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Monday, August 22, 2016

Nat Turner Was A Second Amendment Hero

You know, because his rebellion was suppressed by armed whites, the way our Founders intended.

ntodd

August 22, 2016 in Constitution, Schmonstitution, RKBA | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Saturday, July 09, 2016

Deaf As An Adder To The Clamours Of The Populace

I understand the reaction to robotic bombs given our drone war killing indiscriminately, but I admit to having a hard time getting worked up about the Dallas cops taking down an active shooter in any particular fashion, whether it be by SWAT sniper or some remote device.  They had a right to defend themselves and the protesters with whom they were peacefully interacting just prior to mass murder.

Once again turning to John Adams' defense of killer Red Coats, December of 1770:

I shall begin with justifiable homicide; if an officer a sheriff execute a man on the gallows, draws and quarters him, as in case of high treason, and cuts off his head, this is justifiable homicide, it is his duty. So also, Gentlemen, the law has planted fences and barriers around every individual; it is a castle round every man’s person, as well as his house. As the love of God and our neighbour, comprehends the whole duty of man, so self-love and social, comprehend all the duties we owe to mankind, and the first branch is self-love, which is not only our indisputable right, but our clearest duty, by the laws of nature, this is interwoven in the heart of every individual; God almighty, whose laws we cannot alter, has implanted it there, and we can annihilate ourselves, as easily as root out this affection for ourselves.

It is the first, and strongest principle in our nature, Justice Blackstone calls it, “The primary cannon in the law of nature.” That precept of our holy religion which commands us to love our neighbour as ourselves doth not command us to love our neighbour better than ourselves, or so well, no Christian Divine hath given this interpretation. The precept enjoins, that our benevolence to our fellow men, should be as real and sincere, as our affections to ourselves, not that it should be as great in degree.

Adams began his defense by distinguishing various types of homicide, including justifiable and excusable.  There must needs be distinctions in the law as well as morality, and I think we should recognize the difference between cigarillos and sniper rifles, small-penised white guys waving guns and an angry black man who shot and killed many people.

I naturally prefer peaceful solution.  Yet even I must balance the fact that we have a right to self-defense with that preference.  Certainly how we exercise that right is a conscious choice most times, but we have reptilian brains and in crisis, particularly without training and practice, we can understandably act on instinct.

Our violent society has done little, if anything, to learn how we might mitigate the need for self-preservation instincts that lead to more bloodletting.  I wish we'd do more for our vets, and fix our disproportionate "justice" system, and learn how to defuse dangerous situations before they start, or handle things better during such incidents, etc.  You know my old song: let's establish a Department of Peace, let the CDC study gun violence, and be honest about just how far an inalienable right can be stretch beyond our individual castles when there are other people in this world whose rights we might be infringing upon.

Consider what John Dickinson, writing as Fabius, said in defense of our Constitution during the ratification debate 18 years after the Boston Massacre:

[I]n forming a political society, each individual contributes some of his rights, in order that he may, from a common stock of rights, derive greater benefits, than he could from merely his own...Humility and benevolence must take place of pride and overweening selfishness.

Americans swim in a sea of overweening selfishness.  So jealous are some of their right to carry any weapon they cannot countenance regulation that might possibly put the smallest of inconvenient limits upon that right (don't get me started on that Ben Franklin quotation).  Thus there are more guns than people in the United States which can be easily be obtained, clearly making us all--including well-armed and trained officers--less safe.  It becomes a murderous cycle: police become more fearful, militarized, and ready to enforce the law with extreme prejudice; civilians carry weapons more, enabling lightning fast escalation during road rage and other interactions that used to be less fraught with danger.

Which brings me to the Rude Pundit, circa now:

We have decided that "freedom" only applies to individuals and not to society as a whole. If you are a civilian walking around with a firearm, I would argue that you are very, very far from free. You are a captive to your fears, and you are using a perverse notion of freedom to it cover up.

