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

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Agenda? What Agenda?

Agenda? What Agenda?

Eugene Volokh reports:
So I thought that the Ninth Circuit's holding that the Second Amendment binds state and local governments (via the Fourteenth Amendment) was a pretty big deal. It was the first federal court of appeals decision to so hold. If followed, it would invalidate the Chicago handgun ban, plus perhaps some other broad state and local gun restrictions, such as New York City's ban on all gun ownership by 18-to-20-year-olds. And it might well trigger Supreme Court consideration of the issue, since there's now a split between the Second and Ninth Circuits on the issue.

But here's the odd thing: I couldn't find any articles about this in the New York Times, the L.A. Times, the Chicago Tribune, or the Washington Post. (I searched for second amendment or bear arms or nordyke or gun show.) There was early coverage on CNN and in the San Francisco Chronicle, but nothing else in any newspapers in the NEWS;MAJPAP file on LEXIS. Am I missing some stories that just didn't happen to use the keywords I searched for? Or is the court decision just not worth even a brief mention?

There's more, but is anyone really surprised?



David Codrea reports that the 2A Blog Bash has become . . . exclusive, and not in a good way. By all appearances, anyone who does not meet Bitter's unpublished criteria won't get blogger credentials at the NRA convention. Please do read the whole thing.

I left this comment at David's:
Of course it's an NRA public relations stunt. What do you think, they want news crews to tape a shouting match between the Prags and the Threepers?

Honestly, how many of you here think that mixing those two groups would result in Reasoned Discourse™? We already know what it does on the intarwebs.

And I think we've had this discussion before - in the Civil Right to Arms movement, the Prags play MLK and the Threepers play Malcom X. The opposition talks to the Prags, because otherwise they have to talk to you.

Don't act all surprised and butthurt. This is the role you've embraced.
And this addendum:

I'm speaking for myself here. I don't know that Bitter has done what you've accused her of, but I wouldn't find it surprising, for the reason I gave above.
I'm not happy about it, but it's her party. And no, I really don't want to get into a shouting match with Mike Vanderboegh in the hall in front of cameras. That's a public front I'd rather not put forth.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009


We are not your sons and daughters, whom you must protect and defend. We are your sword and your shield. We are men and women who volunteer to place our lives on the line so you do not have to. We do not decide when or where we will be sent. We go. You are our advocates, not our parents.


I, as a soldier, am personally insulted when debate about war becomes not about policy, but about deaths, because it implies that my service is at best uninformed or ill-conceived, and at worst valueless.

I know my life is in the hands of others because I choose for it to be that way. I am not your daughter, a child who must be guided. I have made my choice and pledge my honor to it. I will thank you to remember that because we serve our nation, none of us dies in vain, regardless of the cause; end of debate.

Sarah Albrycht - Letter from a Soldier in Afghanistan
Via Dr. Sanity


I've got dust in my eyes . . .


Man, it's nice to have reliable broadband service again! (And a solid night's sleep!)

Let's start off my (excessively long) 2009 Boomershoot report with a video: The Anvil Launch!

As noted previously, my shooting partner and I departed Tucson on Wednesday morning about 06:30 and didn't stop until we got North of Boise, ID Salt Lake City, UT. We left bright and early Thursday, and arrived in Orofino a little after 4:00PM - too late to join the other Gunbloggers up at the range, but we did manage to find the local Ponderosa restaurant (not the chain, an independent) for dinner at 18:00 that evening for an informal get-together. I met Ry Jones, Earl Dungey of Just the Library Keeper, Alan of Snarky Bytes, Matthew of Triggerfinger, the original South Park Pundit (now blogging at Ballistic-Deanimation. I got to see Derek of The Packing Rat, George of Rivrdog, David of Random Nuclear Strikes, and Bonnie of Squeaky Wheel Seeks Grease again, too, and (of course) Joe Huffman, our host. I know I met more bloggers than that, but my memory is faulty.

Friday we slept in, and at Joe's invitation we moseyed on up to the range about lunch time. Gene Econ was running the first day of the long-range clinic, so we stopped over at the lunch wagon and got a burger & fries, and when everybody else broke for lunch, we headed up to the Taj Mahal where the Boomerite gets made. We met an interesting couple riding a Ural motorcycle with a sidecar (2WD!) that drew a lot of comments all weekend long.

When we first met I asked him what he did for a living. "I lie" was his reply, to which my response was "Oh! You're a journalist!" I was right. Turns out that he's Jack Lewis, freelance writer and frequent contributor to Motorcycle magazine, and his passenger is his wife and photographer. My shooting partner is a rider, and works for the University of Arizona doing esoteric technical stuff supporting the local observatories, so he had a lot to talk about with them about - bikes, riding and photography! Anyway, shooting partner and I spent the rest of the afternoon helping out a little, folding cardboard boxes and helping clean up, but where there was a break about three in the afternoon, we headed on down the hill.

We decided it would be a really good idea to get our rifles zeroed for the shoot on Sunday, so we went back Saturday morning, got signed in for "field fire" and set up our shooting position - #74:

That little blue half-tent was our windbreak and sunshade. Not quite big enough, but it sufficed. The temperature was in the low 40's, and the wind was just a bit brisk, too, so we layered up and took a look at the range itself:

We were on the end of a little hillock. The treeline you see in the middle distance is the 375-yard berm. The bottom of the hill way out there in the distance?

Yes, 606 yards, by my rangefinder. The top of the hill measured 717 yards. On Saturday, steel targets were scattered all the way from the base up to the top. We sighted in on one at about 640 yards. I hit it with both the Remington 700 and the long-range pistol, so I figured I was ready for Sunday. There is something . . . rewarding about repeatedly smacking a 4" steel target that far off in a stiff breeze.

Late in the afternoon the crew set up some Boomers at the 375 yard line for the precision rifle clinic people to shoot, and then those of us who were shooting "field fire" got a crack at them. My shooting partner got a couple, and then offered me his 7mm Magnum to take some shots. My response? "Oh hell yes!" That done, we packed up our rifles, left our shelter and bench set up, and headed back into Orofino to get ready for the evening's banquet.

There was an excellent turnout for the dinner, lots of prizes raffled off, and Joe raised $1,085 for Soldier's Angels plus an anonymous donor gave an additional $300 to be passed on. I didn't win a thing, and neither did my shooting partner. Bummer. But Alan won the best prize there. (The 50% off a Nightforce scope was #2. I dropped the better part of $60 trying to win that, but wasn't even close in that competition.)

Joe had all of the blogger/livejournalist attendees stand up and introduce themselves, and there were many. Hopefully he'll post a complete list some time. I got in a couple of wisecracks, myself.

Sunday was the Big Day, and turnout was good. I'd estimate that there were 175 or so shooters and at least another 50-75 spectators. I saw four empty spots, which surprised me, but I guess given the economy some people just couldn't make it. Bonnie actually had to head back home Sunday morning, so she didn't get to shoot on the big day, plus somehow she broke her nose on Saturday (I'm still waiting to hear how that happened.)

