Thursday, January 31, 2013

- The DHS on Being A Good Eloi

I find this video as horrifying as the New York Post does, but I think in a slightly different way.

Tell me the truth. Doesn't this sound like the instructions you would give to first graders? Instructions on how to hide? Instructions on how and where to run away? I guess to them we're all children now - and probably always were.

All this may be good advice. Although if there is anyone out there so stupid that they didn't already know it, I doubt this video can help them. It may even represent the smart thing to do. But I know for certain that I could never do it. I am not an Eloi, and I never will be.

Believe me when I say this, I'm no hero. But if someone were going room to room shooting innocent civilians, I couldn't run away. I couldn't hide while the gunshots echoed around me. It's not a matter of bravery or some sort of 'macho' fantasy that liberals would probably accuse me of. It's nothing like that. Believe me when I say this, I have absolutely nothing to prove. I've been in life threatening situations before, so I know that I'd probably be absolutely terrified the whole time.

But if I didn't stand and fight, then I could never look myself in the mirror again. I'm a man. A civilized man. Men don't cower under the table while madmen prey on the innocent. They don't run away and save themselves while abandoning others to their fate. It isn't the world I was born in, and I refuse to surrender my self respect to the whims of a world where the 'run away and save yourself' morality is defined by progressives.

I wouldn't put myself between a shooter and others because I want to prove something. I wouldn't do it because I wanted to be seen as a hero. I'd do it because I could never live with myself if I didn't.

This is the real reason that I and the people like me should be allowed (actually - encouraged) to carry a firearm with me everywhere I go. Because when armed civilized men show up, things are safer than they were before they got there.

- Effective Banking Reform

You would guess (certainly my liberal critics would guess) that as a hedge fund guy with nearly 25 years total experience on Wall Street, I'd be against a reform that placed additional burden on banks. But you'd be wrong. I love this idea (presented in National review bu University of Mississippi Economist Joshua R. Hendrickson. Let me tell you why.

The problem with the American financial industry right now is not that the rules are too restrictive, although in some areas they certainly are. The problems (really) is that the rules are stupid. They are drafted by third parties in Washington who have only a passing acquaintance with how the banking industry really works, and they are designed to achieve political goals, not economic or financial ones. No one is so smart that they can interfere in a third part process and make things more efficient than the people involved would make them on their own.

But Washington's plan is to do that very thing. Make the banks into utilities where all the relevant decisions are made in Washington for political reasons. Want a new result? Make a new rule. It's appropriation by regulatory fiat. Rather than honestly seizing the means of production as Communists would do, our post communist left has decided to rule by intrusive bureaucracy instead. And so long as the rules aren't spelled out the industry will remain frozen in place like a Deer in the headlights. No vigorous growth will commence until the private sector believes the new rule making is finally done.

But as soon as we finally put the brakes on in Washington, the industry will grow again. Innovating around the 'stupid' rules that Washington makes is what Wall Street does. (Innovating around the 'stupid' rules about minority lending is what caused the mortgage crisis in the first place.) The entire swaps industry and most of the derivatives industries were built for that very reason. As were many of the practices pertaining to taxes, and the very workings of the markets themselves.

But as you can probably see, that innovation doesn't necessarily solve the problem. A market that Washington has broken stays broken, even when the banks innovate enough to save themselves. Prof. Hendickson's rule, in my opinion, would end that. It would decimate the stock prices of the banks of course, but that would be a short term effect. Once the rule was in place and the value of it assessed, then the banks could start innovating again and in ways that are responsible about risk and enhance profitability.

It's a 'self adjusting rule' that puts the power in the hands of people who best know what they should do and are most at risk when it's done. Put another way, it takes the power out of the hands of the people who don't know what they're doing in Washington, and puts it in the hands of people who do know what they're doing at the banks. But since they risk their own money and not the money of taxpayers, they will either act prudently or be replaced by someone else who does.

No matter what the pols in Washington may say about "too big to fail", keeping taxpayers on the line is exactly how they want it. "Too big To fail" was a Washington creation, not a creation of the market. And so long as it's in place, it leaves know nothing bureaucrats with no skin in the game in control of the banks - even though they don't know how to run a bank, or for that matter how to effectively run a government.

Putting it all back on the banks themselves is a way to finally start to see them grow in healthy ways again. Prof Hendrickson has the right idea.

- Deciding The Rights Of Others (With Polling)

Is there anyone out there who would like to bet against me being able to craft a poll that shows a majority of Americans in favor of a return to slavery for black Americans? It would be much easier than you think. Polls don't tell us what the truth is, they don't even really tell us what the feelings of the majority are. All they do is provide (wafer thin) support for the views they were designed to. This is hardly a secret, yet we keep seeing poll results quoted as if they were carried down from the mountaintop by Moses.

Charles Blow in the New York Times think the polling results are the end of the debate with regard to the second amendment. But as I said, it's easy to get polls to show the results you like. It's even easier when all the poll is designed to do is to limit other people's right. Black people have a right to vote, to live in freedom, and to participate in American life in every way that any other citizen does. But if we followed Charles Blow's line of "logic" then the only thing standing between him and a life of slavery is a few polls.

In America, (thankfully) we don't decide people's rights based on the polls. We don't consign Charles Blow or any other person, to a life of slavery just because we found a bunch of people who wanted to see that happen. We don't ask 2 wolves and a sheep to decided what to have for dinner.

Charles Blow (I'm willing to wager) doesn't know any legal firearm owners. That may seem improbably to some of you but in New York City, it's actually quite likely. But maybe if he did, he'd be less enthusiastic about seeing their rights stripped from them by the wolves in congress. He's welcome to come on out to my gun club anytime he likes. I'll teach him to shoot skeet, or pistols or whatever he likes. A law abiding black man in New York would certainly do well to know how to defend himself anyway. I've always been a proponent of the NRA doing more outreach in minority communities. And in the future at least he'll know whose rights he wants to take away.

The bottom line on the current gun control debate is that the laws that Obama and his team are proposing will not change violence at all because they will not effect the behavior of criminals. The only people those laws will punish will be the law abiding, and they don't warrant punishment. The two groups may have gun ownership in common, but law abiding gun owners are not criminals. It's exactly like rooting out the nunneries in order to prevent prostitution. Better to focus on the brothels and leave the harmless nuns alone.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

- NRA Testimony At Gun Control Hearing

Amen Wayne... amen.

- Menendez Scandal: What A Shocker! (not)

I think this "Menendez Sex Scandal" was probably leaked from "Disco" Frank Lautenberg's office.

As we know, the young, popular, and photogenic Mayor of Newark, Corey Booker, is pondering a run for the Senate. In a situation like that the Democrat machine would probably push Frank back into retirement. He's two and a half decades past his expiration date already, and has been struggling mightily to keep NJ perched on the forefront of 1970's thinking, in spite of his obviously increasing dementia, and need for mid-day naps.

But as we know, Frank loves nothing quite as much as being a professional buttinsky. He loves being paid to run the lives of others that he feels aren't enlightened enough to run them them on their own. So he don't Wanna go. And that means Bob Menendez has to.

This is no big deal really. It's not like anyone will be surprised that Menendez has some sort of skeleton in his closet. It's pretty much a known quantity. But it makes him look bad in the press so the machine can have an excuse to force him to 'step down' to some 500K per year consulting gig or 'water department' job.

While I'm unsurprised about Menendez, I do hope the voters notice that ABC didn't mention this scandal in their interview with him last week, and the 'objective' (cough) news media still isn't covering it. If it were someone like Mitt Romney - even if it were someone who only worked for Mitt Romney, this would be above the fold front page news. But it isn't. It's a liberal Democrat Senator from a blue state, and must therefore be shown every consideration. If it wasn't for the fact that they all ignored it, you could easily make the argument that a coverup was in place.

You "journalists" really are the lowest pieces of scum in America. I have at least as much contempt for all of you that you have for the rest of us.

- I Go Shooting All The Time

Most of us recall that scene from the Mel Brooks classic "History of the World Part 1" where Mel as the french king, berates Harvey Korman's "count DeMoney":

"These are my people... I am their sovereign... I love them. PULL!"

And at that, a peasant is the fired into the air to be shot at by the king.