Some of us, many of us, want to be able to move through this nation without wondering if someone has a gun on them. Some of us, many of us, don't want anyone to be gunned down, not black men by cops, not cops by black men, not people at clubs, at schools, at movie theaters, at all the places where we die. Some of us, many of us, believe that guns are the opposite of freedom and that you shouldn't have them and most, if not all, of them should be taken away from you, even if, yes, we have to pry them from your idiot hands.

We live in a prison of guns, floors slick with the blood of our dead, and we keep sliding around instead of cleaning up.

Indeed, the sword of the parent is stain'd with the blood of her children, while Congress and certain lobbies are deaf, deaf as an adder...

ntodd

July 9, 2016 in RKBA | Permalink | Comments (1)

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Friday, July 08, 2016

Where's The Marquis Beccaria When You Need Him?

John Adams, for the prisoners at the bar:

“If I can but be the instrument of preserving one life, his blessing and tears of transport, shall be a sufficient consolation to me, for the contempt of all mankind.” As the prisoners stand before you for their lives, it may be proper, to recollect with what temper the law requires we should proceed to this trial. The form of proceeding at their arraignment, has discovered that the spirit of the law upon such occasions, is conformable to humanity, to commonsense and feeling; that it is all benignity and candor. And the trial commences with the prayer of the Court, expressed by the Clerk, to the Supream JUDGE of Judges, empires and worlds: “God send you a good deliverance.”

Red Coats, white cops, and black snipers all deserve fair trials under the rule of law, not mob justice or robot bombs.  Oh yeah, black civilians--even ones frighteningly exercising their 2nd Amendment or other rights--do, too.

ntodd

July 8, 2016 in RKBA | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Adventures In Bad Legislating

This is a nation that developed the world's most destructive weapon, is the only one to have actually used one (two!) in war, and yet somehow since that time we also sent humans to the moon and ended up, so far, not causing a global nuclear holocaust.  This is a nation that finds new and inventive ways to prevent women from exercising their reproductive rights.  This is a nation that cleverly attacks non-existent problems like voter fraud to disenfranchise minority voters

All that, but we can't, among all the nations of the world, figure out how to mitigate the violence, particularly involving guns, in our society.  That's the backdrop to the frustration many Americans feel, and the desperate measures House Dems have taken during their remarkable sit-in.

Make no mistake: any solution that relies on the No Fly List is bad, bad, bad.  I'd also submit that outright bans probably aren't going to work, either.

That said, I'm completely sympathetic with John Lewis et al.  This Congress thought it was a great idea to vote on actively eroding the 4th Amendment (Senate) and gutting a rule that requires bankers to do their jobs with client interests in mind (House).  Then they throw up their hands and say nothing to do about all the shootings, sorry.

The Dems' stated goal of a (losing) vote on some bad law isn't necessarily bad itself, however.  Like many "stunts", the real object is to force a reaction.  At the very least, they put their differences with the Do Nothing/Know Nothing GOP in stark relief.  That's particularly good if the other side can't even come up with alternatives, and is left sputtering on Twitter.

I'd love to see a complete pivot away from this demand and toward something more constructive.  How about: "okay, you don't like this approach, so let's skip it.  While we're at it, let's kill the No Fly List.  Oh, also maybe let us create a Department of Peace, and end the ban on gun research by the CDC so we can at least start examining violence inherent in our society and why the fuck other countries don't go through the same shit every other goddamned day?"

It's not like sitting around has gotten us anywhere...

ntodd

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June 23, 2016 in Constitution, Schmonstitution, Pax Americana, RKBA | Permalink | Comments (3)

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

"Calculated merely to amuse, or rather to deceive."

Due process is as due process does:

[The Senate] voted on legislation from Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain to chip just a little bit more of the Fourth Amendment away by allowing the FBI to skip that whole judicial review process when collecting electronic records of suspects. This is their answer to Orlando, even though it's not an answer at all. The FBI director, in fact, said it wouldn't have made a difference because the FBI had the shooter's electronic records, obtained with a judge's consent. Oh well.

