February 4, 2009

Gun Control Debate

I’m a shooter and owner of firearms. I’m also a defender of an originalist theory of the 2nd amendment. It takes little for me to enter a debate on gun control, as I am certainly not in favor of most of what I see. That being said, I must also state that I’m not totally opposed to gun control legislation. Some, I feel, is reasonable and necessary.

There are wing nuts on both ends of the gun issue, who make it difficult to conduct a reasonable debate on the subject; but I would like to try. I’ll start by posting the following. A friend sent this little ditty this morning by email, and I wanted to see if anyone is interested in commenting.

It is now closer to reality than you think. You're sound asleep when you hear a thump outside your bedroom door. Half-awake, and nearly paralyzed with fear, you hear muffled whispers. At least two people have broken into your house and are moving your way. With your heart pumping, you reach down beside your bed and pick up your shotgun. You rack a shell into the chamber, then inch toward the door and open it. In the darkness, you make out two shadows.

One holds something that looks like a crowbar. When the intruder brandishes it as if to strike, you raise the shotgun and fire. The blast knocks both thugs to the floor. One writhes and screams while the second man crawls to the front door and lurches outside. As you pick up the telephone to call police, you know you're in trouble.

In your country, most guns were outlawed years before, and the few That are privately owned are so stringently regulated as to make them useless. Yours was never registered.

Police arrive and inform you that the second burglar has died. They arrest you for First Degree Murder and Illegal Possession of a Firearm. When you talk to your attorney, he tells you not to worry: authorities will probably plea the case down to manslaughter.

"What kind of sentence will I get?" you ask.

"Only ten-to-twelve years," he replies, as if that's nothing. "Behave yourself, and you'll be out in seven."

The next day, the shooting is the lead story in the local newspaper. Somehow, you're portrayed as an eccentric vigilante while the two men you shot are represented as choirboys. Their friends and relatives can't find an unkind word to say about them. Buried deep down in the article, authorities acknowledge that both "victims" have been arrested
numerous times. But the next day's headline says it all:

"Lovable Rogue Son Didn't Deserve to Die."

The thieves have been transformed from career criminals into Robin Hood-type pranksters. As the days wear on, the story takes wings. The national media picks it up, then the international media. The surviving burglar has become a folk hero.

Your attorney says the thief is preparing to sue you, and he'll probably win. The media publishes reports that your home has been burglarized several times in the past and that you've been critical of local police for their lack of effort in apprehending the suspects. After the last break-in, you told your neighbor that you would be prepared next time. The District Attorney uses this to allege that you were lying in wait for the burglars.

A few months later, you go to trial. The charges haven't been reduced, as your lawyer had so confidently predicted. When you take the stand, your anger at the injustice of it all works against you. Prosecutors paint a picture of you as a mean, vengeful man. It doesn't take long for the jury to convict you of all charges.

The judge sentences you to life in prison.

This case really happened.

On August 22, 1999, Tony Martin of Emneth, Norfolk, England, killed one burglar and wounded a second. In April, 2000, he was convicted and is now serving a life term.

How did it become a crime to defend one's own life in the once great British Empire?

It started with the Pistols Act of 1903. This seemingly reasonable law forbade selling pistols to minors or felons and established that handgun sales were to be made only to those who had a license. The Firearms Act of 1920 expanded licensing to include not only handguns but all firearms except shotguns.

Later laws passed in 1953 and 1967 outlawed the carrying of any weapon by private citizens and mandated the registration of all shotguns.

Momentum for total handgun confiscation began in earnest after the Hungerford mass shooting in 1987. Michael Ryan, a mentally disturbed Man with a Kalashnikov rifle, walked down the streets shooting everyone he saw. When the smoke cleared, 17 people were dead.

The British public, already de-sensitized by eighty years of "gun control", demanded even tougher restrictions. (The seizure of all privately owned handguns was the objective even though Ryan used a rifle.)

Nine years later, at Dunblane, Scotland, Thomas Hamilton used a semi-automatic weapon to murder 16 children and a teacher at a public school.

For many years, the media had portrayed all gun owners as mentally unstable or worse, criminals. Now the press had a real kook with which to beat up law-abiding gun owners. Day after day, week after week, the media gave up all pretense of objectivity and demanded a total ban on all handguns. The Dunblane Inquiry, a few months later, Sealed the fate of the few sidearm still owned by private citizens.

During the years in which the British government incrementally took away most gun rights, the notion that a citizen had the right to armed self-defense came to be seen as vigilantism. Authorities refused to grant gun licenses to people who were threatened, claiming that self-defense was no longer considered a reason to own a gun. Citizens who shot burglars or robbers or rapists were charged while the real criminals were released.

Indeed, after the Martin shooting, a police spokesman was quoted as saying, "We cannot have people take the law into their own hands."

All of Martin's neighbors had been robbed numerous times, and several elderly people were severely injured in beatings by young thugs who had no fear of the consequences. Martin himself, a collector of antiques, had seen most of his collection trashed or stolen by burglars.

When the Dunblane Inquiry ended, citizens who owned handguns were given three months to turn them over to local authorities. Being good British subjects, most people obeyed the law. The few who didn't were visited by police and threatened with ten-year prison sentences if they didn't comply. Police later bragged that they'd taken nearly 200,000 handguns from private citizens.

How did the authorities know who had handguns? The guns had been registered and licensed. Kinda like cars.

Sound familiar?

WAKE UP AMERICA; THIS IS WHY OUR FOUNDING FATHERS PUT THE SECOND AMENDMENT IN OUR CONSTITUTION.


~~

77 Comments:

jeg43 said...

I, too, am a gun owner and shooter of targets and I have guns in my home that will serve well to protect my family and property. The British folk have let their law-makers go to a terrible extreme and will never be allowed to own guns again. My sympathy go out to them. Their's is not the situation in the U.S.

While I don't believe that all forms of gun control in the U.S. will automatically lead to the results as presented in the article posted, I have little faith that any politician can write gun control legislation with out stomping all over the Constitution. Given the evidence of the last eight years, I often wonder if they can write any laws with out violating the Constitution.

I have not been much bothered the gun laws as they exist today - such as the three day waiting period for a handgun purchase. But I know certain folks are very much against it, even though it has not led to confiscation as some claimed it would.

Would I fire on an intruder in my home? I would have to say that it would depend on the circumstances. If any of the family were in danger of injury or death from an armed intruder (with gun, knife, club, or threatened physical force) I believe I would have no hesitation to use a gun to end the threat. If I confronted an unarmed intruder, I like to think I'd be inclined to hold him at bay with a gun and call the police. I hope I never have to experience either event but feel reasonably prepared.

If or when additional gun control is proposed, I'll examine it and make a decision then. Right now it isn't in the top ten on my worry list.

Ambulance Driver said...

Yet another example of the place where Great Britain used to be.

For me, the 2nd Amendment is the citizen's defense against government tyranny, and should be defended vigorously.

And while you say that you are not totally opposed to gun control legislation, what legislation in your eyes would be reasonable?

Keep in mind, now, that many citizens (or is it subjects?) of Great Britain probably felt as you do, that some reasonable control of weapons was a good thing. Only now, they're seeing, much to their dismay, how much incrementalism has eroded their rights.

It starts with registration. Then it expands to outright bans. They target the weapons the Average Joe or Nigel neither owns nor understands. "That sounds reasonable," they'll muse. "Why would any normal person want one of thoseweapons?"

And they support the ban.

And then comes the expanded registration. Then the ban is expanded to include guns that aren't so unfamiliar or scary.

Only now, the government has legal precedent behind them, and a generation of children has been raised without handguns, and hence even granddaddy's fowling piece or stag rifle looks scary to them. So naturally, they support the banning of those weapons. "After all," they muse, "what would any reasonable person want with those weapons?"

And so it goes, on and on, until one day they wake up and discover that not only aren't they allowed to possess any weapons, but they aren't even allowed to defend themselves, period.

That's the place where (formerly) Great Britain finds itself today. And I'll die before I see the same thing happen in the United States - probably at the hand of my government.

That's what the politicians do, Mule Breath. When the original assault weapons ban was proposed, it would have outlawed such guns as my daddy's Browning A5 or a Remington 1100. Whether you believe such lunacy was intentional on the part of those who drafted the legislation or you believe it was an accident resulting from people too stupid to understand what they're trying to legislate, doesn't matter. Your rights are stripped, just the same.

I've heard you say before that the only difference between liberals and conservatives is what part of the Constitution they're willing to piss on, and I agree.

But the reason I largely vote Republican and not Democrat is because the Republicans seem less likely to deny me the one Constitutional right I can use to defend all the others.

fuzzys dad said...

Well said. Thank-You for the post.

Julie said...

How are you going to stop it?

Living in Australia which has seen creeping gun registration and restrictions over the last 12 years we've faced the issue of complying with restrictions so that we can keep some guns. The alternative is jail. As a mum of two kids that's not a pleasant prospect.

Are you really willing to go to jail or kill whomever comes to take your guns if (when) tighter restrictions come in into the US? Maybe I'm missing an alternative approach?

If the legislation is passed what can you do?

Ambulance Driver said...

"If the legislation is passed what can you do?"

Refuse to comply, if that's where you draw your line in the sand. Civil disobedience is sometimes necessary in defense of liberty. They rely on your meek compliance.

Julie said...

To the point of killing someone or going to jail for non-compliance, AD?

Not sure I could do this.

Farm.Dad said...

Julie Yes if necessary. I will not surrender any of my firearms.Frankly I dont have much good will for anyone who comes with the express purpose of making me and my family helpless. I am not a wild eyed radical , just a fairly typical example of the folks in my rural area of Colorado . Others in other areas of the country may do as they will on the issue but where I live there wont be a handfull of " banned" guns turned inn and the folks they send out to take guns are not going to have the best life expectancy. This is not threatening anyone rather it is a recognition of some hard realitys that none of the gun grabbers seem to factor into their little schemes.

