Author Archives: Cylar

About Cylar

Christian, father, hunter, video gamer, and all-around right-wing loudmouth.

Musings on Suicide

So, this story

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2014/08/11/robin-williams-dead-at-63-in-suspected-suicide-officials-say/

broke today. Robin Williams, aged 63 and one of America’s most beloved actors, has committed suicide. Millions are heartbroken, he was a gifted actor, his fellow stars enjoyed working with him, we’ll all miss him…blah blah blah. The president even took time out of his busy schedule of golfing, fundraising, giving speeches, and otherwise ignoring America’s problems to get in a kind word or three.

Great.

Just great.

You know what this says to me? It says, “The fame, the fortune, the adulation of millions – it just wasn’t enough for me. I couldn’t kick my drug habit and stop feeling sorry for myself, so I threw my life away. Screw you, fans.”

He became bored with life and decided to off himself.

Did those words actually come out of Robin Williams’ mouth? No, but that’s precisely what’s being said by the act of killing himself.

It’s been less than 24 hours since his body was found, and already the Internet is abuzz with talk about what a great guy he was, what a tragedy this is, and so on and so forth. My Facebook feed is cluttered with people crying over it.

You know what? I’m going to go against the grain here. Screw that guy. Screw him. Screw Robin Williams. I don’t feel sorry for him and I’m not calling his death anything other than what it actually is – a waste.

And it’s the worst kind of waste – the self-inflicted kind. The guy at least $50 million, had a long string of high profile credits earned over a four-decade career in film and television, and the adulation of millions. It wasn’t enough, apparently. He’d spent most of his life battling drug and alcohol addiction – in and out of rehab – and when he couldn’t sack up and get over his issues, he decided death was the answer.

Is Robin Williams the first celebrity to have a drug problem? Certainly not – it seems like most of them have at one time or another. We all can come up with the names of those who died of overdoses, from Jimi Hendrix to Amy Winehouse and hundreds of others. But those people died in an accidental way. They made poor choices. So did Williams, but unlike the others, he actually sought death. He willfully and intentionally killed himself.

Williams is guilty of murder – the murder of self. He took life – a great gift, one being denied right now by evil men such as the blood-soaked terrorists plaguing Christian communities in Iraq. Denied 3,000 times/day in American abortion mills. And threw it away. He threw away not only life itself, but also the other gifts God had given him: acting talent in such quantity as to earn him $50 million (and that’s just what he still had at the end, not what he actually raked in over the years). He was an international acting sensation, a man millions upon millions of people wanted to meet, wanted to emulate, wanted to honor just because he’d done such a good job entertaining them.

He
Threw
That
All
Away.

Can you get your head around that? I’m having trouble with it, personally.

Suicide is a despicable, disgusting act – one of the most hateful and selfish things a person can do. No matter what kind of signs there were (or weren’t) there before, what kind of notes of explanation might be left behind, the bereaved will never feel like they have the answer to the two big questions – “Why did this happen?” and “Was there something I could have done to prevent this?”

Now, a friend on FB criticized me for my remarks. She said that while she agreed with me, that I was long on judgment and short on compassion for Mr Williams. You know what I said to her?

What can I say? Suicide angers and disgusts me. My uncle took a troubled youth into his home and showered him with kindness. The little punk repaid him by stealing his handgun, blowing his own head off, and leaving his body for my aunt to find.

And I’m watching my dad – who is about the same age as Williams – struggle with addiction to the same drugs, and depression – and go on and on about how life isn’t worth living – when he’s surrounded by people who love him, and more money than I’ve ever seen. So forgive me if I’m coming up short on “compassion” today.

Compassion is great, but I reserve it for people who’ve been dealt a bad hand in life – who suffer through no fault of their own – especially those who don’t lose their optimism and their faith in God despite that suffering. Those are the people who are truly worth our compassion. Right now, I’m feeling compassion toward Robin Williams’ wife and family and the fans of his movies, not the man himself.

I don’t have compassion for people who commit suicide. It’s a crime against God, who is our Creator and our Maker. He’s the one who formed us together in the womb and is willing to walk beside us all the days of our lives, no matter how good or bad it gets (Psalm 23 comes to mind here). Our bodies are not our own, but belong to our Creator (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Williams violated the covenant God has made with all men – to be born, to live, and to die on God’s timeline and according to His prerogative – not our own.

Robin Williams failed to place his faith, trust, and hope in our Lord, in Jesus, the one who promised He would be with us always, even to the end of the age. He destroyed the body God created for him. He willfully chose to use drugs and alcohol. He willfully chose not to use the resources available to him in such a way as to beat addiction for good.

So rest in peace, Robin Williams. And screw you.

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Cylar’s Take on Gay “Marriage”

Author’s note: I wrote the following back in the summer of 2008. However, over five years later it continues to be a topic we hear a lot about, especially with the “Duck Dynasty” flap that was in the news a couple of weeks ago – the one where Phil Robertson was suspended by the A&E network from a show about his family’s duck-call business – and the prior story about a baker in Colorado being fined by a judge for refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding (and the florist in New Mexico being punished for refusing to provide service for same, and a wedding photographer punished for same…) I realize I’m a bit late to the party and that pretty much every conceivable thing to be said about this topic has probably been said by now, but here’s my take for what it’s worth. Enjoy.

The topic of “gay marriage” has been in the news a lot lately here in California, mostly because of a recent decision by the State Supreme Court. The Court found that “no significant reason” for the continued “denial” of gay marriage rights existed.

This is so fundamentally wrong on so many counts, I hardly know where to begin. Let’s try to take it one step at a time.

In 2000, California voters passed Proposition 22, an initiative which stated that “only a marriage between a man and a woman shall be legal or valid in California.” Supporters of gay rights/marriage have begun arguing that support for this measure has since fallen to 51% or worse, according to “recent polls.” The problem with this line of reasoning is that (aside from the fact that I doubt its veracity), the voters’ will is law unless overturned by those same voters. There’s only one poll which counts, and that’s the one taken on Election Day. But liberals live and die by the polls, so I shouldn’t be surprised by this at all. Interestingly, in the wake of the court decision, supporters of a second and similar initiative have gathered enough signatures to place another such law on the ballot this November, one aimed at reversing this travesty and power grab by the state Supreme Court. I am having a hard time understanding why this is necessary, as the people have already spoken about this once, and it’s not up to any court or judge to come along and unilaterally overturn that. But I digress…

I think what bothers me most about this entire debate – this whole question of “Should gays be allowed to have full marriages which are recognized by the government” – is that the supporters, the “ayes,” have begun with a fundamentally wrong assumption.

That assumption, (upon which the California State Supreme Court also drew in writing its majority opinion) is this notion that gay marriages should be legalized and granted by the state, simply because no one can come up with a good reason NOT to do so. It’s like suggesting that a person should sit around writing down the numbers on locomotives a la “Trainspotting,” simply because there’s no good reason not to do so. It is intriguing that this is the best I’ve heard from gay marriage advocates by this point in time.

It harms no one, right? Why not write down locomotive numbers? And why not recognize gay marriage?

Actually, there are plenty of good reasons not to grant or recognize it, including the observation that it would overturn not just centuries but in fact millenia of established legal, moral, and religious tradition. You don’t go around tinkering with the building blocks of a stable society without a damn good reason, cowboy. You need to do better than merely ask, “Why not?”

A person who wants to bring about a change in the way people think, or in the laws, becomes known as a reformer. A refomer’s opponents, known as conservatives, are the defenders of the status quo. As the reformer, it is up to YOU to make your case. Sometimes the conservatives have been on the wrong side of history, sometimes not. But that misses the point.

The point is that it is a completely wrongheaded notion to say to the conservatives, “Why shouldn’t we change the way we’re doing things? You tell me why we should keep doing things your way.” Wrong question, wrong answer. Change for change’s sake is not necessarily a good thing – something I wish we could get across to Barack Obama. As the champion of a change or reform, it is incumbent on YOU, not your opponents, to demonstrate why the reforms you’re proposing would be of benefit to society. Change can be good or bad, but there’s no virtue in it without a supporting reason. The other side is not responsible for explaining why things should remain as they are. Period.

Gay marriage advocates also have attempted to re-frame the entire debate into some kind of civil rights issue. Some among their numbers have compared it with the race-based civil rights struggles of the 1960’s, which ultimately culminated in the landmark Civil Rights Act. Signed by President Lyndon B Johnson in 1964, it outlawed discrimination of any kind in the United States in employment, housing, and other areas, based on race, color, sex, or other immutable characteristics. (It also forbade discrimination based on religion, which is regarded as a matter of conscience since the USA is not permitted to outlaw or require any one faith as a matter of state policy.)

I find this comparison between gay marriage advocacy and the civil rights struggle to be highly disingenuous. For one thing, as noted above, race is an immutable characteristic. A person is born black, white, red, yellow, or something in-between. A person is born male or female. However, the jury is still “out” on whether he/she is born gay. That hasn’t been proven to anyone’s satisfaction; the so-called “gay gene” research was a complete flop. Even if it could be proven that gayness is indeed immutable, the fact remains that there’s nothing forcing a person to live such a lifestyle other than pure volitional choice. Some have claimed that nobody wakes up one day and chooses to be gay, any more than he wakes up choosing to be black. Fine. But you definitely cannot tell me, then, that he does NOT wake up choosing to get married to another person of the same gender.

Nobody has proposed to somehow outlaw homosexual inclinations or behavior. Rather, the State, at least up until recently, has simply refused to grant recognition of marriage between anything other than a man & woman. California proposition 22, the federal Defense of Marriage Act (signed in by President Clinton in 1996) and other applicable laws didn’t even mention gay marriage. They didn’t say, “Gay marriage shall be illegal.” They simply said, “Only marriage between a man and a woman shall be recognized.” This is a subtle but critical distinction.

And to reiterate what I was saying earlier, it’s not incumbent on conservatives to explain why the status quo is desirable; it is incumbent on reformers to explain why the CHANGE is desirable. The Civil Rights leaders of the 1960’s understood this. Martin Luther King Jr and his fellow travelers didn’t go around asking, “Well, why should we continue to discriminate against people based on skin color? I can’t see any good reason for it!” Instead, they said, “It is wrong to make pronouncements on people based on skin color or gender, for the simple reason that the Bible establishes such behavior as immoral.” MLK Jr’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” illustrates this point clearly.