Alan has a very good picture of what the side of the hillside looked like populated with Boomers. Firing commenced about 10:00, and there was much Sturm und Drang. With my partner spotting for me, it took me nine shots before I got my first Boomer at about 615 yards, but I rapidly got eight more - at one point three-in-a-row, which has major ego-boosting powers, let me tell you! The call of "TARGET DOWN!" is very cool, followed immediately by a distance-delayed "BOOOOM!" We switched and I spotted for him for a while. I think I was a lousy spotter, because he burned a lot of .30-06 ammo to not much effect for a while. He ended up dropping to the 375 yard berm and finally scored a hit. He concluded that the next time he comes (this was his second trip) he'll have better equipment. At the least, better optics. I switched to the pistol and put about 40 rounds downrange, but only managed to score one 7" boomer at about 640 yards. (Scared a few, but only just.) Still, that's not bad for my first attempt at really looooong range handgunning.

We broke for lunch about noon, so I took my camera and walked the firing line to see what the others had brought.


There were a couple of "minimalists," like this guy who brought a sniper KAR-98 Swedish Mauser M41B:

and a scoped Mosin

I have a feeling that picking out tiny little 7" squares at 600+ yards with WWII-era sniper optics was a challenge.

Of course, David brought his long-range pistols:

Lots of people had better sun and wind protection than we did:

These guys had HEAT!

But there was some serious high-dollar hardware on site:

Lots of high-dollar optics for the spotters were in evidence.

I definitely need to upgrade to a better spotting scope/tripod. What I've got is fine for seeing bullet holes in paper at 100 yards, but it's not so much for trying to see bullet "trace" on its way out to 600 yards.

But THESE guys:

I was tempted to ask if those things were self-propelled, too.

Anyway, the weather weenies were wrong (again) and the winds were lighter on Sunday than they had been on Saturday, so it seemed warmer. It didn't rain or snow, and the shooting was excellent. All in all, it was a great trip - but one I don't think I'll be doing next year. Over the week I put 2990 miles on my truck, the overwhelming majority in four long days behind the wheel. I need a shooting friend who's a member of AOPA. There's a nice airstrip right next to Orofino. It's got to be better than 50 hours of windshield time.

But I was grinning the whole way home . . .

Another Public Educator Teaches "Critical Thinking"

Another Public Educator Teaches "Critical Thinking"

Speechless about covers it. Sebastian has the video of Cam Edwards interviewing a New York High School HISTORY TEACHER about the gun control bills that teacher is pushing er, encouraging his students to travel to Albany to support.

Yes, our opponents are that bigoted, ignorant, misinformed, obstinate, and dishonest. "Look who's teaching," indeed. I wonder if Mr. Esposito is a member of MEChA.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009



Everything's unloaded, my shooting partner is on his way to his own domicile, and I'm wiped out. Just over 12 hours on the road today. Coming back through Nevada was not noticeably quicker than going through Utah. We saved maybe an hour.

Regular blogging resumes tomorrow.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Travel Report

Travel Report

Reporting in from Ely, Nevada, 19:26PDT. On the road about 13 hours today, not sure how many miles, but a bunch. Staying at the local Motel 6 which has Wi-Fi ($2.99 extra) but it at least appears to be more reliable than the Konkolville Motel's service. Tired, hungry. Gonna get something to eat, go to bed, and hit the road bright and early tomorrow in hopes of getting home at a reasonable hour.

Man, I'm glad I took the rest of this week off!

Extended Boomershoot report with pictures and video probably Wednesday. And stay tuned for the final installment in the James Kelly saga later in the week.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Quick Post

Quick Post

9:35PM Tired. Shooting pretty much all day today - cold, windy, fantastic. Boomershoot is tomorrow. Might snow on us a bit. Hotel Wi-fi is unreliable. Sorry for the lack of posts. Can't upload photos, either. Lots of bloggers here! LOTS of good shooters with LOTS of nice hardware.

I'm going to BED. L8R.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Quote of the Day

This time from the Geek with a .45:
In about 5 billion years, Sol, our star, will enter its red giant phase, and engulf the orbit of the earth. After this event, the universe will continue for at least 10100 years. Well prior to that, Earth's atmosphere will boil away. Earth will be entirely, 100% destroyed, down to the last molecule, taking humanity with it.

The only way to avoid that fate is to attain star faring capability and get off this rock.

I submit therefore, that while stewardship of our resources is a laudable and necessary thing, that ultimately, our planet is 100% expendable, down to the very last molecule towards the goal of our ultimate escape.

Humanity needs exactly two game changing things: a compact, self contained, potent clean energy source along the lines of the fictional ZPM, and a star drive.

Such items will be the product of freedom, prosperity, and the material application of the intellect of man, and won't be dropped out of the sky as a result of granola munching Gaia worship.

Nature is pleased to eat us, or kill us in any of a number of lingering, nasty, painful ways.
I say we give the bitch the middle finger and blow this joint. Can I get an "AMEN!"?

How Cool is THIS

How Cool is THIS?

There's lots of coverage of the first day of Boomershoot by those who were able to attend, but this is the single most badass post of the group: Moment of Detonation. Ry Jones caught a boomer at the instant it began to detonate! You can see the bullet hole in the target box just before, as Joe Huffman put it, "it is reduced to its molecular components."

Other reports come from Trigger Finger, SnarkyBytes, and another post by Joe

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Oh Thank Jeebus, We're Here

Oh Thank Jeebus, We're Here!

Just checked in to the Konkolville Motel right at 17:00. Twenty-five hours and a bit over 1400 miles of windshield time getting here. We stopped at a Motel 6 last night about 9:30PM PDT just North of Salt Lake City, and left this morning at 07:00. I'm not looking forward to the return trip. No pictures or anything as of yet to post. I need some rest and some antihistamines. I've got no plans for tomorrow or Saturday with the exception of the big dinner Joe's got planned. Oh, and getting caught up after two days off the web. I'm suffering from withdrawal.

Man am I glad to be off the road.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

As I Head Off for Boomershoot . . .

As I Head Off for Boomershoot . . .

Something for you to think about, from Billy Beck:
All the political initiative now is with the forces of Amsoc. Where the so-called conservatives have fought generations of piece-meal rear-guard action against the integral resolution of socialism to corrode its worst enemy -- the practical and living ideal of freedom: America -- out of existence, and as they have done so as effects of disintegrated philosophy, the socialists are assuming the commanding heights in full political battle gear.

It is important to understand that this can only and inevitably mean physical battle gear, right in front of your eyes, right here in America. The spirit of this place that was not born of the slave's obeisance will require this government to bare its fangs. I still believe that. The ways in which and the singular souls from Americans select their values are not yet so beaten to any alien molds so well that they will peaceably stand for the conformations that this government will eventually require and demand -- not "ask".
Do read the whole thing. Oh, and this:
A Thought For Your Day

"Officers of the police or revenue easily adapt themselves to any form of government."

(Edward Gibbon, "The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire", Vol. I, ch. 3, footnote 20, p. 59)
Also from Billy.

I'll be on the road the next couple of days, but if at all possible, I'll be posting at least a little something in the evenings.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
It’s never been about controlling crime. It’s about controlling people. Anyone who says that’s nonsense needs to look no further than Michael Bloomberg. - Sebastian at Snowflakes in Hell, Interference Bloomberg Style

Monday, April 20, 2009


Well, it isn't that big a victory, but still - coming out of the 9th Circus, it's a bloody miracle!

