Note From The Editor

What the schmuck am I trying to prove with my rewrapping of “A Nation Of Cowards” by Jeffrey R. Snyder?

Nothing.

I’m merely presenting the right-wing classic amidst links to my own left-wing tall ones in an offering of contrasts.  If anybody even notices, Snyder’s freedom-of-arms classic essay also, thusly, is publicizing my extremely lesser known works on the links.  Self-advertizing.  What else can I say about it?

Okay, okay, I’m the first one to admit that I am an idiot.

“A Nation of Cowards” is a classic, a coup d’ grace, a beautiful piece of writing on the freedom to bare firearms.  Perhaps having dwelt throughout my lifetime in some fringes of conservative thought, I have a certain affinity with this essay.  For example, I like westerns.

I think more left-wingers should be familiar with Snyder’s essay so that they aren’t so silly & redundant to right-wingers.  And I’d like right wingers to enjoy my tall ones.  And, of course, I’d like to see everybody get along & come up with solutions together.  So there!

Am I making any sense?  Please scroll on down.  Maybe I am.  I am.  I am…

Rawclyde

!

Our Gun Legacy

Afghaneeland

~

A NATION OF COWARDS

by Jeffrey R. Snyder

1993

~

OUR SOCIETY HAS REACHED A PINNACLE OF
self-expression and respect for individuality rare or unmatched in
history. Our entire popular culture — from fashion magazines to the
cinema — positively screams the matchless worth of the individual,
and glories in eccentricity, nonconformity, independent judgment, and
self-determination. This enthusiasm is reflected in the prevalent
notion that helping someone entails increasing that person’s
“self-esteem”; that if a person properly values himself, he will
naturally be a happy, productive, and, in some inexplicable fashion,
responsible member of society.

And yet, while people are encouraged to revel in their individuality
and incalculable self-worth, the media and the law enforcement
establishment continually advise us that, when confronted with the
threat of lethal violence, we should not resist, but simply give the
attacker what he wants. If the crime under consideration is rape,
there is some notable waffling on this point, and the discussion
quickly moves to how the woman can change her behavior to minimize the
risk of rape, and the various ridiculous, non-lethal weapons she may
acceptably carry, such as whistles, keys, mace or, that weapon which
really sends shivers down a rapist’s spine, the portable cellular
phone.

Now how can this be? How can a person who values himself so highly
calmly accept the indignity of a criminal assault? How can one who
believes that the essence of his dignity lies in his self-determination
passively accept the forcible deprivation of that self-determination?
How can he, quietly, with great dignity and poise, simply hand over the
goods?

The assumption, of course, is that there is no inconsistency. The
advice not to resist a criminal assault and simply hand over the goods
is founded on the notion that one’s life is of incalculable value, and
that no amount of property is worth it. Put aside, for a moment, the
outrageousness of the suggestion that a criminal who proffers lethal
violence should be treated as if he has instituted a new social
contract: “I will not hurt or kill you if you give me what I want.”
For years, feminists have labored to educate people that rape is not
about sex, but about domination, degradation, and control. Evidently,
someone needs to inform the law enforcement establishment & the media
that kidnapping, robbery, carjacking, & assault aren’t about property.

Crime is not only a complete disavowal of the social contract, but
also a commandeering of the victim’s person and liberty. If the
individual’s dignity lies in the fact that he is a moral agent engaging
in actions of his own will, in free exchange with others, then crime
always violates the victim’s dignity. It is, in fact, an act of
enslavement. Your wallet, your purse, or your car may not be worth
your life, but your dignity is; and if it is not worth fighting for, it
can hardly be said to exist.

Road’s Cannon

~

The gift of life

Although difficult for modern man to fathom, it was once widely
believed that life was a gift from God, that to not defend that life
when offered violence was to hold God’s gift in contempt, to be a
coward and to breach one’s duty to one’s community. A sermon given in
Philadelphia in 1747 unequivocally equated the failure to defend
oneself with suicide:

He that suffers his life to be taken from him by one that hath no
authority for that purpose, when he might preserve it by defense,
incurs the Guilt of self murder since God hath enjoined him to seek
the continuance of his life, and Nature itself teaches every creature
to defend itself.

“Cowardice” and “self-respect” have largely disappeared from public
discourse. In their place we are offered “self-esteem” as the
bellwether of success and a proxy for dignity. “Self-respect” implies
that one recognizes standards, and judges oneself worthy by the degree
to which one lives up to them. “Self-esteem” simply means that one
feels good about oneself. “Dignity” used to refer to the self-mastery
and fortitude with which a person conducted himself in the face of
life’s vicissitudes and the boorish behavior of others. Now, judging
by campus speech codes, dignity requires that we never encounter a
discouraging word and that others be coerced into acting respectfully,
evidently on the assumption that we are powerless to prevent our
degradation if exposed to the demeaning behavior of others. These are
signposts proclaiming the insubstantiality of our character, the
hollowness of our souls.

