December 10, 2018

Disarm the police, not the citizens

TAMPA, February 7, 2013 ― First, the good news. The five-year-old boy kidnapped by a deranged man in Alabama has been rescued unharmed. He is with his family and reportedly “seems to be acting normally.”

The bad news is that some media seem to be using this incident to justify the ongoing militarization of domestic police forces.

“Military tactics, equipment helped authorities end Alabama hostage standoff,” reads today’s Fox News headline. The article describes how law enforcement responded to the hostage situation with what has become the new normal in the former land of the free. They mobilized paramilitary forces to deal with the situation just as an occupying army would deal with “counterinsurgency.”

According to the article, “In many ways, the scene resembled more of a wartime situation than a domestic crime scene as civilian law enforcement relied heavily on military tactics and equipment to end the six-day ordeal.”

Yes, every response by law enforcement seems to resemble a wartime situation these days, something one would think that Americans would be concerned about. Yet, for a nation that was born with a suspicion of standing armies and that wouldn’t tolerate the existence of one during peacetime, virtually no one objects to the increasingly aggressive tactics of local, state and federal police, often acting jointly to address routine local crimes.

One can already imagine the response by apologists for the all-powerful state. “If that’s what it takes to keep our children safe, then it’s worth it.”

It’s hard not to assume that the author of the article intends for the reader to draw that preposterous inference. It supposes a cause and effect relationship between the militarization of domestic police and the rescue of the child that does not exist.

Read the rest of the article at Communities@ Washington Times…

Obama outmaneuvers Republicans again on gun control

TAMPA, January 20, 2013 — One day before his second inauguration ceremony, President Obama has plenty of reasons to smile. Despite a persistently weak economy, he was reelected by a comfortable margin in November and then completely outmaneuvered his Republican opponents in the tax hike standoff. That ended with Republicans breaking a decades-old pledge never to raise taxes.

Following the usual calls for more gun control following a widely publicized shooting, it looks as if Obama has outmaneuvered the GOP again. After appointing Vice President Joe Biden to head a gun violence task force, Obama made an ominous-sounding statement.

“Well, my understanding is the Vice President is going to provide a range of steps that we can take to reduce gun violence. Some of them will require legislation. Some of them I can accomplish through executive action. And so I’ll be reviewing those today. And as I said, I’ll speak in more detail to what we’re going to go ahead and propose later in the week.”

The Republican response was predictable. Cries of constitutional crisis and calls for impeachment exploded from Republican politicians and conservative-leaning media.

Whether because of the Republican reaction or by design, Obama’s executive orders were remarkably uncontroversial. Despite rumors that the president had written 23 new executive orders restricting gun ownership, Obama actually didn’t write any. Instead, he wrote 3 “presidential memoranda” directing existing federal agencies to do a better job at what they are already doing.

This leaves Republicans who yelled “impeachment” before even hearing what the president proposed looking like “extremists” again, not to mention somewhat silly. It sets up the Democrats perfectly for the upcoming congressional fight over new gun legislation. Republicans will be under pressure to compromise to undo the political damage done by this latest gaffe.

There are certainly constitutional arguments against Obama’s actions, but Republicans are in no position to make them. Strict constitutionalists have long argued that the mere existence of agencies like the ATF and the CDC is unconstitutional, but the Republican Party, which created one and greatly expanded the other, has no grounds upon which to make this argument.

Those few GOP legislators who can do so with any credibility, like Senator Rand Paul or Rep. Justin Amash, are considered outsiders by the party elite.

There is a fundamental problem here that the GOP has to resolve if it does not wish to fade into irrelevance. It has to define some fundamental philosophical differences between it and the Democratic Party. Despite rhetoric about small government and free markets, there just isn’t any meat on the GOP bones for opponents of the Democratic Party to sink their teeth into.

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Even convicted felons have a right to bear arms

TAMPA, January 11, 2013 ― Supposedly, a philosophical debate is going on between “right and left” over the natural right to keep and bear arms. As usual, both sides are wrong.

The right to keep and bear arms is inseparable from the right to life. Here in the real world, arming oneself is the only practical way to exercise the right to life, which is properly defined as the right not to be killed by another human being.

Banning guns removes an individual’s ability to exercise the right to life. It places his life at the discretion of anyone who would take it away. Life is no longer a right, but a privilege, exercised at the discretion of criminals. Sometimes, the criminals wear government costumes.

When is this ever justified?

The only reasonable answer would be when an individual has wrongfully taken the life of another person. Even then there is room for an argument. If manslaughter does not carry a lifetime prison sentence, why does the perpetrator permanently surrender his right to life?

There is no justification for prohibiting gun ownership for virtually any other crime. Perhaps egregious assaults or child molestation also qualify, but that is still a tiny percentage of the population.

Even conservatives cast the net far wider. Standard conservative talking points go something like this. “We defend the 2nd Amendment rights of law abiding citizens who are not mentally ill to keep and bear arms.”

Virtually every word of this statement is wrong. And this is the “pro-gun” side.

