Saturday, May 31, 2003

Over at The Smallest Minority there's a rather interesting two part post entitled "Is the government responsible for your protection?" You can acess part 1 here & part 2 here.

Here's an excerpt from part 1:

"A lot of people seem to think so. "We need more police, better enforcement," is usually the refrain you hear when crime rates go up, or a string of crimes occurs. The police tell us that we shouldn't resist when we're being robbed or raped. It's called taking the law into your own hands when you do. It's the job of the police and the justice system - branches of the government - to protect you, according to most people. Certainly according to most police chiefs and elected officials.
But is it?
Let me tell you a story: ..."

Here's an excerpt from part 2:

"So what am I advocating? That the government make a public announcement that they aren't capable of protecting people, and besides, it isn't their job anyway, and that everybody would be well-advised to start carrying guns in a big hurry? (I was asked that question, verbatim, once.)
Let's take a few minutes and discuss 'the proper role of government'..."

Well written, well linked & well thought out. Read the whole thing.

Was the Congress Granted the Constitutional Authority to Regulate Firearms Through its Taxing Power? Robert Greenslade answers this question. I very briefly touched on similar arguments in a previous post discussing the National Firearms Act of 1934.

"In 1833, United States Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story's commentaries on the Constitution were published in book form. These commentaries have served as a reference source for the legal community for many years. Justice Story rejected the contention that the taxing clause was an unlimited power. In fact, he asserted that the general welfare phrase did not confer any power but was simply a qualification on the taxing power:
If the clause, 'to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States,' is construed to be an independent and substantive grant of power, it not only renders wholly unimportant and unnecessary the subsequent enumeration of specific powers; but it plainly extends far beyond them, and creates a general authority in congress to pass all laws, which they may deem for the common defence or general welfare. Under such circumstances, the constitution would practically create an unlimited national government. The enumerated powers would tend to embarrassment and confusion; since they would only give rise to doubts, as to the true extent of the general power, or of the enumerated powers.
On the other hand, construing this clause in connexion with, and as a part of the preceding clause, giving the power to lay taxes, it becomes sensible and operative. It becomes a qualification of that clause, and limits the taxing power to objects for the common defence or general welfare. It then contains no grant of any power whatsoever; but it is a mere expression of the ends and purposes to be effected by the preceding power of taxation.
Story went on to state that Congress could not use the taxing clause for anything other than raising revenue:
The power to lay taxes is a power exclusively given to raise revenue, and it can constitutionally be applied to no other purposes. The application for other purposes is an abuse of the power; and, in fact, however it may be in form disguised, it is a premeditated usurpation of authority.

As stated by Story, any attempt by Congress to use the taxing clause for anything other than raising revenue is 'a premeditated usurpation of authority'."

J.J. Johnson rebutts a letter written by a TSA employee in defense of the TSA.

First, the TSA employee:

"Every passenger and every bag is being checked. That's why some 5.8 million prohibited items have been found, including 1,231 guns, 1.7 million knives, and 43,390 box cutters similar to those used by the Sept. 11 terrorists. That helps explain why a recent national poll found that three of four travelers feel safer as a result of stricter airport security."

Now, Mr. Johnson:

"And of the 5.8 million items confiscated by the TSA, you failed to itemized all the toe-nail clippers, finger-nail clippers, key chains, combs, bottle openers, baby bottles, and shaving razors. Nor do you include all the broken laptops, cell phones and pagers.
The Associated Press, New York Times, and a host of other internet publications have reported various cases of firearms getting through airport security.
But all of this is meaningless to those who use a recent national poll to support the fact that three of four travelers feel safer as a result of stricter airport security. I'm sure more accurate polling agencies, such as United Airlines, American Airlines, and U.S. Airways can provide statistics showing fewer people flying after the new TSA security measures.
Perhaps that explains why they are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.
Perhaps that explain why TSA employees are being laid off."

How would Glenn Reynolds put it???


It's catch & release down on the border.

