Farewell To Arms

I’m feeling a little literary today as I look at the impact of all the upcoming gun control laws.  At one point very early on in the world of gun control, there might have been a resemblance of a genuine public safety goal. While it was never the actual intent, at least they feigned the interest. Fast forward to today and it’s clear the intent is to rid our country of as many civilian owned firearms as possible, as quickly as possible.  The Second Amendment is no longer a barrier to every conceivable, irrational and nonsensical gun control scheme our gun-hating politicians can come up with.  The time to say farewell to arms is getting closer by the day. 

If you want to see how close we are to the end game, just take a look at the type of laws and ordinances being pushed around the country this year. Law makers are emboldened by support of political activist judges in the most liberal parts of the country who will rubber stamp anything that restricts law-abiding citizen’s access to firearms, ammunition and accessories. Combine this with a United States Supreme Court who hasn’t had any interest in taking Second Amendment challenges, political hacks around the country are redefining what a so-called “assault weapon” is to the point where – literally – any semiautomatic firearm, rifle or pistol, will be included. 

Of course, the latest and greatest is the attempt to make so-called “assault weapons” subject to National Firearms Act (NFA) registration. HR 1263 introduced in the US House of Representatives would include ANY semi-automatic rifle or shotgun that is capable of accepting a detachable magazine. While the most obvious targets of “assault weapon” bans, the AR or AK pattern firearms would be included, it would also include firearms such as the vintage M1 Carbine, the Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle, the Remington 742 hunting rifle and Ruger 10/22, a .22 caliber plinking and varmint hunting rifle. Caliber or magazine capacity wouldn’t matter, only the fact that the firearm accepts a detachable magazine. NFA registration would bring with it all the same restrictions and fees, including the $200 tax stamp PER firearm now only associated with items such as fully automatic firearms and suppressors. 

But of course, that won’t be the end of it. The follow-up law being pushed by the behind the scenes architects would “Ban the future manufacture and sale of assault weapons to reduce the easy availability of such weapons to civilians.” Patterned after the 1986 ban on new fully automatic firearms, it would put a hard cap on the number of so-called “assault weapons” available in the country. A bill for this has yet to be introduced, and likely won’t be introduced until the NFA Assault Weapons bill is passed.  After all, it’s difficult to convince the people, and those all-important swing votes in Congress, that you’re not after an all out ban when you show all your cards at once. 

If you’re thinking the US Supreme Court’s Heller and McDonald rulings are going to protect your Second Amendment rights, you are sadly mistaken. Gun control states like California, Washington, Oregon, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Illinois and Vermont – along with a long list of municipalities contained therein, have been thumbing their nose at Heller & McDonald since before the ink was dry on the rulings. The reason they can is quite simply, who is going to stop them? 

The gun control lawmakers and their political activist judges know the US Supreme Court only hears arguments on about 80 cases per year, and decides about 50 more without oral arguments. This is out of the roughly 7000 requests to hear cases per year. And that 7000 represents the best of the best cases with the highest likelihood of success before the court, thus worthy of the time, money and effort needed to litigate them. Knowing this, the chances of any particular gun control law getting overturned, to say nothing of setting a national legal precedence, are slim to never. 

So where does this leave your Second Amendment rights? Without an incredibly strong and wide reaching intervention by the US Supreme Court, something they are NOT known for, your rights are going to continue to erode away to nothing. What was legal last year is going to be illegal this year. What you used to be able to freely own will need to be registered or outright banned. What is registered today will be banned tomorrow. 

Today’s article was inspired by a section of George Orwell’s book, Nineteen Eighty-Four. In the book, Newspeak was the controlled language of restricted grammar and limited vocabulary, meant to limit the freedom of thought, personal identity, self-expression and free will. It was under constant revision to eliminate terms, and thus any resemblance of resistance to the ruling party. 