Mule Breath said...

Eloquent, as usual, AD.

"what legislation in your eyes would be reasonable?"

Very little, actually, and more in line with criminal control than gun control. I would maintain some age limits without parental involvement, some limits on felons and certain mental diagnoses. I DO NOT support registration, and see no purpose in limiting firearms by type. I might agree that a pipe bomb is an illegal weapon, and would find myself curious as to why someone would wish to keep napalm in the fridge.

"But the reason I largely vote Republican and not Democrat is because the Republicans seem less likely to deny me the one Constitutional right I can use to defend all the others"

We differ here only because I feel the pen to be mightier than the sword. Our rights to freedom of expression and of the press, to me, will more quickly preserve the remainder of our natural rights than will a weapon. It takes both to ensure tranquility, but I feel it easier to support the 2nd with the 1st than vice versa.

Mule Breath said...

Julie,

The answer is to try to prevent the legislation from passing. Your situation in OZ is the result of hysteria, due to heinous acts by a very few mentally unbalanced people. The roar of your media and the sheep following led to unwise legislation. It was reactionary, and hopefully it can eventually be reversed. I may be wrong (time will tell), but in the U.S. I don't see the same happening. We have the outrageous left and the reactionary right, but they tend to snuff each other's torches. Reason and moderation has, for the most part, so far won out.

However, if it came to it, I'd break ranks and side with AD. No, I would not kill, and I don't believe AD would either. He is a reasonable man who recognizes the durability of our constitution. My guns would be hidden from confiscation if that were the only course left, then I'd take to the pulpit and start working to restore my rights.

This is the way our founders envisioned it.

Ambulance Driver said...

"It takes both to ensure tranquility, but I feel it easier to support the 2nd with the 1st than vice versa."

And here I believe just the opposite. The ability to freely speak one's mind without fear of government reprisal flows directly from the possibility that the citizens are willing to use any means, including armed uprising, to keep that right.

I'm no wild-eyed internet revolutionary, but I do believe that when the government tramples enough of its citizens' rights, the only way to rectify the situation is to overthrow that government.

Will that ever be necessary a second time in the United States' history? I honestly don't know. But the possibility better always be there, or we've already lost our freedom.

And to Julie: Yes, even to the point of killing someone or going to jail for those beliefs. Those would obviously be the extremes, but the fact remains that America was founded upon just such a premise. Our forefathers had the courage to make that decision. Will we?

If we don't display that kind of courage or resolve, are we being faithful stewards of the country they built for us?

It's the difference between being a citizen, or a subject.

Rogue Medic said...

Indeed, after the Martin shooting, a police spokesman was quoted as saying, "We cannot have people take the law into their own hands."

This kind of statement is appropriate if the people take the law into their own hands, for example by lynching someone.

jeg43,

May I recommend a shotgun. You do not have to be good, or accurate.

There is a great quote from an underappreciated movie called Playing God:

Eugene has managed, by deception, to get a shotgun away from a killer. Eugene is no killer. The killer knows this.

Young Gangster: You gonna kill me?

Eugene: No, but I know where to shoot you so you'll be in diapers for the rest of your life!


A shotgun can be the unskilled, or uncertain, gun owner's friend. If you do not know if you can pull the trigger, get a shotgun. Aim for center-of-mass, just a bit lower. You can shoot him again, if necessary. A groin-less attacker is not much of a threat.


I don't own any guns.

I don't have any plans to own any guns.

That is no reason to allow a bunch of anti-American politicians to dismantle the Constitution.


I voted Republican once. I still cannot forgive myself.

Republicans really are not any different from Democrats, except in the parts of the Constitution they are willing to sacrifice to assuage their fears. They are both selling fear.

Neither of them trusts American Citizens.

Who needs to ban guns? The Democrat version of President Bush needs disarmed Citizens. Who needs to have a Patriot Act? The Republican version of President Obama needs a Patriot Act. Republicans have their War on Terror, War on Crime, or whatever. Democrats have their War on the Rich, or War on Poverty, or whatever.

Either way, they are sacrificing the Constitution to get votes. There is no part of the Constitution that is worth sacrificing. What Founding Father would say that it is acceptable to sacrifice any of the Bill of Rights, that so many of their Countrymen died for?

It is true, that when in the office of President, some did not behave so honorably toward the Constitution, but it is how they would behave out of office that really matters. Their behavior in office demonstrated the need for the Bill of Rights. If even the Founding Fathers could be corrupted by power, what hope does any modern day bought-and-paid-for politician have?

They fought for the Constitution. Many of their friends and neighbors died for the Constitution. They did not claim that the 1st, 4th, or 5th Amendments were OK to sacrifice, except when they wielded the power of the President. The head of the government is not, and never has been, a person to trust in determining the need for the protections of the Bill of Rights - protections from the government.

Congress is no better. Ditto the Supreme Court.

All of the Rights, in the Bill of Rights, were considered to be essential by the People. They demanded these Rights before agreeing to accept the Constitution. None of them are worth sacrificing for some momentary fear.

The Founding Fathers were the people who actually did the fighting - not some loud mouth entertainer hypocrites like Rush Limbaugh or Michael Moore. One is not a better evil. They are both evil.

The choice between Pepsi and Coke is not a significant choice. You are just choosing the method of execution, not whether to be executed.

It is a choice, as Marko has stated, between one raping me, but offering to give me a reach around, while the other is raping me, but offering to rape me face-to-face, so it is more intimate.

Well golly, in the words of the astrology nut wife of a Hollywood Democrat, who later turned into a butterfly as a Hollywood Republican - Just say NO!

Ted said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ted said...

Mr Martin's case is a sad one, but he did dig his own grave. He deliberately chose to break the law by not registering his shotgun, and then chose to remain in a crime-ridden area, relying on that shotgun for defense.

What else could he have done? He could have registered his weapon. He could have worked within the system for more pro-gun owner legislation. He could have organized a neighborhood watch. He could have chosen an alternate means of home defense (I'm fond of the big scary dog technique myself). He could have moved to a more gun owner-friendly area, or a less crime-ridden one. His options were legion.

He chose to break the law. Then he killed a man.

Were I on the jury, I would argue that he deserved the thanks of a grateful community. But I certainly don't see how anyone can be surprised by this outcome

Ambulance Driver said...

"He could have moved to a more gun owner-friendly area, or a less crime-ridden one. His options were lesion."

Ted, an unjust law is still unjust, even if it is the law. And registration has already been proven to be the precursor to outright confiscation, in every society that has implemented it.

So how is it that a man possessing a firearm in his own home, who uses that firearm to defend himself against a burglar threatening him with a crowbar, a criminal when the burglar is not?

How did Mr. Martin possibly deserve such an outcome, other than through the application of a fundamentally unjust law?

Herein lies the problem. Mr. Martin committed an act of justifiable self-defense. But since the idiots who made the laws attach some sinister magical properties to the implement he chose to use in that act of self-defense, suddenly he becomes a criminal?

That is ludicrous.

And what is reasonable about moving from your home and fleeing from the criminal element.

Me, I'll fight. And perhaps, the criminals may just decide that my neighborhood isn't the best choice to commit their crimes.

MiniKat said...

I'm not sure if I would agree on any kind of gun control legislation. Not because I'm totally pro-firearm or not. It's because I am very against the growing amount of government intrusion into the private lives of citizens.

Gun control (or the lack thereof) is just one of many issues that I believe the government needs to remove it's nose from.

My husband and I own two firearms that do not have to be registered. We do not plan on living anywhere where we have to register a firearm. We also plan on adding to our collection as finances allow.

Claire said...

Because of the many things you have said about both Democrats & Republicans, and currently being a registered Republican, I am seriously considering changing my party affiliation to Libertarian. Less government is the only way to retain our freedoms.

And? I want to move to Texas, because if it comes down to it, that's where the patriots will make their stand. Here in California, we'll be thrown to the wolves.

Peter said...

Part of what I don't understand about the pro-gun perspective is the widespread insistence that the right is absolute, with no possible room for exceptions. Freedom of speech doesn't allow you to shout "Fire" in a crowded theater, freedom of religion doesn't allow you to perform human sacrifice, and freedom of assembly doesn't allow you to assemble on a military base (or anyone else's private property that doesn't want you there). So, what makes the Second Amendment so different? Nothing in the text of the amendments would suggest the second is more absolute than the first that I'm aware of.

As for Mr. Martin, I entirely agree that his sentence was unjust and he never should have been charged with murder (or at the least, he should have advanced an affirmative defense of self-defense, thus justifying his killing). I don't have a major problem with convicting him of illegal possession of a firearm if he didn't have it registered. I don't really believe that registration is simply the first step toward the government confiscating everyone's guns in this country, in large part because there are so many people opposed to that step, but I don't think protecting against the slippery slope requires complete removal of every possible restriction either.

wrm said...

Freedom of speech allows you to say what you want, as long as you don't hurt other people (by shouting "fire" in the theatre). Freedom of religion allows you to practice the religion you want, as long as you don't hurt other people (by sacrificing them). Freedom of assembly allows you to assemble, but not in posted areas.

And the second amendment you guys have allows you to have as many guns as you want, as long as you don't hurt people or take the guns into posted areas.

So, Peter, tell me, why do you say that the second amendment is different? :-)

Rogue Medic said...

wrm,

Good points.

Peter,

What leads you to believe that firearms are not already heavily regulated?

The DC vs Heller case was about a case similar to Mr. Martin, only the case was filed by the gun owners to try to overturn the law.

Here are two excerpts from the Wikipedia page. The first describes how the case came about. The second describes the decision.

In February 2003, the six residents of Washington, D.C. filed a lawsuit in the District Court for the District of Columbia, challenging the constitutionality of provisions of the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975, a local law (part of the District of Columbia Code) enacted pursuant to District of Columbia home rule. This law restricted residents from owning handguns, excluding those grandfathered in by registration prior to 1975 and those possessed by active and retired law enforcement officers. The law also required that all firearms including rifles and shotguns be kept "unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock."[4] The District Court dismissed the lawsuit.

