January 9, 2013

Things that go Boom

One of my biggest frustrations is my inability to express myself in a concise and eloquent manner. It takes me 100 words in a half-arsed effort to write what a true wordsmith can say far more effectively in 25. I have to make use of the limited talent God provided, so bear with me.

There has been a lot of talk and words written in recent weeks about gun violence in America and what to do about it. Look, if Fate had sent an omnipotent Monte Hall who offered to exchange my life for the lives of the innocent lambs at Sandy Hook I would have made the deal in an instant. I am willing to discuss any means to prevent similar events in the future.

I also believe before we pass feel-good measures and knee-jerk reaction laws we should consider the consequences. Any time you infringe upon a Natural Right (God-given Right if you prefer)  you had better have good reason. The basic right to protect one's self, loved ones and property transcends government and  society. It defines our very humanness, our essence, our being. I challenge anyone to argue otherwise. I have the inalienable right to life.

When we join a society we give up a certain amount of freedom. We cannot do what we want, when we want. Rules and laws are part of  the pact we make to society in the name of mutual protection. My right to live is not a guarantee or protection against the hand of another. Thus we have the right of self-defense. As a society we chose to defend our collective rights and freedoms through individual protection as well as group protection via police or military strength.

There are some who argue we need to ban scary and so-called 'assault rifles". Others call for a registry of all guns. Facts are that the assault rifles decried by Senator Feinstein and others are rarely used in crimes. A registration of guns means only the law abiding will register their guns.  You read every day of criminals possessing and using a firearm in the commission of a crime, despite laws against it.  Felons are arrested every day for owning and possessing a gun despite it illegality. Is one more or two or even twenty more laws going to make them stop?  Will banning rifles with black plastic stocks preclude a nut job from using a rifle or shotgun with a wooden stock? If your drunk husband is determined to kill you, a handy kitchen knife will work just as effectively as the .22 handgun in the nightstand.

Some will argue we have to have a license to drive and that we register cars. Those people somehow equate the privilege of driving with the right of self defense. Such an argument is a moral equivalency without merit.  But we can address the argument on the surface. Does a driving license law prevent individuals from driving cars registered in other's names? Do the laws prevent cars from being stolen or unlicensed drivers from getting behind the wheel? Will a gun registry stop a bank robbery or school shooting? Will it allow a tryrannical government easy access to a list of potential armed enemies?

I wish I knew why the gun crime rate was so high in our nation. For every gun-free Great Britain and its low gun crime rate you mention I will offer up Switzerland where every home has a gun and its low murder rate. I will cite the hundreds of millions of guns that are safely stored in private hands here in America that are never used in commission of a crime.  I will argue the number of crimes that are prevented due to an armed citizenry.

I am willing to discuss the cause and effects of crime in this country.  We can start with the high rates of crime in single parent homes and the effects of welfare on marriage. We can discuss the cuts to mental health funding and the efforts of advocacy groups like the ACLU to prevent the treatment and long-term care of the mentally ill. We can talk about the culture of violence in movies and TV and video games. We can blame it on dodge ball for all I care. But I will not bow to half-thought, feel good we-have-to-do-something measures that interfere with my life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness that do not bring about true safety.

In the end, the Founders included a partial listing of our natural rights in the Bill of Rights. They expected individuals to retain the means to protect themselves not only from each other, but a tyrannical government. You might argue that we have nothing to fear, but  history demonstrates the first act of a despot is to confiscate the means of defense from those it subjugates..  This is true from the era of the Mongol invasion through the dictators of modern times -- Pol Pot, Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Castro, and others each in turn disarmed the citizens as a first order of business.

It is unlikely we shall see troops quartered in our homes in the near future, but should we scrap the 3rd Amendment? Our uniquely American right to speak against government, to worship as we please (or not to), our natural right to write and publish is universally accepted in today's age.  Should we trash the First Amendment because we see no active threat to those freedoms today?

I submit without the Second Amendment, the Constitution and the other twenty-six amendments are nothing but scraps of parchment and lofty ideas.


Erin O'Brien said...

A registration of guns means only the law abiding will register their guns.

That's right. Good guys will register their guns. Bad guys will not.

