Tag Archives: Liberals

…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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Big Government Strikes Again

I sit this evening puffing on a new blend I found in a new pipe store my wife found. Smoking is not a new phenomenon. People have rolled or shredded tobacco leaves and burned them for hundreds of years. The widespread use happened after Christopher Columbus brought tobacco leaves and processes back to Europe from the Americas in the 1500s, but Native Americans had been cultivating tobacco for generations before that. The Indians used it for medicinal and ceremonial purposes and made elaborate pipes to smoke it. Of course, with anything good, human nature will find a way to make it bad—which is how the cigarette came into being as well as tobacco taxes.

As tobacco use increased, a huge industry grew out of what had been local farm-based businesses. Taxation soon followed and municipal revenues were soon dependant on the business. If taxation were still used only as a revenue stream, there would be no problems, but in today’s market it is no longer about money.

No one since the 1800s could reasonably believe tobacco held any true medicinal uses, but it wasn’t until the latter half of the 20th century that the true health concerns came to light. Since then, there has been an active effort to force people to quit smoking. First it was public service announcements, then it was package labeling requirements, then they forced tobacco companies to stop TV advertising and then forcing them to use only text with no graphics in print ads. The results have been an unmitigated success. Cigarette sales have dropped by double-digit percentages since the new requirements. The antismoking lobby has even gotten Hollywood to stop putting product placements in movies and TV shows and cut down on the use of tobacco by the characters. Stars who smoke are regularly ridiculed by the media for setting a bad example for kids.

If cigarette smokers were the only people affected by these efforts, they would be the only people worrying about it. There are, however, other uses of tobacco that are affected by the antismoking lobby. The Indians created beautiful artistic pipes to smoke which is still a popular method of smoking. While cigarettes are the most common tobacco product, pipe tobacco is a distant cousin. The curing and manufacturing processes are quite different, as is the taste. Congress understood these differences for years and while they taxes cigarettes to near extinction, pipe tobacco was relatively ignored. Now, several liberal senators and congressmen have set their sights on all forms of tobacco with the Tobacco Tax Parity Act of 2010, known as HR 4439. Enacting this tax would raise taxes on pipe tobacco 775 percent.

Now, to be fair, I do not smoke cigarettes and I would shed no tears if they banned cigarettes altogether. But I do enjoy my pipes. I have several and I enjoy different blends of pipe tobacco. I am not at all happy about the prospect of paying $2 more for an ounce of tobacco. I would, however, gladly pay it if it was anything other than a liberal ploy to interject government into my private life. We do not need “Big Brother” telling us what to do in our homes, especially when it is something that has existed legally and was supported by the government for more than 200 years.

If we do not reign in big government, they will regulate every aspect they can. The liberals believe they know what is best for the people and will legislate our freedoms away if we let them. Even if you do not smoke, even if you rightfully believe you should not be subjected to second-hand smoke, it does not mean that smokers should not be able to smoke in their homes and in appropriate public places where smoking is limited. This matter should be left up to local city councils or at the most, state governments—not federal laws and not the IRS. Contact your congressman and tell them to vote No on HR-4439.

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