Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Monday, October 31, 2005

Wait a Minute... Nobody Told ME that had Left the Field!

I just popped over to to see what they had to say about Sam Alito's nomination, and found this:

This site was last updated May 27, 2005. Although Join Together's gun violence project has ended, we encourage those interested in the issue to visit the action center and national directory to locate national, state and local organizations working on this important issue. Former subscribers to Join Together's email news service on gun violence prevention may be interested in similar services from the Freedom States Alliance.

Michael Barnes is leaving the Brady Campaign because of continuous legal setbacks, the Million Moms are losing chapters for lack of interest, Jointogether has ended its "gun violence project," next thing you know, the Violence Policy Center will be shutting its doors!

(Well, one can hope.)

I can't help but wonder if Jointogether's decision to end its gun violence project had any relation to these two stories on their archived page,

Nonprofits Cry Foul Over Government Scrutiny


IRS Reports Widespread Tax Abuse among Nonprofits

Y'think? I do have to wonder if the VPC has anything to fear from an audit...

Judge Alito Receives the Brady Campaign Seal-of-Approval!.

If he puts their panties in a twist, he's all right by me:

Washington, D.C. - How could it have gone in any other direction, from a White House that just gave blanket immunity to the gun industry, which refuses to bar terrorists from buying guns, that broke a campaign promise and put Uzis and AK-47s back on America’s city streets, and insisted that records of gun purchases be destroyed before the sun sets on them twice?
Dammnit! I keep checking my city streets and I NEVER FIND THE UZIS or AKs. Not one! Promises, promises.
It had to be a Supreme Court pick that favors legal machine guns.
And Hallelujah for that!!
In 1996, Judge Samuel Alito was the sole judge who dissented from his Third Circuit Court of Appeals colleagues when they upheld the authority of Congress to ban fully automatic machine guns.
Er, no. Ban the sale of new ones to the general public. Ownership of the currently possesed roughly quarter-million full-auto weapons currently in private hands is still legal. I know people who own some of them.
“Earth to Sammy - who needs legal machine guns?” asked Jim Brady, chair of the Brady Campaign. “The Chicago mobsters of the 1930s would be giddy. But the man I worked for, who gave us Sandra Day O’Connor and signed the 1986 machine gun ban, would be shaking his head.”

“Judge Alito’s ludicrous machine gun decision is bad enough. But it also indicates that a Justice Ilito[sic] would attempt to prevent Congress from passing other laws to protect Americans from gun violence,” said Michael D. Barnes, President of the Brady Campaign. (Outgoing president of the Brady Campaign. I love saying that. Don't let the door hit you, Mike! - Ed.) “If Judge Alito had his way, the federal machine gun ban would have been struck down as unconstitutional, and the private possession of these weapons would have become legal."
I've got news for you, Mike, it still is.
# # #

As the nation's largest (But shrinking), non-partisan (but almost wholly Democrat), grassroots organization leading the fight to prevent gun violence (by eliminating lawful gun ownership), the Brady Campaign, working with its dedicated (but diminishing) network of Million Mom March Chapters, is devoted to creating an America free from gun violence (by making it free of guns, and that has worked so well everywhere it's been tried, hasn't it?), where all Americans are safe at home, at school, at work, and in our communities.
And only the government has guns. A mistake a free people get to make only once.

UPDATE, 11/3: The Violence Policy Center ratchets up the rhetoric with a five page PDF format press release.

Sunday, October 30, 2005


I found out through this post at Cryptic Subterranean that Sgt. Walter Gaya - of the Gun Guy's Walter and Adam fund, is having some problems with the Dept. of Immigration (or whatever the hell it's called now.) Jay Mac links to this ABC News piece that reports:
The Argentina-born immigrant, who moved to the United States as a child, was injured just eight days before he was to be sworn in as a U.S. citizen in a ceremony in Iraq.

Now, he's in a bureaucratic black hole: Federal immigration officials wouldn't renew his permanent resident card or tell him when he could reschedule the swearing-in ceremony. No one at the local U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office could tell him what to do next to get his citizenship papers, or even how to renew his immigration documents.
Freelance reporter Michael Yon mentioned Gaya in one of his dispatches about the group of soldiers sworn in at the ceremony Gaya missed. Yon was embedded with the Deuce-Four, Gaya's unit, when Gaya was wounded by an IED. His friend Adam Plumondore, the other member of the Gun Guy's fund, was killed by an IED in February.


Six months after 9/11, Immigration informed a flight school that two of the hijackers, Mohammed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi had been approved for student visas, and Walter Gaya - a serving non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Army can't get sworn in as a citizen?

Someone's head should roll. SondraK has taken up the drumbeat. Write your Congressweasles. Post this information far and wide. Get pissed off. Outrage seems to be the only thing that gets anybody's attention any more.

UPDATE: Add Thus Spracht ME and Stop the ACLU to the list.

UPDATE 10/31: David Codrea links to Cryptic Subterranian's piece with Thank You for Your Service, Now Get Out. Harsh, but not excessive.

UPDATE 11/1: SondraK relays this Michael Yon report - "I spoke with Walt today, and the citizenship matter is under control. I will speak with him tomorrow and ask him about his camera. I can tell you now that he will be very heartened to hear that so many people actually care so much."


Saturday, October 29, 2005

Department of Our Collapsinged Schools, Michigan Division.

From the website:
The United States Constitution as a Living Document

This unit builds the constitutional foundation for the study of nineteenth century American history. Students examine the structure and functioning of the United States government under the Constitution through the principles of checks and balances, separation of powers, federalism, limited government, and popular sovereignty. In exploring what life would be like without government, students learn about the purposes of government, the social contract theory of government, and the meaning of a constitutional form of government. They examine primary and secondary sources to understand the problems faced by the new nation under the Articles of Confederation. After constructing and debating possible changes to the Articles of Confederation, students simulate a constitutional convention to work out the various compromises achieved by the framers. They then investigate each branch of government with particular focus on the powers, limits, structure, and function of each using both current and historical examples. Through an interpretation of its text as well as historical events and court cases students analyze how the Constitution fulfills the purposes for which it was created. In examining the protections afforded by the Bill of Rights and the purposes for its inclusion in the Constitution, students explore its place in their daily lives. They explore situations in which the principles of the rule of law and limited government operate to protect individual rights and serve the common good. The unit culminates with a discussion of why the Constitution is considered a "living document."
AAAARRRRGGHHH!!! This from the "sample core curriculum for Michigan schools."

Considered by whom??? What about those of us who DON'T consider it to be a "living document"? I guess all that twaddle about "diversity of opinions" and "tolerance for the beliefs of others" is just that - twaddle? Nope, let's continue the brainwashing of young skulls full of mush, and if they show any signs of a personality, then dope them with Ritalin or some other mood-altering chemical.

Long - very long post coming, I think.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Meirs Who? Kozinski for SCOTUS

Via the Geek with a .45 I found this article from the December '95/January '96 issue of the late, unlamented political magazine George on my favorite Appeals Court judge, Alex Kozinski - he who wrote the most eloquent dissent to the Silveira v. Lockyer decision not to re-hear en banc. (Warning, it's a PDF file of scanned pages, and it's SLOW to load.) Here are some highlights from the piece (with my commentary.)
After graduating first in his law school class in 1975, Kozinski clerked at the U.S. Court of Appeals and then for Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger. He was made chief judge of the U.S. Claims Court at age 32 and a Ninth Circuit Federal appeals judge at 35, which made him the youngest person appointed to the federal bench in this century. During the Reagan-Bush years, it was an open secret that Kozinski was being groomed for the Supreme Court - an appointment many think will occur if a Republican wins the White House next November.
Unfortunately, that didn't happen, but now is the perfect time to nominate him for O'Connor's seat.
Unlike recent Supreme Court nominees, Kozinski doesn't hesitate to trumpet his judicial agenda: "I want to change the face of American jurisprudence," he has declared.
Which is why, I beleive neither he nor Janice Rogers Brown will be offered the seat. Bush wants to avoid conflict at home.

But it's time and past time for that conflict, IMHO. It's time to drag out the Left and make them expose themselves completely to the general public.

