I’ll start with a little background. I’m 54 years old, fat and a retiree from both the military and civil service. The fact that I was in the military really has no bearing because I wasn’t a combat arms kind of guy. I was just a simple airplane mechanic whose fighting was mostly done with a screw gun and my main enemy was stuck screws. Even though my military experience wasn’t heavy in firearms, I’ve been around them since I was quite young. I shot my first gun around age 10 and was shooting with some regularity by age 12. It was common when I was young to leave the city and go to the small towns where my family grew up. My dad had a small piece of land and we regularly had a shotgun or .22 in the rear window of his pickup when we made those trips. My father was not a handgun kind of guy and even though he carried one at work as a security manager for a large corporation, he would have never considered carrying one otherwise. I probably didn’t shoot my first handgun until after I had graduated and left home.
I guess because I’d never been around them much, I took only a passing interest when states began allowing concealed handgun carry. I think that Georgia passed the first law in about 1976 or so. A few states passed laws in the interim years, but it was about 1988 when Florida past its law that the issue seemed to really get national attention. By this time I’d developed a little interest in handguns and I thought it was gratifying to see states loosen their restrictions one by one. It was also good to see that the dire predictions of blood running in the streets and other such nonsense were not coming true. I was also a bit perturbed by the situation. I’m a staunch supporter of our bill of rights and that goes doubly so for the second amendment. It’s my opinion that the requirement for a permit is an infringement upon those rights. I didn’t apply for a permit for many years after it was possible to get one for that reason. Frankly I didn’t and don’t feel the “need” to carry. Although crime can happen anywhere, I don’t participate in the drug trade, illegal gambling or anything of that nature and I live in an area with a fairly low crime rate. With all of those things in mind, the chance that I would be a victim of crime were and are quite low. I simply don’t think that I have much to fear. On the four or five occasions that I thought it prudent to carry, I did so regardless of the law under the premise that it was better to be judged by twelve than carried by 6.
When the theater shooting happened in Colorado, I began to rethink my position a bit. It is very rare that we go out to a movie, but just a few days after that incident we did. I felt it prudent to put a revolver in my pocket when we went on the basis that there are often copy cat crimes. That doesn’t mean that I was afraid because I wasn’t, I just thought it prudent. As I gave the issue further consideration, I came to the conclusion that although my chances of being present when a violent crime is being committed are very low, they are not nonexistent. I do believe that people should have the right to be armed and that an armed populace is a deterrence to evil. I also have a greater level of familiarity with firearms than most people and thus would be a reasonable candidate to carry regularly. A short time later I set things in motion to obtain a Concealed Handgun License in Texas. We also obtained one for my wife. This was mostly because I was concerned that if I had a firearm in a briefcase and gave it to her to hold that she would technically be a criminal for “possessing” a concealed handgun. That’s the kind of ridiculous situation that our “gun control laws” can breed. As it turns out she now carries her own gun regularly as well.
Concealed carry is not for everyone. It can be uncomfortable and it is often expensive. I have bought guns that I might not otherwise have purchased because they fit the need of concealed carry better than what I owned. There are holsters to buy and it usually takes two or three before a person finds one that they are comfortable with. Sometimes my choice of clothing has to be altered to accommodate carrying. I also go through more ammunition because I find that more practice is called for and I now own a couple of more guns than I did before I carried. The upside is that I do believe there is a deterrent effect from having concealed carriers out there. As I reconsidered my position on concealed carry, I concluded that about one to three percent of the population was all that was armed at any given time. I don’t think that’s quite enough to maximize the deterrent effect. I am not saying that everyone should be armed, but I don’t think we will get the full deterrent until five percent or so of the population is armed at any given time. Just after I started writing this piece, Detroit Police Chief made the news by saying that he thought concealed carry was a deterrent to crime and Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble has made similar comments in regard to terrorism. I frankly have not seen a sensical argument against expanded concealed carry and I read everything I can find on the subject. One thing is certain, gun free zones aren’t, and it ain’t the good guys that have them there.
Many people would now accuse me of suffering from some delusion or another. I assure you that’s not the case. While I’m a long way from believing that having a firearm makes me invincible or that I will prevail in any and all encounters, I do believe that being in possession of a handgun gives me an edge in most violent confrontations. As I read about various violent incidents, I’m left with the opinion that I’d rather have a gun and not need it than need it and not have it. Then again each of my cars are equipped with fire extinguishers, jumper cables flashlights and toolboxes.
