Friday, December 05, 2003

As Nicki pointed out below, Mr. Spaulding was denied his Right to Arms as a condition of his release. No charges have been filed, no trial conducted, yet he had to agree to not possess weapons in order to secure his freedom.

This was done by a judge who has immunity in almost any action he takes upon the bench. He cannot be prosecuted, arrested, or detained. At most he could be held accountable for any wrongdoing by other judges; but this almost always involves an administrative proceeding that results at worst in the loss of his job.

The person Mr. Spaulding shot was not arrested for the attack he was shot in the process of committing. He was treated & released & then arrested after he attacked someone else that same night. If he wouldn't have been so foolish as to attack again the same night he'd probably still be free. Nothing has been said about his companions so I assume they're free as well.

Another thing judges are virtually immune from is being defenseless. Should the criminal Mr. Spaulding shot decide to attack a judge, odds are he'd face one who is armed as judges are routinely excepted from any state or federal prohibitions concerning carrying weapons. If a judge feels particularly nervous he has access to police protection. Not a patrol car driving by his house two or three times a night mind you, but actual police protection.

But should the companions of the man Mr. Spaulding shot wish revenge upon Mr. Spaulding then they're in for a much easier time of it than if they went after a judge. After all, Mr. Spaulding is defenseless; disarmed by a judge. disarmed by a system. Even more to the point - disarmed by us.

Why us? What have we done to cause Mr. Spaulding's disarmement? Nothing. & for that we should be ashamed.

We've stood by & let Congress pass laws that eroded our freedom. We've let judges interpret the Constitution in such a way as to disadvantage ourselves. We've let policeman bully us around with or without the law backing them up. We've stepped & fetched to hold onto a tenth of our Rights for the sake of getting along peaceably. We let them steal 25% of our money instead of causing a scene by telling them no. Hell, some of us pay money to have a permit to carry a weapon - as if it wasn't a Right in the first damned place.

Because of our playing by the government's rules - even when they change those rules to suit their position - we have devolved into a nation whose every action is judged by the government & those who aren't found guilty are too scared to speak up for the ones who are.

But you aren't scared: you write your congressman, you show up at city council meetings, you sign petitions, & you even write heated letters to the editor of your local paper. Hell, some of you may even blog. Lemme ask you something; do you think you're more free or less free than you were ten years ago?

What good has letter writing, e-mailing & arguing with the government done? In some states you can pay for a piece of paper to carry a weapon & that piece of paper says you've not only registered yourself as a gun owner, but kissed government ass to do it (that'd be a concealed carry permit in case the NRA has tricked you as well). In two states you can carry without groveling for permission. That's cause for joy - unless you don't live in one of those states. & that joy is bittersweet because those two states are only doing what they should, what they ought to do. They don't deserve sweeping praise because they don't rountinely round up their citizens & kill off a certain percent at random, & neither do they deserve praise for doing the right thing concerning their citizens Right to Arms. But compared to the rest of the nation, they seem to have a better idea of freedom.

How about taxes? Any letter writing stopped the IRSS from stealing your money before you even freakin' get it cashed? At most some people have seen a reduction in the amount stolen. Relatively speaking that's better but it's still not an improvement. They shouldn't be stealing your money at all, yet you're happy when they smile at you & promise to steal a little less next year?

No-knock searches. Ever heard a judge or politician promise to end this abysmal & dangerous practice because you wrote a letter to him? Or is it still possible that the break-in at 3:a.m. next door is really officers of the law serving their office?

Any of y'all bought a brand new assault weapon lately? How about a brand spankin' new submachine gun? Perhaps a silencer that didn't have a $200 tax & a months long wait to see if your groveling was sufficient to gain permission for it? A 12" shotgun for under $125 including tax? Or a factory fresh 20 round magazine?

My point is that as much as I'd like to believe that writing letters, e-mails, signing petitions & participating in protests is an effective tactic to regain our freedoms, I simply don't think it will be enough to do any of us any good.