This is how we imagine Obama "shooting all the time". In my lifetime we've never had an elected official with more obvious contempt for the people he see's himself as ruling over. Skeet Shooting? We all know it's a bold faced lie. In his view that sort of thing is for the bitter clingers.

In truth, Skeet shooting is probably the most erudite of shooting sports. It takes up a fair amount of space compared to most, and can't really be done properly without a fairly expensive facility. It's an Olympic event. And in the countries whose culture our dear leader most admires, it's an activity more or less reserved for the very wealthy. Peasant Frenchmen don't shoot skeet - just the nobility do.

In my personal case, Skeet is my favorite shooting sport. A few years ago when I had more time and was shooting more regularly, I would hit an average of 95.5 birds out of 100 launched. Now I have less time to devote to it, and like a golfer, my handicap has probably suffered.

The golf parallel goes much further. Everyone has a degree of natural talent for skeet shooting, based on their hand eye coordination, athletic ability, and a few other things like eye dominance and peripheral vision etc. But like golf, anyone can improve with practice.

I read once that that your average 'first time' skeet shooter hits 3 birds out of 25. My experience is that they usually do better than that, but I continue to quote that number to new shooters as a confidence booster. In my experience, the average is more like 6 or 7 for first timers. And just like golf, with just a few hours of practice it's fairly easy for pretty much anyone to improve to the point of hitting 10 or 12 birds of 25, but getting much beyond that requires real talent or real devotion.

I've seen people with a natural talent for wingshooting do very well right out of the gate, and only get better. And I've seen people who are brighter than average, and more fit than average, who couldn't hit the side of a barn. Like golf, it's a 'mostly mental' game. Which is how we really know that President is lying about skeet shooting.

If he were telling the truth, he'd be as engaged in skeet shooting as he is with golf. He'd be talking about barrel lengths and choke sizes. He'd be comparing the weight and balance of Beretta's and Browning's vs Krieghoff's and Perazzi's. He'd be asking questions about 'length of pull' and 'eye dominance'. And every gun manufacturer in the country would be offering to build him a custom fitted 'double barrel' gun for his use, just for the pride of being able to say that the president shoots a _____.

Anyway, I really do Skeet shoot 'all the time'. I'm not a part of the 'gun problem' in America, because I've never broken the law. But the President and the left want to take my guns away anyway. They want to treat me exactly as if I was a criminal and impose huge costs and inconveniences on me for wanting to exercise my rights. Maybe if the President really did go Skeet shooting every once in a while instead of just lying to the public about it, he would understand that most gun owners don't deserve his scorn and derision.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

- A Skeet Shooting Challenge

I'll tell you what - I'll go one better. I'll skeet shoot with the President. We'll shoot 12 Gauge guns, anywhere from one to four rounds (whichever the President prefers). If he wins I'll donate $10,000 to the non-profit of his choice - including the Democratic National Committee. If I win, then he donates $10,000 to the NRA.

I'll even spot him birds. Deal Mr. President?

- The Closing News Cycle

Here then is the story of what's really happening in America. Based on carefully stacked polling data, Liberals propose infantile legislation which has already been demonstrated to be ineffective, and the vast majority of American's prove to smart to fall for it... again.

There are only three kinds of people so willing to ignore the cost of legislation that they are in favor of more gun control. First are those liberals so dim that they feel it will really help (ignoring the overwhelming evidence to the contrary). Next are those politicians who see the 'power grab' it manifests as a good use to put a crisis to (see Rahm Emanuel, Andrew Cuomo, and 'Napolean on the Hudson', Mike Bloomberg). And finally there are the graduates of the nation's journalism schools, who see the persuasive power of guns as a means of diminishing the value of their influential 'words'.

The reality of the latest set of gun control proposals is that it would impose a cost almost exclusively on the millions of law abiding citizens who have broken no law. On the contrary, they are the people in America most likely to obey the law. It is an infringement of their rights as free citizens. But the groups above have their own interest at heart and therefore don't care. The pols want more power, the journalists want more influence, and the dim liberals can only feel better about themselves if they "do something for the children".

But relief is afoot. The news cycle for this topic is finally coming to and end. Failure in congress is imminent, and Snooki-Americans are getting tired of hearing about it. They will soon get bored and move on to the next shiny bobble they find in the muck. The journalists are probably preparing a raft of stories about princess Katherine's shoes as we speak. And the politicians, detecting an impending loss, will begin quietly jumping from the sinking ship of gun control in dribbles at first,(see WV's Joe Manchin) then in droves.

And when that happens, the rest of us can get back to living our lives without the threat having our rights infringed. We're not quite there yet, so we must remain vigilant. But I think we can see the end of the debate from here.

Monday, January 28, 2013

- Bloomberg's Bodyguards

Honestly this story should surprise no one. Was there ever any doubt that Bloomberg thought he was special? Although with all the hooplah he's making over buying anti-gun politicians, I would guess the alternative media will pay more attention to him. And that means that it will become a bit more obvious to average americans what a monumental douche he is. (And he is a truly monumental A-hole)

But that he won't disarms his bodyguards is really no shock. (I like the bit about offering him a drink though.)

-Life Imitates Art

- St. Tomas De Arma

I didn't do this, it was emailed to me by a friend. And since there is clearly the fate of an immortal soul involved I won't say who. It's between him and his priest.

But I strongly suspect there will be a ton of hail Marys and several acts of contrition involved in getting past this one.

As I've said, I'm hardly a saint. But my devotion to firearms safety is 'religious' so I'm hoping that's the intent here.

-To Gun & Ammo Manufacturers: Boycott Chicago and New York

Hey - It's Rahm Emmanuel in his more flamboyant days...
I can't take him serious, but he is as serious as cancer in his quest to disarm the law abiding citizens of Chicago and elsewhere.
Which leads me to believe that Chicago Law Enforcement doesn't have a contract with either manufacturer.
I propose that every firearm manufacturer and every ammunition maker and related distributors immediately stop doing business with the city of Chicago until Rahm Emmanuel retracts his statement.
I have great respect for Law Enforcement, but my right to purchase and possess a firearm of my choosing in no way impacts the safety of cops and government security. On the contrary, it enhances the ability for the good guys to work more efficiently.
Ultimately, by handcuffing the ordinary citizen, Rahm is sending a message to criminals of Chicago that self defense will not be tolerated and you may rape and pillage at will.
Vaffanculo Rahm!
When the the Leftists get their wish and the Second Amendment is effectively null and void, at least the Elected Classes will continue to respect our First Amendment Rights....
Won't they?
Based on this video, Mayor Bloomberg is not only against the Second Amendment, but the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments as well.
The person in the video is just as much a "journalist" as anyone on MSNBC.
(I like how he asks Bloomy if he wanted a "sip of my soda" - haha!)

- The Last "Assault Weapons" Hearings

You guys should Email this one around - especially to anti-gun folks.

For some of us this is an oldie but a goodie. The Democrats and the media have learned their lesson with this woman and won't let her near a TV camera now, but the arguments she makes in 1994 are the same as the arguments we're making today.

- Who Is Breaking The Law Exactly?

The NRA and the 4.5 Million law abiding, non violent gun owners they represent, all claim that they are not breaking the law when the exercise their right to 'keep and bear arms'. The Obama administration, liberals in Congress, Mike Bloomberg and the State of New York would like to treat them "as if" they've broken the law anyway. Meanwhile the government, who already has a bunch of guns that they say US citizens cannot be trusted to own, is claiming they they need even more. (Actually, the government is buying actual "automatic" weapons, which are more or less illegal for mere citizens anyway)

This is the big debate. The government says gun owners should be treated like criminals, and gun owners say it's the government who is probably breaking the law. But any observer can obviously see that the only reason there is any debate about it is the fact that the citizens are already armed. But for that, the government would command the citizen, and the citizen would have no alternative but to shut up and obey.

Right now everyone is playing nice. But if the government continues to insist that its "arguably illegal" actions are legal, then it's going to get ugly fast.

If the comments section can be believed liberals are truly horrified that an individual can decide for themselves that an act by the government is no longer legal. In the liberal mind those decisions can only be made by 'experts' or by consensus of the mob. It doesn't occur to them that in the end, everyone decides such things for themselves.

