Thursday, September 21, 2006

"Shall Issue" in Minnesota

Last Saturday (September 16, 2006, "It's news, but it's not NEW news!") I talked about the Minnesota Concealled Carry Laws as reported in the New York Times.

Since it was an 'archived article', the NYT was holding the article for ransom; they wanted me to give them $4.50 to read the darned thing. Heck, the same article is lining bird cages and wrapping dead fish all over the country for a whole lot less than that.

Fortunately, reader P.G. sent me the copy of the article which HE had downloaded.

I can do no less but to return the favor to you in this private email (not for reprint or publishing):
New York Times - September 5, 2006
Editorial Observer
Once a Progressive State, Minnesota Is Now a Fief of the N.R.A.

Correction Appended

A couple of weeks ago, I checked into a hotel in Bloomington, a Minneapolis suburb framed by the airport and the Mall of America. On the hotel door was a sign: "Firearms Banned on These Premises." The next day I drove to St. Joseph, an hour west of the Twin Cities, where I saw the same sign. Slowly the logical conclusion sank in. If firearms are banned on these premises, then they must not be banned in other places.

Sure enough, a year ago the State Legislature passed a "concealed carry" law, which means that it's legal to carry a concealed weapon if you have a permit. So that no one misses the point, the Legislature has also turned Minnesota into what is called a "shall require" state. If you apply for a concealed-weapon permit, the local authorities must grant it to you.

I asked one of the state coalitions opposed to these laws whether it would attack them in the Legislature this year. The answer was no. It is too busy trying to defeat a "shoot first" bill, which would give gun owners the right to fire away instead of trying to avoid a confrontation. The way I see it, Minnesota is only one step away from requiring every citizen to carry a gun and use it when provoked.

There are some other twists to these laws. A person carrying a concealed weapon cannot be banned from a public building, even if it's a library full of kids. Churches have succeeded in keeping guns out of the pews, but they're having to fight another court battle to keep them out of the parking lot. The application for a concealed-weapon permit appears to have been created by people who believe the real threat in carrying a gun is the loss of privacy entailed in filling out the form. Yet it isn't possible for a member of the public to find out who has received a permit and may, in fact, be packing heat.

This is what I'd expect of Florida, which recently passed a "shoot first" -- also called a "shoot the Avon lady" -- bill. I'd expect it of Texas too. But Minnesota? I grew up thinking of Minnesota as a socially progressive state. After all, it was home of the D.F.L. -- the Democratic Farmer Labor Party -- and a place where local control and common sense had strong roots. Like my family in Iowa, Minnesotans were gun owners because they hunted pheasants and rabbits and deer. But then I'm thinking of a time when the leadership of the National Rifle Association resembled a band of merry sportsmen and not the paranoid cabal it is today. Whether this was also a time when a legislator could vote his conscience, and not his gun lobbyist's orders, I was too young to know.

I grew up hunting and shooting, and I still own two rifles (a .22 and a .270) and two shotguns (a 20-gauge and a 12-gauge, to be specific). When I was young, I expected that I would own guns when I grew up because I enjoyed hunting and I liked the good hunters I knew -- as I still do.

But to me, owning guns and knowing how to use them properly was part of a civic bargain. I would leave the police work to the police, and they would leave the squirrel hunting to me. The notion that 38 states would have "concealed carry" laws in 2006 would have seemed insane, a regression to a more primitive idea of who we are.

The N.R.A. would argue that society has changed since those innocent days. But society hasn't changed nearly as much as the N.R.A. has -- or our ideas about the balance of individual and collective rights.

Every concealed weapon, with very few exceptions, is a blow against the public safety. The new gun laws in Minnesota take away local discretion over concealed-weapon permits, and they cost the local authorities plenty too.

But there's a bigger problem. By focusing so obsessively on an individual's rights -- in this case, the purported individual right to bear arms in the library -- all other rights are shoved aside. Police departments are forced to grant concealed-weapon permits to individuals who have almost none of the training and certainly none of the restrictions that police officers have.

What's worse, by granting this right to individuals, the law strips the public of its right to occupy public spaces without the threat of being shot. The police are trained to handle guns. The criminals know they're not supposed to have them but find them easy to get, thanks to the N.R.A. Let them fight it out. No one is safer if gun-carrying civilians believe their rights entitle them to pretend they're cops.

Sometimes I think the N.R.A. isn't really about guns at all. It's about making certain that the public -- our political and civil society, in other words -- has no ability to limit the rights of an individual. That is really what the logic of the "concealed carry" and "shall require" and "shoot first" laws says.

Guns make a perfect test case, because the end result is an armed cohort that is very prickly about its personal rights. The N.R.A. has armed the thousands of Minnesotans who applied for a permit once the "concealed carry" law passed. But it has disarmed the public by making sure that legislators will no longer vote for gun laws that protect the rest of us.

