Thursday, November 22, 2007
This is the day when we give Thanks to our Creator for delivering us to our beautiful country.
This year, there are a number of articles being proliferated in America, describing how our traditional celebration is not what we had been brought up to believe it to be.
We are told that the native Americans ... the "Indians" ... did not participate.
Logically, we are told, why would they? Either the celebration was a "Family Celebration", and they were not among the families of 'the immigrants". Or else the festivities were to give thanks to a God which they ... the Indians ... did not recognize.
Logically, therefore, this was a Day of Sadness for the Indians.
After all, the Indians had been cheated out of their land, for a paltry $24 worth of trinkets.
We cannot definitively state (they say) that our traditions are truth. Therefore, it must be a lie, and as such should not be celebrated as a Day of Joy.
I say ... how paltry must be the appreciation of these nay-sayers, that they are so ready to deny their traditions; to make such a tawdry effort to besmirch this culture which is the envy of all the world.
I say .. how paltry must be their faith, that they cannot conceive an immigrant population which would include the native people in their joyful celebration at arriving in such a wonderful land.
I say ... how paltry must be their life, that they would rather find joy in undermining the traditions of a people who have lived in this land for over 200 years, instead of joining their people in the continuation the celebration of an act of Thanks Giving.
And I say ... I pity the fools.
A Pilgrim's Account from 1620 --- courtesy of the Wall Street Journal Opinion Page.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
This is just one more example of the many ways the Blue State which is Oregon has edged toward Liberal Nanny-Statism.
OSU's Student Health Advisory Board has launched the Fresh Air Initiative to assess how students and faculty will react to a new smoking policy on campus.This article appeared on the Front Page of the November 19, 2007 issue of the OSU Barometer directly adjacent to an article which condemned the use of Foam-Plastic containers (here, and earlier .. here) for take-out food.
The current procedure at OSU is a boundary policy, which entails non-smoking areas around certain buildings. The goal would be to make the entire campus a smoke-free environment.
Earlier editions of this student newspaper have railed against the use of cardboard containers for take-out food, and the campus in the 1960's was an early hot-bed of activism for OSPIRG ... Ralph Nader's honey-child Oregon State Public Interest Research Group ... which later evolved into a Green Party political activist group.
While we applaud student activism, we can't help but wonder how older members of the OSU community can be expected to match the energy of the student body. While our priorities are not Styrofoam-oriented, the proposed campus-wide ban on smoking doesn't address indoor smoking, which is already long-established.
The proposed all-campus 'no smoking' ban applies to going outside of your work-place or classroom to smoke, or smoking while walking across the campus. Participants who smoke Clove cigarettes are included in the ban, so it is not merely a punitive measure against the Demon Tobacco (which is already locally forbidden in enclosed public areas such as bars, taverns and restaurants ... and which already has caused the locally popular venue "The Peacock Bar and Grill" to discontinue employment for half of its wait-staff.)
This extremely local measure (a college campus within a community) is cause for consternation only because it may affect student enrollment:
The initiative, however, raises a concern that a smoke-free campus would affect the recruitment process and cause fewer students to attend OSU.The measure is reminiscent of the (passed) 1998 smoking ban, in which Corvallis was the first community in the state to restrict smoking in restaurants.
On the other hand, it was indicative of the state-wide trend toward demonizing smokers by sponsoring (most recently) a failed state constitutional amendment which would have imposed an excessive tax burden on Oregon Smokers to the supposed benefit of "the children" ... Measure 50 of the 2007 Ballot would have changed the state constitution for the sole purpose of imposing additional taxes on tobacco sales.
This measure was defeated by Oregonians who took exception to the concept of changing the constitution for the sake of adding taxes on a specific product ... never mind that it would have imposed those taxes on only 20% of the population for the benefit of an unrelated minor portion of the population. ALL taxes on Tobacco, Liquor and other obvious "Sin Tax' products are punitive.