What also doesn't occur to them is that this particular decision IS being made by a mob. It's the "Pauline Kael" moment for non gun owners. They don't know any gun owners, so they don't know what they're thinking. But just because it's not the kind of urbane metro-sexual "hey hey , ho ho" chanting crowd they approve of, doesn't mean it isn't still a huge crowd. Even more, it's (arguably) the group best prepared to force it's will on the government, rather than the other way around.

Who exactly is trying to break the law here, is by no means a settled question.

- Notes From The Shooting Range

Just some quick range notes. Yesterday Fritghguild, RA and I went over to the pistol range for a few minutes with a few other people to break in one new shooter and one new gun. Both seemed to work out fine, but there was definitely a change in the air.

First of all, I stopped by Dick Sporting Goods (if ever there was a website name you didn't want to mis-type that would be it) on the way to pick up a few targets. And since I was down to about 700 rounds of 9mm, I figured I'd take a quick look to see if they had anything cheap. Silly me.

The place looked like locusts had been through it. There was a few stacks of shotgun shells available in unpopular shot sizes, as well as some medium powered rifle ammo (30.06 and .375). But apart from that there was nothing. Even the back room where they keep the bulk ammo was thrown open and picked clean.

There were some signs posted here and there about how they wouldn't sell any one person more than 6 boxes of ammo, but it hardly mattered. Not only was there no ammo, there was no one to sell it. I had looked on gunbroker too (which is where I usually buy ammo) and the cheap Russian steel cased "junk" practice ammo that I used to buy for $140 per thousand rounds was now selling for $400. That's 40c a round for those messy green lacquered extractor snapping 9mm FMJ cartridges. The same stuff that many competition shooters would never allow near their guns. Amazing.

When we got to the range it was pretty quiet - just two other people there. So we set up and starting shooting. I had aluminum cased .45 ACP I was shooting, but RA had nice pricey brass cased .45 also mixed into the mess. The man next to us who was shooting with his teenage daughter, politely laid claim to it for reloading almost before it hit the ground - and offered one of our shooters a chance to try his AR15 which had been modified for 22L in exchange.

We fired off a few boxes of ammo, taught the kids a few tricks and put a bunch of holes in some of the 'zombie' targets that Frith and I had picked up at the Gun show a few weeks back. Their legality in NJ might be something of a grey area - you aren't allowed to shoot targets that look like people in the state. But that sort of thing is subject to interpretation, and we were surrounded by like minded folk, so it slipped right by without comment. We weren't planning an insurrection, just trying to make it fun for the kids. Contrary to what Democrats (and Bob Hope) will probably tell you, zombies are not people.

Speaking of being surrounded, by the time we left, every shooting station was occupied, and there were people waiting in line to get access. I've been a member of that club for nearly a decade and this was the first time I've ever seen that.

I don't think gun owners are so great at political handicapping. They hear the people in the media calling them Nazis and accusing them of being complicit in murder, and they assume that bad things are going to happen to them. They hear virtually every 'objective' media source in the country demanding that they be treated like criminals, and they assume that's the way it's going to go. I can see their point, even if I'm a little less concerned than some.

The thing about being a gun owner in NJ is, you need to be determined about it. No one can do anything casually - it's too easy to end up in prison for accidentally breaking some byzantine rule or picayune regulation. And that group of people - people who take their gun ownership seriously, seem to me to be in full blown PANIC mode.

People waiting in line with their kids to make sure they know how to shoot. Ammo shelves picked totally clean. Don't even think about trying to buy an AR rifle - they're selling at a 200% premium. From here in NJ, the entire retail gun world looks like the supermarket shelves before a hurricane.

Lets all hope the storm passes us by. Barry is already blaming FoxNews and Rush Limbaugh, and that's an encouraging sign.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

- Unapologetic Tyrants

Let's talk for a minute about the future of our neighbors in New York State.

The media likes to portray the NRA leadership as being deranged maniacal thugs who are perfectly willing to stand hip deep in the blood of innocent children in order to achieve their goal of keeping billions of dollars flowing to gun manufacturers.

This is slander. It's an outright lie. It insults not just the NRA leadership but the NRA members like me, who are in reality almost completely unified in their support of the NRA's positions.

We see the NRA as being the only people who are standing up for the rights of the law abiding gun owner and not instantly caving in to the forces of tyranny. Congress certainly doesn't stand up for us. The president and his administration CERTAINLY don't. And anti-gun zealots like Mike Bloomberg and Andrew Cuomo are it's antitheses.

So in that context, let's talk about New York.

At the behest of their governor, and with financial urging from Mike Bloomberg's anti-gun lobbying group, the New York Legislature climbed up on the bodies of the children killed by a madman at Sandy Hook elementary school and in the dead of night, passed a law which will turn hundreds of thousands of otherwise law abiding gun owners into criminals. People who went to the considerable trouble of complying with the already byzantine set of New York firearms laws will one day wake to discover that it didn't matter.

In essence what New York has done is to make the idea of owning a gun a suspect activity. It's accused its law abiding, taxpaying citizens of being emotional brethren to the murderers and criminals who don't bother obeying any law let alone the laws as intrusive and complicated as New York's laws concerning firearms. The details of the new law are well documented and I don't need to run through them again. Even the fact that it effectively bans a vast number of weapons in common use and is therefore likely unconstitutional is already being discussed everywhere on the web.

The way I see it, since the right to keep and bear arms is a documented right of all free American citizens, and the New York legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo have made that a 'suspect activity', they have declared that particular kind of freedom illegal in spirit. Liberals will roll their eyes at that and talk about how no one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer (irrelevant) or how they're only talking about a few kinds of guns (it's actually hundreds including 90% of all full sized semi-auto pistols). But there is an excellent way to test whose view of this new law is more accurate, and whose view is 'extreme'.

My bet is that there will be widespread non compliance with the new law. The citizens of New York will view it as a direct infringement of their rights guaranteed under the constitution and will refuse to comply. They won't register their guns. They won't put their names on the lists. They won't seek approval from the government before transferring their legally acquired property. That will make them all criminals, but they would rather be free criminals than subjects of megalomaniacal weasels like Bloomberg and Cuomo.

That non compliance will be an endorsement of what someone like Charles Blow would call "my extreme view". But by definition a view can't be that extreme if it's shared by tens of millions of people.

When you make being a free man illegal, only criminals will be free men. This is what's happened, and is currently happening in New York. And unless a federal court strikes down the law before it goes into effect (not impossible but unlikely) then hundreds of thousands of previously free American citizens will be made into criminals for exercising their rights under the second amendment. That's when things will get really scary there, so hopefully the courts step in while there is still time to prevent a real tragedy.


The media (of course) is ignoring it, but there are already millions of people across the country showing up thousands at a time at protest events and town halls. Although I was unable to attend the event in NJ (yes there was one... although the press did it's best to keep it quiet) I did send a little extra money to the NRA this month. I'm confident they'll put it to good use.

And for our part, Frithguild and I (along with RA and a few others) are going to the pistol range today. We'll be bringing one totally brand new gun, and one totally brand new shooter (along with a few more 'practiced' versions of both). It's a small thing, but I think it's important.

The church of Rome wasn't made the most influential organization in the medieval world by the popes. It was made that way by the missionaries off in the wilds of heathen Europe, converting one lone christian at a time. And this Sunday, a few more people will hear the noisy and sporadic sermon of St. Thomas of the Armaments.

Friday, January 25, 2013

- What F'ing Prima-Donnas!!!

Bill Ackman and Carl Icahn.

OMG! After listening to these two spoiled cry babies threaten and whine about each other, even I hate Wall Street people now.

A pox on both their bratty little houses. (And a pox on CNBC for giving air time to these two A-holes.)

- Following Liberal Logic

I found this piece interesting. (I was directed there by the folks at VDARE, where our man Derb writes a column.) It sorts of makes the same argument that my dinner companion from the other day makes, albeit more explicitly and less apologetically.

Personally I have a problem with disarming any group of people en masse. Call me sentimental, but that whole idea of individual liberty and individual accountability is pretty strong in my world view. And I keep picturing my buddy Wayne - an intelligent, educated, soft spoken, extremely cerebral black man, being prohibited from owning a firearm because of his skin color. That's just ridiculous.

I have on occasion even taken the opposing position. Even if there is a lot of criminal behavior in the black community, it certainly isn't universal. Let's train and arm the law abiding portion of the black community and cut down on the criminal population by attrition if nothing else. Admittedly, it was not a particularly popular plan with anyone.