These leaders were able to make a moral appeal to the consciences of men for the reforms they were proposing, and why these reforms ultimately would prove to be of economic & social benefit to our nation: namely, by allowing racial minorities to enter the workforce in greater numbers, and take advantage of educational opportunities to make themselves more valuable to our nation. (Both resulted in a bigger tax base and many other positives.) Gay rights supporters haven’t bothered with any of this; they’ve just gone around saying, “Gay marriage should be legal, because you conservatives can’t tell us why it shouldn’t be.” It simply doesn’t work that way, and once again, the political Left has it backwards.

Supporters of equal civil rights for all races could make a moral appeal based on established Judeo-Christian tradition. The Bible is clear that all men are regarded as equal before the God who made them; therefore governments of men should treat them accordingly. But you cannot use the Scriptures or any other authoritative moral source to claim that God would command us to grant homosexuals special legal rights or in any way sanction their behavior. Au contraire, the Bible is quite clear that homosexual behavior is immoral. It naturally follows, then, that the government has no business granting legal recognition to a lifestyle which contravenes these established moral traditions unless those traditions can be interpreted in such a way as to demand reform as a matter of justice.

A lot of gays, as you’d imagine, are secular people who will respond that they are not bound by American society’s moral scruples and traditions, or the indisputably religiously-inspired principles on which the US was founded. I have six words for such people:

TOO FREAKING BAD! DEAL WITH IT!

This is the United States of America. It is, always has been, and always will be, a Christian culture with a secular government. While we respect the rights of all men to worship according to their conscience, it doesn’t mean the governments we elect have any business passing laws which contravene Biblical principles. That goes double for courtrooms occupied by a bunch of unelected judges, who seem to think they’ve got the right to make and enact law from the bench without going through the proper channels. Their role is to interpret existing law, nothing more.

There are a plethora of other Westernized countries in this world who have a more secular tradition than we do – this would be pretty much any nation in western Europe, plus Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and others. Most of them already have gay marriage recognition on the books. I can’t understand why the gays cannot go live in one of those places if they want to get married, and stop screwing around with the one Western country that regards itself as God’s land instead of a socialist paradise. There are plenty of us here who like America the way it is, thankyouverymuch.

The problem is that gay rights supporters have hijacked the once-noble Civil Rights struggle by claiming “discrimination” where none exists. They claim, “You’re discriminating against us by not allowing us to marry one another.” No, that is a lie. Homosexuals have the same right as anyone else to marry someone of the opposite sex. Similarly, heterosexuals have no more right than gays do, to marry someone of the same sex. There is no discrimination there.

The United States is not, and has never been, in the business of granting special rights and privileges to any one group at the expense of others. One of the founding principles of this nation is equality before the law; the consistent rule of law rather than the whimsical rule of men. One set of rules for everyone and all that. If the states of this Union start handing out special favors like gay marriage (or anything else which only a small segment of society is going to be even interested in), then we’ve got a real problem on our hands. Every aggrieved minority will be coming out of the woodwork for their piece of the pie. Can you say “Balkanization?” It’s contrary to our long-standing principle of national unity and homogeneity.

The response from the gays to this reasoning, is of course predictable. They say, “Yeah….but we can’t marry the person we love!” Sorry, that’s not our problem. It’s not the government’s job to provide for everyone and anyone’s personal happiness. Can’t, won’t, shouldn’t….period. In a free country, you are responsible for your own contentment.

Homosexuals were on their firmest & solidest ground when they argued that what they did in the bedroom was nobody’s business but their own. Despite the Biblical guidelines which I regard as the supreme authority in life, ultimately adherence to those guidelines is between a man and his God and nobody else. An adult’s moral obedience isn’t anyone else’s business unless the lack of such, harms others or takes away from their human rights.

The problem is that with this gay marriage movement, they’ve made it EVERYONE’S business by insisting that our popularly-elected governments grant legal recognition to their lifestyle by placing it on a par with traditional marriage. And I object to my leaders, whom I elected and whose salaries I pay, voluntarily or involuntarily recognizing anything which I find offensive. It’s one thing to say, “I live my life as I see fit and it’s nobody’s business,” but quite another to say, “You will look upon the way I live my life and call it good.” It does not work that way in the United States of America.

Some have argued that the government should get out of the marriage business completely, recognizing nothing at all and leaving the matter entirely to religious authorities. The problem with that approach is that it ignores the major benefits that traditional marriage confers on society, among them:

1. Promoting the major institution responsible for the creation of well-adjusted children (who grow into stable and productive adults)
2. Providing a safe and moral outlet for men’s natural (and powerful) sexual urges
3. Creating a civilizing influence for men who might otherwise be inclined to commit violent crimes
4. Providing a built-in support apparatus for women, who traditionally have had fewer educational and vocational opportunities due to the rigors of pregnancy and child-care roles.

I’m getting tired of people suggesting this – suggesting that ‘getting government out of the marriage business’ – that is, abandoning civil recognition of marriage entirely – is going to be some neat & tidy way of disposing of this whole ugly controversy. That this is a good way to wrap the whole thing up in a bow and be done with it. “Oh, you two feuding groups can’t agree on whether the government will recognize gay relationships. Let’s just have it recognize NO relationships! Problem solved, right?” Uh, no. Problem NOT solved.

First of all, the traditional definition of marriage has served humanity just fine for thousands of years. I’m not throwing all that out the window just because of a bunch of sodomites and perverts decided that it’d be swell if the State recognized their relationship…and that since we’ve got this argument threatening to plunge our country into another civil war, we might as well throw the baby out with the bath water. No.

Second, what do people think “family law” is? Abandoning civil recognition of marriage would throw the entire discipline into a tailspin. It would make a mess of inheritance issues and a bunch of other things. A whole set of disputes commonly argued in family court, turn on the government having a coherent definition of who is married to whom. You’re not going to fob all that off onto churches and reasonably expect there not to be any consequences. So again, no.

Besides that, all indicators are that we’re moving in the opposite direction. The State seems to be getting itself MORE involved in our lives as the years go by, not less. I have no idea why people think ‘getting government out of the marriage business’ is a realistic suggestion.

The government has always had a stake in promoting marriage. Homosexual marriage doesn’t provide society with any of its benefits; traditional marriage does. And none of this has been unique to the United States, and it predates our founding by thousands of years – which is why I find it especially odd that our rulers now apparently reserve the right to revise the institution.

If this nonsense spreads any further, then a very old precedent has now been overturned and been replaced by a dangerous new one – that government-sanctioned marriage is no longer confined to a man and a woman. Gay-rights supporters insist that the gravy train stops here now that they’ve gotten their way, but a generation ago, our present situation would have been unthinkable, too. So I’m not buying it. If you revise the definition of marriage once, there’s no logical constraint against doing it again.

If gay marriage is indeed a fundamental human right of some kind, then there’s no longer any credible basis for arguing against polygamy, bestial marriage, incestuous marriages, or for that matter, marriages between a human and inanimate objects. (Some have predicted that robotics will eventually bring us androids that are so lifelike, intelligent, and anatomically-correct, people will be trying to “marry” them.) If it’s OK for two men to be married, or two women…then why not three men, or a man and his sister, or a woman and her dog, or six children, or a partridge and a pear tree? On what legal or moral basis would you now deny those people their “right to happiness?” Well?

The gay-rights people have labeled this a “slippery slope,” and called it “dumb,” but they’re going to need to come up with more than insults and tired, worn out figures-of-speech to disprove my point. I fear the floodgates have been opened and the water doth rush forth…

A letter to the editor was recently published in the newspaper back in my former hometown. It was entitled, “Gay marriage won’t cause world to end.” Perhaps not, but other moral crimes such as bank robbery, child molestation, and mass murder haven’t (yet) brought an end to civilization either. That alone doesn’t necessarily mean our society should legalize or tolerate them, does it?

And now that you mention it, I’d submit that smiling on such things is precisely what’s going to bring God’s judgment and wrath down on this world. The Lord did not spare Sodom and Gomorrah; why should He spare us?

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Is Jesus Liberal or Conservative?

“Jesus: The Original Liberal” said the bumper sticker. “Jesus was a liberal!” screamed another. Liberals love to claim Jesus Christ of Nazareth thinks the way they do, when the opposite is true. (They even have their own website claiming it, apparently…)

jesus_liberal_magnet003-332x239

Modern Western Civilization is largely divided between two competing and diametrically opposed worldviews: the Secular Progressive (the SP’s) and the Judeo-Christian (the JC’s). With some exceptions, most modern liberals conform to the former; modern conservatives to the latter. There are many significant differences in philosophy between the two, but here are some of the most important:

  1. SP’s believe man is naturally and inherently good. JC’s, by contrast, hold that man is naturally evil and corrupted.
  2. SP’s believe that man is perfectible through social reform: it is just a matter of finding the right form of government and the right person/people to lead it. JC’s believe that human nature is fallen and not perfectible without outside intervention.
  3. SP’s believe that man is the center of the universe and subject to no higher code than his own whims; JC’s believe that God is the center of the universe and that mankind is accountable to Him.

No Thanks I'm a Liberal

Let’s try to remember – history’s most murderous regimes were officially atheist: the USSR, Maoist China, Nazi Germany, the Khmer Rouge’s Cambodia, etc. Such regimes saw no moral problem with slaughtering those who did not conform to their vision of utopia. And slaughter they did – by the millions. None of them espoused views that were in any way compatible with conservatism. They were socialist – in other words, leftist. Like modern leftists, they adopted gun control and dozens of other policies today’s liberals support. And yet the modern Left wishes to claim Christ as its forebear?

What is very ironic is that most of those who sling the “Jesus is a liberal” slogan probably don’t even believe in God, much less in the divinity of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Rather, this statement is used as a club to attempt to shame Christian conservatives into silence, especially on the social issues of our time. The thinking goes that liberals are closer to the example Jesus set, simply because they favor more income redistribution (“welfare”) by the government. Their specious logic tells them that they are more compassionate than are conservatives, simply because the latter believe that charity for the downtrodden should:


  1. Come from private rather than public sources
  2. Be accompanied by a plan to return recipients to a productive role whenever possible.

Liberals foolishly believe themselves to be more like Jesus, because they just love love love everyone as Jesus did – conveniently forgetting that Christ also demanded personal responsibility and moral accountability, as conservatives do today. As an example, let’s look at liberals’ favorite Biblical quote:

John 8 (NIV)

8 1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

See? Jesus loves, yes, but He also requires a certain standard of behavior. It’s got nothing to do with this “Be whomever you want to be – God loves you!” stuff we hear from liberals today.