In 1996 the 9th handed down their decision of Hickman v. Block wherein:
Hickman owns and operates a responding security alarm company. He is also a federally licensed arms dealer. Wishing to break into the lucrative field of "executive protection," Hickman submitted a string of applications for a concealed firearms permit to the appellee municipal authorities. When the authorities denied Hickman's applications, he filed this suit for damages and injunctive relief, arguing several theories of liability under 42 U.S.C. sections 1983 and 1985(3). We considered and rejected in a unpublished memorandum disposition all of Hickman's various arguments save one: his claim for relief under section 1983 based on a violation of the Second Amendment.
The Court's decision:
The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution states: "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." U.S. Const. amend. II. Hickman argues that the Second Amendment requires the states to regulate gun ownership and use in a "reasonable" manner. The question presented at the threshold of Hickman's appeal is whether the Second Amendment confers upon individual citizens standing to enforce the right to keep and bear arms. We follow our sister circuits in holding that the Second Amendment is a right held by the states, and does not protect the possession of a weapon by a private citizen. We conclude that Hickman can show no legal injury, and therefore lacks standing to bring this action.


This case turns on the first constitutional standing element: whether Hickman has shown injury to an interest protected by the Second Amendment. We note at the outset that no individual has ever succeeded in demonstrating such injury in federal court. The seminal authority in this area continues to be United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939), in which the Supreme Court upheld a conviction under the National Firearms Act, 26 U.S.C. S 1132 (1934), for transporting a sawed-off shotgun in interstate commerce. The Court rejected the appellant's hypothesis that the Second Amendment protected his possession of that weapon. Consulting the text and history of the amendment, the Court found that the right to keep and bear arms is meant solely to protect the right of the states to keep and maintain armed militia. In a famous passage, the Court held that [i]n the absence of any evidence tending to show that the possession or use of a "shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length" at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument. 307 U.S. at 178. The Court's understanding follows a plain reading of the Amendment's text. The Amendment's second clause declares that the goal is to preserve the security of "a free state;" its first clause establishes the premise that well-regulated militia are necessary to this end. Thus it is only in furtherance of state security that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" is finally proclaimed.

Following Miller, "[i]t is clear that the Second Amendment guarantees a collective rather than an individual right." United States v. Warin, 530 F.2d 103, 106 (6th Cir.), cert. denied 96 S.Ct. 3168 (1976); see also Thomas v. Members of City Council of Portland, 730 F.2d 41, 42 (1st Cir. 1984) (same, citing Warin); United States v. Johnson, 497 F.2d 548, 550 (4th Cir. 1974) (cited with approval in Lewis, 445 U.S. at 65 n.8) (same). Because the Second Amendment guarantees the right of the states to maintain armed militia, the states alone stand in the position to show legal injury when this right is infringed.
This was the 9th's whole argument. Remember it.

Edited to add: Reader juris_imprudent calls attention to something most people miss. Note the emphasized portion of the quote above. This is the best indication of just how closely the 9th Circus read Miller. The Supreme Court didn't "uphold a conviction" - Miller was appealed to the Supreme Court because the District Court quashed the indictment on Second Amendment grounds. The GOVERNMENT appealed, not the plaintiff. Neither the plaintiff nor his counsel were present for oral arguments in Miller and no briefs on his side were presented.

And the 9th Circus somehow missed that in their detailed and nuanced understanding of the Miller decision. (End edit.)

In 2001 the 5th Circuit heard U.S. v. Emerson in which:
On August 28, 1998, Sacha Emerson, Emerson's wife, filed a petition for divorce in the 119th District Court of Tom Green County, Texas. The petition also requested, inter alia, a temporary injunction enjoining Emerson from engaging in any of twenty-nine enumerated acts. On September 4, 1998, Judge Sutton held a temporary orders evidentiary hearing. Sacha Emerson was represented by counsel while Emerson appeared pro se. There is no evidence that Emerson was unable (financially or otherwise) to retain counsel or the hearing or that he desired representation by counsel on that occasion. He announced ready at the beginning of the September 4 hearing. Almost all of Sacha Emerson's direct testimony concerned financial matters, but the following relevant exchange took place on direct examination by her attorney:
Q You are here today asking the Court for temporary orders regarding yourself and your daughter; is that correct?

A Yes.

Q You have asked in these restraining orders regarding Mr. Emerson in that he not communicate with you in an obscene, vulgar, profane, indecent manner, in a coarse or offensive manner?

A Yes.

Q He has previous to today threatened to kill you; is that correct?

A He hasn't threatened to kill me. He's threatened to kill a friend of mine.

Q Okay. And he has threatened - he has made some phone calls to you about that?

A Yes.
Emerson declined an opportunity to cross-examine Sacha and presented no evidence tending to refute any of her above quoted testimony or to explain his conduct in that respect. In his testimony he stated in another connection, among other things, that he was suffering from "anxiety" and was not "mentally in a good state of mind."
On September 14, 1998, Judge Sutton issued a temporary order that included a "Temporary Injunction" which stated that Emerson "is enjoined from" engaging in any of twenty-two enumerated acts, including the following:
"2. Threatening Petitioner in person, by telephone, or in writing to take unlawful action against any person."

"4. Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to Petitioner
or to a child of either party."

"5. Threatening Petitioner or a child of either party with imminent bodily
The order provides that it "shall continue in force until the signing of the final decree of divorce or until further order of this court." The September 14, 1998 order did not include any express finding that Emerson posed a future danger to Sacha or to his daughter Logan.

There is nothing to indicate that Emerson ever sought to modify or challenge any of the provisions of the September 14, 1998 order.

On December 8, 1998, the grand jury for the Northern District of Texas, San Angelo division, returned a five-count indictment against Emerson. The government moved to dismiss counts 2 through 5, which motion the district court subsequently granted. Count 1, the only remaining count and the count here at issue, alleged that Emerson on November 16, 1998, unlawfully possessed "in and affecting interstate commerce" a firearm, a Beretta pistol, while subject to the above mentioned September 14, 1998 order, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8).

It appears that Emerson had purchased the pistol on October 10, 1997, in San Angelo, Texas, from a licensed firearms dealer. Emerson does not claim that the pistol had not previously traveled in interstate or foreign commerce. It is not disputed that the September 14, 1998 order was in effect at least through November 16, 1998.

Emerson moved pretrial to dismiss the indictment, asserting that section 922(g)(8), facially and as applied to him, violates the Second Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. He also moved to dismiss on the basis that section 922(g)(8) was an improper exertion of federal power under the Commerce Clause and that, in any case, the law unconstitutionally usurps powers reserved to the states by the Tenth Amendment. An evidentiary hearing was held on Emerson's motion to dismiss.

The district court granted Emerson's motions to dismiss. Subsequently, the district court issued an amended memorandum opinion reported at 46 F. Supp. 2d 598 (N.D. Tex. 1999). The district court held that dismissal of the indictment was proper on Second or Fifth Amendment grounds, but rejected Emerson's Tenth Amendment and Commerce Clause arguments.