"Local authorities are catching then releasing illegal aliens despite the nation's increased terror alert status because there are too few regional U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services agents to pick them up.
While the so-called 'catch-and-release' strategy isn't a new practice for many local police departments, some of the most recent cases have been occurring despite the Department of Homeland Security boosting the nation's terrorist threat level to orange, or "high," and that has drawn criticism from immigration-reform advocates.
'Catch-and-release is actual [federal immigration] policy and refers to precisely that,' said John Keeley, director of communications for the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. 'It's problematic, particularly when one such released turns out to be an infamous sniper-in-training (Lee Boyd Malvo),' he said."

& people wonder why citizens are beginning to feel the need to patrol the border themselves?

I admit I have mixed feelings: part of me reasons we should close the borders down altogether, the other part thinks we should open up all the borders & not regulate or prohibit any immigration. There are problems with both approaches to be sure & I am currently leaning more towards a secure border than an open one. Regardless, the law says aliens must go through certain procedures. those that don't are here illegally. The feds claim to enforce this law, but as we see not nearly as well as they could. Yet when private citizens try to patrol the border & in essence do the governments' job for them, they are discouraged at every oppurtunity. Even local police officers are not being given assistance when trying to enforce the law. Ain't it wondeful to see your tax money in action?

Meanwhile, a citizens patrol group called Ranch Rescue is getting sued.

"A self-styled border-watch group was accused of terrorizing six undocumented immigrants in a lawsuit aimed at bankrupting the organization and any ranchers who cooperate with it.
The suit, filed Thursday, labels the Abilene-based Ranch Rescue an illegal paramilitary unit that is motivated by racial hatred."

A riot occurred in an Iraqi town after U.S. military & Iraqi police began a door to door weapons search.

"The police station in the tense Iraqi town of Hit smoldered on Thursday, a day after it was set alight in what residents said was a riot over intrusive weapons searches by Iraqi police and U.S. soldiers.
24-year-old Amer Aziz, who said he represented the young men of Hit, told Reuters the trouble began when police and American troops began a house-to-house search for guns on Wednesday morning.
'The Iraqi police were very rough with our women,' he said. 'They forced their way into houses without knocking, sometimes when women were sleeping. This is a very conservative town.'
Uproar ensued in the Sunni Muslim town of 155,000 as angry residents surged into the streets, burning police cars and throwing stones and handmade grenades at the Americans.
Aziz said a parley had taken place in the afternoon, when townsfolk told the Americans to leave or face suicide attacks."

There is no legitimate reason for the U.S. military to be going door to door confiscating weapons from civilians. Further there is no legitimate reason why I would feel pity for anything that happened to troops, even our troops, while committing such an act.

I have said before that I fear the U.S. military would use civilian disarmement in Iraq as practice for civilian disarmement in the U.S. I hope that the main thing the U.S. learns from trying to disarm Iraqi civilians is that it's not worth it, that's if they don't learn that their actions in this matter are morally reprehensible. & I hope they realize that any resistance being offerred by the Iraqi's would seem like good natured flirting compared to what Americans would do in that circumstance.

The following is from Gary Marbut's article in the Sierra Times:

"...How, you ask, do you tell the good people from the bad people, so you can make sure the good people get guns? The answer is, you can't. The best you can do is assume that the good people far outnumber the bad people, as they do in most any culture, and just give guns to everyone. After that, it becomes a simple matter of mathematics, and the ranks of the bad guys will shrink from attrition faster than the ranks of the good guys.
This is why it is a bad idea to disarm the civilians of Iraq. It is immoral, it places our troops at greater risk, and it is repugnant to the concept of individual freedom, one of the announced reasons for our presence in Iraq.
Finally, there is no doubt that every place in the world where tyranny has gained sway, that tyranny has been preceded by disarming the general population. Given this absolute and unquestioned history, how must it be perceived by the people of Iraq (and the people of the world) for the United States to be busily disarming the individual people of Iraq?"

Friday, May 30, 2003

Mark Lancaster will go to trial soon. His crime? Possessing weapons suitable for militia use. Machine guns in fact. He committed no violent crime, made no threats, etc. In fact this is his first offense. Mr. Lancaster was the music minister at his local church. Not that being a music minister at a church is proof positive of your good intent, but this isn't a career criminal we're talking about.