"In sum, we hold that the District's ban on handgun possession in the home violates the Second Amendment, as does its prohibition against rendering any lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense ... We affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals."[31] This ruling upholds the first federal appeals court ruling ever to void a law on Second Amendment grounds.

In other words, now they may legally have guns in their homes, and not have to keep them disassembled. Not exactly what I would call an unrestricted absolute right. Would you?

If this were a First Amendment case, maybe it would have been about somebody having a typewriter in the home, and not disassembled. Or having a functioning internet connection. Or having a soapbox, that has not been disassembled.

Or, if you go to the main page of this blog, on the left hand side, there is a quote from Ray Bradbury.

Do you ever read any of the books you burn?" - - Guy Montag, (1953) in Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury imagined a world, where people were not allowed to possess books. Books were dangerous. Books caused people to experience negative feelings. Books hurt people. For the good of society books were banned. This was an imaginary society, but is it much different from the approach of some places to firearms?

Farm.Dad said...

I have to say that this is one of the better informed and polite discussions I have seen on gun control. I still have to ask tho that when a new gun ban turns me and folks like me into instant felons ( which is a good bet from what I have read ). Just what will be done about us and our firearms that we refuse to surrender ? We all know how well Prohibition worked as well as how successful the " war on drugs " has been. Just why is there any expectation for a " war on guns " to be any different? Untill we as a nation quit locking people up for " victomles" crimes and start keeping violent criminals in the can we will have the same issues. We ( the gun owners ) have millions of guns and an uncountable amount of ammo that wont just go away with the stroke of a pen . Legislate Me as a felon over an item of property that was legal the day before and you remove any incentive I once had to keep that item out of the hands of criminals ( since I am now one by fiat ). Just food for thought on the issue .

Herbie said...

Guns don't kill people; the person pulling the trigger is the one who kills people by making a conscious decision to do so.

I'm not afraid to use it to protect my life, or the life of my family.

P.S. It's good to see the discussion remain mature. Keep it up.

Heather said...

As me and my husband both know its not the guns that kill. Put a loaded gun on any surface and no person or thing touches it and it will cause no harm. Put a person behind it with intention to harm and it will do as it is designed.

I personally do not care for guns because they have a tendency to be lethal. And find myself at a crossroad - because ANY object given the right attitude can become just as lethal, even if the force behind it is much more physical. (example - bats, knives, and any other object that can cause harm by way of beating someone.)

Criminals have learned that our justice system can be twisted into something that benefits them.

So, its not the guns that cause the problems.

It's a justice system that is easily swayed to the boo-hooing of a would be thief or thug that didn't get his way and is now whining about it.

Despite my abhorrence to handle a gun - if someone came into my home uninvited and severely unwanted -- I would defend myself, my children and my home without question with whatever means I had to do so. And likely go to prison for doing so. Sad isn't it?

So, gun control is not the answer. Cleaning up the mess of our justice system is. And keep it simple - breaking and entering is wrong and you get hurt as a result you took that risk when you did your wrong. Do the crime - do the time. Period.

suo said...

Things are looking grim in Finland too...after two school shooting incidents (Kauhajoki 2008 and Jokela 2007), media is gunning (sic) after total ban of hand guns; new legislation is due to arrive to Finnish parliament before summer. And shooting community is in a state of semi-panic. OR at least very very worried.

Background: Finnish shooting culture is based on hunting tradition (centuries long), with strong (and succesful) sports shooting history. All firearms require 1)purchasing permit 2)mandatory registration & carrying permit (no open/concealed carry.)

Before Jokela/Kauhajoki incidents, one could get a license for a hunting weapon (rifle/shotgun) simply passing hunting license course and/or shooting test attained to it. Handgun permits (revolver/pistols) where a bit harder to obtain, but with permits for other weapons, no big deal. All permits where valid till further notice, ie weapon was sold, owner comitted a fellony etc.

But after before mentioned events...no permit for handgun as first firearms permit...statement from a doctor stating appliants mental state...all permits are valid for a fixed time (6 months --->10 years)...proof of a)regular practice b)event/sport suitable for weapon you're applying permit for c)membership of a shooting/hunting club...claims in media by public figures that ALL firearms should be stored at shooting ranges....etc etc

Ok, you guys at stateside probably blew a gasket when reading how things were before, but things are beginning to look very much commonwealthy up here =\ And to point just a few brain farts in requirements above:

Finland is fairly big country with few people. Outside population centres, shooting ranges are situated far from population (noise etc) and have (99,9% of ranges) no secure facilities to store firearms. If you're shooting on your own land (safely of course) how are you going to proof you're practising regularly? Allso, we have a winter here, once a year. Snow, temperatures below freezing, dark...Skeet shooting's a bitch if you can't see shit.

And about that mandatory membership of shooting/hunting club? We have a constitution here too. And in our constitution it says (rough translation) "people have a right to choose whether to be a member of a organization/group/club/party OR NOT".

Yup, i'm pissed. I did a lot of shooting as a kid, and about a year ago got bit by recoil bug. Big time. Didn't have money for my own weapon so I shared range time with my friend who owns a gun or two. The bug bit got worse so I started looking around for a boomstick with my name on it.

Then this happened: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article4808358.ece

And shit started rolling downhill...

Peter said...

wrm,

I was mainly trying to point out that even Constitutional rights have limitations. Even when you're not directly harming others... for instance, you can't use peyote in religious ceremonies, because it's an illegal substance. Setting aside whether you think the drug laws are just, that's a restriction on freedom of religion. I'd argue further that registration of firearms, as an example, is not a restraint on the right of ownership, you just have to declare it. Think of registering as a positive declaration of your exercise of the right, like asking for a lawyer during police questioning.

Rogue Medic,

I'm not suggesting firearms aren't already heavily regulated, and I think the handgun bans in D.C. and Chicago (among others) go too far. My argument was mainly a pushback against folks who argue against ANY restriction. Ambulance Driver says registration has been a precursor to confiscation in every country so far; why isn't anyone worried about the government taking all our cars away to prevent global warming? They're all registered... What's wrong exactly with a 72-hour waiting period or criminal background check?

#1 Dinosaur said...

My take: how about regulating the "where" instead of the "who" or the "what."

Ambulance Driver said...

"They're all registered... What's wrong exactly with a 72-hour waiting period or criminal background check?"

Because, as we've stated before, criminals are not going to follow such restrictions. They're going to obtain their guns illegally. Hence, no waiting periods or background checks for the people already predisposed to committing crimes with firearms.

Waiting periods only hamper the law abiding. Now, an instantaneous background check, I can agree with, provided the information gathered is destroyed afterwards so that it does not become a de facto gun or gun owner registry.

Ambulance Driver said...

"Background: Finnish shooting culture is based on hunting tradition (centuries long), with strong (and successful) sports shooting history."

And that Finnish shooting culture helped them stand up to the military juggernaut that was Russia during the Russo-Finnish war, and inflict casualties far out of proportion to their numbers. The Finns kicked serious ass.

Sad to see that fighting heritage being undermined by the hand-wringers.

tgtsmom said...

Personally, I don’t shoot. For all too personal and “whiney” reasons – carpel tunnel syndrome and overly sensitive hearing (which I’d like to keep). But, my husband owns a number of guns, both hunting and personal handguns. They are, ostensibly, for hunting food and killing vermin (snakes, especially). Living in Louisiana, even before the recent hurricanes, vermin could be problem.

Here, hunting and fishing provide an economic resource much needed by some for basic survival and much appreciated by the rest of us. That being said, the thought that some person who knows nothing of my life because he was reared on concrete, the only grass found in a park or playground and the only food he’s ever seen coming cellophane wrapped, canned or frozen, telling me what I have a need for or a “right” to makes me rather angry.

Our founding fathers wrote an elastic document intended to be modified to suite the needs of each generation, which could bend without breaking and yet easily snap back when the pendulum swung back. Of far greater concern to me than efforts to pass legislation that would curtain our rights is the growing belief from larger and larger segments of our population that their individual desires are more pertinent than these rights. So many seem to feel that, so long as they still get their gravy, what does it matter that some schmo elsewhere has his rights trampled on. My only hope lies in this simple chain of discussions here, and others like them. I believe, so long as you are all here, talking to each other, there is still a chance to avoid the downfall both fringe elements (left and right) prophesy.

JD said...

MB - good post. My only comment is to your Pen is mightier than the sword. What do you say to the way things have turned out now? It may be mightier but when used to spread lies like it is in the main stream media today we may be forced to go to the sword to take back our country or become another UK. . . .

Farm.Dad said...

Peter:
You said .. "Think of registering as a positive declaration of your exercise of the right, like asking for a lawyer during police questioning."

I fear here is where we part ways and as folk of good conscience and civility we must just agree to disagree . I will tho ask you ( entirely toung in cheek and with good humor ) .. Just when any of your other civil rights have been subjected to registration or a waiting period ? To use your own example I take it that it would be ok to have to register your person , and then wait for the state's ok to have your lawyer ? . Or for that matter to have to register with the state to post on such " Assault Blogs " which contain rapid fire thoughts sometimes shot from the hip " such as this one . Again Sir , I fear we must agree to disagree on the issue and i wish you well .

Peter said...

AD, on the contrary, a 72 hour waiting period could certainly prevent or deter a heat-of-passion crime, assuming the potential criminal didn't already have access to a firearm. Plus, by forcing criminals outside the legal system for acquiring firearms, when we DO catch them, we can penalize them for those offenses, instead of waiting for them to actually commit a crime of violence.

