Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Revolt of the Nutmeggers

For those of you who do not follow Mike Vanderboegh's Sipsey Street Irregulars blog, there are big doings in Connecticut, the Constitution State.

Last April, in response to the prior December's horrendous shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, the Connecticut legislature passed a knee-jerk law requiring all "assault weapons" and "high capacity magazines" to be registered with the state by the start of 2014.  (I put "assault weapons" and "high capacity magazines" in quotes to emphasize that these are phoney-baloney made up terms used merely to demonize equipment in wide and lawful use by very many upstanding citizens throughout the country.)

When passed, those in the know in CT estimated upwards of 370,000 assault weapons and as many as four million (4,000,000) magazines were then in the hands of an unknown number of Nutmeggers.  Well, the deadline for registering all that nasty equipment has passed and fewer than 50,000 rifles and fewer than 40,000 magazines have been registered.  That is, <15% of the guns and <1% of the magazines.  Yes, ONE percent.

It gets worse.  Pro-gun organizations in CT as well as elsewhere have bluntly stated their resolve to touch off another revolution if the state tries to confiscate any of the unregistered firearms.  Given the realities on the ground, the Connecticut State Police have the upper hand only for the first one or two such confiscations, after which an all-out war is not outside the envelope of possibility.  CT legislators have had their home addresses posted online and reacted by demanding personal state-paid security details to forestall assassination attempts.

Connecticut Carry, one such organization promoting concealed- and open-carry for CT, issued a press release giving the legislature until May 7th to repeal the intolerable act saying "shit or get off the pot" (yes, that is a quote from the presser) meaning "repeal or enforce, take your pick".

Stay tuned.  This could get interesting.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Nosing Around

Various members of my family are getting a chuckle out of one of my peculiar physical disabilities.  "That's shocking!" I can hear you bellow.  Indeed, but I'm tough;  I can take it.

The particular disability is that I cannot smell marijuana.  I first began to suspect something was wrong when we lived in Brookfield, CT back in the late 70s.  Norene and I attended a "drug awareness seminar" hosted by the local sheriff at a neighborhood church.  A deputy with a squeeze bottle inside of which burned a quantity of MJ walked among us puffing clouds of smoke so that we parents could recognize what I'm told is a quite-distinctive odor, the better to detect when our children were engaging in "reefer madness", I suppose.

"What are we supposed to be smelling?" I asked the person next to me.  She looked at me like I was crazy.  "You can't smell that?"

No, I couldn't.  It didn't smell like anything I could recognize other than burning paper.  "No, no... it's kind of a sweet smell... very flowery."  That's not how I describe a paper fire.

Since then I've deliberately placed myself — several times — in situations where I knew or suspected I was surrounded by people puffing away on joints.  Nothing.  I know it's not the aroma they're after, and I no longer smoke anything, but I am feeling a little... deprived, I guess, is the right term.  It's said to be a very pleasant aroma but since I quit smoking, that means I'll never get a Rocky Mountain High, so all this legalization going on hither and yon is likely to do absolutely nothing for me.

So don't bother trying to describe the aroma to me.  Its a waste of time.  I suspect that if someone were to synthesize "attar of marijuana" I might be unable to smell that either.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

My Favorite Piece of (Political) Poetry

That would, of course, be the gool ol' Declaration of Independence.  Thomas Jefferson is rightly honored for his masterful wordsmithing on the document that launched us down the path of nationhood.  Listen to the words, how they slip into the ears and then into the brain in such a way as to make us instinctively nod our heads in agreement:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Jefferson is saying "I know you think this is rash, but let us tell you why we think this is necessary" and then he starts laying out his case like a veteran prosecuting attorney:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

This is the axiom of the American system:  we are all equal;  our rights come from God, not from the King or Parliament;  government exists for the primary purpose of seeing our rights are protected;  we create the government; it doesn't just magically appear;  when government screws up, it is up to us to decide that government has, in fact, screwed up,  and having made that determination, we get to choose how we shall change our government so that it actually fulfills its purpose.

When the Declaration was promulgated, this was outrageously bizarre to almost everyone involved in politics.  The people make decisions about their government?  Are you nuts?  What do ordinary people know about government?  Kings and Parliaments worldwide couldn't imagine where we had gotten such odd ideas.  (Actually, they could.  I'm just dramatizing.  John Locke's name was well known among the European intelligentsia, many of whom wished he had never been born.)