Note these comments:
The conservative judge Richard Posner calls him "one of the best and smartest judges in the country," and Harvard constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe considers him "on of the few genuinely interesting minds in the Federal Judiciary."
Note the author while he pointed out Posner's political leanings, he didn't mention that Lawrence Tribe is (accurately) a self-described liberal - one, I will note, who seems remarkably intellectually honest.
Clint Bolick, the litigation director for the Institute of Justice... says if he were "advising a president on the Supreme Court, Alex would be on the top of my list."


"Alex is one of the true conservative libertarians in public life today," says Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz.
Dershowitz is an ├╝berliberal - also un-noted.
"He shakes his finger at fellow conservatives and tells them to scrutinize government at all levels, not just where it helps their wallets."
Regardless of this praise, I imagine few on the Left would be pleased with him. For example:
"Kozinski gets away with a lot because he is so funny and charming," says Nan Aron, president of the liberal Alliance for Justice.
Given the two earlier examples, if the author concluded that noting the Alliance for Justice is "liberal" was required, it must be damned near Stalinist. Continuing:
"But he is also very dangerous, especially with regard to the rights of immigrants, workers, and the poor. Property rights always trump human rights for him."
Someone should inform Ms. Aron that property rights are human rights - the human right to acquire and keep property. That's how the poor stop being poor.
Fellow Ninth Circuit judge Stephen Reinhardt, a passionate liberal and close friend of Kozinski's, is also one of his harshest critics. "What do I think of his views? Not much," he says bluntly. "Alex is one of the brightest of the right wing, but he focuses too narrowly on property and is terrible on affirmative action and other civil rights. I would hate to see him on the Supreme Court, where he could do some really serious damage."
Instead of on the Ninth Circuit, where he is overwhelmed by the majority of liberals who keep him from correcting any of the damage they continue to do. Reinhardt wrote the original 69 page Silveira decision that Kozinski, in his dissent to the denial to hear an en banc appeal characterized thus:
The sheer ponderousness of the panel’s opinion—the mountain of verbiage it must deploy to explain away these fourteen short words of constitutional text—refutes its thesis far more convincingly than anything I might say. The panel’s labored effort to smother the Second Amendment by sheer body weight has all the grace of a sumo wrestler trying to kill a rattlesnake by sitting on it - and is just as likely to succeed.
Those "fourteen short words" being the Second Amendment. And yet, they're friends. Unless and until Kozinski is in a position to make a real difference. I guess then you find out who your true friends are.

This was fascinating, too:
Kozinski was born in Bucharest on July 23, 1950. His father, Moses, spent most of World War II in the Transnistria concentration camp, where inmates were systematically worked to death.


A weaver by trade, and a Communist agitator in his youth, Moses was made vice-president of a textile factory when the Soviet-backed government took over after the war.

Life in postwar Romania was not easy for the Kozinskis, even with Moses's party credentials. Nor was the gulf between communism's theory and its reality lost on Alex: At age eight, the boy got his father into trouble by publicly asking him how a government with so many political prisoners could possibly publish a newspaper called Free Romania.
Well, we already knew he was smart.

After emigrating to the U.S. in 1961, Alex embraced being an American.
"One taste of chocolate and bubble gum and I was a capitalist," remembers Kozinski. "I spent the first several years glued to the television, sucking up American culture."
It's a wonder his mind survived it, but it was the early sixties. I shudder to think what happens to our kids today who "suck up American culture" via the boob tube.

After a probably less-than-stellar academic achievement in primary school, Kozinski began attending UCLA in the late sixties, studying engineering - poorly. But he also studied the anti-war movement, then in full swing, and commented on it:
Kozinski, who had just become a naturalized citizen, chafed at his fellow students' politics. "Most of the protests were really about people justifying the fact that they were chicken," he says. "Students were seduced by all the anti-American rhetoric. They hadn't lived under a truly repressive regime."
Nor do they now.
So outraged by anti-American sentiments was Kozinski that he boycotted (and still refuses to see) Jane Fonda movies - a stance about which he has only one regret: "I wish I had seen Barbarella," he says wistfully. "Maybe one day I'll watch the video - if someone else pays for it."
Don't bother, Judge. She doesn't really look any better than most of the exposed actress flesh displayed today.

Kozinski then switched his major to law, barely squeaking in, and after reading that only the top 10% of law school graduates had much of a chance at financial success, he set out with the intention of graduating at the top of his class. The very top, not second or third place. And he did.

So now that we've established his bona fides let's consider Kozinski's "judicial philosophy," in his own words:
"Look, we have to realize that ideas have consequences, and legal ideas have more serious consequences for society than most." The law, in his view, has an ineradicable moral dimension that we ignore at our peril. When, for example, "courts tell us that someone else is always to blame for whatever misfortune happens to befall us, pretty soon we start to believe it" - a denial of personal responsibility that Kozinski derides with his Toyota Principle (named for the company's "You asked for it, you got it" ad campaign). Lawyers must see the law as "a method for resolving legitimate disputes, rather than a means of extortion."


His remedy for "hate crimes" exemplifies this anti-litigious, communitarian approach. "Our focus on punishing the speaker diverts attention from ... the things we can do to repair the damage," he argues. Society's first responsibility, Kozinski says, is to reassure victims of their rightful place in the community, to tell them that, despite the wrong suffered, they are not outcasts.
This part particularly got my attention:
Kozinski is not shy about bringing his experiences to bear on his legal formulations. He particularly attributes his sensitivity to free speech and defendant's rights to his time in Romania. "I know what it means for police to really run amok," he says. "Seeing people hauled away in their pajamas in the middle of the night stays with you."
Yes, I imagine it does. And it reminds you that it can still happen today, here.
Although Kozinski brings a certain informality to the courtroom, his constitutional philosophy - the compass guiding his vast array of decisions - is anything but lax. It revolves, he explains, around three principles: textual fidelity (interpretations should be grounded in the actual words of the Constitution), completeness (provisions in the Constitution should not be ignored or emasculated), and consistency (similar phrases should be construed in similar ways). "The Constitution is a complicated, old and multilayered document that is meant to have some play in the joints," he says. "But it must have limits to its interpretation or else you are simply taking advantage of its flexibility for your own purposes. You can't just find in it anything you want to find in it."
And he lives this philosophy. From the aforementioned dissent in Silveira:
Judges know very well how to read the Constitution broadly when they are sympathetic to the right being asserted. We have held, without much ado, that “speech, or . . . the press” also means the Internet...and that “persons, houses, papers, and effects” also means public telephone booths....When a particular right comports especially well with our notions of good social policy, we build magnificent legal edifices on elliptical constitutional phrases - or even the white spaces between lines of constitutional text. But, as the panel amply demonstrates, when we’re none too keen on a particular constitutional guarantee, we can be equally ingenious in burying language that is incontrovertibly there.

It is wrong to use some constitutional provisions as springboards for major social change while treating others like senile relatives to be cooped up in a nursing home until they quit annoying us. As guardians of the Constitution, we must be consistent in interpreting its provisions. If we adopt a jurisprudence sympathetic to individual rights, we must give broad compass to all constitutional provisions that protect individuals from tyranny. If we take a more statist approach, we must give all such provisions narrow scope. Expanding some to gargantuan proportions while discarding others like a crumpled gum wrapper is not faithfully applying the Constitution; it’s using our power as federal judges to constitutionalize our personal preferences.
Of course, again some on the Left have a problem with this:
"I don't think it is possible to have such a strict theory of constitutional interpretation," says University of Southern California law professor Erwin Chemerinski. "Kozinski follows his theories in some areas and not in others. His opinions involving the takings clause (the portion of the Fifth Amendment that requires the citizens to be compensated when the government "takes" or reduces the value of their property), for instance, tend to be very broad and don't square at all with his decisions involving criminal law."
Given the recent Supreme Court Kelo decision, I am personally very happy to hear that. Chemerinski, another far Left-liberal, does not rank high in my esteem as I've previously noted. (Chemerinski is a regular on Hugh Hewitt's afternoon radio show, and I have heard him defend the Kelo decision on the air.) That Chemerinski dislikes Kozinski's judicial philosophy is mere icing on the cake, for me.