The State Legislature is uncharacteristically candid about "Sin Taxes", because they seem to believe that the Electorate is with them in their drive to convince "Sinners" to reconcile their souls by yielding to governmental pressure. It never seems to occur to legislators that "Sinners" are a contrary bunch, and unlikely to yield to legislative pressure.
The ban on smoking would affected only a limited percentage of the population, and since it (the bill) addressed smoking out of doors they (the unidentified sponsors of the bill) can't be justified by a claim that it was intended to 'limit second-hand smoke".
"You are out of doors smoking a cigarette, the wind is blowing and it's raining ... where the hell is the smoke going?"
This is a purely punitive measure, intended to save smokers from themselves.
Does it serve any other purpose?
Why yes, it does ... but the defined purpose is insulting to the identified audience:
One major benefit of a smoke-free campus is an updated learning process for students - a reminder about the dangers associated with smoking.Translation:
"International students sometimes come from countries where it is encouraged to smoke," said Tina Withrow-Robinson, coordinator of special programs at OSU.
One of the goals of the smoke-free initiative is to educate international students about the dangers associated with smoking and second hand smoke.
"The Benighted WOGs seem to think that they have a right to smoke out-of-doors, because no matter what second-hand-smoke issues may apply indoors, their primitive mind-set doesn't seem to appreciate that 'smoking out-of-doors' is still 'wrong' where second-hand smoke isn't an issue ."
We're here to teach them that it doesn't matter whether or not smoking affects their friends and neighbors; smoking is just WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG!
(How many times, how many ways must we state this to get the message across? Never mind, we'll just make it illegal and can their ass if they choose to disagree with us! That'll show the uppity blackguards!)I am so sick of living in a Nanny State. Won't someone please help me elect an Republican Governor?
There you have it, folks. The Nanny State in Action.
And I have to live with these idiots!
As Jim Shepherd says in "The Shooting Wire" (not a permanent link):
The last "significant" ruling on the Second Amendment came in 1939 when the court ruled a sawed-off shotgun was not a weapon that would be used in the militia.This incident is so frequently cited, I think it might be pertinent to describe the circumstances under which that decision was reached.
U.S. vs MILLER
In The United States vs Miller et al, the District Court of the United States for the Western District of Arkansas found:
Appeal from the District Court of the United States for the Western District of Arkansas. [307 U.S. 174, 175] Mr. Gordon Dean, of Washington, D.C., for the United States.
No appearance for appellees.
Mr. Justice McREYNOLDS delivered the opinion of the Court.
An indictment in the District Court Western District Arkansas, charged that Jack Miller and Frank Layton 'did unlawfully, knowingly, wilfully, and feloniously transport in interstate commerce from the town of Claremore in the State of Oklahoma to the town of Siloam Springs in the State of Arkansas a certain firearm, to-wit, a double barrel 12-gauge Stevens shotgun having a barrel less than 18 inches in length, bearing identification number 76230, said defendants, at the time of so transporting said firearm in interstate commerce as aforesaid, not having registered said firearm as required by Section 1132d of Title 26, United States Code, 26 U.S.C.A. 1132d (Act of June 26, 1934, c. 757, Sec. 5, 48 Stat. 1237), and not having in their possession a stamp-affixed written order for said firearm as provided by Section 1132c, Title 26, United States Code, 26 U.S.C.A. 1132c (June 26, 1934, c. 757, Sec. 4, 48 Stat. 1237) and the regulations issued under authority of the said Act of Congress known as the 'National Firearms Act' approved June 26, 1934, contrary to the form of the statute in such case made and provided, and against the peace and dignity of the United States.' 1 [307 U.S. 174, 176] A duly interposed demurrer alleged: The National Firearms Act is not a revenue measure but an attempt to usurp police power reserved to the States, and is therefore unconstitutional. Also, it offends the inhibition of the Second Amendment to the Constitution, U.S.C.A.-'A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.' [307 U.S. 174, 177] The District Court held that section 11 of the Act violates the Second Amendment. It accordingly sustained the demurrer and quashed the indictment.
Note the italicized comment at the beginning of the document:
No appearance for appellees.