It is impossible to address the problem of rampant crime without
talking about the moral responsibility of the intended victim. Crime
is rampant because the law-abiding, each of us, condone it, excuse it,
permit it, submit to it. We permit and encourage it because we do not
fight back, immediately, then and there, where it happens. Crime is
not rampant because we do not have enough prisons, because judges and
prosecutors are too soft, because the police are hamstrung with absurd
technicalities. The defect is there, in our character. We are a
nation of cowards and shirkers.

The Road Princess And Eternity

~

Do you feel lucky?

In 1991, when then-Attorney General Richard Thornburgh released the
FBI’s annual crime statistics, he noted that it is now more likely that
a person will be the victim of a violent crime than that he will be in
an auto accident. Despite this, most people readily believe that the
existence of the police relieves them of the responsibility to take
full measures to protect themselves. The police, however, are not
personal bodyguards. Rather, they act as a general deterrent to crime,
both by their presence and by apprehending criminals after the fact.
As numerous courts have held, they have no legal obligation to protect
anyone in particular. You cannot sue them for failing to prevent you
from being the victim of a crime.

Insofar as the police deter by their presence, they are very, very
good. Criminals take great pains not to commit a crime in front of
them. Unfortunately, the corollary is that you can pretty much bet
your life (and you are) that they won’t be there at the moment you
actually need them.

Should you ever be the victim of an assault, a robbery, or a rape,
you will find it very difficult to call the police while the act is in
progress, even if you are carrying a portable cellular phone.
Nevertheless, you might be interested to know how long it takes them to
show up. Department of Justice statistics for 1991 show that, for all
crimes of violence, only 28 percent of calls are responded to within
five minutes. The idea that protection is a service people can call to
have delivered and expect to receive in a timely fashion is often
mocked by gun owners, who love to recite the challenge, “Call for a
cop, call for an ambulance, and call for a pizza. See who shows up
first.”

Many people deal with the problem of crime by convincing themselves
that they live, work, and travel only in special “crime-free” zones.
Invariably, they react with shock and hurt surprise when they discover
that criminals do not play by the rules and do not respect these
imaginary boundaries. If, however, you understand that crime can occur
anywhere at anytime, and if you understand that you can be maimed or
mortally wounded in mere seconds, you may wish to consider whether you
are willing to place the responsibility for safeguarding your life in
the hands of others.

A Ghost Town Called Love

~

Power and responsibility

Is your life worth protecting? If so, whose responsibility is it to
protect it? If you believe that it is the police’s, not only are you
wrong — since the courts universally rule that they have no legal
obligation to do so — but you face some difficult moral quandaries.
How can you rightfully ask another human being to risk his life to
protect yours, when you will assume no responsibility yourself?
Because that is his job and we pay him to do it? Because your life is
of incalculable value, but his is only worth the $30,000 salary we pay
him? If you believe it reprehensible to possess the means and will to
use lethal force to repel a criminal assault, how can you call upon
another to do so for you?

Do you believe that you are forbidden to protect yourself because
the police are better qualified to protect you, because they know what
they are doing but you’re a rank amateur? Put aside that this is
equivalent to believing that only concert pianists may play the piano
and only professional athletes may play sports. What exactly are these
special qualities possessed only by the police and beyond the rest of
us mere mortals?

One who values his life and takes seriously his responsibilities to
his family and community will possess and cultivate the means of
fighting back, and will retaliate when threatened with death or
grievous injury to himself or a loved one. He will never be content to
rely solely on others for his safety, or to think he has done all that
is possible by being aware of his surroundings and taking measures of
avoidance. Let’s not mince words: He will be armed, will be trained in
the use of his weapon, and will defend himself when faced with lethal
violence.

Fortunately, there is a weapon for preserving life and liberty that
can be wielded effectively by almost anyone — the handgun. Small and
light enough to be carried habitually, lethal, but unlike the knife or
sword, not demanding great skill or strength, it truly is the “great
equalizer.” Requiring only hand-eye coordination and a modicum of
ability to remain cool under pressure, it can be used effectively by
the old and the weak against the young and the strong, by the one
against the many.

The handgun is the only weapon that would give a lone female jogger
a chance of prevailing against a gang of thugs intent on rape, a
teacher a chance of protecting children at recess from a madman intent
on massacring them, a family of tourists waiting at a mid-town subway
station the means to protect themselves from a gang of teens armed with
razors and knives.

But since we live in a society that by and large outlaws the
carrying of arms, we are brought into the fray of the Great American
Gun War. Gun control is one of the most prominent battlegrounds in our
current culture wars. Yet it is unique in the half-heartedness with
which our conservative leaders and pundits — our “conservative elite”
— do battle, and have conceded the moral high ground to liberal gun
control proponents. It is not a topic often written about, or written
about with any great fervor, by William F. Buckley or Patrick
Buchanan. As drug czar, William Bennett advised President Bush to ban
“assault weapons.” George Will is on record as recommending the repeal
of the Second Amendment, and Jack Kemp is on record as favoring a ban
on the possession of semiautomatic “assault weapons.” The battle for
gun rights is one fought predominantly by the common man. The beliefs
of both our liberal and conservative elites are in fact abetting the
criminal rampage through our society.