And this observation cements Kozinski's appeal:
(Kozinski's) nomination would prove a dilemma for the Republicans: Kozinski's passionate defense of First and Fourth Amendment rights would give the far right reason to pause. "He's too unpredictable, he isn't a Scalia or a Thomas," says New York University law professor Stephen Gillers. "Kozinski is a truly independent thinker, and we are at a point where presidents only want sure things."
That would, I submit, make him more like Thomas, not less. We've learned a lot about Thomas in the intervening ten years, and he is, currently, my favorite sitting Justice. I think he, Scalia, and Kozinski would make a perfect set. Not mentioned in the piece was Kozinski's strong support for the individual rights view of the Second Amendment. He has several very eloquent dissents on the topic, and his position has been commented on by other Ninth Circuit judges in their decisions.

But the "sure thing" comment is entirely correct. I think the reaction to Miers surprised Bush, and as I said, I don't think he has the stomach for a fight.

But one can dream.

UPDATE, 10/29: Both Instapundit and David Bernstein of the Volokh Conspiracy think Kozinski is a great choice.

He hasn't got a chance in hell...

Further update: David Hardy has details of most if not all of Kozinski's decisions relating to the Second Amendment, and other things near and dear to our hearts.

Think "snowball in hell." But Hardy notes that there is an email address,, and notes:
I'd assume somebody counts the number of emails on a given subject and reports that. If we all sent email entitled, say "please nominate Judge Kozinski," it might just get someone's attention. They may be a bit jumpy about the internet and blogs just now (grin).
Perhaps. I think I'll jot them a note. Kozinski or Janice Rogers Brown. Either would please me.

UPDATE 10/31: It's Alito, sometimes referred to as "Scalito." I can live with that.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Redneck Christmas Decoration I Have To Get...

I have just the tree to hang it from, too!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Here's Someone With a Twisted Sense of Humor!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

England, Gun Controllers, and the "Aggressive Edge"

Just a quick one, as this has been making the rounds of the gun blogs. It seems that the producers have chosen Daniel Craig as the next Bond; James Bond. IMDB's bio says:
Daniel Craig was born in 1968 in Chester, England. He grew up in Liverpool, England and moved to London, England when he was 16. Here, he trained at the National Youth Theatre and graduated from the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama (early 1990s). He made his film debut with The Power of One (1992) in 1992 as Sergeant Botha.
Quote from The Power of One attributed to the character of Sgt. Botha:
I was branded an idiot by everyone I knew!
How... poetic.

It seems that Mr. Craig is not likely to actually receive a "License to Kill" since he hates firearms:
New Bond: I hate guns
By This is London
25 October 2005

Daniel Craig will have a problem playing the new James Bond - because he hates guns.

The actor will wield 007's famous Walther PPK in the movie Casino Royale.

But he revealed in OK! magazine: "I hate handguns. Handguns are used to shoot people and as long as they are around, people will shoot each other.

"That's a simple fact. I've seen a bullet wound and it was a mess. It was on a shoot and it scared me. Bullets have a nasty habit of finding their target and that's what's scary about them."
He should see what a shotgun can do.

However, this reminded me of an earlier piece I wrote, Americans, Gun Controllers, and the "Aggressive Edge" which discussed the making of - and the casting for - the movie Aliens:
The first (special feature) section on pre-production talked about the fact that the film was shot in England, mostly at Pinewood Studios, but this little bit piqued my interest:
Mary Selway, UK casting for Aliens:

"It was INCREDIBLY hard to do, because, um, James kept saying, 'State of the art firepower. They've got to be incredibly, sort of on the cutting edge of American military...'

"So, what often happens here when American actors come to live in England, they become a bit Anglicized, and they don't... they lose that really, sort of aggressive edge if you like, that this sort casting required."
She said it, I didn't.

Immediately after Ms. Selway's piece:
Gale Anne Hurd - producer.

"I think we probably went through 3,000 people before we could even consider bringing anyone over from the United States."
Hmmm... They went through 3,000 "Anglicized" people and couldn't get enough aggressive ones?
I have to believe that there are more than 3,000 British actors they could have gone through, but I guess casting an American in the role of James Bond just wouldn't have been cricket.

But at least then they could have found one that wasn't a GFW.

It Hasn't Happened Anywhere Else, But...

Owen at Boots and Sabers links to a quite good piece in the Wisconsin State Journal on concealed-carry. Wisconsin is currently debating legislation that would overturn its 133 year-old prohibition against concealed-carry, with the standard opposition meme of "more guns = more death." However, this piece is, in my opinion, quite fair, and pretty thorough. Entitled, Guns can save your life or get you sent to prison, it explains the realities of concealed-carry well. Read the whole thing, but here are some excerpts:
I had spent most of the previous day with certified firearms instructor Gene German, seeking to learn what sort of training might be required here if the Legislature overturns Wisconsin's 133-year ban on carrying concealed weapons.

German, an affable and enthusiastic backer of the measure, was invited to offer the training (for a $150 fee) to lawmakers, their staffs and media people by the bill's chief sponsor in the state Senate, Sen. Dave Zien, R-Eau Claire.

About a dozen of us attended the day of classroom instruction at the state Capitol, while I and Nathan Berken, an aide to Rep. Gabe Loeffelholz, R- Platteville, completed the required coursework at a shooting range in Deerfield.
Interesting idea, inviting legislators and their staffs to actually sit through a class. Disappointing that so few actually did.
(W)hether you're pro or con, it's reassuring to know that the only path to a permit (with some exceptions) is through a class like German's.

The first thing you learn: Marksmanship isn't the half of it.

Outside of the sterile environment of the shooting range, in the messy, real world, here's how my confrontation with the green guy would have gone: Stabbing fear would close around me, leaving me with tunnel vision. My strength would increase exponentially, but my dexterity - my ability to deftly aim the weapon, pull the trigger and hit the target instead of a bystander - would drop. Time would slow down.

My ability to endure pain would increase dramatically, but so would my attacker's. And, unlike in the movies, he likely wouldn't fall over with the first shot, or even the first several. Even after a shot to the heart, a person can have full "voluntary function" of his or her faculties for 10 to 15 seconds, enough to do me serious harm.

"Pain is irrelevant to survival," German said.

But the story of that confrontation starts even before that point, with the decision to strap on a gun at all.
Something you hardly ever hear in the media.
If conflict finds you, four things must be true before you can legally even pull out a gun:

You must be a reluctant participant. Walking into a bar fight to break it up or chasing after a mugger doesn't count.

You must reasonably believe you're in immediate danger of death or great bodily harm. If a mean-looking dude simply demands your wallet, you're better off handing it over; if he's got a weapon, it's a different story.

No lesser force will do. Can you resolve the situation by calling 911, fending off blows with your arms or fighting back? You must eliminate those options before reaching for your gun.

Retreat is not practical.

Weighing those questions in the safety of a jury room is difficult enough; staying lucid enough to do so in the heat of a violent attack is perilous.

"You do it wrong, you go to prison," German said. "These are high stakes."

The circumstances get even muddier when you decide to intervene on someone else's behalf.
Thus the anti-gun force's conniption-fit over Florida's recent "no duty to retreat" law. Retreat in Florida need not be practical.
Even a justified shooting will have lifelong consequences, German said. First, you'll almost certainly spend some time in jail until the police can sort out what happened. You may have to defend the shooting in a criminal or civil trial.

Simply unholstering your gun in a confrontation could cost you $10,000 in lawyer fees, German said - and that's in a state where carrying concealed handguns is allowed.
This is something I think far too few people actually grasp - choosing to be armed can be quite expensive.

But here are the excerpts from the piece that got my attention:
Doubt doesn't begin to describe the ambivalence I feel about taking on this awful responsibility. I consider myself normally level-headed, but I don't trust myself to make the right decision when seconds can mean the difference between life and death.
"I don't trust myself...." That's fine with me, you can choose to be a victim, but my problem is when people extend their personal distrust of themselves to others, and use that personal distrust to prevent others from protecting themselves. Phil Brinkman, the writer, thankfully addresses this:
But that's me. To German and thousands of others like him - people who are far more familiar with guns, train regularly and consider violent crime a very real possibility - those doubts are surmountable, and carrying a gun in public is an undisputed right, recognized in 46 states.