Later in the New Testament (2 Thessalonians 3:6-12), the Apostle Paul builds on this by requiring a work ethic, something else favored by more conservatives than liberals. Liberals use federal public assistance to subsidize sloth and shiftlessness. Any conservative who suggests we ought to take another look at that is called heartless…and his Christian credentials are questioned, if he claims to be one.

The problem is that the teachings of Christ (and the Apostles) are not at all consistent with modern liberal prescriptions.

Here’s the core issue: Liberals think Jesus would have favored government’s forcible income redistribution programs, when He really meant private voluntary charity. When Jesus exhorted His followers to help the poor, He did not say, “Advocate for government to confiscate the possessions of others and give that money to the underprivileged.” Rather, He said, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.” (Matthew 19:21, emphasis added) Do you see any impetus for that among modern liberals, or is it conservatives you find giving of their time and money?

Liberals do not understand this simple distinction – that voluntary charity is a completely different ball of wax from the government’s involuntary welfare state. Charity or compassion, funded by taxes taken forcibly from an income earner, has no soul. It bears no resemblance whatsoever to the sort of giving which Jesus preached to His disciples. Read it for yourself:

Luke 19:8-10 (NIV):

8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

If a taxpayer wished to voluntarily help the poor and downtrodden, that person should be able to contribute his excess wealth to private charitable organizations set up for this purpose, instead of acting through the government. This is better in two ways: first, private organizations tend to be more efficient at servicing the needy than are government entities, which means that more of the dollars given will reach the intended destination. Second, and more importantly, this provides the taxpayer with a means of helping the poor, without forcibly imposing the same burden on other taxpayers who would not have voluntarily made the same financial choices. Honestly – would you prefer that the IRS just help itself to your paycheck and use the proceeds to fund food stamp programs, or would you rather write a check directly to the Salvation Army when you want to, and for the amount you can afford?

But what of the notion that Jesus might have been liberal in other ways? This view is also not correct. Let us first define our terms: ‘Liberal,’ according to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, means “not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or traditional forms.” ‘Conservative,’ by contrast, is defined as “tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions.”

We can safely interpret this to mean that liberals generally are the ones who bring about political and social change, whereas conservatives tend to oppose such changes to existing rules and norms. In common use of the terms, however, liberals generally favor more wealth redistribution programs, while conservatives favor less – that is, limiting public assistance to the *truly* needy. (We now have one out of every seven Americans on food stamps, with about half of all households receiving federal transfer payments of some kind. The Left insists that it’s still not enough.)

The fact of the matter is that Jesus, contrary to popular belief, was not liberal but rather, conservative. It is those who opposed Him, such as the Pharisees, who were the liberals of first-century Judea.

Why is this the case? For one, Jesus said as much Himself: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17) A common misconception about Jesus is that He represented some kind of massive sea change in social norms or in the way man relates to God. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Far from being an agent of reinvention, Christ was the missing puzzle piece of an existing picture. He was the key which unlocked the secret of man’s relationship to God, and with it, the gates of Heaven. He completed the Jewish faith by fulfilling the fortellings of its prophets (by appearing exactly when, where, and how, all predicted millennia earlier), and by providing the final and perfect sacrifice which could remedy man’s sinful nature for all time. A rift had existed between man and God ever since that unfortunate incident in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-24); Christ, however, died on a wooden cross and then rose again on the third day, which rectified the situation for all who would accept the gift. (Romans 5:12-19) The old ways of temple priests and animal sacrifices, valid at one time, were now no longer necessary.

By contrast, the Pharisees and teachers of the law of Jesus’ time were the liberals. They were the ones who had brought about change in God’s people by perverting the Law which God gave to Moses, while still remaining in a position of leadership as Jewish religious authorities. The Pharisees had become corrupt and powerful over the years, adding oral traditions to the Law, which God had not authorized, and honoring the letter of the Law while ignoring its spirit. Jesus referred to them as “snakes and sons of snakes,” then further called them on their hypocrisy by stating that they “…clean the outside of the cup and dish, but on the inside, are full of greed and self-indulgence.” (Matthew 23:25-28, Matthew 21:12-13.) The Pharisees clearly were the liberal ones, having heard the Word of God and turned away from it long before.

Jesus came to Earth to, among other reasons, explain to God’s people where mankind had gotten off-track, (John 4:1-26) and much of the rest of the New Testament elaborates on this point. Throughout His teachings, Christ tells us that it is pointless to hew to the letter of God’s laws, but in the process lack love and voluntary compassion toward one’s fellow man. Jesus came to remind humanity of the truth that God did not hand down the Mosaic Law (Exodus 34:1-8) simply for His people to turn right around and treat their brethren with arrogance and disrespect as the Pharisees were doing. It was the Jewish leaders of the day who were the liberals; they were the ones who had changed the Jewish faith into something it was never intended to be. (Matthew 12:1-12)

Besides, what part of the modern liberal agenda is in harmony with Christ’s teachings? Abortion? Euthanasia and assisted suicide? Darwinism: the idea that man is not God’s special and unique creation, but rather just a glorified ape arising from a primordial soup of muck through random chance? Affirmative action in employment and education based on race and gender, rather than character and merit? The rejection of traditional marriage as a social institution? Central economic planning? Moral relativism: the rejection of an objective moral code that applies at all times to all people in all places?

Which of these liberal notions is consistent in any way with Christ’s teachings or with any other part of the Bible? On the contrary, all of Scripture, including the message of Christ, would appear to side with conservatives in opposing each of these liberal crusades.

An honest and objective review of the Old and New Testaments forces a person to one inescapable conclusion. Namely, that Jesus Christ of Nazareth is not liberal, but in fact, conservative.

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Gun Owners Getting You Down? There’s An App For That!

Well, isn’t this interesting….

Apparently, it’s now possible to download a new app onto your smartphone which will warn you about those evil, ooogedy-boogedy scary gun owners lurking in your neighborhood. Think of it as a sort of sex-offender, er, gun offender registry…except the reporting is done by your neighbors instead of by the local government. And the locations reported by the app aren’t even suspected of actually breaking any laws.

Nonetheless, gun owners are now on a par with rapists, pedophiles, flashers, and those who sleep with underage girls. Welcome to the brave new world where exercising your Constitutional rights is seen as much the same as being a pervert. You know, cause it’s for the chillllldrunnn, and all.

Here’s an excerpt from the app description:

The Gun Geo Marker operates very simply, letting parents and community members mark, or geolocate, sites associated with potentially unsafe guns and gun owners. These locations are typically the homes or businesses of suspected unsafe gun owners, but might also be public lands or other locations where guns are not handled safely, or situations where proper rights to own or use any particular type of firearm may not exist. Electronically marking these locations can help others in the area learn about their geography of risk from gun accidents or violence.

The product description goes on to note that all information comes from volunteer app users, not law enforcement criminal databases or any other reliable & unbiased source of information on where unsafe weapons (or their use) are to be found. It also doesn’t tie into any official government registry, such as the one the State of California maintains for handguns sold since 1991, when it began entering them into its database at the point-of-sale.

However, we are apparently given some guidelines on reporting these dangerous unsafe weapons and their owners:

There will naturally be some uncertainty about whether any particular location actually represents an unsafe gun situation, and again, the general guideline is that you should mark any location about which you have a gun related concern, while trying to provide enough extra information for others to make their own determination about safety. Try to keep the following warning signs and guidelines in mind when determining if a local gun owner may present a threat to your children or your community. (emphasis NOT mine).

So what exactly are app users supposed to be looking for? Glad you asked:

  • Unlocked, loaded, or carelessly stored weapons
  • Dangerous gun owners
  • Places with an unsafe gun culture
  • Uncertain situations
  • On the other side of uncertainty

Say what? Oh, here we go…apparently any of the following will suffice:

  • “Possible unlocked/loaded/unsafe storage”
  • “Possible insufficient training” (emphasis mine)
  • “Guns and unsupervised children”
  • “Guns and substance abuse”
  • “Possible medical related concern”
  • “Neighborhood talk, unsafe” (emphasis mine)
  • “Possible high conflict, armed neighbor”
  • “Possible out of place, large arsenal” (emphasis mine)
  • “Documented/frequent unlawful discharge”
  • “Possible illegal weapons on premises”
  • “Possible prohibited persons”
  • “Possible anti-government/terror threat” (emphasis mine)

To its credit, the guidelines do remind us, “First and foremost it is important to understand that in the United States, citizens have a constitutional right to own firearms.”

And:

“In general, you should not worry about firearms owned by either hunters or gun enthusiasts who safely store and properly enjoy their weapons in the field, or at local firing ranges for recreational purposes. These are normally the people who have the highest level of commitment to gun safety, and abide by the laws regulating their hobby. The same holds true for most concealed carry permit holders, or other owners permitted and properly regulated.”

While I appreciate the patronizing psychobabble that just being a hunter, gun enthusiast, or CCW holder doesn’t make me a “dangerous gun owner,” the potential problems are still numerous.

If you continue reading past this point on the guidelines page, it goes on to single out the National Rifle Association for “their consistent opposition to gun safety laws that would, for example, require parents to properly secure their guns, allow prosecutors to bring charges against people who allow kids to play with loaded guns, or when they help pass laws prohibiting doctors from asking children about guns in the home in an epidemiological attempt to help prevent children from shooting other children.”

I will not delve here into debunking (again!) the tired notion that more gun laws would correct our nation’s problems with gun violence.

The guidelines then turn right around and admit, “In spite of all of this, you should recall that the NRA also provides high quality safety training as a public service to its members, and that this increases general gun safety.

So which is it? Is the NRA a hero or a villain? Doesn’t their position as trainers and safety advocates put them squarely on the side of those who want to keep firearms away from criminals, children, and the untrained? You know, the dangerous gun owners?

Never mind. This part is the most chilling of all:

People who stockpile large arsenals or numerous assault weapons for reasons other than collecting are likely a concern. Bumper stickers or other public displays supporting gun ownership are not a problem, but when combined with radical anti-government propaganda and/or representations of paranoid political beliefs or support for terrorist organizations, these owners and their locations may well be worth marking.”