You can all read the details here. The gist of it is that Mr. Lancaster would like to fight the charges on the grounds that the arms he possessed are constitutionally protected. He has some solid legal ground to stand on, as the Supreme Court applied a 'militia use' test when they heard an appeal to a lower court overturning the National Firearms Act in 1934. There are some other things as well that could be helpful. In fact, the National Firearms Act of 1934 is the easiest of all federal firearms laws to challenge simply because it is flawed.

1: It was enacted as a taxing clause. However the tax was & still is burdensome. An earlier ruling by the Supreme Court has stated that for a taxing measure to be legitimate, its purpose must be raising revenue, not discouraging an activity through punitive tax rates. In 1934 a Thompson submachine gun was a rather expensive arm at $175, a short barrlled shotgun or rifle could be had for $10 & a sound suppressor cost about $2. Tell me how a $200 tax on a $2 to $175 item is going to generate revenue?

2: The Supreme Court in a decision invalidating a poll tax, has said that a tax or fee cannot be laid upon a constitutionally granted Right. (I take exception with their use of the word 'granted' as it should more properly have been 'acknowledged' but that's a slightly different point.) So to specifically tax, even minimally, an object that is essential for the exercise of a Right is going beyond the bounds of what government can & should do. A general sales tax, if applied to all objects would not be violative of this, but a tax on a specific object is.

3: The Supreme Court has said that only arms suitable for militia use are protected by the 2nd amendment. Since machine guns are the main focus of the NFA & later federal laws, than they should be struck down as machine guns are uniquely suited to militia use. In fact so can short barrelled shotguns, rifles & silencers. The only reason the Supremes let this law stand was that they were unaware that short barrelled shotguns had military value & remanded it back to the lower court, in essence implying that if it could be proved short barrelled arms had militia use then they'd be protected as well & the law would be invalidated. They seemingly ignored the provisions of the NFA that dealt with machine guns. One assumes they knew they were there & simply ignored them as the focus of the challenge was on a short barrelled shotgun. Not having oppossing counsel helped the governments arguments as well, but that's yet another story.

4:The federal government was not enacted the authority to restrictively or prohibitively regulate the arms held by the people. The 2nd amendment further prohibits the federal government ( & post-14th amendemnt the states) from interfereing with a persons' ability to own &/or posses arms.

5: Through a distortion in the free market caused by federal laws & a freeze on the existing supply of legally available machine guns, the feds have discouraged the general welfare instead of promoting it. Having a populace armed equally as the military &/or police was one of the ideas that our country was founded upon. Should a tyrannical government ever attempt to harm the people the lack of arms suitable to defend against the military &/or police would be a serious detriment. The same applies to an invasion by a foreign power. true, these events are unlikely but the idea the founders & framers were operating on were preventative measures to help ensure that these scenarios would continue to be unlikely. By making it burdensome for the populace to have weapons capable of repelling a military attack the federal government is not merely neglecting a constitutional mandate but directly disobeying it.

Those are some of the arguments, albiet abbreviated as to why the NFA of '34 should be declared invalid. Hopefully Mr. Lancaster's attorney will have the sense to research them & expand upon them. In any event Mr. Lawrence needs your help. You can access his website here. Donate if you are able, but if nothing else drop him a note to tell him you're behind him on this & wish him well. remember, when a person challenges a law that affects our Rights, he's not just helping himself, he's helping all of us.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

For yet another reason why you shouldn't look at cyber-sex as a viable alternative to actually dating, look here. It's a copy of some cyber-sex attempts from chat rooms. Some are funny, some aren't (depending upon your sensitivities) but they all show why cyber-sex is worse than a bind date.
Another newcomer to the Wide World of Blogging is Annika. There are two posts in particular I feel I should direct ya'll to. The first deals with Hitler's chemical weapons & makes some interesting observations.

"Beevor does not address the use of gas in concentration camps. I'm not aware of the history regarding what was found at the camps, but i'm sure somebody was able to document the use of chemical agents there. That said, the point i'm making is this: Spandau Citadel was the Nazi chemical weapons lab, and they were able to clean it up in time to prevent the Russians from finding anything. You do the math. It's not hard to destroy the evidence."

The other post I'd like to point out is about the MaschinenGewehr-42.