Gun 2013

~

Selling crime prevention

By any rational measure, nearly all gun control proposals are
hokum. The Brady Bill, for example, would not have prevented John
Hinckley from obtaining a gun to shoot President Reagan; Hinckley
purchased his weapon five months before the attack, and his medical
records could not have served as a basis to deny his purchase of a gun,
since medical records are not public documents filed with the police.
Similarly, California’s waiting period and background check did not
stop Patrick Purdy from purchasing the “assault rifle” and handguns he
used to massacre children during recess in a Stockton schoolyard; the
felony conviction that would have provided the basis for stopping the
sales did not exist, because Mr. Purdy’s previous weapons violations
were plea-bargained down from felonies to misdemeanors.

In the mid-sixties there was a public service advertising campaign
targeted at car owners about the prevention of car theft. The purpose
of the ad was to urge car owners not to leave their keys in their
cars. The message was, “Don’t help a good boy go bad.” The implication
was that, by leaving his keys in his car, the normal, law-abiding car
owner was contributing to the delinquency of minors who, if they just
weren’t tempted beyond their limits, would be “good.” Now, in those
days people still had a fair sense of just who was responsible for
whose behavior. The ad succeeded in enraging a goodly portion of the
populace, and was soon dropped.

Nearly all of the gun control measures offered by Handgun Control,
Inc. (HCI) and its ilk embody the same philosophy. They are founded
on the belief that America’s law-abiding gun owners are the source of
the problem. With their unholy desire for firearms, they are creating
a society awash in a sea of guns, thereby helping good boys go bad, and
helping bad boys be badder. This laying of moral blame for violent
crime at the feet of the law-abiding, and the implicit absolution of
violent criminals for their misdeeds, naturally infuriates honest gun
owners.

The files of HCI and other gun control organizations are filled with
proposals to limit the availability of semiautomatic and other firearms
to law-abiding citizens, and barren of proposals for apprehending and
punishing violent criminals. It is ludicrous to expect that the
proposals of HCI, or any gun control laws, will significantly curb
crime. According to Department of Justice and Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) statistics, fully 90 percent of violent
crimes are committed without a handgun, and 93 percent of the guns
obtained by violent criminals are not obtained through the lawful
purchase and sale transactions that are the object of most gun control
legislation. Furthermore, the number of violent criminals is minute in
comparison to the number of firearms in America — estimated by the ATF
at about 200 million, approximately one-third of which are handguns.
With so abundant a supply, there will always be enough guns available
for those who wish to use them for nefarious ends, no matter how
complete the legal prohibitions against them, or how draconian the
punishment for their acquisition or use. No, the gun control proposals
of HCI and other organizations are not seriously intended as crime
control. Something else is at work here.

Afghaneeland II

~

The tyranny of the elite

Gun control is a moral crusade against a benighted, barbaric
citizenry. This is demonstrated not only by the ineffectualness of gun
control in preventing crime, and by the fact that it focuses on
restricting the behavior of the law-abiding rather than apprehending
and punishing the guilty, but also by the execration that gun control
proponents heap on gun owners and their evil instrumentality, the NRA.
Gun owners are routinely portrayed as uneducated, paranoid rednecks
fascinated by and prone to violence, i.e., exactly the type of person
who opposes the liberal agenda and whose moral and social
“re-education” is the object of liberal social policies. Typical of
such bigotry is New York Gov. Mario Cuomo’s famous characterization of
gun-owners as “hunters who drink beer, don’t vote, and lie to their
wives about where they were all weekend.” Similar vituperation is
rained upon the NRA, characterized by Sen. Edward Kennedy as the
“pusher’s best friend,” lampooned in political cartoons as standing for
the right of children to carry firearms to school and, in general,
portrayed as standing for an individual’s God-given right to blow
people away at will.

The stereotype is, of course, false. As criminologist and
constitutional lawyer Don B. Kates, Jr. and former HCI contributor
Dr. Patricia Harris have pointed out, “[s]tudies consistently show
that, on the average, gun owners are better educated and have more
prestigious jobs than non-owners…. Later studies show that gun
owners are less likely than non-owners to approve of police brutality,
violence against dissenters, etc.”

Conservatives must understand that the antipathy many liberals have
for gun owners arises in good measure from their statist utopianism.
This habit of mind has nowhere been better explored than in The
Republic. There, Plato argues that the perfectly just society is one
in which an unarmed people exhibit virtue by minding their own business
in the performance of their assigned functions, while the government of
philosopher-kings, above the law and protected by armed guardians
unquestioning in their loyalty to the state, engineers, implements, and
fine-tunes the creation of that society, aided and abetted by myths
that both hide and justify their totalitarian manipulation.

