America’s Mass Shooting Leitmotif

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Active shooter drills are to my kids what “duck and cover” was to boomers.

Fifty years ago, we feared Soviet nuclear armageddon, now we don’t have to be wary of expansionist Leninist communism, but random assholes who can arm themselves to the teeth if they have a working PayPal account.

Yesterday, it was a mass shooting at an Oregon Community College. Before that it was Charleston, Fort Hood, D.C., Newtown. It’s constant. It’s chronic.

The United States is unique in the developed world: it guarantees its citizens a right to own and possess firearms. It is also unique insofar as we don’t have one uniform rule across all 50 states, so the ease with which one lunatic can amass his arsenal varies from state to state. So, it’s very difficult to point to the experience of the UK or Australia in order to do something about the public health scourge of gun violence.

I wrote a piece around the time that New York’s SAFE Act – “Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement” Act – a gun control measure passed in response and in the wake of the Sandy Hook mass murder of 20 innocent first graders. I saw gun enthusiasts and 2nd Amendment absolutists declare the SAFE Act to be the most horrible and egregious infringement on Consitutional rights, ever. I called the piece “Fuck Your Gun” to be provocative.

The SAFE Act limited gun magazines and implemented universal background checks for any gun transfer in any context. The 2nd Amendment absolutists declared it to be the end of everyone’s Constitutional rights. Meanwhile, here’s a chart of mass shootings in the US since Sandy Hook. Since Sandy Hook, the US has tolerated one school shooting just about every single week.

That is a nothing short of a scandal. Thoughts and prayers aren’t working.

The second amendment. The one that helps enshrine perpetual violence and revolution. Its purpose – clearly stated – was to make sure that our new country, which at the time had no standing army, could protect itself from attacks by Britons, Frenchmen, Spaniards, and whatever Indian tribe or nation from which we were trying wrest control of land.

You want a gun for hunting? Target practice? Skeet? To ward off robbers or burglars? That’s fine. You should not, however, get to keep a military arsenal.

Those on the deepest fringes of the right wing – the people who think lunatic Alex Jones is an influential and sane voice about guns – love to bring up the notion that the 2nd Amendment exists to protect you from “tyranny”. No one gets too worked up trying to define what “tyranny” is, or who gets to decide when “tyranny” becomes a clear and present danger. The anti-government Oathkeepers group threatened to murder federal officials executing a lawful court order against anti-gay Kentucky clerk Kim Davis. This crowd loves to cite the Declaration of Independence – a document that was a declaration of war against a monarch who brutally exploited his American colonies. The Declaration, however, ceased to have any legal effect the moment that Britain lost the war and recognized American Independence.

So, no, proud patriot, you don’t have a right to take up arms against the government. Indeed, Article III, section 3 of the U.S. Constitution makes that sort of thing a very serious crime.

One more gun control effort, and one more gun fetishist makes some broken, semi-informed analogy about how if the Jews were armed in the 30s, they could have somehow halted their own genocide in the face of a German war machine. One more gun debate, and one more person suggests that our representative democracy – flawed though it might be – is or could oh-so-easily-be the equivalent of Pol Pot’s Cambodia. One more effort to limit the firepower we so casually make available to lunatics, and one more person expresses his idiot fever-dream of single-handedly taking on the FBI or One World Government or ZOG, notwithstanding the fact that the government could – if it wanted to – easily take out your entire neighborhood with an unmanned drone operated by a teenager nursing a Monster Energy Drink in a dank, smelly basement in Northern Virginia.

One more gun fetishist, one more clumsy analogy made to some other object with a large capacity or capability of doing harm that we are allowed to own, but the primary purpose for which is not “putting holes in things at breakneck speed”. Gas tanks, fast cars, pencils. False arguments backed by the tyranny of the gun lobby.

And what of tyranny? We’ve had plenty of tyranny in this country, but when the Black Panthers agitated for blacks to arm themselves during the civil rights struggles of the 60s, the NRA was happy to support the Mulford Act, which limited the Panthers’ ability to carry arms and inform black citizens of their Constitutional rights. The NRA supports your right to bear arms, so long as you’re of European descent and not too uppity.