Personally, I’m less worried about people “stockpiling” guns and ammo…and more worried about people who are worried about other people stockpiling guns and ammo. And how the heck is the app user supposed to determine whether the guns are being acquired and stored for “reasons other than collecting?” And don’t we already have mechanisms in place to report people suspected of terrorist activity?

And this business about “anti government propaganda” is concerning, too. We all think we know what that phrase means, but one man’s propaganda is another man’s inconvenient truth…and vice-versa. Is anyone else suddenly reminded of the president’s admonition to report anti-government speech?

Remember, boys and girls, this app is entirely devoted to reporting arbitrary designations of safety threats, not outright illegal activity by gun owners and gun use. In fact, the app specifically advises against its use to report that:

If you have direct, personal knowledge or even a suspicion that guns are being used in context of organized criminal activity, then it may be extremely risky for you to mark related locations. You should forget about the Walkingtools Gun Geo Marker in all such cases, and instead consider getting appropriate law enforcement agencies involved in the situation.

That’s interesting, isn’t it? It says that if you know about specific illegal activity, then just contact law enforcement through conventional channels and advise them. On the other hand, if there are gun people or gun places that just give you a funny feeling, go ahead and rat on them to the entire world with our stupid app. Point them out so the rest of the app users can hassle & terrorize them….er…I mean…avoid them.

You might be asking, “Cylar, what’s your problem? If you don’t like the app, then freaking don’t use it. Don’t put it on your smartphone. Simple enough for you?” Eh….no. You see, there’s absolutely nothing stopping someone from putting my address on this thing and not only alerting the entire neighborhood that I’m a gun owner, but unjustly and unfairly exposing me to possible risks, including but not limited to:

  • Harrassment by anti-gun neighbors and other busybodies
  • Harassment by anti-gun members of local law enforcement via “routine” traffic stops, “probable cause” searches of the residence, and other unwarranted contact
  • Being unfairly placed on a federal law enforcement agency’s terror “watch list”
  • Provocation: “You’re complaining about my dog barking? You going to shoot me over it, tough guy?”
  • Burglary and home invasion by actual criminals

That last one is the most concerning of all. While I’m a strong advocate of locking up your guns, the fact is that not everyone does and I don’t favor laws forcing gun owners to do so. (I’ll admit that I’ve got considerable frustration with fellow gun owners who don’t lock up their weaponry…mostly because I don’t want to get shot by a burglar or other criminal who just stole a gun from one of these irresponsible clod’s homes.)

The fact of the matter is that most burglaries in the US occur when no one is home:

“Most burglars will sit outside of a residence and wait until the occupants leave for work or school.  They [burglars] wait until they are absolutely sure that no one is in the home,” says Laviage.

It’s easy to see why. If you were breaking into a house, would you do it when the occupant is home, and run the higher risk of being arrested or shot….or would you wait until he’s left for the day and is unlikely to return in the next several hours? The point is that the gun doesn’t protect your home unless you’re actually in the house to use it. Now the burglars have some extra intel on which houses they should be staking out. Thanks, Gun Geo Marker!

Of course, there’s the even more sinister possibility that the burglar is so desperate for drug money (or so high) that he’ll glance at this app, then break into a gun owner’s house anyway (perhaps while the owner is asleep) and murder the occupant & his family while searching the house for weapons he can sell or use to commit other crimes.

As a gun owner I can tell you that my worst nightmare is not just being burgled, but specifically, being burgled in the “home invasion” style – a group of intruders breaks in and holds my family hostage while forcing me at gunpoint to tell them what the combination to my gun safe is. And having to pray that arming a band of thugs, being scared out of my wits, and losing thousands of dollars in personal property are the least of my worries.

I’m wondering if the makers of Gun Geo Marker sleep well at night, knowing they could be indirectly responsible for that…or if they know they may be sued by a burglary victim on the grounds that their smartphone app provided valuable intel to gang-bangers.

Who exactly is spreading propaganda, again? Are they sure it’s gun owners?

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Cylar’s Memorial Day Message

It’s Memorial Day, and we’re hearing the familiar reminders to “remember the fallen” and “honor the troops” today and all of that. It is often accompanied by pictures of Arlington National Cemetery, plain white headstones with flags next to them, and the like. Some mentions also make it a point to suggest you should financially support organizations designed to maintain memorials, or to help living veterans and their families.

Before anyone objects, let me say that this is not a bad thing. We need to remember fallen warriors, including those who didn’t count on dying that day. (The Navy guys who were asleep in their bunks aboard the USS Arizona during the Pearl Harbor attack, for example.) A lot of servicemen (and yes, women) died horrible and painful deaths in defense of our freedom. Some were wounded in combat and later died of their injuries. It was not always quick and easy for them. I will not elaborate on the many creative ways that enemies of our country have found to kill members of our military over the years.

While many of these service members were probably thinking about survival, their comrades-in-arms, or some combat objective at the time of death (as opposed to high American ideals of freedom, democracy, liberty, self-determination, etc) it can nonetheless be stated that all of them were lost in service to our country in one capacity or another…even those whose missions we never even heard about. I’m going to take it one step further and state that I think we should honor the memory of those who may have been engaged in morally questionable military activity at the time of death.

For example, everyone agrees that D-Day was the right thing to do; the My Lai massacre…not so much. But even those who were participating in such an atrocity still deserve to have their memory honored. As American citizens, we’re still obligated to honor even those who fought in campaigns and conflicts we don’t necessarily support.

I’ll try to get to my point. My only objection to the Memorial Day observances (the parades, the familiar Facebook posts, the blurbs to “remember the fallen” heard throughout the day on various media outlets) is that I think most of them don’t go far enough. I think, along with the reminders to remember the fallen, we need an additional message for the living:

Do not let their sacrifice be in vain.

What do I mean? Okay, did anyone see ‘Saving Private Ryan’? Reference the part near the end of the film, where Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) has been mortally wounded on the bridge, he’s speaking to Private Ryan (Matt Damon), and he says, “Earn this!” It was his last sentence, before succumbing to the injuries he’d just sustained in combat. Private Ryan, of course, survives the war and goes on to lead a long life. At the end of the film, he’s shown visiting Captain Miller’s grave…and he asks his wife to tell him he’s been a good husband, a good father over the years.

I don’t know if that scene actually happened or if it was the creation of some Hollywood screenwriter, but I think there is some wisdom in Captain Miller’s message. “Earn this!” His statement to Private Ryan was simple – don’t let my sacrifice, my death on this bridge, my dying at the hands of the German army we’re fighting – don’t let that be in vain. He was telling the private to lead a worthwhile life after the war, one which would be worthy of the sacrifice of brave men who fought and died. At least that’s what *I* got out of that scene.

What does that mean to us today – not letting the sacrifice of fallen warriors be in vain? I think it means not only to exercise the freedoms they bought and secured for us, but also to be vigilant against anyone who’d try to take them. “Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel,” warned Patrick Henry. Yeah, the “give me liberty or give me death” guy.

Our Founding Fathers made it abundantly clear that those who hold political power are mere men – corruptible, not to be trusted, ever seeking to impose tyranny on the rest of us. They made it clear, through their writings in various publications of the time (The Federalist Papers, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution itself, personal letters, and others) that if our country is to remain free – or to have honest government – then the people themselves must be the ones to guarantee that. It means that one of the responsibilities of being an American citizen, is to hold one’s leaders accountable. It means demanding honest and transparent government that respects our rights.

Ben Franklin, for instance, on exiting the Constitutional Convention, was asked what sort of government he and his colleagues had designed, and he is reported to have said, “A republic, if you can keep it.” He meant that it was up to future generations to maintain what had been fought for during the Revolutionary War. It is also said that “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance,” which has been variously attributed. Regardless of who said that, I think there’s a real nugget of truth there.

We simply don’t have the luxury of turning a blind eye to what’s happening to our country, trusting that our leaders know best, or telling ourselves that it’s all going to work out. History has counseled us that those who seek to aggrandize more power unto themselves always have nefarious reasons for doing so. Look no further than Hitler’s Germany for a rather strong example of what happens when people assume that their leaders have the peoples’ best interests at heart. The Russian Revolution of 1917 (which installed Lenin and his communist Bolsheviks in power) is another. Tyranny and destruction always follow such men.

This makes the president’s recent speech at Ohio State all the more disgusting:

Still, you’ll hear voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s the root of all our problems, even as they do their best to gum up the works; or that tyranny always lurks just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave, creative, unique experiment in self-rule is just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.

 

A lot of people these days talk about rights of citizenship, but no discussion of rights is complete without a corresponding discussion of responsibilities.They go together. It’s two sides of the same coin.

The president’s foolish speech at Ohio State is exactly the sort of thing our Founders were warning us about. Imploring us to reject “voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s the root of all our problems” is an example of what to watch out for. On the contrary, this just the sort of rhetoric that engaged citizens need to reject. It should be dismissed by those American citizens who are cognizant of their responsibilities to fallen warriors, as well as to themselves and their posterity.

(Understand that I’m not quoting this in order to pick on Obama or other liberals – not today anyway. He simply happens to be the guy in power at the moment.)

I wrote on Facebook today that one way of not letting our military’s sacrifices be in vain, is to pay attention to what your government is doing and to hold your government leaders accountable. This means they should be hearing from us on a regular basis. It means we should be paying close attention and not relying on the media or political pundits to interpret events for us. It means we have a responsibility as American citizens to let our elected and appointed leaders know that they answer to us – that we made them, and we can break them…figuratively and politically speaking. It means that we can and will use our First Amendment rights on the Internet, at gathering places, in forums, at the ballot box, and in court to assert our will.

This is particularly important here in America, because of why our military members went to their deaths on land, sea, and air over the last couple of centuries. There’s a very important distinction to be made between our fallen service members, and those who fought for our enemies, for many other nations/states/empires of history, or for those who fight in the militaries of many foreign countries today.

What distinction is that? Freedom. Our military’s fallen were lost in defense of freedom. I don’t mean to suggest that your average GI at Bunker Hill, Shiloh, Somme, Guadalcanal, Inchon, Khe Sanh, Desert Storm, or Fallujah spent a lot of time thinking about our country’s ideals so much as simply staying alive, watching each other’s backs and getting the job done. I also don’t mean to suggest that whoever the enemy du jour happened to be necessarily thought of themselves as the bad guys (though most certainly were). I do, however, mean to suggest that pretty much all of them were ostensibly deployed in some capacity meant to assure that our nation and its ideals would continue to exist.

