Tag Archives: Gun rights

How To Do Liberty Right: Freedom For Me = Freedom For Thee

Despite those with maybe some rare psychological condition (libertophobia?), we all want to be free. Specifically; I don’t think a single person has something they want to do, that they then want government to prevent them from doing it. So denying others similar freedoms should reasonably be thought of as hypocritical.

While everyone can apply their own nuance to what liberty or freedom means to them, I’d like to politely take the role of arbiter for a moment, and share where I think many go wrong when proposing roles of government. Here are a few instances I’ve come up with. Feel free to add more in the comments below.

You have the right to say whatever you want. You don’t have a right to be heard or to be uninterrupted.

Because I have a decent number of people I enjoy interacting with on social media, I am rather uninterested in disrespectful discourse, since there’s so much respectful discourse I could be having instead.

As a result, many often insinuate when I mute or block those people on Twitter, I’m stifling free speech. Which is a pretty outlandish false premise.

On social media, you might get blocked. In person, people might walk away from you. But, if you want to be heard, and people are exercising the right to take their leave of your message, maybe you need to work on your delivery of said message, or the message itself. But you don’t get to compel them to listen. Nor should you argue that them blocking you is anti-free speech.

Milo Yiannopoulos

Your right to free speech means you can’t be impeded by government for exercising your right to speak. It doesn’t mean that protesters can’t protest Milo Yiannopoulos, employers can’t fire you for saying something inappropriate, or people on social media can’t block you.

You have a right to seek employment, but not a right to be employed.

If you go to seek a job, assuming it’s a private business versus a government job, the business OWNER owns that business, no different from you owning your home stereo for instance.

If no one has a right to dictate to you what music you play on that stereo, you don’t have a right to dictate who they hire, serve, what they pay you, or anything else.

The job market and the consumer markets are intended to be free markets. Either both parties agree to terms on what is to transpire, or one/both of them walk away. But forcing one party to comply with the other’s wishes is a mafia tactic, not something the people should be sanctioning.

Does that mean a bigoted jerk could put a sign out front denying service to gays, blacks, whites, women, Latinos, Asians, et al.? Yes, it does.

Does a private citizen who is offended by that practice have a right to share it on social media, maybe get local news involved, protest this business, etc., until the market decides that this bigoted jerk doesn’t deserve their money, then watches his business fail due to lack of revenue?

Why yes…yes it also does!

You have a right to engage in free speech, you don’t have a right to put someone in harm’s way utilizing speech.

Using the “Fire in a crowded theater” analogy, you can say the word “Fire” in a theater, you can even yell it if the theater were empty, or if the people know you were joking. If there’s actually a fire in the theater, you’ve not only broken no law, you’re potentially a hero.

But if there’s no fire, you have instead put people in danger by creating a stampede that may lead to people falling, getting walked on, and harmed. So it’s not the “Speech” that is being prosecuted, it’s the act of putting others in danger.

Think of it this way. The 2nd amendment guarantees your right to own and fire a gun, but it doesn’t allow you to shoot someone who is no threat to you.

In the same vein, the first amendment guarantees your right to free speech, you can’t use that speech to harm someone either.

You have a right to ask someone for help. You do not have the right to dictate they help you.

If your car breaks down, you don’t have a right to demand a mechanic fix it so you can get to work.

So that should also mean you don’t have a right to demand a teacher educate you because you need a better job, or demand a doctor help you because you’re sick.

Doctors and teachers have the same rights as everyone else. As such, consumers have no right to free services or goods.

Free Education and Free Health Care are nothing more than servitude (if you force them to provide a service) and/or theft (if you force the people to pay for their services). If it’s volunteers and private donations, that’s the only way it is a completely moral exercise.

You have a right to equal protection and service from government, not from the private sector.

Waiting in Emergency department

If you’re LGBTQ, you have a right to dictate that the government acknowledge your marriage, and under our current system, to have a judge (a government employee), perform the ceremony. You’ve paid taxes into that system, and the government cannot discriminate. If the government employee doesn’t like it, they should have joined the private sector.

But you do not have a right to ask a private pastor to do the ceremony, nor do you have a right to dictate a baker bake you a cake. Why? Because they have the same rights you do.

Summary

People often think those who champion freedom are being selfish, and it is certainly true for some. But the people who are truly libertarian in their beliefs are also not hypocrites. They believe others should have the same rights and don’t have to agree with someone to support the rights of another.