The government appealed.
Of course it did. The 5th Circuit panel then did what pretty much no other appeals court had done since the 1939 Miller case: it did a thorough review of Miller and an "original understanding" review of the Second Amendment, concluding in a 73-page decision heavy with footnotes and references. Their conclusion:
We reject the collective rights and sophisticated collective rights models for interpreting the Second Amendment. We hold, consistent with Miller, that it protects the right of individuals, including those not then actually a member of any militia or engaged in active military service or training, to privately possess and bear their own firearms, such as the pistol involved here, that are suitable as personal, individual weapons and are not of the general kind or type excluded by Miller. However, because of our holding that section 922(g)(8), as applied to Emerson, does not infringe his individual rights under the Second Amendment we will not now further elaborate as to the exact scope of all Second Amendment rights.


Although, as we have held, the Second Amendment does protect individual rights, that does not mean that those rights may never be made subject to any limited, narrowly tailored specific exceptions or restrictions for particular cases that are reasonable and not inconsistent with the right of Americans generally to individually keep and bear their private arms as historically understood in this country. Indeed, Emerson does not contend, and the district court did not hold, otherwise. As we have previously noted, it is clear that felons, infants and those of unsound mind may be prohibited from possessing firearms.


We agree with the district court that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to privately keep and bear their own firearms that are suitable as individual, personal weapons and are not of the general kind or type excluded by Miller, regardless of whether the particular individual is then actually a member of a militia.66 However, for the reasons stated, we also conclude that the predicate order in question here is sufficient, albeit likely minimally so, to support the deprivation, while it remains in effect, of the defendant's Second Amendment rights.
It was a 3-0 decision in which a concurring opinion rebuking the research and review on the Second Amendment for the case was scathing, to the point of earning a response from the majority in footnote 66 of the decision:
We reject the special concurrence's impassioned criticism of our reaching the issue of whether the Second Amendment's right to keep and bear arms is an individual right. That precise issue was decided by the district court and was briefed and argued by both parties in this court and in the district court. Moreover, in reaching that issue we have only done what the vast majority of other courts faced with similar contentions have done (albeit our resolution of that question is different). The vast majority have not, as the special concurrence would have us do, simply said it makes no difference whether or not the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is an individual right because even if it were an individual right the conviction (or the challenged statute) would be valid. In this case, unless we were to determine the issue of the proper construction of section 922(g)(8) in Emerson's favor (which the special concurrence does not suggest), resolution of this appeal requires us to determine the constitutionality of section 922(g)(8), facially and as applied, under the Second Amendment (as well as under the due process clause and the commerce clause). We have done so on a straightforward basis. We likewise reject the implied criticism (in the special concurrence's fourth paragraph) for not mentioning certain "facts" not alleged in the indictment, not found to be true by any trier of fact, and not relevant to the section 922(g)(8) violation alleged. The district court dismissed the indictment and Emerson has not yet been convicted of anything. In fact, we have been informed that he has been acquitted of state charges relating to the matter mentioned in the special concurrence.
This is known as a "smackdown." It was also the first time that a Federal Appeals Court had declared that the Second Amendment protected an individual right.

In 2002 the 9th handed down two Second Amendment decisions - Nordyke v. King (PDF) and Silveira v. Lockyer (PDF). Nordyke was a case about local government banning gun shows on county property. Silveira was a suit seeking to overturn the Roberti-Roos Assault Weapon Ban. The Silveira decision was handed down first, but an interesting thing happened there. The three-judge panel attempted its own review of Miller, striving to uphold the Hickman decision it was bound to by stare decisis. The results, if you've studied this stuff as long as I have, were laughable, or would have been if the subject were not so serious, but don't take my word for it. In the later Nordyke case came this footnote:
We should note in passing that in Silveira v. Lockyer, 312 F.3d 1052 (9th Cir. 2002), another panel took it upon itself to review the constitutional protections afforded by the Second Amendment even though that panel was also bound by our court’s holding in Hickman. The panel in Silveira concluded that analysis of the text and historical record led it to the conclusion that the collective view of the Second Amendment is correct and that individual plaintiffs lack standing to sue.

However, we feel that the Silveira panel's exposition of the conflicting interpretations of the Second Amendment was both unpersuasive and, even more importantly, unnecessary. We agree with the concurring opinion in Silveira: "[W]e are bound by the Hickman decision, and resolution of the Second Amendment issue before the court today is simple: plaintiffs lack standing to sue for Second Amendment violations because the Second Amendment guarantees a collective, not an individual, right." Silveira v. Lockyer, 312 F.3d 1094 (9th Cir. 2002) (Magill, J., concurring). This represents the essential holding of Hickman and is the binding law of this circuit. There was simply no need for the Silveira panel’s broad digression. In a recent case, an individual plaintiff cited to the Fifth Circuit's holding in Emerson and argued that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms. United States v. Hinostroza, 297 F.3d 924, 927 (9th Cir. 2002). However, we summarily, and properly as a matter of stare decisis, rejected the Second Amendment challenge on the grounds that it is foreclosed by this court’s holding in Hickman.

Therefore, despite the burgeoning legal scholarship supporting the "individual rights" theory as well as the Fifth Circuit's holding in Emerson, the Silveira panel's decision to re-examine the scope and purpose of the Second Amendment was improper. Because "only the court sitting en banc may overrule a prior decision of the court," Morton v. De Oliveira, 984 F.2d 289, 292 (9th Cir. 1993), the Silveira panel was bound by Hickman, and its rather lengthy re-consideration of Hickman was neither warranted nor constitutes the binding law of this circuit. Accordingly, we ignore the Silveira panel's unnecessary historical disquisition as the dicta that it is and consider ourselves bound only by the framework set forth in Hickman.
Another smackdown.

As in Emerson, there was a special concurrence in Nordyke, too:
I join the court’s opinion, and write to elaborate that Hickman v. Block, 81 F.3d 98 (9th Cir. 1996), was wrongly decided, that the remarks in Silveira v. Lockyer, 312 F.3d 1052 (9th Cir. 2002), about the "collective rights" theory of the Second Amendment are not persuasive, and that we would be better advised to embrace an "individual rights" view of the Second Amendment, as was adopted by the Fifth Circuit in United States v. Emerson, 270 F.3d 203, 260 (5th Cir. 2001), consistent with United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939). We should recognize that individual citizens have a right to keep and bear arms, subject to reasonable restriction by the government. We should also revisit whether the requirements of the Second Amendment are incorporated into the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Our panel is bound by Hickman, and we cannot reach the merits of Nordyke's challenge to Second Amendment. But the holding of Hickman can be discarded by our court en banc or can be rejected by the Supreme Court if it decides to visit the issue of what substantive rights are safeguarded by the Second Amendment.

I write to express disagreement with the "collective rights view" advanced in Hickman and Silveira because I conclude that an "individual rights view" of the Second Amendment is most consistent with the Second Amendment's language, structure, and purposes, as well as colonial experience and pre-adoption history.
And it goes on in that vein, heavily footnoted, for ten pages of the 22 page decision, concluding:
The right to "keep and bear arms" is a fundamental liberty upon which the safety of our Nation depends, and it requires for its efficacy that an individual right be recognized and honored.

