The Left already has plenty of examples of their version of gun control

Obama-Angry1The typical knee-jerk reaction is already in full force. Less than six hours after the last shell casting hit the ground on the campus of Umpqua Community College, our President was at his pulpit, once again demanding the further erosion of our Bill of Rights. Beyond talking about himself at least 28 times in his 12 minute diatribe, he gave us a clear glimpse into the future he wants for America — to make it more like Australia. He used the phrase, “common sense gun control,” within the same breath of our allies like Britain and the land down under. It may sound innocuous, but Charles C. W. Cooke extols the danger of such a comparison. When used this way, the president is advocating the confiscation of guns.

Pandering to the emotions of the moment, it’s hard not to get caught up in the zeal to “do something” to prevent another gun-involved tragedy. Rather than spend a lot of time showing how the data of Australia’s great gun grab of 1996 shows a negligible, if non-existent, improvement in homicides and suicides by gun, as demonstrated by Mark Antonio Wright, let’s look at how the Left’s policies are already in place in tens of thousands of locations here in the United States.

The Left has already begun to implement their desired goal of removing all guns. Unfortunately, in all but 8% of the public mass-shootings in this country (defined by the FBI as 4 or more killed in a public space) in the last decade, their solution fails. Much like Australia’s goal, to eliminate the citizenry from owning firearms, the creation of the gun-free zone is the penultimate step to a repeal of the 2nd Amendment. However, 92% of these mass-shootings in the last 10 years have all taken place right where Leftists believe they will not.

No-GunThe purpose of the gun-free zone is to prohibit any unauthorized individual from knowingly possessing a firearm at a facility or location so designated. Many of these are schools, but there are thousands of businesses, both public and private, that have adopted this policy to insure safety and security. They post the familiar sign of a gun with the red circle and slash on walls, doors and hallways, designating firearms are not allowed. And, as law-abiding citizens are wont to do, those who normally carry or posses a firearm leave those weapons at home or, at the very least, in their vehicles parked outside of these marked zones.

It’s Nirvana. Ambrosia flows through the drinking fountains and manna falls from the heavens. Never again will anyone within these magic zones have to fear the threat of coming face-to-face with a gun-wielding perpetrator.  The power of these signs, coupled with strongly worded regulations and policies, proves as effective as a John Kerry speech. It doesn’t matter how many adjectives, adverbs and interjections you include, just saying something out-loud (or in print) does not make it reality. I’m reminded of my old middle school history teacher’s favorite phrase, “If all the if’s and but’s were candy and nuts, what a nice world it would be.”

Often with the policies of the Left, it’s all about the intentions and never about the results. They always want to “do” something, but they never look at the consequences of their actions. They simply pander to the tyranny of the emotions of the present, slap themselves on the back for “doing” something and then they move along to the next issue, never looking back at the damage left in their wake.

In November of 2013, Interpol’s secretary general, Ron Noble, noted there are two ways to protect people from mass-shootings: “One is to say we want an armed citizenry; you can see the reason for that. Another is to say the enclaves [should be] so secure that in order to get into the soft target you’re going to have to pass through extraordinary security.” At issue, how do you put enough armed security forces around any possible soft target? He made those comments following the terrorist attack at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, where 68 people were killed. (One should not that Kenya bans both open and concealed carrying of firearms by civilians. Apparently that ban didn’t apply to terrorists.)

We can look back at all of the recent mass-shootings and see the pattern. They plan their attacks months (sometimes years) in advance. The perform detailed surveillance over the targets they choose and in 92% of the cases, they pick places where they are comfortable knowing no one will be able to shoot back.

How many remember the shooting at Clackamas Town Center Mall in Portland, Oregon in December of 2013? A shooter opened fire during one of the most crowded times of the year, killing two people before a concealed-permit holder stopped him by drawing and pointing his own gun at the assailant. That simple action halted what was sure to become a scene of mass-shooting. The national media, as they typically do, ignored the event. After all, it goes against the narrative that guns are bad.