Farm.Dad, most civil rights require some positive action on the citizen's part to exercise them. Don't you register to vote? It's a constitutional right, subject to certain restrictions. My voter's card took three or four weeks to come in the mail last time. If you want a lawyer during police interrogation, you have to ask for one. Heck, to comment on a lot of blogs, you need to register your name and e-mail address. Is Mule Breath violating my freedom of speech if he requires I register an account? Hardly.

As I said, I'm mainly uncomfortable with the absolute-right folks that argue ANY restriction on where or who or how is unconstitutional. Especially when said folks start arguing that "the folks they send out to take guns are not going to have the best life expectancy," or that they're willing to kill to defend this particular right. That's not civil disobedience, that's armed insurrection. Civil disobedience doesn't involve violence, else it's not civil. Deadly force is only legitimized in the eyes of the law if you are in imminent danger of harm yourself; somebody confiscating a gun that you wouldn't then be able to use in a possible burglary years later isn't imminent enough.

tgtsmom said...

While I sympathize with AD's need to prevent anyone, even a representative of the government, from taking what he has worked hard for, I must agree with Peter that civil disobedience, by definition, is non-violent. MB is more correct to say he would hide his guns from those who would take them.

This puts us back to the reality. I do not believe that gun restrictions will fare any better, even if they are passed, than prohibition of alcohol did. And, it is more dangerous for a government to pass laws it cannot enforce than any other error it may make. To make a criminal out of any and every random citizen who hunts for his supper when the economy is going to hell in a handbag is a very big mistake.

Vinnie said...

Peter said:"So, what makes the Second Amendment so different? Nothing in the text of the amendments would suggest the second is more absolute than the first that I'm aware of.
"

"a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
"
The fact that the constitution was written for mostly self educated people and now has to be interpreted by by people with masters degrees should be a warning call.
As for keeping guns away from criminals, the people have been sold a bill of goods. Why are dangerous criminal on the street? These laws mollify people into thinking that it is ok to release dangerous criminal because they can't get weapons. I want judges, juries and parole boards to be certain that the person in front of them can get a gun and act accordingly.

Sendarius said...

Peter,

Just to make a couple of points if I may:

1. You CAN shout "FIRE" in a crowded theatre. You just have to be prepared to accept the consequences - if there IS a fire, you are a hero; if no fire, you are a criminal.

2. ALL gun control legislation is of the PRIOR RESTRAINT kind. It aims (sorry) to prevent "gun crime" not by the deterrent of punishment for wrong DOING, but by making it impossible - you CANNOT shoot someone because you are not permitted to have a gun, rather than you MAY NOT because the ACTION is illegal. Think of Orwell's Newspeak incarnate.

My position as a gun owner in Oz is somewhat precariously balanced. I grew into the gun culture after the registration laws were enacted, so ALL the guns I have purchased are registered. The government KNOWS what I have bought, because it was impossible to obtain a firearm legally without telling the bureaucrats all about it.

Resisting the encroachment of additional restrictive laws is well and good, but any outright ban will see the police knocking on my door with a list of the guns that they are there to collect, and all their colleagues will know where they are.

Making the first few disappear might be possible, but it won't buy any respite - there will be many more RIGHT behind them. My death would be almost certain. As a would be free man, the decision to resist to the very end is one that I could probably make, but as a husband and father? Family makes it VERY difficult, and that is something that the JBT's count on.

Peter said...

Vinnie,

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

That's the First Amendment. "Congress shall make no law" is less absolute than "shall not be infringed"?

Sendarius,

Point taken about shouting "Fire". Shouldn't that also apply to people like Mr. Martin, who thought his family was in mortal danger justifying deadly force, and (according to the jury) was wrong? Shouldn't that enter into the self-defense calculus?

Sendarius said...

Peter,

If I were on the jury in Mr. Martin's case, I would have had to find that the the shooting was "legal" - there is "justifiable homicide" after all which amounts to a modifier to the injunction against killing.

Interestingly, this whole "Thou shalt not kill" Biblical commandment (and extension into law) seems to have come from a mis-translation. Apparently the original (Hebrew?/Aramaic?) text is better translated as "Thou shalt not commit MURDER", where the term "murder" means "kill without justification".

I don't have any doubt that Mr. Martin had ample justification for the action he took and that the jury was wrong both morally and legally in finding otherwise.

Farm.Dad said...

Peter You said

Especially when said folks start arguing that "the folks they send out to take guns are not going to have the best life expectancy," or that they're willing to kill to defend this particular right. That's not civil disobedience, that's armed insurrection." and i wholly agree with you . Where we might differ is the value of " armed insurrection" as you put it . I honestly dont know how to state my position any more firm and still be a guest here on Mule's blog , so i will re state my position . Anything that goes beyond today's laws i wont obey . I will gift my daughter , son , or grandson a firearm without anyone's approval . When the folk in " fly by " rather than " fly over " country decide by fiat that some or all of my firearms are illegal , well i wont submit to the law . Now i am not about to come hunt YOU down , nor will my neighbors . We simply desire to be left alone , and will not submit to any new gun regs . Mule said something a few posts above about burying guns . Well here we are digging them up now . I shot 3 BAR rifles that i never seen before in the last month . I assume they are all legal , i did not ask .

Peter said...

Farm.Dad, if you feel that the right to bear arms is worth armed insurrection, then okay. I can respect that. AD referenced civil disobedience, so it was more his statement I was responding to. As for "fly-by" making the rules for "fly-over" country, I count myself a resident of fly-over country (Illinois, and not just the Chicago part) and as you noted, we disagree, so it's not just an Eastern/California elitist thing.

Farm.Dad said...

Peter , again i suspect as gentlemen having civil discourse in a public forum we simply must abandon the conversation here . If i intrigue you tho you may email me at redneckrepairs at yahoo.com and i assure you sir i will press my views in a social fashion without polluting the comments on old mules blog . I put this option out because our discourse is getting into an area which some could call uncivil tho i would call it bringing facts to bear . However somehow when we bring facts into a discussion of the 2nd ( no matter what side does it lol ) it tends to get less than public discourse . I have enjoyed your comments here , and will continue to read them , however i ask you to email me to continue our discussion ( you may feel free to post any and all emails on your own blog , but lets not take time here ) .

TOTWTYTR said...

Mule Breath, I find myself in almost complete agreement with you. The pen is mightier than than the pistol in a civil, reasonable society. Which we, for the most part, have here.

The pen is not so good in other places. Living where I do I see more than a few "Free Tibet" bumper stickers. Last time I checked, Tibet is still not free. Maybe we need more bumper stickers, or a protest or two. That should do it.

I refer you to what I think is the best essay on the topic ever written. why the gun is civilization.

Remember that freedom is the ability to say "No" and make it stick.

Mule Breath said...

TOTWTYTR, I read Marko’s commentary and have to say it is reasonable. I’m in agreement when we discuss individual interaction. However, on a larger scale, when dealing with a superiorly armed state, an individual with a gun is in deep doo doo. Even a fairly large group of fairly well armed individuals will not stand long against the Chinese army. It took a lot of years to bring our founders to the point where we could win our freedom from the Crown, and it took the pen to incite then organize the rabble. After that it took the pen to convince the dubious that a constitutional union was our best hope of survival.

Rogue Medic said...

AD,

As others have pointed out, Civil Disobedience is not about violence. Henry David Thoreau was opposing the Mexican-American War. He refused to pay taxes to support this war. He chose to go to jail, rather than pay taxes. When people paid his taxes for him he was less than happy.

On the Duty of Civil Disobedience at Librivox.org

On the Duty of Civil Disobedience at Gutenberg.org

It is a descendant of Common Sense.

I heartily accept the motto, "That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe—"That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.

I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government.

Wise words that I have been trying to explain as part of a different discussion. EMS medical oversight.

some random female said...

The discussion here is really interesting, but it appears that the email that inspired it was somewhat inaccurate.

According to the BBC, Mr. Martin shot the would-be burglars as they were fleeing. Also, the reason his shotgun was unregistered was that his shotgun certificate had been *revoked* due to him firing a shotgun at a car six years earlier.

Here is the link to the story:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/norfolk/3009769.stm
or http://tinyurl.com/5no83c

On appeal, his offense was lowered to manslaughter, and his sentence was changed to five years. He was freed in 2003 after serving two thirds of his sentence.

TOTWTYTR said...

MB, why do you think that the 2A has no restrictions as to the type of arms that citizens can carry? A Second Amendment absolutist will contend that he should be able to buy a fully automatic weapon, high explosives, and even a tank if he can get one.

I don't know if I'd go that far, but on the local level I'd be willing to bet that a number of people I know could out gun their local PDs if it came to that. Not to mention out shoot them.

Julie said...

Didn't get back to this until today.

For those of you who have said that you would fight to defend your right I can only say that I truly hope you never have to.

Peter said...

TOTWTYTR, even though I'm not the one you asked, I'd suggest the Second Amendment doesn't have any restrictions on type of weapons in it because at the time it was written, there wasn't any difference between "military" and "civilian" weapons. Particularly because the militia was part-time and had to provide much of their own hardware, it would have been nonsensical to pick out certain "military" muskets that people couldn't own generally. It wasn't until the professionalization of armies after the Napoleonic era and into the Civil War period that you really started seeing uniquely military hardware show up (machine guns, ironclad naval ships, etc).

That being said, if an average farmer chose to keep several field artillery cannons in a spare field just because, he might have gotten some askance looks from his neighbors. Maybe.

Mule Breath said...

TOTWTYTR says…

why do you think that the 2A has no restrictions as to the type of arms that citizens can carry?
Probably because the citizens of the day had limited armories, but that is a distracter… not a real point. And again you argue as if I’m against the 2nd. For your benefit, let me be absolutely clear.

I AM NOT IN FAVOR OF ANY RESTRICTIONS ON 2ND AMENDMENT RIGHTS TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS

But with that said, I think you’re being fanciful if you think any individual, regardless of how well armed, could long stand against the state. No matter if your erstwhile defender had automatic weapons and high explosives, the state would eventually amass greater firepower and overcome. Even the very well armed and trained Branch Davidians eventually fell; bumbling of the ATF notwithstanding.