And yes, this is the same Republican party that argued keeping people on the terrorist watch list from getting guns was a problem because there wasn't judicial process. No, it doesn't make any sense.

Sure it makes sense, just as it does for Democrats to push their legislation tied to a No Fly List that they decried during the Bush Interregnum.  It's always surprising to me when people are surprised that the political process involves politics.  Context matters, as do changing circumstances, which is completely consistent with how we've done shit since we first argued about the Bill of Rights.

ntodd

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June 22, 2016 in Constitution, Schmonstitution, RKBA | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Where Does My Nose Begin?

What, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty.

 - Elbridge Gerry, debating the Second Amendment on 17 August, 1789

Not that I agree with Prohibition, nor total bans on any particular firearms, but John Finch, Chairman of the Prohibition National Committee, does offer some counsel from the 19th century that we might consider:

Unrestrained natural liberty is the enemy of civil liberty. Let me illustrate: It was personal liberty that enabled Guiteau to send the bullet through the back of President Garfield. It is civil liberty which will hang him on the 30th of June. Do you see the difference? It is personal liberty that would let me meet you on the street and knock your brains out with a club; it is civil liberty that would punish me for the crime...

Personal liberty means individual or brute liberty. Civil liberty means the restraint of personal liberty. I have a legal right to fill my mouth with tobacco, and chew, and chew and spit. I do not believe I have the physical and moral right.

I have a right to chew and spit that way, or chew and spit the other way—it is none of your business. You grant that right if I am alone on the prairie. I go into a crowd of men and exercise the right. I chew and spit in one man's facer and chew and spit in another man's ear. I would be knocked down in a minute. As a man hits me on the ear, I exclaim, "Is not this a free country?" "Yes." "Have not I a right to spit?" You would teach me that my right to spit ceased where your right not to be spit upon began.

This arm is my arm and my wife's; it is not yours. Up here I have a right to strike out with it as I please. I go over there with these gentlemen and swing my arm and exercise the natural right which you have granted;. I hit one man on the nose, another under the ear, and as I go down the stairs on my head, I cry out:

"Is not this a free country?"

"Yes, sir."

"Have not I a right to swing my arm?"

"Yes, but your right to swing your arm leaves off where my right not to have my nose struck begins."

Here civil government comes in to prevent bloodshed, adjust rights and settle disputes.

Natural rights have inherent limits because they inevitably come into conflict with other natural rights.  Constitutional rights have explicit and implicit limits, even the precious RKBA.  You might claim that you're protecting yourself, but the political process exists for all of of us to protect ourselves.  Trying to find a balance is not infringement: it's the way this shit is supposed to work.

ntodd

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June 22, 2016 in Conscience, Constitution, Schmonstitution, RKBA | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Monday, June 20, 2016

We Need Satyagrahi Militias

Either somebody has been cribbing from my blog, or there's at least one person in the country who agrees with me.

ntodd

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June 20, 2016 in Pax Americana, RKBA | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Best Gun Control Is Cock Control

Perhaps we should do what Benjamin Franklin suggested Britain try on some violent North Americans: all the Males there be castrated.

The English, whose Humanity is celebrated by all the World, but particularly by themselves, do not desire the Death of the Delinquent, but his Reformation. The Advantages arising from this Scheme being carried into Execution are obvious. In the Course of fifty Years it is probable we shall not have one rebellious Subject in North America. This will be laying the Axe to the Root of the Tree. 