"I have the right to be my own first responder," German likes to say.

They call themselves the "good guys," responsible gun owners, the ones most likely to apply for permits. The certifiable bad guys - the felons, the drug addicts, the ones with a history of mental illness - aren't eligible for a permit under Minnesota's law, or the proposed Wisconsin law.
Good on ya, Phil.

But here's the kicker - not for what's said, but for what's not said:
Others say that whatever the merits of the training it will never make up for the increased risk they see of more people being hurt or killed by guns, including their own.

"I understand there are people who are really trying to get the message out that there needs to be restraint and you must be responsible. That's a good thing," said Jeri Bonavia, executive director of the Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort, which opposes concealed carry. "And yet, I'm just so alarmed about the bill as a whole."

Bonavia agreed that "a lot of the people who get permits are good guys." But the often middle-aged, middle-class permit holders are usually also at low risk of being victims of crime, she said. She said she feared that giving them licenses might embolden some to walk into dangerous situations.
What wasn't said? Well, it's time for that map again:

There are now 35 "shall issue" states, nine "may issue" states, and two with unrestricted concealed-carry and there has been not one state that has passed concealed-carry legislation in which gun violence went up. But that's the fear that is pushed each and every time another state considers the legislation - "blood in the streets."

Not one. But Wisconsin will be the first?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Another Example of "...But Not THAT!"
Or, "The People Have Spoken, the Bastards."

Reuters reports that Brazil's referendum on banning gun sales has gone down in flaming defeat:
Brazilian voters strongly reject gun ban

24 Oct 2005 00:31:51 GMT
Source: Reuters
(Updates vote count, adds interviews)

By Terry Wade and Todd Benson

SAO PAULO, Brazil, Oct 23 (Reuters) - From sprawling cities plagued by violence to the backwaters of the Amazon, Brazilians voted decisively on Sunday to keep gun sales legal in the country with the world's highest death toll from firearms.

About 64 percent rejected banning arms sales in the nationwide referendum, the electoral court said, with more than 90 percent of the expected 122 million votes counted.

Only 36 percent supported the ban, even though some 36,000 people were killed by guns last year in Latin America's largest country. Full results were expected on Monday.

"We didn't lose because Brazilians like guns. We lost because people don't have confidence in the government or the police," said Denis Mizne of anti-violence group Sou da Paz.

Many voters had expressed concern before the vote that a ban would leave them defenseless against heavily armed criminals. Public confidence is low in a police force widely seen as inefficient, abusive and corrupt.

"This referendum ... is not going to end violence," said Assis Augusto Pires, 60, who voted against the ban in Sao Paulo's wealthy Jardim Paulistano district, where high walls, electrified fences and private guards protect residents.

In Rio de Janeiro's Rocinha shantytown, scene of a raging gangland turf war, Carlos Eduardo Ferreira, a 40-year-old electrician, said he was voting for the ban.

"I am for the ban; I am for life. I've already seen kids hit by bullets here," he said.

Spotlighting the issue, a young girl was wounded by a stray bullet as police clashed with drug traffickers in Rio de Janeiro's Dende slum on Saturday night, police said.

In Minas Gerais state, a supporter of gun sales shot and wounded a ban backer during a bar argument on Friday.

The ban failed in all 26 states and the federal district of Brasilia. Rural areas rejected it overwhelmingly.

"This region is very isolated. If you don't have a gun here you don't have protection," said Igor Dedea, a logger in the rainforest state of Para.
There's more. Read the whole thing. The Brady Campaign and other gun ban control safety organizations were hoping this law would pass so that Brazil could serve as a shining beacon of how gun ban control safety laws make societies safer. The ballot question read: "Should the sale of firearms and munitions be prohibited in Brazil?" Apparently the gun ban control safety organizations have conveniently forgotten about the UK, where the law regarding legal gun and ammunition possession is quite draconian, yet violent crime - including murder - has increased since the banning of full-auto weapons, semi-auto weapons, and finally all handguns.

I'd really like to read the entire content of this Financial Times piece from prior to the vote, but the opening paragraphs are just too rich to pass up:
As an exercise in participative democracy, it seems badly flawed. Brazilians will vote in a mandatory referendum tomorrow to decide the question, "Should the sale of firearms and ammunition be prohibited in Brazil?"

There should be little doubt about the answer. Gunshot wounds kill more than 107 Brazilians every day, more than traffic accidents and fewer only than heart and brain disorders.
"You shouldn't dare ask the peons what they think! We, their betters, should dictate to them that only we should be allowed to have arms! (After all, it is through our leadership that they've gotten to this state!)"

What hubris.

A point I was previously unaware of, voting in Brazil is mandatory for those between the ages of 18 and 70. This isn't a matter of a small turnout dominated by Brazilian equivalent of NRA members - it's a poll of the opinion of the entire nation, and nearly two thirds understand that disarming the law-abiding won't make the country safer.

This is yet another example of public reaction to misguided philosophies. Yes, I'm certain that Brazilians want their nation to be a safer place, but when presented with a law like this, their reaction, like the reaction of voters here in America is, understandably, "Not THAT!"

I wonder if my Brazilian commenter "Tupiniquim" is still reading TSM and what he thinks of the vote.

Words Mean Things...

You want to know one reason Chicago keeps trading places with Washington D.C. for "murder capital of the U.S."? Reader Fabio from England emailed me this link to the City of Chicago's Gun Safety/Violence Reduction page, and here is what it says:
The principal cause of violent crime in the City of Chicago is the use of firearms by criminal street gangs. Although Chicago has among the toughest gun control laws in the country, street gangs have been able to arm themselves with increasingly deadly firearms with little apparent problem. Although Congress and the Administration appear unwilling to make further gun safety legislation a high priority, the City urges increased attention to these issues in Washington.

The City remains deeply concerned about a last minute provision enacted as part of the FY03 Omnibus Appropriations bill that derailed the City’s Supreme Court argument regarding the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) restricting the availability of public information for litigation purposes. Furthermore, Congress has included other last minute provisions in the FY04 Omnibus Appropriations bill that put in place additional limitations on BATF’s accountability for, and ability to collect and distribute, what should otherwise be public information on firearms purchases. In addition, Congress is considering legislation to provide unprecedented limits on liability focused solely on the firearms industry. These enormously misguided efforts are a direct threat to general public safety and will greatly undermine the efforts of state and local governments to combat illegal firearms trafficking.
Let's parse this, shall we?
The principal cause of violent crime in the City of Chicago is the use of firearms by criminal street gangs.
Bang! (No pun intended.) Right out of the gate we have an outright falsehood. The principal cause of violent crime is the use of firearms. Um, what?

No, the principal crime IS the improper, illegal use of firearms. (Since the City of Chicago prohibits the use of firearms for legitimate self-defense, that's about the only kind of firearm use you're going to see there.) The CAUSE of this is something else entirely. But I have absolutely no doubt that the powers-that-be see the situation precisely as that first sentence is written. The cause to them is the "use of firearms." That makes the solution simple, no?

Eliminate the firearms and the "cause" is eliminated.

