Eugene Volokh is discussing the very recent Ninth Circuit decision on the right to bear arms outside the home. See also here and here. Eugene’s comments are well worth reading. Here is one interesting excerpt from the decision.
… with Heller on the books, the Second Amendment’s original meaning is now settled in at least two relevant respects. First, Heller clarifies that the keeping and bearing of arms is, and has always been, an individual right. See, e.g., 554 U.S. at 616. Second, the right is, and has always been, oriented to the end of self-defense.
See, e.g., id. Any contrary interpretation of the right, whether propounded in 1791 or just last week, is error. What that means for our review is that historical interpretations of the right’s scope are of varying probative worth, falling generally into one of three categories ranked here in descending order: (1) authorities that understand bearing arm s for self-defense to be an individual right, (2) authorities that understand bearing arms for a purpose other than self-defense to be an individual right, and (3) authorities that understand bearing arms not to be an individual right at all.
To illustrate, a precedent in the first category that declared a general right to carry guns in public would be a great case for Peruta, while a decision in the same group that confined exercise of the right to the home would do his position much damage. By contrast, those cases in the third category — which, like the dissenting opinions in Heller, espouse the view that one has a right to bear arms only collectively in connection with militia service and not for self-defense within or outside the home — are of no help.
It’s very important to understand what they’re arguing and what they’re not. But first, let me rehearse my view of the Second Amendment.
Recall that I view the Second Amendment as primarily and first of all a restriction on the power of the federal government. It was meant to frame in, or circumscribe the centralized powers. Therefore, it needed only one reason to restrict that power, that reason being stated as concerning the militia. The Second Amendment is not restrictive, it is inclusive. I’ll return to that in a moment.
Later, the Second Amendment was applied to the States through incorporation, and thus it applies to all U.S. citizens regardless of State. However, this should have been superfluous at the time, since most States (Illinois being one exception, having been corrected only recently) recognized the right to bear arms in State Constitutions. It should have been … but it wasn’t because of collectivist designs on control.
God gives me my right to bear arms. Man can and should only recognize and respect that right. I do not have to be a member of the militia to justify my right to own weapons (the Second Amendment gives only one reason that the centralized powers cannot infringe on my rights to bear arms – there are many others). Again I say – and always remember this – God gives me the right to weapons and to use them for self defense.
Such notables as my friend Bob Owens have asked the question, loosely paraphrased, if militia membership is required, then what kind of training should we be engaged in?
No, and a thousand times no. Paraplegics, the elderly, shut-ins, and all manner of people who cannot be a member of the militia have just as much of a God-given right to weapons as does a healthy, 19-year old strapping young man ready for service. It does no good to say that we’re all member of the unorganized militia, because my 90 year old grandmother in-law cannot get herself out of bed. It’s a lie and a subterfuge to say otherwise, and it avoids the hard question about the ultimate root of my rights.
Now back to what the Ninth Circuit said. While I am in both categories (i.e., right to bear arms for self defense and also for resistance to tyranny), again, it’s important not to misconstrue their words.
The case before them had nothing to do with the militia or resistance to tyranny. It had to do with the right to bear arms at all times for personal self defense. Thus, decisions, case law, and legal texts that have to do with anything but this are irrelevant to their decision. They lack probative worth in this context.
I think that this is right, and I think that this is generally a good decision. Let me make a careful note that I am not finished reading the decision, and I may stumble upon something outlandish. I’ll point it out if I do.
David Codrea says that he doesn’t cede the decision whether we have a right to bear arms to the Ninth Circuit. Properly so. God gives it to me, and what God gives me, no court can take away. But for the trashy decisions handed down by the Ninth Circuit, this one is surprising and delightful to read (so far). And I do like their focus on the historical context of the constitution rather than on what judges have to say about it from their ivory tower perches today.
As the Seventh Circuit correctly noted, neither Heller nor McDonald expressly limits the second amendment’s protections to the home. On the contrary, both decisions contain language strongly suggesting if not outright confirming that the second amendment right to keep and bear arms extends beyond the home. Moreover, if Heller means what it says, and “individual self-defense” is indeed “the central component” of the second amendment right to keep and bear arms, then it would make little sense to restrict that right to the home, as “[c]onfrontations are not limited to the home.” Indeed, Heller itself recognizes as much when it states that “the right to have arms *** was by the time of the founding understood to be an individual right protecting against both public and private violence.”