"The Russians nicknamed this devastating weapon the "Hitler Saw." It fired at an astounding rate of 1,550 rounds per minute. That's about 12 or 13 rounds every half second. i have looked, but i do not know of any other machine gun of it's day that fired that rapidly. Those who heard it shoot said it sounded "like linoleum tearing."
No one ever held the trigger down for a full minute on one of these things. The barrel would have melted. Also, each belt had only 50 rounds. Like all air-cooled machine guns, the MG-42 was meant to be fired in short bursts. But anyone who wandered in front of this gun quickly learned to respect and fear it, assuming they survived the experience."

No, she won't tell you in depth about how to build one from scrap metal. But it's an interesting discussion of some of the merits of the MG-42 & it's place in history. This is most impressive, not because Annika is a lady as there are many women who are more proficient & knowledgable about Arms than I am. No, it's impressive because this is coming from sole female conservative Republican residing in the Bay area. Apparently resistance is not futile. & with any luck, we can swing her over to some good old fashioned libertarian ideas. After all, anyone in the Bay area who posts about the good qualities of a belt fed machine gun - hell, anyone from the Bay area who does not use the word 'ban' automatically after speaking of machine guns - has potential.

The Smallest Minority has a decent fisking of the VPC & it's statements about the Assault Weapons Ban.

"The Violence Policy Center, that [sarcasm] stalwart unbiased source of nothing but facts in the gun debate [/sarcasm] has a new scaremongering publication out:
Bullet Hoses: Semiautomatic Assault Weapons—What Are They? What's So Bad About Them?
There's this ten-point list of their EEEEEEVil features:
1. Semiautomatic assault weapons (like AK and AR-15 assault rifles and UZI and MAC assault pistols) are civilian versions of military assault weapons. There are virtually no significant differences between them.
Well, they're SEMI-automatic. I call that 'significant.'..."

Go read the rest of the list.
Via Kim du Toit & The Smallest Minority I was directed to this piece over at Samizdata. It's an analysis of the EU's strategy.

"A Guide to Marxist Subversion as supplied by a former marxist. As weapons in the armoury of liberty go, this has to rank as one of the sharpest. I defy anyone to read through this without experiencing the hackle-raising chill of eerie recognition in the universal policies of modern Social Democrats and I know that I was far from the only one who saw the handprints of Herbert Marcuse and Antonio Gramsci all over them.
Well, we may have been right. Andy Duncan has set out and codified in the enemies battleplan in all its gory detail and we must thank him. Knowing how the enemy intends to wage war is essential to defeating them."

When you go there & read the list, please not some parallels between what they are attempting to do in Europe & what they have been doing here.

The Smallest Minority has posted a visual representation of what the EU aspires to be.
Ne Quid Nimis calls for a unified effort from English majors to put an end to really bad metaphors. Some examples are given:

"The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't."

"From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and "Jeopardy" comes on at 7 p.m. instead of 7:30."

"Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the center."

"Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever."

"He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree."

"John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met."

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

There might be some leverage to prod Bush to actively support the assault weapons ban after all.

"The White House considers her the critical swing vote on judicial filibusters, this official said, and a rare Democrat willing to judge Bush's nominations on a case-by-case basis."

They're talking about Senator Feinstein. The rabidly anti-gun Senator Feinstein. While the story itself is mainly a fluff piece trying to depict Sen. Feinstein as fair & unbiased it does provide a little support for a scary idea: Bush's active support &/or other Senators & Representatives vote for an assault weapons ban renewal in exchange for votes on judicial nominees & other issues. Nothing concrete. It's just a theory I have, but one that seems more & more likely.
More on the 57 year old woman who died during a police raid on her home.

"The office of Chief Medical Examiner Charles S. Hirsch formally concluded that the death of the woman, Alberta Spruill, a 29-year city employee, was a homicide, citing the unusual circumstance of "sudden death following police raid," said Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the office.
The homicide ruling means Ms. Spruill's death was caused by the hand of another, as opposed to a death by natural causes or a suicide, but it neither places blame nor ascribes civil liability to the police.
In setting out the cause of death, the medical examiner's office also cited the "flash grenade detonation and handcuffing" and Ms. Spruill's "hypertensive heart disease," Ms. Borakove said. One official added that her death had been caused by 'the stress of the raid — the stress and the fear that she experienced."

