  It is counter-majoritarian, and that is precisely why parts of our system worked so well in the past.  If something contra to the majority gives you the willies, stop and follow along.

What is another government institution, partly legislative, partly constitutional, in origin, that is counter-majoritarian?  The courts.  One man or woman in a black robe, perhaps a collection of 9-15 men and women, and in some cases final say on "what the law is."  Why is this notable?  Over two centuries of counter-majoritarian institutions have given us things like Heller, McDonald, Brown, Marbury, and plenty of other notable cases that have fundamentally altered our relationship with the Constitution. We could pick apart all those decisions until doomsday, but the fact remains that we put our trust and faith in the courts to come to neutral and correct decisions on critical matters of law and governance.

Back to the 22nd Amendment, you can see that we are a nation where the majority-mob is explicitly to NOT be trusted.  We are expected, if not required, to install good, smart people to do a tough, ugly job.  This mistrust of the majority is part of our Constitutional DNA, if you will.  Unfortunately, I think that today our government is controlled by the majority mob, and representatives are immoral, unethical, lack virtue and courage and simply will not go against a mob for one simple reason - the desire to hold elected office.  This is not the system brave men (and women!) risked their lives for 230 odd years ago.  This is the system they hoped to avert.  Their best plans did not work, unfortunately, and so we are left with either 1) band-aids or 2) wholesale replacement.  Band-aids, as those of you with children probably know, eventually fall off or never work well to begin with. 

It's time to pay full freight and do what needs to be done, starting by removing each and every corrupt politician, at every level, with your votes.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Read this.

http://dcclothesline.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/if-they-come-for-your-guns-do-you-have-a-responsibility-to-fight/

Been reading some Thomas Jefferson history...

An opening disclaimer:  I'm not much of a religious man.  I am not an atheist.  I am an agnostic.  In other words, I just "don't know."  Maybe someday I will, but I doubt it.  Since the universe is a pretty cool place, and since anything is theoretically possible, it's against my nature to shut the door on one possibility simply because I don't like it.  That said...

Just a thought about "God given rights".  Note that the Declaration of Independence contains the phrase "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them" in the opening.  This choice of words could not have been accidental.  Many of the Founders were religious men, but hardly what we might call orthodox or evangelical by today's standards.  Jefferson even made his own version of the New Testament, removing miracles and what he considered supernatural acts and events.  What he ended up with is known also as The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth.  In other words, he looked to Jesus as a great teacher of morality and ethics.  This paints a somewhat different picture than what many people assume was (or was not) that basis for the founding of this nation. 

The point is that whether one believes in God, or not, there is no need to solely rest the notion of inalienable rights upon the existence of God.  Why?  Because in the Enlightenment many men questioned the nature of God and religion, its teachings and purposes.  During the Enlightenment, thinking people saw the very fabric of human nature as deriving from whatever power created us, even if that power was simply the unguided meanderings of nature itself.  To exist as thinking, feeling, reflective humans is proof enough that there are certain aspects of humanity to be held non-negotiable - the right to live and protect your life, the right to question the nature of existence (and really to question everything), the right to your own thoughts and so forth. 

I put this out there because I realize there are those who do not believe in a higher power and who think human existence is merely the result of random chance.  That may be so, and I choose not to debate one side or the other.  The terminus of the line of reasoning stands that, whatever our origins, the essence of what we are establishes we must have certain innate powers of self-determination in order to *be* what we are.  Circular reasoning?  Perhaps.  A fallacy of logic?  Only if reasonably disprovable. 

Humans were not meant to live in chains, social or otherwise.  A social contract is one thing.  The wholesale shedding of the very qualities which endow us to be humans is another.  I encourage everyone, on both sides of the debate, to look back in time at how our system of government originated, why it originated, its original goals, the fiery debates which forged the creation of a constitutional republic and the external and internal influences upon its creation.  To say we are an experiment is true.  To say we are a flawed system is also true. To say the principles that our nation is based on are somehow outmoded or outdated is a sign of ignorance. 

Sorry for being so long-winded.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

These guys must like writing checks

Assuming Illinois pushed this though (and I don't think it is very likely), the eventual result would be the State of Illinois writing a very large check to plaintiff's lawyer.  We've made stupid moves like this costly before, and can continue to do so.  Politicians don't care when it's not their money, so obviously winning both the right and the payment doesn't hurt them.

