Tag Archives: Constitution

Of the people, by the people

The Obama administration drove another nail into America’s coffin this week as Secretary of State Kerry signed off on the United Nations arms treaty.  The senate is set to vote on ratifying this treaty soon.  The treaty is supposed to allow for the UN to have some control over the wholesale transfer of weapons to rogue states, ostensibly to curtail acts of terror or war crimes.  This could lead to limiting the way organized crime gets armed, such as Somali pirates or drug cartels.  But the language of the treaty provides a slippery slope that could affect American citizens in a very real way, as the treaty could be used as justification for any number of local restrictions that currently cannot be implemented because of the second amendment.  The real concern Americans should have is that this treaty–which may have a direct influence on American daily life–was not written by Americans.  It was written by politicians from other countries.  Because of this, the senate must not ratify this treaty.  No law affecting Americans should be written by anyone who is not an American citizen.  We should be writing treaties for them to ratify, not the other way around.

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There is a move afoot to adopt a global outlook on all aspects of life.  Businesses love this because it opens new markets and new opportunities to make money.  Liberals love this because it plays into their dream of a unified, classless society where everyone is the same.  Politicians love this because it could give them more power over more people.  The unfortunate truth of this is that it will be nearly impossible to have  global society because of he simple fact that human nature will not allow it.  For globalism to work, people must assume that everyone is on the same level and has the same opportunities and the same limitations.  Everyone else, that is.
No one want to be one of a million; they want to be one in a million.  Everyone in America has been told from infancy that they are special, unique and worthy of praise.  That means that they believe they are better than everyone else.  If everyone is special, then no one is special, and that just won’t do.  This is human nature, even with the few exceptions of truly altruistic individuals who would sacrifice the shirt off their backs for those less fortunate.  Most people won’t make that sacrifice, however.
Another reason globalism will not work is the great cultural divide.  The many nations of this world have long histories wherein their culture has been defined and defended over centuries.  While some cultures intermingle their similarities, there are many cultures that are diametrically opposed to others and cannot coexist in the same space.  Islam and Judaism have a long history of animus that would have to be overcome before any great intermingling could happen.  Many liberals would love for all religion to be outlawed in order to facilitate this gobalistic dream.  If there were no religions, they say, there would be no wars.  More blood has been spilled, they continue, in the name of God than for any other reason.  Unfortunately, to outlaw religion is unrealistic as it is the cornerstone of life for many people, groups, communities and nations.  People will not give up their faith simply because some group of nations tells them to.  Every nation has a long history of sovereignty.  The United States is still one of the youngest nations in the world and has more than 200 years of laws on the books.  These laws were written by the people and for the people.  The American democracy for many of those 200 years was admired as a model representational government.  This admiration was not universal, however, and many nations openly resented the American way of life as too decadent and indulgent.  Other nations have been in existence since the dawn of recorded history and they, too, have their own laws.  While many nations have similar laws on the books, several nations have laws that are quite specific to their people and situations.  The American revolution occurred because the colonists did not feel that they should have to live under British laws, since they didn’t live in Britain.  The first thing they did was draft laws that were specific to the people living in the colonies.  These founding laws did not apply to anyone not living in the country and were not enforceable outside the country’s borders.  That is a basic premise of sovereignty.  No country can enforce its laws on another country.
The act of imposing national will outside the boundaries of the nation is imperialism.  America has often been cited as being morally imperialistic with regards to human rights issues, but while those incidents have ignited fierce political debate and even some military interventions, those actions were in response to crimes against the people that were already on the books in those countries.  As unfortunate as military intervention in another country may be, it was action taken against a regime, not against individual citizens.
In a global society, there is no sovereignty.  There is no local government.  Enforcement could be handled by military from some other country under the auspices of the UN.  Uniformed soldiers bearing the UN insignia could roll down mainstreet America policing our citizens, arresting them and charging them with violations of laws that the citizens had no part in creating.  That is not representational government and that is the danger we face if the senate ratifies the treaty Mr. Kerry signed last week.
In America, we write our own laws.  We do not need some other government telling us what is wrong and what is right.  Granted, the treaty as written does not directly address the people of the United States, but if ratified, it could open the door for more intrusive treaties and allow for our current socialist-leaning regime to try to enact counter-constitutional laws under the auspices of honoring the treaties.  Best to nip this Obama end-run in the bud.  Contact your senators and tell them–no–demand that they vote no on ratification of the treaty.