I think the result is correct, because Heller‘s reasoning does indeed apply to carrying for self-defense in most public places, and not just in the home. Indeed, Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago had no occasion to squarely confront this question, because they dealt with total handgun bans, including on home possession. Heller does speak of “the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home,” and stresses that the D.C. handgun ban extends “to the home, where the need for defense of self, family, and property is most acute.” Heller, 554 U.S. at 635, 629. And Heller also holds that bans on concealed carry in public are constitutional, because of the long tradition (dating back to the early 1800s) of such prohibitions.
Eugene goes on to discuss what he sees as a technical error in the ruling, albeit not determinative, i.e., he still believes it’s the correct result.
I have exchanged e-mail with him on Georgia case concerning guns in churches / schools. Eugene is a very smart guy. But on this issue I disagree. No, not that the Illinois Supreme Court ruled rightly, but how they got to it.
Read again. And read Eugene’s analysis again. They both presuppose that to answer the question of whether carrying outside the home should be legal, they must turn to a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.
We’ve discussed this before. The Bill of Rights doesn’t grant us rights. It circumscribes the power of the federal government so that they cannot infringe in those specific areas. If you want to learn whether carry is protected in Illinois, turn to the Illinois state constitution, article 1 section 22.
It is a late addition to the constitution, but better late than never. Folks, the notion that the founding fathers would have turned to a federal document to understand or delineate their rights is preposterous. We have given the centralized government too much authority, too much legitimacy, and too much power.
We needn’t turn to the federal government, even when we get the answer we like. We have rights because those rights were granted by God and recognized by our local and state covenants, not because the U.S. constitution says so. And it should be embarrassing that the Illinois Supreme Court had to turn to Heller to make their decision. Embarrassing. Do they have a mind of their own, and aren’t they supposed to be deciding cases concerning Illinois?
Several police departments and organizations around Missouri are speaking out against a bill that would bar enforcement of federal gun laws if they interfere with a Missourian’s Second Amendment rights.
St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch says House Bill 436 would in effect end cooperation between local and federal law enforcement agencies. He cites a recent traffic stop where his officers apprehended two armed men wanted for different crimes.
“Typically we would take that case to the federal authorities, because (the criminals would) get a lot more serious prison time than you would on a state charge,” Fitch said. ”If this law is passed, it basically takes away the opportunity for us to do that.”
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In addition, St. Louis city Police Chief Sam Dotson, Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forte, and Chuck Wexler of the Police Executive Research Forum co-wrote an op-ed piece strongly opposing House Bill 436. It reads, in part:
As police officials we are concerned about this legislation because it would make it a state crime for our federal partners at the FBI, ATF, and other agencies to do their job of enforcing federal gun laws in Missouri. The prospect of Missouri officials trying to arrest federal agents is unimaginable …
Fitch is a liar, and that isn’t the reason he opposes the proposed law. The real reason is that while it is unimaginable to the authors of the letter that they would actually hold the collectivists accountable for their crimes (because they are themselves collectivists), it is quite imaginable that they strip their own people of their God-given rights.
So there you have it. The benefit of things like this is that it allows liberty lovers in that neck of the woods the opportunity to see what their LEOs are really made of, and remove them from office, however hard that may be and however long that may take.
On to what is always an interesting read, PoliceOne.
Don’t expect any change in local enforcement of New York’s SAFE Act following recent comments by Gov. Andrew Cuomo … Schoharie County Sheriff Tony Desmond said he has no intention of enforcing the law, and that his office won’t do anything that would cause law-abiding citizens to turn in their weapons or arrest them for possessing firearms.
Good for the Sheriff, but the more interesting thing is the comments to the article, as it always is at PoliceOne.
I support laws limiting magazine capacity in the United States. Let’s say 7 rounds at most. Carry as many of those 7 round magazines as you want.
Law enforcement officers, due to the nature of their work, are excempt (sic) from these limitations.
The reasoning is this. There have been numerous situations in Law Enforcement where higher round magazines have been necessary to do what they do. It’s the nature of the job.
There is no evidence that a non law enforcement person needs a higher magazine capacity to protect themselves. It doesn’t exist.
Officer Discretion! It doesn’t matter what laws are passed, or what crooked politicians think. I can enforce or not enforce laws however I see fit. Its called officer discretion. I would hate to live/work in an area where LEO Officers feel they have to enforce every law, no matter what the circumstances. If you work for a city/county/state/federal department, you may not have discretion. Fortunately I work for the Office of the Sheriff, and (with the Sheriff’s Blessing) I make the decisions to charge/not charge the people I deal with.
The first commenter is easily answered by one name: Mr. Stephen Bayezes. But the more involved answer pertains to how poorly trained and ignorant he is, as well as raising the question why police departments hire such badly qualified candidates.