These incidents share the same modus operandi. A crazed, mentally ill individual chooses a location where the odds of armed retaliation are small and proceed to immortalize themselves in the annals of mainstream and social media. Yet, when they do come across one of the “good guys,” the human toll is always mitigated if not eliminated. I could list instance after instance where a licensed and armed citizen in recent years prevented a mass-shooting tragedy.

We’ve seen the results of the gun-free zone. We see how these locations succeed at doing just one thing — disarming those who then line up to be perpetual fish in a barrel. Criminals, by their very definition, do not follow the law. A sign is not going to stop a criminal from following through on their designs. Einstein once said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. We know what will happen to a disarmed citizenry. History is replete with the machinations of dictators whose first task it to remove the threats of the people. It’s why our Founding Fathers were adamant about the Bill of Rights, including the 2nd Amendment. As Thomas Jefferson noted, quoting the 18th century criminologist, Cesare Beccaria:

False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that it has no remedy for evils, except destruction. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.

I could not have said it better. The experiment of the gun-free zone has run its course. If we are ready to face this issue with a serious, logical and reasoned disposition, it is long past time to bring this practice to an end and focus on the treatment of the mentally ill and insuring adequate training of law-abiding citizens. Banning guns is not only a facile argument, but also one meant only to pander to the low-information crowd in hopes of political gain. After all, that’s what President Obama himself said was his goal — the politicization of this issue, not it’s actual solving.

Closing the Dealership / Showroom Loophole

A recent forty-three car pile up on Interstate 75 in Detroit got me thinking. A sudden snowfall whipped up over the freeway on January 31st causing cars and trucks to slam into one another. More than a dozen people were hurt and three people were killed; two of which, where children. One was seven and the other was nine. Tragedy. No better way to summon up the Muse today than with tragedy. Sad we don’t have any Greek Oracles any more. I understand that Delphi thing was natural gas or something that made those girls see some wacky stuff. Envy over here.

Anyhow, let’s end the devastating loss of a young life. The solution is simple: We need better restrictions on automobiles. Better Vehicle Control. For the kids, ya know?

Clearly people aren’t being properly trained on driving in wintry conditions. It takes little more than some classroom time, several hours behind the wheel and a face to get a license. Note that “Behind the Wheel Time” does not have to be conducted during winter. What is the State thinking? And here’s the worst part: You can buy a car even if you don’t have a license! We need to close the Dealership / Showroom Loophole.

I propose requiring background checks before someone buys a car. The fact is, a buyer is usually the driver. Let’s admit that. Let’s also make sure any prior speeding, red light running, improper towing, improper mud flap using, too close following, sidewalk driving, failing to use signal convicted driver/buyer can’t buy a car. Let’s make sure all the improper load wielding, fail to yield, broken windshield, amber light runners stay in the parked position.

Secondly, those who pass the background check should be at least twenty-one-years old. No more reckless youth behind the wheel. Or better yet, no driving until at least twenty-five-years old? That’s about the time the human brain matures to its full potential. The time when the final part of the brain (the risk center) is fully developed. Bonus: We’re looking at high unemployment numbers anyhow. Preventing young adults from driving would reduce access to jobs. They can be full-time students while unemployed, older adults fill the gaps. It’s a win-win.

Also, no new cars, trucks, vans or vehicles otherwise normally identified as a “car” should be within one-thousand-feet of a building otherwise normally identified as a school. This may exclude cars otherwise normally referred to as a “bus”.

Furthermore, wishful drivers should have to complete a Basic Vehicle Safety Questionaire while at the Dealership / Showroom. Any score under 70% would disqualify the sale. This would reduce Human Cholesterol, those who can’t read the speed limit signs and drive like grandma on her way to her free McDonald’s coffee (I apologize to grandmas and McDonalds for any stereotype this may construe). It would also help eliminate rush hour where no one’s rushing, everyone’s standing still – checking their text, checking the latest Tweet from the Biebs, ya know? Traffic would get it’s flow back.

Finally, the potential driver or owner of said car would be required to take an Oath before a Notary Public certifying they will comply with all city, state and federal traffic laws. And don’t forget to file a copy of the purchase with your local police. Also, present the vehicle itself to your local police for a safety inspection within ten days of purchase. Let’s make sure those brakes are working, tires have the correct pressure and the radio isn’t dialed past four.

