Category Archives: Military

The Power Resides With We The People, Not We The Police

You may have read about a recent incident in Texas where a man, witnessing another man beating up a woman, stopped and drew his legal firearm on the woman’s attacker. A bystander contacted 911 who dispatched police moments later, and the attacker was eventually arrested by police with no shots fired, neither by the hero nor the police (the attacker appears to have been unarmed).

The police went on to say that they commended the heroic man’s actions for coming to the rescue of this woman. But as police so often do, stated that they didn’t want citizens exposing themselves to danger in this way.

This statement has a couple of interpretations.

Giving police the benefit of the doubt, this was to indemnify themselves from the impression that they would promote vigilantism. Meaning, that if they congratulated him entirely, gave him a key to the city, and/or named a street after him, it would encourage others to perform similar acts, one of which, if taken too far, could be felonious. There’s a line between justifiable homicide and murder, but sadly, it’s not like they teach this in school, so many may not know their rights as well as they should.

So taking this a step further, the next would-be hero-cum-felon might then say, “Well, I saw how police praised the other guy, so I wanted to do the same thing.” This then opens police up to a civil suit, arguing that the police encouraged such behavior.

The 1st Amendment
The Bill of Rights

It is upsetting we have allowed our country to become so overly litigious to the point where we’re afraid to speak honestly in such a way, but alas, tort reform is a subject for another post.

However, the other motive for these officer’s comments I most lean toward is the complete lack of hubris they often possess which leads them to believe that because they have went to a police academy and/or have former military experience, only they are qualified to use force to save a life.

I have regrettably never served in our military, nor have I went to any police academy. But I’ve been to the shooting range often, and I know my weapon’s operation well enough for defense purposes in the event use of deadly force were justifiable in a given situation.

More importantly though, I was raised with a set of morals that prohibits me from standing by and letting someone die when I’m capable of saving their life.

One good punch could mean the difference between life and death in a situation like this. I’m not about to roll the dice on an innocent life by calling 911 and hoping the police arrive in time when my partners Smith & Wesson can assist me in putting this business to rest now.911[1][1]

Government often wants us to subjugate ourselves to the men in blue. If I’m committing a crime and get caught in the act, I would agree—you’re busted, take your lumps. But to all the police officers out there who feel I should always comply with them, even when I’m in the right, I want to make a couple quick points.

  • You serve me, not the other way around. I also pay your salary. We citizens entrust you to enforce laws we voted to enact. It has never been our duty to comply with you, it is your duty to serve and protect us, and your responsibility to know the law and operate within it. If you don’t understand and appreciate all of that—you are essentially violating the oath you took when you signed up to be police officer; so resign now.
  • If it were your wife who had been getting beaten half to death, would you still have wanted this man to wait? Or would you have preferred him to intervene as soon as possible? I think we know the answer to this, so don’t be a hypocrite.
  • We have a guaranteed right to bear arms in this country. One of the reasons is because our forefathers wanted us to be free to defend ourselves. If you don’t like an armed citizenry, you can either attempt to get the votes to amend the Constitution, or you can expatriate. Otherwise, accept that you serve in a support role. So long as we have our Constitution, the power lies with “We The People,” not “You the police.” It is not our duty to comply with you. If you are in the wrong, we should not comply. If you attempt to get us to comply with force, you can rightfully be killed in self-defense.

At this time, the hero in question is unnamed, but his actions are highly commendable in my opinion—I’d gladly buy him the drink of his choice. Since this is an opinion website, unlike many police officers I suspect might actually agree with me, I don’t mind saying that I think we should be doing more of this, not less.

Every American citizen, at least the non-criminal ones anyway, should exercise their right to arm themselves. And more importantly, every state in the union should have the same laws on how and what you can defend.blog3

So while I am thankful for the 2nd amendment, I would welcome an addendum to it that reads something like:

The right for the people to defend themselves, innocent others, their property, and their position in space, shall not be infringed.