  • A teetotaler can support the rights of alcohol drinkers
  • A monogamist can support the rights of a sex worker
  • An atheist can support the rights of churches, synagogues, etc.
  • A non-gun owner can support the 2nd amendment
  • A heterosexual can support gay marriage
  • Someone does not like abortion can support a woman’s right to choose
  • A clean person can support another’s right to use recreational drugs
  • A helmet-wearing motorcycle rider can support another person’s right to not wear a helmet

I can go on forever about what it means to do liberty right. Hypocrisy is never considered a good trait to have. So hopefully, after reading this, you can find an area where you’ve had the opinion that government should restrict someone’s rights and are now second guessing that thought. Liberty for me, must come with liberty for thee.

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Exploring the Hyperbole, Myths, and Inaccuracies of Gun Legislation Politics and Discourse

Gun laws are a pretty sensitive subject in America, regardless of which side of the issue you’re on. But it shouldn’t be.

Indeed they are our constitutional right, and I support that right whole-heartedly. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be fair, and debate respectfully on the subject with those who may hold a different view. After this last election, I hope we can all agree civility in political discourse has a lot of room for improvement.

People who argue with logic and reason, are far more likely to encourage more to side with them than people who insult, lie, yell, and behave anything but adult-like.

So with that being said, let’s break down a few of the common myths often bandied about regarding guns.

MYTH #1: They’re trying to take our guns

Any time Democrats propose new gun legislation, Republicans immediately go on the defensive and rile up the base by insinuating their opponents are trying to entirely disarm the populace.

Armalite AR-15
Armalite AR-15 Semi-Automatic Rifle

But the base is already on their side, there’s no need to get them riled up. Not to mention, it’s entirely dishonest, and most who do it already know that.

Not a single law was proposed in recent history to remove all guns from private citizens, nor did anyone propose repealing the second amendment. If you feel the need to lie about your opponent’s argument to defeat them, think about what that says about you. It says you’re incapable of winning your argument on its merits. When you do this, you’ve already lost the moral and logical high-ground.

The effort should be focused not on the straw man argument that “they’re trying to take our guns,” but instead on the specific regulation being proposed.

A large majority of Americans have a pretty shallow opinion of Congress. In April 2016, this Gallup poll shows that only 17% thought they were doing a good job, 79% however thought they were doing anything but.

President Barack Obama delivers a health care address to a joint session of Congress at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., Sept. 9, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
President Barack Obama delivers a health care address to a joint session of Congress at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., Sept. 9, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

This less than favorable opinion is often due to the constant infighting between the two parties, that is largely full of myths, hyperbole, misdirection, and occasionally bold-faced lies. Neither come off looking like professionals, or even reasonable people.

So the party that strives to be amenable to finding common ground, and deemed as the most civil and honest will win this fight.

The Republicans owned Congress at the time, so a 17% approval rating should be a clear message they’re missing their mark.

Most Democrat-proposed ideas are around more stringent background checks, or limiting certain types of weapons, the latter of which, I think is misguided, but I’ll save that for another time.

Both parties agree that guns shouldn’t be in the hands of violent felons, or those with a diagnosed mental disorder.Firearm sale

But the problem for Republicans often arrives when Democrats propose what might be reasonable background checks, the bill is only one page of such reasonable checks Republicans might be open to agreeing to, but then a myriad of other pages of pork-like special favors for their district or other provisions that have nothing to do with the issue at hand.

Republicans are just as guilty of doing the same on other issues, so no one party is innocent of this. But if both just stuck to passing simple single-item bills on the issues where they agree, they’d be far more effective and win over the American people.

The best tactic for Republicans would be to first loudly proclaim that they’re willing to look at effective background check legislation and pass the background check attributes both agree on. Propose counter legislation that includes those, and only those, and let the Democrats justify why they won’t vote for it.

Show that you’re willing to find common ground publicly, and emphatically, leaving the Democrats looking like the only ones not willing to work towards progress. If Democrats argue, “these provisions don’t go far enough,” Republicans can simply put it back on them by saying, “This is what we already agree on. So let’s pass this first, and if it doesn’t help, we can discuss further measures later.”

Myth #2: The Gun Show Exemption for Background Checks

Democrats often cite the gun show exemption to background checks as a big problem, and frankly, they’re partly right, even if they’re disingenuous in their presentation of the issue.