If you want a gun to “protect yourself” (a statistically, epidemiologically false notion) knock yourself out. But you don’t need to keep a Kalashnikov under your pillow.  Gabby Giffords’ would-be assassin had a 33-round magazine in his possession. He was subdued only as he tried to reload; by that time, six people had been killed.

I get that violence is an integral part of American society and history. We’re not like Japan, where the society and infrastructure are such that little kids are still free to travel independently and safely. But I also recognize that you don’t get to own an F-15 or a nuclear missile just because it makes you feel safe or helps you ward off “tyranny”.

The United States is also exceptional and unique in its willingness to tolerate us being inhuman to each other. Another mass shooting and we simply shrug.

I am of the controversial opinion that homicidal lunatics shouldn’t have access to military weapons and equipment; shouldn’t be able to waltz around your town with enough firepower to put 11 holes in a first grader. Shouldn’t be able to get so many rounds off in so little time that the first grader’s jaw and hand are disappeared.

If you like guns, good for you. I don’t want to confiscate your gun. After all, it’s legally impossible to do so unless you commit some crime or threaten violence.

But the United States is exceptional and unique not only in how tolerant it is of mass shootings, but because homicidal maniacs have the easy ability – if not the right – to amass small arsenals and commit unspeakable horrors. Other countries also have homicidal lunatics, but they can’t easily obtain firearms; a Belgian can’t just pop down to Luxembourg to buy all the guns and ammo he needs to take out a 1st grade classroom.

Our easy access to guns and our gun culture make our society a particularly violent one; not video games or TV shows – those are safe avenues of expressing the reality of warfare. We love war and conflict. We can’t get enough of it. Somehow, other societies are able to function without it.

New York now limits your ability to transfer your guns to the angry and insane, and you have to reload more frequently while you’re shooting up whatever it is you’re pointing your gun at. The 2nd Amendment, however, is not absolute. The 1st Amendment isn’t absolute, either. You can’t defame someone or incite riot with your words. Likewise, the 2nd Amendment may guarantee your right to own a firearm, but government can put restrictions on that right.

And what rights to the victims of gun violence have? Did the Sandy Hook parents have a right to have their kids come home from school? Did the victims in Oregon have a right to go to school and then go home? How are those rights less valuable than the right to arm oneself to the teeth?

We could maybe aspire to be like Honduras, Jamaica or El Salvador – third world nations with massive income inequality where the building blocks of civil society are inept, corrupt, or both. More guns lead to more violence and killings. More guns don’t make a polite society, they simply make an arrogant and armed society – a society where it becomes much easier to bring about permanent retribution for even perceived slights.

“A society that is relying on guys with guns to stop violence is a sign of a society where institutions have broken down.”

What law would prevent these mass shootings? After all, criminals don’t obey the law. I don’t know. But I’m pretty sure that we have a great country filled with smart people who could put something together. But we first have to decide – as a society, as a people – that these mass shootings of innocent people are simply no longer to be tolerated.

Right?

Last night, President Obama challenged the press to publish the statistics comparing American deaths from terrorism – a threat at which we’ve thrown lives and treasure – and gun violence. Here it is:

American deaths from terrorism are fewer than 100 for every year but 2001.

“We spent over a trillion dollars, and passed countless laws, and devote entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil, and rightfully so” Obama said. “And yet we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun deaths. How can that be?”

More guns means more killing – factually and statistically. This is doubtlessly terrorism, but it’s the kind we have, as a society, decided we can live with.

We have decided to live with it because we have decided that the right of people to bear unlimited arms without restriction is greater than the right of average people not to be shot.

Michael Brown Didn’t Deserve to Be Shot 6 Times

The grand jury in Ferguson did not indict Darren Wilson for any crime in connection with the homicide of Michael Brown.

Darren Wilson wasn’t on trial; the grand jury was not charged to find him guilty or not guilty.

