This is the best of various outcomes. A complete crash and burn of the latest gun control push in the Senate last week. Because, there was never a real dialogue, a real two way conversation. The very legislation again played into the fundamental dishonesty of the gun control forces; a never settled, always expanding net of laws, rules and regulations with intent, little by little, to strangle the Second Amendment.
The Toomey-Manchin background check compromise is a prime example of that dishonesty. The proposed bill was better only by being less bad that the original bill, authored by Senator Schumer, that it replaced. For all of its high minded protection of the Second Amendment, it was riddled with loopholes that could at a later date be exploited into creating a de facto registry by compiling any and all information already in the hands of the Federal government.
And, in the states, where Democratic Party control stood unchecked, laws have been passed with wild abandon that utterly render the original intend of the Second Amendment entirely meaningless. Laws that make it a felony to possess heretofore perfect legal firearms. Bans on firearms and accessories that have caused whole companies to move with wholesale loss of jobs, manufacturing jobs, in those states.
In Colorado, we have the example of Magpul, whose biggest business, is making standard 30 round magazines. Yet, at the stroke of a pen, Colorado’s governor has make that business illegal. This from a man, who prior to entering politics, made his money making and selling beer. A product that once too was made illegal at the stroke of a pen during the prohibition. Irony proof.
But, let’s have a real conversation. First is the purpose of the Second Amendment. It’s purpose is not about sport or hunting. The purpose of the Constitution and Bill of Right was to build a country, not a country club. It was about having an individual right to access to up-to-date weaponry to give the individual parity in acting in concert to repel an invasion or insurrection. To repel criminal agents in the pay of a tyrant. To repel criminal agents who would attempt to harm you or kill you, attempt to invade your home or business, attempt to harm or kill your family.
In fact, the greatest threat to life from criminal activity is an armed government against an unarmed civilian populace. Over 100 million unarmed civilians have been killed by the likes of Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao and Pol Pot over the twentieth century. Above and beyond the casualties of war by armed combatants in that era. Horrors never visited upon our country by virtue of an armed civilian populace.
Let’s have a conversation about the stupidity of the ‘gun free’ zone; the very cause of these sensationalized mass murders. For the Aurora, Colorado mass killer, there were ten such movie theaters between his residence and ultimate venue for his outrage. The theater he picked was the one that specifically had a ‘gun free’ policy. Ditto just about every school in this country; except Utah which allow concealed carry on campus by its teachers. Been working well now for several years.
A gun free zone is an unrestricted kill zone. The only way to prevent these mass shootings from happening is to immediately meet that threat with lethal force. Where this happens by virtue of an armed citizen (usually concealed carry), the causality rate is kept to about two victims. Where the armed citizen isn’t present (or prohibited) the causality rate rises to an average of 16 victims by the time the police arrive.
Then too is a conversation over the so-called ‘assault weapons’ ban. There is a reason our police and soldiers are armed with AR15 variant rifles, standard 30 round magazines, semi-automatic pistols and their attendant 15 round magazines. Those reasons also apply to the armed citizen. First, the citizen will need firearms of military utility because of the expectations of militia duty–namely, being expected to come forth in time of emergency armed with weapons, furnished by themselves, in common use. The AR15 rifle is becoming the preferred home defense weapon. It is light, with a light recoil, making it accurate and easy to control thereby minimizing the risk of collateral damage. The telescoping stock makes the rifle adjustable for use by a 6’4″ man or this more diminutive wife. The 30 round magazine helps minimize weapon manipulation allow a single defender to stand and survive against multiple assailants.
On second thought, let’s not have a conversation. Fresh from some sort of electoral ‘mandate’ last November, with a really sensational mass murder to flog, the Democratic Party stripped off its mask and showed it true intentions. Not ‘reasonable’ controls, but a mad rush to pile on every regulation imaginable. Laws written behind closed doors, no hearings, no debate or reflection. A real conversation, is first of all, undergirded by good faith.
Though not particularly articulated as such, I think that American’s reluctance to wage war is the fact that the use of force is done in the absence of due process. But, saying that, when Americans to wage war, a successful war, it is best done in the American style of warfare–to take the battle to the enemy and take the enemy apart. One of the distinct advantages of this style of warfare is the fact, by virtue of distance, the rule of law can be preserved at home while the violation of such occurs on the enemy’s territory.
Which brings us to the manner in which the manhunt for the two Muslim terrorists was conducted in Boston. In some respects, the response should be frightening. A whole city shut down by a literal army of militarized police forces, all with weapons unholstered and at the ready. Door to door searches by these same government agents against an essentially unarmed civilian populace. Massachusetts’ gun law make it so; if these gun laws existed in 1775 there’d be no Lexington or Concord and we’d all be speaking Canadian (ht: P.J. O’Rourke).