If any of those fallen warriors came back to life today, I’d like to be able to look them in the eye and tell them that we hadn’t squandered what they’d bequeathed us. They didn’t bleed just so we can sit on the couch today and watch our leaders give away the store.

Though very little military conflict actually took place on American soil during the 20th and 21st centuries, every time our military was sent overseas it was ostensibly done so in order to protect our interests, and to make sure that no rival power would be able to get into a position to threaten those ideals. Nobody in America wanted to see the British redcoats, the Nazis, the imperial Japanese, the Soviet communists / their allies, Al Queda, or anyone else in a position to assert a real threat to the continued survival of this country, its citizens, or to our way of life.

I happen to think this is important because the American experiment is a unique one in human history. Never before was a country founded from the very beginning on the concept of self-government. Though other countries have been run democratically to one extent or another, never before was a nation set upon a foundation that the people, and not their rulers, are sovereign. Every other republic throughout history to that point had placed limits upon the sovereignty of the people.

Today, there are dozens of countries in which attempting to “petition the government for a redress of grievances” (that’s from the First Amendment in our Constitution) is all it takes to get oneself and one’s entire family thrown into prison or worse. How well do you think letter-writing campaigns by citizens are tolerated today in North Korea, Iran, Cuba, or a long list of other places? How well do you think it was tolerated by Soviet Russia or by the Roman Empire for that matter? Do you think politicians in those places listened to the people and realized they’d better clean up their act…or were goon squads sent out to deal with “troublemakers” and other sources of dissent?

And I don’t think we here in America are immune to our country going down the same path. We are in trouble if we’re more concerned about “American Idol,” keeping up with the Kardashians, and this year’s Super Bowl…than we are with holding our leaders accountable and making sure that they know we aren’t going to tolerate any funny business. It means letting them know – frequently – that we’re happy to vote them out of office and/or use the power of the judiciary to hold them in check. This is absolutely critical to maintaining the rule of law, as opposed to the arbitrary rule of men.

This is not a partisan plea. This transcends Republican or Democratic politics. This has nothing to do with party. While there happens to be a Democrat-controlled administration in the White House at the moment, it’s just as important to be vigilant when the other side is in power…regardless of how you voted in the last election. In fact, it may be even more important when “your guys” are in, since they may be more apt to listen to you if they think they run the risk of losing your support for acting unwisely, illegally, unethically, or irresponsibly. Don’t tell yourself even for a minute that Congress, the President, the governor, the state Legislature, the mayor, the City Council, or the County Board of Supervisors don’t care what you think. If there’s one thing that politicians of every stripe and every level understand, it’s votes.

I assure you that if enough people get exercised about something, action will be taken, by the highest levels of American government. If the Benghazi, IRS, or Fast N Furious scandals were being taken seriously by voters of all stripes (instead of dismissed as a partisan witch hunt), we’d be getting some real answers about what went on in these cases, instead of stonewalling and “I can’t remember, I don’t recall” from the people who may have been involved.

If the Democrats in Congress – and their constituents back home – were demanding a real response from the Obama Administration, we’d get one. But that’s just it – the people who elected these politicians need to be leading the way. Ultimate blame for corruption, incompetence, or malfeasance in government rests with the people, who are sovereign. It’s been said that the American people may not necessarily get the government they deserve, but they will definitely get the worst one they’ll tolerate.

If one good thing came out of the Watergate scandal nearly forty years ago, it should be this: The American people will forgive incompetence and even dishonesty…but they have no patience for a cover-up.

I don’t mean to get off on a lot of finger-pointing; those were merely handy examples because they are current events as of this writing. Everything I’ve said here is also true of developments at the state or local level. I personally vote in every election, of course, and also contact my state Legislative officials from time to time to let them know what I think of their positions on my pet issues. I probably should be doing even more, but as everyone knows, there are only so many hours in the day, with a full time job and a family to attend to. Nonetheless, I consider it my responsibility as an American citizen to let my leaders know that I’m watching them, that I have a voice, and that I’m not afraid to use it. So should you.

I also am happy to let them assume that I speak for thousands of other citizens who couldn’t be bothered to pick up the phone or write a letter that day, but who nonetheless do vote…and who are paying attention to what’s being done with their tax dollars and with the power we’ve entrusted to them as public servants.

These people who serve in government (remember that word) work for us. Not the other way around. We pay their salary and they answer to us, even if they are from some Congressional or Legislative district other than the one we live in. We the people are their boss, and as US citizens, we have a very serious obligation to our fallen warriors to insist on honest and efficient government.

Earn this. Honor the fallen, this Memorial Day and every day. Do not let their sacrifices be in vain.

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The Guns Go Off to College…Texas Style

(With apologies to our friend Texan99…)

From here.

As they say…God Bless Texas. My state could learn so much from them.

I’m going to just dive right in here. Apparently, even in Texas, college campuses are a no-go zone for firearms, even when carried by licensed permit holders. I’ve always found this a bit odd, just as I do every other no-go zone. I do not understand that. If you’re a concealed carry holder, what the heck difference does it make WHERE you carry? Either you’re cleared to handle a firearm responsibly or you aren’t.

Even if you don’t subscribe (as I do) to the school of thought that the 2nd Amendment is really the only permit one should ever need to possess or carry a firearm (or keep one in your car)…the fact remains that even Texas does not hand out concealed carry permits like candy. Furthermore, there’s a distinction to be made between stuffing a handgun down your pants and storing that same weapon in a car. (The gun owner-student is reasonably expected to properly secure his weapon out of sight while it is stored there.)

The proposal isn’t about concealed carry, of course…but about the right of students, licensed and otherwise, to keep a loaded weapon in a locked car parked on campus. I don’t see why it matters where the car is parked, either. It is a given (under this bill) that a person doing so has already obtained the weapon legally – otherwise he’s already a criminal by definition, whether he keeps his firearm on campus or somewhere else.

Theoretically, this bill would be enacted so that a student could quickly run to his car and retrieve his weapon in the event of an emergency. You know, an emergency like some whackjob shooting up a college campus.

Alas, wouldn’t you know, someone has a problem with it:

During the debate on the Senate floor, Democratic Sen. Jose Rodriguez of El Paso argued the bill would lead to allowing guns in college classrooms. He later told FoxNews.com, “I opposed the bill because, given today’s climate and the rise of crime on ours campuses, the last thing we need to do is pass a bill like this.”

 

Really? And why is that, Sparky? What is it about “today’s climate” that makes you so reluctant to allow students to arm themselves?

He continues:

“You allow it in the glove compartment of your car in the college campus and if you have a disgruntled student who wants to take (his or her) anger out on the teacher or an administrator, what’s going to stop the student from walking to the car and getting it?” Rodriguez said.

Here we go again – gun grabbers once again refusing to draw any distinction between law-abiding gun owners and the violence-prone. Once again making this gosh-awful, am-I-so-ever-sick-of-it, flimsy assertion that having a gun available is all it takes to cause a person to act rashly and murderously without regard to the consequences. Are you as tired of these people lumping all gun-carrying people together as I am?

Really, I’m sure there’s no difference at all between a guy who goes duck hunting before his office job…and some little punk with a rap sheet a mile long who’s looking to put a hit on someone for selling crack on “his turf.” No difference between the burglar with the 9mm and the homeowner with the 12 gauge. No difference between Joe Gunbuyer at the target range with his buddies, and Joe Crazyperson spending four months planning an assault on a mall. There’s definitely no difference between someone carrying out an attack on a classroom, premeditated or otherwise….and someone using a similar weapon to bring down the attacker.

No. Gun owners are all the same. They’re all just ticking time-bombs, just waiting to “snap” and start shooting indiscriminately, don’tcha know. Gun owners are all hot-tempered, rash, borderline-insane people with no morals, no respect for human life, no consideration for the consequences of their actions. (Sadly, many in America actually believe this.) Having access to a firearm makes you a dangerous nut, right?

I not only disagree with the Senator…as a gun owner I’m insulted by his characterization. How about you?

But since Sen Rodriguez is asking: What does stop a student from going to his car and grabbing his gun because he’s mad at the teacher?

I’ll tell you: Other students who also have loaded guns locked in THEIR cars.

(I don’t know whether they’d be able to get to their cars and retrieve their firearms in time to do much good or not, but that’s not really the point. It’s the principle of the thing. Right now, they don’t even have that option. The most fleet-footed student on campus won’t have that option unless the bill passes into law.)

This is the problem with gun-grabbers’ reasoning – they never count on the fact that when someone starts acting crazy with a gun, some OTHER person with a gun is going to put him down…not join in the fun or sit there doing nothing. Isn’t that precisely why we issue concealed-carry permits in the first place (and take other measures to expand firearm carry)? To expand the ability of civilians to protect themselves and others around them from gun-waving crazies?

No, seriously – haven’t you noticed that mass shootings never seem to take place at gun shows, gun ranges, gun stores, target competitions, skeet/trap shooting events, hunting expeditions, and other places where there often are actual loaded guns in people’s hands? Why do you think that is? Pardon the pun, but take a shot at the answer. I’ll wait…

As Thomas Sowell put it, “Attacking one of those places might be the last dumb thing you ever do.” I’ll leave it to the reader to understand why. It’s really not complicated.

It’s a great idea. I just wish my state would follow Texas’s example, instead of making things tougher for us out here and trying to disarm us.

 

 

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Background Checks Do Not Get the Job Done

From here:

Senators are scheduled to vote on a so-called “universal background check” bill being pushed by lifelong anti-gun zealot, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y).  Schumer’s bill–S. 374, the “Fix Gun Checks Act of 2013”– would criminalize virtually all private firearm sales, even temporary transfers, making you a criminal if you simply transfer a firearm to an aunt, uncle, cousin or lifelong friend without the federal government’s approval.  Even worse, President Barack Obama’s Justice Department says that Schumer’s bill will only be effective if it’s coupled with mandatory gun registration.

Needless to say, the NRA opposes the bill. Our president, as usual, seems utterly clueless about the problems with it.

Now, NRA’s director Wayne LaPierre has taken a lot of heat over this – “Why won’t you gun nuts submit to a common-sense, reasonable proposal like this?” (Dontcha just love how gun control advocates love throwing around the terms “reasonable” and “common sense?”