On my desk right now is a signed copy of Colin Flaherty's book "White Girl Bleed Alot". I don't contest the idea that black Americans are responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime and violence. Flaherty's book documents it's rise pretty well. I don't dispute that black America retains an irrational hatred for white America or that it very often manifests itself criminally. As I said, based on my reading I think that's a documented fact.

But if you are going to spout off about individual liberty as often as I do, then I think you need to accept the downsides of that argument as well. If it means that an illegally armed criminal population (that also happens to be disproportionately black) is going to the abuse the liberty they're given under our system, then I'm going to live with the consequences of that in order to maintain my own liberty.

I think they make a good point. We don't really need to disarm everyone, and I don't think the folks at VDARE were seriously suggesting any other alternative - just offering an opposing view. But for my part, I'm not ready to throw any group under the federal bus just to protect my own rights.

Tommy don't play that.

- A Capitalist's Solution

Here is an interesting Caveat. It seems Mrs. Feinstein's bill would exempt government officials both working and retired.

Call it callousness if you like, but I think this provides a very interesting opportunity for an enterprising small town in say - the Texas panhandle.

They can offer jobs as part time deputies to every NRA member. To get the job you will have to submit to background check, etc etc... blah blah blah. But the town can charge for those items including a small markup. Once you clear those hurdles, you become a temporary deputy with a pay of only 1 dollar, before you are put on a 'no-pension' retirement plan.

This provides a facility for people to get around the federal law, and also provides a source of revenue for small pro gun town who would probably like to thumb it's nose at the feds.

A little like "The mouse that roared" I suppose, but the Feds certainly have it coming.

- A Gunowner React's To The New AWB

Diane Feinstein and Joe Biden are empty headed hacks who's only real goal is more power for themselves. But the same can't be said of everyone in the anti-gun movement. Some of them sincerely believe that things would be genuinely better for America if they were able to achieve their political goal of a disarmed populace. They're wrong of course... but that doesn't mean they aren't sincere.

It was "The Derb's" comments on Marxism yesterday (he was actually quoting himself) that got me thinking about this. See the prior post for what I think is one of his better composed paragraphs. The point is that it's possible to be wrong - even very wrong, and still not be the kind of person who deserves scorn and derision like Biden and Feinstein do.

The regular people who are a part of the anti-gun movement aren't very thoughtful, are ignorant of history, and are driven far more by fear and sentimentality than logic or reason. That's not a particularly useful combination of mental conditions. They want to pass a law that punishes millions in order to modify the behavior of a very few people who are already breaking the laws we have now. That's obviously not very smart. But they are not the kind of beltway butt-insky's we're used to seeing on the tube, who want to turn free American citizens into a servant's class suitable only to collecting government cheese and pulling their chariots. They are stupid, not evil.

What horror it must be to be one of those people and to discover that the life-long goal that you've strived for and that you genuinely believe will save the children of America from a life filled with pointless risks, is actually against the law. That's what it means when we say that something is unconstitutional - it means it's against the law. It means that in spite of their best invertebrate wriggling and effort to get between the cracks, the (mostly reprehensible) people that write the laws these days have gone too far. They have stretched the meaning of the words to the point of breaking, and must now have their efforts undone.

Of course the people who make that call are lawyers too, so stretching the meaning of words is also their stock in trade. The original idea was that one group of meaning stretchers would be set against another, but the desire for popularity with the mob infects all men. And that makes that particular governmental construct an imperfect device for preserving liberty. It's flaws have been obvious for some time - most recently in the obamacare ruling.

I myself am not a lawyer. I don't profess to be an expert in stretching the meaning of words. But as an interested amateur with a modest experience in the area, I think I can follow the logic of the debate around the second amendment. And I think there is a perfectly reasonable case to be made that Diane Feinstein's new 'assault weapons ban' is unconstitutional. That is to say, to implement it would be breaking the law.

Free citizens don't need permission from the government to exercise their rights, but she would insist on it. Under her law, free citizens would be forced (ironically at gunpoint) to get fingerprinted, to have their activities carefully tracked, and to seek permission from the government before engaging in willing commerce with their legally acquired property.

She doesn't say so, but in order to implement her law, all gun owning Americans would have to be on a consolidated list, and their firearms registered with the government. Such a list would be very handy later if the government were to decide that some new 'crisis' could be best handled if all those guns were confiscated, and the registration of firearms has always preceded that event in the past. Restrictions like that are supposed to be beyond the limit of what the federal government is allowed to do. But to Biden, Feinstein, and well meaning dolts of the anti-gun movement, that seems like no restriction at all.

My buddy RA and I were out to dinner the other night commiserating with a recently unemployed friend, and the subject of guns came up. RA, as you probably know from his occasional comments, is a 'gun guy' too and although our friend participates in the shooting events I organize, he is not a gun owner or gun rights supporter. He thinks that guns should be kept away from 'poor people' because they commit the crime. It honestly never occurred to him that this view is essentially a racist view, but self awareness is not universal, nor necessarily a requirement for me calling you a friend.

Anyway, at one point the bartender chimed into the debate on the anti-gun side, and that's when I made my big mistake. I've been having this discussion ALOT lately you see and I'm sick of educating people on the same simple facts and principles over and over and over again. So instead of doing like I normally do - staying calm, presenting the facts, and letting them tie themselves in rhetorical knots by trying to reconcile the irreconcilable logic of anti-gun thinking, I just got fed up.

"You want to ban all guns? Fine. Go ahead, propose repealing the Second Amendment. You propose it, we'll debate it and see how it works out for you." "no no no" they say "we only want to ban really evil guns!" "Fine!" was my response. "Propose it. Put it on the table, and we'll discuss it and see how it works out. I'm sick of saving you people from yourselves. You want to try to confiscate a bunch of guns?! Go ahead. See where it gets you! But don't expect people like me to come save you when the shooting starts!" All that made me feel better, but I doubt that it was more persuasive than my usual tactics.

These guys aren't evil or stupid. (well... maybe the bartender was... what do I know) They were horribly ignorant, and a bit self delusional. And at the time we were all deep in the hinterland of liberty, at a French Bistro in the meatpacking district of Manhattan. But I did our side no favors in that argument. After weeks and weeks of being compared to Nazis, accused of racism, mental illness, fanaticism and being spiritually linked to mass homicide, I didn't see any way to convince two more basically thoughtless people they were wrong. They didn't care about facts, so I didn't present any.

My friend at least, certainly had good intentions. In his mind he's not proposing disarming black people, he's finding a 'middle ground' to make everyone in the debate happy. He doesn't think of the right to arm oneself as a fundamental right, he thinks of it as something I do as a hobby, and that it should therefore be subject to whatever regulation our betters in congress decide it should. He's just one more 'low information' liberal. A nice guy who doesn't think about things and doesn't want to. And we have a word for people like that these days... a voter.

But there are still inescapable facts to this discussion. Owning a gun gives me power - inevitably, political power. And that's why the power mad hacks in government so desperately want to disarm me. It's also why I and the people like me won't be disarmed. This is the absolutely inescapable 'end game' of the debate.

There will be legal wrangling and political wriggling. And the politicians will have whipped a basically good intentioned but thoughtless mob into a real frenzy before it's all over. But I don't care about the mob. I'm not persuaded by them. And while they may wear down my ability to calmly educate them, they will not persuade me to disarm under any circumstances or using any method. If you really want me to give it up, you're going to have to come try to take it from me.

I started talking about the horror it must be to discover that it's against the law to ban guns, when you truly believe that a gun ban will 'save the children'. Well here's the thing. As horrifying it must be to discover that a gun ban is unconstitutional, it's nothing compared to the horror that will come on the day that it's found not to be. These days in particular, the law is an unreliable ally. And at the end of the day, a great many gun owners don't care about the law any more than we care about the feelings of the angry mob.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

- More From "The Derb"

Very often I find John Derbyshire saying (or in many cases writing) things that impress me. He's at it again:

For all the horrors it engendered, and for all that it was a radically false view of human affairs, classical Marxism had some intellectual body to it. It was nonsense, but it was interesting nonsense, and inspired serious people to acts of heroism. My father-in-law, whom I liked and respected, was a lifelong Marxist; and I knew some of the older generation of European Marxists, the Arthur Koestler generation, people who had spent their youth running from city to city in Europe with the Gestapo at their heels. They were wrong, but they were brave and admirable.