Correction: September 9, 2006

In an Editorial Observer article on Tuesday about Minnesota's gun laws: The law requires that local authorities "shall issue" concealed weapons permits when properly applied for. The article used the incorrect phrase "shall require" to describe this policy.
About the "correction" which NYT issued after the original publication (and obviously after they had received a lot of mail from outraged 2nd Amendment folks who knew what they were talking about.)

Yes, they noted that the correct term is "shall issue" rather than "shall require". That's nice.

But they missed one other unfortunate choice of words, here:
If you apply for a concealed-weapon permit, the local authorities must
grant it to you.

The problem is with the word "grant", as you may gather from the fact that I have italicized the word in the quote.

Here's what the word "grant" means, according to the InfoPlease online dictionary:

Pronunciation: (grant, gränt), [key]
1. to bestow or confer, esp. by a formal act: to grant a charter.
2. to give or accord: to grant permission.
3. to agree or accede to: to grant a request.
4. to admit or concede; accept for the sake of argument: I grant that point.
5. to transfer or convey, esp. by deed or writing: to grant property.
6. take for granted,
a. to accept without question or objection; assume: Your loyalty to the cause is taken for granted.
b. to use, accept, or treat in a careless or indifferent manner: A marriage can be headed for trouble if either spouse begins to take the other for granted.

1. something granted, as a privilege or right, a sum of money, or a tract of land: Several major foundations made large grants to fund the research project.
2. the act of granting.
3. Law.a transfer of property.
4. a geographical unit in Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire, originally a grant of land to a person or group of people.
Looking at the Verb Transitive form of the word, it implies that the issuing authority will "grant" a license out of the goodness of their collective bureaucratic hearts. You know and I know that this is hardly the case. You know and I know that bureaucrats have no hearts. They do what they are required by law to do, and not one step further.

(Pay not attention to the Noun form of the word, which is not applicable as it is obviously not intended in the context of the sentence. I only include it to make the following point.)

The bureaucrats won't "grant" you the right to own a weapon. God granted that right, as is made clear in the Constitution of the United States and enumerated in the Bill of Rights.

Especially it is defined in the Declaration of Independence.

Read these words in the Declaration:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights ...
These words are the reason why the Constitution was created, and especially they are the reason why the first Ten Amendments to the Constitution are called "The Bill Of Rights".

Soap Box Mode /ON

Bureaucrats don't "Grant" you a license. They "Issue" it. And they only do so because they have no choice. Some large group of private citizens have recently devoted their time and effort to ensure that they are obliged to issue that license to carry a concealed weapon; a RIGHT that should not have been necessary after we (or rather our forefathers, who are probably not related to most of us but we are lucky enough to be citizens of the country which they founded) fought and too often died for.

Soap box mode /OFF

The upshot of it is, when this newspaper article says that " ... the local authorities must grant it to you ...", the author is demonstrating an abysmal ignorance of the primary documents justifying this radical form of government.

This is no reflection on that author; to paraphrase someone else, we hear the same stuff from The Supremes, people who go to work wearing black bathrobes.

And they accuse bloggers of going to work in their pajamas, as if that's A Bad Thing.

(Dirgression Alert: they have no idea how many of us don't bother with the bathrobe, but that's another subject.)

I long to fisk this article. The author shows such contempt for individual rights, and is so arrogant in his (?) assurance that he knows better than you what personal danger is represented in your environment, that nearly every paragraph outrages irritates me.

The use of loaded phrases ("bear arms in the library" and "shoot the Avon lady") and placing quotes around previously defined phrases ("concealed carry" and "shall require") are yellow journalism at its best. Or at its worse, depending on your level of journalistic venality.

Yes, I realize it's an "editorial", and as such is assumed to be an opinion article -- which doesn't subject the author to the same constraints as a straight news article.

But consider this statement:

"Police departments are forced to grant concealed-weapon permits to individuals who have almost none of the training and certainly none of the restrictions that police officers have."

It presupposes that all police officers are better trained than any owners of a concealed carry license, and implies that police officers must abide by restrictions which are not imposed by private citizens who are licensed to carry. These are not necessarily universally applicable, which fact is cheerily ignored by the author.

In point of fact, police officers have fewer restrictions upon arms-bearing, and if they are obliged by circumstances to use those arms in the defense of self or others, they have a built-in defense superstructure in the form of the P.A.L. and the patina of assumed authority.

"Civilians" (an egregious term often used by police officers, which supposes an "us versus them" relationship with respect to non-police officers) have no support mechanism in place. If non-police officers use a firearm in defense, they bear the entire expense of defending themselves in court. Rather than being placed "off duty with pay, pending review" they are likely to find themselves in the hoosegow waiting for their turn at the public phone, where they can call their lawyer while fending off the advances of semi-permanent hoosegow denizens.

Nobody who has worked and paid for the 'grant' to exercise his rights to carry a firearm, and who has exercised that right, will do so unless the most extreme pressures of the moment demand it.

This article is written from a single, extreme point of view by a person who has an agenda to promote.

But then, you already knew that.


Remember this?