This brings into direct relief the wisdom of the manner in which our last President chose to fight. That is, taking the battle to the enemy. It had the advantage of keeping the enemy so busy that they had to time to take the initiative to our shores. It avoided having to fight a battle in the midst of your own civilian population with all of the attendant problems of stretching the Bill of Rights. With a city essentially under martial law, complete with police forces essentially indistinguishable for infantry soldiers, where were the limits? Could they enter a house against the owner’s wishes? What questions could or did they ask? “Did you see anyone that looked like the two bombers?” Or, “Are you hiding someone here? We’ll need to come and check.” “Do you have any guns, we’ll need to make sure.”
Not paranoia. With out any warrants, the police entered multiple homes in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and seized guns. Guns to this very day that haven’t been returned.
First, is the problem of blowing the problem up out of proportion. Let’s face it, two terrorists against a city of millions and the whole city shut down. In some less ‘enlightened’ cities in fly-over country, the minute those two came up for air, it would have been all over before the police arrived. The shoot out at the Seven-Eleven that left the older of the two dead, would have ended with both of those two dead or captured in the hands of armed citizens before the police arrived.
But, like Mumbai in 2008, a terrorist plot paralyzed an entire city because the extinction of a gun culture, so it is with Boston. A population totally habituated to letting the ‘experts,’ the ‘authorities’ handle it. A entire city unable to two isolated losers because only the authorities should handle guns. In my hometown of Casper, where essentially every household is armed, these two fugitives wouldn’t have a chance. Yes, they might still set off a bomb. But, after that, they better be miles out of town if they want a chance to survive.
More to the point is the fact that by creating a conditioning of someone else handling the problem, we create bigger problems than if we trusted our own citizens to use their judgement and handle the problem on a ‘retail’ level. Think back to September 11, 2001. What if the eight pilots and copilots were armed? (And, don’t give me the shocked response of ‘guns on an airplane, they’ll go off and we’ll crash!’. The planes crashed anyway.) What if the common ‘wisdom,’ going back to the first hijackings in the 60’s to Cuba of sitting by passively had not applied and the passengers rushed the hijackers. How much different the fundamental history of the last decade would have been.
Then, there is the conditioning that placing an entire city under essentially martial law is now the norm. Maybe it was, in this case, justified in the name of public safety. But, what about the future, will the deployment of an army in a major city be done for baser reasons? Rooting out undesirables? Confiscating guns? Searching to ‘incriminating’ contraband? Public safety or dry run for a police state?
Here’s the latest coming out of Colorado. Here’s what happens when the party of Woodrow Wilson, the party of the ‘living’ Constitution gets to run things. More gun control. Some of the items are limitations of magazine capacities, making gun owners pay for their own background checks, even opening gun manufacturers to liability lawsuits if their products are misused by criminals.
These proposals are in the face of losing business in the form of Magpul pulling out of Colorado and losing 600 jobs.
Governor Hinkenlooper is all set to sign this bill; as long as the magazine capacity is between 15 and 20 rounds. How magnanimous. Once again we see the myth of the moderate Democrat. Just like the pro-life Democrats who sold their principles and morals down the river for Obamacare.
But, here’s the deceit. David Kopel discusses how, in the aftermath of the Columbine murders, Colorado State legislators sat down and worked out a compromise to address measures to prevent guns falling into the wrong hands. Measures were agreed upon to give law abiding citizens certain rights concerning concealed carry. At least in government buildings, real gun free zones, only enforceable if all access point to the building were secured. The point was a real compromise, one that wasn’t perfect, one that didn’t leave either side perfectly happy. But, the compromise, represented by these series of measures, that addressed true gun crime prevention and also allowed loosening of restrictions to allow law abiding citizens the ability to defend themselves.
This should have been a settled issue. And, one get the impression from Mr. Kopel’s take that many in Colorado did regard this issue as settled. But, no. Now with the Democrats in control of both legislative houses and the governorship, this compromise, this settled agreement is being opened up again for more gun control. ‘Reasonable,’ ‘common sense’ gun control until an opening arises to shove more draconian regulations through.
The deceit goes further. Anyone who owns an AR15 know about Magpul. Magpul makes, among other AR 15 accessories, the PMAG–a 30 round polymer magazine that essentially is the standard against which all similar such magazines are measured. Yet, this Colorado legislature, is willing to chase out Magpul and its 600 jobs from the state. Not just any jobs, but real live manufacturing jobs; the holy grail Democrat Party. So much for Obama’s recent State of the Union ‘pivot’ to jobs.