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By Force of Arms

In a world where violence is king, one man must make a difference.  One man against the world.  One man with the resolve to do what must be done.  One man with an idea that will solve every problem and make the world take notice.  One man with a gun.
This may sound like a promo for the latest Arnold Schwarzenegger or Bruce Willis action flick, but it may just as well have been the thoughts going through the head of Adam Lanza that Friday morning as he advanced on the locked doors of Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.  The disturbed 20-year-old son of a divorced family stole his mother’s guns, killed her and then went to the elementary school and opened fire on the children and faculty, killing 20 kids and six adults before taking his own life.
He left no note and as yet police have found no evidence of a motive on the boy’s computer or personal effects.  It is likely the reason for the shootings will remain a mystery for some time, maybe forever.  Unfortunately, in the absence of any real facts in the case, speculation runs rampant.
The media is rounding up the usual list of specialists, psychologists, sociologists and pundits to craft reasons for the massacre.  They, to a person, are pointing fingers at any number of things to blame except the man himself.  Adam Lanza pulled the trigger.  No one else was there, according to police reports.  No one else had their hand on the weapons or the trigger.  No one had a hold of his arm forcing him to do it.  Blame him.
Instead, we try to understand what made the person commit the heinous act.  What outside force was at work, because surely no person would do this of his or her own accord.  It must be the fault of some outside force.  We hear how violent video games are.  We hear how bad movies are.  We hear how malicious today’s popular music is.  There are people crying for video games to be banned, movies to be mandated to exclude violence and sex and music to be policed.  None of these measures will work, mind you.  We also hear another cry that is howled anytime a shooting occurs.
We hear that guns should be outlawed.
Again.
As if the .223 Bushmaster rifle Lanza stole from his dead mother somehow floated through the halls of the school, discharging randomly and killing those kids was the true culprit.  Adam wasn’t even there.  The magazines loaded themselves.  The bullets jumped out of the box of their own accord.  It simply must be the gun’s fault.  But that is ludicrous.  Guns don’t do anything without a person making it happen.  A bullet will not fire from a rifle without a finger pulling a trigger.
Some gun control advocates have claimed that if Adam Lanza had not had access to these guns, those kids would be alive today.  This sounds like what Bob Costas said last month after Kansas  City Chief’s linebacker Jovan Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend and himself.  Neither statement is likely to be true.  Of course, there is no way of knowing, but if a person has murder in the heart, the choice of weapon does not matter.  Belcher probably would have used a knife, or a car.  Lanza may have use a bomb.  Either way, someone would have ended up dead.
When Lanza was planning his assault, he knew that killing was wrong.  He knew that it was illegal.  He knew that, if he was caught, he was going to be arrested and charged with a crime.  He knew this.  He was so aware of this fact, that he decided to kill himself rather than face justice.  If it had been illegal for him to buy a gun (which, by the way, he didn’t–he stole them from his mother) it would not have changed his mind.  If he did not steal his mother’s–if she had locked them away in an impenetrable vault–he would have stolen someone else’s guns.  If he did not have a semi-automatic rifle, we would have simply cocked the gun more.  He would have found a way.
Forbidding guns would not have averted this tragedy, but arming the teachers might have.
In a world where violence is king, one teacher can make a difference.  One teacher with a gun to protect the kids she has sworn to protect.  This might make a would-be killer think twice about bringing guns to school.  It is interesting to note that several school districts are considering arming teachers now.  I am not certain this is the right way to go, but I like it better than soldiers in the hallways of our public schools.
There is one answer.  The only way to ensure an end to gun violence is to end guns.  Ban then all.  No exceptions.  Cops get no more than tazers.  Soldiers get swords and bows and arrows.  No guns for anyone.  If there exists a single gun, it will find its way into the hands of a criminal eventually.  If the criminals have guns, the people must as well.  This is why we have armed police.  The government is charged with providing for the general welfare of the people and they do that by policing the criminals.
If we are to arm our police and soldiers, we also must arm our citizenry.  If only the state has guns, there is nothing to protect the citizens from abuses of the state.  This thinking may seem seditious to some, but this is exactly what the founding fathers envisioned when drafting the second amendment to the constitution.  They built a nation out of revolution.  They threw off the oppressive yoke of a dictatorship by force of arms and in doing so, knew that such oppression could rear its ugly head again.  If it does, the citizenry have to have the same type of arms as does the state.
“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of the state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”  There is no stipulation in that sentence for what type of arms.  There is no wording on how many rounds of ammo one can have.  No phrasing about magazines or caliber or gauge are included.
We cannot, in good conscience, surrender our right as defined in the constitution to the state just because some crazy person shot up an elementary school…or a mall or a high school, a college campus or a political fundraiser.  Fortunately, these attacks are not common.  In fact, they fall into the realm of the unlikely.  It is unlikely that someone will enter your office and blow away the secretarial pool.  Not impossible…but unlikely.  Crazy people do crazy things and the results can be tragic, but we cannot spend our lives huddling our children close in constant fear of the unlikely.  What we can do is arm ourselves just in case.  If there is another Adam Lanza hearing his own movie promo playing in his head planning on attacking some public place and killing innocent bystanders, better to have someone sane and trained in the proper use of a weapon thinking that one man with a gun can make a difference.