LEOs can use weapons for only one reason according to the SCOTUS decision in Tennessee versus Garner: self defense. Nothing more. So whatever applies to LEOs applies equally to citizens who aren’t LEOs, that is, self defense isn’t unique to LEOs, and there is no compelling legal argument for allowing weapons in the hands of LEOs that aren’t in the hands of others.
The next commenter is a little more level-headed in that he would refuse to confiscate weapons, at least according to him, but just as ignorant in that he elevates discretion to the point that it overrides the law.
This makes for corruption in the ranks of enforcers just like it does in the ranks of law-makers, who sometimes feel that they can make any law they want for whatever reason they want. Neither is true. The constitution constrains us all, law-makers and LEOs alike. The officer doesn’t have discretion to ignore enforcement of a law that is constitutional, and it is the very fact that a gun confiscation law is in fact unconstitutional that gives him the latitude to refuse to enforce it. There are rules for all of us; our actions are circumscribed by higher law, first the constitution, and finally, God Himself.
So as you can see, LEOs are still having extreme difficulty dealing with the political and cultural crises in which we find ourselves. I only expect the dilemmas to get worse for them. They had better put on their thinking caps. Right now they’re acting pretty stolid and dense.
Lily Tang Williams writing at National Review has a must read column entitled Guns Against Tyranny. It has become almost amusing to watch as the collectivists hyperventilate over claims that we make about right to guns having nothing to do with hunting, and everything to do with ameliorating tyranny. But what Ms. Williams has to say is sobering and gives existential and emotional import to what is for us sometimes all about doctrine.
I was born in Chengdu, China. When I was growing up, the Communist Party controlled everything. There were no choices of any sort. We were all poor except the elite. The local government rationed everything from pork to rice, sugar, and flour because there were not enough supplies. We were allowed only a kilogram of pork per month for our family of five. We lived in two rooms, without heat in the winter. I got impetigo during the cold, humid winters. There were eight families living around our courtyard, and we all had to share one bathroom (a hole in the ground) for males, one for females. We had only government-run medical clinics, where the conditions were filthy and services were horrible. I was afraid of going there because I might get some other infectious diseases.
As children, we were brainwashed in school every day. We chanted daily: “Long Live Chairman Mao, Long Live the Communist Party.” I loved Chairman Mao. I was so brainwashed that I could see Chairman Mao in the clouds and fire. He was like a god to me. The powerful government watched us very closely, from the Beijing central government to our Communist block committees and local police stations. We had no rights, even though our constitution said we did.
It was frightening that local police could stop by our home to pound on the doors at night and search us for no good reason. People were arrested without court papers and locked up for months without trials.
Citizens were not allowed to have any guns or they would be put into prison, or worse. Chinese people were helpless when they needed to defend themselves. I grew up with fear, like millions of other children — fear that the police would pound on our doors at night and take my loved ones away, fear that bad guys would come to rob us. Sometimes I could not sleep from hearing the screaming people outside.
There were many stories of local people defending themselves with kitchen knives and sticks. Women were even more helpless when they were attacked and raped. I was molested as a college student once while walking home at night. It was common then.
When it came to dealing with the Chinese government and police brutality, there was nothing we could do. They had guns, while law-abiding citizens did not.
And thus does it go in collectivist hives where the government controls even your right to self defense. The power brokers couldn’t care less whether the people can ensure their safety – they care merely about subjugation of the common people under the yoke of bondage. Ms. Williams eventually made it to the U.S., and has this important observation.
I tried so hard to come to the U.S. for personal freedom, including the freedom guaranteed by the Second Amendment: the right to keep and bear arms, which makes me feel like a free person, not a slave. I felt empowered when I finally held my own gun. For the first time in my life, I truly knew I was free.
I think the Founding Fathers of this country were very wise. They put that in the Constitution because they knew that a government could become either powerful or weak and that the citizens’ last defense is the ability to bear arms to protect themselves against tyranny and criminals. The guns are not just for sports, hunting, and collecting; it is our fundamental right to bear arms and use them for our self-defense.
Having previously lived under a tyranny, it seems clear to me that the U.S. government is going to try to infringe my Second Amendment right. What happened in China could happen in America. If the government can tell us what arms to bear, where to bear them, and how many shots you need to use to defend yourself, we might just become slaves.
It’s already happened, Ms. Williams. And if you haven’t noticed, at any time your local police department – or any of a multitude of federal departments – could send in a SWAT team on a misguided mission, destroy your home, kill your beasts in front of you, endanger your family and even kill members of your family, and no court in the land will hold them accountable for so much as the misdemeanor of littering. We are already headed down the path about which you warn because they don’t care about the Fourth Amendment.