The fact is that gun dealers at gun shows do in-fact do background checks. However, if you’re a private person who has a .22 caliber pistol for instance, and you’d like to upgrade to a 9mm pistol, you can take it to the show with you, and if some other private person like you who’s there (not a dealer or vendor) has a 9mm but wants a .22, then you can legally make a private citizen trade. This is just like you would do if your neighbor decided they wanted to sell or trade with you, it just happens on the premises of a gun show.Gun Show

Instead of just shooting down every idea Democrats have, Republicans could admit that maybe there are things that could be done, that aren’t an undue burden on law abiding citizens, to help clean up this “loophole.”

It could be something as simple as having people fill out a background check upon entering the show, if they’re considering buying or trading, and let them shop to their heart’s content from there. If they don’t pass the test, there’s really no reason for them to enter the premises of a gun show in the first place.

While I’m not saying that’s the answer, things like that can certainly be deemed a reasonable measure to prevent guns getting into the wrong hands, and are at least worth discussing in earnest.

Myth #3: Guns are the biggest problem

This well put together bit of data, and rather insightful graphic from the math geniuses at 538 points out that there are approximately 33,000 gun deaths in America each year, and this number is often used to denounce guns in general. But let’s put that in perspective as well as break those numbers down.

As this image from the CDC document found here shows, in 2014, there were 2,626,418 deaths in the United States that year, making 33,000 just above 1.2% of the reasons for death attributable to guns.CDC Cause of Death info from 2014

By comparison, more than double died from diabetes, nearly three times as many from Alzheimer’s (which took my father last month), and nearly twenty times more died from heart disease.

As the 538 article also shows, nearly two-thirds of those gun deaths were suicides, and a small percentage were self defense, or police shootings of criminal suspects.

While I think we all agree suicides are tragic, as a libertarian, I believe that you own your own body, and have the right to end it whenever you like.

My own grandfather was quite ill when he shot himself, and having already lost my grandmother years earlier, he didn’t want to burn through what little he had saved for his kids by chasing a terminal disease. While you may not agree with it, that was his choice and you should respect it.

But no matter what side of suicide you are on, it cannot be fairly called an act of violence, nor the fault of a gun. So those acts should not be considered when discussing gun violence, and I think those with an anti-gun position should be fair when presenting such arguments, no not cite 33,000 number, but instead, the 10,000 or so that were potential murders or manslaughter, versus suicides and justifiable homicides.

All that being said, 10,000 wrongful deaths is still a large number of people, and is incredibly tragic. It is a small percentage, but certainly statistically significant, and Democrats have fair cause to want to do something to lessen that number. Even if we disagree on their proposed methodology, their altruistic intentions should be evident and respected.

Conclusion

These are three of many arguments from both sides that are the first that came to mind to me. But I’m sure you can think of many more.

The bottom line is that Democrats should know most Republicans don’t want to put guns in the hands of bad people. They just don’t want law-abiding citizens to have their rights violated and disagree on how to go about preventing it.

Republicans should know that most Democrats don’t want to disarm America, they want to prevent wrongful deaths, and they think less guns will achieve said goal.

Until both parties in congress, and the party-faithful voters who make their voices heard on social media learn to understand, then be understood, these immature and dishonest tactics will continue to ensure that America doesn’t advance in any meaningful and constructive way.

We’re all smart enough to know better, it’s time we acted like it.

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.

 

 

 

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.

A Good Police Officer Is A Humble Police Officer

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

I have a great respect for police officers. Like soldiers, they selflessly put their lives on the line for my safety. But a good police officer is a humble one. They understand that they are not above the law—they are there to serve and protect the citizenry. When a humble and respectable person is wrong, they admit it. More importantly, when they’re wrong, and a 12-year-old kid asks for their badge number, they give it up and show dignity and honor for the job they are charged with. This Las Vegas police officer however, has traded such dignity and honor for a sense of entitlement and a god-complex.US_Park_Police_badge[1]

He did something illegal by parking his motorcycle where a motorcycle shouldn’t be parked unless he had been chasing someone, or doing other official police business that required an emergency parking job. As it turns out, he was getting food/drink and he got called out on his illegal parking by young Jeremy Drew, a kid with a pretty good sense of justice.

If this officer had a shred of dignity, he would have looked at Jeremy and said something like, “You know, you’re right. My sincerest apologies. I was wrong to park here. Here’s my badge number, and if you feel a duty to report me, then by all means, you should do so.” Would the officer had been so kind had I parked my motorcycle there while I got lunch?

Las Vegas PD Officer In Question
Las Vegas PD Officer In Question

Then that officer should seriously reflect on why he became a cop in the first place, and whether he’s serious about defending the Constitution and local laws—therefore not violating them himself. He then should either resign if he doesn’t have the honor to do the job properly anymore, or change his way of thinking and behaving if he does.