What will hurt them?  Being out of a job and so tainted that no private employer would touch them.  It's a start, at least. 

The end of January, Joe?

Biden sez: we'll do it by the end of January, double-pinky-swear!  Either Menino is on some powerful narcotics or Biden is on some...powerful...narcotics. (Can he do that?)

Silliness aside, one bill is in and others are coming in the following weeks.  This is their calm before the storm.  For us, the storm started about 30 seconds after Mr. Connecticut Loser put one in his own gourd (or so the media claims). 

Friends and Foes

Massad Ayoob on standard capacity magazines and the very real and very reasonable need for them.  Not that this is about need, but it counters McCarthy's new magazine legislation nicely. 

For the record, McCarthy is grossly uninformed, arbitrary, and woefully lacking in the area of critical thought:

  1. Bad people can reload and mass shooters usually bring more than one firearm.
  2. 60 rounds in 2 magazines or 60 rounds in 6 magazines - you're still dead.  
  3. Magazine changes don't take that long to accomplish.  1-2 seconds, less for a pro.
  4. Why 10?  What is magical about 10?  Are we OK with "up to" 10 dead, but beyond that it just isn't OK anymore?  Sounds like they're willing to sacrifice 10 people on the Altar of Reason, but the basis for this is arbitrary and capricious.  In other words, it's political nonsense.
  5. Re: #2 above, if you have your own gun, maybe you're not dead.  But the politician power class can't have the plebians exercising such a dangerous right.
Speaking of dangerous rights, how about the Journal News?  That 1st Amendment thing has the potential to get some battered and abused women more battered and abused, if not killed.  At least Dennis Sant grew a set. 

Action points: Contact your Federal representatives at least once a week.  Fax, mail, email, phone, all of them.  Be polite but firm.  Threats get us nowhere, unless perhaps it's a credible threat about losing their next election.  If you're in a draconian state (Hi, Senator Leeland Yee!!), contact your equivalent State representatives as well, as often, in the same manner. 

They're going for broke, or some variant of "...and see what sticks".  Let's keep the walls clean, folks.  These are our civil rights...our enumerated civil rights, no less.

Well, maybe one broken law

David Gregory and his idiotic use of an outlawed prop illustrates the difference between "us" and "them", where "us" = average ordinary Joe and "them" = the elites (media, finance, whatever).  Not holding my breath to see if he'll be charged, because odds are he won't.  The laws are only to keep regular people in line - every 'special' person (trans: an elite with an axe to grind) gets a pass. 

Of course what's interesting is that while possessing the contraband, it didn't manage to kill anyone.  I was half expecting to see the magazine jump out of his hand, strangle Wayne, rape a couple of nuns and steal a car on its way to the local gang hideout.  Amazing how inanimate objects don't do anything absent the will and actions of a sentient (or in Gregory's case, perhaps semi-sentient) being.

Or else it was a broken magazine. 

Not broken laws, broken states.

It's pretty obvious that the "gun control" debate should really be a debate about a few things.

First, broken state governments.  Second, a broken Federal government.  And third, in concert with the previous two, mental health.  Some of this almost reads like legislative sabotage.  Should the mentally ill have guns?  No, and I think there are plenty of other things the mentally ill should not be able to access.  But when you know of a failure in the system that can be corrected without impeding the law abiding, why not take the low hanging fruit? 

Of course you have to expect Bloomberg, Feinstein and the Brady folks to ignore state-level failings of this type, and instead focus on outright bans, confiscations, threatened police action and a general expansion of government power. 

We're dealing with statists, which is the opposite of what a liberal republican system of government calls for. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Fan blades and Excrement.

Well, I guess it's time to resurrect this thing.  Not that it has ever been worth the crap I fling, but reaching as many people as possible is critical.  We are in a real fight.

It's not just the Feds that want to bend you over the barrel, nor is the insanity limited to California.

Illinois is going really off the deep end.  Here.

At least one small mind in Iowa is having at it. 

Oh, and the 2nd Amendment has its roots in, uh, racism?  Couldn't have had anything to do with folks like Thomas Gage, could it?

Just a few examples for the evening.  Now, if you want to get involved, ...no scratch that, you NEED to get involved.   The NRA, FPCSAF, or your local state organization can all use the help.  It's not just about money, it's about outreach.  Communicating the issues, clarifying the facts and making cogent arguments based on those issues and facts are all critical and important.