‘The Eleventh Edition is the definitive edition. We’re getting the language into its final shape — the shape it’s going to have when nobody speaks anything else. When we’ve finished with it, people like you will have to learn it all over again. You think, I dare say, that our chief job is inventing new words. But not a bit of it! We’re destroying words — scores of them, hundreds of them, every day. We’re cutting the language down to the bone. The Eleventh Edition won’t contain a single word that will become obsolete before the year 2050.’

All you need to do is substitute ‘guns’ for ‘word’ and you can see where our laws are headed. In our real life edition of banning the civilian ownership of guns, I don’t see it taking until the year 2050 to happen. However, I can envision the 11thEdition of California Gun Laws looking something like the photo with this article. 

Unless…

Each and every person in this nation who believes in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, whether or not they own firearms, gets up off their ass and says NO MORE! Systematically eroding our rights for the enrichment of the ruling class and their concept of an ideal society is what lead our nation to be formed in the first place. Why would we want to allow that to happen again? 

Bob

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Purging Our Politically Incorrect Past

In 2001, the world was aghast when the Taliban were purging Afghanistan of all remaining non-Islamic statues. Among them were two Buddha statues in the Bamiyan Valley dating back over 1700 years that were destroyed despite international outcry and numerous requests to allow them to be relocated elsewhere. The Taliban’s strict interpretation of their religion forbids any symbols of living things, so that meant they had to be destroyed. Today, we have a similar eradication occurring in our own country only in the name of political correctness instead of religion, the purging of the Confederacy.

This latest round of historical cleansing stems from the 2015 shooting at a church in South Carolina by a pathetic high school drop out and druggie. But this isn’t because of what he did; killing nine people. It was because he was white, the victims were black and there were photos of him with Confederate flags. Blasted across the media as proof that anything to do with the Confederacy is racist and dangerous to modern day living, statues have been removed, building and street names changed and the Confederate flag all but outlawed.

The South has long been a target of the moral elite and this latest purging is right out of current Chicago Mayor and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s playbook of “You never let a serious crisis go to waste”. This was simply a golden opportunity to progress an agenda that couldn’t get traction before. Now, because of this horrific incident, the offended could finally rid their world of the hideous reminders of a long gone era.

How widespread has this absurdity been? Just recently, the high school in the small Vermont city where I spent the majority of my law enforcement service lost their “Rebel” team name. Apparently the team name used since the school’s founding 55 years ago during the Civil War Centennial and chosen as the school colors were blue and gray and the city was ‘South’ of its major rival, was too closely associated with the Confederacy for the politically correct.

In another case, a Georgia police sergeant lost her job because someone saw the Confederate flag she had been flying at her house for over a year to display her pride in her Southern heritage and honor her recently deceased husband, and was offended.

In both of these cases, there was zero evidence of racial discrimination, bias, violent intent or any other factor – just political correctness at play.

If this same psychopath shooter in North Carolina had been wearing Mickey Mouse ears during his homicidal rampage and killed only men with facial hair, because that is what HE believed Walt Disney would have wanted, would we expect a nationwide movement to shut down all the Disney theme parks? Of course not, that would be stupid. But so is thinking that one demented little piece of crap’s interpretation of the purpose of the Confederacy should shape the rest of the world.

History is a mixed bag of great accomplishments and dark, disturbing events. Our nation’s relatively short 241 years of existence is full of examples of great strides in technology, arts and civil rights as well as horrific abuses of human rights, pain and suffering. But history is just that, history – events that occurred in the past. It is the path that got us to where we are today and as intellectual and enlightened as we like to believe we are, we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for what we as a nation went through.

While the United States did not grant Confederate soldiers full US veteran status as some believe, the men who fought for the South were our own just as the Union forces were our own. Their young nation was split and at war with itself, and it was their geography that determined the Southern soldiers’ destiny. It is not an excuse or an apologist view to want to treat those who lost their lives in this or any human conflict with a little bit of respect.