I feel this language is consistent with the Constitution’s paradigm of being a restriction on government, but I think it would further solidify one of the inherent intents of our Constitution’s second amendment, by taking away the ability of colorful language often used to subvert the 2nd amendment currently.

While there’s no doubt, self-defense wasn’t the only reason we have that enumerated right, and thus why it wasn’t specifically written in to the second amendment, the need for it was certainly understood and part of the equation. So I see no harm in specifically broadening that right. No matter where you are in America, when your life, property, space, or the life of an innocent other is threatened, you should not be wishing your lawyer was present to advise you before acting to save someone, your firearm and general understanding of the law should be all that is needed.

 

 

 

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The Myth of the word “Militia” in the 2nd Amendment

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

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. ~ 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution.

Nothing seems to evoke more passion from either side of the political aisle than America’s illustrious 2nd amendment. People on my side of the fence often cite the “shall not be infringed part,” but those who wish to limit or eliminate the citizenry’s right to carry arms often cite the “a well-regulated militia” part. Their argument being that the framers meant for Americans to be able to form militias (think local governments) to protect the people, and those militias would need to be armed.

The 1st Amendment
The 1st Amendment

Their argument seems pretty sound on the face of it. Makes sense, right? Not so fast.

If we apply some critical thinking, it is patently out of character with the rest of the bill of rights.

The Constitution was drafted, not as a set of laws for the people to abide by, but instead it is limits set on government as to how they may rule over the people.

“We the people” grant government the right to infringe on our freedoms in order to serve the greater good of our nation. But fearing that such a government could become as oppressive as our recently defeated European overlords of the time, they drafted the Constitution to protect us from future similar oppression.

For instance, our first amendment states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…” versus something like “You are free to practice any religion of your choosing.”

This pattern is consistent in the entirety of the Bill Of Rights, and while most see both those phrases as essentially the same, there’s an incredibly important distinction. As the Constitution is written, the people have the power and are imposing a limit on the government’s ability to limit their religious freedom (The first phrase, as the constitution is written). In the second theoretical example, it implies government has the power and is granting religious rights to the people.

So with that in mind, let’s revisit the meaning behind the word “militia” in the second amendment. If we assume the term “militia” refers to the military and police, which are government entities after all; those who wish to limit our gun rights believe our forefathers wrote an amendment that says that government cannot infringe on government’s rights to bear arms. This is not only inconsistent to the rest of the Bill of Rights, but its redundancy is nonsensical. If government cannot infringe on government’s rights to carry guns, then there would be no reason to even mention it in the first place.No_gun[1]

So why do gun control advocates believe this is what the 2nd amendment implies? It’s a simple case of confirmation bias—a phenomenon whereby someone attempting to prove something they hope to be true/false, eschew interpretations that conflict with their bias and/or accept suspect data that supports their bias, due to an inner desire to substantiate their argument.

We are all prone to do this, and with the exception of devout skeptics like myself, we’ll rarely even know we’re doing it, nor act to correct it.

For instance, imagine a detective investigates the murder of a married woman. We all have heard that when someone who is married is murdered, the most common culprit is the spouse. So if the detective, after interviewing the spouse, gets a bad vibe from him, may ignore exculpatory evidence; only accepting info that could insinuate he’s guilty. As you can imagine, this leads to belief in things that often aren’t true.

In Dale Carnegie’s Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People, #5 is “Seek first to understand, then be understood.” It is easy to assume gun control advocates are simply people who hate guns and want to take them away from those of us who don’t.

While this is occasionally true, some people are being quite reasonable, they just have different values or beliefs, and don’t understand our views. Opinions don’t have right or wrong answers, so we shouldn’t paint them in the light of “wrong,” just different than us.

Others may me be like former US representative Gabby Giffords who was brutally shot in 2011 by a crazed killer on an unhinged political shooting spree, or former Reagan White House Press Secretary James Brady who was shot in a failed presidential assassination attempt. Their lives were forever changed because of gun violence, so it’s quite reasonable to assume they would advocate limiting our right to bear arms. And when people have been forever affected by senseless gun violence, it behooves all of us to respect their trepidation in respect to lax gun laws. We haven’t walked a mile in their shoes.