And here we have a textbook example of my favorite gun-control meme, "cognitive dissonance" - described most eloquently by Steven Den Beste:
When someone tries to use a strategy which is dictated by their ideology, and that strategy doesn't seem to work, then they are caught in something of a cognitive bind. If they acknowledge the failure of the strategy, then they would be forced to question their ideology. If questioning the ideology is unthinkable, then the only possible conclusion is that the strategy failed because it wasn't executed sufficiently well. They respond by turning up the power, rather than by considering alternatives. (This is sometimes referred to as "escalation of failure".)
Or as I put it, "Do it again, only harder! To wit:
Although Chicago has among the toughest gun control laws in the country, street gangs have been able to arm themselves with increasingly deadly firearms with little apparent problem.
In other words, "Our efforts to control the cause of violent crime, have failed. But the ideology cannot be wrong! The only possible conclusion is that the strategy failed because it wasn't executed sufficiently well, so..."
Although Congress and the Administration appear unwilling to make further gun safety legislation a high priority, the City urges increased attention to these issues in Washington.
"We must try again only harder!" (And note the use of the phrase "gun safety" and not "gun control" - though we are told endlessly that "gun safety" isn't "gun control.") And since they cannot acheive the ends their philosophy dictates through legislation, they must then pursue it through the courts:
The City remains deeply concerned about a last minute provision enacted as part of the FY03 Omnibus Appropriations bill that derailed the City’s Supreme Court argument regarding the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) restricting the availability of public information for litigation purposes.
I'll bet the City of Chicago will be joining the Brady Center in its legal challenge to the recently passed Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, since it shuts down the nuisance lawsuits Chicago and other cities have been pursuing. They say as much in the last two sentences:
In addition, Congress is considering legislation to provide unprecedented limits on liability focused solely on the firearms industry. These enormously misguided efforts are a direct threat to general public safety and will greatly undermine the efforts of state and local governments to combat illegal firearms trafficking.
Efforts pursued thorough tort law, not legislation. But on top of that, read this again:
Furthermore, Congress has included other last minute provisions in the FY04 Omnibus Appropriations bill that put in place additional limitations on BATF’s accountability for, and ability to collect and distribute, what should otherwise be public information on firearms purchases.
No, I don't think so. While the BATF has been moved from the Treasury Department to the Department of Justice, the BATF is still a tax collection agency. The information the BATF gathers isn't "public information," it's protected tax information, as the state of California recently learned to its displeasure when charges against licensed FFL dealer Andy Sun were thrown out when the judge determined the search warrant was obtained based on "protected information" obtained from the BATF:
(Judge Frank P.) Briseno ruled that the search warrant was based on mandatory information Sun was required to submit to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives during an administrative inspection.
Not public information - protected information.

So it appears that the City of Chicago is quite willing to break Federal law to achieve its ends. My only question is this: Why doesn't Chicago look around the rest of the country and figure out why its violent crime rate is so much higher than other cities of similar size that don't have "the toughest gun control laws in the country"?

Oh, right. Because the philosophy cannot be wrong!

Fabio concluded in his email to me, "They don't get it and never will." Sadly, I'm pretty sure he's right.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

What a GREAT DAY!.

First, Gunny Burghardt is back in action:

Defiant Marine back disposing of bombs


RAMADI, Iraq - The sight of Marine Gunnery Sgt. Michael Burghardt scrambling and poking through a dirt mound searching for explosives drew smiles Tuesday from Sgt. Joe Dunlap of Lincoln and other Nebraska Army National Guard soldiers.

A month ago today, Dunlap had driven to Burghardt's aid after the Marine explosives expert wasn't able to disarm the last of three improvised explosive devices.

Two things amazed those who were there that day:

• Burghardt survived the explosion and would return to duty in less than a month.

• A World-Herald photograph showing Burghardt standing on his own two feet, pants cut off, legs bandaged and directing a single-digit salute of defiance at his attackers, has transformed him into one of the most famous Marines of the Iraq war.

The photo appeared on numerous Marine-related Internet weblogs. Burghardt received more than 100 e-mails within days of the picture's publication. It has become a screensaver on soldiers' and Marines' computers across Iraq.

"I don't know how my anger turned into a motivational picture," Burghardt said.

Dunlap and the others with the 1st Platoon, Troop A of Nebraska Guard's 167th Cavalry didn't think about motivation when the IED exploded, engulfing Burghardt in debris, shrapnel and dirt.

"I thought he bought it," Dunlap said. "Then I saw his legs kicking."

When Dunlap reached Burghardt, the wounded Marine kept saying, "Just tell me I'm all right."

Don't lie, Burghardt told Dunlap, "Just tell me I'm all right."

The Marine Explosive Ordnance Disposal units are assigned to locate, identify, disarm and dispose of IEDs, which have become a favored weapon of the Iraqi insurgents. The Nebraskans accompanying those units provide security at the scene, guarding the perimeter while the EOD teams work.

Even wounded, the one thing Burghardt made sure he kept in his possession was his special-issue EOD unit Shrade knife with its 7-inch blade. He has carried it since 1994.

The knife came out of its sheath again Tuesday, as Burghardt searched in vain for a wire or explosives in a dirt pile previously used as a hiding place for bombs.

His first day back out was Oct. 13. But Tuesday was his most active, handling three missions with the CAV's 1st Platoon.

Burghardt said the three-plus weeks he spent recuperating at his unit's headquarters, unable to go on missions, were among the most difficult of his career. However, he joked that he did enjoy going to the base medical center to have his bandages around his thighs and wounds to his rear attended.

Sitting remains a problem, and his calves occasionally are sore. But Burghardt's not looking for a ticket out of Iraq. This is his third deployment to the country, and he expects more.

The 35-year-old Burghardt, of Huntington Beach, Calif., has been in the Marine Corps for 18 years, the last 15 in bomb disposal.

He's not looking to put in 20 years and then move into a lucrative civilian job, either.

"I'll do 30 years, as long as I'm having fun," Burghardt said. "Unless I die."

Burghardt was having fun just before dusk Tuesday, during his third mission with the CAV's 1st Platoon. They were called out onto the main highway east of Ramadi because of a suspicious inner tube spotted alongside a bridge.

"Gunny," as everyone calls Burghardt, moved off the highway and onto a berm, where he found a wire. The scissors came off the front of his body armor, and he snipped the wire.

That did not mean all was safe.

There were dangers of a booby trap or an alternate detonation source. So the EOD unit used a robot to check it out. It found two large artillery shells bound up in the inner tube.

Burghardt and his men removed the shells, which were large enough to destroy a Bradley Fighting Vehicle or Abrams tank. The shells were safely taken to a nearby field and detonated, sending debris skyward.

Just the kind of end to a day that Gunny Burghardt likes.
Second, the House has passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, and President Bush has said he'd sign it.

Third, David Hardy reports that Michael Barnes, president of the Brady Center has resigned citing the stress of losses - like the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

Ah, what a great day!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Today's Post

This is sort of a two-parter. Part I is at another blog. If you've read The Smallest Minority for any length of time, you know I tend toward the long-winded, and I'm not afraid to quote others in full, either. But this time, I'd like you to read a really excellent piece over at Circa Bellum. I'd read it somewhere before, but he has the piece in its entirety, and everyone ought to read it: Davy Crockett vs. Welfare. Go read.

I'm serious.

Finished? Excellent. Now, read this email I recently received from Congressman Kolbe's office, in its entirety:
Dear Mr. Baker:

I am writing to let you know about some important recent developments in Congress related to border security in southern Arizona.

Last week, the Homeland Security Appropriations House-Senate conference committee, of which I was a part, met and finalized the nation's border security appropriations for fiscal year 2006. I am pleased the final resolution provides the resources needed to secure our border, including more than $56 million that I specifically designated for the Border Patrol Tucson Sector. In addition to the $21 million requested by the Border Patrol for patrol stations, fencing, lighting, vehicle barriers, and roads, the final agreement includes an additional $35 million specifically for the Tucson Sector to help them protect the border. This money can be used at the Border Patrol's discretion to ensure it has the resources it needs to do its job. The conference report has been adopted by the House and Senate and has been sent to the President's to be signed into law.

We must secure the border. From additional agents, detention space, airplanes, helicopters and UAVs, to better technology for securing and facilitating travel into the US by land, air and sea, this bill has everything that is needed to protect our homeland. I am especially pleased to almost triple the construction funding for the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector. Border Patrol will now have increased financial resources to protect our borders beyond their original plans. The additional $35 million provides the Border Patrol the flexibility to use the money as it sees fit either on new projects or to expedite current projects.