And under no circumstances should children under the age of eighteen be allowed in a vehicle. There’s an epidemic of childhood obesity anyhow so this would encourage walking. Win-win.

Now for some boring stats:

In 2011, there were 10.8 million car accidents. Out of these, over thirty-two-thousand people were killed. I’ll say it again, numerically. Over 32,000 deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2011, over thirty-one-thousand died from gun injuries. Numerically, that’s 31,000. That’s about even enough to start treating cars like guns. (Note: These numbers were based on Google searches so they’re totally reliable).

Tobacco causes 443,000 deaths annually, which includes second hand smoke. Football causes eighteen deaths a year. Between 1982 and 2007, cheeleading resulted in forty-two deaths. (Damn, dead cheerleaders. That’s worth pouring the rest of my forty on a sidewalk). And bathtub falls result in…

Let’s eradicate these scourges on society…for the good of the children. Let’s put these dangerous Vehicles of Mass Transportation under control.

Oh, and there’s no need to ever be in such a damn hurry. We should ban all V8 engines and govern lesser models to not exceed seventy-miles-per-hour. An exception can be made for police and otherwise normally identified “Emergency Personnel” to have access to high velocity capable engines.

I feel weird right now. I just solved a predicament with a government solution. Now let’s send this off to Congress where it can expand into a thousand pages that no one will ever read or understand and get amended to add funding for a few Senator’s pet projects. Yeah, this is gonna work super awesome.

The State of the Union

So I took a sabbatical from politics to concentrate on putting the final edit on my novel. I also joined a writer’s group to spar short stories back and forth and see how creative we could get. And look what happened while I was away? Barack Obama is back in the White House. What the hell happened? Didn’t we, here, at Freedom Cocktail give you enough data to see that big government is a very poor way of governing? Perhaps we didn’t.

A funny thing happened after my last posting about September 11th. On that day in 2012, we had the United States Embassy in Libya put under siege. That snowballed into other U.S. embassies around the Middle East being attacked by disgruntled civilians. Or were they? Hillary Clinton didn’t seem to care to explore the motive when she said, “Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?” (Which, if we did explore the reason, might expose the American public to the fact that the U.S. has used and nurtured Muslim extremism even after 9/11).

Then, in November, Barack Obama was re-elected. When the Republican Party settled on Mitt Romeny as their candidate, I was certain Obama was going to win this. The Republican Party overlooking Ron Paul, again, and also thumbing it’s nose at Gary Johnson, made it clear they are not the party of small government they advertise themselves out to be. With their pick of Romney, I was sure Obama could stay home, not participate in any debates and not run any ads and still win. But Romney gave him a run for his money and by early October, I thought it really could go either way. Yet, in the end, Obama took the office. But he didn’t win it by a landslide. In fact, you have to go back to the 1984 election to find a major difference. (Reagan: 54,455,472; Mondale: 37,577,352). After that, it’s as if voters were flipping a coin. Take a look at the vote totals from 1988 on and you’ll see the results are so close, it’s as if voters see no difference at all between the candidates. But that’s because, to me, their really isn’t unless you entertain third party options.

So a few weeks before the November election, I was in my living room looking over my absentee ballot. And damn it, no Gary Johnson for President option! The Libertarian Party got screwed again and weren’t allowed on the Michigan ballot. I’ve voted LP since 1996 and haven’t looked back. What was I to do? Well I held my nose and had an affair on the Libertarian Party and marked in the oval for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. But it wasn’t enough. Obama won anyhow. 2012 was the most expensive election in the history of elections (by some estimates, costing six billion) only to end up where we already were. If anything, this should tell you how government works. The next time you hear someone declare that we could have better schools or less violence or whatever if only the government spent more money, well…I digress.

Speaking of schools, on December 14, 2012, the Big One hit. And everyone went ape shit. Shortly after 9:30 AM that morning, Adam Peter Lanza, douche-bag extraordinaire, took his mother’s Bushmaster rifle and gunned down twenty first-graders and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary. This one choked me up. My son is a first-grader. And my wife is a pre-school teacher. So this was really close to home. But reason and logic always prevails after the tears. I don’t think teachers should be required to carry firearms but should have the option. A better solution would be to have armed security. Paper and coin are protected better than our children. In fact, how pitiful we actually advertise the vulnerability of our schools by posting signs that read “Gun Free Zone”. Might as well also read, “Psychos and Maniacs Welcome”.