In the course of 50 years it is probable that we shall have not one mass shooting...

ntodd

June 16, 2016 in RKBA, Soaking In Patriarchy | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Seriously, All Of You Are Wrong About Guns

Militias ain't what your favorite gun-humper says they were for, but gun-grabbing literalists ought not forget we can't deny or disparage rights without opening up a huge can of worms.  That said, keep exercising your First Freedom, although everybody really needs to stop misquoting the Framers, for fuck's sake.

ntodd

June 16, 2016 in Constitution, Schmonstitution, RKBA | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

This Is The Most Divisive Period In Our Nation's History

Lemme think about this for a minute:

Historical parallelism is a dangerous game. But in the days after the shootings in Orlando, Florida, as we fall into another cycle of fretting over our continued inability to pass effective gun control laws, I’ve found myself thinking about the steep odds abolitionists faced in the years before the Civil War ended slavery. That social movement wrestled with entrenched public opinion and powerful monied interests, and eventually won. Is there anything to be learned from their success?

Oh yes:

  1. Agitate a large bloc of people with entrenched absolutist beliefs.
  2. Let them start a civil war.
  3. Win the civil war.

I'm not being entirely glib.

ntodd

June 14, 2016 in RKBA | Permalink | Comments (2)

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Sunday, June 12, 2016

When I go to the club and I find people riddled with bullets, am I not living politics?

The Boston Massacre was politics.  The Orlando Massacre was, too.  Everybody should politicize the fuck out of all that shit.

ntodd

June 12, 2016 in RKBA | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Lose An Election? Start A Shooting War!

Ah yes, the South Carolina model of responsible republican virtue:

In a conversation on his “Gun Owners News Hour,” Larry Pratt, executive director emeritus of Gun Owners of America, interviewed Robert Knight, a fellow at the conservative American Civil Rights Union, who said a Democrat taking the White House and replacing the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia would pose “great peril” to gun rights.

“At that point, we would have to come to an understanding, which we’ve been sort of taught, it’s been taught out of us, that the courts do not have the last word on what the Constitution is,” Pratt said on the show, in remarks first flagged by RightWingWatch.

“And we may have to reassert that constitutional balance, and it may not be pretty," he continued. "So, I’d much rather have an election where we solve this matter at the ballot box than have to resort to the bullet box.”

Par for the course with Mr Insurrectionist, but what's funny to me is how the ignorant bastard used to think Scalia was anti-gun...

ntodd

June 1, 2016 in Constitution, Schmonstitution, RKBA | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Gun Control

Even in an open carry state like Ohio, we all know that the 2nd Amendment really doesn't allow for CWB.  That's real gun control, not the bullshit stuff our well-armed white friends fear.

ntodd

December 30, 2015 in RKBA | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Monday, December 07, 2015

Add Another Presumptively Lawful Regulatory Measure To The List

An anti-gun regulation challenge gets shot down by SCOTUS, and The Silent One squeaks:

Despite [holdings in Heller and McDonald], several Courts of Appeals— including the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in the decision below—have upheld categorical bans on firearms that millions of Americans commonly own for lawful purposes...Because noncompliance with our Second Amendment precedents warrants this Court’s attention as much as any of our precedents, I would grant certiorari in this case.

Seems that Clarence and Tony forget the Big Man's own majority opinion:

Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose...Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.26 [Footnote: We identify these presumptively lawful regulatory measures only as examples; our list does not purport to be exhaustive.]

We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. Miller said, as we have explained, that the sorts of weapons protected were those “in common use at the time.” 307 U. S., at 179. We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of “dangerous and unusual weapons.”

I guess 7 other Justices found one of the limits on our RKBA.

ntodd

December 7, 2015 in Constitution, Schmonstitution, RKBA | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Bernie Privileged Sanders

My homie don't see it, which is why blinders need to be removed:

At issue is a comment Clinton made during a speech to the NAACP: “There are some who say that this [gun violence] is an urban problem. Sometimes what they mean by that is: It’s a black problem. But it’s not. It’s not black, it’s not urban. It’s a deep, profound challenge to who we are.”