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

That is:  "We recognize that this sort of thing doesn't happen every day, and it shouldn't.  On the other hand, sometimes it becomes necessary."  He then begins an indictment of King George III, laying out the charges one-by-one.  I won't list them all, but there are a few that are worth pondering.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness of his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

Any student of American History will recognize echoes of these in our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, ... solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States...  And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

They didn't really have to add that last part.  Everyone who inked their name below knew they were committing treason and that they were, indeed, pledging their lives.  Several of them, in fact, ended their lives and political careers destitute at the end of a length of British rope.

How many of us, I wonder, have the cojones they did?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

(Military) Revisionist History

Well, they're at it again, those crazy guys over at The Military History Channel!  They have this (usually) great program called "How We Invented The World" and it always has a sub-title: "Railroads", "Planes", etc.  Last night they did "Guns" which was a survey of how personal weaponry has changed (and how little it has changed) since the first example in the 17th century.  Most of it was very entertaining and informative, but as with all such topics, it's very easy to get things wrong, and this is especially true when one allows one's bias to creep in.  It appears that's what happened.

Discussing the early 20th century, they mentioned the venerable, iconic firearm of the Roaring Twenties, the Thompson submachine-gun, the Chicago typewriter.  Now, a little background for those who haven't studied the political history of the era — from someone who has.

The Thompson (or "tommy gun") was invented in 1919, right near the end of WW-I.  Thompson envisioned the thing as a "trench broom", but it never made it into battle before the war ended.  There was a small pre-production run and full production began in 1921.  Back in those good old days there were no federal gun laws to speak of.  It was (literally) possible to send a letter to Auto-Ordnance of Hartford, Connecticut with your check for $200 and purchase (direct from the company) a Thompson with a 20-round stick magazine.  Farmers and ranchers found it a worthwhile investment for scaring off predators, whether four-legged or two-legged, and many were sold "out west" for entirely lawful purposes.  Your brand new Thompson would be delivered to your door by the Railway Express Agency or Wells Fargo or American Express (yes, they did deliver packages once upon a time).

Here is where The (Military) Revisionist History Channel goes astray.  First, they ascribed the name "trench broom" to the Thompson as the weapon our doughboys used to clear WW-I trenches of pesky Germans, quite a feat for a firearm that hadn't been invented yet.  In fact, doughboys used sawed-off shotguns and referred to them as "trench brooms".

Then, as if to ice the cake, they note that the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA) was passed specfically to get these "weapons of war" off the streets because "they were making their way into the hands of criminals, probably via dodgy dealers".  (I hope I got that quote right.)  Well...  not to put too fine a point on it...  horsefeathers!

  1. The NFA was passed as a revenue bill because Congress knew they couldn't reguate firearms.  The $200 transfer tax was enough, however, to flush nearly everyone out of the habit of keeping submachine-guns, sawed-off shotguns, and silencers handy — too damned expensive.
  2. "Dodgy dealers" included Sears-Roebuck, Montgomery Ward, Ace Hardware, and the Auto-Ordnance Company of Hartford, Connecticut.  Not every Tom, Dick, and Harry store could afford to stock inventory that cost over $200 per unit.  This was the twenties, after all.
  3. In fact, there were not yet any federal firearms dealers since that didn't begin until 1934's National Firearms Act mandated a federal license to sell firearms commercially.

So many errors in a single sentence!  (Military) Revisionist History Channel, you've outdone yourself!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

I'm Dreaming Of A White Christmas

It's Christmastime again and we're in Erie again, but this time our Christmas will be white.  It started snowing yesterday afternoon and then stopped after delivering a light dusting, but overnight the snow returned and we had five to six inches of fluffy vanilla frosting this morning when we woke.  It feels very strange.  This will be our first 'White Christmas' in about 32 years — since we moved out of Connecticut.

Jessica, of course, revels in it.  This is what she moved North for.  I admit I haven't dealt with the stuff in many years and I do not consider that 'a problem'.  It will continue to be 'not a problem' until the new Ford has to be moved.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Thoughts for Bill Of Rights Day, December 15th, 2013

Today, December 15th, is "Bill Of Rights Day", commemorating the date in 1791 when the Bill of Rights was ratified.  Oddly, this commemorative day was first proclaimed on its 150th anniversary in 1941 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt who, only second behind Abraham Lincoln, did the most to destroy the Bill of Rights.