So they admit that her death was a direct consequence of their actions, yet they deny responisbility. Fascinating.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

In Virginia, NRA backed candidate Jack Rollison attempts to demonize his pro-gun opponent as well as the GOA. David Codrea summarizes things quite nicely.

"With the June 10 primary fast approaching, it’s imperative that Virginia’s 52nd District gun-owning voters understand the danger Jack Rollison poses to their right to keep and bear arms.
In addition to stumping for the restaurant/bar gun ban, Rollison did not respond to the VCDL gun rights survey, and has been given a “D” voting grade by the group.
Not surprisingly, and in keeping with their well-established pattern, Rollison was given an “A-” rating by NRA in 1999. Despite this, he only voted correctly on two out of eight bills that came before him in the 2001 session (he cheesed out and didn’t vote on two, and voted against gun owners four times). As the VCDL ruefully admits: “Unfortunately, the rating that was LEAST likely to indicate how a Delegate would vote was an NRA "A" rating [emphasis in original]. Over a third of NRA ‘A’ rated Delegates cast votes more in line with Delegates with a ‘C’, ‘D’, or ‘F’ rating.”
And while NRA contributed generously to Rollison’s past campaigns, their Political Victory Fund has not yet lifted a finger to help Mr. Frederick."

Here is the press release in question from Rollison

Read the whole article by Mr. Codrea, as well as the Rollison press release. If you're a Virginian remember what you've read when you vote. & ask the NRA about it should they ask you for donations.

Update: KABA has some additional info about the NRA's support of Rollison
A North Carolina man is dead after confronting a burglar.

Rick A. Thompson of Silver Springs, NC was shot during a gunfight in a grocery store owned by his family. Mr. Thompson had arrived within minutes of receiving the 4: a.m. phone call from his in-laws telling him there was a burglar in their store. Mr. Thompson went inside to confront the burglar while his wife Teresa waited outside. Mr. Thompson was shot in the chest but not before he shot the burglar 4 times. Ralph Casey, Mr. Thomspon's father-in-law shot at the fleeing murderer without effect. Mrs. Thompson jumped in her car, crashed through a wooden fence & ran over the murderer doing some damage to his legs. Mrs. Thompson & her adult daughter then grabbed broken pieces of the fence & proceeded to hit the murderer on the head as he fired at them without effect. Mrs. Thompson then grabbed the gun away from the murderer & attempted to shoot him but the gun malfunctioned. the murderer said, in response to a question by Mrs. Thompson, that he was there because he was hungry. Mr. casey's in-laws said they remember seeing the murderer in the store a few weeks prior. He claimed he forgot his wallet after bringing up a bag of groceries to be checked out. Mr. Casey said to pay him the $9 & change the next time he came back & let him go with the groceries.

I have sent an e-mail to the writer of this article to see if any kind of fund will be set up or needed for Mrs. Thompson. I'll pass along any information I receive.

Monday, May 26, 2003

There are two new blogs which ya'll might find worth a visit.
The first is Courtney & of particular interest is her two part piece on women & guns. Here's Part 1 & here's Part 2.

The other blog is The Smallest Minority. He's been at it for a little over 2 weeks but he's off to a good start. See Is the Government Responsible for Your Protection Part 1 & Part 2.

I'll add these to the blogroll as soon as Blogger is cooperative.

& don't forget the many fine bloggers on the blogroll: The Volokh Conspiracy; Kim duToit; Alphecca; JenSpeaks; Cold Fury; I Am Always Right; The Thinklings; Lay Lines; A Coyote at the Dogshow; End the War on Freedom; Weck Up To Thees; Say Uncle; Boone Country; Rachel Lucas; etc.
U.S. tells Iraqi's to disarm by mid-June.

"No one in Iraq, unless authorized, may possess, conceal, hide or bury these weapons," the United States said. "No one can trade, sell, barter, give or exchange automatic or heavy weapons with or to any person who is not an authorized representative of coalition forces.'
During a 14-day amnesty period that begins June 1, Iraqis will be permitted to turn in unauthorized weapons at "weapons-control points" throughout the country."