Ladysig said...

One thing that I've seen missing in all the talk of new gun laws, is the concept of actually enforcing the gun laws that have already passed before we go writing any new ones.
If you keep passing more and more laws, without taking much effort to enforce the ones you already have, all you are doing is deterring the law-abiding without punishing the law breakers. Those of us who will not do something because it's illegal are then slaughtered like sheeple by those who WILL do whatever they want to do, whenever they want to do it.

Having worked in a gunstore, and having seen folks come in day in and day out who were trying to buy a gun, I will pose this query:
If someone is denied on a NICs check, because they are not lawfully able to own a firearm, is it not a crime in and of itself that they were attempting to possess one?
Why is it, then, that nothing is ever done with this information?
I'm standing there, holding a federal document, that I have witnessed the miscreant in question sign, affirming that they are attempting to own a gun. This document contains their full name, address, physical description, state identification numbers, and signature. And yet, when the call comes back "denied", they simply get their money back, walk of out the store, and then send their girlfriend back in a week later to attempt to make the purchase for them.

how about, if you have already been convicted for crimes that would make you inelligible to own a gun, and you try to buy one, there be some kind of penalty?
I propose that this would cut down on an awful lot of gun crime, by the very types of repeat offenders that the gun-grabbers claim they are trying to prevent.

until the powers that be care to enforce the laws they already have, i will not and cannot support the passage of any new laws.

And, if they decide to attempt to regulate firearms out of existance, I have no reason NOT to go down fighting, since it's not only my Second Amendment rights they are tampering with, but my livelyhood as well.

Mule Breath said...

Ladysig says…

Why is it, then, that nothing is ever done with this information?

I feel your pain. In my job I sometimes have to work intimately with law enforcement. In any given squad I see the go-getters who really want to get the bad guy, the promotion hounds who want only to get the high profile cases, and those who seem to be just waiting for retirement. In every instance the go-getters are overwhelmed with petty cases and lack of resources or support. The bad guys know this and keep coming back around for another dip in the trough. Law enforcement is underfunded, out gunned and under-resourced; figuratively and literally.

if they decide to attempt to regulate firearms out of existance, I have no reason NOT to go down fighting, since it's not only my Second Amendment rights they are tampering with, but my livelyhood as well

Well, in my mind at least, your train just ran off the rails. Going down fighting still means going down. It means they won and you lost.

Myself? I’ll be the passive resister. My guns will be difficult (hopefully impossible) to locate, I will overtly capitulate, and I will live to fight another day. My pen will not be silenced.

Ladysig said...

Mule.....
It's all well and good to go underground and to write and speak out against injustice, and I applaud that. If they come after guns, I'll be discovering for myself just how great the "welfare state" really works...I currently work at the wholesale level, supplying your local gunstore with fun new toys.
So, my stake in this is monetary as well as ideological. I am an Evil Capitalist Merchant of Death (ECMOD, for short) and i'm completely disgusted with the way the rules and laws are plying on thicker and heavier every day.

And, really...I have no problem with the instant background checks. My problem is that the laws that the background checks were made to enable are never enforced. More of us need to speak out in terms of implementing and enforcing existing laws, and make it clear that until that is done, we will not support any new legislation.
Once you explain to the anti-gunners that you don't oppose all gun laws and that you really want the existing ones to be enforced, they lose an awful lot of wind in their sales about trying to come up with any NEW laws. I've seen this happen time and time again, and it WORKS.

Ambulance Driver said...

"Even the very well armed and trained Branch Davidians eventually fell; bumbling of the ATF notwithstanding."

And have since engendered a groundswell of support among many other Americans. In Waco in 1993, most of the nation bought the media portrayal of Koresh and his followers as a bunch of dangerous religious nuts, and the ATF and HRT as the good guys.

Fast forward fifteen years and numerous books, analysis and Congressional hearings, and the Branch Davidians certainly come off looking better, and the ATF and FBI response conjures the image of jackbooted thugs.

Ditto for Ruby Ridge, the "liberation" of Elian Gonzalez, and various little old folks gunned down under the pretense of no-knock warrants.

An insurrection, if it came to that, would not succeed through direct conflict. The insurrectionists would die in short order. However, the tactics the government would be forced to use would cost it a great deal of public support.

I can even envision a scenario where the US military would not even be nearly so effective when wielded against its own citizens. After all, most soldiers I know are as libertarian as you or me.

Mule Breath said...

AD, we're actually arguing the same point. Violence may be necessary, but disorganized individualism leads to getting your butt blown off. That leaves the pundits to argue your case, but you're not around to enjoy the fame. One person does not a revolution make. Neither did 86, as was the case in the Davidian debacle.

Rogue Medic said...

The pen - the information about what happened in Waco - has more to do with rebellion than the weapons. Maybe neither would work alone. In India, peaceful protest led to a lot of death, but worked.

tgtsmom said...

While I may be dense in the asking, I still am forced to wonder, with all the examples so far cited, how is it that misconduct with higher powered weaponry by some miscreant (or even some what respectable persons) seems always to translate into HANDgun control legislation?

I will say, Ladysig makes a fair point. If they would correctly enforce the present laws with respect to preventing the ownership or use of any gun by those known to willfully break the law, we would not need any other restrictions. I favor an automatic death penalty with no appeal for conviction of crimes committed with a gun. But, I doubt the ACLU would sit back and let that pass.

jeg43 said...

General comment: Very good discussion. Lots of excellent comments.

To TOTWTYTR, Thanks for the link. I agree, it is probably the best essay I've read on the subject also.

To Ladysig, your point about denial of permission to purchase is one that hadn't occurred to me and is one I'd like to see discussed in more detail. Questions:
1) Are all the reasons for denial clearly stated on the application to purchase?
2) What are the legal reasons for denial - other than the applicant being a convicted felon?
3) Is the retailer informed of the specific reason for the applicant's denial?
4) What would you propose as punishment for someone who makes an application to purchase a gun and is denied for legal reason(s)?
4a) Does the seller always have the full purchase price of the gun in hand when the application to purchase is filed?
5) Would a law requiring the potential gun purchaser to forfeit a substantial portion of the price of the gun upon denial of permission to purchase work for you?

Before anyone gets red in the face and jumps on these comments, remember I'm talking about convicted felons here and not law-abiding citizens. Just saying. . .

Curt Sampson said...

"I favor an automatic death penalty with no appeal for conviction of crimes committed with a gun. But, I doubt the ACLU would sit back and let that pass."

Now this sort of statement is an excellent argument for more restrictive gun laws: as long as we can keep people like this concentrating on fighting those, we've redirected energy that would evidently otherwise be directed towards trying to weaken constitutional freedoms such as the right to due process.

Beyond crackpot statements such as the above-quoted one, though, this has been good discussion for me, not because anything new in particular has been introduced, but because something in it prompted me to have a good thing about this. Unfortunately, I suspect I've come to conclusions that most folks here are not going to like.

I'm a liberal, in the sense that I'm looking for the maximum amount of freedom for all citizens, in general. This will inevitably involve striking a balance and implementing it via coercive laws, because the fairly wide range of opinions out there does include people who demonstrate a belief, for example, that they ought to have the freedom to break into your house and take whatever they like, which I argue is certainly not majority opinion.

Working out where the tradeoffs are made is a contentious and difficult-to- resolve issue, as the whole debate over gun laws shows. For many, playing with guns is an entirely harmless hobby that they ought to be able to pursue as they wish; it's also evident that guns are often used in the commission of incidents that the vast majority of us argue we don't wish to have happen, and there is a possiblity that some sort of regulation of guns may be able to help with it.

But my new conclusion today is that, when looked at in the framework of preserving the liberty of the populace, it's just not that important an issue.

As even a minimal study of events such as Waco shows, having a stockpile of weapons and the ability to use them is scant protection against a goverment acting poorly. I'm not going to excuse the crimes committed by the Branch Davidian people, but at this point I think we've seen a fair amount of evidence that the ATF and FBI could have and should have done a far better job of dealing with that situation.

And in the future, I think they will. Why? Well, it's nothing to do with the populace having (or not having) guns, that's for certain. It's because the US is a reasonably open, transparent society where the rule of law is important, and because citizens were able to investigate what happened, confront the government, and force further investigation and admissions of the mistakes that were made.

The most important tools for maintaining freedom are transparency and rule of law. The government can easily overcome you and a few hundred or thousand of your friends, even if you're armed with full-auto weapons. They cannot overcome the will of a majority of the populace, if that majority is living in a democratic society, are aware of what the government is doing and can communicate freely amongst themselves.

Attacks on this are what really worry me. Large-scale warrantless wiretapping, incarcerating people without due process, and things like this are the serious attacks on freedom occuring today. If you're not stepping up on these issues, whatever rights you get to carry pea-shooters are not going to help you twenty years down the road.

cjs@cynic.net

Mule Breath said...

Beyond crackpot statements such as the above-quoted one

Mr. Sampson, Other than taking the above shot at one of my contributors, your post is reasonable and well thought out. You are welcome here, but I would ask that you find a more polite means to express your disagreement with others opinions; even the more extreme.

Some reading this have questioned how I could possibly be a liberal and still support the 2nd amendment. Many have formed rock-hard opinions of what it takes to be (for lack of better terminology) a patriot. For instance, one comment mentioned the ACLU with scorn, yet a cursory review of cases in which that group became involved would reveal that, more often than not, they were the only obstacle to some infringement of our constitutional rights. The modern ACLU has adopted a view of the language in the 2nd with which I do not agree, but I did agree with an overwhelming number of past cases.

Of those visiting this message, most probably would not agree with at least some of the other messages on this blog. Many, I suspect, have poor opinions of atheists. At least some cannot agree with my stand on immigration, the War on Drugs, and certainly not the War on Terrorism.