I reach this conclusion despite a recognition that many may think that these ideas are outmoded, that there is no risk in modern times of our government becoming a tyranny, and that there is little threat that others would invade our shores or attack our heartland. However, the Second Amendment was designed by the Framers of our Constitution to safeguard our Nation not only in times of good government, such as we have enjoyed for generations, but also in the event, however unlikely, that our government or leaders would go bad. And it was designed to provide national security not only when our country is strong but also if it were to become weakened or otherwise subject to attack. As the people bear the risk of loss of their freedom and the pain of any attack, our Constitution provides that the people have a right to participate in defense of the Nation. The Second Amendment protects that fundamental right.
After the Supreme Court's D.C. v. Heller decision, Nordyke v. King was appealed again, and reheard. That decision was handed down today, and it was, as Judge Gould suggested in his special concurrence, decided on the Due Process clause. But before I get to that, I'd like to repeat some of my absolute favorite quotes from any court decision anywhere - the denial to re-hear Silveira v. Lockyer en banc (by the whole court, rather than a three-judge panel). First, Judge Alex Kozinski, it its entirety:
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.

The able judges of the panel majority are usually very sympathetic to individual rights, but they have succumbed to the temptation to pick and choose. Had they brought the same generous approach to the Second Amendment that they routinely bring to the First, Fourth and selected portions of the Fifth, they would have had no trouble finding an individual right to bear arms. Indeed, to conclude otherwise, they had to ignore binding precedent. United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939), did not hold that the defendants lacked standing to raise a Second Amendment defense, even though the government argued the collective rights theory in its brief. The Supreme Court reached the Second Amendment claim and rejected it on the merits after finding no evidence that Miller's weapon - a sawed-off shotgun - was reasonably susceptible to militia use. We are bound not only by the outcome of Miller but also by its rationale. If Miller's claim was dead on arrival because it was raised by a person rather than a state, why would the Court have bothered discussing whether a sawed-off shotgun was suitable for militia use? The panel majority not only ignores Miller's test; it renders most of the opinion wholly superfluous. As an inferior court, we may not tell the Supreme Court it was out to lunch when it last visited a constitutional provision.

The majority falls prey to the delusion - popular in some circles - that ordinary people are too careless and stupid to own guns, and we would be far better off leaving all weapons in the hands of professionals on the government payroll. But the simple truth - born of experience - is that tyranny thrives best where government need not fear the wrath of an armed people. Our own sorry history bears this out: Disarmament was the tool of choice for subjugating both slaves and free blacks in the South. In Florida, patrols searched blacks' homes for weapons, confiscated those found and punished their owners without judicial process. In the North, by contrast, blacks exercised their right to bear arms to defend against racial mob violence. As Chief Justice Taney well appreciated, the institution of slavery required a class of people who lacked the means to resist. See Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. (19 How.) 393, 417 (1857) (finding black citizenship unthinkable because it would give blacks the right to "keep and carry arms wherever they went"). A revolt by Nat Turner and a few dozen other armed blacks could be put down without much difficulty; one by four million armed blacks would have meant big trouble.

All too many of the other great tragedies of history - Stalin's atrocities, the killing fields of Cambodia, the Holocaust, to name but a few - were perpetrated by armed troops against unarmed populations. Many could well have been avoided or mitigated, had the perpetrators known their intended victims were equipped with a rifle and twenty bullets apiece, as the Militia Act required here. If a few hundred Jewish fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto could hold off the Wehrmacht for almost a month with only a handful of weapons, six million Jews armed with rifles could not so easily have been herded into cattle cars.

My excellent colleagues have forgotten these bitter lessons of history. The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime routinely do. But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late. The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed - where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once.

Fortunately, the Framers were wise enough to entrench the right of the people to keep and bear arms within our constitutional structure. The purpose and importance of that right was still fresh in their minds, and they spelled it out clearly so it would not be forgotten. Despite the panel’s mighty struggle to erase these words, they remain, and the people themselves can read what they say plainly enough:

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.

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.
And the dissent by Judge Andrew Jay Kleinfeld:
I respectfully dissent from our order denying rehearing en banc. In so doing, I am expressing agreement with my colleague Judge Gould’s special concurrence in Nordyke v. King, and with the Fifth Circuit's opinion in United States v. Emerson, both taking the position that the Second Amendment secures an individual, and not collective, right to keep and bear arms.

The panel opinion holds that the Second Amendment imposes no limitation on California’s [or any other state’s] ability to enact legislation regulating or prohibiting the possession or use of firearms" and "does not confer an individual right to own or possess arms." The panel opinion erases the Second Amendment from our Constitution as effectively as it can, by holding that no individual even has standing to challenge any law restricting firearm possession or use. This means that an individual cannot even get a case into court to raise the question. The panel's theory is that "the Second Amendment affords only a collective right," an odd deviation from the individualist philosophy of our Founders. The panel strikes a novel blow in favor of states' rights, opining that "the amendment was not adopted to afford rights to individuals with respect to private gun ownership or possession," but was instead "adopted to ensure that effective state militias would be maintained, thus preserving the people’s right to bear arms." It is not clear from the opinion whom the states would sue or what such a suit would claim were they to try to enforce this right. The panel's protection of what it calls the "people's right to bear arms" protects that "right" in the same fictional sense as the "people's" rights are protected in a "people's democratic republic."