Yes, things could be worse. & I guaran - damn - teeya they will be before it's over. Not because we didn't try to do things peaceably. No, I think things will be worse because we've tried things peacably for too damn long. Think about it; if our humble supplications, too numerous to count, haven't secured the freedoms that our Constitution acknowledged, then how the hell will they prevent the kind of tyranny it will take to wake most of the people up?

More to the point, being polite hasn't even gotten us the freedoms secured in the Bill of Rights. How will that same tactic prevent the kind of oppression we abhor when we see it in other countries?

A 71 year old man was arrested, held without bail, released on the condition of his disarmament & still could face attempted murder charges for defending a friend from violent attack by three people. This in the state most of y'all would point to as a great defender of the Right to Arms - the first state with a shall-issue concealed carry law.

A 17 shot .22 rimfire rifle can land the owner in jail for up to 5 years in a state that fought for its independance from England.

It costs $100 & requires groveling to some petty bureaucrat to own friggin' pepper spray, let alone a firearm, in the state whose citizens rose up against a trained army that came to disarm them in 1775.

The highest court in the land has for the past 66 years been refusing to even address whether or not we have a Right to Arms as it says in the Constitution, while lower courts routinely ignore said Constitution's acknowledgement of our Right to Arms.

Congress keeps passing prior restraint based gun control.

The President keeps enforcing prior restraint based gun control.

The IRSS forces your employer to rape your paycheck for the government eveyr week.

A War on Drugs justifies the invasion of your privacy as well as the confiscation of your property until you can prove your innocence.

Any cop can force you to do tricks for his amusement under the guise of the drunk driving laws.

The DEA will take your house if they find one proscribed plant in the smallest corner of your property.

The EPA will forbid you from altering your property for the sake of some animal that it claims is endangered & can only live on your land.

Agents of the Department of Agriculture & even postal employees are allowed to carry arms on planes, yet you'll get your swiss army knife stolen if you try to fly with one.

A victimless crime committed in defiance of the government will usually net you more jail time than a violent crime against a human being or his/her property.

To reinforce that last point, an attack on a government employee will carry a harsher senetence than the same attack, or in some cases a worse attack, on a private citizen.

In short, the government hasn't declared war on us. No, they'd have to respect us & think we're at least a half-way formidable adversary to declare war. They've bitch-slapped us & they continue to bitch-slap us as they force us down to lick the boot that kicks us.

In between bitch-slaps we write letters. If thos eletters are answered at all they usually just point out that we aren't really getting bitch-slapped; those are just love taps. Then they smile in our face as they bitch-slap us again.

So - & I ask this in all seriousness - is there anyone out there who can convince me that revolution isn't the only way we'll ever be free? Or is it too late even for revolution to work for our freedom?

Thursday, December 04, 2003

When I first read Peter Mancus' Reflections Upon the U.S. Supreme Court's Rejection of Silveira, my initial reaction was, "It bleeds."

"What do you mean?" asked Founder and Executive Director Angel Shamaya when I told him my opinion of this piece.

"You can feel his pain when you read it," I explained. "You can feel his heart bleed."

Having read it again this evening, after Angel published it on our website, I stand by that assessment.

Mr. Mancus' words bleed. Every paragraph radiates hurt, anger, outrage and outright agony over the demise of our republic, the destruction of our Constitution, the enslavement of our society and the annihilation of our freedoms.

He writes with the passion and pain of a family member watching a loved one dying and unable to do anything about it.

"The United States Supreme Court rejected the Silveira v. Lockyer case, and I do not feel free. I have not felt that way for a long time. My brain’s rational thought processes convince me that I am not truly free. This is because I, and others, have been, and still are, denied one or more of our most fundamental rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. Instead, we have only the illusion of freedom and the reality of oppression. Oppression is enforced via perverted rules, misleaders and their subordinates." ...

"What value is the “right to petition to redress grievances” or to file a lawsuit (which is a form of the right to petition government for a redress of a legitimate grievance) when the petition or lawsuit or both crashes into the solid legal wall of government immunity or the government refuses to hear the petition (lawsuit) or refuses to take it seriously or refuses to apply the applicable law correctly."