Actual Reincarnation of Davy Crockett

~

The unarmed life

When columnist Carl Rowan preaches gun control and uses a gun to
defend his home, when Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer seeks
legislation year after year to ban semiautomatic “assault weapons”
whose only purpose, we are told, is to kill people, while he is at the
same time escorted by state police armed with large-capacity 9mm
semiautomatic pistols, it is not simple hypocrisy. It is the workings
of that habit of mind possessed by all superior beings who have taken
upon themselves the terrible burden of civilizing the masses and who
understand, like our Congress, that laws are for other people.

The liberal elite know that they are philosopher-kings. They know
that the people simply cannot be trusted; that they are incapable of
just and fair self-government; that left to their own devices, their
society will be racist, sexist, homophobic, and inequitable — and the
liberal elite know how to fix things. They are going to help us live
the good and just life, even if they have to lie to us and force us to
do it. And they detest those who stand in their way.

The private ownership of firearms is a rebuke to this utopian zeal.
To own firearms is to affirm that freedom and liberty are not gifts
from the state. It is to reserve final judgment about whether the
state is encroaching on freedom and liberty, to stand ready to defend
that freedom with more than mere words, and to stand outside the
state’s totalitarian reach.

St Joan Reincarnated Almanac

~

The Florida experience

The elitist distrust of the people underlying the gun control
movement is illustrated beautifully in HCI’s campaign against a new
concealed-carry law in Florida. Prior to 1987, the Florida law
permitting the issuance of concealed-carry permits was administered at
the county level. The law was vague, and, as a result, was subject to
conflicting interpretation and political manipulation. Permits were
issued principally to security personnel and the privileged few with
political connections. Permits were valid only within the county of
issuance.

In 1987, however, Florida enacted a uniform concealed-carry law
which mandates that county authorities issue a permit to anyone who
satisfies certain objective criteria. The law requires that a permit
be issued to any applicant who is a resident, at least twenty-one years
of age, has no criminal record, no record of alcohol or drug abuse, no
history of mental illness, and provides evidence of having
satisfactorily completed a firearms safety course offered by the NRA or
other competent instructor. The applicant must provide a set of
fingerprints, after which the authorities make a background check. The
permit must be issued or denied within ninety days, is valid throughout
the state, and must be renewed every three years, which provides
authorities a regular means of reevaluating whether the permit holder
still qualifies.

Passage of this legislation was vehemently opposed by HCI and the
media. The law, they said, would lead to citizens shooting each other
over everyday disputes involving fender benders, impolite behavior, and
other slights to their dignity. Terms like “Florida, the Gunshine
State” and “Dodge City East” were coined to suggest that the state, and
those seeking passage of the law, were encouraging individuals to act
as judge, jury, and executioner in a “Death Wish” society.

No HCI campaign more clearly demonstrates the elitist beliefs
underlying the campaign to eradicate gun ownership. Given the
qualifications required of permit holders, HCI and the media can only
believe that common, law-abiding citizens are seething cauldrons of
homicidal rage, ready to kill to avenge any slight to their dignity,
eager to seek out and summarily execute the lawless. Only lack of
immediate access to a gun restrains them and prevents the blood from
flowing in the streets. They are so mentally and morally deficient
that they would mistake a permit to carry a weapon in self-defense as a
state-sanctioned license to kill at will.

Did the dire predictions come true? Despite the fact that Miami and
Dade County have severe problems with the drug trade, the homicide rate
fell in Florida following enactment of this law, as it did in Oregon
following enactment of similar legislation there. There are, in
addition, several documented cases of new permit holders successfully
using their weapons to defend themselves. Information from the Florida
Department of State shows that, from the beginning of the program in
1987 through June 1993, 160,823 permits have been issued, and only 530,
or about 0.33 percent of the applicants, have been denied a permit for
failure to satisfy the criteria, indicating that the law is benefitting
those whom it was intended to benefit — the law-abiding. Only 16
permits, less than 1/100th of 1 percent, have been revoked due to the
post-issuance commission of a crime involving a firearm.

The Florida legislation has been used as a model for legislation
adopted by Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Mississippi. There are, in
addition, seven other states (Maine, North and South Dakota, Utah,
Washington, West Virginia, and, with the exception of cities with a
population in excess of 1 million, Pennsylvania) which provide that
concealed-carry permits must be issued to law-abiding citizens who
satisfy various objective criteria. Finally, no permit is required at
all in Vermont. Altogether, then, there are thirteen states in which
law-abiding citizens who wish to carry arms to defend themselves may do
so. While no one appears to have compiled the statistics from all of
these jurisdictions, there is certainly an ample data base for those
seeking the truth about the trustworthiness of law-abiding citizens who
carry firearms.

Other evidence also suggests that armed citizens are very
responsible in using guns to defend themselves. Florida State
University criminologist Gary Kleck, using surveys and other data, has
determined that armed citizens defend their lives or property with
firearms against criminals approximately 1 million times a year. In 98
percent of these instances, the citizen merely brandishes the weapon or
fires a warning shot. Only in 2 percent of the cases do citizens
actually shoot their assailants. In defending themselves with their
firearms, armed citizens kill 2,000 to 3,000 criminals each year, three
times the number killed by the police. A nationwide study by Kates,
the constitutional lawyer and criminologist, found that only 2 percent
of civilian shootings involved an innocent person mistakenly identified
as a criminal. The “error rate” for the police, however, was 11
percent, over five times as high.