Cultural Marxism is also nonsense, but nothing like as interesting. It is really a shallow, infantile and narcissistic set of notions, a way for people to feel themselves important without having to think too much, risk anything, or accept too much responsibility. Cultural Marxists do not put their lives on the line, as Koestler and his comrades did. For the most part, they just strike poses.

What a poetic and elegant moment it is when you realize that the modern American left is unworthy to call itself "Marxist".

The rest is at the link.

- Mrs. Feinstein's Exteme View

Do you fellas remember back when we had rule of law? The nice thing about that concept is that it gives you a firm place to grab onto when making relative arguments. Take this little tidbit that was written down as a law someplace back when such things mattered:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

So let's use that as our benchmark and have a conversation about extremism.

There are people who hold extreme views on a topic like private ownership of guns. As an example, Dianne Feinstein thinks anything that goes bang is an 'assault rifle' and therefore the above law shouldn't apply to it. She's trying to call pistols and shotguns assault weapons. She expects free citizens to get fingerprinted and to register before exercising their constitutionally protected rights - all because she's afraid of something she doesn't understand. Silly.

For her, the real issue in the law above that she thinks should be subject to her interpretation are the words "shall not be infringed". She doesn't think it's infringement to ban certain classes of weapons, make people get fingerprinted or to ask for permission from her before exercising their rights. It's just how she see's it.

There are other people with extreme views too. They generally have problems with the words - "militia" and "arms". We have a standing army now, but back when this law was written, we had a citizen's militia. Who was in the militia? Every able bodied (and able minded) man of a certain age. And what were the arms he was supposed to keep and bear? A weapon suitable for use in military operations.

So from their perspective, it's a reasonable and rational thing to assume that every able bodied man should be required (not just allowed) to keep and be able to bear a fully automatic carbine much like the ones used by our military. That's certainly no more of a stretch than Mrs. Feinstien's view of the words "shall not be infringed".

I personally don't hold either of these views - even if I'm more sympathetic to one than the other. I'm not as extreme as anyone depicted here. My only point is that we shouldn't pretend that Diane Feinstein doesn't hold an extreme view just because it's the same extreme view held by much of the media.

- What Rhymes With Molon Labe?

A Baltimore area outdoors show which banned "Assault Weapons" was cancelled when the NRA chose to boycott the event.

- Feeling Politically Despondent

After continual surrender to Obama and the Democrats, the Republicans seem to me to lack the capacity for change. The Democrat's typical denial of reality will eventually bring on another 9-11 style event, and that will wake America back up. But the Republicans that win back control of the government in that next election won't deserve it. They are too similar to the Democrats, and see themselves as a different brand of anointed ruler. They see themselves as the 'morally valid' anointed rulers, which is EXACTLY the same way the Democrats see themselves.

My big problem of course is with America. Power should revert back to the people and the government should be a part time, low paid, less involved entity than it is. But the people don't want that. They want "free" government stuff. They want the government to save them and to be their parent, and husband and father. And people like that are not fit for self rule.

It's a sad statement, but I think I've finally become convinced that we really are at the end of the American experiment.

Who is Deep in the Cheese? Lanny Breuer

I love the intro to these "newsreports - "after leading the agency’s efforts to clamp down on public corruption and financial fraud at the nation’s largest banks, according to several people familiar with the matter." Those big banks are just too big and too much for a dedicated public servant who is tough on crime.

A couple of posts here last summer asked about executive privilege once the Obama administration asserted it in Fast & Furious. It seemed clear to me then that the administration strategy would be to use the litigation process to delay, so that Fast & Furious would have minimal impact in the Presidential election. I also looked at what information was public about Fast & Furious. I concluded then that Lanny Breuer was Deep in the Cheese. I explained then that, once a congressional probe looks into official misconduct, evaluative process executive privilege (The President can talk freely and privately to his advisers) would not be enough to protect the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division in the DOJ, who is one step down from Eric Holder.

In essence, an OCDETF Strike Force, which are coordinated at a very high level in the DOJ, targeted investigation of weapons recovered at crime scenes which were sold to straw purchasers with the knowledge of the ATF.  Mr. Breuer wrote in an email stating that he thought that treating the recovery of such weapons in one gang unit case was a "terrific idea."  By December 18, 2009, ATF identified fifteen interconnected straw purchasers that sold about 500 firearms.  By January 5, 2010 senior ATF officials had a summary of all of the weapons that could be linked to known straw purchasers, who bought 685 guns in under two months.  On January 5, 2010, Mr. Breuer met with ATF officials, including Deputy Director Billy Hoover and Assistant Director for Field Operations Mark Chait at the Robert F. Kennedy Building, Room 2107, Jan. 5, 2010, 10:00 AM. We will never know what was said at this meeting.  But, by then, Mr. Hoover had received numerous communications from the ATF Phoenix Field Division about recovery of Fast and Furious weapons in Mexico. While all this was ongoing, DOJ authorized several wiretaps to further the investigation, all of which were supported by DOJ affidavits that would give a Judge enough information to allow the wiretap.  Justice knew exactly what was going on.

The DOJ then delivered a February 4, 2011 letter to Congress advising that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives “makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico."  DOJ later retracted this letter, with Breuer diving on his sword. DOJ then, as I saw it, employed an executive privilege delay strategy.

Fast & Furious under achieved as a scandal because Lanny did a good job. He has a bright future in Washington.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

We Will Not Submit Tamely

I did some reading to test my thesis that the invention of the metal cartridge revolver was a disruptive technology that destabilized the status quo sufficiently to make the beginning of the Civil War no coincidence. I don’t think I have enough to support this idea, but I found some interesting movement away from slavery as an economic system that coincides with the mass production of firearms. I bring you Bleeding Kansas.

The territory that contained what is now Kansas was above the latitude for what could become a slave state under the Missouri Compromise. Nonetheless, the Kansas-Nebraska Act signed May 30, 1854 permitted the residents of those territories to decide for themselves whether to become a free or slave state. Pro-Slave Missourians crossed state lines to elect of a pro-slave legislature in 1855 (I want to look further into the laws they passed, which I suspect included prohibitions against slaves and free negros from possessing arms).

Up in New England, Christian Sharps invented the knife-edge breech block and self-cocking device for the "box-lock" Sharps Model 1851.  In that year, Sharps manufactured and sold 20,000 units, using mass production techniques. The Model 1853 "Slanting Breech" Carbines became equipped with the Sharps-patented pellet primer system.

The Sharpes Model 1853 Carbines were nicknamed "Beecher's Bibles," after New York clergyman and abolitionist, Henry Ward Beecher.  Ward and other northeastern abolitionists shipped 900 Sharps Carbines to Free Soil settlers Kansas in heavy crates marked BIBLES. Here is a part of a March 31, 1856 letter of thanks to Rev. Beecher:
Recent events have shown that emigration to Kansas in this enlightened age and country has been attended by circumstances clearly indicating that there is not even here exemption from the common necessity. We therefore accept the weapons, also, and like our fathers, we go with the Bible, to indicate the peaceful nature of our mission, and the harmless character of our company, and a weapon to teach those who may be disposed to molest us (if any such there be), that while we determine to do only that which is right, we will not submit tamely to that which is wrong. We wish nevertheless to have it distinctly understood, that we do not anticipate the occurrence of any contingency that will render it necessary to use these deadly weapons for our protection, and that they cannot be so used while in our hands except in the last resort, and for the defence of those rights and liberties that are dearer than life itself. 
In great haste, your truly,
C. B. Lines,
In behalf of the Company 
Thereafter, Abolitionist and slavery forces fought several battles in Kansas, including:
  • A May 26, 1856 raid by pro-slave Missouri Ruffians a raid against Lawrence, Kansas, where Freesoilers had convened a Convention 10 months earlier; 
  • The May 24, 1856 Pottawatomie Massacre, where abolitionist John Brown kills five pro-slavers; 
  • The June 2, 1856 Battle of Blackjack, near Baldwin in Douglas County; 
  • The July 4, 1856 attack of abolitionist stronghold Tokeka, Kansas under direct orders from President Franklin Pierce; 
  • The August 16, 1856 Battle of Fort Titus 
  • The September 15, 1856 Battle of Hickory Point 
Ultimately, with the October 5, 1857 elections, Kansas free-staters won control of the legislative branch. Later,  in a vote again tainted by fraud by pro-slave Missouri Ruffians,the pro-slavery Lecompton Constitution was approved on December 21, 1857.  Thereafter, the Lecomption Constitution was resoundingly defeated.  