About twenty percent of the American population, those who live in the Ninth Circuit, have lost one of the ten amendments in the Bill of Rights. And, the methodology used to take away the right threatens the rest of the Constitution. The most extraordinary step taken by the panel opinion is to read the frequently used Constitutional phrase, "the people," as conferring rights only upon collectives, not individuals. There is no logical boundary to this misreading, so it threatens all the rights the Constitution guarantees to "the people," including those having nothing to do with guns. I cannot imagine the judges on the panel similarly repealing the Fourth Amendment’s protection of the right of "the people" to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures, or the right of "the people" to freedom of assembly, but times and personnel change, so that this right and all the other rights of "the people" are jeopardized by planting this weed in our Constitutional garden.
Today that weed got yanked.
We therefore conclude that the right to keep and bear arms is "deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition." Colonial revolutionaries, the Founders, and a host of commentators and lawmakers living during the first one hundred years of the Republic all insisted on the fundamental nature of the right. It has long been regarded as the "true palladium of liberty." Colonists relied on it to assert and to win their independence, and the victorious Union sought to prevent a recalcitrant South from abridging it less than a century later. The crucial role this deeply rooted right has played in our birth and history compels us to recognize that it is indeed fundamental, that it is necessary to the Anglo-American conception of ordered liberty that we have inherited. We are therefore persuaded that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Second Amendment and applies it against the states and local governments.
And this decision, another 3-0, gets yet another special concurrence, again by Judge Gould:
I concur in Judge O’Scannlain's opinion but write to elaborate my view of the policies underlying the selective incorporation decision. First, as Judge O’Scannlain has aptly explained, the rights secured by the Second Amendment are "deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition," and "necessary to the Anglo-American regime of ordered liberty." The salient policies underlying the protection of the right to bear arms are of inestimable importance. The right to bear arms is a bulwark against external invasion. We should not be overconfident that oceans on our east and west coasts alone can preserve security. We recently saw in the case of the terrorist attack on Mumbai that terrorists may enter a country covertly by ocean routes, landing in small craft and then assembling to wreak havoc. That we have a lawfully armed populace adds a measure of security for all of us and makes it less likely that a band of terrorists could make headway in an attack on any community before more professional forces arrived.1 Second, the right to bear arms is a protection against the possibility that even our own government could degenerate into tyranny, and though this may seem unlikely, this possibility should be guarded against with individual diligence. Third, while the Second Amendment thus stands as a protection against both external threat and internal tyranny, the recognition of the individual's right in the Second Amendment, and its incorporation by the Due Process Clause against the states, is not inconsistent with the reasonable regulation of weaponry. All weapons are not "arms" within the meaning of the Second Amendment, so, for example, no individual could sensibly argue that the Second Amendment gives them a right to have nuclear weapons or chemical weapons in their home for self-defense. Also, important governmental interests will justify reasonable regulation of rifles and handguns, and the problem for our courts will be to define, in the context of particular regulation by the states and municipalities, what is reasonable and permissible and what is unreasonable and offensive to the Second Amendment.
Which is what the 5th Circuit said:
Although, as we have held, the Second Amendment does protect individual rights, that does not mean that those rights may never be made subject to any limited, narrowly tailored specific exceptions or restrictions for particular cases that are reasonable and not inconsistent with the right of Americans generally to individually keep and bear their private arms as historically understood in this country.
For the vast majority of us, that's all we want, though we understand the concept of the "slippery slope," having been on a toboggan ride for lo these last seventy years since the Miller decision.

I live in Arizona, one of the states in the 9th Circus. Today my right to arms finally got recognized after the Hickman decision planted that weed in our Constitutional garden.

I feel better. But I know that the price of liberty remains eternal vigilance. The fight ain't over, not by a long shot.

ETA: Reader Spearweasel begs for "a short summary." Impudent knave. However, go here and here.

This Never Happens

My wife came home on Friday and handed me a slip of paper with a URL on it and said, "You have to buy this shirt I saw today. It's perfect for you. I asked the lady I saw wearing it where to get it, and she said you could buy it here."

When my wife tells me to order a T-shirt, I order the T-shirt:

It arrived today, in time to take with me to Boomershoot. You can get yours here.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

If Someone Had Told Me a Year Ago . . .

If Someone Had Told Me a Year Ago . . .

that I'd be shooting at a 9" x 11" steel plate at 560 yards with a handgun and hitting it repeatedly, with a handload I hadn't tested before, I'd have thought they were nuts.

But I was doing exactly that this morning.

Boomershoot, here I come!

(As an aside, my final reply to James Kelly will have to wait for a while. These things take time to write, I'm busy getting ready to exercise my "relatively meaningless, one-dimensional freedom", and that's eating up my available time.)

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

It was obvious to me at the time DHS and Patriot Act (and TSA!) were bad moves. Aside from the fact that amalgamating many inefficient bureaucracies into one multiplies not divides the inefficiencies - efficient government is not an overriding concern of mine - centralizing power to meet a crisis leaves the centralized power available for abuse long after the crisis is forgotten. The chances that a future Democrat administration would disband DHS and repeal Patriot Act were patently zero even at the time. Expand, politicize, and abuse now are the order of the day, and I am not surprised in the least.

Both major parties seem now irredeemably statist. Many Republicans are starting to say the right things once more, but I doubt 51% will trust the party again soon enough to help. Nor should we, on the record. I attended the public signing of the Contract With America, and I watched as it was abandoned by Republican “realists” who seemed to think that absolute power in *their* hands was kinda neat.

- Jerry Pournelle

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Bill Whittle is as Good in Multimedia . . .

Bill Whittle is as Good in Multimedia . . .

. . . as he is in print! Go watch!
Ladies and gentlemen, we not only have an aristocratic imperial congress-for-life that no longer represents the will of the American people, we also have in place in the unbiased, dispassionate watchdogs that they claim to be, a wildly partisan and utterly unethical press corps who decides over cocktails who should win elections and who should lose them, and then prepares the appropriate narrative which they sell to you as unbiased news. But the current product of CNN, Newsweek and all the rest are as far from actual news reporting as our current Congress and federal government are from the ideals that our Founders had in mind at the very birth of this great nation.
Edited to add today's Day by Day:

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
1775 – American Revolution: The British advancement by sea begins; Paul Revere and other riders warn the countryside of the troop movements. Now if we want to watch the enemy dismantling our country, we can watch CNN. - Mostly Cajun, Today in History - April 18

Friday, April 17, 2009


Men shot dead at anti-gun event
Paul Cheston, Courts Correspondent

AN ALLEGED double killer, his accomplice and one of his victims were all carrying firearms at an anti-gun event in London, the Old Bailey heard today.

Shakah Anderson is accused of shooting dead Mohamed Korneh and Selorn Gbesenete, both 21, at the Tudor Rose night club in Southall at Unarmed 2, dedicated to stopping gun crime among young black people, the jury was told.

The killings in December 2002 were part of a series of shootings in the area. Korneh, known as Shorty, had allegedly been responsible for one shooting. When police arrived they found a Luger handgun in his waistband.

Anderson had been shot earlier that year and his alleged accomplice Wayne Freckleton has since died in a shooting.
That would be another shooting. Occurring elsewhere. At another time.
Stephen Batten, prosecuting, said "there must have been other guns at the event as well".
Gee, ya think?
Anderson has been named by a “supergrass” convicted of conspiracy to murder who will give evidence next week.
Assuming someone doesn't ventilate him in the meantime.

A double-homicide at an anti-gun event. How's that handgun ban working out again? Do you "feel safer" now?

A Luger. Dude was stylin'.

(h/t: Uncle)

Your Moment of Zen

Your Moment of Zen:

Again, I don't know where this picture was taken.

You Will Never Find . . .

You Will Never Find . . .

. . . a more wretched hive of scum and villainy:

Just a thought. (Gotta keep up my rightwing extremist creds, after all.)

Quote of the Day

People are getting tired of being pushed around.

In my home state of Utah, the federal government just set a bunch of rules about how you can travel on government land. Basically this makes it so that if you live in the extremely rural counties of Garfield or Kane, you can’t actually GO anywhere. You can’t actually travel across land that your ancestors travelled across with wagons or handcarts, and that your family has crossed for the last hundred years, because a bureaucrat in Washington (who’s never actually been to Utah) decreed that you can’t cross that land unless you do it in some sort of magical conveyance that doesn’t make noise or carbon. This might not sound like much to some of you, but with the stroke of a pen, the lives and livelyhoods of thousands of people were just altered for the worst on a whim.

That is just another example amongst the hundreds. Things like that are what are driving the Tea Parties.