Soap box mode /OFF

Apparently, I was premature in my declaration.

Sorry about that.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

2006 Croc Match: The A-team

I didn't get as many really HOT videos of the 2006 Croc Match as I had wanted, so I've been pretty low-key about presenting pictures and videos of the excellent, hi-round-count match as I should.

That is, until I received a link to this YouTube Video from Norm the Ungrateful.

Production values and resolution on this 5:07 minute video are extremely good. I only received the link from Norm an hour ago, and in the meantime I've written this paen to his excellence both as a competitor and as a video editor, plus I've watched the video at least a dozen times.

I'll watch it a dozen times again, and in absolute awe.

I've not seen many videos which so perfectly demonstrate the fast-shooting, target rich environment nature of of this exceptional match as this.

When I get the code for this hot-music, hot-shooting video from Norm, I'll include it here so you can click-and-watch the action.

Until then, you'lll just have to content yourself with double-clicking what I consider to be one of the premier videos in IPSC competition to date.

Participants include Norm, Zac, Chuck, Yong Lee and Glenn.

"427 rounds in 2 days". You only have to see the followers-on about1:40 into the film to realize how awesome these performances really are. The video is a great demonstration of how FAST you have to shoot to win at this level of competition. The music is perfectly choreographed to support the action. Don't be fooled by the slow start; it sets up the viewer to truly appreciate the movement/very quick target engagement. To be able to shoot this fast, and still get hits ... that is the epitome of IPSC competition.

Fasssst action, perfect reload after perfect reload, and an implict understanding on the part of the competitors that speed wins. These are the components of a excellent IPSC video, and Norm has it all.

If you never watch another IPSC video this year, you have GOT to see this one.

If you have never shot the Banzaii Ballistic ("You Got Bullets?") Croc Match before, you have to be saying to yourself:

"Next Year in Dundee!"

Monday, September 18, 2006

Proud Grandfather

You'll have to bear with me for a bit here.

I've just become a grandfather for the fifth time.

My daughter, Jennifer, just gave birth to her second child, Jack.

(Son Ben has three children: Lizzie, Connor and Jacob.)

I don't yet have pictures of the new grandchild, and maybe I can resist the impulse to display them here ... newborns yield photos which are only of interest to the immediate family.

But I do have pictures of Jennifer, and her 'little brother' Ben.

Jennifier and Benjamin were born on the same day (July 30), two years apart. So, for her second birthday, Jennifer received a brother.

She wasn't sure what to do about that, at first.

Eventually, she figured it out.

They've been each other's "Best Friend" ever since.

When they each found someone to marry, they have provided me with a steady stream of grandchildren.

This is ALWAYS a reason to celebrate, so please join me now as I welcome little Jack.

Now we can only hope that his Big Sister, Samantha, appreciates him as much as her mother did HER brother.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sunday Night Funnies

The Urban Acrobatics videos are becoming daily more prevelant. Some of them are excellent. This one has a "theme" .... The Chase, from Bore Me dot Com.

Here's one without the theme. Note: background lyrics not 'work friendly'.

Think deoderants are boring?

In case there is any computer-owner in the Western Hemisphere who hasn't yet seen the Diet Coke and Mentos Experiments .....

More leaping tall buildings in a single bound. I've seen this guy before. (lousy video quality, but still impressive.)

But if you don't know what you're doing, don't try this at home!

Of course, you can still get hurt just driving down the street, minding your own business. Watch the big red truck with the white, too-long trailer. Don't worry, we've got a fix for excess trailer length.

But remember, whether you enjoy the ride or not ... don't expect any sympathy from your mother.

It was technical service response calls like this that caused me to switch from AOL to ... almost anybody.

For those masochists among us, here is a 32 minute film featuring the 9/11 conspiracy theorist barking moonbat David Ray Griffin (9-24-2005).

Should you watch it? The moderator is Representative Cynthia McKinney of Georgia. Use your own judgement. (No, I couldn't get through it either.)

By the way, here is the Popular Mechanics refutation of the 9/11 conspiracy theories.

UPDATE: Omigawd! Somebody has a 1:21:50 video on the "9/11 Cover UP". (Also referenced as "Loose Change", for whatever reason.) I tried to watch it, but the video quality is to low to read the documents it purports to reference. (H/T Les Jones)

Colt CCO has some comments and reference to further refutations. In case it's necessary.

In keeping with the 'shooting sports' theme of this blog, here is the redoubtable Beer Cannon.
(More Beer Cannon videos are available at the same You Tube webpage.)

And a guy letting someone shoot the bottle off his head --- Shades of William Tell ( William Tell Overture not included.)

Here is a video of a guy who took a photograph of himself every day -- for six years.

How about Street Magic? You like Criss Angel? Here's his Half A Woman illusion, where he has two women pull another woman into two parts on a park bench. Pretty scarey.

Here is a 21-minute video on Criss Angel illusions. An excellent showman. Once.

Sure wish I could play pool like this kid.

Videos are a blast, aren't they?