Many police get upset when we citizens show little respect for them. To those officers I say this: don’t do actions that are disrespectful, hypocritical, arrogant, or plain illegal, and you won’t usually get disrespected. The corrupt among you, the indifferent among you, and the good officers who do nothing about the bad ones, serve as the main reason respect for the badge is waning.

We all know bad cops are bad, but that’s simply not the whole issue. I understand the idea of the police “brotherhood,” but if one of your fellow officer’s is out of line and you accept it, allow it, and/or condone it, you’re indifference might as well be an endorsement. If it is a crime for a person watching a murder to do nothing (depraved indifference), then you as police officers should also do something to stop your fellow officers when they do wrong as well.

The honor for the badge should be far more important than the honor for the random person behind it. If they don’t respond apologetically and remorsefully—showing clear signs such behavior will cease, then maybe a discussion with superiors or internal affairs is in order.

While most police officers are good, the ones that are doing illegal and/or inexcusable acts are rarely dealt with when their offense is only a misdemeanor like above, and this tolerance of bad behavior is exactly why America has shifted from a country that heralded Andy Griffith to a country that embraces the “F*** the police” mantra so prevalent in pop culture these days.

In another instance, on May 26th, 2012, a Portland Maine law student who remained unnamed by choice, was carrying a sidearm, as is his Constitutional right. A resident with what appears to be little understanding of the rights to carry a sidearm, decided to call the police and report the innocent open-carrier. Officers were dispatched to the scene. See the story here:

Again, an officer was in the wrong, and reacted incorrectly once confronted by a citizen who was in the right. Here’s what should have transpired but didn’t.

  • An officer should have never been dispatched. The person who called the police should have been advised by the dispatcher that carrying a weapon is a legal act and that they cannot dispatch an officer unless it appears there is an illegal act happening.
  • The officer merely did his duty in responding, but he was incorrect in his interpretation of the law. I can forgive an officer for not being in command of the laws like a lawyer—a law degree takes a lot longer to attain than your typical police academy certification. But if someone is telling you the law, and they seem to know what they’re talking about, especially when you don’t, then stop acting like you do. The law student was right, which means the officer was either purposefully being incorrect, or just wasn’t certain and thought he knew the law. Either way, arguing with someone when you don’t know you’re right is pure arrogance. What would have been so hard about saying, “You may be correct, let me check with my superior” or “You’re right sir, my mistake” once corrected by the law student.

There are a litany of videos of police officers abusing their power, these are merely two. The military and police are somewhat similar, yet where the military is revered for its respect and honor, the police are too often not. The one glaring difference between the two is labor unions—soldiers aren’t unionized. When union entitlement mentalities take over a workforce, the workers rarely fear for losing their job. Someone with little fear of getting fired, isn’t so compelled to do the right thing—in government, this is a recipe for abuse.

When legislators, police, and other government employees violate the law, the penalties imposed are usually far less severe than what John Q Public might endure if he committed the same offense. This is fundamentally wrong in a country where “We the people” give power to the government.

Instead, government officials should be penalized more severely. I didn’t take an oath to defend the Constitution, but they did—they know better. If we can’t trust them, who can we trust? And if we can’t trust them, “We the people” who actually have the power according to our Constitution, might as well get rid of them. Would you hire an employee if you thought they would steal from you?

Barney Fife and Andy Griffith from The Andy Griffith Show
Barney Fife and Andy Griffith from The Andy Griffith Show

We voters must vote to rid our government of organized labor so that we can better hold the rule-breakers accountable. But police must start to care about the honor of their profession and police themselves as stringently is they police us. Doing so will yield top quality public servants. Until then, we get the Barney Fifes and/or Joseph Miedzianowskis instead of the Andy Griffiths and Elliot Nesses. We deserve better.

More guns equals more crime? If You Don’t Have The Science, Bite Your Tongue

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

 

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Bob Costas

A recent study in Virginia suggests that an increase in gun sales may result in lower crime rates, not more. How could this be? Bob Costas and others insist it’s the other way around. So who should I trust? Science or a sportscaster?

Of course I’m being facetious, and no doubt Costas means well—but Bob is severely lacking in his scientific acumen on the subject. Instead of speaking from a skeptical point of view, he decided to bloviate from the heart and off the cuff.