Remember this, because it is important.
Here's the story behind the story:
Miller and Layton were 'moonshiners' (unlicensed distillers of untaxed spiritous liquors) whom the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) had been determined to catch and imprison because of their primary business ... making and selling Moonshine.
In 1938, Federal Agents ("Revenuers", or locally "revenoors") received word that they were distilling whiskey at a certain location, and raided the place. When they arrived, the Revenoors found a working / workable still, but no people were there and no direct evidence that Miller and Layton were involved was found.
However, the Revenoors found a sawed-off shotgun in a pickup, traced to Miller (or Layton), and in their frustration they brought charges against both parties for possession of an illegal weapon.
Specifically, they were charged with transporting a sawed-off shotgun ... not simple possession.
Note that Miller and Layton were not 'pillars of the community'. They (or at least Miller) were bank robbers, and probably guilty of other crimes.
Eventually, both Miller and Layton were charged in District court for the 'crime' of transporting a sawed-off shotgun.
Miller died (was murdered) before the trial started. Layton pleaded guilty, and disappeared.
When the trial was convened, Layton conveniently disappeared. He later re-appeared, and was imprisoned for the charges.
It's significant that neither defendant was present at the trial.
But the Federal attorneys were present.
They made the charge that the firearms was subject to taxation (in the same sense that a machine gun was/is subject), and that a sawed-off shotgun was not a firearm suitable to "the militia".
This argument completely ignored the "Trench Guns" (sawed off shotguns) which were commonly used by the U.S. Army in WWI. However, since there was no Defendant present, and no defending attorney, no contradicting argument was presented. Therefore, the judge (McReynolds) had no choice but to find for the plaintiff .. the United States of America ... which established their argument as a precedent for all future judgments concerning the Second Amendment.
This single uncontroversial (unopposed) argument has thus become the single precedent for ALL subsequent trials which consider the Second Amendment as a defense.
Historically, it has been a boon to district and federal courts, because it did establish a precedent by which any court can deny a citizen (honest or otherwise) the right to own a firearm ... under any circumstances which may freely be ignored by the courts as long as this precedence may be applied.
Essentially, the cited authority:
... said defendants, at the time of so transporting said firearm in interstate commerce as aforesaid, not having registered said firearm as required by Section 1132d of Title 26, United States Code, 26 U.S.C.A. 1132d (Act of June 26, 1934, c. 757, Sec. 5, 48 Stat. 1237), and not having in their possession a stamp-affixed written order for said firearm as provided by Section 1132c, Title 26, United States Code, 26 U.S.C.A. 1132c (June 26, 1934, c. 757, Sec. 4, 48 Stat. 1237) and the regulations issued under authority of the said Act of Congress known as the 'National Firearms Act' approved June 26, 1934... which MAY be interpreted as a simple 'taxation' offense, becomes in and of itself a felonious act which MAY be prosecuted civilly, and the consequences to the offender NOT being adjudicated as 'relieved' by the simple act of paying the tax plus a fine. Rather, imprisonment and confiscations have been the punishment for this act, and any act judged to be 'similar'.
(Here is another reference to the legal documents pertaining to US vs MILLER)
US vs EMERSON:
A husband who is accused by his wife of 'threatening' can be deprived of firearms ownership based upon the unsubstantiated testimony (of his spouse) that he has made violent threats.
1999: see US vs Emerson from UMKC Law School:
The ultimate decision is that the charged spouse is not permitted to possess a firearm, or to buy or to borrow a firearm.
Defendant Timothy Joe Emerson ("Emerson") moves to dismiss the Indictment against him, claiming that the statute he is prosecuted under, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8), is an unconstitutional exercise of congressional power under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. For the reasons stated below, the Court GRANTS Emerson's Motion to Dismiss.