The Libertarian Party released the best Tweet shortly after which read, “To the celebrities and politicians who are demanding stricter gun laws: how about first disarming your own bodyguards, as a show of faith?” Tru dat. The most secure individuals are always the first to argue that the common man has no need for an assault rifle. I’ve often wondered what a Holocaust survivor would say if they got some media time. Or these guys:

Gun-control-japanese

No need to reinvent the wheel or divulge into a pro-gun argument. I already did that. But I will make a quick addition to it. It’s been said that the Founding Fathers couldn’t envision the power of today’s firearms. I disagree. They were well aware that rocks gave way to swords which gave way to muskets and cannons. That was a larger leap than the musket to the Bushmaster. Yet despite their knowledge of the evolution of weaponry, the 2nd Amendment was created. Why? Again, not for hunters. Bearing arms has to do with securing your personal self defense and repelling invaders, domestic or foreign and; most importantly, repelling a tyrannical government should it arise.

Now we come to the State of the Union Address. Every time I hear a president deliver it, they start off by saying that the State of the Union is strong. And I always disagree.

My vision for America remains stuck in about the year 1800. Without government interference in every little detail of life (as it is now) look what happened. All the great revolutions and inventions from 1800 to 1900 were huge leaps in raising the standard of living for everyone, rich to poor. Yes, yes, I am aware slavery was still legal until the Civil War clarified things. It’s forever a black eye on my country. But note that in keeping with the spirit of the Constitution, it did end. I sometimes wonder if the Civil War had to be fought at all. The Industrial Revolution, which culminated in the 1840s, gave rise to energy and machinery that would have gone on to replace slave labor without need for a war.

In this year’s State of the Union Address, we were treated to more of the same. More government solutions to solve what prior government solutions couldn’t fix. These government programs are like a game of Opposite-Jenga. Keep adding and adding, piling and patching, until you can’t recognize the thing you started out with.

As an example, in the 2013 State of the Union Address, Obama said, “Already the Affordable Health Care Act is helping to slow the growth of health care costs. The reforms I’m proposing go even further.” (emphasis added). So the AHCA wasn’t right the first time? Where does it end?

President Obama also proposed making high quality pre-school available to every child in America and raising the Minimum Wage and working to strengthen families, securing the Internet, etc. Apparently, there’s nothing the federal government shouldn’t be a part of. Obama said, “…the United States will join with our allies to eradicate such extreme poverty in the next two decades, by connecting more people to the global economy, by empowering women, by giving our young and brightest minds new opportunities to serve and helping communities to feed and power and educate themselves, by saving the world’s children from preventable deaths, and by realizing the promise of an AIDS-free generation, which is within our reach.” That, is pretty much everything. Yet in the beginning of the Address, he acknowledged, “The American people don’t expect government to solve every problem. They don’t expect those of us in this chamber to agree on every issue.” So which is it?

Let me be clear. I want all of this too. All classic liberals like myself do. We just see government getting in the way of achieving all this. Left to the free market, all of this would happen. But it’s clear from the Address that we’re going to continue down the path of government trip-ups and missteps.

President Obama also continues the Fencing-for-Dollars between the States. He proposed rewarding schools that develop partnerships with colleges and employers and “The States with the best ideas to create jobs and lower energy bills by constructing more efficient buildings receive federal support to help make it happen.” It makes no sense at all to be collecting money from the States only to have the States send their congressmen and women to Washington to try to get it back.

The most revealing part of the State of the Union Address was when Obama, in one sentence, pretty much told us that the Federal Government screws us. He said, “The American people have worked too hard, for too long, rebuilding from one crisis to see their elected officials cause another.” Yep, that’s exactly what keeps happening. I’m reminded of Michael Cloud’s Road Runner (free market) / Coyote (big government) analogy.