Apparently both of those organizations have merged or formed a more formal alliance. I can’t imagine a marriage more made in hell than that one, but none the less it seems to be the case. My guess is that Bloomberg is trying to remove his face from the argument and replace it with that of Shannon Watts. It seems as though voters in most of the country aren’t a fan of Bloomberg butting into their business and this would allow a bit gentler face to be put out front.
This is no real surprise because Moms Demand Action would have had no operating capitol without Bloomberg in the first place. MDA claims membership of about a 120,000 people. That incidentally is about what their Facebook “like” count is. Were these members to have to cough up an annual membership fee of say about $35 a year, that number would shrink to 4 digits real quick. With a membership that would be unwilling to put any real money into their “cause”, a well heeled source of funds is necessary. Without someone like Bloomberg they simply couldn’t exist. If you get down to it, MAIG wouldn’t have much of a membership roster if its membership had to pay fees out of their pocket either. The only thing that perplexes me is why Shannon Watts would allow her organization to be tied together with a bunch of felons. It’s worth noting that several of MAIGs members are not eligible to own firearms because of their past legal transgressions.
While this organization can’t be ignored, I think that they have likely made a mistake. With several well placed anti gun organizations out there already, Bloomberg had several places that he could have put his money. Brady and the others however would have been unlikely to give up much control to him and in this arrangement he gets a puppet. The freedom loving among us, will need to highlight this unholy alliance at every opportunity.
I just read a comment by uncommon_sense at the Truth about Guns Site. He was commenting about the Brady bunch and their comments about how they wanted to counter “the ‘guns everywhere, anytime for anyone’ thing that the that the gun lobby’s doing”. uncommon_sense made the following comment:
Why do we even argue the “merits” of having a firearm in certain locations? The merits of having a firearm in a particular location are just as irrelevant as the merits of having an umbrella or sunglasses in a particular location. If I want to have an umbrella at some place, that decision is mine and only mine. No special interest group or government agency has any legitimate authority to tell me I cannot have an umbrella in some location. The same applies to whether or not I have a firearm in some location.
What we have to do is start telling the civilian disarmament advocates and government that it is none of their business what personal property we manufacture or purchase, period. And it is none of their business what personal property we possess at home or in public, period.
He makes a fine point. I’ve found myself having the same thoughts as I have come face to face with more and more liberal policies. Just a few examples are: what I pay my employees, the benefits contained in my heath insurance policy, whether or not I have health insurance, the benefits I extend to my employees or what I eat and drink. They want to have a say in all of that. I say it’s none of their business.
They claim to be altruistic in their interest and proposals, but there is no altruism there. Taking control of more and more elements of someone else’s life is not altruism, it’s despotism. They begin their despotic ways by having “discussions” on issues. Little by little they erode the resistance until they have obtained the control they desire. As far as I’m concerned the discussions are over. When it comes to most of these issues it’s simply none of their business.
As I write this, we are less than two weeks away from the anniversary of the Shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Anniversaries are tough for those that have lost someone. My wife and I lost a child several years ago. Just before the one year point we were beginning to come out of a fog and then the anniversary date arrived and the situation becomes emotional all over again. I wouldn’t wish any of that on my worst enemy. My thoughts and prayers are definitely with the families of the people in Connecticut.
I imagine that this situation is made all the harder because it has been made into a political football. The gun control crowd is vowing commemorations and calls for more gun controls on the anniversary. I would much rather let this day pass with a moment of silence and not politicize the event, but I’m in the situation where I either counter the gun controllers arguments, or watch our rights be washed away in a sea of emotionalism. I can’t help but notice that the action that most people are calling for would have made no difference in this case. The main rallying cry is for more background checks, but the purchaser of these firearms passed one. Many people are also asking for bans on the sale of “assault rifles” and “high capacity” magazines. No one that I’m aware of is seriously suggesting confiscation of those already in circulation, so this action wouldn’t likely be of any help in stopping a future incident. There are millions of semi auto rifles out there, and tens of millions of magazines.