Their only authority was to determine whether probable cause exists to hold him over for trial on any of a number of crimes. For the life of me I can’t fathom why the altercation with Michael Brown – as described – necessitated emptying a clip into him, and asking a law enforcement officer to answer for that to a jury seems to me to be a reasonable thing.

A kid who stole some cigars doesn’t deserve to die like a dog in the street. A kid who was rude to a cop, or walking in the middle of the street doesn’t deserve to be shot to death. The list of non-lethal ways to deal with any of those situations boggles the mind. Perhaps Officer Wilson could have just waited for backup before confronting two suspects by himself. If we take Wilson’s account at face value – right down to the description of Michael Brown’s face as “demonic” – Brown deserved to be arrested and prosecuted; not shot and killed.  Unfortunately, Brown’s side of the story will never be told. From the New York Times,

Some witnesses said Mr. Brown never moved toward Officer Wilson when he was shot and killed. Most of the witnesses said the shots were fired as he moved toward Officer Wilson. The St. Louis County prosecutor said the most credible witnesses reported that Mr. Brown charged toward the officer.

Some witnesses said that Mr. Brown had his hands in the air. Several others said that he did not raise his hands at all or that he raised them briefly, then dropped them and turned toward the officer. Others described the position of his arms as out to the side, in front of him, by his shoulders or in a running position.

Those differences in witness testimony is why you have a trial. Jaywalking and petty larceny don’t justify 12 – TWELVE – bullets being fired at an unarmed man. Read this summary of the account of Dorian Johnson, who was walking with Brown at the time.

The prosecutors control the grand jury process and the old adage that a prosecutor could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich is not unearned. Indeed, it is exceedingly rare for a grand jury to not indict someone. Although this grand jury had more leeway to conduct its own investigation, because it’s a law enforcement production, there will forever be a taint on a process where all of a sudden a cop is not indicted for what many perceive to have been an unreasonably excessive use of force under the circumstances.

It would have been nice for the family and the community for that question to be tried to a jury, rather than aborted at the indictment stage.

Finally, although I don’t see any reason to believe that Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown because he was black, I see a lot of palpable racism being directed at Brown and his family online. Any way you slice this, the homicide of Michael Brown was an unnecessary tragedy.

The Ferguson police department and the actions of Officer Wilson are under federal investigation, and Brown’s family will have recourse through the civil legal process.

“New York Revolution” Goes Eliminationist

This was found at this Facebook page around lunchtime on Monday September 15th. 

 

I have no words for this. 

This “New York Revolution” group had the support of Republican challenger for the SD-62 (Maziarz, incumbent) seat, Gia Arnold. 

Teachout, Cuomo & the Dictatorship of the Bureaucracy

When I think of Zephyr Teachout, I am specifically mindful of the fact that she’s a protest vote for the liberal wing of the statewide Democratic Party.  Most of them in and around the 5 New York City Boroughs. When I think of Zephyr Teachout, I think of this classic scene from Annie Hall: 

Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu are bright and, as far as anyone can tell, beyond reproach. Both of them are Manhattan intellectuals, and Teachout has adopted statewide political corruption as a platform plank, and Wu is known for his work on behalf of net neutrality.  Indeed, he coined the phrase. 

Andrew Cuomo has disappointed a lot of left activists. While the right assail him for the mild additive restrictions on guns via the “NY SAFE Act”, the left is sick and tired of continued Albany corruption, the constant, unchecked abuses of power, the power of incumbency, the insidious poisoning of the process by money and electoral fusion, and – above all – the comical overnight dismantling of the Moreland Commission just as soon as it started really doing its job. 

The New York Times declined to endorse Teachout due to her rookie non-credentials and her ignorance on anything going on north of Poughkeepsie and west of Nyack. It also declined to endorse Cuomo because of his fumbling of corruption. I think this is something of a cop-out. 

I have no idea whether Teachout can win the primary – I highly doubt it, but stranger things have happened.