Again, we here at Freedom Cocktail want all the good things in life too. We are just certain that government solutions are no solutions at all. And with the re-election of Barack Obama and all the government interventions laid out in the State of the Union Address, it’s clear we here at Freedom Cocktail have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of convincing to do. Time to get started.

And now for a game of Pictures That Make Democrats Whine. My kids are ready if we’re ever invaded. See?

willowrun379

Pic courtesy of the British 9th Parachute Battalion.

A Man Bites Dog Story Should Not Set Policy

“There is no reason why anyone, other than military or police, need to possess an Assault Rifle.” Or, “There is no reason why anyone, other than military or police, need to possess clips that hold dozens of rounds of ammunition.” Or, “You don’t need an Assault Rifle to go hunting.”

These three sentences, in many variations, have been uttered a lot lately. In the news and in opinion pieces, on blogs and radio shows. Whenever I read or hear these sentences, I don’t even have to know what exactly happened, where or when. Even if I had been living in a box, I’d know that someone, somewhere just shot a bunch of people. And I’d know that it was horrific and massive enough that gun control advocates are ramping up again. These sentences are robotic reactions whenever someone abuses the use of an Assault Rifle and/or clips that holds lots of ammunition. They’ve been uttered before, they’ll be uttered the next time some goof ball abuses a Right. But are those three arguments accurate? Is there no reason a civilian should have an Assault Rifle with lots of ammo?

I used the word Right on purpose in that last paragraph. It’s because the Right to bear arms is the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It is as much a Right as our freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to peacefully assemble and freedom to never have to see Cher in concert. And Rights are not granted by the government. They are above government. The government exists to secure these Rights and they can not be taken away en masse. Rights can, however, be taken away, by the rule of law, from a person who abuses a Right. (Keep this last sentence, in it’s entirety, in mind, it’s important. And there might be a quiz).

I’m not going to define the Second Amendment. I already did that a bit in a previous article here at Freedom Cocktail. And I’ve been in this game way too long to finalize an argument on The Constitution Says So! The Constitution also validated slavery. But that was eventually corrected. A good counter argument to The Constitution Says So! is that if slavery can be corrected, so can some other wrongs in the document. The Constitution Says So! always ends in a head meeting the tail in a circle that goes nowhere. I believe that the Constitution doesn’t even need to be involved to provide a proper argument against the three proclamations noted in our opener. Instead, I will use logic. It works for science.

When I was in Kindergarten, and some other levels of grade school, if the teacher caught a student or two goofing off, on occasion, the whole class was punished. All students would have to put their heads down on their desks, be quiet and think about what had occurred. The only other time I witness this type of discipline is when someone commits a crime so horrifying to the psyche that an Off With Their Heads mentality grips the public and new laws are called for. In the case of firearms with big ole’ clips, we get the repeated mantra of the three opening sentences of our current study.

Let’s not be as knee jerk and say they’re wrong. Maybe they’re right. Can we find a reasonable argument against the complaints above? Let’s not argue from emotions but work purely in reason and logic. I understand that I’m advancing an uphill battle, asking human beings to put their emotions aside, but let’s try. Again, it works for science. I suspect if we can give a reasonable defense to civilian possession of an Assault Rifle with big ole’ clips, we can show no basis for the three declarations noted above.

You don’t need an Assault Rifle to go hunting.”

The Right to bear arms, and gun ownership itself, has nothing to do with the sport of hunting. Nothing at all. Zero. Bearing arms has to do with securing your personal self defense and repelling invaders, domestic or foreign and; most importantly, repelling a tyrannical government should it arise. With this in mind, civilians would have every need to secure an Assault Rifle with lots of ammunition. Shotguns, pistols and crossbows don’t stand a chance against tanks and helicopters.

History tells us that we must be on guard for just such tyranny. Nazi Germany is the ultimate example where Assault Rifles among the people, the Jewish people in particular, would have been beneficial. Don’t try to argue that it can’t happen again or that it can’t happen in the United States. We can not predict the future but using the past as an indicator, the fact remains that no society ever went from tyranny to freedom without a fight. In fact, all societies that started as free eventually fell into tyranny. This is why Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Occasionally the tree of Liberty must be watered with the blood of Patriots and Tyrants.” He knew this. And we, as good students of history, must also know this. To forget it or claim it won’t happen again is to engage in the crime of child neglect on future generations.