The U.S. is graciously allowing semi-automatic & manually operated weapons to be kept in homes & businesses, but public use is prohibited. & A Kurdish militia will be allowed ot keep some of their weapons, but it hasn't been decided yet what exactly they may keep.
The Iraqi's will be provided clear bags into which they must place the unloaded, disassembled weapons & walk slowly to the 'weapons-control point'. They will only be taking weapons during the day. The weapons will then either be destroyed or redistributed among Iraqi police & military forces.

"The intent is not to completely disarm the Iraqi population of all weapons. That is neither practical nor necessary," McKiernan said Friday."

Nope, it is not necessary to completely disarm the entire populace. In fact there were many Germans who possessed hunting rifles during WW2. There were many Russians who possessed hunting weapons during Stalin's purges. You don't have to completely disarm a population. Disarming them of any weapons that are comparable to what the government issues its troops though is necessary.

I am not implying that the U.S. is about to launch mass murder in Iraq. I am stating that the U.S. is making it easier for anyone who later decides to try their hand at mass murder in Iraq. & of the most immediate concern is that U.S. soldiers are learning effective techniques for disarming civilians.

"Owning a firearm is a matter of pride and a sign of manhood to many Iraqi men, especially in rural areas where tribalism and traditional values endure."

It's a matter of pride in many places within the U.S. as well. But government's are not concerned with pride or dignity or even Rights: they solely crave power. If this is ever attempted in the U.S., or at least attempted to more of a degree than it has been, I do hope we don't quietly & passively submit.

A federal Judge has struck down a law that prohibited publishing personal information about public officials.

"The law, enacted last year, made it illegal for anyone to disseminate personal information about law enforcement-related employees if it was being done for malicious reasons.
But U.S. District Judge John Coughenour, the chief federal judge in Seattle, ruled it unconstitutional Thursday, assailing the state attorney general and King County prosecutor for making such weak arguments in suppressing free speech and finding their positions "troubling."
'This court does not intend to minimize the real fear of harm and intimidation,' Coughenour wrote. 'However ... in this society, we do not quash fear by increasing government power, proscribing those constitutional principles and silencing those speakers of whom the majority disapproves."

Want to know some of the positions that the judge found troubling? Of course you do. Read on.

"Kirkland police and the sheriff's office had unsuccessfully tried to sue the programmers -- Kirkland, to stop them from publishing the information and King County, to stop them from obtaining it.
The Legislature unanimously passed the law last spring, though a King County Superior Court judge and an appeals court ruled in Sheehan's favor that the First Amendment protects disseminating the legally obtained information. Even so, the governor promptly signed the bill.
State Sen. Bill Finkbeiner, R-Kirkland, said yesterday that legislators would try to come up with another way to protect police officers' personal information, especially from Sheehan. 'It makes me sick what he's been able to get away with."

So they passed a law even though a court already found that this was constitutionally protected speech, & the Senator is mad because the state got its hand slapped for being naughty. What the Senator perhaps doesn't realize, or more likely doesn't care about, is that the very things Mr. Sheehan is 'getting away with' empowers us to be citizens as oppossed to subjuects. Criticing public officials is crucial to keeping the government in its proper place. Hopefully Sen. Finkbeiner will discover through personal experiance that it's also crucial to casting a scallywag out of office.

"But Sheehan published Social Security numbers, which even the lower courts said went too far. However, higher courts found that the information was already available publicly, which is how Sheehan got it in the first place.
'Police in this state have taken too much abuse for doing their job,' said Finkbeiner, who sponsored last year's bill. 'The First Amendment is extraordinarily important, but there are so many people using it to abuse public officials."

So even though free speech is important, if it's used to criticize public officials we should do away with it? That is the kind of politician who should be afraid of people speaking freely.
But the good judge continues:

"Coughenour scolded the state for its move, writing that "there is cause for concern when the Legislature enacts a statute proscribing a type of political speech in a concerted effort to silence particular speakers. ...'
'Defendants boldly assert the broad right to outlaw any speech ... so long as a jury of one's peers concludes that the speaker subjectively intends to intimidate others with that speech. This brash stance strikes at the core of the First Amendment,' the judge wrote.
Critics of the law repeated concerns that the state was trying to punish only those who gave out police officers' information for criticism. Meanwhile, people who gave out the information for the purpose of praising or rewarding officers would be allowed to do so.
Coughenour agreed: 'Thought-policing is not a compelling state interest recognized by the First Amendment."