Here in WNY we have a unique position unlike other parts of the state. There’s no Billion for Binghamton; no Assets for Albany, no Riches for Rochester or Silver for Syracuse.  Yet Buffalo and WNY have come under special Cuomo attention for two reasons: 1. he lost to Paladino here in 2010, and he wants badly to win; and 2. if he can show the world that Buffalo underwent a turnaround under his watch, he can sell that to the rest of the country in some future run. Fix Buffalo and the world is your political oyster. 

So, it’s tough to ignore the attention that the state has heaped on our fair city and region and simply dismiss Cuomo out of hand. Indeed, it’s about damn time an Albany pol tried to un-fuck Buffalo. 

But from a less selfish point of view, Albany politics are just as ugly and problematic as they’ve ever been. Efforts to change that have not only been stymied – Cuomo has actively prevented them.  Our Democratic governor, whom gun nuts liken to Karl Marx, actively supported the notion of a Republican majority in the feckless State Senate. It took Teachout to get him to actually support the idea that Democrats should win elections. 

Last night, I received a call from a Cuomo phone bank asking for my support. I bluntly told them, “ordinarily I would, but this Moreland thing has really thrown me for a loop”.  She marked me down as “undecided”, but seriously – it’s tough for me to support a governor who so casually dismisses the root of all state evils – Albany dysfunction and corruption.  This is especially true given the clean mandate that Cuomo has had to do just that. Cuomo’s inaction and outright refusal to address these issues is disappointing to me as a Democrat, but should be disappointing to all New Yorkers. 

Bluntly put, you can take your “REPEAL NY SAFE” sign and shove it, because the size of your magazine isn’t the assault on liberty you should be concerned about.

Instead, get angry about Albany’s multipartisan conspiracy with the dictatorial bureaucracies to commit managerial and legislative malpractice. This perverse system ensures that state government works for the tri-state area and no one else. Manhattan’s own Teachout and Wu aren’t going to fix that. Neither is Cuomo from Queens or Rob from Mount Pleasant (really). 

There’s nothing new here. The Brennan Center’s blueprint for reforming Albany is a decade old. No one pushes it because it’s heady and complicated and not as shiny as a gun. 

You won’t do anything about it. Your village, town, city, Assembly, and state Senate won’t do anything about it. Andrew Cuomo won’t do anything about it, and neither will Rob Astorino. Zephyr Teachout is at least talking about the right things, but there’s zero chance that she would get elected in November.

So, suck it up, New Yorkers. No matter whom you vote for in September’s primary, you’re in for another 4 years of bureaucrats running the state for their own benefit.  Unfortunately, short of a governor with some balls or a Constitutional Convention, it’s never going to change. 

2nd Amendment and Kathy Weppner

According to the silly lady, the founders of our country supposedly included the 2nd Amendment so that our servicemen and women could keep their arms and use them to commit treason and insurrection. 

I’m pretty sure the intended purpose of the 2nd Amendment was the exact opposite of that. But here’s a chillingly awful video that Tea Party Kathy released on her husband’s YouTube account. My favorite is when she stuffs the pistol in her pants. 

UPDATE: As you can see, Weppner removed this video. I looked at her other accounts – Friends of Kathy Weppner and Weppner for Congress, and it doesn’t appear there, either. Most of her videos appear on an account labeled “Dr. Weppner”

Weppner has already made herself famous by scrubbing just about any trace of her pre-2014 existence from the internet. Now, the scrubbing takes place in real time. 

Guns and Fun Unter dem Totenkopf

Waffen und Spaß!

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Shown above are three images from Assemblyman David DiPietro’s (R-Gunhug) recent gunapalooza fundraiser. A supporter posted them to Twitter, and they seem to have been taken during the “free gun” portion of the event.

Note the skull & crossbones – the Totenkopf – behind DiPietro.  Reading “2nd Amendment 1789 America’s Original Homeland Security”, that flag is as ugly and ominous, and makes believe we still live in a postrevolutionary frontier. Our original homeland security was made up of state militias, well-regulated.

It must be so horrible to live a life so perpetually in fear of imminent danger and violence that you feel the need to arm yourself to the teeth, and then tell people it’s all about “sportsmen”.  Then, when Cuomo says a sportsman doesn’t need 10 bullets to kill a deer, you mock that. Because it’s isn’t about sportsmen or target shooting or hunting, it’s about protecting yourself from Obummer and Hitlery Klintoon and il Duce Cuomo.