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…From My Cold Dead Hands

Common sense, according to CBS anchorman Bob Schieffer, is to control guns and to keep guns out of the hands of people like the man who shot up the Aurora theater in Colorado.  Schieffer even admits that there are legitimate reasons to own a gun, such as–in his words–hunting and protection.  Obama issued a statement today that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers on the battle field.  This is most likely referencing all assault rifles and touching on the assault rifle ban that expired in 2004.  The hard question is how to control who gets guns.  A lot of liberals will use the shooting as a rallying cry to make gun ownership illegal, but they fail to consider an axiom–as they always have–that guns don’t kill people, people kill people.
There is another axioms in the gun debate.  “If we make it a criminal offense to own a gun, then only criminals will own guns.”
This one is particularly true, because criminals with guns use them in criminal activities.  They do not stop to consider the criminal nature of having a gun.  Most criminals obtain guns through illegal means anyway.  They don’t care.  There going to commit other crimes with the gun anyway, so who cares if they break the law in getting a gun.
The guy in Aurora actually bought his 4 gun through legal means.  Ordered the ammo through legitimate retailers.  He committed no crime in getting his guns.  What he did with those guns was the crime.  The shooter in the Gabby Giffords shooting in Arizona also bought his gun legally.  Neither shooter had a criminal record that would have prevented the legal acquisition of guns.  Neither were diagnosed as mentally unstable prior to their crimes.  They were regular citizens exercising their right to keep and bear arms.  These acts are the exception though.  In fact, most crimes are committed with guns bought through illegal means.
One argument that has superficial merit is that citizens do not need assault rifles.  If a person wishes to hunt a deer, or even a bear, a simple bolt action rifle is sufficient.  A semi-automatic weapon is not needed to take down a 12-point buck.  This is a good premise on its own, but it does not address the real need of the second amendment.  The amendment was not created to give hunters the means to shoot game. Neither was it enacted to allow individuals to shoot a burgler in the act of breaking and entering or even to defend one’s life.  If a criminal is threatening a person or property, a simple handgun should be sufficient to protect the home and person.  But again, that is not the reason for the amendment.
The second amendment states: 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.  The reason we have the amendment is to provide for the common defense; to use the weapons in the event of an invasion from a foreign enemy or to overthrow a dictatorial government.  The founding fathers, having created a country out of revolution, knew that any government can become corrupt and need to be overthrown and so wrote into the Bill of Rights that citizens can keep and bear arms for just such an emergency.  This is not limited to hand guns or shotguns or bolt action rifles.  If the country were overrun, a few guys with 9mm handguns would hardly prove a threat to an invading army.
Does every citizen need a gun?  Obviously no.  Even in the founding fathers’ day, some people had no business with weaponry.  The Hatfields and McCoys feud shows what bad things can happen when some people who have no business with guns become armed.  The criminal element will use whatever means available to commit their crimes, so making gun ownership illegal will not thwart the criminal.  The question remains: who should be able to get guns?
If assault weapons are manufactured for soldiers alone and none are sold to the public, what is to prevent a criminal from stealing these rifles either from the factory or from the military depot?  Obviously the criminal nature of getting or having guns means nothing to a person about to commit a bank robbery or even a home invasion.
Schieffer advocates a psychological background check before obtaining a gun.  Does this mean that anyone who wishes to buy a gun has to take a Rorschach test?  What standard would be used to determine who can or can’t buy a gun?  There is no clear cut legal definition of crazy even today.  The Aurora shooter probably would have passed any psych profile.  It typically takes a clearly insane act to reveal insanity.  If the shooter had no access to guns, he might have decided to drive a car into the theater to kill people.  Would the liberals cry that cars need to be outlawed?  This is yet another attempt at restricting our civil liberties by those who believe Americans cannot be responsible or held responsible for their lives or actions.
People commit crimes.  They have been doing so since before the first civilization and will continue to do so until the end of days.  It is the base nature of humanity and no amount of legislation is going to change that.  Common sense tells us we cannot legislate crazy or evil.