LaPierre’s chief argument is, “When it comes to be background checks let’s be honest. Background checks will never be ‘universal,’ because criminals will never submit to them.” I really see nothing wrong with this, personally. He’s right – imposing universal background checks, like all other proposals advanced by gun-control advocates, simply impact the law-abiding who buy guns, well, lawfully. Those will be the people who are affected – not criminals who break into houses and steal guns or smuggle them in from other countries.

It will affect people who go into stores and buy guns over the counter, not people who trade them in dark alleys. It’s a stupid idea. What part of criminals don’t obey the law because there are ways around it do gun-grabbers not quite get?

Does anyone really believe that people who are intent on committing violence with a firearm, are really going to be deterred from doing so because some gun dealer said, “No, sorry…you failed the background check because of your prior history of criminal activity and/or mental illness?” The people who commit mass murder at schools, shopping malls, and the like…aren’t those the people we’re trying to stop, along with anyone else who wants to get ahold of a gun so he can hurt someone? You know, determined attackers who spend weeks or months planning an assault?

Many of our most infamous shooters had no prior criminal record or history of mental illness, so a background check wouldn’t have stopped them from buying a weapon legally. In fact, gun control advocates are frequently heard to complain about exactly this – that so-and-so bought weapons legally, then went out and did something horrible with them…hence the need to change the laws by making such-and-such illegal to buy.

Here’s the real problem with universal background checks, though: Do people really think that these sorts of individuals can’t simply mosey down to the tough part of town and buy what they need from some shady character, steal one from an unguarded home, or failing that, find some other way to cause mayhem? (The deadliest attack on a school in US history took place using a bomb, not firearms.)

This strikes me as common sense. But some of you might be asking, “If it saves one life, isn’t it worth it?” (Uh huh…and I’m sure these same good-intentioned people will agree that a 25 MPH national speed limit is worth the cost to our transportation network and goods-delivery infrastructure, too. If it saves just one life, right?)

But wait! Wouldn’t a background check have stopped Adam Lanza from committing his gruesome assault at Sandy Hook? No. His mother bought the guns legally, remember? He shot her, stole the weapons, then headed for the school. So a background check wouldn’t have stopped that attack.

It wouldn’t have prevented the shooting at the theater in Aurora, CO either. James Holmes was able to pass a background check of the very sort being proposed “universally” by the Senate bill.

First, some facts. Aside from the cost to law-abiding gun owners (who in my state must pay a $25 surcharge and submit to a 10-day wait), background checks don’t work:

Furthermore, there is no real scientific evidence among criminologists and economists that background checks actually reduce crime. In fact, a 2004 National Academy of Sciences panel concluded that the Brady background checks didn’t reduce any type of violent crime. Nor have other later studies found a beneficial effect.

The number of criminals stopped by the checks is also quite small. In 2010, there were over 76,000 initial denials, but only 44 of those were deemed worthy for prosecution and only 13 individuals were convicted. Even those 13 cases don’t tend to be the “dangerous” criminals Obama claims are being stopped.

Besides that, the majority of firearms sales are already subject to a background check through the NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System). If you reference the article above, you’ll see that the “40% of guns aren’t being sold with a check” figure is completely bogus. So even if this passes into law, it really won’t change anything.

California currently does allow private-party sale of long guns over 50 years old without going through a licensed dealer (background check + paperwork), but this will be changing at the end of 2013 when a new law goes into effect.

Then there’s an even more sinister possibility – that the law could be misused. The information that it gathers from the public could actually be used to confiscate firearms from the law-abiding once Congress or the President think they’ve obtained enough political support for such a move.

Background checks seem to be the gun control proposal du-jour among politicians, because it seems to be the one getting the most traction among the general public. Support for an assault weapons ban, high capacity magazine bans, not so much. You’ll note that Sen Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) renewed assault weapons ban (which would have prohibited new sales of most semi-automatic firearms) didn’t go anywhere, not even in the Democrat-led US Senate.

I was on Facebook the other day and was discussing this. Someone claimed that a majority of hunters support it. I am a hunter…and I said, “Yeah, I’m just begging the government to make it more expensive and more of a hassle for me to purchase a weapon.”

When will the gun-grabbers accept that the real solutions to gun violence simply don’t involve the federal government cracking down on private gun ownership? The real solutions involve making it easier for people to carry concealed and arming places where attacks are likely to occur. 

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Idiocy in Sacramento

From http://www.sacbee.com/2013/03/03/5231577/guns-a-tale-of-two-statesfaced.html#storylink=omni_popular

And not the usual kind from our Legislature. This time, it is at the hands of a reporter who should have known better. I know that liberal bias in a daily print journal is almost a given these days, especially with a polarizing issue like gun control, but seriously…come on. Did this individual really think nobody would call her on it?

 

I wrote the intrepid reporter a brief missive:

Poor reporting.

“Disparate gun laws make it easier for residents of California, for example, to travel to Nevada to buy just about any weapon they choose without undergoing background checks.”

That’s not true. A weapon purchased in Nevada by a California resident must be shipped to a California FFL01 (licensed gun store) if the seller is himself an FFL. Additionally, private party sellers must do likewise if the weapon is newer than 50 years old OR is a handgun of any age. This specifically excludes AR-series “black rifle” tactical semi-automatics such as the one allegedly used in the Sandy Hook shooting. http://www.gunlaw.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=39

 

“And unlike California, Nevadans can buy and sell machine guns capable of firing a large number of shots in rapid succession.”

Also not true. A “machine gun” is a weapon capable of firing full-auto, meaning it fires continuously if the trigger is held down. Such weapons are only legal to residents of Nevada if they possess a class-III license. You probably mean high-capacity SEMI-automatics which fire ONE bullet per trigger pull…and the only difference between those and the ones legally owned in California is the presence of magazines over 10 rounds and/or certain cosmetic features (such as a thumbhole stock, pistol grip, et al) which do not affect ballistic performance. Calling such a rifle a “machine gun” is not just misleading, it’s dishonest.

 

” In private transactions, Nevada sellers by law cannot knowingly sell guns to Californians.”

True but misleading. Private party sales to Californians, by Californians, in California…are legal if the weapon is over 50 years old and is a long gun (rifle/shotgun). The thrust of your article was that Californians are traveling to Nevada and purchasing weapons from sellers there in order to evade California gun laws. The rule is changing after mandatory long gun registration goes into effect at the end of this year. Brown signed the bill last session.

 

Additionally, sales in Nevada to California residents are legal if the weapon is over 50 years old and the CA resident possesses an FFL03/ Curio and Relic collector license.

http://oag.ca.gov/firearms/pubfaqs#14 “Antique firearms,” as defined in Section 921(a)(16) of Title 18 of the United States Code, and curio or relic rifles/shotguns, defined in Section 178.11 of Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations that are over 50 years old, are exempt from this requirement.

 

It’s one thing to write articles which advance a certain viewpoint (and even that is best left to the editorial page), but please don’t publish articles which contain factual inaccuracies.

Those are just the ones I could find. I am a firm believer in Mark Twain’s old maxim – “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” Incorrect facts make my skin crawl, especially when related to my pet issue, gun control.

The balance of the article deals mostly with proposed gun legislation here in California, correctly identified as some of the most restrictive in the nation. I could dissect some of it, but I won’t here, for three reasons:

1) It probably wouldn’t be of much interest to readers living in other states (correct me if I’m wrong on this, in the comment section below).

2) The bills are still making their way through our Legislature and are subject to change. I don’t want to give the Democrats any ideas on how to fix their flawed proposals or make them more legally airtight or better-able to withstand the courtroom challenges that are sure to follow.

3) Explaining why the proposals are bad, isn’t really the point of today’s blog post.

I think what does bother me the most, is the thrust of the article – that Californians are evading their state’s strict gun control laws by purchasing firearms in other states, legally and otherwise. The underlying implication is that these (allegedly loosely regulated) interstate purchases are a major cause of gun-related crime in California and other states with strict gun laws.

Needless to say, I resent the implication – that additional federal controls on interstate firearms sales (or the president’s proposal of universal background checks) is going to make a dime’s worth of difference to gun crime in the US, especially the mass shootings which seem to be popping up with frightening frequency of late.

You see how this works? First, they pass strict legislation that effectively disarms law abiding citizens by making it harder to own guns…but leaves criminals (who by definition don’t follow the law) fully armed by leaving their black-market sources unmolested. Like night into day, gun crime then skyrockets because criminals no longer have any reason to fear the law-abiding, who’ve been disarmed. Then, they claim that the strict laws in California and other places aren’t working because…drum roll please….they’re being undermined by the act of California residents (il)legally importing prohibited firearms into their state!

There are so many problems with this, I hardly know where to begin. I don’t really need to go into why strict gun laws cost innocent lives rather than protecting them, do I? No? Okay, good…or at least we’ll leave that for another time.

Oh, but here’s this gem from the article:

(California State Senator Leland) Yee (D-San Francisco) cited studies showing that states with the toughest gun laws, including California, have the lowest per-capita rates of gun-related deaths.

Really, Senator? You mean like these? (Would that we could compel the good Senator to read John Lott’s excellent book, “More Guns, Less Crime.”) Given this, I have my doubts that Yee has any idea of what “per capita” even means. And of course, there’s always Chicago, which has some of the worst gun crime in the entire country, despite having gun laws so strict that they make California look like Texas by comparison. You cannot even possess a handgun outside your home there (banned in 1982) – which is precisely what led to the landmark McDonald vs Chicago (2010) decision by the US Supreme Court… and the state that Chicago is located in, will not issue a concealed-carry permit under any circumstances. (It’s the very last state which still fits this description – the other 49 all offer some form of it.)

What’s interesting about this, however, is the fatal flaw of the underlying assumption. The implicit admission is that no matter what laws California passes, it’ll do no good whatsoever because us evil scary gun owners will just buy our weapons (and ammo, and accessories) someplace else and bring them back home. This concedes a major point that California gun owners (and by extension, gun owners in other “blue” states) have been making for years – there’s no point to depriving us of our rights because the bad guys will continue to smuggle weapons across the border. To add insult to injury, however, the reporter in the article above is lumping us right in with them.

Severian pointed out in a recent post that it’s a bedrock principle in liberalism, that all gun owners are potential psychopaths who could start spraying bullets at any moment. Not only is he right when he complains about this frustrating mindset of theirs, but in fact I encountered exactly this on the Sacramento Bee’s comment section just a couple of days ago. Some liberal complained that all us gun owners are nothing but ticking time bombs, just waiting to snap and start killing innocent people. Who knows what we might do? I wrote, “I’m a moral person with a respect for human life. Moron.”