I don’t have a problem with legitimate sportsmen or people who want to keep a gun in their home for protection. I do have a problem with the paranoid freaks who demand the right to own an arsenal so they can kill all the people. I have a problem with nuts like the guy in Minnesota who, sick of break-ins, sat in the dark, with tarps at the ready, to shoot and kill the next people to do so. Now, he only used one gun that he purportedly kept in his house for “protection”. If you listen to the nauseating audio of the actual double murder, towards the end he gives a speech.  In it, he regurgitates all the NRA propaganda he can muster. You get a window into what it’s like when the gun lobby takes a legitimate self-defense right and turns it into a license to murder.

Thankfully, the prosecutors and the jurors saw through this and convicted this ignorant monster of murder. As a society, we’re trying to make it more difficult for unhinged lunatics to commit mass-murder. We’re trying to make it more difficult for the criminals and the insane to obtain, own, and possess firearms and ammunition. I frankly don’t understand why the DiPietroite gun nuts and the gun lobby are standing in the way of those goals.

 

Shane Kinney’s NRA Shirt and Your Rights

A public school cannot stop a kid from wearing this

The Bill of Rights in our Constitution – it’s easy to cherry-pick the parts of it you want to defend. It’s also easy to see who cherry-picks what. 

Western New Yorkers have tested the First Amendment on two occasions in the past few weeks. I highlighted one of them already – the efforts of a handful of people in the Clarence community to censor books, censor parts of the curriculum, and demagogue the disease prevention unit of the sex education curriculum. The other is Shane Kinney’s NRA t-shirt on Grand Island

Kinney was asked to remove a “Protected by Smith & Wesson” sweatshirt, and then to turn a pro-NRA t-shirt inside-out. The school apparently gave Kinney a suspension when he refused to do so. 

I don’t like the gun lobby, and I don’t like guns. I detest the gun culture in all of its incarnations. I don’t like Freudian allusions whereby one extols the virtue of self-protection with killing machines and their long, cold, hard shafts. As point of fact, I hate guns. 

That doesn’t mean Shane Kinney’s rights to free speech should be infringed. 

Eugene Volokh explains that at least one federal circuit has declared school prohibitions on shirts that display guns. The issue is a tricky one for schools. A school is a government entity, but it deals almost exclusively with minors. A school is well within its rights, for instance, to censor a child’s clothing if it, for instance, glorifies or promotes violence, drugs, alcohol, or some other inappropriate or harmful behavior. When it comes to guns, the Constitution is invoked, and it’s a matter of degrees. 

An NRA t-shirt that quotes an excerpt from the 2nd Amendment is completely acceptable in all aspects. There is nothing objectively controversial about it, regardless of whether or not you like guns. The issue in cases such as Kinney’s revolves around the depiction of actual firearms. Here, you run into an analysis that requires you to parse the definitions of terms like “disruption” and “violence”.  A picture of two crossed rifles is not a big deal. On the other hand, a t-shirt depicting, say, a trenchcoated figure using an assault rifle to shoot a schoolkid in the head would be patently objectionable. 

But if you look at the Grand Island school district’s own dress code, it doesn’t really say much about guns. It prohibits “vulgar” or “obscene” t-shirts, and clothing cannot “promote and/or endorse the use of alcohol, tobacco or illegal drugs and/or encourage other illegal or violent activities”.  Courts use a case from the mid-60s to handle these sorts of issues. From the case Volokh cites,

Because most public school students are minors and school administrators have the duty to provide and facilitate education and to maintain order and discipline, the Supreme Court “has repeatedly emphasized the need for affirming the comprehensive authority of the States and of school officials, consistent with fundamental constitutional safeguards, to prescribe and control conduct in the schools.” Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Sch. Dist., 393 U.S. 503, 507, 89 S.Ct. 733, 21 L.Ed.2d 731 (1969). Consequently, while a public school student does not “shed [his] constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the school-house gate,” id. at 506, those rights may be limited as long as the limitation is consistent with constitutional safeguards…