So, it is refreshing to read the opinions of another liberal 2A supporter. I find your statements to at least somewhat mirror the plan by which I try to live my life.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Mule, I am the "anonymous" European guy you invited over to your blog at Ambulance Drivers'. I couldn't post earlier because day before yesterday it was impossible to post anonymously. That is one problem being an European gun owner: you have to hide from your neighbors.

I try to prevent a traceback (an the inevitable backlash) to me. Oh: the American vernacular is not my native language; please do not put words in my writings that probably aren't meant to be there.

Re your observation that the bad guys in the US don't obey the law and always will have illegal guns. Yep. Duh. We have the same problem over here. We recently had a gangland killing where the guys in black hats used a honest-to-god tommygun to wipe out the opposition.
Now there is one thing I can tell you: No, we are not allowed to own tommyguns, not even when they are spiked. They throw you in jail an lose the key.
The problem is: where do you draw the line? As I said on AD's blog: I once owned a Colt 45 until the powers-that-be deemed that calibre unfit for law-abiding persons. The .357 magnum went the same way.

So now I own a 9 mm gun, and even that is frowned upon. Why would any honest citizen own a handgun?
Isn't this country safer without handguns? And ake no mistake: because *all* legal guns are registered, all it takes is a phone call to make you to give up your gun, or else...
Hunting rifles people still can understand, as long as you do not tell anybody that you shoot poor little Bambi and Thumper. *That* makes you a callous killer, not to be associated with. End of rant.
Now I own a handgun "just for fun" and plinking. And most people cannot understand that.
Enter the hunting association over here. They fully underwrite the "ban all handguns" as long as they can keep their hunting rifles. Not seeing nor understanding that the next step is to ban the hunting rifles too. Followed by shotguns.

It used to be (some 50 years ago, I still remember, I am that old) that you could get a license for a gun if you for instance carried the weekly wages for a large firm home from the bank. No questions asked. Not anymore. Apart from the fact that people are not paid in cash anymore, why do you need a
gun? It is not that the world suddenly has become safer, au contraire. You still have to carry the daily proceeds *to* the bank. And be robbed... But anything is better than an armed citizen.

Little by little, in nickels an dimes, our rights are eroded until we don't have any. Therefore I only can advise you to draw the line RIGHT NOW. Do not wait until they come for your shotgun because you didn't oppose the government when they outlawed automatic weapons, handguns and deer rifles.

Remember Pastor von Niemöllers little ditty:

Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Kommunist...

And-so-on. You will end up were we are now. And it all sounds soooo reasonable: It is to make the world safer! It's for the chiiiiildren! You do not need a gun, the police will protect you! Who are you to oppose this? Rambo? I look at not-so-Great-Britain-anymore and shudder.

Before you end up at that point, you will see all kinds of unreasonable rules enforced. For instance: You apply for a firearms certificate over here and there is a waiting period of one year before you can buy an gun. Any gun. You cannot own more than five firearms. I am forced by law to have two gunsafes. One for the guns, the other for the ammunition. Different keys. Weapons *must* be unloaded at all times. No shotguns under the bed to deter criminals. Perish the thought. If I as much *think* about pointing an unloaded gun in the general direction of a burglar *I* am the guy who ends up in jail.
If there has been a shooting 100 miles away with a zipgun in a different calibre they still send an officer over to check if my gun is in my safe and accounted for. They also send said officer at random moments to inspect the contents of my gunsafe, and do not have anything in there that should
not be there such as an airgun, although airguns are completely legal over here. Just tell that to the police. They start by confiscating all your guns, and good luck for getting them back.

I once had my deer rifle confiscated at a roadblock because the DA in charge did not know that I could transport a gun the way I did: unloaded, triggerlock and in a locked guncase. Took me four months to get the gun back, and the scope on it was broken then: everybody and his brother must have fumbled with the controls, judged by the number of fingerprints on it. So the crosshairs broke.

Remember that when mr. O and his croonies manage to change the second amendment. If I where you I would draw the line right NOW!.

Anonymous European

Mule Breath said...

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Mule

Old Texas thing, but please don’t call me Mister. Mister Mule would be my daddy. Oh…. Wait…. That would be Mr. Jackass… damn. Anyway, I appreciate your courtesy, and I understand your desire for anonymity. I had my settings to require at least an OpenID, but never considered that stone-cold criminals might need more disguise than that, so I changed it just yesterday.

Why would any honest citizen own a handgun?

Not knowing your nationality for certain, I would be hard pressed to frame an answer for this question with respect to your cultural mores, so I will answer according to mine.

Why the hell not? What difference does it make if I have a pistol, rifle, shotgun or bazooka… so long as I do not use them to cause harm to my fellow citizens?

anything is better than an armed citizen

I regret that you must suffer that attitude, and I simply do not understand it. How could a society turn to such fantasy considering the history of the world; and particularly the history of Europe?

The remainder of your points have been discussed ad nauseum, on multiple blogs and in the press for ages. The tug of war goes back and forth, but so far we have managed to fight a pretty good battle. Our 2nd amendment is proving durable.

Remember that when mr. O

That would be President O, and I voted for him. Lots of my friends have had a little difficulty with that decision, but I have more reasons than just the 2nd amendment. That has also been discussed too much.

Now that anonymous posting is allowed, if you choose to comment again why don’t you pick some kind of nom de plume, so that I can tell one anonymous from another. Glad to have you, and I hope you stick around. You make pretty good sense.

Miss Em said...

Mule Breath

I have found in my nearly 60 years that when I ask the question "Who is the Militia?" when we have been speaking of the 2nd Admendment. They have always answered the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, the Coast Guard, the Police, the Fire Department and one even said the Mail Man.

As you can see from their answers that NO one knew who the Militia was made from.

Until the people are taught that they are the Militia then they have NO idea how important the 2nd Admendment truly is to each and every one of us.

If the enemy came ashore, I could honestly say that 55% of the American people would throw up their hands while screaming don't shoot then sit down with their hands on top of their heads.

So much for the courage of the Loopy Left and their politicians.

Miss Em
Austell, Ga.

Mule Breath said...

Miss Em,

Thank you for your comment to this discussion. While I appreciate all contributions, I feel I must take you to task… at least lightly.

First of all, I would be one of those loopy left folks you deride. While I have voted for a few Republicans in my time, I’m not usually inclined to do so. Given the choice of Sarah Palin or Barak Obama, I picked Sr. Hussein. Further, I would venture that in my armory you will find sufficient firepower and ammo to foment a small revolution… and I know how to use it.

Secondly, I’d like to tell you a brief story about a recent event that happened in another rural county not far from my home. A citizen and his family returned home to find two intruders had just exited their abode with booty in hand. There was only one way in or out, so the bad guys tried to ram past the citizen using their stolen vehicle. The citizen stepped out of his pickup, leveled his little rifle, and blew the driver’s brains out with a single shot. His passenger fled but was caught later still wearing bits of his partner’s brains. While Texas is a reasonably red state, this county is not, and the Democrat sheriff is quoted as saying “our people take care of themselves.” Score one for the loopy left and our politicians.

In other words, nothing is ever as simple as “us vs. them.” Perhaps we all need to quit being quite so judgmental, and cease the endless stereotyping according to indefinable standards.

I hope I have not offended you.

Jayson said...

A few points.

1-I'm with AD. There is a line, and then no further. You think the pen is mightier than the sword? You are wrong. A politician or any other oppressor can ignore a letter. It's harder to ignore a bullet. From the Spartans (Molon Labe) to Lexington Green, to murderous communist regimes, the only reason to want the people's weapons is for power and control. Period.


2- The armed services of this country swear to defend the Constitution of the United States, not the President, no the flag, not the Undersecretary of Laundry. I'm actually very certain that many in our fine military will be on OUR side. And to paraphrase John McClane, "Now I have a tank. Ho Ho Ho."

3. The Constitution is a dead piece of paper, not a breathing thing. You want a different interpretation? Write it yourself as an amendment.

Our government has shredded the Constitution. It's a very simple document, and the rules for running the country. ALL of the Bill of rights are important. But the 2nd is there for in case the fit hits the shan. I personally think the government of this country has overstepped their authority too far by half, and congresspeople and justices on BOTH sides are guilty of violating their oath of office. Any subversion of the 2nd amendment should be seen as an open assault on the citizens of this country and should be dealt with as treason against the people.

"And what country can preserve its liberties, if it's rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lostin a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

Curt Sampson said...

Mule Breath: I'm sorry you found my "crackpot" crack, as it were, to be impolite. I do agree with you that calm, reasoned dialogue should be the order of the day.


But I'm going to stick by my stand that "favor[ing] an automatic death penalty with no appeal for conviction of crimes committed with a gun" is a "crackpot" statement. (Note it's the statement, not the poster of it, that I'm attacking here.) This sort of comment has all of the characteristics that make for very, very bad rules and laws. Consider, just to start: in classic anti-2nd-ammendment mode, it focuses on the tool, not the crime: threatening someone with a gun invokes a far harsher penalty than threatening them with a knife; and it invokes overly harsh penalties for offenses of very different seriousness: bashing out someone's taillight with the butt of your pistol invokes the same penalty as shooting someone dead with it. These kinds of attitudes have proven themselves to be both popular and produce ridiculous results, which is a bad combination indeed. I certainly don't have to start dragging out examples for a group familiar with the 2nd ammendment fight, and the examples go far and wide beyond this; the "wars" on drugs and terrorism both provide a rich mine for examples of the poor consequences of this sort of thinking.


As to the 2nd ammendment itself, I wouldn't call myself a supporter, as I'm pretty dubious about the real utility of it. It certainly provides a good plank for support for gun hobbyists, but didn't and doesn't help those who those who have other controversial hobbies, such as drinking alcoholic beverages, which has been and is still outlawed to various degrees in various places in the U.S. I think that the real problem is that such an ammendment is needed in the first place, if it's needed to protect sport shooting, and it ought not even to be relevant just because someone uses a gun instead of, say, a knife or a car, to apply deadly force to protect themselves.