And that’s what makes the Second Amendment so important, no? And it means that eventually we must be willing to act on our own behalves because they won’t.
Per The Omaha World-Herald, “Bruning was one of 18 state attorneys general who signed a letter sent by the National Association of Attorneys General, urging the Senate to confirm Holder’s nomination.” He also, per that report, declined to talk about Fast and Furious “gunwalking” that happened on Holder’s watch.
Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning is in the middle of a controversy – he always seems to be – on the denial of weapons rights to a long standing legal Mexican resident.
This is a detailed and involved articled by David, one that you really need to read, both to be educated and to understand my response.
First of all, the NRA has absolutely got to do better at ranking politicians than they do. On the other hand I have talked to them via phone and to their credit they do a fair to good job of keeping abreast of issues and politicians. Oftentimes a politician is disingenuous and cites an NRA ranking that was done well before a given candidacy in which they claim that it applies. So the NRA needs to do better (of course they do), and politicians need to stop lying (like they ever will).
Now let’s get to the issue of guns and Mexicans. If you read David’s prose and the accompanying comments from well-educated readers, you will see that they all support gun rights for legal residents.
Here is a news flash. So do I. I wonder from time to time about going abroad on short term mission trips and also lament the fact that most of the locations to which I would go do would not allow a weapon to be brought into the country. And then I think hard about my God-given duty to protect myself. Ultimately, if you do something like that you must be cognizant of the fact that you are sustaining a certain risk that you cannot ameliorate.
In fact, I even favor the restoration of guns rights for non-violent felons, and I do not believe in the rehabilitative power of prisons (indentured servitude is the best way to pay debts, since a debt is not to society but to individuals). But I need to discuss some caveats. God gives us our rights, the state merely recognizes them. One commenter observes that the Second Amendment nowhere says that it applies only to citizens. True enough, that’s beside the point.
The Second Amendment doesn’t grant us a right. It says that the federal government cannot impinge on that right. And it doesn’t speak to state governments. That’s why – in my opinion – listen carefully here before you ascribe to me something I am not saying – state constitutions also need clearly to outline a man’s right to weapons, and the local laws clearly need to support that doctrinal stand. As advocates of states’ rights and tenth amendment advocates, we need NOT to turn to the federal government for delineation of our rights, even on the state and local level. The constitution and bill of rights doesn’t delineate our rights, it restricts the federal government from impinging on certain rights. Those rights also must be protected at lower levels of government. Here I strongly recommend reading Clarence Thomas And The Amendment Of Doom.
Regarding illegal aliens (or residents if you want to call them that), I strongly oppose such rights (that is, right to have guns). Just as God grants them a right to self defense, He grants us a right to protect our borders. His right to self defense doesn’t outweigh our right to national sovereignty as long as there is a remedy available to him that doesn’t also impinge on any other rights, i.e., becoming legal. These are carefully thought-out stipulations and explanations – do you need to read them and think about them again before reacting?
These are all controversial issues, but ones that we needed to discuss. You may disagree with my take on the Second Amendment (and believe that it speaks to states), and I accept that disagreement. But if you turn off your interest knob after reading the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution, I continue my interest to the State Constitutions. I have more work to do than you. But I strongly believe that governance is best when the political fight happens first and foremost at the local and state levels. Our founding fathers saw a much weaker central government than do we, and the notion that they would have had to turn to a national document to show their rights is preposterous. Our founders believed that they were stipulating behavior and framing in the centralizers.
A recent poll suggests Americans will consider the gun debate a pivotal point in the 2014 elections. So we wanted to explore how Americans kept the right to bear arms in the first place. As it turns out, grammar is the culprit.
Take a look at the Second Amendment:
“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.”
That little, red comma caused the Supreme Court to strike down D.C.’s ban on handguns, the country’s strictest gun control law to date.
Before the Supreme Court heard the case, the D.C. circuit court of appeals nixed the ban, too. “According to the court, the second comma divides the amendment into two clauses: one ‘prefatory’ and the other ‘operative.’ On this reading, the bit about a well-regulated militia is just preliminary throat clearing; the framers don’t really get down to business until they start talking about ‘the right of the people … shall not be infringed,’” The New York Times reported.
Gun control proponents argue the founders used commas more frequently than common English today, Ross Guberman wrote in his legal writing blog. Some historians even claim that many states ratified a version of the Second Amendment with only two commas, not three. The extra commas don’t mean much in that context, the argument goes.