"This is ironic: Government “lives” as a legal fictitious person but it does not have lungs, it does not bleed, it does not have emotions. It is a non-air breather. But Government tells the air-breathers (citizens with lungs, who bleed when cut, who have a mortal existence) they must circulate in public unarmed and vulnerable to criminal predators."

It is ironic, Mr. Mancus. People have created government, not the other way around. And now these same people are told that they exist for their state, that the state is their master, that they must follow the state's rules.
Since free men created the state to serve them, the absurdity is clear. In her first novel "We the Living," Ayn Rand puts this absurdity in perspective:

"And what is the state but a servant and a convenience for a large number of people, just like the electric light and the plumbing system? And wouldn't it be preposterous to claim that men must exist for their plumbing, not the plumbing for the men."

Yes, wouldn't it be preposterous?

And yet, that is exactly what is happening in this country. Question is: Will anyone notice?
Florida citizens have some strong words for the tyrannical bureaucrats who continue to victimize Melvin Spaulding

Here are some of the excerpts of the letters they sent about Mr. Spaulding's plight.

"When three young men are beating the hell out of a 63-year-old man, that is not a simple fistfight. If you want to talk about "excessive force," I'd say that's what they were using. No one has the right to put his hands on anyone else against that person's approval. I applaud the actions of Melvin Spaulding. He should be given a good citizen award." ...

"It's a good thing our legal system is looking out for the rights of the alleged attackers. They sure aren't looking out for the rights of Mr. Spaulding or his friend, George Lowe."

One punch can be deadly

However, the police arrested the man on a charge of attempted murder, saying he should have called 911, and that he can only shoot at aggressors to prevent them from "killing someone or causing great bodily harm."

What short memories some people have. Forget the fact that a man can be long dead before the police respond to a 911 call. Have they forgotten Christopher Fannan? One punch was all it took to kill the 18-year-old kid. And Chris isn't the only person who has been killed recently by a punch to the head. How do we tell the family of Chris Fannan that being attacked by three men can't do "great bodily harm"?

There's little to study

"Once again Pinellas County has proven its stupidity by jailing an elderly man for protecting a friend from a group of teens. I am appalled that the state attorney has to even study, much less "carefully study," this to determine if the man being beaten was in danger of losing his life, which caused his friend to shoot one of the teens.

Maybe the state attorney should be put in a room and kicked by a group of teens to see if his life would be in danger. The state attorney would probably determine his life is in danger and would probably have no problem dropping all charges of attempted murder on this man and charge the teens with attempted murder.

Thanks, Pinellas County, you make me proud - not!"

A right to be a victim

"Call 911? That's a real joke! By the time the police got there, George Lowe could have been dead.

Come on - wake up, folks. It's tyranny when a person cannot defend himself but has a right to be a victim." ...
The Travesty of Justice Continues in Florida

Just when you thought Melvin B. Spaulding couldn't be treated any worse, after having defended his 63-year-old friend and neighbor against violent thugs, who had him on the ground and were mercilessly kicking him...

After holding this heroic man in jail for defending another's life, the authorities who claimed he should have dialed 9-1-1 and watched as his friend was being violently victimized, have now deprived him of his right to defend himself with the most effective tool on the market today.

According to the above-referenced story, "Spaulding has a concealed weapons permit, but as part of his release he’s been told he cannot have a gun."

Now, remember, no formal charges have been filed against Mr. Spaulding. As a matter of fact, the "benign public servants" who saw it fit to arrest Mr. Spaulding on charges of ATTEMPTED MURDER (completely disregarding the fact that he stopped three slimebags, who were kicking an elderly man on the ground), in their infinite benevolence "have not decided" whether or not they would file formal charges this heroic man. But nonetheless, in their tyrannical and constitutionally ignorant fashion, the authorities are treating Mr. Spaulding like a criminal and depriving him of his right to keep and bear arms, even as two of the three attackers are walking around, free to victimize yet more defenseless people.