- Larry Correia, Monster Hunter Nation
If you're interested in some of the other hundreds, if not thousands of examples, pick up a copy of Vin Suprynowicz's The Ballad of Carl Drega, or if that's too dry for you, John Ross's Unintended Consequences.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Here's Your 1st Rightwing Extremist Suspect

Here's Your 1st Rightwing Extremist Suspect
Tax protester in hot water over tea bags

A Beeville grandmother who sent tea bag tabs to Washington and Austin earlier this month found herself at police headquarters Monday answering questions about her intentions.

“I’m just a normal person. I’m a single grandmother raising two granddaughters,” said Faye Freeman Tuesday morning.

So imagine her reaction when Texas Ranger Andy Lopez and Beeville Police Department Staff Sgt. Richard Cantu came to her door Monday and told her they wanted her to go to the police department for questioning.

The reason? Freeman had mailed the tags from 64 tea bags to different elected representatives in Austin and Washington on April 4 to protest government spending. And one of the recipients had called the authorities to report her, saying he or she had received something suspicious in the mail from a woman in Beeville.

“If you were on the receiving end of something like that, what would you think?” Freeman said Lopez asked her.

“If I’d got something like that, I would have called the person back and said, ‘Can I help you?’” was her response.
But you're not a clueless politician. No fair!
When investigators asked if she thought she would open a suspicious envelope that had no return address, Freeman said, “The envelope had my return address on it.”

Later she asked this reporter, “How did they find me if there was no return address?”
Wouldn't "DUH?" have been an easier reply?
Freeman was doing what thousands of working taxpayers are doing this month as part of a protest against increased government spending and coming tax increases.

Instead of sending tea bags, the grandmother decided to send the tabs from the bags and use the tea herself.
This saves .gov money since they don't have to run a mass-spectrum analysis on the contents of the teabags to determine if they're Earl Gray or just Lipton like the tag says.
When she was asked why it was that she did not include a note in the letter explaining why she was sending the tabs, she had a simple answer. “That would have been an awful lot of writing.”
And we know our elected officials can't be bother to even read the legislation they vote on, so what would have been the point?
Freeman sent the envelopes to everyone in Washington and Austin she thought might listen. That included President Barack Obama, her U.S. senators and a number of representatives, state senators and representatives.

“When you do something like this you want to cover the chain of command,” she said.

But she never expected lawmen to show up at her door asking her to go downtown.

“I’m really surprised it happened,” Freeman said. “You should have seen my neighbors. I’m just a normal person and when the Texas Rangers came looking for me, they said, ‘Oh my goodness, what’s going on?’”

“I was stunned to start with,” Freeman said. “I didn’t have any idea. They kept assuring me that I wouldn’t be arrested.”
As long as she cooperated.

But if she stepped out of line . . .
“They were polite. I didn’t have any problems answering their questions,” Freeman commented.
Never answer their questions. Ask if you are under arrest, and get a lawyer. The police are not your friend, and they are not there to help you. And yes, I'm serious. I know there are a lot of good ones, but I also know you can't count on that. Lawyer up.
She said she planned to attend the tea party scheduled for the Bee County Courthouse lawn this morning. The entire tea bag tab incident was related to that event, a protest against the government for spending big and taxing big at a time when regular people are trying to make ends meet.

Other Bee County residents also mailed off tea bags to state and national representatives, but unlike Freeman most included a note of explanation with theirs.

“It seems to me that they keep wanting to tax people but they aren’t listening to what we want,” Freeman said. To her, that is taxation without representation, the reason the first tea party was held in Boston at the beginning of the American Revolution.
It is to a lot of us, Ms. Freeman. (OUTSTANDING name, BTW. That's probably what set the pol in question off. "Freeman? Can't have THAT!")
Lopez said he cannot comment much on the investigation. He said he received a call from someone who was concerned about the letter received from Freeman.

Lopez said he believes if she had included a letter explaining her feelings in the envelope there might not have been a complaint.

“I was asked to look into it, to see if there was anything fishy about it,” Lopez said of the envelope. “I was enlightened by Mrs. Freeman.”

Lopez did suggest that she might have been more clear with her intentions by including a note or letter of some kind. He said that when she said it would have taken a lot of writing to include a letter in each of the 64 envelopes, he simply suggested that she could have written one letter and made copies.
See above. Only a moron or a legislator (but I repeat myself) could have misinterpreted what a tea bag tab meant.
Lopez admitted that he had not kept up with the news regarding the tea party movement but he understands the intent now.

“She’s articulate and she seems sincere and genuine about that,” Lopez said.

As far as the tea bag letters and tea party protests planned for Wednesday across the nation, Lopez said he could understand the intent.

“This is America,” Lopez said. “Whatever makes your boat float.”
Here's a picture of this dangerous subversive:

Be afraid. Be very afraid!

Not Dying Quite Yet

Not Dying Quite Yet

From Van der Leun's sidebar:
Small Signs of Decline by Robert Heinlein:
I want to mention one of the obvious symptoms: Violence. Muggings. Sniping. Arson. Bombing. Terrorism of any sort. Riots of course - but I suspect that little incidents of violence, pecking away at people day after day, damage a culture even more than riots that flare up and then die down. Oh, conscription and slavery and arbitrary compulsion of all sorts and imprisonment without bail and without speedy trial - but those things are obvious; all the histories list them.

I think you have missed the most alarming symptom of all. This one I shall tell you. But go back and search for it. Examine it. Sick cultures show a complex of symptoms as you have named... But a dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than a riot.

This symptom is especially serious in that an individual displaying it never thinks of it as a sign of ill health but as proof of his/her strength. Look for it. Study it. It is too late to save this culture - this worldwide culture, not just the freak show here in California. Therefore we must now prepare the monasteries for the coming Dark Age. Electronic records are too fragile; we must again have books, of stable inks and resistant paper. -- Friday
From a comment left here just a little while ago:
The thing that really stood out to me at the Phoenix gathering was how polite the crowd was. No pushing, no stepping on toes, lots of "Excuse me" and "Please go ahead." Heinlein was correct.
But . . .

And I'm sure you can come up with myriad similar examples.

Not to keep bashing (formerly) Great Britain, but I can't help it:
Politeness 'missing from society'

Britain needs to do more to promote good manners, Tony Blair's "respect czar" Louise Casey has said.

The government adviser said politeness was now missing "right across society" and schools, companies and the media all had a role to play.

Ms Casey said London buses could remind passengers to give up seats to pregnant women and suggested TV soap operas may portray a less gloomy side of life.

"We need a greater sense it's OK to be decent," she told the Daily Telegraph.

"It's important to help old ladies across the road. The greatest pleasure you can give yourself is to help somebody else."

"You're not the nerd if you don't throw your rubbish on the floor - you're the person who's making Britain the country we all want to live in."

'Such anger'

Ms Casey said a rise in single-parent families and less church-going and neighbourliness were all possible factors in falling levels of politeness.
There's more, but I wouldn't bother. This shows that she recognizes that there is a problem, but not what the problem is:
Make Britain Polite - Respect Czar

Tony Blair's "Respect Czar" has called for a campaign to bring politeness back to British life.

Louise Casey said that society should be more ready to spend money to encourage good behaviour.
Spend other people's money. It's always the answer!