The rule of law is an agreement to abide to a certain framework of rules; fixed rules that will apply to everyone. It’s just a fancy term for what goes around, comes around. You the individual, the smallest minority, will not have rights to life, liberty and property trampled. One day you may have the power protect those rights, the next day you may not. Your ability to keep those rights when you’re down may very well depend on whether you respected those same right in the past when you were on top. It is built on a trust that both parties will both refrain from using the power that could be brought to bear against each other. Trust that the rules won’t be suddenly changed.
Maybe, what the Second Amendment guarantees is that the above social contract will be respected.
This deceit comes from a violation of that contract and it degenerates into mob rule. Which is what the ‘Chicago way’ is really about. Fifty percent plus one may loot the fifty percent minus one. Ultimately, mob rule will beget mob rule. Instead of rule of law we will degenerate into armed camps, literally. What Senator Feinstein’s assault weapons ban has started is a sundering of trust. A most fundamental sundering of trust by cutting across the very right to defend one’s own life. There is little to compromise over. As the 100 millions souls killed over the last century by the likes of Mao, Hitler, Stalin, Castro and Pol Pot attest, there is no middle ground. Life or death.
The mere fact, that this assault weapons ban passed once and by Feinstein’s recent re-introduction still lurks as a threat, shows that no amount of good faith will ever be enough. The quest for power by a self-made elite ever hovers over the little people. Even over their very lives.
It’s been remarked when the current gun control controversy dies down there will be plenty of bargains for AR 15’s. Ditto ammunition and magazines. I don’t think so, I think that while supply shortages and prices may abate, they will never go back. Heretofore, there will be a constant and incessant demand that make the shelf life, at the local gun store, for every semi-automatic pistol, rifle and shotgun very short. Same will be true for the accompanying magazines and ammunition. No one on the gun side is going to get caught short again. There will now be an ingrained mentality of always stocking up. Even if it means picking up another magazine or box of ammunition as an ‘impulse’ item by stopping at the sporting good store while picking up the dry cleaning.
Whether, the new ‘assault weapons’ ban passes or not, the mere fact it came up again killed any trust on the part of Second Amendment advocates with the gun controllers. Further, if prominent Democrats in the House and Senate fail very clearly and forcefully condemn this ban this breach of trust will take a very long time to mend. Mend and regain the trust of folks who indeed vote. Gun control rarely puts a politician over the top in an election, but it sure can get them defeated. Even folks in the bluest of blue states may start to come around to the pro-gun side over time; there’s only so much crime before even the bluest of liberals may decide that a gun may save their lives someday.
Here we have an assertion that the failed car bomb attempt in Times Square may have been retaliation for the South Park controversy concerning the allegedly offensive depiction of Muhammad. In the many commentaries on Comedy Central’s censorship of South Park’s episode on Muhammad in a bear costume; one misses the role of the Second Amendment and it true purposes in the defense of personal liberty. And, why the the right to keep and bear arms is so important in matters such as these.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone, South Park’s creators grew up in Texas and Colorado. Though they may have tromped around in the uber-liberal environs of Boulder, Colorado, they, nonetheless live cheek and jowl next to a culture that accepts personal firearm ownership. This is a region, where the probability of a home or car complete with at least one immediately operable firearm approaches unity. It is also a region where said firearms are in the possession of individuals who know how to operate them.
Contrast this to the situation in New York City, headquarters for Comedy Central, where the Second Amendment has been gun-controlled into oblivion. Unless, of course, you’re financially or politically connected enough to score a concealed carry permit.
The net effect is that Parker and Stone probably knew that they would be targeted for all sorts of abuse for this latest Muhammad episode; possibly even expected hot-lead-fired-in-anger abuse. But, I suspect that they may even go as far as to have firearms in their possession. If nothing else, in Colorado, as most of the inter-mountain west, a firearm, with little bureaucratic meddling can be obtained in short order.
In contrast, the Muslim website that warned of a fate similiar to Theo Van Gogh takes on serious gravity in New York City since your life is entirely tied up in the interest and competence of governmental authority. Since the police aren’t in the business of protecting people (their only mandate is to enforce the law), you’re on your own.
In the west, you’re still on your own. But, you at least got a gun.
So, to someone like my self, a death threat would be very unsettling, to say the least. And, yes I would call the police–it may help with creating leads. But, I know that the police aren’t going to camp out at my doorstep as my bodyguards.
However, I would do one more thing. Check the security of my home and business. And, check that my firearms are operable.