Saletan thinks this is an unfair dig at Sanders. The Republicans haven’t called violence an “urban” problem during the debates — though Saletan fails to note whether they have said such a thing in non-debate circumstances — so it must, in his opinion, be a talking point aimed squarely at Sanders:

In the debate, Sanders began by saying, “As a senator from a rural state, what I can tell Secretary Clinton [is] that all the shouting in the world is not going to do what I would hope all of us want.” A couple of minutes later, Sanders told former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley: “We can raise our voices, but I come from a rural state, and the views on gun control in rural states are different than in urban states, whether we like it or not.” O’Malley insisted that the issue was “not about rural and urban.” Sanders replied: “It’s exactly about rural.” Only one other candidate used the word “urban” during the debate: former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb. A week later, on Oct. 20, Webb quit the campaign. So when Clinton, on Friday, spoke scathingly of people who call guns an “urban problem” but mean it’s a “black problem,” it’s obvious to whom she was referring.

No doubt Clinton is poking a weak spot in her opponent’s case, but Saletan is also missing the forest for the trees here. Sanders most likely didn’t intend for his talking point about rural vs. urban gun ownership to have any racial implications. But those implications are nonetheless there. I doubt that Clinton or any of the other people troubled by his remarks believe he is speaking out of anything but ignorance. But that ignorance is still a problem.

Racism is baked into the DNA of the gun control debate. The gun lobby loves to gin up support and sell weapons by scaring white people with poorly concealed racist fantasies about black people coming to get them, and how they need guns — apparently a lot of guns — to keep the scary hordes away.
...
If you’re familiar with this history and rhetoric, it’s not hard to hear the racial implications of suggesting that “rural” folks are responsible, safe gun users — while “urban” folks are not. On the contrary, it’s hard not to hear that. Sanders may mean well, but his constituents who insist that they are just wholesome gun owners, unlikesome people, probably do not mean well.

I get the attraction of the dodge, which is not overly dissimilar from what Howie used in '04 (hey, my state has a responsible gun culture, it's not the same as Illinois, so let's leave it to the States!).  But really, Bernie's intentions are beside the point: it's a dog whistle he's blowing and even if density and other issues are involved, he's gotta cop to his privileged blindness on this just as he did on #BLM.

ntodd

November 4, 2015 in RKBA | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Lack Of Gun Laws Caused The Civil War

Or something:

[Crazy Larry] Pratt told Florida talk radio host Joyce Kaufman yesterday that Europe, where some countries have stricter gun laws than the U.S., is actually “the most bloody place in the world” because of the wars that took place there in the 20th century.

“What he’s not, and apparently very few people have really taken into consideration, is that Europe has been in the last 50, 60 years the most bloody place in the world, perhaps with the exception of Communist China and maybe Soviet Russia,” Pratt said. “But tens of millions of people have been killed in wars and in concentration camps and if you throw Soviet Union … into Europe, then we really are talking about Europe being just about on the top of the bloody list. And we’re supposed to pretend as if none of these things every happened.”

Pratt seemed to suggest that the U.S. has avoided such wars because of rampant gun ownership, saying, “Another aspect of this to consider is that we have not have rogue governments do what rogue governments did in Europe.”

But, he said, it is “not for want of trying” that the U.S. government hasn’t gone rogue, citing the 1946 Battle of Athens and the armed standoff at the Bundy ranch in Nevada.

Talk about cherry picking insurrections...

ntodd

October 6, 2015 in RKBA | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

My HEAD Literally EXPLODED!

Oh Alan West, I wanna gay marry you:

YEEhaw! This side-effect of the gay marriage ruling will make liberals EXPLODE

Prediction: it won't.