The name "Bill of Rights" is itself something of a misnomer.  The Bill of Rights grants us no rights;  they merely codify and protect pre-existing rights:  "Congress shall make no law...", "...shall not be infringed", "...shall not be violated".  They are all prohibitions on actions the government might attempt.  The BoR simply says "thou shalt not".

Note, also, something else about those "rights" (actually, "those prohibitions"):  nowhere do any of them say "citizen", as in "the right of citizens shall not...".  The government is being told "don't do this to anybody", presumably even if they're French...  or Iraqi, even.  Given some of our Supreme Court's recent decisions relating to Guantanamo Bay, it appears those "learned justices" haven't actually read the thing they claim the authority to interpret.  (Not exactly a surprise, I know.)

It's said, and probably 'truthfully', that you can only have rights you are willing to demand.  When the police officer asks "Do you mind if I look around your car?" most of us, knowing our own innocence, respond "Sure, why not?"  If the police officer didn't need to ask, he wouldn't have.  This is your clue to decline the search (others by extension).

It is also said, absolutely truthfully, that you can only have those rights you're willing to let anyone exercise.  As soon as you say "I believe in the right to (here fill in a sample right), but..." you've lost it.  If you admit to circumstances where a right can be foreshortened, you've just burned the right down to the ground.  "IBITR of free speech but... you can't shout 'Fire!' in a crowded theater."  Oops.  What do you shout when the theater is on fire?  "Free popcorn!" doesn't have quite the sense of urgency called for here.  The prohibition on causing panic in the theater is actually a prohibition on lying.  You can speak the truth freely;  you can't slander.  You can keep and bear arms;  you can't murder.  You have the right to do things you should; you never had a right to do things you shouldn't.  More precisely, you don't have any rights to harm others.  Seems somewhat "Golden Rule-ish", no?  Don't do things you wouldn't want others doing to you.  Makes sense to me.

 

In line with that and with yesterday's commemoration still firmly in mind, today is also "Guns Save Lives Day".

Some background:  back oh... twenty-five years or so ago, someone did a survey to find out how often honest, peaceable folk saved themselves from victimhood because they had a gun.  It wasn't a very rigorous study, so when the figure "2.5 million defensive gun uses (DGU) per year" was announced, everyone snickered.  Ridiculous!

The Clinton-era Justice Department did their own study, this one a little more rigidly controlled.  Their number was 800,000 DGU.

Even this number was too unbelevably high for some people, so a(n anti-gun) Harvard researcher by the name of Hemmenway did his own study, eliminating every instance that might be even-a-little-bit suspect.  Hemmenway eliminated every case where it wasn't certain that a life in danger had been saved.  Hemmenway's number was 80,000 DGU, and even Hemmenway wasn't happy.  When he compared his own pared-to-the-bone number against the 30,000 annual unlawful gun deaths (40% of which are suicides), even he had to admit that it was likely — verging on 'extremely likely' — that guns in the hands of law-abiding folk prevented more deaths than guns in the hands of criminals took — by a factor of 2.7 .

If you're not so anti-gun that you're willing to accept the anti-gun Clinton-era DOJ estimate, then for every person criminally killed each year, 27 violent crimes are prevented, in almost every case without a shot being fired:  "Get lost.  I have a gun and I'll use it."  Problem solved.  2,291 times a day.

The implications of this are important.  Some organizations (Moms Demand Action, Committee to Stop Gun Violence, etc.) would like to see us all disarmed, claiming that this would solve our national crime problem.  That DOJ study, and to a lesser extent the Hemmenway survey, say otherwise.  They say our national crime problem would be horrendous without all those guns in the hands of good people.  What sort of moron would want that?  What sort of evil ghoul would want that?  Not you, certainly.

Happy Bill-Of-Rights Day.  Guns Save Lives.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Newtown, Arapahoe, and the Inherent Evil of Gun-Free Zones

Jessica, my daughter, posted on FB the day of the shooting at Arapahoe HS (and the day before the first anniversary of Newtown):

Repeat after me. Gun free zones are ONLY gun free for the people following the law!!! Criminals don't care about the sign on the front of the building touting it as a "gun free zone".

Agreeing with her, but elaborating, I commented in reply:

It is EVIL to demand our children remain unprotected against the ravages of a madman. The same people who demand (willing) teachers be disarmed in the classroom would never dream of leaving school children unvaccinated (that is: unprotected against the ravages of a communicable disease).

