Friday, January 18, 2008

DC, ATF, 2nd, SCOTUS, Heller and Shepherd

Confusing title, ain't it?

Five days ago I added my comments to Syd's (1911) in respect to the ATF/Solicitor General's Amicus Curia brief on DC vs HELLER as presented to the Supreme Court of The United States (SCOTUS).

Syd said it was outrageous. I agreed, but suggested that the Feds (in all their many bureaucratic manifestations) could hardly allow the question to be decided by the Supremes without dropping a couple of pennies in the pot.

As I was reading my email today, I was struck by one analysis I found in a subscription email. Not surprisingly, it was Jim Shepherd's comments in The Shooting Wire.

Shepherd states his opinion so nicely, and is so clear in his thoughts, I cannot in good conscience voice an opinion on this subject (or most subjects) without providing you with the same Shepherd perspective from which I benefit.

Since Shepherd's daily comments are the only part of that website's posts which is NOT perma-linked, I reluctantly publish the most significant portion of that article rather than to provide a link for your convenience:

Spin aside, there are a few irrefutable truths coming from the Solicitor General asking the Supreme Court to send D.C versus Heller back to trial court for a "reconsideration."

First, politicians and bureaucrats both believe you can tell average voters anything you please and they'll forget it before you come back up for reelection.

Second, gun owners are not "average voters." Gun owners have memories like an elephant's and carry great big chips on their shoulders from the other "fibs" you've told them in the past.

Third, and maybe most importantly, you can say you are whatever you want, but what you do will eventually show you for what you really are.

This wasn't a sellout by the Bush administration.

The Bush administration is already history.

This was the bureaucratic machine pronouncing the time of death of the "W" presidency while simultaneously covering its own posterior at the expense of the Second Amendment. The amicus filing said - up front - that the Second Amendment was, really, about individual rights. But, a more contemporary reading of the Amendment might suggest that the bans on some guns in some areas by some groups was really OK.

It might not make sense to us, but it makes perfect sense to a bureaucrat. They survive via obfuscation - deliberate, willful actions are taken daily by bureaucrats to make the laws completely contradictory. After all, in an absolute world, there's very little room for "a more contemporary reading" of anything. It either is; or it isn't.

Bureaucrats don't like that environment any more than bad breath likes Listerine.

And bureaucrats, like the monuments across the city, aren't going anywhere. Politicians are a dime a dozen and are changed like sweaty sheets, something politicians are often familiar with. Bureaucrats, however, simply nod at their new "bosses" agreeing to whatever makes the latest crop of dunderheads happy. After all, they know that the politician is helpless without them and their seniority trumps the newest politician to hold down what they really consider "part time positions" inside THEIR government.

And why shouldn't they feel that way? The politicians stop making genuine efforts to change Washington about 30 minutes into their new jobs. They're blinded by their yes-men (and women), indebted to their contributors, and focused on raising more money from more contributors so they can stay around to enjoy more of the perks that come along with having jobs the founding fathers always intended to be short-term.

Jaded? Maybe. Cynical? Probably. But I have a surprise for the bureaucrats and the politicians… they're fooling with a different group of voters when they screw gun owners just like they do everyone else.

We might not always be the brightest bulbs in the chandelier, but neither are all gun owners lacking prehensile digits and the ability to reason. In fact, we gun owners have a deep-seated value system, the ability (generally) to believe that "yes" or "no" or "wrong" or "right" aren't variables depending on the political circumstance…and we can give a terrier a lesson in stubbornness.

We've always managed to keep our heads when everyone around us loses theirs. That's why gun owners are always called upon when times get tough and sacrifices, sometimes ultimate ones, are needed.

The same politically correct weasels who vilify us in the good times come to us hat in hand when things get tough and rough measures are called for.

To our simultaneous credit and detriment, we keep bailing them out.

We can -- temporarily -- accept that there are political realities that require a level of compromise that we're…uncomfortable…with, but that isn't the be-all and end-all for us. Remember that value system I mentioned? We don't just think guns are fun, or, as William Jefferson Clinton once noted, for duck hunting. At our core, we believe that guns are a necessity for the Republic -- and we act accordingly.

And this single quality may be the downfall of the bureaucrat. After all, they know they can outlast their normal adversary- the politico. They also believe, wrongfully so, that they can simply wear down gun owners to the point we'll eventually just give up, give in, and surrender our guns.

Here's a classic American response to someone else who thought average Americans lacked the grit to, well, stick to their guns when it looked hopeless:


--Jim Shepherd
It's not so confusing after all, is it.

Or maybe, it's more confusing once you start to think upon it.

Comment: Shepherd dismisses Bush's lack of leadership (if that's what it is) in allowing this Amicus Curia brief to be filed, assuming that it is a Bureaucratic CYA move. His position seems to be that Bush's part in the action is one of the following;

(a) Bush agreed completely with the brief, and allowed both the ATF and the Solicitor General to conspire in formulating an official position with which reflects the President's opinion.

(b) Bush assumes no leadership position in this issue at all. The bureaucrats are acting independent of the Executive Branch, either with Bush's tacit acceptance or ignoring any input which Bush may or may not have offered.

(c) Bush was completely blindsided by this action. He was not consulted by the bureaucrats, and The Executive was ignorant of the brief. This raises the question -- why has Bush not responded? After four days of national debate (albeit perhaps not prominent debate ... the president probably doesn't spent much time reading public debate which is not reflected in the MSM), the president has had ample opportunity to react to what might be considered a unilateral attack on the constitution by rogue departments of The Executive Branch. Doesn't he realize that this is an issue of significant importance in the minds of a significant portion of his constituency?

(d) Bush is too witless to recognize an attack on the Constitution by his bureaucracy. Either that, or he considers this an 'administrative' attempt to maintain some control on what could evolve into a volatile National issue, if SCOTUS entirely overturns gun-control laws such as are exemplified by the D.C. gun ban. That is to say, Bush believes that it is the place of the administrative infrastructure to address these issues.

(e) Similar to the last, but allowing the benefit of the doubt to his political sagacity; Bush is wisely allowing his underlings to lead the attack. As he watches to see which way it goes, the President is unwilling to impose the powerful influence of his office to find a resolution of the issues at this early date. Later, depending upon the public reaction to this move, he may disavow it.

Personally, I'm now leaning toward the last interpretation. It doesn't reflect well on Bush's intention to take an early political stand in favor of the Second Amendment, but it does demonstrate that he is a politician of not inconsiderable political skill. On the other hand, perhaps I'm giving Mr. Bush too much credit.

What do you think?

These comments, especially the last, have taken me a bit beyond Shepherd's. His article provided more grist for the mill of political thought, and encouraged me to seek deeper understanding of the President's motivation in allowing this bureaucratic move without current reaction.

As always, YMMV. I'd really like to see some independent thinking in the Comments.

If you haven't yet subscribed to The Shooting Wire, I again encourage you to do so. Today.

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