The Court used Section 1 of the Fourteen Amendment to justify its argument, which reads: Amendment XIV Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law, which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Now here is the kicker, as the writer articulately brings to light: “By using the Constitution in such a manner, the Court argues that the Due Process Clause extends “certain personal choices central to individual dignity and autonomy” accepted in a majority of states across the state lines of a handful of states that still banned the practice. The vast majority of states are “shall issue” on the matter of issuing concealed carry permits, and enjoy reciprocity with a large number of other states. My North Carolina concealed carry permit, for example, was recognized yesterday as being valid in 36 states, which just so happened to be the number of states in which gay marriage was legal yesterday. But 14 states did not recognize my concealed carry permit yesterday. Today they must.

Here is the kicker: that's not how SCOTUS decisions work.  IANAL, but it seems clear they rule on very specific issues within a case, which are applied to similar cases, not generally without further controversy.  Situations often differ even if similar logic can be applied to settle matters.

Anyway, there's already been a case based on the 14th Amendment regarding the RKBA.  Might've heard of McDonald v Chicago, which (selectively) incorporated the 2nd Amendment against the states.  The majority also reaffirmed Heller's observations that some gun restrictions are still permissible.  

While I wouldn't be surprised--nor upset--if a challenge against non-reciprocity were successful, up to this point I am unaware of any, and last week's ruling doesn't change that.  So have fun stormin' da castle!

But this is my favorite section, natch:

Perhaps I should probably remind folks of some of the quotes of the Founding Fathers on the Second Amendment:

  • “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!” — Benjamin Franklin  

    [Nope.]

  • “I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” — George Mason

    [Nope again.  See above link.]

  • “No free government was ever founded, or ever preserved its liberty, without uniting the characters of the citizen and soldier in those destined for the defense of the state…such area well-regulated militia, composed of the freeholders, citizen and husbandman, who take up arms to preserve their property, as individuals, and their rights as freemen.” — Richard Henry Lee

    [Status unclear.  See below.]

  • “[W]hat country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.” — Thomas Jefferson

    [Yeah, well, West must've learned his lesson...]

  • “A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent on others for essential, particularly for military, supplies.” — George Washington

    [Yeah, well...]

That Richard Henry Lee one has to be spurious.  I see the same exact quotation, including ellipses, all over the place, always with the same alleged citation of "State Gazette (Charleston), September 8, 1788."

Whenever I find a quotation everywhere with something elided, and never any larger context, my alarm bells go off.  What's more, it appears in his contemporaneous letters, including his famous rebuttal to Dickinson, that he rarely used 'freeholders' in any context, amongst other terms.  And does "such area well-regulated militia" even make grammatical sense?  Also, I suppose it's not a big deal, but the truncated name of the paper (State Gazette of South Carolina) doesn't ring true.

If anybody has a link to an original source document, they're mum out there.  Imma say this is fake.  Which would be unsurprising in the context.

Maybe I should ask West for help.  It could just make him EXPLODE!

ntodd

June 28, 2015 in Constitution, Schmonstitution, RKBA | Permalink | Comments (5)

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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Well, He Was No Cliven Bundy

What do you mean "miss"?

A CNN anchor apologized Sunday after facing massive backlash for referring to a man who opened fire on a Dallas police station as "courageous and brave."

“It was very courageous and brave, if not crazy as well, to open fire on the police headquarters, and now you have this scene, this standoff,” Fredricka Whitfield said Saturday while speaking to legal analyst Philip Holloway.

The gunman stormed the Dallas Police headquarters early Saturday morning, driving an armored van stocked with explosives. He was killed by police after an hourslong standoff. No one else was hurt.

Whitfield said on Sunday that she "misspoke."

At least she didn't claim to have a cold...

ntodd

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June 14, 2015 in RKBA | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Wednesday, May 06, 2015

BREAKING: BERNIE SANDERS HUMPS GUNS!