Aside from the questionable wisdom of sinking to their level of rhetoric, this really, really gets under my skin – the disgusting assertion that merely owning the tools of killing makes you a potential killer. (I’ll leave aside my frustration with our president and his burning need to hassle law abiding US gun owners with one hand, while he provides AR-15s to known drug cartel members in Mexico with the other.)

My contention has always been that the evil desire to kill without good cause, was present long before the tool was available to the killer. In like manner, the presence of the tool does not make good people into killers. Why can’t our gun-grabbing liberals seem to understand this? Why are they apparently incapable of understanding that it’s the heart, not the tools, which determine criminal proclivity?

Are they taken with a desire to run people over just because they slide behind the wheel of a car? No? Then why assign such desires to gun owners?

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Guns At School

From here.

So it seems that the good legislators of South Dakota have decided to take my advice – arm the teachers in the hopes of preventing another attack.

I was discussing this over at The Hello Kitty of Bloggin’ with a friend just now and decided to expand upon my thoughts there. A few quotes from the FoxNews article above caught my eye and I responded:

Supporters said school boards, particularly in rural areas where no law enforcement officers are stationed in school buildings, need the option of arming teachers, administrators or volunteers to protect against attacks like last month’s school shooting in Connecticut.

In some rural areas, the police can take up to 30 minutes to respond. A single assailant could mow down dozens of students in that period of time, as we saw in the Virginia Tech shooting. And the attacker doesn’t even need those dreaded “assault weapons” with those evil “high capacity magazines” in order to pull it off. Many of the stomach-turning headlines we’ve read recently, would have turned out very differently if someone had at the scene had drawn and put a round through the psycho’s black heart.

Opponents countered that arming teachers could make schools more dangerous because it could lead to accidental shootings and put guns in the hands of people who are trained to teach, not shoot people.

I don’t see why the two are mutually exclusive, personally. Seems to me we’re going to need people who can do both at the same time. Maybe these “opponents” haven’t turned on a TV newscast in awhile or browsed a news site online.

The bill’s main sponsor, Rep. Scott Craig, R-Rapid City, said the measure leaves it up to each school board to decide whether to train and arm teachers and others. Schools are now inviting targets for potential mass murderers because they are considered gun-free zones, he said.

“The possibility of an armed presence in any of our schools is a deterrent,” Craig said.

Yes. When is our society going to understand that “gun free” zones…aren’t, and that all they do is disarm the good guys? Does it even logically make sense that a bad guy would see a sign advising him he’s entering a “gun free” zone, then actually call off his attack? I suspect that even the advocates of these would simply tell you that it provides a means for the police to launch a pre-emptive strike, as it were…a pretext to arrest someone found “carrying” in such a place, without having to wait for him to actually draw and open fire. It’s much the same idea as anti-loitering laws or California’s new law banning open-carry of unloaded pistols (followed by another doing the same thing to rifles and shotguns). No one actually believes that bad people are deterred from violence by “gun free” zones. But there’s a real possibility they will be deterred by the promise of being shot by one of the teachers.

Another interesting aspect of this bill – the sponsor doesn’t want to mandate that schools arm their personnel – merely to give them the option of doing so. Isn’t it interesting that it’s usually the conservative who wants to give people choices, while it’s generally the liberal who wants to keep choice out of the picture and require that security be provided a certain way? Yet the Left assures us it’s the other way around.

Rep. Ray Ring, D-Vermillion, said he opposes arming school personnel because it’s more likely to lead to accidental shootings than to stopping attackers. He noted that associations representing local school boards, school administrators and teachers oppose the bill.

“Educators believe arming teachers and volunteers with minimal training will erode the learning environment without significantly improving security,” Ring said.

Yeah…you know what there, Sparky? You admit that it’s “associations representing local school boards, school administrators and teachers” who are against the idea. Did you ask the teachers themselves, or did you assume that the educators’ unions really do speak for everyone? I won’t even go into your pointless speculation that we’re going to have bullets flying hither and yon just because some of the teachers are packing. You gun-grabber types said the same damn thing when states started opening up concealed carry and it hasn’t happened.

Even if Rep. Ring is right, the bill merely extends districts this option under state law. It doesn’t force guns into schools. Yet there he goes again…arguing that “associations” oppose choice. That much I believe, actually, considering that they’re also usually against school choice, against parents having the choice to pull their kids out of class to avoid objectionable lesson material, and every other kind of choice except for, you know, that one kind of choice. The one that liberals always want to make sure is available to everyone for any reason at any time.

Supporters argued the bill would require that anyone taking part in a so-called School Sentinel program complete training that would be designed by the same commission that sets training standards for law enforcement officers. Local law enforcement agencies also would have to approve such a program, and school employees could not be forced to take part.

…thus demolishing the Democratic legislators’ (ostensible) primary objection: that guns are going to be put in the hands of teachers and other school personnel who aren’t trained to use them.

Do you think any of the opponents of the bill were listening when this was pointed out, or  were they too busy trying to score political points with their anti-gun voter base?

Rep. Steve Hickey, R-Sioux Falls, said arming school personnel in some districts is only part of an overall approach to school safety. Some schools need to make their entrances more secure, and more mental health counseling is needed for students, he said.

Come on…we can’t have government taking a comprehensive, common-sense approach to a problem like gun violence in schools, can we? Any fool knows we need a simplistic, one-size-fits all strategy, like disarming the law-abiding of their “assault weapons” equipped with “high-capacity magazines” that are “suitable only as weapons of war.” We can’t have legislators suggesting that the real problem is schools leaving their doors unlocked all day, or that something needs to be done about crazy people walking around the halls of these schools, not getting the help they need before it’s too late.

Actually, that addresses an important point – how many school shootings in the last few years have been perpetrated by some maniac who wandered in off the street…versus how many by a student who’d gone off the deep end, stolen his dad’s AR-15 or his mom’s .38 handgun, and exacted his revenge on those at school he deemed responsible for his misery? Maybe it’s time our society started getting a handle on collaring these ticking time-bombs before they explode…instead of simply trying to pre-emptively disarm everyone.

 Rep. Troy Heinert, D-Mission, said he doesn’t want his son in kindergarten to think about his teacher being armed.

“Doesn’t this bill blur the line between a teacher and a law enforcement officer?” Heinert said. “Do we want to tell our children the only way to be safe is to carry a gun?”

As a matter of fact amigo, I think that’s exactly the message we need to be sending to our kids. Maybe it’s time you learned what the rest of us already understand – that there’s ONE way to stop a bad guy who has a gun…and it isn’t with a “gun-free-zone” sign.

49 states with some form of concealed-carry, nearly forty of those with a shall-issue policy, and four more that don’t even require that much…gun crime is the same or down in pretty much all of them…and we still have people in our statehouses and in Congress saying things like this. I’m speechless.

Besides that, I happen to think that taking away the mystique surrounding firearms is one of the best ways of preventing gun misuse. Start showing kids early in childhood what firearms are. Teach kids age-appropriate things about them and when they’re the proper age, to handle one themselves.

That, and it’s also time people started figuring out that we’re all responsible for our own security. Any police officer will tell you that the cops simply can’t be everywhere at once.

Rep. Stace Nelson, R-Fulton, said educators are trusted to teach students, so they also can be trusted to protect students from harm. Nelson, a retired law enforcement officer, said teachers can be trained to handle guns safely and effectively.

Precisely. It’s always struck me as odd that the people charged with guaranteeing our kids’ safety, are usually denied the one means of doing so, of protecting them from attack. Some are going to argue that this move by the South Dakota legislature is going turn our schools into war zones, but I’d argue that we’re halfway there already.

And this gets me to another important point – while we’re discussing the wisdom of arming the teachers, why not take the opportunity to explain to the kids why we’re doing it?

My friend on FB jokingly asked, “Perhaps instead of teaching ‘gay tolerance’ we could teach gun safety in schools?” My response: “Feh…that’ll be the day. Next you’ll be telling me that schools are supposed to be teaching third graders to read.”

All kidding aside, he’s right – back in the day, educators weren’t afraid to teach students about firearms. Many of these kids were getting some instruction at home also, but in my opinion the kids definitely need something more than, “If you see a gun, don’t touch it, tell an adult.” Great, fine….but that advice doesn’t do anything to solve our problems with gun violence. It also doesn’t address the natural curiosity that children have about firearms. How many kids do you know that’ll actually obey this directive? When I was a kid, if I’d been told that, the very first thing I’d have done in that situation would be to go over and fool with it. And I’ll bet I’m not alone. That’s just how little boys are, and I doubt the girls are any better.

I’m in my late thirties and I spent the 1980s in elementary school. I was in sixth grade around the middle part of the decade. I remember during that school year, a man came to our school and took part of the school day, each day for a week or so, teaching us – gasp – hunter safety. Yeah! For real! In the mind of the school administration, it was a given that the kids in the class, at least the boys, were expected to want to go hunting at some point.

My hometown had around 25,000 people at that point and was surrounded on three sides by open terrain, some of which was public. Dozens of game species could be found within an hour’s drive of town. It was simply taken for granted that the kids in my class were going to run across firearms at one point or another (or at least want to run across them), so we might as well teach them how to handle one responsibly while pursuing our dinner out in the bush.

I’m involved with a gal who teaches the primary grades in a smaller town about 30-45 minutes from the neighborhood where I grew up…and she assures me that the hunting spirit is still alive and well there, even among the kids who are under 12 or so. It’s the same story at the high schools about an hour to the west, where there was a story last year about a sophomore who got himself in trouble when the principal found his shotgun in his truck after he’d gone duck hunting that morning. And this is California I’m talking about, not Montana or Mississippi!

I don’t know if hunter education is still going on in schools today – maybe in more rural areas, maybe not at my old elementary school – but I’m left asking “Why not?” Does it really do any good to teach our kids to be afraid of guns? I’m not suggesting that a five year old ought to be told to go pick up someone’s 9mm Glock and check to see if it’s loaded – that’s the job of the adult that the kid is supposed to go and find…but we’ve got an issue when kids that are twelve and fifteen are still hearing this advice.