First, there are no such things as “2nd Amendment rights” or “Constitutional rights.” Rights do not come from the Constitution. They existed before it. They exist regardless of the creation of any government, anywhere. They are endowed by our Creator, as our founding document states. They cannot be taken away. They cannot be voted away, not even by democratically-elected representatives.

Even Barack Obama supposedly believes this. He said so in his nomination acceptance speech.

By “law abiding citizens,” conservatives mean anyone who hasn’t been convicted of what the government calls a “felony.” The problem is that the government calls virtually everything a felony and they designate more innocuous behavior as felonious every day.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, there are currently over 2 million people incarcerated in the United States. It is unknown how many U.S. citizens alive today have ever been convicted of a felony, but that number must be in the tens of millions. No matter how long ago that was, those people are prohibited from owning firearms.

Martha Stewart was convicted of lying about whether or not she committed the non-crime of insider trading. What reasonable person could argue that because of this she should spend the rest of her life at the mercy of anyone who decides to invade her home or attack her on the street?

Ms. Stewart is to some extent a bad example. She has the financial means to hire armed bodyguards to protect her and her home and still comply with the law. Most convicted felons do not have this luxury.

Neither have most convicted felons ever harmed another human being. Two thirds of the U.S. prison population is incarcerated for non-violent offenses, about half of them for drug offenses.

For most of these people, there is no justification for incarcerating them in the first place, much less for violating their most basic rights for the rest of their lives.

Even the qualification that the individual not be “mentally ill” is bogus. It is true that the ability to reason is a prequalification for liberty, but it is not up to any bureaucrat to determine whether someone is mentally ill. The burden of proof that someone is mentally unfit to exercise their basic rights falls upon the accuser, not the accused. A person must demonstrate mental incapacity by some overt act and their incapacity must be proven before talk of violating their rights occurs.

If we allow the government to start requiring people to prove they are not mentally ill, they will achieve their gun ban without firing a legislative shot. Some have already called Tea Party or Occupy protestors “terrorists.” It won’t be a stretch for them to decree that certain political positions constitute “mental illness.” Ever been diagnosed with ADHD as a child in a government school? Someday you will be on the list, too.

If conservatives represent the strongest defense of the right to keep and bear arms, the debate is already over. They are nothing more than “Progressive Light” on this issue, as they are on most others.

Throughout human history, one chief identifying characteristic of the slave has been that he is unarmed. Free people keep and bear arms. Slaves are prohibited from doing so. Virtually every American, including most convicted felons, should have the opportunity to purchase and carry the firearm of their choice.

Don’t let politicians or their media partners define the debate. The 2nd Amendment is the last vestige of American freedom.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Every law is a threat of violence

TAMPA, December 29, 2012 – The new U.S. Congress will convene on January 3rd with two high profile issues to consider. There is zero chance that they will get either one of them right. The debates on both are already framed into a lose-lose proposition for the American people, as are virtually all “debates” on Capitol Hill.

One issue is “How should the right to keep and bear arms be further infringed?” The other is “How much less of their own money should Americans be allowed to keep?”

With a more enlightened populace, there is always some chance that pressure on the legislators could produce a more positive result. However, the gullible American public has already taken the bait that “something must be done” on both issues. “Something” means Congress passing a law, which means the perceived problem will be solved with violence.

Every law is a threat of violence. Americans used to understand that. In their present condition, they are aware of little beyond football on Sunday and Dancing with the Stars during the week. Fat, progressive and stupid is no way to go through life, son.

Government itself is an institution of violence. That’s not an opinion. That’s what it is. That’s all it is. Governments are constituted for the express purpose of pooling the capacity for violence of every member of the community.

Every law promulgates human behavior that is mandated under the threat of violence. It either prohibits certain activity or requires certain activity. Failure to behave as the law proscribes results in violence against the transgressor. He is kidnapped at best, killed resisting at worst.

Putting aside the question of whether this power should ever be invested in a regional monopoly, every society must first answer the question of whether this power should be exercised by anyone at all. Is violence ever justified?

In a free society, there is only one circumstance under which it is. Violence is only justified as a reaction to aggression committed in the past. Murder, assault, and theft are all examples. These justify the use of force against the perpetrator. Consider this statement.

“You are prohibited from committing murder against your fellow citizen. If you do, we will kidnap you at best, kill you while resisting at worst.”

Sounds perfectly reasonable, doesn’t it? Substitute “theft” for “murder” and that doesn’t change. The use of force is morally justifiable as a reaction to aggression. This proceeds logically from each individual’s right to defend himself. Self-preservation is the first law of nature.

Now, consider this statement.

“If you do not pay the medical bills of perfect strangers whom you have never met and never contracted any financial liability to, we will kidnap you at best, kill you while resisting at worst.”

That doesn’t quite work, does it? In fact, once the veneer of legitimacy is removed, it is apparent to any lucid person that the lawmaker in this case is committing one of the chief crimes he was given his power to prohibit. It is no less armed robbery if you substitute the words “education,” “housing,” or “food” for “medical.”