Straining at a literary gnat to swallow a camel. This is what happens with you superimpose literary criticism over the inherent rights of mankind. The title of the commentary is telling: “How a comma gave gave Americans the right to own guns.”
The author, poor Christina, believes that rights are granted by the state, as she was no doubt taught by her college professors. Nay, Christina. God gives us rights and you cannot take them away. Neither can any state – all a state can do is formally recognize what God has granted.
As for the silly argument over commas, let’s hurry the death of this debate by a simple observation. Rather than turn to grammar to understand how the colonialists thought, recall how they saw weapons in their day.
In the colonies, availability of hunting and need for defense led to armament statues comparable to those of the early Saxon times. In 1623, Virginia forbade its colonists to travel unless they were “well armed”; in 1631 it required colonists to engage in target practice on Sunday and to “bring their peeces to church.” In 1658 it required every householder to have a functioning firearm within his house and in 1673 its laws provided that a citizen who claimed he was too poor to purchase a firearm would have one purchased for him by the government, which would then require him to pay a reasonable price when able to do so. In Massachusetts, the first session of the legislature ordered that not only freemen, but also indentured servants own firearms and in 1644 it imposed a stern 6 shilling fine upon any citizen who was not armed.
Whatever else you might find significant in one comma, two commas or three commas, and whatever else you think the second amendment means, it cannot possibly mean something contrary to the way the colonialists believed and behaved. And thus it cannot possibly mean that they intended to garrison all weapons in an armory controlled by the state.
Christina needs to do some historical reading, as do most Americans. A comma cannot take away your God-given rights any more than it can grant them to you.
No, that’s not my preferred title, but the one used by Adam Winkler:
America has more than its fair share of extremists who believe people need to stock up on guns to fight against tyrannical government in Washington.Add one more to the list: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. In a speech in Montana on Monday, the jurist was asked about the Second Amendment and what arms were protected by that provision of the Constitution. That “remains to be determined,” he replied. As one example, he asked if people have a right to “bear shoulder-fired rocket launchers?” Perhaps they do, Scalia suggested. The answer would turn on the historical understanding of the Framers, who Scalia said included the Second Amendment in part to preserve the right of people to revolt against a tyrannical leader.
Adam continues, “The idea that the Second Amendment gives people the right to revolt against government is broadly shared among gun rights extremists” (Adam is referring to people like me – Adam would have been a loyalist during the revolutionary war, I would have charged up King’s Mountain against the loyalist troops) … “The insurrectionist understanding of the Second Amendment fails to account for two other features of the Constitution. First, the Second Amendment itself includes a preamble referring to the necessity of a “well regulated militia.”
Here Adam continues with the well-worn and tired claptrap about well-regulated meaning controlled by the state. Bob Owens has the must-read defeater argument on this, but since Adam won’t care about this I won’t spend time recapitulating what Bob says. Adam can continue to wring his hands and worry over things, and we can move on to one salient observation about Scalia.
I have long lamented what I perceive to be the weakness of Heller versus D.C. But perhaps Scalia really does understand that the Second Amendment has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with hunting or self defense, and has everything to do with ameliorating tyranny. And perhaps Scalia knows that the Supreme Court had to bite this off in chunks. If so, this is a welcome evolution in Scalia’s thinking – at least as it pertains to what he feels free to say out loud.
And oh, by the way, the Hughes amendment was an unconstitutional obscenity.
UPDATE: Kurt Hofmann writes me, observing that: ” … Mr. Constitutional Law Professor is already lost, when he talks about any bill in the Bill of Rights giving rights. Besides, my position has always been that the Second Amendment does not protect “the right to revolt,” but protects the right to the means of effective revolt. When revolt becomes necessary, a Constitutionally protected “right to revolt” wouldn’t matter, even if there were one, because by then, the Constitution will no longer be relevant.” Good points.
Whenever Travis Haley speaks, it’s worth listening. You should get and watch Art of the Tactical Carbine. You’ll be a better shooter for it. But for the moment, Travis waxes philosophical with his view of the second amendment. Watch all of it.
Kurt Hofmann and David Codrea both note the huge effect that a relatively small group of individuals can have on societal stability. And make no mistake about it – law enforcement in and around Boston believed that they were performing “stability operations” (counterinsurgency) after the Boston bombing. Their operations had all of the hallmarks of stability operations the U.S. performed in Iraq, including signals intelligence, humint and forcible home invasions, in spite of the fact that Americans have the constitution to “protect” us from these tacics.
But most interesting isn’t this evolution in tactics, but that it is defended and even begged for by the collectivists, and not just the rulers.
If the tragedy in Boston proves anything, it’s that it really does take a village.