On August 28, 1998, Emerson's wife, Sacha, filed a petition for divorce and application for a temporary restraining order in the 119th District Court of Tom Green County, Texas. The petition stated no factual basis for relief other than the necessary recitals required under the Texas Family Code regarding domicile, service of process, dates of marriage and separation, and the "insupportability" of the marriage. The application for a temporary restraining order--essentially a form order frequently used in Texas divorce procedure--sought to enjoin Emerson from engaging in various financial transactions to maintain the financial status quo and from making threatening communications or actual attacks upon his wife during the pendency of the divorce proceedings.
On September 4, 1998, the Honorable John E. Sutton held a hearing on Mrs. Emerson's application for a temporary restraining order. Mrs. Emerson was represented by an attorney at that hearing, and Mr. Emerson appeared pro se. Mrs. Emerson testified about her economic situation, her needs in the way of temporary spousal support and child support, and her desires regarding temporary conservatorship of their minor child.
During the hearing, Mrs. Emerson alleged that her husband threatened over the telephone to kill the man with whom Mrs. Emerson had been having an adulterous affair. However, no evidence was adduced concerning any acts of violence or threatened violence by Mr. Emerson against any member of his family, and the district court made no findings to that effect. Furthermore, the court did not admonish Mr. Emerson that if he granted the temporary restraining order, Mr. Emerson would be subject to federal criminal prosecution merely for possessing a firearm while being subject to the order. [ED: emphasis Added]
As stated above, Emerson was indicted for possession of a firearm while being under a restraining order, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8) ("the Act"). This statute states that:
(g) It shall be unlawful for any person--
(8) who is subject to a court order that--(A) was issued after a hearing of which such person received actual notice, and at which such person had an opportunity to participate;
(B) restrains such person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner of such person or child of such intimate partner or person, or engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child; and
(C)(i) includes a finding that such person represents a credible threat to the physical safety of such intimate partner or child; or
(ii) by its terms explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against such intimate partner or child that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury . . . .
In the end, Emerson lost his appeal. Thus it is that (essentially) a man seeking to buy a firearm must attest to the fact that he is under no restraining order from his spouse. A finding that this testament is untrue is not only grounds for denying the right to purchase a firearm; possession of a firearm is illegal when a man is found to have had a restraining order issued, even on on the sole testimony of his spouse.
(Further citations available from www.law.umkc, and jurist.law.pitt.edu)
This ruling is different from US vs MILLER in that (a) it has been incorporated into the forms which anyone must complete and sign before buying a firearm; and (b) it establishes a precedence for confiscating firearms which were legally obtained; and (c) may be activated solely by registration of a restraining order created by a spouse ... with no substantiating evidence, documentation or testimony. In other words, it may be based on hearsay.
In today's litigious society, deprivation of 2nd Amendment rights may be based on bad case law, or on hearsay. The justification may be valid, but there is no legal standard by which the justification may be measured.
Were SCOTUS (The Supreme Court of the United States) to certify today that the 2nd Amendment specifically refers to an 'individual right', there is still no basis under which we may assume that these precedents will be overthrown.
You are SO screwed!
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Many of us who are RKBA-minded about the decision of The Supremes: If they rule that the 2nd Amendment refers to an individual right, it opens all sorts of positive possibilities for private ownership and usage of firearms. But, if they rule that the community can ignore that interpretation, the decision (depending on how it is phrased) could conceivably CLOSE more doors than it opens.
Those who are determined to restrict private ownership and usage of firearms are similarly, if oppositely, agitated. What if, they postulate, the DC gun ban is stricken down at the federal level? Will we see gangsters openly sporting fully automatic weapons? Will the Gun Nuts be allowed to have grenade launchers, artillery and bombs?
We can only guess that the question will finally shake down somewhere in the middle, but there is no guarantee that the final outcome will be as universally acceptable as a 'consensus'. The Supremes don't typically do consensus. They're hired to make decisions. These kinds of decisions are never, every popular with everyone.
Now the question has become a hot-ticket item for politicians. Michael Bane points out that Rudy G. has jumped on the bandwagon. Rudy uses the issue to show how determined he is to encourage SCOTUS to interpret the constitution strictly 'by what it is'.