James Brady & The Reagan Assassination Attempt
James Brady & The Reagan Assassination Attempt

So what did the framers actually mean when they wrote in the “militia” clause? Why is it even there, if it doesn’t mean what those people think it means?

You’ve no doubt heard many people argue that the 2nd amendment was written so the people could be armed to stand up to an oppressive government, and probably assumed this was just conjecture by gun-rights advocates, or based on quotes from the framers at the time.

But it’s also the real purpose behind the “militia” clause.

What they actually meant was that the government will always be a threat to become bloated and oppressive. And while a government can pass a million laws, those laws have no teeth if there is no militia to enforce them. So in order to keep that government and its enforcement wing (the militia) well-regulated, the people should be armed as well. This way, the government (and militia) always have some level of fear from the people, to balance the people’s fear of the militia. In other words, they meant for the PEOPLE to keep the MILITIA well-regulated, not for a well-regulated militia to have arms. A militia, by definition, is already armed.

So apologies to those who wish to limit our rights to bear arms, and believe the “militia” clause supports your argument. If you want to argue against gun rights, using the “militia” argument, it just isn’t consistent with the rest of the Constitution, and you’re unfortunately misinterpreting the clause.

Libertarians: What they say about us; what we are.

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

As someone who identifies with the Libertarian Party, the Republican Party, the Tea Party, and libertarianism in general, unless you identify with those groups along with me, you would probably have some stereotypical notions about who I am.

Libertarian Party Logo
Libertarian Party Logo

Stereotypes, whether they be about someone’s race, religion, sex, or political affiliation are the work of fools. You are engaging in bigotry and ignorant behavior, and you should stop.

With that in mind, I’d like to cover some stereotypes about people like me, and answer them individually. Bear in mind though, that to each person, libertarianism can have a different meaning, and some people are more “hard-core” about it than others. So these are only my views about these stereotypes, other libertarians may differ:

  • Conservatives only care about rich people.

Truth is, we care about liberty for ALL people. Unlike many statist-minded folks, we consider the wealthy among us to be people too. In our opinion, if you feel it’s wrong to steal from someone who is poor, you shouldn’t champion stealing from someone who is rich either.

Conservatives favor tax cuts for the rich AND the poor, despite the notion Democrats attempt to push that we want tax cuts for the rich at the expense of the poor. I’m not aware of any conservative legislation proposed to raise taxes on the poor while lowering them on the rich.

  • Libertarians are anarchists

A libertarian can and occasionally is an anarchist, but usually not in the sense people think of. Anarchy is simply the idea that people can manage themselves without government. It is not the idea that people should just kill, maim, steal, and otherwise violate the rights of others without consequence.

That being said, I generally believe many libertarians are like myself, and are what I’d call “Constitutional Libertarians” who believe in a Republic where the government exists to protect rights to life, liberty, and property by enforcing contracts and prosecuting those who are a danger to society, even if those rights deemed unalienable are against the wishes of the majority.

  • Libertarians just want to legalize drugs because they smoke weed themselves

We want to legalize drugs because we believe in the idea of “no victim, no crime.” I’m a staunch supporter of legalizing drugs, yet I’ve never used them unless prescribed by a doctor, and I’ve never been prescribed weed, for the record. Which brings me to another important point.Don't Tread On Me

Libertarians aren’t generally hypocrites. Even though I think recreational drugs are a really bad idea and would never encourage someone to use them, nor have any interest in them myself, I don’t just champion liberty for me, I champion liberty for people who believe differently than I. This sentiment of liberty for all is often lost on traditional Democrats and Republicans.

  • Libertarians are isolationists

Libertarians generally want our country to work out free trade agreements with others. We understand that the best way to keep a positive relationship with other nations, and grow our economy, is to sell things that are of less value to us, to nations who need it more, and for them to do the same in return.