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Silencing The Masses

The march toward the end of the Unites States has taken another step forward this weekend with the asinine utterances of Senator Lindsey Graham, ( R ) of South Carolina. It is even more scary in that Graham is a republican, the party usually decrying the abridgement of our constitutional freedoms. Graham was on Face The Nation Sunday commenting on the burning of the Koran by Florida fundamentalist preacher Terry Jones which sparked violence across the middle east. Graham joined Senator Harry Reid in saying that congress should investigate the incident. “We’ll take a look at this of course. As to whether we need hearings or not, I don’t know,” he said.

What is there to take a look at? No crimes were committed. No laws were broken. At least no American laws. If we broke some Sharia law, who cares? This is the United States. We have our own laws that are for our citizenry. If another country does not like our laws, so be it. They do not have to live under them, just as we do not live under theirs. This is why we have our own country, so we do not have to answer to a foreign government of which we have no say. We as citizens—or should I saw “WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES” have written our laws to govern ourselves. We elect representatives from our communities to be our voice in government. In this country, we have a say in governance “IN ORDER TO FORM A MORE PERFECT UNION.”

Islamic countries’ laws are based on their religious system. Sharia law is right out of the Koran and is much more limiting than our constitution. These people can never appreciate a government working under the auspices of the separation of church and state. For these countries, state is controlled by the church. Their laws are based on religious precepts. They cannot abide our freedoms and want to destroy our system and implement theirs. These are not the extremists as we have been led to believe, rather these are the mainstream. Only the “Americanized” muslims really claim to embrace the American ideal of separation of religion from daily life and these are the minority.

They have figured out the best way to undo our system is from within. They use our own freedoms against us by claiming that they must be allowed to practice their faith openly. We let them, even when their faith demands societal control that is far removed from the constitutional freedoms we enjoy. The goal is to destroy our freedoms. One of the best ways is to subvert and abridge our constitutional rights, such as the right to free speech or our right to privacy or our right to a fair trial of our peers. Many lawmakers who support the suspension or abridgement of our rights do so by saying that it is for the greater good. We have surrendered our protection against illegal search and seizure when we travel at airports in the interest of national security. This is also the same excuse used when the government intercepts our private messages and phone calls as they look for terrorist communications.

Now Reid and Graham want to take away our right to express ourselves because some Muslims in some foreign country are offended. Is burning a book a good thing? Ordinarily I’d say no. I would become incensed if someone tried to burn a Bible. Do I offer the same idea for the Koran? No. I really do not care about the Koran. It is not the inspired word of God. But, here is the kicker: do Americans have the right to burn either of those books. Yes, they do. It is not a hate crime. It is an expression of personal ideology—one of the primary principles upon which this nation was founded. If Christians become outraged at the burning of a Bible, no one in congress raises an eyebrow (which is sad in and of itself) but let some Muslims cry foul when a preacher organizes a Koran burning and now congress wants to look into preferring charges? Ridiculous! It does not matter if there is a war on. It does not matter if all of Islam shouts out against it. It is an American freedom; one that hundreds of thousands of men and women have spilled blood and died for.