You might wonder why someone who mostly writes on Second Amendment topics cares about the South or the Confederate flag. It is simply because this is just another example of politically correct censorship and eradicating the world of things that some moral elitist is now offended by. We’ve seen far to many examples of firearms being banned for their offensive cosmetic features, as well as other draconian gun control laws, laws that have absolutely nothing to do with public safety and will never do anything to reduce crime or save lives, only make some people “feel better”.

Sanitizing our nation’s history by erasing symbols of something we find offensive today is just another step towards living in George Orwell’s “1984” where the past is rewritten to match the current party line. Removing these memorials, names and symbols is a slap in the face to all those whose lineage goes through the South and dismisses any of the positive contributions from that era and region of our own nation.

Heritage doesn’t equal hate just as a firearm does not equal violence. It is the intent of the individual, and ONLY the individual that determines what happens next.

Bob

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He Who Controls The Present

You may recognize this snippet and what it means. The full quote is “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” It is from George Orwell’s 1949 novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, a futuristic portrayal of a post world war society dominated by government surveillance and public manipulation. It is also one of the few books I’ve read that gave me a serious case of the heebie-jeebies.

So why dust this off now? With the movie “Snowden” recently released, it seemed the appropriate time to see how we are measuring up.

Regardless of if you consider Edward Snowden a patriot, whistleblower or traitor, the information he disclosed is significant. It confirmed what few knew, many suspected and most feared; the depth of the United States government’s worldwide surveillance program. While there are many different programs covering telephone, Internet, email, encryption, commerce and geolocation; the end result is the government’s ability to monitor and connect every aspect of a target’s electronic life in ways we wouldn’t have thought possible. To accomplish this, everyone’s data is harvested en masse. Innocent, law-abiding citizens’ information is collected and stored right along with the terrorists.

In Nineteen Eighty-Four’s reality, citizen monitoring was done by undercover agents as well as by two-way telescreens in public places and individual homes. It not only distributed content, but also monitored the people, listening and watching for signs of subversive tendencies or rebellion.

Even George Orwell couldn’t have envisioned the world we live in today where we have so willingly embraced the technology that monitors us. We have devices that listen to our every word and waits for commands. Our email providers electronically read our messages so they can provide us with additional relevant content. We carry with us devices containing all our contacts, emails, browsing history, financial information and so much more. These devices can pinpoint our locations to a few feet anywhere in the world, 24/7/365. Video surveillance is ambiguous with cameras in our phones, cars, homes, stores and in public places. And of course we share where we are, what we are doing along with pictures for everyone to see. We accept all this enthusiastically and rejoice at the great convenience it provides. We also look at those who shun the technology with distrust for surely they must be hiding something.

While the control of our language hasn’t gotten to the level of Orwell’s Newspeak yet, we are being provided with new euphemisms such as “justice involved individuals” or “undocumented immigrant” to replace words that are no longer politically correct.

We are told to trust that government access to the most sensitive information about every aspect of our lives is protected and only granted ‘legally’ and for our own safety, even if the laws and processes for accessing it cannot be disclosed to us. At the same time we are told the government cannot recover its own emails because a single server, laptop or handheld device has been corrupted.

We look at the books being put out by those in power now. Even when the so-called biographies are revealed to be factually inaccurate, we know that one year, five years, 20 years from now; all that will remain is the carefully crafted narrative and none of the dissent. By creating their own version of the past today, they are insuring their legacy in the future.

While we try to balance the benefits of technology with the intrusiveness that comes with it, we also have to remember our basic rights. For this, we return to the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Fourth Amendment.

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

If we believe the Fourth Amendment still applies in our modern digital world, then we need to be a lot more concerned with our data and who has access to it. We need to reject the argument of “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear”. Our Constitution, our Bill of Rights, our way of life does not say it’s okay just because it’s the government that is doing it.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Benjamin Franklin. “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

Bob

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