MUST CREDIT #SLATEPITCH:

Sanders, an economic populist and middle-class pugilist, doesn’t talk much about guns on the campaign trail. But his voting record paints the picture of a legislator who is both skeptical of gun control and invested in the interests of gun owners—and manufacturers. In 1993, then-Rep. Sanders voted againstthe Brady Act, which mandated federal background checks for gun purchasers and restricted felons’ access to firearms. As a senator, Sanders supported bills toallow firearms in checked bags on Amtrak trains and block funding to any foreign aid organization that registered or taxed Americans’ guns. Sanders is dubious that gun control could help prevent gun violence, telling one interviewer after Sandy Hook that “if you passed the strongest gun control legislation tomorrow, I don’t think it will have a profound effect on the tragedies we have seen.” (He has since endorsedsome modest gun control measures.)

None of these views are particularly shocking for a Vermont representative: Sanders’ deep-blue state has both high gun ownership and incredibly lax gun laws, and it’s perfectly logical for the senator to support his constituents’ firearms enthusiasm. And a close friend of Sanders once said that the senator “thinks there’s an elitism in the anti-gun movement.”

But Sanders’ vote for a different kind of pro-gun bill is more puzzling—and profoundly disturbing. In 2005, a Republican-dominated Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). This law doesn’t protect gun owners; it protects gun manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and importers. The PLCAA was the No. 1 legislative priority of the National Rifle Association for years, because it shields gun makers and dealers from most liability when their firearms are used criminally. It is one of the most noxious pieces of pro-gun legislation ever passed.

Well, then, guess I'd better vote for Nader or Huckabee...

ntodd

May 6, 2015 in RKBA | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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Monday, March 23, 2015

America's First Freedom?

Regular readers might recall that I'm a card-carrying member of the NRA as well as the ACLU (sometimes I even pay the dues to these orgs after the 17th renewal notice).  I also belong to a couple pro-RKBA groups online.  And I agree with the ruling in Heller, et al.

My NRA publication of choice is American Hunter.  No, I don't hunt, but when the kids are old enough the plan is we all will learn responsible hunting for a variety of reasons.  I do not read America's 1st Freedom.  I hate that formulation, and was reminded of it today by a post on FB.

Now, I won't be so glib as to suggest that bearing arms is actually our SECOND Freedom simply because of where it falls in the ratified BoR (it's all the way down at 16th in VT's Declaration of Rights).  But I will say that given our history, an individual right to arms seems less important than the amendment preceding.

Our first line of defense against tyranny is actually speech and all its attendant rights (assembly, petition for redress, etc).  Consider the beginning of the Revolutionary Era.  

Petitions and boycotts in response to the Stamp Act, which went into effect on March 22, 1765, and was repealed without resort to arms.  Even various Tea Parties were, while destructive protests, still effective in rousing the population without gun battles.  

Our Declaration of Independence contained a litany of abuses, including several about standing armies, but nothing about infringements on the RKBA, despite actual examples of confiscation (which actually was less worry to Colonials than emancipation of their slaves).  Lots more about corporate tax breaks, unrepresentative government, and intrusions into our home lives.  Regardless, one might say America's truly first freedom was 'life' according to Jefferson's quill.

All the while, even with clouds of gunpowder choking people in '75, Americans were engaging, with considerable success, in nonviolent protests for the most part to assert their rights as Englishment, not as revolutionaries trying to overthrow their rightful government.  It was only after being branded rebels did they, after even more debates, finally cut their bonds with the Mother Country.  And they did that not through individual actions, but rather through concerted action by Militias and eventually an Army.

Even when you consider the destruction of slavery, it was exercise of the First Amendment that got everything started first.  Without Quakers and other abolitionists, people like Lincoln might never have come around, and the slaveholders never would have felt the sting of being on the wrong side of history and morality enough to engage in treason.

And, of course, people defending the Second Amendment today are using...their First Amendment rights to do so.  I'm not saying the RKBA isn't important, and sometimes even necessary from certain points of view (never in my mine, that's a separate issue), but it is generally a last resort, and most certainly not your First Freedom.

ntodd

March 23, 2015 in Constitution, Schmonstitution, RKBA | Permalink | Comments (0)