…”conduct by the student, in class or out of it, which for any reason — whether it stems from time, place, or type of behavior — materially disrupts class work or involves substantial disorder or invasion of the rights of others is, of course, not immunized by the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech.”Id. at 513, 89 S.Ct. 733. Accordingly, Tinker “requires a specific and significant fear of disruption, not just some remote apprehension of disturbance.” Saxe v. State Coll. Area Sch. Dist., 240 F.3d 200, 211 (3d Cir.2001). In sum, “if a school can point to a well-founded expectation of disruption — especially one based on past incidents arising out of similar speech — the restriction may pass constitutional muster.” Id. at 212.

Courts have upheld, for instance, students’ rights to wear black armbands to protest war, and also upheld a school’s ability to restrict or punish lewd and inappropriate language.

Arguably anything involving firearms is by definition “violent”, but in Kinney’s case, the firearms were merely depicted – in the image, they were not being fired at anyone or anything. The “protected by Smith & Wesson” sweatshirt was likely closer to the line, as it specifically invoked a threat of deadly force in response to a provocation. Even deadly force in self-defense is, by definition, violent, and under the “substantial disruption” standard in the Tinker case, that invocation of violence might be legally restricted, depending on whether the school could establish that the restriction was based on ” something more than a mere desire to avoid the discomfort and unpleasantness that always accompany an unpopular viewpoint,” and instead on whether the shirt would “materially and substantially interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school.”

I remember I was once handling a criminal matter in Massachusetts and a man with an Irish surname was being arraigned on an assault & battery charge. He had been arrested while wearing a Notre Dame jacket, which depicts an angry leprechaun with his fists up, waiting for a fight, and I thought to myself that it was an especially funny thing to be wearing under those circumstances. Does that belligerent Irish stereotype violate high school dress codes because it glorifies violence? I doubt any principal would punish a kid for that. 

But while local right-wing media have been milking this NRA shirt thing for a week now, even causing it to go national, they’ve been completely silent (as far as I can tell) as far as efforts to violate the 1st Amendment when it comes to banning award-winning literature in Clarence schools. They’ve not said anything about protecting the sex education unit recommending that kids who have sex use condoms to prevent unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. (Abstinence is part of the curriculum, incidentally, but not the entire curriculum because that would be insane). 

So, Shane Kinney should be free to wear his NRA t-shirt and probably even his Smith & Wesson t-shirt.  It’s not my favorite thing in the world, nor something I would send my kid to school in, but my sensibilities and opinions can’t be the arbiter of what is and is not appropriate or legal. The school district likely owes Kinney an apology. 

Sheriff Tim Howard: From Law Enforcement to Law Selection

Howard and Arpaio – two of the worst Sheriffs in America

Has anyone else managed to wrap their head around the fact that Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard isn’t just opposed to the NY SAFE Act, but has pledged to not honor or enforce it in any way? The power of the sheriff is not law selection – to pick and choose which laws to enforce – it is, instead, law enforcement.

It’s altogether possible that Howard has some sort of problem with the way NY SAFE and many other laws are passed or written. If he doesn’t like it, he should run for – and win – a seat on the Assembly or in the Senate.

It’s also possible that Howard thinks that the NY SAFE Act is unconstitutional or that it was hastily passed. To that end, he should have attended law school and then run for – and won – a judicial seat. Be a named plaintiff in the suit to strike it down. Be lead counsel on the case.  But that’s not all – to have a real effect he should have so excelled as a jurist that the governor would appoint him to the Court of Appeals, where the penultimate say would be had on the constitutionality question. Better still, make your way right onto the United States Supreme Court, which has the power of judicial review and to declare what the law is. It is the courts that determine the constitutionality of statutes that legislatures pass – not county sheriffs.

Instead, we have a county sheriff who has donned the mantle of legislator, governor, and Supreme Court Justice. He has unilaterally and extralegally decided that he will not enforce a duly passed law with which he doesn’t agree. This is, frankly, astonishing.