Funding benefiting southern Arizona includes:

Construction Projects ($12.7 million total)
* Willcox Border Patrol Station -- $10 million for a new 120 agent station
* Sonoita Border Patrol Station -- $2.7 million for a new 150 agent station

Tactical Infrastructure ($8.5 million total)
* Douglas Roadway Project -- $975,000 for 16 miles of all weather patrol roads with associated pedestrian fence and vehicle barriers to improve Border Patrol access and restrict cross border access.
* Douglas Fencing Project -- $2 million for international ditch reconstruction in an earth channel parallel to the border that is failing and allowing erosion to undermine border fence.
* Naco Roadway Project -- $543,000 to build all weather patrol road beginning from a location from 2.5 miles west of the Naco Port of Entry and continuing 6 miles west; and beginning from a location 2.5 miles east of the Port of Entry and continuing 4 miles east.
* Tucson/Yuma Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge Vehicle Barrier Project -- $5 million to provide all environmental documentation, engineering, and construction of vehicle barriers and patrol roads in the Cabeza Prieta NWR and Barry M. Goldwater Range.

Overall, the bill provides $30.8 billion for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which includes $19.1 billion for border protection and immigration enforcement. That is a $1.2 billion increase over last year.

Other highlights of the bill include:

* $1.8 billion for border security and control, funding an additional 1,000 Border Patrol Agents. When combined with the fiscal year 2005 Supplemental, 1,500 new agents will be hired in fiscal year 2006;
* $3.4 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, funding an additional 250 criminal investigators and 100 Immigration Enforcement agents; when combined with the fiscal year 2005 Supplemental, 568 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and officers will be hired in fiscal year 2006;
* $41 million for border security technology, including surveillance and unmanned aerial vehicles;
* $562 million for Customs and Border Patrol Air and Marine Operations for border and airspace security;
* $45 million for increased intelligence and targeting for cargo and passengers;
* $138.8 million for the Container Security Initiative, supporting efforts in 48 foreign ports;
* $21 million for FAST/SENTRI/NEXUS to maintain security & facilitate travel on our land borders;
* $2.9 billion for the Coast Guard's homeland security missions;
* $4 million to continue and expand an immigration security pilot project at foreign airports;
* $1 billion for immigration detention custody operations;
* $135 million for transportation and removal of illegal immigrants;
* $94 million for the Institutional Removal Program,
including an additional 100 agents;
* $40 million for implementation of the REAL ID Act;
* A requirement that DHS submit a comprehensive immigration enforcement strategy that reduces the number of undocumented aliens by 10 percent per year and a requirement that DHS and ICE develop a national detention plan for undocumented aliens;
* $3.3 billion for first responders, including grants to high threat areas, firefighters; and emergency management;
* $2.5 billion for passenger and baggage screeners;
* $88 million for the training of airport screeners;
* $443 million to procure, install, maintain and integrate in-line explosive detection systems;
* $1 billion for aviation direction and enforcement activities;
* $85 million for air cargo security, including 100 new inspectors, funding to fast track pending air cargo regulations; and research and development of next generation technologies;
* $8 million for rail security inspectors and explosive detection canines;
* $5 million for trucking security and $4 million for HAZMAT truck tracking and training;
* $686 million for Federal Air Marshals, ensuring mission coverage on both domestic and international flights, including $2 million for secure communications;
* A requirement to develop and implement improved air cargo security standards and protocols, as well as the use of EDS equipment to screen air cargo at airports;
* $538 million to develop radiological, nuclear, chemical, biological, and high explosives countermeasures;
* $35 million for rapid prototyping of homeland security technologies;
* $110 million for research, development, and testing of antimissile devices for commercial aircraft;
* $20 million for container security research;
* $318 million to start-up the new Domestic Nuclear Detection Office and its help coordinate global nuclear detection and tracking;
* $63 million for university-based centers of excellence and fellowships;
* $180 million for critical infrastructure identification and evaluation, and outreach and partnerships with industry;
* $14 million to identify and characterize potential bio-terrorist attacks;
* $39.6 million for U.S. Secret Service's Electronic Crimes Task Forces (ECTFs), including an additional 50 people devoted to combating electronic crime and identity theft;
* $93.3 million for cyber-security;
* $255 million for enhancing secure communications with State and local governments;
* $2.6 billion for traditional Coast Guard operating activities, including maritime safety, drug interdiction, and fisheries, environmental, and humanitarian missions;
* $487 million for the Federal Protective Service to protect over 8,800 federal facilities nationwide;
* $25 million to enforce laws related to forced child labor, intellectual property rights, and textile transshipment;
* $7.9 million to support investigations related to missing and exploited children; and
* $1.9 billion for citizenship and immigration services.

I am pleased to see that Congress is acting so broadly to secure our nation's borders, and I hope that we will also vote on a comprehensive border security and immigration reform bill in the coming months. I will continue to keep you informed as legislation is considered, or other events occur that effect border security.


Jim Kolbe
Member of Congress
Yep, that's our Congress at work. When the only tool you have on your belt is a hammer, every problem begins to look like a nail.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Two Hours in the Dentist's Chair

Actually, a bit more than that. Two molars that already had pretty big fillings, #18 & 19, back two on the left side, lower jaw. (The wisdom teeth came out at age 18.) Now they are two molars with temporary crowns. The novocaine hasn't worn off yet, at least not completely. I think I'm going to be pretty sore when it does.

I put the appointment off twice because of work, but not today!

Damn. That money could have gone to another gun, more ammunition, or a nice kitchen appliance. (The remodeling work begins in November.)

I have had better days.

Monday, October 17, 2005

"...Reason to Suspect 'It is Drug Related' "

Are you going to join in the Great Wal*Mart Ammo Day Buy? Well, I said we wanted to see what happened. This might give some of us a clue. (Check the date - 11/5/2002) Reader Carl sent me this news story (link appears to be broken due to age, but the players are real - see below):
Who bought 1,000 rounds of 9 mm ammo?

Mary Jo Denton
Herald-Citizen Staff

November 05, 2002

When someone bought 1,000 rounds of 9 mm ammunition at a Cookeville store recently, clerks became suspicious.

So did police after they received information about the purchase.

The ammo appeared to be headed for use in drug related crimes, according to Capt. Nathan Honeycutt of the Cookeville Police Department.

That was last week, and investigation into the matter continues today, with one man under arrest so far, but not for having the large quantity of powerful bullets.
A thousand 9mm rounds? That's a decent weekend for some of us.
Last Friday, federal, regional, and local officers executed a search warrant and arrested Vernon Thomas Mendoza, 25, of Buffalo Valley Road, Cookeville.

He is facing "a variety of federal charges, including possession of a handgun by a convicted felon and possession of methamphetamine for resale," Capt. Honeycutt said.
Well good on 'em, then. But how did they know about Mr. Mendoza?
Meanwhile, the search for where the ammunition wound up continues, and detectives are hot on the trail, he said.

With the information they first received last week about the ammo purchase, police detectives set up an undercover investigation which included the federal Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agency, working with the 13th District Drug Task Force, and Detective Lt. Doyle McClain and Detective Sgt. Carl Sells.

"We are still trying to find out where this much ammunition was going, and we have some very good leads now," Capt. Honeycutt said today. "In fact, we have a pretty good idea of where it is and more arrests are pending."

He said 9 mm ammunition of the type bought "is the most likely thing that goes into automatic weapons commonly used by criminals."
Wait... I thought automatic weapons were strictly regulated by the 1934 National Firearms Act? And that kept them out of the hands of criminals. But now they're "commonly used by criminals"?

Oh. You mean semi-automatic weapons. Well why didn't you say so?
"And to buy that much at one time is very unusual, so that is why it raised the suspicions of the store and of the police," Honeycutt said.
It might be unusual in Cookeville, but it's pretty damned common most places. When I buy .45ACP it's by the thousand round case. I guess these guys would have had little kittens if they'd found out about my recent purchase of 768 rounds of .30-06, in Garand clips on bandoleers, shipped in evil .50 caliber ammo cans!
While it is not necessarily illegal to possess such ammunition in that quantity, detectives working this case have reason to suspect "it is drug related," he said.
Not necessarily illegal! How nice! I guess my cabinet full of reloaded ammo isn't necessarily illegal either? Or all the loose projectiles, various powders, primers and empty cases?
He said the "behavior" of the buyer, as well as the quantity of the purchase figured into the suspicion raised.
I can imagine what bothered the clerks. The guy comes up and says "I need a thousand rounds of 9mm and six cases of Sudafed. And hurry up, I've got things to do!"
"Our detectives did not wait for somebody to get hurt, but took a proactive stance and moved to track down this ammunition," Honeycutt said.