They KNOW what they are doing and they don't care. They WANT more dead children thinking it will shame us into defenselessness.

J'accuse!

I'd like to go a little deeper with that.  This is not rocket science:  the notion that declaring a school a "gun-free zone" will somehow prevent gun tragedies within that zone is "magical thinking" and it is fantasy.  The proof that it is fantasy only requires us to look at the last 60-or-so mass shootings and examine them for commonality.

The common thread you will find is that in all but two, those mass shootings occurred in so-called gun-free zones.  With all the non-gun-free zones we have in this country, what an amazing coincidence that virtually none of the mass shootings occurred where it is legal to have a firearm!  Or is it a coincidence?

There's an old joke about some mental patients being transported by car when the car gets a flat tire.  The driver jacks up the car, pops off the wheel cover, undoes all the lug nuts and places them in the wheel cover so they don't roll away.  Just as he's ready to put the spare tire on, a passing car kicks up a rock that hits the wheel cover and scatters all the lug nuts.  The driver is frantic until one of the mental patients suggests: "Take one lug nut from each of the other tires.  That should secure the spare well enough to get you to a gas station."  The driver tells him: "That's brilliant!  Why are you a mental patient?"  The other responds: "I'm crazy, not stupid."

Mass murderers may be crazy, but they aren't stupid.  The craziest of them will still understand that in order to successfully kill a large number of victims it is necessary that there be little or no effective resistance.  Shoot up a gun store? They may be crazy, but they aren't stupid.  Gun store employees have guns!  Let's find a school, instead.

The solution is obvious to everyone without an agenda: gun-free zones are really criminal-enablement zones.  On the day such a thing was first proposed, sensible people warned of the easily-predictable consequences, but they would not be heard.  Those proposing the original gun-free zones had a thought permanently welded into their brains: guns are evil;  we must keep them away from those most vulnerable.

Could they really have been that stupid to think stern approbation would be enough of a deterrent?  Answer:  no, they didn't think simply declaring a school to be "gun-free" would be any sort of protection, but it sounds nice, and those who feel their way through life get a warm, fuzzy sensation that they have done something.  They haven't, of course.  You and I can see that;  they cannot, and because they cannot, they will think highly of the legislator who helped them feel better and they will vote for hir in the next election.

As to the legislators, they are neither crazy nor stupid.  They know what it is they are doing and they don't care.  Another school shooting merely gives them another opportunity to orate to the TV cameras and to sponsor another bill — clear evidence they are "doing something" about the problem of school violence.  In fact, if there were no such thing as school shootings, those politicians would have to invent it.  It is a fact that the first mass-shooting in a school occurred after passage of the Gun-Free School Zones Act.  Prior to that, the worst school-sited tragedy was the Bath Township disaster, May 18th,1927 (Google it) where a disgruntled school board member dynamited a school killing dozens.

No, dead school children are a good thing to certain people:  those who are so sure firearms are bad that they will suffer the deaths of innocents in order to shame you into giving up your guns.  They may have different motivations, but their end-game is the same.  Some just think guns are yukky;  others know that an armed populace can resist the tyranny they are planning, the world they look forward to;  still others are anti-hunter and wish to see hunting as a sport and hunting as a means of subsistence living done away with.  Whatever their motivation, guns in the hands of "ordinary people" are seen as a bad, bad thing and must be expunged from our culture.  Look!  That child pointed his finger like a gun!  Suspend him!  Shame the parents!  The madness continues because we allow it to continue.  They may be crazy, but they're not stupid.

The madness will continue as long as the bulk of humanity looks at the gun-free-school-zone adherents as merely well-meaning fools.  "They mean well;  they're just not very bright."  Enough of that.  People who put our children at risk regardless of the motivation must be challenged.  What they are doing is EVIL even if they did not intend evil.  The politicians who pass such laws are EVIL.  The people who demand such laws are EVIL.  Those who support evil laws are themselves EVIL.  School administrators who lobby legislators to keep their schools, their colleges, gun free are EVIL and we must get rid of them before more of our children are harmed by well-meaning fools.

The time is now long past that we should "suffer fools gladly".  These people are killing children with their policies.  They didn't pull the triggers, but they loaded the guns.  They need to hear a rising chorus of sensible voices telling them that the last child has died because of their insanity.  They need to be shamed into silence because they finally understand that being crazy and not getting professional help for it is really stupid.