Which really comes back to what I was talking about before: the issue just isn't that important in the overall scheme of things. If we're properly protecting freedom in general, personal weapons will get the same protection as anything else that has some harmful effects on society, and if we're not, they'll just lose it a bit later than the others do; that one clause in the constitution won't survive a successful wholesale attack on liberty and liberalism in general.


So really, especially given all of the confusion it's caused, I'm probably against the 2nd ammendment, even though I have very strong doubts about harsher gun laws providing any sort of useful solution to a number of the problems that they propose to address. I certainly feel that any society that feels citizens have a need to carry guns around to protect themselves from other citizens has serious problems that need to be addressed, and CCW is not going to address them. (I invite anybody who thinks it does to go live on the west side of Baltimore for a while.) One might almost go so far as to say, not that an armed society is a polite society, but that in a polite society, arming people does no harm.


To Jayson's comment that, "A politician or any other oppressor can ignore a letter": that's true enough. But that's not how one uses freedom of speech to preserve liberty. The point in an open society is not that we can individually communicate with our politicians, but that we can communicate with each other. A politician can ignore a letter, but he's not likely to ignore thousands of letters from a large part of his constituency, as he won't be in office for long. It's our ability to expose misbehaviour that changes government.


And yes, a bullet is hard to ignore, but is often ineffective (as in the case of Regan) or counterproductive (as in the case of Kennedy).


As for the constitution being a document that's simple to interpret, you're in strong disagreement with thousands of people over generations who have almost certainly devoted significantly more time than you to studying it. (I may be wrong, but I'm suspecting you're not a constitutional scholar or even a serious history scholar, Jayson. Though if you can sell the scholars on an unambiguous interpretion of the 2nd ammendment, you will have made yourself a preeminent career in this area, for certain.) Certainly one could attempt to simplify things by interpreting it today exactly as it would have been applied a couple of hundred years ago, but even if one could find uncontroversial ways of resolving whether the 2nd ammendment allows and encourages citizens to own, e.g., shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles, you'd be applying it to a society that's very different from that when the constitution was written, with inevitably different results.

That said, I do appreciate this passage you quoted: "And what country can preserve its liberties, if it's rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance?" I'm entirely in agreement with that; perhaps we only disagree whether arms are necessary for this.

Mule Breath said...

Hello Jayson, and welcome.

A politician or any other oppressor can ignore a letter

Certainly, and King George tried that. Lots of people died because of it, and America became a free nation. But if you think that the people's weapons is the sole effecter of the win, you are incorrect. As I stated in a previous response, it took several years worth of infringements by the crown and many editorials in many newspapers to organize the thoughts of the people. Because of the pen, the people were already inflamed when that shot heard ‘round the world was fired. Further, how do you think that shot was heard, if not by the power of the pen? As Jefferson stated in the letter you quote (this part doesn’t get as much airtime as the ‘Tree of Liberty’ part), ”I know that there are combustible materials there, and that they wait the torch only.”

the only reason to want the people's weapons is for power and control

If you read all that has been said above, you would see that we’re not arguing this point. We do not need to rehash what all of us already know. The intent of this discussion was to debate tactics.

The Constitution is a dead piece of paper

Now I think I’d argue that assertion. By the very fact that it can be modified by amendment, it remains living. Where we get into difficulties with those who would limit public access to firearms is in the interpretation of the words. They have not yet tried to amend the document, they have simply tried to force modern interpretations. Thus the reason for so many court cases.

congresspeople and justices on BOTH sides are guilty of violating their oath of office, [and] should be dealt with as treason

If you will read some of my more recent blog posts you will find that we now have legal scholars arguing state and local restrictions based on 14th amendment grounds. I happen to agree with this and am quite glad to see it occur. As for violations of oath and charges of treason… well… we’d have an awful lot of politicians in the pokey if we did that, probably including some of whom you are quite fond.

In 1775 it mattered not that every colonist was armed to the teeth. What enabled the revolution was common cause; something of which they would never have been aware if not for the work of good, reasonable, literate journalists and speechmakers. The pundits of the time built the combustible pyre; the Battle at Lexington Green provided the spark; the results are recorded by history.

Mule Breath said...

Curt, I had a lot I wanted to say about your comment, but I will hold my tongue. I’ll leave it alone, and tell you that we think far more alike than might be obvious.

Thank you sir, for some very fine observations.

tgtsmom said...

I feel the need to defend myself, or at least my ideas. While I was somewhat inarticulate in my statement, I will defend the death penalty as a deterrent to crime WHEN IT IS FAIRLY AND CORRECTLY ADMINISTERED. Also, my comment on the ACLU was not derisive. I wholeheartedly support the mission of that agency and believe that its created purpose is one well worth all of our support. Unfortunately, in practice, they have become one of the forerunners in the victimization of our nation.

Curt, of course it would be foolish to put any and all persons to death for any use of a gun. The statement was meant for felony crimes and particularly murder. But, again, this can only work when the enforcement is evenly and fairly administered.

To be more specific (hopefully), I believe in the Golden Rule. Not the usual interpretation most people use to justify their actions but the true and real statement, "Do unto others as you would have done unto you". This does not mean to treat other as you think they deserve to be treated. It means that you should treat ALL others as you would wish any and every person to treat you.

The corollary to this is that when you willfully choose to act toward another person as if they have no rights or as if their rights are less important than what you want, society (i.e. the state) should treat you the same way.

Now all this has gone far afield from the original discussion of the 2nd amendment and gun control. To that point, Curt, you said that if all the other rights are not curtailed, then ones right to have or carry a gun would not be either. This begs the question, how will you defend all the other rights if the right to keep and bear arms is removed or controlled?

Yes, MB, I agree that the pen is mightier than the sword in the creation and spreading of ideas. But in the defense of those ideas, often, a gun is the only voice we, as a people, have. And living as close as I do to the Mexican border, with events unfolding as they are, I will keep my guns loaded and handy. And I will even follow Law Dogs advice, and practice enough to be able to hit that at which I aim.

Mule Breath said...

Tgtsmom said...
”I feel the need to defend myself, or at least my ideas”

Consider yourself well defended then. With the clarification you added your point makes a good bit more sense. Although there are points where I might philosophically diverge, I understand now what you mean and why you say it.

One of these points is the death penalty. You seem to consider it a deterrent to crime. I wholeheartedly disagree. It is my belief the threat of death never enters a mind so twisted as to perform the crimes for which death is the penalty. The death penalty is revenge. Plain and simple.

”my comment on the ACLU was not derisive. I wholeheartedly support the mission of that agency and believe that its created purpose is one well worth all of our support. Unfortunately, in practice, they have become one of the forerunners in the victimization of our nation”

Overall the ACLU has been a savior for constitutional liberties. As I stated earlier, their current stand on the 2nd does not agree with mine, but I will not deride them for this. We will fight the good fight and hope to convince that organization of the intent of the founders. As far as victimization, I’m afraid you’d have to show me the cases to which you refer.

”Now all this has gone far afield from the original discussion”

Yes it has, but that is okay. We’ve had a lively discussion with all showing pretty good table manners. It was worth the time, in my mind.

The actual point of the original post was to point out the nature of the “email spread ‘round the world”. Ad I’ve observed in a subsequent post, the facts had been tweaked to make it fit the argument. It worked, as the damn thing keeps going round and round, stirring the same old misguided sentiments.

I own guns and hope to be able to continue owning them. I will fight any effort to infringe on the liberties I feel are natural, and guaranteed by our constitution. What I will not do, nor will I tolerate, is falsified and inflammatory rhetoric. If we are to win this battle, we must do so with on-the-level arguments. Otherwise we do not deserve to win.

”I agree that the pen is mightier than the sword in the creation and spreading of ideas. But in the defense of those ideas, often, a gun is the only voice we, as a people, have. And living as close as I do to the Mexican border, with events unfolding as they are, I will keep my guns loaded and handy. And I will even follow Law Dogs advice, and practice enough to be able to hit that at which I aim”

Oh, but we do have a voice other than just our arms. I read the editorial pages on a multitude of news web sites, with a search string that brings to me any letters written by the public regarding guns, handguns, concealed carry, gun control, and a long list of key words. Never does a day go by absent at least a few letters on one side of this argument or another. There is also communication with your elected representatives. We the People have the power of the pen, and so long as we make balanced, reasonable arguments, people will listen.

By the way, we must be neighbors, as I too am pretty close to the Rio Bravo, and the Big Bend is one of my favorite places on the face of the earth.

Curt Sampson said...

Mule Breath: it's fairly evident to me that we have a lot in common, which is why I'm particularly interested in your thoughts on my thoughts. I'll keep following, in case you'd like to expand.

tgtsmom: Well, now you're back arguing sensibly: it's much, much more reasonable to talk about whether the death penalty is justified for "felony crimes and particularly murder." I won't get into my thoughts on that, beyond saying that a) I'm much closer to Mule Breath on this than to you, and b) we're now back to an area where whether a gun is used or not is not particularly relevant, since it's the crime itself that's the issue.

As to my main point, I get the impression that we disagree inasmuch that you think ownership of weapons is quite important to preserving liberty, and more important than free communications, whereas I think that individual weapons ownership makes little difference either way, and free communications are what's going to win or lose it. All I can suggest is that you do some careful study of revolutions of various sorts throughout history, and consider both those that have been non-violent and successful in various ways (the independence of India and Canada come to mind), and for those that did use violence, what the effect would have been without free communication (such as in the U.S. case).

Mule Breath said...

Curt,

I’m happy to comment on your observations, but did not necessarily want to continue it on the blog. I would like the debate to move on a bit. Still, it takes little encouragement for me to draw out the keyboard.