Sans licensing and registration, how are we supposed to tell the good guys with a gun from the bad guys with a gun? Will the good guys be wearing white hats?

It might be nice to see a bad guy arrested because he had an illegal gun before he had a chance to use it. To that end, explain how the Times Square Bomber was stopped in his tracks.

Maybe your next project should be a campaign to make Oxycontin available over the counter.

Joe said...

If bad guys don't register their guns how do you know they are bad guys with guns? How do you know they even have them? How will keeping a list of law-abiding people prevent a bad guy from using a gun?

Will my name or your name on computer file stop Harry Hoodlum from robbing the 7-11 out by the interstate?

Consider the guns used at Va Tech, in Colorado and Connecticut were were lawfully purchased. Background checks and licenses were obtained. Did those little pieces of paper stop the killers?

Joe said...

In addition, why do "we", the government, the state, the city, or county need a list of good guys? You readily admit we cannot discern a bad guy. Isn't it a basic tenent of our Constitution that we are presumed innocent?

Could such a list be used for evil purposes? Look no further than the Committe on UnAmerican activities and the McCarthy hearings in the late 1940's and early 1950's to see how a list of citizens can be misused.

Anonymous said...

I am not really sure what EOB is trying to say. To me all these srguments fall into the ban smoking campaigns ran by the same people who want to make it legal to smoke dope. James old Guy

Erin O'Brien said...

Hoose, I hate to break this to you, but any successful campaign against the GOV is going to be run by someone who looks a lot like a Guy Fawkes mask on the outside and Julian Assange on the inside. He scared the hell out of plenty of people and didn't fire one shot.

Frankly, I think these are very good discussions because they raise the issue. People want to be part of the discussion. To that end, I appreciate your post here and your comments over at my place.

Joe said...

You are probably right regarding the next Revolution. Given today's sophisticated military (weapons and communications) the guy with a .30-06 has no chance. Nor does your neighbor with a semi-auto AR-15.

But there is no good reason to compile a list of law-abiding gun owners either. It will not prevent even one crime, so why spend time effort and treasure?

I have yet to see a comelling reason to keep a list of gun-owners. Such a list does provide criminals a map to find guns to steal though.

Erin O'Brien said...

A list does not commit theft. People commit theft.

Joe said...

HaHa -- very good.

a list certainly does not prevent theft either! But the potential for nefariuos deeds engendered by a list is significant.

Erin O'Brien said...

Pure conjecture on my part, but I think this was the point of the editorial staff.

The firearm industry wants no restrictions on the distribution of their guns. The guns are completely abdicated in any "nefarious deeds" surrounding them.

Okay, tit for tat.

A newspaper indiscriminately distributes completely legal information. If something goes wrong, don't blame the newspaper. Legal information does not engage in "nefarious deeds," people do.

If you're going to champion regulation-free gun sales, you ought to that regulation-free list as well.

Joe said...

I am not arguing for regulation free gun sales. I am open to a debate on measures that are meaningful. For instance, I have little issue with a short waiting period or background check. We can debate what is reasonable.

I really do not have an issue with the published list, just as the editors should not have a problem with their personal addresses published (as long as it is public record). I think the fact they did publish the list of gun owners with CCW permits proves the bias of the newspaper and I strongly suggest every subscriber who disagrees with the publishing of personal (albeit public information) addresses of gun owners drop their subscription.

I have a bigger issue that there is a list at all.

I am equally fasinated by the willingness of people to pick and choose which "rights" are open to infringement. For instance, a number of people who will fight tooth and nail to protect the right to an abortion have no issue with taking away that same woman's right of self-defense. Her body is hers to do as she pleases right up to the point of using a gun to defend it.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

The bottom line is that the 2nd Amendment guarantees (does not grant; God already did that) the right to keep and bear arms, and makes it clear that the right is not to be infringed. It is there because the Framers -- who were a bit closer to it that we are -- understood that from time to time it may be necessary for the people to defend themselves against their government. You may recall that these men did not trust governments. (And they most certainly did not trust democracy, which is why they created a Federal republic.)

We already have thousands of pages of jurisprudence relating to federal and state government attempts to infringe the 2nd Amendment for one reason or another. Needless to say, all of that jurisprudence is suspect after Heller and McDonald. And none of it would have prevented Newtown.