The 40 year-long war on drugs hasn’t been successful, yet Howard continues to enforce our narcotics statutes. Why?

Here’s what Howard says about the state’s new, more restrictive law regarding assault weapons:

January 31, 2013 – Our state already had some of the toughest gun laws in the nation and with the stroke of a pen our State Legislature and Governor made them even more restrictive last month, all in the name of making us safer. I don’t believe for one minute that Governor Cuomo did this to protect us; rather he rammed this bill through for his own personal agenda, so he could be the first out of the gate to thump his chest and say how restrictive gun laws are in New York , thus beating President Obama to the punch.

It is no secret Andrew Cuomo wants to be a presidential candidate in 2016. He took a very emotional event in our nation (the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut) and the unrelated murders of two first responders in Webster, NY and wrapped his constricting gun legislation around them like a bow, hand delivering it to the NYS legislature in a sweeping package that, in my opinion, infringes on every American’s constitutional right to bear arms.

We as citizens never even had an opportunity to respond to the proposed bill with our input; even law enforcement wasn’t consulted on this. In my opinion, this new law is proof of what gun rights people have been saying all along – that registration is a precursor to confiscation. We have landed on a slippery slope allowing the government to start tinkering with our second amendment rights – what comes next?

Well, why bother enforcing even the prior, “toughest gun laws”? Can you believe a local sheriff impugns the motives of the governor and the entire legislature in passing a law in the wake of the tragic massacre of 20 1st graders? Can you believe the way that statement sounds identical to the morningtime rantings of some high school dropout, shut-in, underemployed radio talk-show caller? And what especial knowledge or right does Howard possess to determine that the SAFE Act is violative of the Constitution? That’s a job for the courts, not law enforcement. Instead, Howard has appropriated for himself the unheard-of power of law selection. That’s the only real assault on the Constitution in this case – Howard’s self-appointment to be a co-Governor and court.

“We as citizens” have an opportunity to respond to the proposed bill with this input: don’t vote to re-elect the people who passed it. That’s what you can do. You can protest, you can complain, you can write, you can petition, you can call your legislators, etc. What Howard has done here – making believe that “registration is a precursor to confiscation” – is beyond an outrage. It should be, frankly, grounds for removal. 

Gun registration is not a precursor to confiscation any more than car registration is a precursor to car confiscation.

And Howard’s position isn’t the analogue to some brave Nazi soldier refusing to obey an illegal order. (That analogy has actually been made). No one asked Howard to round up and commit mass-murder of Jews, gays, gypsies, or other groups of people, and making that comparison demeans and cheapens the memories of the millions of victims of the Nazi horror.

Although stylistically different, Howard’s refusal to enforce the laws of this state is no different from what Gilbert, Pennsylvania police chief Mark Kessler is busy doing on YouTube: calling out “libtards” and shooting automatic weapons into trees and mounds of dirt.

Sheriff Tim Howard, who is running for re-election this year, can talk about confiscatory slippery slopes all he wants, but make no mistake that this is precisely what’s going through his head. (Language NSFW)

Brave Patriot Fights Tyranny of “Traffic Stop”

Here’s what happens when a brave 2nd Amendment patriot decides to fight the tyranny of the “routine traffic stop” in Ohio. 

The brave well-regulated militiaman had a Kalashnikov on his person, along with eight 40-round magazines. It is somehow important for the proper exercise of his 2nd Amendment liberties that he have these so that he can shoot as many bullets as possible at the unsuspecting police officers who were “just doing their jobs” as the AmeriKKKan lamestream media calls it. 

The difference between a “responsible gun owner” and “deluded homicidal lunatic” is sometimes razor-thin. But this video also depicts the idiotic pseudo-patriotic fever-dream of the particular gun people who think that the founding fathers intended for individuals to arbitrarily take up arms to fight an undefined “tyranny” from time to time, or that the Constitution somehow sanctions that. They didn’t, and it doesn’t

Peaceable Assembly

Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Photographs by Flickr user Sunny Hasija, used with permission. 

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