A firearm isn’t a talisman against evil. Nor, does it give me the right to go and shoot my way out of every tight spot. Nor, will I necessarily engage in words or activities to provoke anger. An armed society is a polite society (h.t. Heinlein, I think). Moreover, Parker and Stone are in the business of potentially provoking such anger; no one said that South Park is a cuddly chick flick. But, a firearm lends an enormous psychological advantage in giving me the reassurance that, in the gravest extreme, as a truly last resort, I have the means to preserve myself and my family. And, with that calming reassurance, I now have the ability to think through and consider other alternatives to solving a potential crisis.
Moreover, living a culture and environment of gun ownership, the bad guys, most likely outsiders, are going to have a much harder time driving an SUV ladened with explosives without getting noticed by neighbors who are going to start to ask questions. One of the characteristics of those who carry firearms is that they are going to be more alert; more cognizant of their environment. Most people live in condition white, oblivious. Gun owners are more likely to be in condition yellow; not paranoid, just aware.
In New York City, confronted with the gravest extreme, you maybe have a kitchen drawer with some knives. In other words, unless your some highly trained martial arts aficionado, you’re dead. The police will then come and enforcing the law about bringing murders to justice, will dust for fingerprints, zip you up in your body bag and cart you off to the city morgue for more clue analysis. The folks at the Comedy Central home office know this. They caved.
This now brings us to the issue of probable cause. The use of lethal force is limited to stopping an imminent threat of loss of life or serious bodily harm. This involves a reasonable perception that the person stopped had the proximity, means and motive to carry out an attack that would so threaten loss of life or serious bodily harm. Say, a 6’6″ man with a hunting knife ten feet away yelling he’s going to kill you.
While the threats over this South Park episode can’t be directly construed as imminent harm to life and limb; it carries weight as such since it emanates from a Muslim. Unlike the other major religions where killing in the name of religion is very clearly outside the pale, this is a religion that has a significant and numerous enough minority of followers who will, in fact, carry out threats of violence and murder in the name of Islam. It is a religion, who’s holy book, the Koran, specifically advocates killing certain specific enemies. And, it is a threat that Comedy Central has construed as an imminent threat to life and limb. Hence censorship.
The real purpose of the Second Amendment is to give each individual citizen the physical means to defend life, liberty and property from criminal elements; whether the common street variety or those working at the behest of a criminal government. Or, in this case, to give the individual citizen the means to defend those same rights to life, liberty and property when the government abdicates its duty to defend those rights. Unfortunately, with our Secretary of Homeland Security so tied down with identifying critics of Dear Leader Obama as terrorist threats, you’d better move to Colorado and get a gun because you’re on your own.
The Easter Sunday rescue of the skipper, Richard Phillips, of the SS Maersk Alabama was exactly how piracy should be handled. My only criticism, outside allowances to tactical considerations of our SEALs on the spot, was the slowness in response. The order, from Obama, of shooting only in the face of “imminent” harm, belies a fundamental mindset that these pirates are somehow entitled to due process. Certainly, a brilliant Harvard lawyer, like Obama, should be aware of the fundamental legalities that were worked out by the ancient Romans that pirates operate outside any civilized norms and deserve not of the courtesies afforded to people who choose to subscribe to those civilized norms. There is only one policy, one solution, to piracy–summary execution.
But, though the outcome was positive–a failed piracy attempt, our crew alive and free and three dead pirates–Obama backed into this happy outcome. His order of “imminent” harm gave away the game. It was Obama, prime minister to the world, that crafted that order. What Obama, president of the United States should have immediately recognized was that it was American sovereignty under attack, it was protections of the Bill of Rights for America’s citizens that were under attack. It was these principles that were paramount and required immediate and muscular defense. It is these principles that take precedence over even the lives of the crew. Had this attack come from a governmental entity on the Horn of Africa, this would constitute an blatant act of war. Along the Horn of Africa, Geneva Conventions don’t apply; these are non-uniformed combatants who don’t even deserve Gitmo.
And, so, we have a lot of luck that allowed a happy conclusion to l’affaire Alabama. Obama still has the legacy of a robust Navy that actually had assets in the area that could be brought to bear rapidly. Obama had the advantage that American individualism is still the norm and this allowed a successful repelling of the pirate takeover. And, of course, was the brave actions of the skipper, Phillips, who was able to spare his crew and ship and move the venue to a lifeboat. Finally, thanks to the Navy, Phillips was kept at sea which made his eventual rescue so much more easy.
We also had the luck that this pirate takeover took the pirates by surprise since the usual script, a passive surrender by the crew, did not occur.