For instance, let’s say here in America, we have an abundance of corn, but not enough oil to fill our needs. So we sell off some of our corn to a nation like Iraq who has more oil than it needs, but cannot grow nearly enough corn in their climate. This is a win-win for both nations, and in essence, what good trade is supposed to be like. I believe almost every libertarian wants this.

The problem is, people mistake our desire to let other countries do whatever they want within their own borders without us sticking our nose in their affairs as isolationist. It’s not. It’s called understanding it’s none of our &%$#@ business how they choose to live.

If you’ve ever been working on a complicated problem that you understand only to have a co-worker come up and impose their ideas when they don’t understand the problem as well as you do, you should understand why libertarians feel this to-each-their-own policy is best.

  • Libertarians want to gut the military

If America, or possibly our allies, were attacked, I believe America should and would respond with all the might the U.S. Military has to offer and destroy anything and everything our enemies who dared attack us could use to wage war. I take a very passive-aggressive approach in this respect.

Predator Drone
Predator Drone

Ronald Reagan had a peace-through-strength mentality, and I tend to agree. It did work after all. For all the complaints about him growing of the military, he put troops in harm’s way less than every president who succeeded him, in large part because America was respected and more importantly feared, under his watch.

But all that being said, the military is somewhat famous for wasting money, sometimes on very big things, such as weapons systems to defend against an enemy that doesn’t exist.

Secondly, we have troops in places where they do not need to be, defending countries who are capable of defending themselves. I don’t want to gut the military, but I don’t want them in harm’s way if they don’t absolutely need to be, and I don’t want to build a defense system to protect us from a technology no one has.

  • Libertarians are atheists who just want to advance a pro-gay marriage agenda, legalize abortions, or remove God from schools

Tell that to Rep. Justin Amash (R) from Michigan, he’s an orthodox Christian, and arguably the most libertarian representative in congress. Ron Paul is a Christian too and does not support legal abortions as noted here.

Congressman Justin Amash (R)
Congressman Justin Amash (R)

While I am an atheist and am for removing government from marriage altogether as I outlined here, libertarians generally just believe that religion is something that should be between family and friends, not enforced by government at the point of a gun. It is part of the First Amendment after all, and part of the reason it was first, is likely because even our forefathers understood, free speech, religion, and press were the most important components of a free nation.

Thanks for reading. And I hope that armed with this information, you will do your part to squash the libertarian stereotypes. Liberty is worth fighting for, and as libertarians grow in credibility and start winning on election day, liberty itself can and will be restored to this great nation.

Si vis pacem, para bellum – If you wish for peace, prepare for war

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

Si vis pacem, para bellum – If you wish for peace, prepare for war

One of the traits often associated with libertarians is anti-war. I’ve always found this moniker somewhat odd, as I can’t think of anyone who is pro-war. There are merely those willing to fight for their rights, and those who feel there is always away to settle differences without war—you know—the people who have apparently never heard of Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Emperor Hirohito, et al. If you wish to argue Hussein doesn’t belong on that list, tell that to the people of Kuwait.

I understand that some will consider the 2003 Iraq war the result of a pro-war sentiment, but being the type who doesn’t believe complex conspiracy theories easily, I trust that the Coalition-of-the-willing who decided to re-engage Iraq in 2003 were reacting on what they believed was a real and imminent threat, as well as enforcing U.N. resolution 687, U.N. resolution 1441, etc.

The United Nations
The United Nations

Iraq had violated U.N. resolutions 16 times in total after being driven from Kuwait, which ultimately was the legal basis for going to war as noted here. The threat of WMD’s which turned out to be either Saddam Hussein’s own false bravado, or they were simply moved to Syria as reported by Saddam’s former Air Force general, was perceived to be real by all involved and I will not engage any other wild theories about why we removed Saddam from power.