You can bet that any further attempt to restrict 2A rights to no real purpose is going to end in tears for somebody. And I wouldn't bet on that "somebody" being legal gun owners.

Anonymous said...

Vice President Biden said Wednesday that the White House could use "executive orders" to deal with gun control, as he kicked off a round of meetings aimed at finding ways to curb gun violence.
Now that should scare the pants off everyone.

James Old Guy

Ed Bonderenka said...

EOB asks how we can tell the bad guys from the good guys.
The bad guys are the guys doing the bad things.

Galt-in-Da-Box said...

What a shocker that our dear Erin FEEEEEELs more stage-setting for gun confiscation is needed.
Comrade Boner & his linguine-spined Neocon compromisers better draw a line on this. It's more likely their fellow tyrant in the White House will wave the magic wand of "national security" over them, and they'll Whore (Of Babylon) out as they did on NDAA 2012 & the Treasonous Acts.
DO NOT ASSUME "it can never happen here": Democracy is inherently self-destructive, as idiots look for more of the bait & seldom at the trap.

Joe said...

The idea the current administration might try to infringe on our rights via fiat and executive order is exactly why the common man nneds a gun, why the Second Amendment exists.

Anonymous said...

This was sent to me. I did NOT write anything below this but I
found it VERY interesting.

Vermont State Rep. Fred Maslack has read the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,as well as Vermont 's own Constitution very carefully, and his strict interpretation of these documents is popping some eyeballs in New England and elsewhere.

Maslack recently proposed a bill to register "non-gun-owners" and require them to pay
a $500 fee to the state. Thus Vermont would become the first state to require a permit for
the luxury of going about unarmed and assess a fee of $500 for the privilege of not owning a gun. Maslack read the "militia" phrase of the Second Amendment as
not only the right of the individual citizen to bear arms, but as'a clear mandate to do so'. He believes that universal gun ownership was advocated by the
Framers of the Constitution as an antidote to a "monopoly of force" by the government as well as criminals.

Vermont ’s constitution states explicitly that "the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and the State" and those persons who are "conscientiously
scrupulous of bearing arms" shall be required to "pay such equivalent." Clearly, says Maslack, Vermonters
have a constitutional obligation to arm themselves, so that they are capable of
responding to "any situation that may arise."

Under the bill, adults who choose not to own a firearm would be required to register their name,
address, Social Security Number, and driver's license number with the state.
"There is a legitimate government interest in knowing who is not prepared to
defend the state should they be asked to do so," Maslack says.

Vermont already boasts a high rate of gun ownership along with the least restrictive
laws of any state .... it's currently the only state that allows a citizen to
carry a concealed firearm without a permit. This combination of plenty of guns
and few laws regulating them has resulted in a crime rate that is the third
lowest in the nation.

" America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot
the bastards." This makes sense! There is no reason why gun owners should have
to pay taxes to support police protection for people not wanting to own guns.

Let them contribute their fair share and pay their own way. Sounds reasonable to me!
Non-gun owners require more police to protect them and this fee should go to paying for their

Anonymous said...

I did some number checking based of the data from an EOB link and the US Government reports. In 2011 there was 2,437,163 deaths in the US, of these 12,664 were murders,0.52%, murders by firearms 8583,0.352%,death by rifle 323, 0.013%, deaths by beating 726 or .028%. I am not making light of the murder of children but it seems we might be blowing this way out of proportion. In fact the number of murders by handguns was 6220 or 0.25%. The leading cause of murder was arguments .
James Old Guy

Anonymous said...

In response to Anonymous 1,
If you have a list of non-gun owners it will be pretty easy for the government to figure out who has the guns. What's that, I think I hear the whirr of a black helicopter.
Also, I guess since I'd be paying more for the police force they probably should just stay out of your neighborhood.
I am a chef and pretty handy with a knife. I think I should get an exemption or at least a discount.

Dan O. said...

No matter how hard I try, trying to follow a liberal's logic just gives me a headache.

There are no reasoning skills present in their "feelings" which they try to pass off as thinking. Their feelings just don't pass muster in logic-minded, true-thinking humans.

The fact that they have no reasoning skills, makes it impossible to throw fact-based arguments at them with any result other than more illogical bs.

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