The sad reality is that the legislature will try to find wording for legislation that might survive another court challenge while accomplishing the same thing. But remember that at least in this instance U.S. District Judge John Coughenour is on our side. Hopefully he'll keep his eye on things in Washington state.

Sunday, May 25, 2003

I just happened across an article written by David Kopel & Richard Griffiths entitled Hitler's Control: The lessons of Nazi history.

"Halbrook contends that the history of Germany might have been changed if more of its citizens had been armed, and if the right to bear arms had been enshrined it Germany's culture and constitution. Halbrook points out that while resistance took place in many parts of occupied Europe, there was almost no resistance in Germany itself, because the Nazis had enjoyed years in which they could enforce the gun laws to ensure that no potential opponent of the regime had the means to resist.
No one can foresee with certainty which countries will succumb to genocidal dictatorship. Germany under the Weimar Republic was a democracy in a nation with a very long history of much greater tolerance for Jews than existed in France, England, or Russia, or almost anywhere else. Zimbabwe's current gun laws were created when the nation was the British colony of Rhodesia, and the authors of those laws did not know that the laws would one day be enforced by an African Hitler bent on mass extermination."

It's short considering the subject they decided to take on, but informative with some very good references to support their position. Of particular interest is a link to a David Kopel piece on the lack of news coverage on the potential genocide in Zimbabwe.

"Two weeks ago, the organization secretary for Mugabe's political party (Zanu-PF) announced, "We would be better off with only 6 million people, with our own land to support the liberation struggle." Conveniently for the genocide planners in Zimbabwe's government, about 5 or 6 million people in Zimbabwe are at risk of famine, starting in October, when food stocks run out, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development."

That article in turn links to an article by David Kopel, Dr. Paul Gallant, & Dr. Joanna Eisen on the specifics of the situation in Zimbabwe.

"One month later, Mugabe had the country's constitution amended to allow him to confiscate farms without compensation to their owners...
What most genocide scholars and 60 Minutes have failed to appreciate, however, is the presence of the most important factor for the accomplishment of genocide: victim disarmament. In the 20th century, every government that has perpetrated genocide has disarmed its victims first. This suggests that — although disarmament does not cause genocide — disarmament is the sine qua non of genocide. The history of eight genocides in the 20th century committed against unarmed victims is laid out in terrifying detail in Lethal Laws, published by Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. A new article in the Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law, by Stephen Halbrook (a constitutional attorney with a 3-0 record before the U.S.Supreme Court), details how German firearm laws disarmed the nation's Jews.
In Zimbabwe, the essential pre-condition for genocide was unintentionally created by the British colonial government, through the 1957 Rhodesian Firearms Act. That legislation, establishing nationwide firearm registration, effectively closed what America's firearms prohibitionists have dubbed the "gun-show loophole." In fact, the 1957 Act closed every "loophole" for the lawful acquisition of firearms that lacked a government paper trail, because all transactions must go through a licensed dealer.
And the records of all transactions — i.e. the names of licensed gun owners, and details of the firearms they own — go straight to the office of the president, Robert Mugabe.
Of course, the Rhodesian colonial government didn't intend for its 1957 firearms registration law to facilitate genocide. Nor did the legislators in Germany's Weimar Republic intend for their "moderate" gun control laws to be used later by the Nazi government to disarm all opponents of the dictatorship.
The lessons of Zimbabwe should serve as a graphic warning about the dangers of excessive restrictions on civilian firearm ownership. With few exceptions, guns now remain only in the hands of government agents and common street criminals who seek to terrorize Zimbabwe's disarmed citizenry."

If you have the time all the above mentioned articles & the articles they link to are worth a careful read.
& if anyone finds a news article on the genocide that very possibly could occur in Zimbabwe please let me know. I doubt that there will be one in any major paper until the death toll starts to mount but it would be interesting to see if a newspaper attempts to cover it before that happens.