But, the ante is now raised. Unless there is strong follow-up resulting in the repeated forceful repellings of pirates by American flagged and/or crewed ships, these pirates are going to specifically seek out American ships if for no other reason than to kill Americans in revenge. The long term result is that the American military is going to need to more than double down in supressing piracy along the Horn of Africa. This is going to include action at sea and direct military intervention against the pirate’s land bases.
The pirates lost nothing last Sunday. The three pirates killed were bottom feeders in the pirate chain of command; completely expendable. Nor, did last Sunday’s rescue, measurably dent the pirate operations; certainly not the profitability of these piracy operations.
Unless, the US Navy significantly ramps up its operations, there’s just too much money for last Sunday’s setback to serve as a deterrent. Moreover, this money isn’t just buying a lot of cars, whores and booze for the pirate warlords. A significant fraction of this money is making its way into the hands of Islamic terrorists. These pirate warlords only exist at the sufferance of what passes for governmental authority in Somalia. A sufferance purchased by cutting Islamic Imperialism in on the profits.
Which brings us to the final point. Self defense. Like something that fires lead; not those idiot devices like slippery foam that sounds like a project out of the Dangerous Book for Boys. I suspect that part of the successful repelling of the pirates off of the Alabama was facilitated by a stray pistol or two in the duffels of the Alabama’s crew. Oh yes, those things aren’t allowed by company policy so we’ll probably never know. But, especially when its your butt on the line, gun restrictions and guns laws are largely observed in the breach.
Now, every American is now going to carry a particularly steep price on his head; those that aren’t killed outright when the next American flagship is successfully boarded. Which means that our government is going to have to actually trust that individual Americans can defend themselves responsibly. (A fact more than amply supported by our experiences with “shall-issue” concealed handgun permits.) We are going to need to arm our merchant ships and our merchant marine. A modern naval cruiser traveling at 35 knots (about 40 mph) is going to be unable to respond fast enough. That means that this high seas criminality is going to have to be dealt with on a “retail” level. That is, merchant crews, trained to spot a boarding and, with lethal force, repel such boardings. The administration and State Department is going to have to insist that armed merchant ships and armed American merchantmen will be allowed access to foreign ports.
Also, handling piracy on an immediate level has a way of preventing these incidents from blowing up into major international crisises. Imagine how much different the history of the last eight years would be if the pilots of the four 9/11 airliners were armed. Everyone used to make a big deal about resisting a hijacking. And, guns, heaven forfend! We’d have airliners blowing up and crashing out of the sky! Which was just what happened on 9/11. In the same fashion, there would be no international incident with an American warship involved had the Maersk Alabama been armed. Just the bodies of four dead pirates to be quietly kicked overboard.
Obama better enjoy last Sunday’s victory. It isn’t going to last long unless he’s willing to follow through.
Here’s Obama, on September 15th in Colorado (hat tip; Hugh Hewitt):
“The bottom line is this. If you’ve got a rifle, you’ve got a shotgun, you’ve got a gun in your house, I’m not taking it away. Alright? So they can keep on talking about it but this is just not true. And by the way, here’s another thing you’ve got to understand. Even if I wanted to take it away, I couldn’t get it done. I don’t have the votes in Congress.”
Get that: “I don’t have the votes in Congress” to take away your guns. Rights are secured by the Bill of Rights. They are not granted by our government. It seems, in Obama’s world view that rights secured by the Second Amendment only exist until Obama can cobble a congressional majority to restrict or eliminate them. And, this comment came in the context of the post-Heller world.
Here again we have the UN Secretary General, vying for for the Oval Office, with an attitude towards the US Consittution that befits a tin-horn dictator from the third world. Rights are gifts of the state. Rights can be voted in and out of existance merely by rounding enough votes in the House and Senate.
This was another unguarded phrase that speaks volumes of the man and his attitudes. Are the freedom of speech or free assembly to be treated in a similar cavalier way? With Obama, I suspect so. Here’s some of Michelle Obama’s thoughts on her husband, the prospective UN General Secretary of the United States:
Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.
We have a man who has very definite ideas as to how our society should be ordered. You may not be “isolated” or “cynical.” You will never be “allowed” to be “uninvolved.” You are commanded to “engage.” This speaks of a man with very little tolerance for any objections to his Orwellian world view. So plan to show up for your required daily “Two Minutes of Hate.”
There’s also a serious prospect that the “fairness doctrine” will be re-established if Obama can pony up the votes; so much for the First Amendment.
There is a real litmus test regarding a politician’s respect for the limits of governmental power; the Second Amendment. It is the canary in the coal mine. What you do to the Second Amendment can, shall and will be done to the rest of the Constitution.