Kansas became a free state, with the balance in the U.S. Congress tipping irrevocably toward freedom.  Thanks to the 1853 Sharpes Carbine.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

- Obama's Army vs. The NRA

Talk to an antigun zealot and they will tell you that I am not the problem. They look at me, a prosperous middle aged, married suburban white guy, and what they see is not what they believe they need to fix. They hear about my experiences with competitive skeet shooting and hunting, and it doesn't feel like a crisis to them. Even when they hear me talk about how much fun it is to go to the range with an AR15 or AK47, or hear me talk about the imperatives of 'carry gun' selection, they still don't see any need for new law.

I am not who they feel the need to disarm. They may twist around their statistics and cherry pick the numbers (ala the Brady anti-gun group's talking points) to try to defend the progressive position, but after 5 minutes or so when I make it clear that I understand those numbers better than they do, they typically back off. Inevitably they fall back on trying to recruit me to their view by turning me on "them". By them, they mean the people who they see as different than me, who they really do feel should be disarmed.

You need only look at a map of the US by the degree of firearm regulation to know who that is. The people that progressives really want to disarm - the people they feel the absolute need to disarm - are young brown men. They want to disarm young blacks and Latinos, in inner city environments. Those groups are responsible for an inordinate amount of firearms crime - way in excess of their numbers in the general population. But they also represent a key component of the left's 'client constituency' model, for big government, and are therefore a preferred political group.

So they aren't really a good candidate for new gun law. Those young brown men already live in mostly "gun free" zones. Until a recent Supreme Court decision Chicago was totally gun free but still lead the nation in murders by firearm. New York, home to the sugar daddy to the anti-gun movement Mike Bloomberg, is a place where only the rich and politically well connected can get a gun, and the bulk of the population is totally disarmed as well. Camden, and Detroit are free fire zones in spite of their relatively tight restrictions on firearms ownership. And liberals are not so delusional that they don't see what's happening.

So in an effort to 'solve' this problem without passing laws to directly restrict their clients, they have no choice but to 'cut off the flow' of guns to the inner city. And they imagine that if they make firearms ownership harder in the rest of the country, they can diminish firearms ownership among their client constituencies without actually sounding like that's what they're trying to do. If they could figure a way to make guns more rare among criminals without actually punishing their favored political groups they most certainly would. But unfortunately those groups turn out to be criminals more often than everyone else, so direct regulation simply won't fly. Instead, further disarming their political opponents feels like a 'win - win' to them, and represents too tempting a target.

This brings us to our present position in the gun debate. The left wants to disarm non white men without looking racist, and the predominantly white political right wants to keep their guns so badly that they're willing to tolerate the criminal elements continuing their current access. Ironically, the very group that is arguing for blacks and Latinos to have the same access to firearms as whites is the group that is constantly accused of racism, and the group that wants to restrict guns by race, is the group that thinks it's the one best suited to do the accusing.

This is an old story for gun-banners. The first anti-gun regs were designed to disarm former slaves, and it's followed that trend ever since. The only thing that's really different this time is that Obama imagines that he can mobilize his campaign organization, largely unionized public school teachers and non white inner city 'clients', to convince the broader general public to disarm. Displayed in that context, it's obvious that it's not going to happen. In fact if gun sales, NRA membership roles, and permit applications are any indicator, it's having an opposite effect. Displayed in this context, it's what I'd expect.

Years ago, I read a non fiction story written by Robert Heinlien about his involvement in local politics. One thing he did was hire a bunch of surly drunken homeless guys to knock on doors and berate people into voting for the opponent of the man he was supporting. If I recall he said it gained his guy 1% in the election results. That's how I imagine Obama's campaign Army will change the gun debate. Nothing will convince me I'm right about something faster than having a unionized public school teacher make the opposing argument. They aren't intelligent people and do not offer thoughtful criticisms. Many on the right feel the same about them that I do.

Snooki-Americans may not think the way we do, but we don't think the way they do either. And I don't see Obama's army changing this debate.

- Coronation Part Deux: Collective Individualism

I didn't turn on the news yesterday at all, which made my house seem like a foreign place. We almost always have it droning quietly in the background. But I couldn't bring myself to see news cheerleaders staring doe eyed and weak kneed, at what I hear they have called "the second coming". Obama is entitled to his party, but it's the press's reaction I couldn't stand to watch.

And if you think you were depressed yesterday, just wait until he nominates a supreme court justice. Howard Zinn is dead, and Bill Ayers has a felony conviction which I think disqualifies him. So my bet is still Andy Stern, former head of the SEIU.

Monday, January 21, 2013

- Disarming... Everyone

This country began when the ruling elite tried to disarm the citizenry and inadvertently started a revolution. Personally, I think it's likely it ends the same way. This story poses an interesting dynamic that I think will be repeated.

The City council (liberal politicians all) vote to ban assault rifles and large magazines. This leaves a bad taste in the mouth of the law abiding citizens that acquired them legally and now own them. So those private citizens in turn refuse to allow the city cops to practice shooting at the privately owned shooting range.

Most cops are pro-gun. Most politicians and police chiefs are anti-gun. Eventually the cops will have to decide where they stand.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Assize of Arms and Keeping Them - Pt. 2

I wanted to feel more confident that I had my argument right about the “keep” part of Second Amendment, so I spent most of the day noodling around the issue by looking again at the 17th century English politics of arms. The word keep comes from Middle English (Not Latin or Greek to my surprise) kype, which was a fortified tower within a castle used as a refuge of last resort. The archaic meaning of keep appears in many 17th Century English laws, such as in keeping an army by paying soldiers. Somewhere along the line a more modern keep began to mean that something was yours, as in having it “for keeps.”

Charles II assumed the throne, after the deposition of Oliver Cromwell and the end of the long Parliament. In order to restore proper Order, Parliament acceded the use of arms to the Crown in Charles II, 1652: An Act for ordering the Forces in the several Counties of this Kingdom.  The disposition of armed forces "was the undoubted right” of the Crown, to which Parliament “cannot nor ought to pretend.”  Parliament also agreed that under Cromwell, “many evil and rebellious principles have beene instilled into the minds of the people, … which may breake forth unless prevented to the disturbance of the peace.” To prevent such disturbances, Parliament granted the Crown's right to issue, “severall Commissions of Lieutenancy” with the power to lead forces within the Realm “in case of Insurrection Rebellion or Invasion.”

To fund the prevention of disturbances, the Kings Lieutenants possessed the power to charge persons that “have a Revenue” with the arming and arraying of Horsemen and Foot Soldiers. The charge included a payment to each, “for so many dayes as they shall be absent from theire Dwellings and Callings by occasion of Muster or Exercise.” While the word “keep” does not appear in this statute, it seems that through muster or exercise, soldiers, "earned their keep."

The 1662 Act additionally empowered the wicked oppressing King’s Lieutenants to “inflict a penalty” and by warrant for, “Distresse and sale of the goods of the person or persons so neglecting or refusing …” to pay.  Likewise, the Lieutenants were, “enabled & authorized … by Warrant ... to search for and seize all Armes in the custody or possession of any person or persons whom the said Leiutenants … shall judge dangerous to the Peace of the Kingdome …”

With James II fully out of the picture, Parliament enacted what became a constitutional “Bill of Rights.” William and Mary, 1688: An Act declareing the Rights and Liberties of the Subject and Setleing the Succession of the Crowne.  This bill is a clear model for the American Bill of Rights. It simply made a list of offenses committed by James II illegal, such as, “raising or keeping (archaic) a standing Army” without the consent of Parliament.  Additionally, with respect to arms, the Act ensures that, “Protestants may have Arms for their Defence suitable to their Conditions and as allowed by Law,” without employing the word keep in its modern possessory sense.