I think the thing that bothers me the most about this is that from the moment this happened, people have been demanding actions without all of the facts. There was supposed to be a report issued by the state police in the spring detailing all of the evidence and findings. That was then put off until the summer. It didn’t happen then either and now I’m not aware of a suggested release date. There have been a couple of preliminary reports issued and in just this past week the news agencies have prevailed in their lawsuit to have the 911 recordings released. To date, there has been little new or useful information. It seems there is political wrangling going on in the state over this issue, but I have to wonder why the delay of what should be a fairly straight forward report. I have seen one comment by an individual that has ties to Newtown, and visited there shortly after the incident. He indicates that the perpetrator of this horrific incident was video taped driving by the High School entrance and left when he saw the police officer that was stationed there. Could that be something that they don’t want released? Is it true and/or are there other things that don’t fit with the view that many of our leaders and activists are pushing forward? I don’t know, but I become suspicious when there is an apparent lack of transparency. We need the facts – all lof them – before we start trying to make policy decisions.
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer: “The Constitution, much like any literary text, should not be interpreted rigidly. It’s a living text, open to interpretation. . . It is this practical application of the Constitution that makes its interpretation such an exciting thing.” Also: “It’s hard to compare a literary text with a political text because, whereas novels have an aesthetic purpose, “We use more practical criteria in the realm of the law — for instance, ‘Will this interpretation of the law allow society to work better?’ ”
These quotes were taken from the New York Post. I wasn’t able to link to the original as it is apparently in French.
These quotes are among the most foolish and nonsensical things I’ve ever read. Undeniably, this man has more education and learning than I could ever hope to acquire, yet these comments show a complete lack of rational thought. Were these comments to be universally excepted, words would simply have no meaning and would be subject to redefinition or interpretation on the whim of any Judge. No one should have such power. With Justice Breyers interpretations, the people have no control over the government nor judges, and we are indeed servants of whatever is determined to be the greater good at the moment. The frightening thing is that he is not nearly the only one to hold such opinions.
As I discussed in Interpreting the Law, you nor I will never be held to such a low standard. The laws that are passed to govern us will be strictly interpreted and you will be expected to toe the line. This is a disgraceful situation that we have allowed to occur.
I’ve been following the doings of an organization called Moms Demand Action since its inception. It is an organization that was born following the Sandy Hook killings in December of 2012. These folks have dedicated themselves to what they claim is “gun sense’ whatever that means, and a reduction in gun violence. It’s a very small group that is trying to seem much larger than it is. From pictures I’ve seen across various media sources and on their own web site, they are doing good to ever get as many as ten people together at a time.
They are predictably wanting increased gun controls as if government controls have ever solved a problem, but strangely they are also after retailers to not allow the carrying of firearms on their property. They claim a great victory because Starbucks has asked its customers not to bring firearms into their establishments. This was after Starbucks was unwillingly put in between MDA and open carry advocates, a situation that likely wouldn’t have occurred had Shannon Watts, the founder of MDA, not created it. I guess if you’re hurting for victories you would call this one, but as a CHL holder in Texas there is nothing on a Starbucks property around here that would legally or otherwise prohibit my carrying there. Frankly though, I don’t shop there. They seem a bit stuck on themselves to me. MDA has also gone after Staples. Interestingly they have a picture on their site that shows a man openly carrying an AK platform rifle in the Mansfield Texas store. That store is very close to me and I do shop there regularly. The rifle is over his shoulder, on his back with the muzzle down and doesn’t look terribly intimidating to me. Now I’m not a fan of open carrying of rifles in that manner, but the fact is that in Texas if you are going to be armed without a CHL, it’s the only way to do it, and I don’t see where it’s up to me to deny another person a right to be armed if they so choose. Ms Watts asks in a letter to the CEO of Staples if he would “feel safe” shopping next to that person. I can’t speak for him, but as a customer that actually shops here, I’m not particularly alarmed. There are situations that I’m far more concerned about than a casual open carrier. In going after companies like Staples and Starbucks, I can only surmise that this group is better at PR and marketing than they are at statistics. If they are going to make a dent in gun violence in this country, they will have to go to neighborhoods that don’t have Starbucks or Staples in them. You can bet that the violence statistics are very low for an area if one of those stores is there. To confront gun violence where it really lives, these women are going to have to get out of their suburban upscale neighborhoods and go into the inner cities of Detroit. Chicago, Washington D.C., Stockton and New Orleans. The problems that they’ll find there are so deep that some simple minded background check bill won’t ever be a concern to the people that are responsible for the violence. Their gun laws will work just about as well as the drug laws do. I’m certain that their white, suburban opinions will go over well with the typical gang banger or drug dealer.