Investigators now are trying to figure out what happened leading up to the attack – how two brothers could become radicalized, how they managed to build the bombs and set them off without being noticed, and whether they were part of some broader violent mission. But the impressive response of Massachusetts – from the locals who followed directions to stay indoors to the police who hunted down and caught the suspects, one of them alive, to the elected officials who not only maintained public calm but managed to stay remarkably focused and clear-headed themselves – shows that we must act together to maintain our very lives.
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And what would an individual do with an AR-15? Go door-to-door, ferreting out a man who might well have another bomb on him? That’s one way to wind up dead, perhaps taking a lot of other people with you. A single individual with a gun is no match for a suicide bomber. Trained teams of bomb squad technicians and well-protected professional law enforcement officers are a better bet. This, actually, is what the framers of the constitution had in mind when they wrote a Second Amendment referring to “a well-regulated militia.”
Note the fear that grips this pitiful woman, and the reflexive (and incorrect) reaction to equate law enforcement with the militia of the second amendment. I recall having this discussion with my son Daniel concerning his service in the Marine Corps. Granted that was older than was he at the time I said this, but it holds true regardless. Son, I said, there are things worse than perishing, such as perishing without honor.
No man lives forever, but we will have a hand in turning over a country to our children in which they are free or enslaved. This will be the legacy of our horrible generation. Which will we choose?
As for what we would do with an AR-15? I am much more concerned about law enforcement than I am a bomber.
UPDATE: Mike Vanderboegh notes another collectivist arguing for collectivist solutions to collectivist problems.
Nonprofit Quarterly recently carried a commentary on Lindsey Graham and his comments on AR-15s that took a detour into the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Rick Cohen’s thoughts make for interesting reading.
Our impression of American behavior during disasters has been that people generally pull together, that adversity brings out the best in us. Sure, we know that people do very bad things, but the press often notes how people also go out of their way to help and protect their neighbors. In fact, that feeling of mutuality was what we thought undergirded the nonprofit sector in a democratic society.
It must be that we fell for some Panglossian view of America, if we are to believe Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing yesterday, Graham grilled Attorney General Eric Holder about the proposed ban on assault weapons. We haven’t seen the news reports that verify what Graham says happened—or sort of happened—to spark his support for carrying around military-style assault weapons:
“Can you imagine a circumstance where an AR-15 would be a better defense tool than, say, a double-barrel shotgun? Let me give you an example, that you have (sic) an lawless environment, where you have an natural disaster or some catastrophic event — and those things unfortunately do happen, and law and order breaks down because the police can’t travel, there’s no communication. And there are armed gangs roaming around neighborhoods. Can you imagine a situation where your home happens to be in the crosshairs of this group that a better self-defense weapon may be a semiautomatic AR-15 vs. a double-barrel shotgun?
I’m afraid that world does exist. It existed in New Orleans, to some extent up in Long Island [after Hurricane Sandy], it could exist tomorrow if there’s a cyber attack against [the] country and the power grid goes down and the dams are released and chemical plants are — discharges.
What I’m saying is if my family was in the crosshairs of gangs that were roaming around neighborhoods in New Orleans or any other location, the deterrent effect of an AR-15 to protect my family, I think, is greater than a double-barrel shotgun.”
As far as we can tell, Graham must be referencing a gang of white vigilantes in New Orleans’ Algiers Point neighborhood who, armed with shotguns and assault weapons, allegedly opened fire on African Americans “with impunity” after Hurricane Katrina; the militia was reportedly on the lookout for anyone who “didn’t belong” in the neighborhood, as reported by ProPublica and The Nation. If so, maybe Graham’s fears would have more of a basis in reality if he looked a little more like Holder and was facing a white militia armed with AR-15s.
It is in vogue to tell this revisionist history of Katrina. We’ll deal with this shortly, but before we do that and in order to set the stage for our response, we will now be the ones to take a detour into another crisis to watch how a nation behaved. We’ll address AR-15s, catastrophies and totalitarian governments, but for now let’s briefly revisit the fall of the Berlin wall, the role of one church, and the actions of the East Gernam Army.
OathKeepers has an interview with Lt. Colonel Gunter Spens, in which he describes the fact that the East German Army simply refused to obey orders to stop the protests at the wall and stayed on base. True enough for part of the story, and as much as I admire Oath Keepers, it isn’t as simple as this and there is more to the story. This is the church that brought down the wall.
In the GDR, atheism was the norm. Churches like St. Nikolai were spied on but allowed to remain open.