There is no reason why anyone, other than military or police, need to possess an Assault Rifle.” Or, “There is no reason why anyone, other than military or police, need to possess clips that hold dozens of rounds of ammunition.”

I will give you two examples where civilian possession of an Assault Rifle with a clip with lots of ammo would have saved lives and property. And I’m not even gonna have to mention Germany. They happened right here in the US of A.

How about the LA Riots in 1992? That would have been a good time to be in possession of just such a firearm if you were about to fall victim to the lynch mobs. If you were unlucky enough to be pulled out of your vehicle by people who wanted to pound you into a pancake, that would have been a good time. If you were one of the store owners who were being looted and attacked by the raging mobs, that would have been a good time to have riot repellent. How about Louisiana, September 2005, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina? That would have been a good time too if you had a home, property or just your life to protect.

I just listed two examples where an Assault Rifle would benefit the civilian, examples where the police could not possibly gain control and it was up to victims to protect themselves. And, granted, these are just two extreme examples where a skeptic might agree. But here’s the counter: “How often is this really going to happen?” Let me ask you, do you have a fire extinguisher in your home? How about auto insurance on your vehicle? Or insurance on your boat? Or did you buy a replacement plan on your latest purchase, like an I-Pad or oven? If you have any of these things, you probably noticed you never use them; or, you only had to use them once or twice. The Assault Rifle can be in the same category.

There are millions of gun owners and Assault Rifle owners in the United States. Most, so much so that I could say all, do not commit crimes with them. Most have them as insurance policies. Others have them for target shooting in sport. Some have them just to brag they have them. But that’s it. So why do angry nay-sayers jump up and down and call for banning Assault Rifles when one, ONE fool abuses their Right to bear arms? Because it’s how most people deal with horrific events. Let’s get government to fix the problem. Let’s pass more laws against “it”, that’s the answer. A recreational drug hurts someone and the story gets the run of the papers? Let’s ban it. A kid drowns in a two-foot deep swimming pool and Nightline spends a half-hour on it? Ban it. Every Man Bites Dog story gets into the papers. Why? Because it’s so unusual. And the illogical side of the human being reacts to the unusual event with an unusual, not reasonable, solution. Wouldn’t the news be boring if we read daily articles titled, “Millions of Gun Owners do Nothing Eventful Today.”

When someone does abuse their Right to bear arms, like breaking into a home and shooting the occupants or spraying a crowd of the peacefully assembled with bullets, that perpetrator deserves to have their Right taken away and then put away from society for a time. And that’s what we do, all the time. In a case of armed robbery, if the perpetrator used a six-inch knife and if the police can make the arrest, we lock the perp up and they lose all kinds of Rights. We don’t lock down the city, go door to door and take away every six-inch knife. Same in the case if the armed robber had a revolver. We don’t get the same action committees trying to ban revolvers. And when a drunk driver slides into a family of six, we don’t ban cars or alcohol. We rightly blame the irresponsible party and punish accordingly. It’s only in extreme cases, Celebrity Cases, that a call to action is made to ban and punish everyone. Celebrity Cases are Man Biting Dog cases and sound and reasonable policy should never be based on them. Otherwise, you’re making all the innocent put their heads down on the desk and get punished for what someone else did.

Arguing in favor of the civilian possession of an Assault Rifle may not be politically correct. It’s never been popular in my forty-two-years on this planet, especially if it’s made just after an extreme case gets publicity. But keeping quiet when the drums of war are beating is not a time to lock your door and hope for the best. It’s time to get involved or others will decide for you. None of this should be construed that I am heartless and don’t show sorrow for the victims of the fools who abuse their Rights. I don’t even feel the need to justify an attack like this. Of course I wince when I see someone abuse their Rights and cause harm. But I’m, we’re, not in grade school here.

George Orwell said that the prime responsibility lay in being able to tell people what they did not wish to hear. (1) Whether you wished to hear this now or twenty years from now or never, the defense rests.

1) Orwell in Christopher Hitchens, “Letters to a Young Contrarian” 2001