It is simply not possible to square the numbers above and the
experience of Florida with the notions that honest, law-abiding gun
owners are borderline psychopaths itching for an excuse to shoot
someone, vigilantes eager to seek out and summarily execute the
lawless, or incompetent fools incapable of determining when it is
proper to use lethal force in defense of their lives. Nor upon
reflection should these results seem surprising. Rape, robbery, and
attempted murder are not typically actions rife with ambiguity or
subtlety, requiring special powers of observation and great
book-learning to discern. When a man pulls a knife on a woman and
says, “You’re coming with me,” her judgment that a crime is being
committed is not likely to be in error. There is little chance that
she is going to shoot the wrong person. It is the police, because they
are rarely at the scene of the crime when it occurs, who are more
likely to find themselves in circumstances where guilt and innocence
are not so clear-cut, and in which the probability for mistakes is
higher.

The Unhappy Fate Of Old Rhino Hate

~

Arms and liberty

Classical republican philosophy has long recognized the critical
relationship between personal liberty and the possession of arms by a
people ready and willing to use them. Political theorists as
dissimilar as Niccolo Machiavelli, Sir Thomas More, James Harrington,
Algernon Sidney, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau all shared the
view that the possession of arms is vital for resisting tyranny, and
that to be disarmed by one’s government is tantamount to being enslaved
by it. The possession of arms by the people is the ultimate warrant
that government governs only with the consent of the governed. As
Kates has shown, the Second Amendment is as much a product of this
political philosophy as it is of the American experience in the
Revolutionary War. Yet our conservative elite has abandoned this
aspect of republican theory. Although our conservative pundits
recognize and embrace gun owners as allies in other arenas, their
battle for gun rights is desultory. The problem here is not a statist
utopianism, although goodness knows that liberals are not alone in the
confidence they have in the state’s ability to solve society’s
problems. Rather, the problem seems to lie in certain cultural traits
shared by our conservative and liberal elites.

One such trait is an abounding faith in the power of the word. The
failure of our conservative elite to defend the Second Amendment stems
in great measure from an overestimation of the power of the rights set
forth in the First Amendment, and a general undervaluation of action.
Implicit in calls for the repeal of the Second Amendment is the
assumption that our First Amendment rights are sufficient to preserve
our liberty. The belief is that liberty can be preserved as long as
men freely speak their minds; that there is no tyranny or abuse that
can survive being exposed in the press; and that the truth need only be
disclosed for the culprits to be shamed. The people will act, and the
truth shall set us, and keep us, free.

History is not kind to this belief, tending rather to support the
view of Hobbes, Machiavelli, and other republican theorists that only
people willing and able to defend themselves can preserve their
liberties. While it may be tempting and comforting to believe that the
existence of mass electronic communication has forever altered the
balance of power between the state and its subjects, the belief has
certainly not been tested by time, and what little history there is in
the age of mass communication is not especially encouraging. The
camera, radio, and press are mere tools and, like guns, can be used for
good or ill. Hitler, after all, was a masterful orator, used radio to
very good effect, and is well known to have pioneered and exploited the
propaganda opportunities afforded by film. And then, of course, there
were the Brownshirts, who knew very well how to quell dissent among
intellectuals.

Weapons Of Islam

~

Polite society

In addition to being enamored of the power of words, our
conservative elite shares with liberals the notion that an armed
society is just not civilized or progressive, that massive gun
ownership is a blot on our civilization. This association of personal
disarmament with civilized behavior is one of the great unexamined
beliefs of our time.

Should you read English literature from the sixteenth through
nineteenth centuries, you will discover numerous references to the fact
that a gentleman, especially when out at night or traveling, armed
himself with a sword or a pistol against the chance of encountering a
highwayman or other such predator. This does not appear to have
shocked the ladies accompanying him. True, for the most part there
were no police in those days, but we have already addressed the notion
that the presence of the police absolves people of the responsibility
to look after their safety, and in any event the existence of the
police cannot be said to have reduced crime to negligible levels.

It is by no means obvious why it is “civilized” to permit oneself to
fall easy prey to criminal violence, and to permit criminals to
continue unobstructed in their evil ways. While it may be that a
society in which crime is so rare that no one ever needs to carry a
weapon is “civilized,” a society that stigmatizes the carrying of
weapons by the law-abiding — because it distrusts its citizens more
than it fears rapists, robbers, and murderers — certainly cannot claim
this distinction. Perhaps the notion that defending oneself with
lethal force is not “civilized” arises from the view that violence is
always wrong, or the view that each human being is of such intrinsic
worth that it is wrong to kill anyone under any circumstances. The
necessary implication of these propositions, however, is that life is
not worth defending. Far from being “civilized,” the beliefs that
counterviolence and killing are always wrong are an invitation to the
spread of barbarism. Such beliefs announce loudly and clearly that
those who do not respect the lives and property of others will rule
over those who do.