I spent just a few minutes today on the MDA website and although they twist (spin?) their position a bit differently than other groups, it’s really the same thing that we have seen for years. I’ve looked deeply into this issue at least twice in the last twenty years or so, including again after Sandy Hook. I’ve read every bill that has been proposed and I understand the effect it would have on my friends and neighbors. Over the years I’ve read dozens if not hundreds of reports where firearms are both misused and used defensively. Through it all, I’m still a strong Second Amendment supporter. MDA would attempt to paint me as some kind of “monster” because of my beliefs, but the reality is that I, and a great deal of people that think like I do live in the same neighborhoods these women do and my wife and I wife shop in the same places. The MDA group expresses repeatedly that they are fearful in these environments, yet the people I associate with aren’t. I wonder why that is? What ever the reason, it seems to drive which side of the policy issue we are on.
I would encourage anyone reading this to do your own research on the issue and to not rely on the various organizations that have agendas. Go to the source of the statistics and look at them for yourself with an open mind. Read a bit of history and see how some of those lessons might apply today and make up your own mind. Look at the issue in a rational and non emotional manner and see what conclusions you come to. Emotionalism is a poor way to make policy.
I can’t help but notice that if you are a citizen, you are held to high standards and expected in the vast majority of cases to follow government rules, laws and regulations to the letter. Auditors from any number of government agencies are more than glad to look over your shoulder and inform you of the strictest possible interpretations of these laws. Of course they are eager to fine or jail you for your transgressions accordingly.
On the other hand, it must be mandatory for an elected official to push the limits of his controlling document which of course is the constitution. When compared to the strict interpretations foisted upon the rest of us, it’s amazing to see just how loosely the founding document can be read. Maybe we should find a solution to that problem.
This country is no longer free. Our governments pass new laws and enact new programs with alarming regularity. These programs are supposed to help us, but they do just the opposite, they subjugate us to our supposed benefactor.
The biggest threat to our freedom is that we are removing the fear of failure from our citizens, companies and institutions. Our financial markets are no longer free. They are infused with as much as $85 billion a month in capitol from the Federal Reserve. If a large company fails, our government steps in to save the day, particularly if those within the company are well connected. Our interest rates are held artificially low, supposedly to make it easier for consumers to borrow although it may well be the government gains the most. We have extensive social service programs that make up the “safety net” for our society. That all sounds great. After all, why should we have to endure hardship when the government can make it easier? I believe it’s because without the fear of failure we lose the ability to learn and grow. We lose the ultimate incentive to strive and do well. Those things are what make us free. I maintain that without the feeling of accomplishment that comes for standing on our own two feet and avoiding failure, that we are nothing more than drones in the service of those that believe they are protecting us and ultimately may be setting ourselves up for a much larger failure.
Extensively edited for readability
I have heard repeatedly that Obama won the election and that the affordable care act is “the law of the land”. I’m not certain what that’s supposed to mean, but I suppose that since Obama was reelected that the republicans in the house are supposed to forget what their constituents sent them there to do.
I’m also having a bit of trouble with this law of the land stuff coming from our illustrious president. This is the president that invented his own dream act, then unilaterally decided to put off deadlines for the ACA that didn’t suit him. Of course these are just a couple of examples of of his disdain for the “laws of the land”. I guess when you think yourself an emperor, it’s OK to talk out of both sides of your mouth.
It seems as though internet advertising started getting increasingly intrusive about a year ago. There are many sites that I’ve stopped visiting because of their obtrusive ads. The full page pop ups that you have to click through to see your page are among my least favorite, but lately I’ve been coming across more and more sites that have auto start video on them. The use of bandwidth to run the video is bad enough, but many of them have blaring audio as well. It doesn’t matter whether I’m enjoying some peace and quiet, listening to someone talk or to music, this is an unwanted intrusion. I do not support companies that advertise like this and most likely I’ll simply stop visiting. Just today I gave up on a site that I really liked. There are too many completing sites for me to put up with that nonsense.