This is still the United States of America and it is still a country based on individual freedoms as outlined in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. If other countries don’t like it, let them try to take us down the way that other countries have for more than 200 years. We won’t go without a fight. They know this which is why they have changed tactics. Don’t let them destroy us from within by attacking our base principles while we let them under the guise of tolerance. We have to fight to keep our rights.

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Speech Isn’t Always Free

A high school basketball player in Nashville, Tennessee may be the pawn that defines free speech in the networking age if his case goes to the courts. Taylor Cummings, a 17-year-old student at Martin Luther King Magnet school, posted some derogatory and derisive messages on his facebook account after a falling out with his coaches. The school responded by first suspending, then expelling the senior 10 days later.

Taylor Cummings and his Facebook page

The posts included one that said “I’ma kill ’em all.”

Now, there have been cases where school administrations have taken action against students who post on social networking sites, and these cases have agitated free-speech advocates who contend that the first amendment protects students from these actions. The flip-side of the argument is a question: what constitutes free speech?

Courts have long held that community standards set the bar for issues of obscenity, and congress has set the standard for material covered by national security. People who break non-disclosure agreements are subject to legal action for saying or writing material that is covered by those agreements under the auspices of contract law. So, not everything we say is protected free speech.

Neither is what we write.

The written word has long been established as indelible, permanent, involatile. The words of Yul Brenner’s Pharaoh come to mind: “So let it be written, so let it be done.” Writing gives weight to what is said. It makes it seem more important and less ephemeral than the spoken word. It is tangible. It is real. It is important. It commands attention. So Let It Be Written, So Let it Be Done One does not casually put into writing that which one does not truly feel. The love letter is cherished, while the significance of saying “I love you” fades after the first time it is said. There is a whole school devoted to the significance of writing in society. This significance, however, is eroded by social networking sites and texting.

Texting has the immediacy of speech. People send texts as easily as they think what to say. There is no social norm or convention for standardizing texting the same way we do for writing. Once we hit send, it is as if we uttered the phrase, never to be retracted. Since one can post to a twitter feed or facebook wall just as easily as texting, it offers even more problems. While texting generally is a one-on-one conversation, the wall or feed is akin to the jumbotron at a sports arena. What you say is out there for everyone to see. One must take care deciding what content to place in such a public venue.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The first amendment is a blueprint for all the other amendments that follow. It is the headliner of the Bill Of Rights. These rights are provided to American citizens as demonstrated freedoms that we all enjoy. These rights were paid for in blood in every war this country has fought. Just because it is a right, however, does not mean we can take them for granted. We have to be responsible stewards of these rights, use them wisely; use them carefully. We cannot use them to hit others over the head with our own ideas. There needs to be polite discussion when differences are encountered in order to bridge them.

While this all seems rather academic, young mister Cummings has added one more aspect to the issue. “I’ma kill em all” is not just any old rant. Not like “Coach so-in-so is stupid,” or “I hate the coach,” or even “I wish coach was dead.” No, “I’ma kill em all” is a direct threat. It conveys a plan of action with a specified outcome. This kind of message has already been held in the courts as conveying a threat, whether spoken or written or, as in this case, facebooked.

Now, he and his mother and a civil rights attorney have all said that it was regrettable and more to the point, that Cummings didn’t mean it. It was just the ranting of a disappointed adolescent. That may be true, but it is not the same as hollering into an empty room. Once the words are written, then the message becomes deliverable. Had he just scribbled it on a piece of paper, then tore the paper into bits and trashed it, the issue would have been trashed. But he posted it the message to a public forum, where any of his friends, who may have other friends, can read it. This conveys the threat and this is where he got into trouble.

Had he said “Coach so-in-so is stupid,” or “I hate the coach,” or even “I wish coach was dead,” the school would have no actionable issue. He is expressing his opinion and doing so is covered by free speech. Conveying a specific threat is not. The school board was correct in taking action against Mr. Cummings, who should feel fortunate that they are not pressing criminal charges against him. People need to take greater responsibility with what they put online.

Perhaps this case will set a precedent so that the courts have a template to follow in future cases. More to the point, however, perhaps it will teach kids that they cannot use the internet so cavalierly as to put their innermost thoughts and feelings out into the public. It is not a private journal, it is a public forum and there are rules that need to be followed. This is not free speech, it is bought and paid for speech. Treat it as such.

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