In truth, one who believes it wrong to arm himself against criminal
violence shows contempt of God’s gift of life (or, in modern parlance,
does not properly value himself), does not live up to his
responsibilities to his family and community, and proclaims himself
mentally and morally deficient, because he does not trust himself to
behave responsibly. In truth, a state that deprives its law-abiding
citizens of the means to effectively defend themselves is not civilized
but barbarous, becoming an accomplice of murderers, rapists, and thugs
and revealing its totalitarian nature by its tacit admission that the
disorganized, random havoc created by criminals is far less a threat
than are men and women who believe themselves free and independent, and act accordingly.

While gun control proponents and other advocates of a kinder,
gentler society incessantly decry our “armed society,” in truth we do
not live in an armed society. We live in a society in which violent
criminals and agents of the state habitually carry weapons, and in
which many law-abiding citizens own firearms but do not go about
armed. Department of Justice statistics indicate that 87 percent of
all violent crimes occur outside the home. Essentially, although tens
of millions own firearms, we are an unarmed society.

Ode To El Cajon Boulevard

~

Take back the night

Clearly the police and the courts are not providing a significant
brake on criminal activity. While liberals call for more poverty,
education, and drug treatment programs, conservatives take a more
direct tack. George Will advocates a massive increase in the number of
police and a shift toward “community-based policing.” Meanwhile, the
NRA and many conservative leaders call for laws that would require
violent criminals serve at least 85 percent of their sentences and
would place repeat offenders permanently behind bars.

Our society suffers greatly from the beliefs that only official
action is legitimate and that the state is the source of our earthly
salvation. Both liberal and conservative prescriptions for violent
crime suffer from the “not in my job description” school of thought
regarding the responsibilities of the law-abiding citizen, and from an
overestimation of the ability of the state to provide society’s moral
moorings. As long as law-abiding citizens assume no personal
responsibility for combatting crime, liberal and conservative programs
will fail to contain it.

Judging by the numerous articles about concealed-carry in gun
magazines, the growing number of products advertised for such purpose,
and the increase in the number of concealed-carry applications in
states with mandatory-issuance laws, more and more people, including
growing numbers of women, are carrying firearms for self-defense.
Since there are still many states in which the issuance of permits is
discretionary and in which law enforcement officials routinely deny
applications, many people have been put to the hard choice between
protecting their lives or respecting the law. Some of these people
have learned the hard way, by being the victim of a crime, or by seeing
a friend or loved one raped, robbed, or murdered, that violent crime
can happen to anyone, anywhere at anytime, and that crime is not about
sex or property but life, liberty, and dignity.

The laws proscribing concealed-carry of firearms by honest,
law-abiding citizens breed nothing but disrespect for the law. As the
Founding Fathers knew well, a government that does not trust its
honest, law-abiding, taxpaying citizens with the means of self-defense
is not itself worthy of trust. Laws disarming honest citizens proclaim
that the government is the master, not the servant, of the people. A
federal law along the lines of the Florida statute — overriding all
contradictory state and local laws and acknowledging that the carrying
of firearms by law-abiding citizens is a privilege and immunity of
citizenship — is needed to correct the outrageous conduct of state and
local officials operating under discretionary licensing systems.

What we certainly do not need is more gun control. Those who call
for the repeal of the Second Amendment so that we can really begin
controlling firearms betray a serious misunderstanding of the Bill of
Rights. The Bill of Rights does not grant rights to the people, such
that its repeal would legitimately confer upon government the powers
otherwise proscribed. The Bill of Rights is the list of the
fundamental, inalienable rights, endowed in man by his Creator, that
define what it means to be a free and independent people, the rights
which must exist to ensure that government governs only with the
consent of the people.

At one time this was even understood by the Supreme Court. In
United States v. Cruikshank (1876), the first case in which the Court
had an opportunity to interpret the Second Amendment, it stated that
the right confirmed by the Second Amendment “is not a right granted by
the constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that
instrument for its existence.” The repeal of the Second Amendment
would no more render the outlawing of firearms legitimate than the
repeal of the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment would authorize
the government to imprison and kill people at will. A government that
abrogates any of the Bill of Rights, with or without majoritarian
approval, forever acts illegitimately, becomes tyrannical, and loses
the moral right to govern.

This is the uncompromising understanding reflected in the warning
that America’s gun owners will not go gently into that good, utopian
night: “You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.”
While liberals take this statement as evidence of the retrograde,
violent nature of gun owners, we gun owners hope that liberals hold
equally strong sentiments about their printing presses, word
processors, and television cameras. The republic depends upon fervent
devotion to all our fundamental rights.

Davy Crockett Reincarnated Almanac

~

source

http://rkba.org/comment/cowards.txt

~

art courtesy of Genzoman

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11570469-legendary-visions

~

editor

Rawclyde

!