Rachel Lucas, though, has another take on it that's worth your time. Excerpt:
The culture is different. There are a lot of ways to describe it, none of which really nail it for me, but it is different. And until you get to the moment where they’re not doing anything to help during an attack, it’s pretty damn AWESOMELY different. I hesitate to even say that because I know some of my fellow Americans will take offense or take it the wrong way, but the thing is, like I keep saying, the people are are exceedingly polite and I like it a whole lot.

They don’t mow you down in crowds, they are considerate of your space, they are concerned about your wellbeing in general; frankly, I would rather - a MILLION TIMES OVER - be stuck in a crowded shopping center here than in the States. Would give one or two of my fingers, and I’m not joking about that, if Americans behaved as civilly on the roads and highways as the Brits do. This has nothing to do with me being enraptured by a new place; trust me, this is factual factiness. They drive better, they behave better in small spaces. Facts.

And I’m starting to think, as much as I like this aspect of society over here and as much as it pains me, that this "politeness" might just be their trouble.
Personally, I think the American perspective is best expressed by that quip that got Breda so much comment traffic:
Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone in the room.
Trefor Thomas, again:
To be civilized is to restrain the ability to commit mayhem.

To be incapable of committing mayhem is not the mark of the civilized,
merely the domesticated.
The difference between Rachel's experience and that bemoaned by Louise Casey? The populations they're exposed to. Same as here.

Preach It

Preach It!

"Concerned American" writes of his observation of cognitive dissonance en mass at the Atlanta TEA Party he attended. Excerpt:
As I stood listening to the speakers, I kept listening and looking around for any signs (literally and figuratively) that folks actually understood politics in Comrade Barry "We Won" Soetero's America, circa 2009.

The closest I saw?

One woman I spotted on my way to the transit station holding a sign which simply said, "Peaceful Attempt".

But if I gotten up on stage and said, "Do you understand that by demanding the elimination of socialism from this country -- which you claim to want -- you are implicitly and necessarily demanding the end of

- Social Security;
- Medicare;
- Medicaid;
- the new prescription drug benefit for geezers;
- Federal aid to local schools;
- the deductibility of mortgage interest;
- subsidized student loans; and
- a myriad of other government transfer payments?",

I would have been booed off the stage, at best.
Read the whole thing. Twice. Then pass it around.

Somehow This Strikes Me as the Wrong Message

Somehow This Strikes Me as the Wrong Message
Relatives run in memory of Va. Tech victims

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Randy Sterne got chills Thursday as he watched hundreds of balloons sail into a bright, sunny sky at the start of a 3.2-mile run to honor 32 people killed by a student gunman at Virginia Tech two years ago.

No. Just don't see that as the right message.
An unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it. - Jeff Cooper

Not Just Another Bad Movie

Not Just Another Bad Movie

ZOMG! Snakes on a Plane!

(Sorry. Couldn't restrain myself.)

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
When a society loses its memory, it descends inevitably into dementia. Allowing the cultural relativists to annex the education system ultimately destroys the grown-up world, too. - Mark Steyn, The loss of societal memory
(Tip of the chapeau to Van der Leun)

Just a note - this QotD has been postponed twice due to far better ones coming up in the interim.

UPDATE: Firehand has an associated post. Read it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

On that DHS "Rightwing Extremist" Report . . .

On that DHS "Rightwing Extremist" Report . . .

The best take on it I've read anywhere, House of Eratosthenes posts On That Homeland Security Right-Wing Extremist Group Report.

I skimmed through the left-wing blogs to find out what their reactions would be. Yglesias, ThinkProgress, Raw Story, Pandagon, Anonymous Liberal and Balloon Juice. A consistent and recurrent meme emerged: Troubling issues that arise from a government agency’s suggestion of terrorist motives on the part of free citizens “rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority” (p. 2) were left unexplored…even untouched. The subject matter turned, instead, to tit-for-tat, howzitfeel type of nonsense. Silly conservatives didn’t say a word when Bush was trampling on our civil liberties, why are they piping up now?

Awesome! The new administration was elected in on a glossy, glittery platform of “change.” And now it’s doing things that can only be defended by implying they’re the same as what the old crowd did. Some change.
Meet the new boss, same as . . . .
If only it were true. The argument is defeated — as left-wing arguments usually are — through an exercise known as reading things.
That oughta leave a mark.
As Malkin says:

[T]hose past reports have always been very specific in identifying the exact groups, causes, and targets of domestic terrorism, i.e., the ALF, ELF, and Stop Huntingdon wackos who have engaged in physical harassment, arson, vandalism, and worse against pharmaceutical companies, farms, labs, and university researchers.

Don’t take her word for it, or mine. The report to which the liberal bloggers point with their "the other guy did it too" defense, "Left-Wing Extremism: The Current Threat," is here. You won’t need to study long. The difference between the 2001 report and the one that just came out, is structural. The older report gives facts…and more facts…and more facts…dates…cities…statistics…the history behind each of the more pertinent groups, who founded them, why, what their methods are, what they’ve been caught doing, some intelligence suggesting who funds them. It even does a decent job of inspecting the possible dangers posed by right-wing extremist groups.

This month’s report from DHS boils down to one thing: "Hey, we’d better be worried about this stuff! You know how those tighty-righties are when they lose their jobs, especially when black people are elected President!" Yes, I’m putting words in their mouths, but not unfairly.
That's how I read it.

Do the Math

Do the Math

Here I go with statistics and stuff again. Well, actually it's Mike Ramirez this time:

How Can You Tell You're at a "Grassroots" Protest?

How Can You Tell You're at a "Grassroots" Protest?

1). Almost all the protest signs are hand-lettered.

2). There isn't a tour bus to be found

3). Nobody is wearing a Ché shirt.

I took an early lunch today and went down to the TEA Party protest at El Presidio Park in downtown Tucson. I took a digital camera to record the scene. I don't think there were a thousand people in attendance at any one time, but given the amount of traffic in and out, I'd say there were well over a thousand who showed up - many if not most like me, who could only spare about an hour away from work. Here's three crowd shots from the same position. (I'd do a panorama if I knew how and thought I could post something you could actually see:

And that's just a portion of the crowd. I'd like to see what it looked like from the upper floors of the nearby buildings.

There were a LOT of people with hand-lettered protest signs. Here are some of the better ones:

No Ché, but a Bob Marley T-shirt did make an appearance:

Of course, some people did make use of printers and graphics programs:

But no Debt Star.

While there was a lot of Obama-bashing, there really wasn't a lot of anti-democrat signage, it was mostly anti-political-party stuff. Neither major political party got much love at this rally. But there's always some:

She also had this to say:

And, of course, there was some free-enterprise capitalism going on. The Kettle Korn guy:

And the hot-dog vendor with a LONG line:

But by far, my favorite was this kid whose mother loves him very much!

I'll be really interested to see how the legacy media covers these events as opposed to the blogosphere.

UPDATE: Well, that question has been answered.

My BAG Day Purchase

My BAG Day Purchase

Actually, I got it on April 4, but close enough. I traded in the Swede for it.

A Taurus 605 .357 snubbie:

I got it specifically to be a "pocket pistol," so I think I'm going to do this to it, grips and all:

So, what did you get?