Words fail me.

It's difficult to address this travesty without outrage.

Mr. Spaulding's ordeal is indicative of how far we have fallen as a society. Instead of praising and rewarding heroes like Mr. Spaulding, the system punishes them for being self reliant, for being courageous and for failing to depend on the nanny state or ask government for permission to defend a life. And while their public servants continue to wield the whip of tyranny over them, the ignorant, subservient sheeple simply bow their heads and obey and bleat in relief that they don't have to take responsibility for their own lives and well-being.

Melvin B. Spaulding's ordeal is a symptom of a gargantuan, black cancer that's eating away at the very fabric of our society and of our humanity. And unless we wake up and take immediate action, we will be swallowed next.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Via The Smallest Minority I found a link to Ravenwood which pointed to this story about a 71 year old man being held without bail for shooting a group of men who were beating up his 63 year old friend.

"ST. PETERSBURG -- A 71-year-old man was arrested for firing a gun at three men beating up his 63-year-old friend, striking one of the men in the arm, deputies said.
Melvin B. Spaulding held up his .22-caliber pistol and told the men to stop hitting and kicking his friend George Lowe. When they didn't listen, he fired the gun, Pinellas County Sheriff's spokesman Tim Goodman said."

Three men against a 63 year old man? Mr. Spaulding should have shot them all. Repeatedly. Then reloaded & repeated.

But then we get to these pearls of wisdom:

"I'm sure he was concerned for his friend's safety...,' Goodman said. 'The use of a weapon to stop a confrontation is not the right way. He would have been better off calling 911.''

Hmm. Three young men beating up a 63 year old; your options are shoot the little punks & stop the attack right now or call 911 & hope they get there before the 63 year old dies from the beating. I think I'd opt for the former, immediete solution.

& they actually pay this guy to be a sheriff's spokesman? I knew it was hard to find good help, but damn!

"Spaulding, who had no criminal record in Florida, acknowledged firing the gun, according to sheriff's records. He was being held without bail in Pinellas County Jail.
The Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's office would carfully investigate the case before deciding whether to file an attempted murder charge against Spaulding, prosecutor Bruce Bartlett said."

Held without bail while they decide if they're going to prosecute him for attempted murder. All because this 71 year old man stopped some young punks from beating his friend to death.

I would not be at all oppossed to the good people of Florida getting some tar & feathers & paying a visit to the sheriff, sheriff's spokesman & the D.A.

"As far as I'm concerned, he's my hero,' said Lowe, who suffered a torn leg muscle, bruises and a sore back in the fight. 'He's my friend, but he's also my hero.''

At least the 63 year old has a clear perspective on things. Then again, it was his life that Mr. Spaulding saved.

Yep, I think we stopped using tar & feathers prematurely in this country. & I understand why they don't make lamposts strong enough to hold a rope anymore - it'd intimidate the government too much.

Please use the following contact info to tell these government officials what you think of their actions

Pinellas County Public Information Office

Pinellas County Sheriff Everett Rice

Be sure to mention that if Mr. Spaulding continues to recieve this abysmal treatment for exercising his Right to Arms in defense of his friend & community, that you'll damn sure reconsider vacationing in Florida.

Thanks to Henry at The High Road for the contact info.

Further Update:

Via the same thread linked above on The High Road we find the following:

776.031 Use of force in defense of others.
A person is justified in the use of force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent or terminate such other's trespass on, or other tortious or criminal interference with, either real property other than a dwelling or personal property, lawfully in his or her possession or in the possession of another who is a member of his or her immediate family or household or of a person whose property he or she has a legal duty to protect. However, the person is justified in the use of deadly force only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.

776.08 Forcible felony
"Forcible felony" means treason; murder; manslaughter; sexual battery; carjacking; home-invasion robbery; robbery; burglary; arson; kidnapping; aggravated assault; aggravated battery; aggravated stalking; aircraft piracy; unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb; and any other felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any individual.