The arrest of Mendoza was the first result, and more arrests are expected, he said.

When the officers and DTF and ATF agents arrived at Mendoza's residence last Friday about 11 a.m., they found him there with his girlfriend, and he was arrested without incident, Honeycutt said.

But he made no statements, Honeycutt said.

Allegedly, he had a handgun and methamphetamine, and his arrest was based on those items.

But the officers did not find the 1,000 rounds of ammunition.

"So it is still a very, very active investigation," Honeycutt said this morning.

He praised the work of the Cookeville Police detectives and the "excellent cooperation" of the ATF and the Drug Task Force.

Mendoza was taken to Nashville, where he will be arraigned in federal court.

Published November 05, 2002 12:12 PM CST
I didn't find any follow-ups on this story, but in checking, I did find this golden oldie:
Killing of family dog unfolds on videotape

Staff Writer

Review finds officers acted properly in stopping car

Three minutes and seven seconds tells the story of a dog named Patton.

The dog, which was shot at close range Jan. 1 by a Cookeville policeman during a felony traffic stop, belonged to the James Smoak family of Saluda, N.C. At the time, the Tennessee Highway Patrol suspected the Smoaks — James, his wife, Pamela, and his stepson, Brandon Hayden — were involved in a Nashville-area robbery.

Yesterday, the Tennessee Highway Patrol acknowledged there was no robbery, just a calamitous mix-up in communications between dispatchers working for two separate patrol offices. This failure to communicate led to the shooting of the Smoaks' dog, an incident that was preserved on videotape by a dashboard camera in a patrol car.

Even so, the THP officers did not act inappropriately by making the felony stop, according to an internal investigation.

"Our investigation has found that our troopers on the scene that night — Trooper David Bush, Trooper Jerry Phann and Lt. Jerry Andrews — did have probable cause to conduct what in police terms is called a 'felony stop' of a motorist," said Beth Tucker Womack, spokeswoman for the Department of Safety. The THP is part of the Safety Department.

A felony stop is ordered when the occupants of a car are thought to have been involved in a crime.

Likewise, the Cookeville Police Department's internal investigation determined that its officers, who were providing backup for the troopers, "performed their duties according to training and policy," said department spokesman Capt. Nathan Honeycutt.
You can read the rest at the link.

I wonder how many BATF agents are going to be tied up investigating a nearly-simultaneous purchase of tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition of various calibers? Or how long it will take Wal*Mart to shut down ammo sales on Nov. 19?

Sunday, October 16, 2005

National Ammo Day Approacheth.

And the guys at have come up with an amusing twist. On the afternoon of Nov. 19, at 3:30PM Central time or as close as practicable, a bunch of us (me included) are going to go to our local WalMart and buy as much of the Winchester white-box or Remington value-packs of ammo as we can afford - preferably every bit in stock, in our preferred caliber(s). We're kind of interested to see if it rings any bells anywhere.

Someone else suggested picking up a copy of Red Dawn on DVD at the same time.

I just might do that, too.

UPDATE, 10/17. The High Road forum has picked up on this, too!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

I Can't Stop Now! More Validation!.

Again, sorry for the lack of posting. Work has been... consuming. And I'm in the middle of a lot of stuff having to do with my house. Anyway, I got this email today:
Just wanted to let you know that your message is getting through, and being spread.

We recently had an eight year old in the community shot by a fourteen year old with a handgun. Not much info on who owned the gun, why the kids weren’t in school or who was supervising them, but an unfortunate accident none the less. The local liberal paper took the opportunity to parrot the gun control lies with a front page article saying how child shootings are not uncommon because there are “eight per day in the US”. Followed by an editorial with the same BS and suggestions for getting trigger locks and asking the question “do you really need a gun?”

I knew I had read relevant material on your site, so looked up some info and sent them the following letter.

Look about half way down.

I had a lot more to say, but they limit us to 250 words.


Louis Barraza
And here's that letter-to-the-editor:
Teach your kids

The shooting death of the Huntsville boy this week was a tragic occurrence, but there was no need by The Times to sensationalize it ("A deadly mixture," Oct. 7) by misquoting Centers for Disease Control statistics.

The actual number of children ages 0 to 14 killed by accidental gunshot in the United States was 60, per the CDC report for 2002 published this year. Not "eight per day" as The Times claimed.

The numbers quoted are for "children" up to age 24, the vast majority of which were killed in drug, illegal activity or gang- related homicides.

While everyone agrees that 60 deaths are surely 60 too many, some perspective is in order. In the same age range, 95 died from falls and 838 drowned.

Complications from doctors and medical mistakes killed 69, making firearms just a little less likely to kill than a mistake by a doctor.

The Times' suggestions are a good start in reducing tragedies, but the most important - education - was left out.

Guns are not uncommon, and all children should be taught safe practices whether they live in a home with any or not.

Children are naturally curious and must be taught about the dangers and uses of firearms, just like they are taught about the danger and uses of the poison under the sink or the power tools in the garage.

Louis G. Barraza
Thank you, Louis. It encourages me to know that all of the time I put into the blog actually has a payback.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

That's What I Figured. Dammit.

Rob Smith reports that he's dying. Someone wrote jokingly once that "perfect health is just the slowest possible rate of dying." There's a difference though, I think, when The End is staring you in the face, and the only question is "Days, months, or a couple more years?" For those of you not familiar with Rob's site Gutrumbles, or his (appropriate) persona of Acidman, Rob started his blog after life hit him in the balls. With a 10 pound sledghammer. Repeatedly. Blogging is Rob's version of therapy. Sometimes reading his posts is much like watching an all-day plane crash, but he's usually entertaining, never boring, and he's often very insightful. Getting a huge dose of reality forced down your throat tends to strip away the bullshit, and Rob's been stripped raw.

I hope he stays with it as long as he can, and Rob? I'm gonna miss you when you're gone.

Monday, October 10, 2005

On the Dearth of Posting.

Sorry about that. I've been busy both at work and with personal stuff, and honestly I haven't been all that inspired to post, even when I find articles that would normally pique my interest.

Hopefully this won't last all that long, but bear with me. I haven't quit, just slowed down.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

I Just Listened to Bush's Speech.

I'd say my post True Believers was just vindicated with regard to his position.

Message to Sheehan: The noble cause Casey died for is freedom. Everybody's freedom.

Message to the "bring 'em home" crowd: Fuck off. We're staying until we're finished.

Message to the rest of the appeasers: They won't be appeased. Accept it. Live with it. Deal with it. Or shut up and get out of the way.

Message to Iran and Syria: You're next.

Good speech. Delivery was typical Bush - bad pronunciation and sometimes awkward, but the meaning was plain and blunt. And the one thing the world has learned about George Walker Bush is, when he makes a statement you don't have to parse it for meaning. He IS the no-nuance President.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Compare and Contrast.

A couple of weeks ago in An Atheist No Longer I declared that I am now a reformed Pastafarian, worshipper of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (Sauce be Upon Him! Ramen.) Imagine my shock when I saw this Cox & Forkum cartoon:

This is obviously a ripoff of the original art, "Touched by His Noodly Appendage":

I AM OUTRAGED by this blasphemy! I think I'll be filing suit against Cox & Forkum for violating my civil right to not be offended. I live in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. If I file in California, I think my chances are probably excellent.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Rope, Tree; Some Assembly Required.

I got an email from Francis. He's pretty torqued about this story:
Florida city considers eminent domain

By Joyce Howard Price
October 3, 2005

Florida's Riviera Beach is a poor, predominantly black, coastal community that intends to revitalize its economy by using eminent domain, if necessary, to displace about 6,000 local residents and build a billion-dollar waterfront yachting and housing complex.
Yep. Those 6,000 residents sure will love living in those new houses... What? You mean they'll have to live somewhere else??
"This is a community that's in dire need of jobs, which has a median income of less than $19,000 a year," said Riviera Beach Mayor Michael Brown.