On the other side of the pond, before the 1688 Bill of Rights, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Virginia exercised taxing power to require men to present with arms at their own cost and under a variety of circumstances. Of these statutes, only Delaware, with the first statute being promulgated in 1642, spoke in terms of keeping arms: “[men]… Shall be obliged to keep such Arms and Ammunition by him, during the Continuance of this Act....” and, again, in exempted certain men from muster while, “They being nevertheless obliged, by this Act, to provide and keep by them Arms and Ammunition as aforesaid, as well as others. And if an Alarm happen, then all those, who by this Act are obliged to keep Arms as aforesaid... shall join the General Militia....” Thus, almost universally, colonists possessed required weapons at their own “keep” for the benefit of the various Militias.

Somewhere, and I am not sure when or where, the archaic word keep changed in the Colonies to include its now modern possessory connotation. I am guessing there was a reticence to use keep in legislative language with respect to arms, because keeping a standing army was illegal unless authorized by Parliament. Likewise, Article 4 of the Articles of Confederation continues to use the archaic context of keep: “…[E]very State shall always keep up a well-regulated and disciplined militia … “

Certainly, the Confederation of States that came to be after revolution knew well the burden of keeping men in arms when it moved from Independence Hall in Philadelphia because of a mutiny of unpaid Pennsylvania war pensioners. Little doubt many an ill paid soldier carried his weapon away from the field of battle as his keep. Regardless, as the debates for ratification of the Constitution moved forward, the notion of the right to keep arms, in a possessory sense, began to reflect a 150 year old reality that Americans were armed, by spoil or otherwise. The grant of a right “to the people” to “keep” “arms,” as written into the Second Amendment, embodies the inevitable recognition that through victory against the British, Americans had earned their keep in muskets, without infringement. They had them for keeps.

- Meanwhile Back In America...

Do you know what the largest protest march in Washington DC is? For years now it's been the annual march for life - the march put together by pro life groups to protest the killing of children through abortion. Hundreds of thousands of people every year and the media always refuses to cover it. As far as they're concerned it never happened, no matter how many times it happens. But get 5 "code pink" idiots in a basement together yelling "hey hey, ho ho" and the media treats it like the landing of MacArthur.

The British press has all the Anti-American bias that the American press does, but I get the impression they don't imagine themselves so "in control" of the discussion. So they will cover things that our media would prefer gets flushed immediately down the memory hole. This weekend's "pro second amendment" protests were an excellent example.

They were arranged in several state capitals, and were hastily thrown together by some kid on Facebook. Like most "genuine" grassroots efforts they weren't so stupendously organized, and were therefore probably smaller than the next batch of more organized protests will be. But they were large enough to be meaningful. At least the British press thinks so.

The story and many more pictures can be found here:

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Assize of Arms and Keeping Them

I thought I might spend a little time explaining why I believe the Second Amendment uses the words it does by looking at some history that was well known to the Colonists. Any Englishman of that time understood well the burden bearing of arms, which goes all the way back Henry II.  The Assize of Arms 1181 requires that, “Whoever possesses one knight's fee shall have a shirt of mail, a helmet, a shield, and a lance; …” After all, with the award of land to the knights that supported his grandfather at Hastings, Henry II needed a way to raise an army if the Angles, Saxons, Jutes or Celts became unruly.  Jews, however, could not bear arms.

James II, a Roman Catholic, targeted Protestants with enforcement of laws disarming owners of land worth less than 100 pounds, due in no small part because he put down a 1685 rebellion led by James Scott, the First Duke of Monmouth. After the Battle of Sedgemore, the Duke lost his head.  But worse, an elderly woman, Alice Lisle, was the first convicted  in the ensuing Bloody Assizes, because she harbored a non-conformist (Presbyterian or Puritan) minister, John Hickes and an outlaw, Richard Nelthorp.  Sir George Jeffries, the original "Hanging Judge," sentenced her to burn alive.  Soon after that, 144 were convicted in two days between September 18 and 19, 1685.  300 Protestants were hanged and 800 Englishmen were shipped as slaves to the West Indies.  James II, thereafter, became the first King to keep a standing army. Not so surprisingly, the well-armed Protestant, William of Orange regulated James II off the throne in the 1688 Glorious Revolution, because James thought it best not to engage William in battle. Afterward, Parliament passed the Bill of Rights 1689, which restored the right for Protestants (but not Jews) to bear arms.

The County of Monmouth, where I live here in New Jersey, was founded in 1675 by Scottish and Dutch friends of the Duke of Monmouth. 18 years after the Bloody Assizes, New Jersey, much like the other colonies, exercised its taxing power by requiring that all men between sixteen and fifty appear twice per year in the field, ”sufficiently armed with one good sufficient Musquet or Fusee well fixed, a Sword or [Bayonet], a Cartouch box or Powder-horn, a pound of Powder, and twelve sizeable Bullets …” Beginning a longstanding tradition of New Jersey law, however, there were many exceptions to this command.  School masters, civil officers of the government, members of the legislature, and slaves (but not Jews) were not required to bear arms. 100 years after Sedgemore, having deployed militias of men with their musquets to defeat an armed force once yet again beholden to a Crown, most States would not ratify the Constitution, fearing the rise of yet another brutal monarchy.

The Preamble to the Bill of Rights makes it clear that the first ten amendments sought to prevent federal abuse, by further restricting the already enumerated Constitutional powers:
THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution. 
The Constitution before the Bill of Rights granted Congress and the President specific powers over an Army and the Navy, as well as over the Militias, organized within the several states, when they were called to service:
The Congress shall have Power …
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress; 
U.S. Constitution, Art I, Sec. 8. 
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States;
U.S. Constitution, Art II, Sec. 2
The Second Amendment, as described in the Preamble, states its purpose in a "declaratory clause", and then provides a following "restrictive clause":
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.  
The militia in New Jersey, at least, was “well regulated” by excluding civil officers of the government and the legislature.  It required only the the possession of a then modern weapon by a man in a field two days per year.  The Colonists thought the militias necessary for the security of a free state, little doubt, because they had only thirteen years earlier finally defeated an institution with a long history of godless brutality and cruel abuses in administering the English burden of bearing arms for the benefit of the Crown.

The key difference between the English burden of bearing arms and the Second Amendment restriction on federal power that made the U.S. Constitution palatable, however, appears as the grant of a right of the people to not just bear, but to KEEP their arms. This went farther than the English Bill of Rights of 1689, which states only that, "The subjects which are Protestant may have arms for their defense suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law." In the Second Amendment, there is no hedge. That way, rather than face another loss for liberty like the one taken by the Duke of Monmouth and the good Protestants at the Bloody Assizes, the American people knew they could fall in behind those like William of Orange, who James II chose not to fight. The deal the States made was that a Charles, a James, a George or any other central power would forever know that disarming Americans was out of their playbook forever.

History shows us how the First and Second Amendments fit together.  The American colonial experience made federal power an object of fully justifiable fear that it may become yet another power hungry Crown.  The States viewed federal power as totally unacceptable, unless the Constitution first guaranteed religious liberty, while next guaranteeing that any erstwhile federal imperium must know that anybody, backed by their own weapons, may choose to oppose them.

Molon labe.

Friday, January 18, 2013

- I'm Tired Of Being Slandered

Another day, another slurry of libelous anti-gun propaganda from the New York Times. You know what I'd like to know? How is it the same people that call the occupy movement "grass roots" when at its peak the largest estimates for its membership were in the hundreds of thousands (apparently there is a careful online effort to obscure the actual number) , can look at something like the NRA and say that it only represents gun manufacturers.

The NRA gained more members in the last 30 days than many people figure the occupy movement ever had, and yet the media calls "occupiers" grassroots and the NRA the handmaidens of big business. That alone should tell you how disingenuous their broader claims are.

Here in the real world, there are roughly 4.5 million members of the NRA. It's growing so fast it's tough to keep up with the totals. And to paraphrase Charles CW Cooke from a few days ago, we are 4.5 million HIGHLY motivated, politically unified people with guns.

We are under constant libelous attack in every major media outlet in the country and by virtually every member of the mainstream press. The law abiding members of the NRA have been compared to Nazi's, to Klansmen, and accused of perpetrating murder, mayhem and all manner of villainy. But instead of picking up our guns and corralling our enemies into re-education camps we discuss it with them. We don't respond with the same kind of hyperbole and rampant fanaticism that our enemies do. We focus on the facts. We focus on what we honestly believe will make Americans safer.