“In the GDR, the church provided the only free space,” Fuhrer said in an interview with Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly. “Everything that could not be discussed in public could be discussed in church, and in this way the church represented a unique spiritual and physical space in which people were free.”
In the early 1980s, Fuhrer began holding weekly prayers for peace.
Every Monday, worshippers recited the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount. Few came at first, but attendance grew as the Soviet Union began opening to the West.
The prayer service, Fuhrer said, “was something very special in East Germany. Here a critical mass grew under the roof of the church — young people, Christians and non-Christians, and later, those who wanted to leave (East Germany) joined us and sought refuge here.”
As a college student in those years, Sylke Schumann was one of the hundreds, then thousands, who joined the vigils in the sanctuary at St. Nikolai and then marched in the streets holding candles and calling for change.
“Seeing all these people gather in this place … from week to week and more and more people gathering, you had the feeling this time really the government had to listen to you,” Schumann said.
In October 1989, on the 40th anniversary of the GDR, the government cracked down.
Protesters in Leipzig were beaten and arrested. Two days later, St. Nikolai Church was full to overflowing for the weekly vigil. When it was over, 70,000 people marched through the city as armed soldiers looked on, but did nothing.
And even this report doesn’t tell the whole story. I was a member of a church during this time that received regular (underground) reports from East German churches about the events of that era. When society has rejected God and embraced totalitarianism, the men can become lovers of power or drunkards and whore chasers. Not all men do, but many succumb to this fate.
But oftentimes the women – mothers and grandmothers who want their children to be raised with a sense of morality and the knowledge of God – toe the line. Secretly they teach their children. Their children learn to love their mothers and the instruction, and like ticking time bombs that explode later in life, that instruction proves determinative.
And toe the line the women did. The crowds were heavily populated with mothers and grandmothers, and the boys who populated the East German Army remembered their instruction. They wouldn’t discharge their weapons at their own blood, and whether it was the instruction in underground churches or the simple fact that the boys wouldn’t kill their mothers or mothers of colleagues, no rounds were fired. It had little to do with orders to stay in garrison. If the East German Army had deployed (as some of them did), they would simply have watched as the wall fell without a shot.
Now, let’s return to the issue of New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina. Except for the horrible racist, Aryan gangs who abused the black folk, it was a veritable Shangri La indeed. Except for the white folk everyone would have gotten along just swimmingly. White Aryan gangs in the middle of New Orleans. You simply can’t make this up.
Except that this isn’t reality. Revisionist doesn’t even begin to describe that view. That view is an outright fabrication and falsehood. A more accurate and honest accounting shows how rough the time was.
In the City of Vultures, a New Zealander is one of the few remaining police officers who has stayed behind to protect the helpless.
James Gourlie, 30, formerly of Christchurch, is one of six officers who have remained out of a district force of 200.
“This is my district. I will not abandon my district, my county, my workmates or these people,” he told the Herald On Sunday last night.
Mr Gourlie was speaking while preparing for another night patrol from the Hampton Inn, which he and fellow officers took over after their police station was overrun. For its single entrance, and the war zone outside, they have dubbed the hotel “The Fortress”.
It’s been six days and five nights of lawlessness since Hurricane Katrina hit. In the vacuum left by Katrina, anarchy has reigned. Human vultures have preyed on the helpless, pillaging homes and shops, committing murder and rape.
The decision to stay while hundreds of fellow officers fled has left them bitter. Mr Gourlie returned after getting his American wife Jennifer out of New Orleans.
When one fellow officer and friend pulled out for Texas on Friday, taking two automatic rifles and a shotgun, he earned his colleagues’ anger.
“They’re preserving their lives but they’re risking their friends,” said Mr Gourlie, of the “cowards” who have left. “You know what the New Zealand and Australian way is – and that ain’t the Anzac way. You sacrifice yourself for your mates.”
There are incidents every day involving weapons, although Mr Gourlie is thankful he has not yet had to shoot anyone. The times the officers have intervened, those desperate for help have wept and offered thanks.
A fellow officer was killed after warning looters away from a store. A looter pushed a gun against his head and pulled the trigger. “It was heartbreaking to see this police officer lying on his back, blood pouring out of his head.”
There are gangs of armed thugs in the convention centre. One young hood the officers pulled up was carrying a civilian version of a military M-16 rifle.
“There’s shooting. The thugs inside, they have come outside. They are running up and down, disturbing people with impunity. They know we can’t cross the road and engage them because we don’t know where their cohorts are. We are so vastly outnumbered, especially at night,” said Mr Gourlie.
There has also been murder and rape. In one awful case, a 15-year-old girl had suffered both, her body stuffed into an oven with her throat slit.