And It’s Here To Stay

Dual at Diablo

~

 

On March 23, 2010, I sat down at a table in the East Room of the White House and signed my name on a law that said, once and for all, that health care would no longer be a privilege for a few. It would be a right for everyone.

Five years later, after more than 50 votes in Congress to repeal or weaken this law and multiple challenges before the Supreme Court, here is what we know today:

This law worked. It’s still working. It has changed and saved American lives. It has set this country on a smarter, stronger course.

And it’s here to stay…

~

~

This morning (June 25, 2015), the Supreme Court upheld one of the most critical parts of health reform — the part that has made it easier for Americans to afford health insurance, no matter where you live.

If the challenges to this law had succeeded, millions would have had thousands of dollars in tax credits taken away. Insurance would have once again become unaffordable for many Americans. Many would have even become uninsured again. Ultimately, everyone’s premiums could have gone up.

Because of this law, and because of today’s decision, millions of Americans will continue to receive the tax credits that have given about 8 in 10 people who buy insurance on the new Health Insurance Marketplaces the choice of a health care plan that costs less than $100 a month.

~

~

If you’re a parent, you can keep your kids on your plan until they turn 26 — something that has covered millions of young people so far. That’s because of this law. If you’re a senior, or have a disability, this law gives you discounts on your prescriptions — something that has saved 9 million Americans an average of $1,600 so far. If you’re a woman, you can’t be charged more than anybody else — even if you’ve had cancer, or your husband had heart disease, or just because you’re a woman. Your insurer has to offer free preventive services like mammograms. They can’t place annual or lifetime caps on your care.

And when it comes to preexisting conditions — someday, our grand kids will ask us if there was really a time when America discriminated against people who got sick. Because that’s something this law has ended for good.

~

~

Five years in and more than 16 million insured Americans later, this is no longer just about a law. This isn’t just about the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare…

Today is a victory for every American whose life will continue to become more secure because of this law. And 20, 30, 50 years from now, most Americans may not know what “Obamacare” is. And that’s okay. That’s the point.

Because today, this reform remains what it always has been — a set of fairer rules and tougher protections that have made health care in America more affordable, more attainable, and more about you.

~

~

That’s who we are as Americans. We look out for one another. We take care of each other. We root for one another’s success. We strive to do better, to be better, than the generation before us, and we try to build something better for the generation that comes behind us.

And today, with this behind us, let’s come together and keep building something better. That starts right now.

Thank you,

President Barack Obama

June 25, 2015

~

editor

Rawclyde!

~

Our Loyalties Must Transcend Our Race

~~~

by Sp4 Clyde Collins

U.S. Army 1980-1984

~~~

     Before Pvt. 2 Donald Duty joined the U.S. Army he was a school bus driver for a “voluntary ethnic transfer program” in a big city on the mainland.

     In this public funded program, minority kids were bused out of the ghetto to schools in the more well-to-do neighborhoods, but only if their parents thought it best to do so.  It was part of a larger desegregation plan.

     On one particular day, before it was a holiday, the late Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, Jan. 15, Duty picked up his predominantly Black junior high school kids in the ghetto, headed for the plush hills of suburbia.

     Now it cannot be said for sure that the bus was haunted, but it was an old bus.  And believe it or don’t, as the bus bumped along, the ghost of Martin Luther King Jr. whispered to the school bus driver, “Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class and our nation.”

     “What?” said Duty.  He glanced over his shoulder at one of his sleepy passengers.  “Did you say something?”

     The little Black girl’s eyes went round.  “No!  You’re crazy!”

     “Hmmm,” groaned Duty as he drove past rickety wino dens and battled with a cement-mixer truck for an on-ramp to the freeway.

     Soon enough the school bus loaded with little equalities rattled along the freeway past a local U.S. Army post.  Again the ghost of a Black preacher named King whispered to the driver, a little louder this time:  “No individual can live alone; no nation can live alone, and as long as we try, the more we are going to have war in this world.”

     Duty grew more pallid than he already was.  He glanced over his other shoulder at a tough Black kid glaring back at him.  “You talking to me?” said Duty, his voice a quiver.

     The kid threw his arms up into the air.  “Why I be talkin’ to YOU…  You’re scary!”

     Duty shrugged.

     The school bus chugged ~ down an off-ramp and up into the trimmed, pruned splendor of suburbia.

     And the ghost of the man who had studied the nonviolence of Gandhi and the civil disobedience of Thoreau, baritoned:  “Adapting nonviolent resistance to conditions in the United States, we swept into Southern streets to demand our citizenship and manhood.  If they let us march, they admitted their lie that the Black man was content.  If they shot us down, they told the world they were inhuman brutes.”

     Duty accidently ground the gears as his bus jerked up a long hill.

     The ghost of the man who had been jailed 29 times for what he believed in, continued to say, “The nation and the world were sickened and through national legislation wiped out a thousand Southern laws, ripping gaping holes in the edifice of segregation.”