One liberal fantasy about guns is that the US military can put down any domestic uprising. "What can a few guys with deer rifles do against tanks and F16's?" they ask. I find this particular liberal claim more ridiculous than normal because if it were 4.5 million Chinese or 4.5 million Nigerians, they would be the first to tell us that our Army is powerless. And in that regard they'd be right.

No military commander would ever imagine that they could put down an active rebellion that included 4.5 million people - especially when their soldiers on the ground are highly sympathetic to the rebel's cause. At least, not without weakening his own Army by so much that further rule afterward would be impossible.

A liberal commenter a few days ago suggested I work out the game theory on that conflict - as if I hadn't done it years ago. He said that it's an un-winnable conflict for the NRA. He's right, but the NRA doesn't have to win anything. We just have to endure. It's the federal government who would have to win, and win so decisively that they still had enough troops left afterward to maintain law and order.

And it will take a lot of troops to maintain that order because at that point they will have spent significant time and energy killing US citizens who were just defending their constitutional rights. The concept of 'rule of law' and 'consent of the governed' will have gone out the window long before that point.

If current trends can be trusted, Texas, Wyoming, and much of the west and midwest will have seceded by that point. It's tough to have nationalized healthcare when you no longer have a nation. You can't support a big bloated welfare state if your tax collectors keep getting shot.

The NRA may be highly irregular, and not organized for combat. But it is in fact, the world's largest private Army. What's more it's a 100% volunteer army. It's an army that is unified in its vision. It's an Army that to a man is highly motivated, and only gets more motivated every time another media maven slanders us.

And just to put a sense of scale on it, you liberals do not have 4.5 million available jail cells. If we decided to break your laws there isn't really a whole lot you could do about it. You should be damned grateful we aren't really how you depict us, or the NYTimes building would be in flames right now, and the on air staff at MSNBC would be fleeing for their lives.

So maybe you 'gentlemen and ladies of the press' should quit the hyperbole and constant propaganda stream, and start talking to us in the same civilized voice that we use when we talk to you. You will not berate us into giving up our guns. We will not bend to public opinion no matter how much you distort it. No mob of angry liberal upper west sider's will ever persuade us. No lie that you tell about us will change that. Rally your "Hey Hey, Ho Ho" catch phrase crowd all you like. Our catch phrase will still be "Molon Labe".

So why don't you quit treating us like enemies of America , before we start to believe you and begin acting like it?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

- Making The NRA Case

Andrew Cuomo's new gun law turns virtually every policemen in the state into a criminal:

The ban on having high-capacity magazines, as it's written, would also include law enforcement officers.

Magazines with more than seven rounds will be illegal under the new law when that part takes effect in March.

As the statute is currently written, it does not exempt law enforcement officers.

Nearly every law enforcement agency in the state carries hand guns that have a 15 round capacity.

A spokesman for the governor's office called Eyewitness News to say, "We are still working out some details of the law and the exemption will be included, currently no police officer is in violation."

The Patrolman's Benevolent Association President released a statement saying, "The PBA is actively working to enact changes to this law that will provide the appropriate exemptions from the law for active and retired law enforcement officers."

State Senator Eric Adams, a former NYPD Captain, told us he's going to push for an amendment next week to exempt police officers from the high-capacity magazine ban. In his words, "You can't give more ammo to the criminals"

I thought the way the law was written, giving the criminals more ammo was a foregone conclusion. But with the way the cops in New York sprayed the crowd with live fire at the Empire State Building last year, the people of New York might be considerably safer if they left the law the way it is.

- A Word On Spambots

There have been some issues with the comments section. Half a dozen comments that were left, never showed up on the blog. So I wanted to provide a little insight into what I know about this.

We all know about the comment spambots and how they offer us endless access to Russian sexual stimulants and Nigerian bank accounts. Well in an early effort to stem some of that I turned off all 'open access' to comments on any post older than 5 days. I did this ages ago.

So if you comment on a post older than 5 days, your comments get emailed to me and I have to approve them before they're posted. And since I have a life (no really) it sometimes takes a little while for me to get to the approval - they happen very often at about 5:00 AM the next day.

Also, if you comment as Anonymous (you know who you are but we obviously don't) then there is a non zero probability that the system will mistakenly think you are a spambot and send your worthwhile insight to the great virtual abyss even if the post is not 5 days old yet.

So the moral of this story is two things:

1. Sign up with Blogger (a tentacle of google) and comment with some quirky pseudonym. Dubiously awarded Hawaiian warrior names and vaguely Tolkien-esque sounding proper nouns are both popular.

2. Be patient on any comment for a post older than 5 days.

- Brokaw On Gun Rights

I have to agree with old Tom here. It's a travesty the way ordinary people are allowing the members of the press and a very few anti-gun zealots to stomp all over the civil rights of Americans in an attempt to disarm the citizenry.

I think it's the responsibility of each of us to stand up to the members of the media, and the inside the beltway crowd and defend the rights of the law abiding people who are under constant attack from the media and the left. I think it's absolutely important to remember that all law abiding Americans have the right to keep and bear arms, and I think it's incredibly brave for Brokaw to stand up and go against the conventional wisdom of his industry like this.

Oh... isn't that what he meant? (HT - NRO)

-Anonymous Responds to Obama Gun Control

Seems like the Occupy crowd feels betrayed.
Although they had said they trusted no one, the Occupiers with their Guy Fawkes masks had outspoken support from Faux-cahontas and Barry O.
The media and hollyweird folks are saying that the NRA put out this video... I guess they came to that conclusion because of the inescapable presentation of facts and logic.
While I disagree with the Occupy Movement and some of the Activities of Anonymous, I won't stop anyone from speaking-up for individual rights.
You be the judge.

- I Once Sold A Gun With No Background Check

Did I ever tell you guys how I sold a gun on the black market? It's true. I was building a shotgun for my wife - on a frame from a 20 gauge Savage arms, side by side. I acquired a high quality stock at a deep (lucky) discount, finished it, and replaced the original stock with it. The results of this work can be seen here.

Anyway, in the process, I had to buy a lot of parts, and I had ordered some online, only to find out that they weren't available after all. Soon after, I found another Savage arms side by side in poor cosmetic but working condition, which I bought to use as a parts gun.

No sooner had I cracked the thing open and removed what I needed, but the parts I'd originally ordered from Numrich showed up on my doorstep. Nothing but a shipping snafu, and they weren't out of stock after all. But now I had a complete 20 gauge gun that was really too ugly to keep for myself, especially compared to my wife's gun.

So I put all the parts together, tested it with 2 rounds at the range, cleaned it carefully, and carted it off to the Valley Forge Gun Show to sell.

I walked up to the first table at the show, told him how I came by the gun, negotiated a price, and sold it to him. No background check, no waiting period, no nothing. As it turns out, he was a gun dealer who is always at that show. But I didn't check his background. I did see the gun I sold him on his table at two subsequent shows. (The last show that Frithguild and I attended together, I couldn't find him or the gun I'd sold him.)

Because he's a dealer, had he sold the gun to me instead of the other way around, he would have had to do a background check on me - gun show, or no gun show. (Here is a really great piece on that very thing from someone who is obviously too objective to have much of a future in journalism.) And since the Valley forge Gun Show is in fact in Valley Forge Pennsylvania, and I wasn't a Pennsylvania resident at the time, he would have had to sell the gun to a dealer in my state of legal residence in order to have them transfer it to me. Thankfully we didn't actually have a universal background check in place.

Liberals fantasize that the only thing standing between criminals and a gun is a background check. Like most things they believe, this isn't just silly it's also a major inconvenience to the law abiding. But even worse, in order to enforce their universal background check system they'll have to register every single firearm in the country. So when you give one to your kids, you'll have to call the FBI first, and file a form with the government to get permission.

As always, if the world worked the way that liberals wish it would, it wouldn't be a big deal. But as I say to my brothers' continual amusement... "The main reason the world doesn't already work the way that liberals wish it would, is that the world doesn't work the way that liberals wish it would."

Here in reality the 'universal background check system' means the federal government intruding into the lives of millions of people, to restrict a few who will simply ignore the law.

Some numbers of the 'background check' story are here.