“I would expect something like this in a war zone in the Middle East. You’d be stupid not to be afraid. It’s how you face it that counts.”
The gangs in the centre have now destroyed the generators, and last night was the first Katrina’s survivors have spent without light. “That’s one of the reasons why people are so afraid today.”
I am certainly no admirer of Lindsey Graham. His criticism of Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Rand Paul over their filibuster was petulant, and his friendship with John McCain shows that he wants to stay in power rather than hold government accountable. But from the mouth of the unexpected sometimes comes wisdom, even if by accident.
Unfortunately like the author says, Ameica is indeed like this concerning violence and danger, even if his intended target – white gangs – is a fabrication of his imagination. And during this period of peril for the citizens of New Orleans did the National Guard keep order? No, to their everlasting shame they spent their time confiscating weapons from law abiding citizens.
And yet, the National Guard had no evidence that New Orleans wouldn’t devolve into something like the L.A. riots, leaving people helpless and defenseless.
America as we have know it is dead. It is no more. The cities are violent and the government totalitarian. America is more bifurcated than it has ever been in history. Ninety million people are out of the labor force, and something approaching half of America pays no income tax. Keynesian economics has failed like a star burning out. The first medium size city has gone bankrupt, taking with it nearly one billion dollars in pensions for state workers. Note that this doesn’t include Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment payments, welfare, social security or any other federal program. One billion dollars – just on state pensions, just with one medium size city.
The ATF doesn’t just want a huge database to reveal everything about you with a few keywords. It wants one that can find out who you know. And it won’t even try to friend you on Facebook first.
According to a recent solicitation from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the bureau is looking to buy a “massive online data repository system” for its Office of Strategic Intelligence and Information (OSII). The system is intended to operate for at least five years, and be able to process automated searches of individuals, and “find connection points between two or more individuals” by linking together “structured and unstructured data.”
Primarily, the ATF states it wants the database to speed-up criminal investigations. Instead of requiring an analyst to manually search around for your personal information, the database should “obtain exact matches from partial source data searches” such as social security numbers (or even just a fragment of one), vehicle serial codes, age range, “phonetic name spelling,” or a general area where your address is located. Input that data, and out comes your identity, while the computer automatically establishes connections you have with others.
Many other specific requirements are also to be expected for a federal law enforcement agency: searching names, phone numbers, “nationwide utility data” and reverse phone searches. The data will then be collected to help out during investigations and provide “relevant information and intelligence products.”
To do this and similar things they are spending the wealth of your children and children’s children. Ben Bernanke is trying ever so hard to keep hyperinflation under control and interest rates low in order to keep the deficit from exploding, but sooner or later America’s unfunded liabilities will come due and no amount fiat money will suffice. Fractional reserve banking will prove to people when hard times hit that their money doesn’t exist and cannot be withdrawn from their accounts. It’s just a waiting game, because the system cannot be saved.
The American experiment – subtended by wealth redistribution, race baiting, totalitarianism and the creation of taker class that leeches off of workers – is over. It has been replaced by Fabian socialism. But all is not lost. America will be reborn in a different form. Hard times are approaching, and there are some salient and hard questions that are a function of those hard times.
Will police, soldiers and Marines raise their weapons against American civilians? The Louisiana National Guard did. To each and every officer, soldier and Marine I tell you, you’d better not. God will condemn you for it. Your orders must be legal and moral to require your fealty, and notwithstanding the [il]legality of such an order, it would be immoral. Will you confiscate weapons if so ordered? You’d better not – God will condemn you for it. Each man lives his appointed days, and then he will face judgment. Do not face God having removed means of legitimate protection of the family. And do not face God having been the stooge for a tyrant. It matters little how long you live. It matters much how you live, and how you perish.
To parents, you must teach your children and instill in them a reverence for and love of liberty. Even for the old among us, you may very well end up training the very men who would otherwise be your tyrants, but who will remember their upbringing instead. Mothers and grandmothers, you essentially saved the day in East Germany. Don’t underestimate your role. Teaching the children is the most important job on earth.
Men, don’t be naive. God apparently granted a special dispensation to East Germany for a bloodless coup. It won’t happen that way anywhere else. The National Guard in many states has already shown that they will assist totalitarianism. The race riots in Los Angeles were nothing compared to what it will be like in the event of an economic collapse in America.
Teach the children. Defend the family. It isn’t just a right, it’s your God-given duty. And never, ever relinquish your weapons. That would be as immoral as the actions of totalitarians in confiscation. You shall not cooperate with the totalitarians and be approved by God. Never give up. God is on your side.