And Fred Thompson has chimed in with a deeply intrinsic appreciation for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
Some people are less than completely confident that the final ruling will make much difference. Even if the 2nd amendment is completely confirmed as an 'individual right', recent state laws in California point the way by which the gun-banners can attack ... not your right to own firearms, but your ability to purchase them. Whether the laws are thinly disguised as a 'safety issue' or 'a way to help us solve crimes', we continue to rediscover that a determined liberal can invent new ways to suborn state legislators to undermine our constitutional freedoms.
A direct attack on the Constitution was only the first step, and it has served their cause for decades.
When that no longer works ... the liberals still have high hopes.
Monday, November 19, 2007
In a 'new' twist, a postal patron is dissatisfied with the delivery service (apparently) and shoots the postman. Isn't this a lot like ... kill the messenger?
Thankfully, the postman did not die from his wounds, which must be the reason why ABC News feels free to treat the alliteratively titled news story with inappropriate flippancy.
Well, I've done much the same with my "Man Bites Dog" title, haven't I?
Still, it's odd to find a non-postal-carrier private citizen, as they say, 'going postal'.
I'm glad the (entirely innocent of any perceived failure to provide premium service, according to the Comments) USPS worker didn't die from his wounds. I can't imagine the agony he suffered from the wound in his thigh.
Let us pray for his complete recovery, and hope that the IDIOT who shot him is fond, prosecuted, and serves heavy time in the Big House.
And that all of his letters and Christmas Cards are lost in the mail.
Well, I think we can pretty much take that as a given consequence.
SWMBO and I had originally planned to shoot the match, but Family Emergencies interrupted our plans ("Life Happens") and we spent that morning driving to Eugene, instead.
I admit, I wasn't terribly disappointed.
We have experienced some of our most difficult matches in November at TCGC. It's not the fault of the club, or the range ... it's the fault of Oregon!
If you remember the movie "Jeremiah Johnson", you may remember the line toward the end of the movie:
"March is a wet and muddy month. Some folks like it. Farmers, mostly." (said by Will Geer to Robert Redford.)
Well, in Oregon, November is a 'wet and muddy month' and nobody likes it very much; especially the folks who have to be outside and do things in the wet and the mud.
The weather in November and December is so inclement (read: nasty!) that the December match at TCGC is traditionally a "Concealed Carry" match ... which supports the tendency of IPSC competitors to show up with lots of warm clothing.
The November was not (as far as I know ... remember, I wasn't there) a Concealed Carry Match, but I know how hard it was raining where I was in Oregon, and I'm certain the weather was not much better in Sherwood, Oregon.
I'm often asked by friends and co-workers "What do you do when it's raining? Surely you don't go shooting as you do most of the year!" The truth is, IPSC matches in Oregon are poorly attended, mostly because of the cold and the wet. The difficulty in pasting bullet-holes on targets, the wind and the rain, the mud puddles found on the most 'advanced' gravel-surfaced bays ... all of these factors tend to make most of us think again at 7am whether we would rather go shooting, or stay home for the home-made Eggs Benedict with Mimosas, watching the telly and working the Sunday Crossword puzzle.
It is for this reason that I applaud the 25 hardy souls (sorry, match results not currently available ... it's rainy out here, you know) who actually showed up and packed steel back to the Conex storage at the end of the match. When they were cold, and wet, and tired ....
All of this is intended as an introduction to Trevor O., who provided some videos of what it's like to shoot an IPSC match in genuinely yucky weather.
Sorry, no music. This is the way it looks, this is how it feels. Pay close attention to standing ground water, and Trevor's t-shirt 'rain gear'. He's shooting a revolver this time, although he usually competes in Limited 10 Division. (Note: there were only 3 Open-Division shooter on this day.
I'm liking it. I wasn't there, freezing my Personal Private Parts off and trying to tape soggy targets. (YouTube link here.)
There are some advantages to being a cranky old man. Mostly, you no longer feel obliged to prove that you are an Iron Man.
Or ... a RainMan!