He defends the use of eminent domain by saying the city is "using tools that have been available to governments for years to bring communities like ours out of the economic doldrums and the trauma centers."

Mr. Brown said Riviera Beach is doing what the city of New London, Conn., is trying to do and what the U.S. Supreme Court said is proper in its ruling June 23 in Kelo v. City of New London. That decision upheld the right of government to seize private properties for use by private developers for projects designed to generate jobs and increase the tax base.
Err, no. That decision upheld the power of government to throw people out of their own homes for projects the government hopes will generate a larger tax base. "Right" has nothing to do with it.
"Now eminent domain is affecting people who never had to deal with it before and who have political connections," Mr. Brown said. "But if we don't use this power, cities will die."
Then perhaps they should?
Jacqui Loriol insists she and her husband will fight the loss of their 80-year-old home in Riviera Beach.
But the Supreme Court has legislated decided. Your home is not your own, even if you pay your rent taxes.
"This is a very [racially] mixed area that's also very stable," she said. "But no one seems to care ... Riviera Beach needs economic redevelopment. But there's got to be another way."

In the Kelo ruling, a divided Supreme Court held that private development offering jobs and increased tax revenues constituted a public use of property, but the court held that state legislatures can draft eminent-domain statutes to their satisfaction.

Dana Berliner, senior lawyer with the Institute for Justice, which represented homeowners in the Kelo case, said "pie in the sky" expectations like those expressed by Mr. Brown are routine in all these cases.

"They always think economic redevelopment will bring more joy than what is there now," she said. "Once someone can be replaced so something more expensive can go where they were, every home and business in the country is subject to taking by someone else."

Last week, the Riviera Beach City Council tapped the New Jersey-based Viking Inlet Harbor Properties LLC to oversee the mammoth 400-acre redevelopment project.

"More than 2,000 homes could be eligible for confiscation," said H. Adams Weaver, a local lawyer who is assisting protesting homeowners.

Viking spokesman Peter Frederiksen said the plan "is to create a working waterfront," adding that the project could take 15 years and that "we would only use condemnation as a last resort."

Viking has said it will pay at least the assessed values of homes and businesses it buys.
Unless, of course, the owners tenants fight it. Then they'll get less than market value minus "back rent" when the legal challenges finally run out.

Charming, no?
Other plans for the project include creation of a basin for megayachts with high-end housing, retail and office space, a multilevel garage for boats, a 96,000-square-foot aquarium and a manmade lagoon.

Mr. Brown said Riviera Beach wants to highlight its waterfront.

"We have the best beach and the most attractive redevelopment property anywhere in the United States," he said.

Mr. Frederiksen said people with yachts need a place to keep and service them. "And we want to develop a charter school for development of marine trades."
I'm sure the former residents will love working in the new marina.
Mr. Brown and others said this could be one of the biggest eminent-domain actions ever. A report in the Palm Beach Post said it is the biggest since 1954, when 5,000 residents of Washington were displaced for eventual development of the Southwest D.C. waterfront, L'Enfant Plaza, and the less-than-successful Waterside Mall.
That would be the initial "takings" case argued before the Supreme Court, Berman v. Parker. "Less-than-successful," eh? You don't say.
The fact that Riviera Beach is so financially downtrodden may seem ironic because as Mr. Brown notes "it sits right across the inlet from Palm Beach," one of the nation's wealthiest areas.

"Palm Beach County is the largest county east of the Mississippi, and we have the second-highest rate of poverty in the county," the mayor said.
I've discussed the Kelo decision here twice before. Once, during the oral-argument phase in Slouching Towards Despotism, and then after the decision in Sprinting Towards Despotism. The only real surprise was that Sandra Day O'Connor, who wrote the Midkiff decision, the second "takings" case dealing with eminent domain, dissented in Kelo.

Francis, I don't know what to do, but Mike of Feces Flinging Monkey sent me this cartoon that says a lot:
As some members of the blogosphere have recommended repeatedly, "Rope, tree; some assembly required" is the only thing that comes immediately to mind. I keep wondering if this won't drive another person or three to press the reset button.

UPDATE - 10/5: And don't miss this post by Ravenwood.
"They want to steal my land," Segal said. "What right do they have when I intend to do the exact same thing they want to do with my property?"
Welcome to post-Kelo America. All your property are belong to us!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Well, THIS Just SUCKS.

You'll get 'em back, or something better. Dammitall.


I just have to post this for posterity:
Injured Marine defies attackers



RAMADI, Iraq - Once Marine Gunnery Sgt. Michael Burghardt realized he could wiggle his toes and fingers, he had one message for the insurgents who wounded him - defiance.

Marine Gunnery Sgt. Michael Burghardt signals defiance at his Iraqi attackers after being injured by an improvised explosive device near Ramadi. Attending to the Marine were Nebraska 167th Cavalry members Spc. John Adams (far left, in front) of Hastings, Neb., and Pfc. Darin Nelson of Fremont, Neb.

Burghardt, of Huntington Beach, Calif., started his third tour in Iraq trying to beat the insurgents to the IEDs - improvised explosive devices - and disarm them before the insurgents could set them off.

As is often the case, Burghardt and his Explosive Ordnance Disposal team were accompanied to a bomb site Monday by the First Platoon, 167th Cavalry of the Nebraska National Guard.

One IED had blown up a Bradley fighting vehicle and killed a U.S. soldier. As often happens, the insurgents left behind more IEDs. Burghardt disarmed two bombs that were found - quick action that probably saved the lives of several Nebraska soldiers.

But he couldn't get to a third.

When word spread that the third device had been found, 167th Capt. Jeff Searcey of Kearney, 1st Lt. Matthew Misfeldt of Omaha and their men hit the ground as a blast exploded skyward.

Burghardt was wounded.

But with two new young Marines in his ordnance disposal unit - and the insurgent attackers undoubtedly looking on - "I didn't want them to see the team leader carried away on a stretcher," he said.

So after the Nebraskans tended to wounds that reached from his boot tops to the small of his back, Burghardt rose to his feet and reached back with a one-finger salute for his attackers.

"I was angry," Burghardt said.

IEDs - which can be roadside bombs, car bombs or other booby traps - increasingly are the weapons of choice for the Iraqi insurgents.

Unwilling or unable to attack U.S. forces head-on, the insurgency has used the hidden explosives, often detonated by remote control. Some analysts have estimated that nearly 12,000 IED incidents occurred in Iraq in 2004.

The Explosive Ordnance Disposal units are assigned to locate, identify, disarm and dispose of IEDs. The Nebraskans alongside Burghardt's unit provide security at the scene, guarding the perimeter while the EOD teams do their dangerous work.

The 1st Platoon has been on 80 such missions, including some false alarms, since the 167th Cavalry arrived in Ramadi about 90 days ago.

Working together, the ordnance disposal Marines and the Nebraska National Guardsmen have developed a mutual respect - there's no Army-Marine trash-talking here.

"The biggest threat to us in Iraq is IEDs. We love working with them. They make us better soldiers," Misfeldt said.

Burghardt, an 18-year Marine with 15 years' experience disarming explosives, returns that admiration.

"I feel part of this Army team," he said. "They take care of us like brothers."

Burghardt received the Bronze Star during his last tour of duty for disarming 64 IEDs. This week's incident was his first injury.

Burghardt, 35, wouldn't accept painkillers when he was brought back to camp by the Nebraskans. He knew he might need them later. And he's not looking to leave Ramadi for five more months.

"I don't want a ticket out," he said. "I want to stay here so we can take as many people home as possible."

Soldiers all the way up to the brigade's commander, Col. John Gronski, viewed a photo of Burghardt - on his feet, arm extended and middle finger raised - as the embodiment of the American warrior.

As for Burghardt, he said he wanted to send a message to the insurgents who failed to kill him.

"I knew there was somebody disappointed out there."
Disappointed? Scared shitless, I'd hope! And I'd say that man is a believer. As someone on commented, it's obvious they photoshopped out his large titanium balls! Give that man another medal.