Since it is an absurdity that inaction can amount to aggression, no just law can mandate human behavior. Only laws prohibiting certain behavior are justifiable, that behavior being limited to aggression against others.

That’s why Thomas Jefferson said, “No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the law ought to restrain him.”

That even this minimal government activity requires finances is the reason that Thomas Paine called government “a necessary evil.” Many libertarians believe he was only half right.

The Bill of Rights was an attempt to limit, interfere with and retard the government’s ability to do the only thing it is capable of doing: commit violence. Those amendments do not grant any rights. They prohibit government violence, regardless of the wishes of the majority. “Congress shall make no law…”

That’s also the purpose of all of the supposed “checks and balances” in the Constitution itself. The framers attempted to construct a government that was incapable of doing anything unless violence was truly justified.

The Constitution and Bill of Rights were written to protect us from democracy.

These ideas have completely vanished from the modern American ethos. Instead of viewing government as a last resort, to be utilized only against an aggressor who refuses to interact peacefully with his neighbors, it is viewed as the first solution to every societal problem, most of which were caused by government in the first place.

That most insipid of all clichés, “There oughta be a law” is properly translated as “We ought to solve this problem with violence.”

That is American society today. A century of “progressivism” has reduced the average American to an unthinking, violent brute. He is both tyrant and slave at the same time. He can conceive of no other happiness than the satisfaction of his appetites and infantile amusement from base entertainment. He reacts to any interruption of this passive existence by calling on the government to commit violence on his behalf.

In the name of freedom, he not only acquiesces to but demands his chains.

 

Tom Mullen is the author of A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

 

The Newtown tragedy should not prompt a “national discussion”

TAMPA, Fl, December 26, 2012 ― Perhaps 21st century Americans are not worthy of liberty. Reason is a prequalification of liberty, and Americans don’t demonstrate the ability to exercise it at all, at least not in a political context. It may be time to admit that a century of “progressive” education has transformed Americans into a herd of dependent, unthinking sheep.

Any person capable of even the most elementary reasoning would immediately conclude that not only shouldn’t the Newtown tragedy prompt a national discussion, but that there is no such thing as a “national discussion” in the first place.

Do Americans really believe that the 300 million people occupying this nation are actually participating in a discussion?

During the Republican primaries, presidential candidate Newt Gingrich often referred to “having a conversation with the country.” I assumed that I was not alone in rolling my eyes. Any lucid person would assume that Gingrich was either delusional, insincere or both to even suggest that any “conversation” he could participate in actually involved the wishes or interests of every individual in the country.

If most Americans believe there is a “national conversation” going on about guns, a reason to have one or even the possibility that one could be had, we’re in deep trouble. This is all just a well-orchestrated show to herd Americans to a place where they will accept being disarmed without raising too much fuss.

The debate is already framed. “Something must be done.” Now “we’re” just bickering about what that will be.

Think for a moment how idiotic this is. It is suggested that we pass a law that affects 300 million people because of the actions of a solitary lunatic. It’s happened before? So what? You could fit every person that has committed a similar crime during the past fifty years into the kitchen of a Greenwich Village apartment. Somehow we’re to believe that the actions of these few have some relevance to the rights of hundreds of millions.

The math doesn’t work.

Yet, this is only a secondary and utilitarian argument for rejecting gun control. The most important is that keeping and bearing whatever arms one wishes is a right, not a privilege. It is not granted by the 2nd Amendment. That amendment merely attempts to ensure that the right it refers to is not violated by the government.

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Feinstein’s assault weapons ban would abolish the 2nd Amendment

TAMPA, December 18, 2012 –U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein has vowed to introduce a bill to ban assault weapons nationwide, similar to existing legislation in California. In doing so, she will effectively abolish yet another of the first ten amendments to the Constitution.

To many, Feinstein’s argument might sound very reasonable. She isn’t looking to ban all guns. “The purpose of this bill is to get just what Mayor Bloomberg said, weapons of war off the streets of our cities,” the senator told Meet the Press.

Having weapons of war on the streets is the whole point of the 2nd Amendment. The amendment wasn’t drafted to ensure that Americans could hunt. It wasn’t drafted so that Americans could protect themselves, although the natural right to defend one’s life was never as compromised as it is in the modern gun control era.

Like most of the amendments in the Bill of Rights, the 2nd Amendment was drafted to prevent an abuse of power that American colonists had suffered under the British. The 4th Amendment was passed with Writs of Assistance in mind. Lexington and Concord inspired the 2nd.

The left loves to reduce the American Revolution to one issue: taxation without representation. That works for well for their agenda, because they can then say, “Well, you’re represented, so now we can tax the living daylights out of you.”

It wasn’t that simple, of course. There were many long term and short term causes for the American secession from Great Britain. But the straw that broke the camel’s back, the most immediate cause for armed resistance, was the British attempt to disarm the colonists.

That’s why the British marched to Concord. That’s the only reason the colonists cared where they were marching.

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