In my blog posts here at Rotten Chestnuts, I’m going to keep hammering on this point – the guns AREN’T going away, no matter what laws the government passes. The solution, then, lies more toward accepting the fact that bad guys ARE armed and that won’t be changing…and from there understanding the need for gun education and for arming the good guys.

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An Open Letter to a Gun Grabber

Against my better judgment, today during an idle moment I happened to flip through a copy of the Sacramento News and Review that a colleague had left lying around. The SN&R, for those not familiar, is a free periodical published here in California’s capital. It’s billed as an ‘alternative’ weekly, as in ‘alternative to the regular daily newspaper,’ as in ‘even further to the left than your garden-variety birdcage liner.’

I admit that picking up this magazine in the first place was kind of a stupid thing to do, since I’ve encountered this publication before and learned the hard way…that it seems to be little more than an echo chamber for progressive types and advertising vehicle for local cannabis distribution centers. Nonetheless, I took the bait and found this article. While perusing it, I happened upon the following comment:

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Trade all guns…for muskets?

Congratulations on your re-election. “Fiscal cliff,” Afghanistan, health care—honestly, at this point, I don’t care. Let’s focus on the defining issue of your second term: gun control. I have a simple one-point plan that can help:

Respecting the wisdom of our Constitution’s framers, we must defend our Second Amendment right to bear arms. And the only firearms of any utility that were available to private citizens in 1791 were muskets. I suggest that you honor that vision and issue an executive order mandating that muskets be the only firearms legal for Americans to possess. Barrels shall measure 7-feet long, and balls and powder shall be sold separately in convenient single-use, childproof containers that take six minutes to open.

Americans shall have one year to exchange any and all guns for muskets. After one year, all other firearms shall be considered illicit and their possession or use grounds for incarceration.

There will be complaints, for instance:

“I’m a hunter. How am I supposed to hunt with a 7-foot-long musket that fires only one ball every six minutes? I might miss.”

Presidential response: “Practice. With luck, your ball will hit home.”

(name omitted), Ph.D.

Sacramento

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My guess is that the writer of this letter is a nobody who would fall under the simple description of “concerned local citizen,” appearing as it does in a local publication. Secondly, I don’t really direct the letter below to him personally, since I doubt very much he’ll take the time to read what I have to say to him. The letter is actually directed at the teeming multitudes of breathtakingly ignorant American citizens who apparently think like he does, voting as they do time and again to return the likes of Sen Dianne Feinstein (D,CA) and of course our president, to office….both of whom have made a priority of “gun control” recently.

On a side note, I reject the contention of many of my fellow conservatives that our president and other Democrats are the focal point of all that’s wrong with America today. Such simplistic thinking misses the point. In my opinion, the biggest issue with our country right now is not the prince of fools, but rather the fools who keep making him their prince.

Ahem….

Dear Musket Man / Presidential Advisor:

Hi. I’m a fellow resident of Sacramento, and concerned gun owner. I have a few things to say to you, since you’ve just asked the president of the United States to confiscate my entire gun collection, save for the muzzle-loader I own for giggles. (Even that’s modern, not antique…so maybe you do want to take it after all.)

As a gesture of respect, I’m going to take your suggestion seriously for a few minutes, rather than simply dismiss it as a sniveling, worthless example of pandering to your fellow socialists. (It’s interesting, by the way, that you apparently consider gun confiscation to be of higher national priority than dealing with terrorism, the federal government’s attempt to ruin our healthcare system, or staggering levels of public debt.)

As strongly as I disagree with you, sir, I’ll try not to make this personal…nor will I heap criticism upon the man you voted to return to the Oval Office a couple months ago. (I did notice that you congratulated him on his victory.) In my humble opinion, our president isn’t really the biggest problem gun owners face, since A) our biggest problem is actually voters like you and B) I think the president knows better (politically and legally) than to attempt to implement your advice.

Point one: The president of the United States may only issue executive orders that apply to federal agencies which are part of the Executive Branch of the US government. He is not permitted to direct ordinary citizens like you or me to do anything in particular. We don’t work for him; he works for us. Remember that. You and I are free to tell the president to take a flying leap, unless his officers are attempting to enforce some law that’s already on the books. Article II of the US Constitution designates the president as the federal officer chiefly responsible for enforcement of the duly-enacted laws of the United States, but he cannot simply make up new ones as he goes along. (That’s Congress’ job…and the court system’s job to interpret such law.) This is America, not some Third World banana republic where the dictator does as he pleases.

Point two: The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has affirmed in two separate decisions (Heller vs DC 2008 and McDonald vs Chicago 2010) that the Second Amendment is “incorporated” via the Fourteenth Amendment. In layman’s terms, this means that our right to Keep and Bear Arms shall be construed as an “individual right,” not a “collective right” as in the sense of a militia called up for a time of war. Furthermore, the decision itself neither affirmed nor denied any particular type of arms which might be kept…not even the minority dissent in the Court in those cases attempted to argue, that any officer of the government reserved the right to do as you’re suggesting. There is also no law on the books that I’m aware of, federal or state, which proscribes weapons other than muzzle loaders.

Point three: I’ll limit myself to a musket when you limit yourself to a printing press and a town crier. Get back to me when you write your boorish opinions on parchment with a turkey feather dipped in pokeberry juice. I’m getting tired of this argument we’ve been hearing lately, that our Founding Fathers never saw so much as a repeating rifle, much less modern small arms weaponry…and since we’re relying on 18th century wording, we might as well limit ourselves to 18th century arms as well.

There are two problems with that argument: You used a computer to make it, which then sent your incoherent gibberish over the Internet, whereupon said gibberish found its way onto a newsprint page which was produced with modern print technology. The upshot is that you didn’t use 18th century technology to exercise your First Amendment rights, so where’s the logic in suggesting that I use 18th century technology to exercise my Second Amendment rights?

The other problem is that even if you called my bluff and gave up your computer, you still wouldn’t be confined to that level of technology in the exercise of the remaining 25 Amendments to the US Constitution, or even the other eight enumerated under the Bill of Rights. In fact, there have been court cases in which a court found that the Fourth Amendment still protects us against unreasonable searches and seizures…even against warrant-less searches using certain types of surveillance equipment which didn’t exist in 1791.

Do you want to limit yourself to 1791 technology in your use of the Fifth Amendment, or the Twenty First Amendment, maybe? No, you can’t use a telephone to call a lawyer, and you can’t drink that alcoholic beverage which didn’t exist in 1931, much less 1791? That’s cool with you?

I didn’t think so.

Besides, while muskets were state-of-the-art for their day, there were other, more primitive firearms still in use at the time, such as flintlocks and blunderbusses. Nowhere in the Second Amendment, Federalist Papers, or other writings of the time, is any citizen limited to those second-tier weapons; in fact I don’t even see anything barring ownership of cannon, which also existed at the time and which were far more powerful than a musket.

Point four: You don’t consider the original intent of our gun rights in the first place, much less the reasons we exercise those rights today. As has been said a time or two, “The Second Amendment ain’t about duck hunting.”  

It’s there as a bulwark against tyranny, and as a recognition of man’s natural right to defend himself against attack by enemies, foreign and domestic alike. That the modern US government has nuclear weapons and citizens don’t (therefore supposedly rendering civil war utterly pointless) is beside the point; it’s the principle of the thing.

As an aside, I doubt that muskets would have been sufficient firepower to tame a continent during the following century. There’s a reason that men like Colt, Winchester, and others decided that the frontiersman needed a better weapon than that. Odd, don’t you think, that nobody at the time bothered to ask whether the Constitution permitted their research to go on? Odder still that nobody noticed this apparent glaring hole in the Second Amendment, not until your brilliant mind happened upon it one day in 2013.

Point five: Even disregarding all the above, exactly how do you expect the president to collect all those non-musket firearms after issuing this proposed executive order? There are an estimated 300 million firearms in private hands in the United States already – about one for every man, woman and child in America –  with more being manufactured, imported, and purchased every single day. There is no national gun registry, either for long guns or handguns. There’s absolutely no way to be sure President Obama and his men had been able to account for them all…and that’s after his presidency survives an impeachment attempt, deals with riots & civil unrest, and puts aside other disruption that’s certain to follow his adoption of your ill-considered suggestion.

I think it goes without saying that the gang-bangers roaming the streets of the president’s hometown aren’t going to peacefully or willingly exchange their sawed-off shotguns and stolen handguns for muskets. Oh, disarm them by force, you say? You mean like the City of Chicago has been attempting to do for over thirty years? Say, how’s that working out?

Additionally, I can pretty much promise you that even the good guys (those Americans who own and use firearms legally and responsibly) aren’t simply going to turn them in either, even if you threaten them with jail for non-compliance. A lot of them are going to be too afraid of what might follow, and will keep their weapons hidden in the event they need to defend their families from criminals poised to prey upon a disarmed population.

Besides, aren’t you lefties the ones who insist that we can’t possibly find and deport 30 million illegal immigrants? The illegals presumably weigh at least 100 lbs and must venture out from time to time to buy food, if nothing else. Firearms, by contrast, weigh only a few pounds and can be hidden under beds, in closets, in attics, and the like, for many years at a time. Yet I’m supposed to believe our government has the resources to find and collect ten times as many firearms, when it can’t even find and deport people who’ve been living here illegally for years, often living and working openly among us, sometimes even owning homes or collecting federal benefits? Surely you jest.

Point six: The larger issue isn’t guns at all. I think the bigger problem, sir, is the poor grasp that you (and those who think like you) have of civics, gun rights, and the role of the president in a Constitutional republic such as ours. It’s utterly remarkable to me that you apparently earned no less than a doctorate degree…while still remaining so breathtakingly ignorant of: the observation that there are limits on the powers of the president, of several relevant Supreme Court decisions, of political and material realities, and of common sense.

Not to be indelicate, but kindly print out your advice to our president, role the paper into a tube, and insert it into a certain bodily orifice. If you are indeed one of our tireless domestic advocates of complete disarmament (in the name of halting gun attacks on innocent people, I’m sure), I respectfully suggest the names of a few countries which would be grateful to accept you as a citizen.

But speaking as a fellow American, I don’t think you belong among us…not if you’re going to show such utter contempt and disregard for A) the rights of your fellow citizens, bought and paid for with the blood of our forefathers, and B) the rule of law, a founding principle of our country. I hear North Korea is lovely this time of year.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the rifle range.

Cylar

PS: You’re an idiot.

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