When people say it was an illegal war and all nations who participated are guilty of war-crimes, I generally assume they are mired in Bush-hatred to the point of being delusional. I’m not necessarily condoning the war, but reasonable people must understand that hindsight is 20/20—had we known he wasn’t the threat he worked so hard to convince us he was, I have little doubt we would have continued to work towards peaceful resolutions with Hussein and focused our military efforts solely on Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

But that being said, if we’re not prepared to back up a surrender agreement and/or U.N. resolutions with military force, what is the point of accepting the agreement or enacting the resolution in the first place? If we’re going to allow someone to violate them 16+ times without repercussion, we are a paper tiger.

So about the size and scope of our military, I wish to make a few points.

  1. I believe it is foolhardy to assume that if we just left the world alone, no one would ever attack us. We tried avoiding war during World War II, but Japan attacked us anyway. We are a resource-rich nation with a lot worth stealing, and these resources and our rights are worth defending. Are we involved in too much? Absolutely. Should we be completely uninvolved? Absolutely not.
  2. If we understand point one, then we must have a system of defense. Every organism  has a defense mechanism, why shouldn’t we? I understand the idea of peace, love, and happiness, and I generally support it. But it’s hard to have peace, love, and happiness with people who want to kill you and/or take your stuff. To deny this, would be akin to arguing that every serial killer was simply misunderstood and likely provoked by their victims.
  3. If we are to have a system of defense, there’s not much point in having it if we refuse there’s ever a reason to use it. There must be a point at which you decide it is the best alternative, and reasonable people are always going to disagree on when that is. But for me, it’s when us or our allies’ are attacked or credibly threatened.
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan

So with all that in mind, I’d like to reiterate something I noted in my earlier post, Great Leaders Make Results, Not Excuses. While Reagan was often criticized for military spending, and was arguably the greatest builder of the U.S. Armed Forces, every successive president has placed our military in harm’s way more than Reagan did. So how is this?

It may seem counter-intuitive that a president hell-bent on maintaining the most powerful military in the world would rarely use them, but as most martial arts practitioners or gun owners already know, being trained to thwart any aggression against you doesn’t make you aggressive, it just makes you prepared.

For the benefit of those not alive during the Reagan era like I was, it’s hard to appreciate the overall feeling of the people at that time. We were in a cold war with Russia, and mutually assured destruction hung over us like a dark cloud that could send shivers down your spine just thinking about it. A real and rational fear of death was everywhere.

Don't Tread On MeBut one thing we understood was that if anyone dared attack us, the sleeping giant that was the United States would demonstrate the “Don’t Tread On Me” flag’s message with deadly consequences. Reagan was as affable as any president in modern history, but there was little doubt he would not hesitate to eliminate any threat against us.

For eight years, no one dared to attack us because of the threat of imminent death that would result. With the exception of Grenada, we were pretty keen to leave them alone too.

Andrei Arlovski
Andrei Arlovski

To illustrate this point, imagine you were walking down the street and ran into MMA fighter Andrei Arlovski, even if you hated the guy, you probably wouldn’t pick a fight with him. We all inherently understand the idea of not attacking someone we have little chance of defeating—it’s an example of our DNA’s self-preservation attribute. It’s for that reason that Peace-Through-Strength is the best chance for the safety of the United States.

So when should we attack? I wasn’t alive during Hitler’s reign, but my father was. One point he made to me was that after Hitler was defeated, the people of the allied nations had a collective belief that we could never let another Hitler be allowed to forcibly take over nations in a bid of world dominance. Hitler became more dangerous with every action we avoided taking against him.

Being the world’s last remaining super-power, on occasion, we may have to step in as we did for Kuwait in 1991 for the same reason. Had we not, Hussein surely would have become the Hitler of the middle east without stopping until someone had the courage to intervene as we did.

The United States is undoubtedly spread far too thin around the world. With the miracles of modern technology, we can cut spending by reducing troop levels yet increasing the capabilities of future weapons systems. But the best way to assure the safety of the United States and its allies, is to assure that we are so powerful, no one would dare mess with us.

I will never condone wasteful spending by any government agency, including the military, nor will I condone putting our military in places where we don’t ultimately need them, but I will never believe that reducing our government should involve reducing our military to a level that makes us vulnerable to defeat from an attack. If you truly want peace, you must prepare for war.