I don’t want to begrudge anyone’s opinion of not wanting guns around; it’s a personal choice. But what I have a problem with is people making false or ignorant claims on national TV as if they’re an authority (which he is not), proposing to take away a freedom I enjoy because they don’t enjoy it, exploiting a tragedy to push a political agenda, and quite frankly, advancing that agenda during a venue where it’s inappropriate.

Being a gun owner who loves the stress-relief target shooting can often bring, I was quite annoyed. Had I been NBC’s CEO, Bob would have been shown the door. It was irresponsible and unprofessional to say the least. I’m not calling for him to be fired, that’s for NBC to decide; but I would like to think Bob should have known better and NBC would expect and demand better from its talent.

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Javon Belcher

So let’s start to think logically about what Bob said. He insinuated that but not for the purchase of a hand gun, that Javon Belcher and his wife would be alive today. In theory, Bob is saying that this couple was otherwise happy and harbored no ill will towards each other. But then Belcher bought a gun, and for reasons solely motivated by Belcher owning that gun, he committed murder, then suicide.

Does that seem as ridiculous to you as it does to me? I hope so, because it is. What evidence does Costas have to demonstrate that if Belcher didn’t have a gun, he would not have used a knife? What would have prevented him from bludgeoning her to death with any other random household item?

They had marital issues coupled with what appears to be mental issues with Belcher. He had spent the evening with another woman the night before, after all, yet seemed to have a problem with his wife going out to a concert without him. Then of course he settled the argument by murdering her, then himself. Perfectly stable minds don’t do that. So let’s lay the blame where it belongs, a decline in someone’s state of mind.

The fact is Bob Costas had an opportunity to offer condolences to a grieving family, which to some extent he did. But then he ruined that moment by advancing an agenda and exploiting a tragedy.

Let me give you an example that might explain why this is so irksome. Imagine a wife losing a husband to heart failure. Let’s assume that he wasn’t exactly a health and fitness nut, but instead he just enjoyed life the best he knew how, ate what he wanted, did what he wanted, and lived with the consequences. Then imagine someone coming up to his wife and said, “I’m very sorry for your loss. But you know, if your husband had eaten better and exercised more, he’d still be alive.”

I’d be furious, and I’m sure any one of  you would be equally upset as well. That’s in essence what Bob did. When a tragedy occurs, you just offer condolences, not advice, and you definitely don’t proselytize.

But back to guns. blog3I own guns for two reasons. While I do not hunt, I do love target shooting. But more importantly, if someone enters my house with ill intent, I’m not calling 911 to help me, I’m calling 911 to come pick up the body. Maybe they were there just to steal my TV, but I’m not interested in risking my life by blowing my cover and asking their intent—they’re simply going down.  That’s why we have things like the Castle Doctrine and Stand-Your-Ground legislation. If we are to be a free nation, we can never be expected to cede our life, liberty, and property to anyone who wishes to take it unlawfully.

If we are serious about reducing crime, we need to discuss the reduction of laws that incite violent crime. Here’s a hint: every law that the vice squad enforces is part and parcel for most violent crime. Get rid of those laws, and much like the repeal of prohibition, violent crime goes down. It should come as no surprise that people get violent when you take away their freedom.

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Dr. Michael Shermer

Believe it or not however, as Dr. Michael Shermer suggests, studies show that as mankind evolves, violence continues to decrease all around the world anyway. So while the news leads you to believe things are getting worse, studies show they just aren’t. I believe that this decrease in violence is proportionate to the continued downfalls around the world of tyrannies, theocracies, and any other form of government that doesn’t have freedom at its core.

Let me ask you a theoretical question. You are feeling kind of frisky and you decide you want to pick a fight with someone, so you pick any random guy standing around. Now imagine that guy had a holster with a gun in it, are you feeling just as frisky now? Assuming you’re not suicidal, I imagine not. Therefore, we know that guns often thwart violence, because people rarely mess with someone carrying one—even if they carry one themselves. It’s just the theory of mutually assured destruction on a smaller scale.

The fact is, we will never have all the facts because there are no studies to show all of the crimes that didn’t happen because a would-be-attacker got spooked by the would-be-victim being armed.

Our forefathers were immensely thoughtful when writing the Constitution and there is nothing there by accident. The right to bear arms was very important to them because while “We the people” hire police to protect us, that doesn’t mean that we assign them the authority to be the only ones who can protect us. Our own protection starts with us.US Constitution

So forgive me Mr. Costas, but if you’re not going to think your statements through, do the scientific study, or at least research other science; you might want to learn to bite your tongue before you voice support for infringing upon our Constitutional rights. A majority of us don’t appreciate it.