     At the top of the hill where a panoramic view of the city could be enjoyed on an occasional clear day, a group of about 20 people stood with quart-size cans of motor oil in their hands.  Two cars were parked sideways, blocking the street.  Duty knew these people intended to stop his school bus and pour the cans of oil over his passengers’ heads.  He knew it because these people were wearing white hoods.  He stepped on the brake and idled the engine half a block away.

     “We’re gonna have to go the long way,” moaned Duty.

     “But we’ll be late for class,” moaned a passenger.

     Duty winced ~ and he looked up at the overhead mirror.  He saw the now totally awake expressions upon his passengers’ faces.  They were peering back at him expectantly, watching, wondering what he was going to do now!

     Then for a long moment Duty stared through red-rimmed eyes at the crowd up the street.  He slipped the bus into gear, gunned the accelerator and let out the clutch.

     In no time at all the school bus was roaring in fourth gear directly at the blockade.  As the bus sped forward, the ghost of he who was assassinated by a sniper’s bullet outside a hotel in Memphis, Tenn., April 4, 1968, had one last thing to say to the all-of-a-sudden unrelenting Caucasian at the wheel:  “Now the judgement of God is upon us, and we must either learn to live together as brothers or we are all going to perish as fools.”

     A couple of years later Duty and a Black soldier were sitting outside the company barracks at TAMC one evening.  They were exchanging tales.  When Duty finished this particular story the other soldier exclaimed, “Then what happened?”

     Duty’s soul expanded like a blooming flower above the city lights and below the twinkling stars.  With a smug little smile he said, “We got to school on time.”

~~~

photo:

1960 western

“The Trial of Sergeant Rutledge”

~~~

Duty World

http://dutypoeticslab.yolasite.com

~~~

Gun Law in Colorado

by Steve Lipsher / The Denver Post

August 6, 2013 (still valid today)

Today's musket ~ NRA style

(Today’s) recall elections of Colorado Senate President John Morse and state Sen. Angela Giron — both Democrats — stand as a twisted version of “democracy at the barrel of a gun.”

Proponents of the recall petitions are angry that Morse and Giron supported measures in the past legislative session that — heaven forbid — require every gun purchase to go through a background check and limit the number of bullets that pre-loaded magazines can hold.

Most of the sane world sees those as common-sense steps intended to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and lunatics and prevent them from creating the kind of unspeakable carnage that we’ve already seen in Colorado at Columbine High School and the Century Aurora theater.

Polls consistently indicate that more than 80 percent of the population supports universal background checks and at least 60 percent supports the limit on ammunition magazines.

But backers of the recall insist that Morse and Giron “ignored” their constituents — namely, themselves — and they want their heads on pikes as a warning to others who would dare infringe on what they perceive to be their sacred, inviolable Second Amendment rights.

Recall proponents singled out Morse because he is the high-profile leader of the Senate and considered vulnerable, having won re-election in 2010 by a scant 340 votes in an electorally split Colorado Springs district.

Giron, who wasn’t even a particularly outspoken supporter of the gun bills, is being recalled because … well, apparently because the gun-activist front organization Basic Freedom Defense Fund could pay for enough petition signatures to meet the lower total-vote threshold in her district and get her hauled back to the ballot.

Meanwhile, they failed to gain enough support to recall two other Democrats, Sen. Mike McLachlan, D-Durango, and Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Westminster. (Never mind that dozens of other legislators also voted in favor of the bills, and Gov. John Hickenlooper signed them into law.)

That lawmakers would face recalls over this single issue — reasonable checks on who has access to guns — would be considered ridiculous in any other society.

But in a bloodthirsty country where the National Rifle Association keeps members of Congress completely petrified and incapable of passing even the most tepid gun restrictions despite our embarrassing off-the-chart murder rate, this effort stands as reasonable political discourse.

Similar unfounded credibility is given to the effort by a few dozen malcontents and cranks in northeastern Colorado who want to break away and form a new state, also in a pique over those “goldarned lawmakers in Denver takin’ away our Second Amendment rights,” among other things.

Of course, few of those who believe that the new gun laws trample on the Bill of Rights actually are part of any “well-regulated militia” spelled out — but routinely ignored by gun proponents — in the actual text of the Second Amendment.

No one is taking their guns. No one is creating a gun registry long rumored by fear-mongers. No one is even telling them they can’t accumulate more firepower than several small countries or doomsday religious sects.

The state is telling them, however, that if they’re on a murderous rampage, they’re going to have to reload after 15 shots, not 100.

That doesn’t sound unreasonable.

Backed by the NRA and the equally absolutist Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, the recall is intended only to intimidate lawmakers and hold them at the barrel’s end of their virtual guns.

It was without a hint of irony that original recall proponent Tim Knight of Durango told The Gazette in Colorado Springs about his motivation in the effort: “Democracy is being held hostage.”

Here’s hoping that the recalls both fail, serving as a punch to the bullies’ noses and giving notice that lawmakers may stand up to the gun nuts with the backing of the vast majority of us who are sick of innocent people dying in Littleton and Tucson and Sandy Hook and Aurora.

Steve Lipsher (slipsher@comcast.net) of Silverthorne writes a monthly column for The Denver Post.