As TGSTMOM observed, and I concurred, the dialogue strayed a bit from the intent of the topic. In subsequent messages [http://muledungandash.blogspot.com/2009/02/gun-control-debate-redux.html] and [http://muledungandash.blogspot.com/2009/02/group-urges-federal-court-to-revive.html] I made two points. (1) That the email I had received was inaccurate, intended for distortion and inflammatory effect, and (2) that there are far better avenues of ensuring liberty than waving guns in the air.

My hope is to drive the discussion toward tactics, and how the 2A supporters (of whom I am one) must be respectful, polite, scrupulously honest and flawlessly reasonable, or else we confirm the opposition’s perspective of us as Wild West outlaw holdouts and gunslinger wannabes.

First of all to your “crackpot” statement. Obviously we both saw the “kill them all and let god sort it out” sentiment of TGSTMOM’s statement to be pretty reactionary. She has since clarified and I’m satisfied. My admonishment for you was not for the tone of your comment or your sentiment, but for your choice of verbiage. The word “crackpot” is inflammatory even when used in otherwise polite conversation. The internet makes us all but anonymous and therefore facilitates rudeness. Unwise words will start wars even when not intended.

It is my contention that we bloggers must overcompensate for this weakness if we want to have reasonable debate. Bear in mind though, that I do not always intend the debate to be reasonable. There are times when I see the soapbox lecture as the best means to an end, and proceed in a damn-the-torpedoes fashion.

Now I will address some of your statements. You said in response to TGSTMOM’s statement “Consider, just to start: in classic anti-2nd-ammendment mode, it focuses on the tool, not the crime”

Yes, indeed this is correct and your eloquence here drives that point home far better than my previous feeble attempts. I’ll probably plagiarize from you in future blog posts.

“the "wars" on drugs and terrorism both provide a rich mine for examples of the poor consequences of this sort of thinking”

If you’ve followed any of my other rants, you will see that we have agreement here as well. I don’t know if “reactionism” is a real word, but it is how I describe the way our laws seem to be developed. Blind eyes suddenly see something they’ve long ignored, and then there is a rush toward overly oppressive policies and unjust laws. Much of the blogging and media talking heads offer rhetoric but little positive action. Sheep-like people rant and rave and politicians respond unwisely.


“As to the 2nd ammendment itself, I wouldn't call myself a supporter, as I'm pretty dubious about the real utility of it. It certainly provides a good plank for support for gun hobbyists, but didn't and doesn't help those who those who have other controversial hobbies, such as drinking alcoholic beverages, which has been and is still outlawed to various degrees in various places in the U.S. “

We’ll have to disagree here. Folks already know how I stand on prohibition of any kind, but since this discourse addresses specific liberties I’ll stick to that. First let me admit that I do not know you, and since you seem to be Japan based I cannot know if you are of American heritage. If you are not, you may not fully understand the cultural significance we feel for our constitution and its bill of rights. If you are an expat American (you did mention Baltimore), please forgive my oversimplification.

Back in the Constitutional Convention days, there was, as with all of the first 10, a real reason for the 2nd amendment. That reason remains today. Certain 18th century thinkers held that there existed a natural (god given?) right of human liberty. Certain splinters of liberty had been chiseled away by British rule to be restored only by revolution. Our founders feared that if these liberties were not formalized in our constitution, some future united government might again attempt to place restrictions. Those fears have proved correct as there have been hundreds of attempts at infringement, almost all in reaction to some criminal event. Here I am speaking about infringement of ALL of the first 10 amendments, not just the 2nd.

Someone else commented that the efforts to suppress the 2nd were power plays, and they are correct there as well. Limitations on firearms (or any liberty) by an authority places the people in the role of subject. But we are not subjects… we are citizens, and the government is supposed to be of, by and for the people.

The 2nd recognizes that a free people have a right to possess arms. It does not allow those arms to be used for nefarious purposes, but instead confirms the founder’s dedication to self defense. They recognized the need of a people to defend themselves from outlaws, as well a potentially outlaw government. There is no reference to sport shooting, as that was never the intent. Your point is taken, however, if only from a slightly different perspective.

“If we're properly protecting freedom in general, personal weapons will get the same protection as anything else that has some harmful effects on society, and if we're not, they'll just lose it a bit later than the others do; that one clause in the constitution won't survive a successful wholesale attack on liberty and liberalism in general”

Certainly, and I don’t think any sensible person would argue that statement. But that does not overshadow an individual’s response to focused infringements, particularly those hitting close to home. Most of the folks arguing on these blogs are, like me, gun owners. Many of them observe the creeping infringement and wish to see that infringement stopped before it can gain too much of a toehold.

Where I see a problem is in excessive focusing and unethical tactics. Some have dug claws into the 2nd while totally ignoring the steady assault on the 1st, 4th, 5th and 8th.

”I certainly feel that any society that feels citizens have a need to carry guns around to protect themselves from other citizens has serious problems that need to be addressed, and CCW is not going to address them. (I invite anybody who thinks it does to go live on the west side of Baltimore for a while.) One might almost go so far as to say, not that an armed society is a polite society, but that in a polite society, arming people does no harm”

This goes to what I’ve already discussed; the reason for the 2nd amendment in the 18th century. America is portrayed in popular terms as still on the frontier, and we certainly were at the time our constitution was drafted. We had a need then for the protection afforded by firearms, and because of an armed criminal element, the need for an armed citizenry remains today. Protection of private property is a very Lockean idea [Locke, J., Of Property; Second Treatise of Government].

”perhaps we only disagree whether arms are necessary for this”

Arms are not necessary to express a ”spirit of resistance”, but so long as man’s natural liberties remain intact we will always have the option. Perhaps this is what we are fighting for; to preserve the option of resorting to violence if it ever becomes necessary. I believe this to be the intent of our founders, and I believe it worth defending.

chuckr44 said...

Our rights to freedom of expression and of the press, to me, will more quickly preserve the remainder of our natural rights than will a weapon.

MuleBreath, I do like to hear your comments. But consider this.

Have you ever been mugged by 3 large guys? Then have you written them an eloquent note to ask them to cease and desist? How did that work out? I've was at the bad end of 2 attempted muggings.

Rogue Medic said...

chuckr44,

The muggers are not depriving you of Constitutional rights. The power of the pen is to be able to rally opposition to oppression. It is not about addressing a local criminal issue in the way you describe.

The freedom of expression will not always work, but neither will armed opposition. The ability to influence the actions of those in the military will probably be more important, than the ability to shoot back, in any successful rebellion. Unless you believe that our military is made up of mindless automatons, and I don't think you do.

The local thugs may not care what you think. That is the way thugs are. The military is made of different stuff. These are the people who risk their live defending our rights. Attempts to use the military to suppress those same rights may work in the short term, but eventually the members of the military will realize what is actually going on.

Mule Breath said...

Chuck, RM pretty much captures the essence of the argument and why your analogy addresses a separate circumstance. With my statement, I contend that we can better protect man’s liberties with free expression than we can defend them from infringement at the barrel of a gun. In other words, a gun protects the bearer of the weapon, but a pen in the right hands has the ability to defend liberty for all.

If you read the first line of my post you will see that I am a gun owner, and other statements I have made should convince you that I would defend myself with force, if necessary.

Rogue Medic said...

Not to pile on, but from Wikipedia's today in history 02/11/1979 – During the Iranian Revolution, the Pahlavi dynasty in Iran effectively collapsed when the military declared itself "neutral" after rebel troops overwhelmed forces loyal to Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in armed street fighting.

The military declared itself "neutral." As in they said, we're not going to stop the people. We could, but we won't. Too bad we didn't clear out our embassy before then, but we seem to have listened to the Shah, when he said we should not have an intelligence operatives in Iran. Oops.

chuckr44 said...

With my statement, I contend that we can better protect man’s liberties with free expression than we can defend them from infringement at the barrel of a gun.

Nooowww I understand. Sounds like you have long-term broad-based thinking, while my muggings (and the ability to shoot back) were short-term local issues. I agree we should think long-term.

Do you think most anti-gun people are simply long-term thinkers that don't write as well as you do? (Come on now, I think you're a great writer.) Or do you think they are just afraid of things that go "bang"?

chuckr44 said...

What I meant was, violence is not always the answer, because violence seems to be a short-term solution to a long-term problem. It's like peeling an orange with a hammer, it's just the wrong tool.

Rogue Medic said...

chuckr44,

I think that the anti-gun people are motivated in several ways.

1. Ooh! Scary dangerous gun! Nobody could ever use one safely!

2. If we can ban guns, it will be hard for criminals to get guns. If even one life is saved, because of gun laws, it is worth tearing up the Constitution. Just one life. Insert cute baby picture, here.

The Constitution that many died to bring about. The Constitution that many have died to defend. NO! Let us sell the Constitution out for just one life.

This is the same argument used by those who are eager to abandon other rights in order to fight terrorism. Just one life. Insert cute baby picture, here.

3. Violence is never the answer. Choosing to be non-violent may be their choice, but it should not be forced on others. If all violence is government violence, is that better? Violence is rarely the answer. If you give up the ability to defend yourself, you give up everything.

I agree with the statement that, in a debate, resorting to violence is admitting defeat. We are not only confronted with debate. If confronted with violence, returning violence is not inappropriate.

Mule Breath said...

Chuck,

I guess I see it as failure of perspective. Either folks have too limited experience to have full perspective, or they are influenced into denying what they see. How do we know a sphere is round until we circle to the other side? The derogatory term “Flat-earter” is born of the age-old, limited perspective of the Earth as flat, and assigned to those who deny science. Folks who would deny any liberty do so because they fail to have full perspective.

The question then becomes, how do we correct this? The answer is education, which is both simple and difficult at the same time. Education must be honest and unbiased, but how do we accomplish such in a population predisposed to an errant belief?

The efforts at gun control are based upon myths, and those myths are perpetrated by the uneducated. Just as bigotry is handed down from generation to generation, so are the myths of gun control. If these folk had a bit greater exposure, perhaps their stance would be different as well.