Seems the sheriff & the prosecutor are not only acting immorally; they're acting illegally. Thanks to starfuryzeta at The High Road for being more on top of Florida law than the folks in the Pinellas County government.
Via The Volokh Conspiracy comes the news that SCOTUS has unanimously reversed a 9th Circuit ruling concerning forcible entry in the execution of a warrant.

To sum things up, the police were serving a search warrant on a man's apartment that was suspected of selling drugs. They knocked & announced their presence, but after about 15 to 20 seconds they decided to bust down the door. They discovered crack cocaine, weapons & what they refer to as "...other evidence of drug dealing". The man in question was in the shower when all this occurred & claims he didn't hear the police knocking or announcing themselves & first realized it was in fact police when he went out of the bathroom still dripping from the shower.

He moved to have the evidence suppressed because he was in the shower & argued that the police had no authority to bust down his door unless he actually refused them admittence or a more reasonable amount of time had elapsed. The 9th Circuit agreed & suppressed the evidence.

Enter the Supreme Court. Citing previous decisions which the 9th Circuit failed to acknowledge they determined that the officers actions were Constitutionally permissable as a reasonable amount of time had elapsed & there was a danger of the evidence being destroyed. They further opined that the main reason for knock & announce warrants was to give a person the chance to avoid having their property damaged by a forced entry of the police in the execution of the warrant, & that if a reasonable amount of time passed where there was a danger of the evidence being destroyed then they were justified in busting the door down. They further chastised the 9th Circuit for the test the 9th Circuit came up with, saying there could be no all encompassing test to determine the reasonableness of a warrant & it must be examined on a case by case basis.

Say Uncle doesn't seem happy about this. He cites 18 U. S. C. §3109 as well as the 4th Amendment & concludes that 15 to 20 seconds is not necessarily a reasonable amount of time.

But I'm afraid my good buddy Say Uncle misses the point: it's not what's reasonable for us - it's what's reasonable for the government. Whether or not a reasonable amount of time to answer the door is 20 seconds, it is unreasonable to make agents of the government wait 20 seconds (in some cases less than 20 seconds) in order to bust in your door & steal your property.

Say Uncle seems to think that the courts should value the protections of the 4th amendment over the needs of the state to confiscate property it deems innappropriate. & if the courts were to actually respect the Constitution he'd be correct. But what he & I & evryone else seems to forget (at least from time to time( is that the courts themselves are a branch of government. They are not accountabe to the people (in most cases judges are appointed for life - not elected) & their interest does not lie with the people. Think a Federal judge is going to jeapordize an important source of revenue (income takes, property seizures in regards to the war on drugs, etc...) just because it conflicts with constitutional protections guaranteed to the people?

Nope. The courts aren't the answer - they're part of the problem.

SCOTUS will reverse a 9th Circuit decision that would add some additional safeguards for the people against unreasonable enrty by government agents but it will refuse to hear a case challenging the 9th Circuit's assertion that the 2nd Amendment entails no individual Right & therefore it is not incorporated under the 14th Amendment.

There is only one reason I can think of that adequately explains this series of events: the Supreme Court is concerned with maintaining the federal government's power & cares not about the Rights of the people. It assumes that because enough evidence of probable cause is presented to a judge to sign a warrant that you are guilty. I mean if innocence was presumed then the court wouldn't have said it was justifiable to bust down the door if a reasonable cop felt evidence may be destroyed. It's saying that because a judge signs a piece of paper, you must be guilty & any steps necessary to prove your guilt will be taken. reasonable is determined solely by the government & if you don't run to the door & answer it promptly then it'll be busted down & the cops will treat you as a threat. So when the King's men come a callin' you best step'n'fetch lest they bust your door & Lord knows what else.

To say that government agents cannot enter unless entry is explicitly refused unless there is danger to the life of someone else (i.e. in a hostage situation) is to say that the government's interests do not outweight your Rights. Few courts will say that because , as part of the government, it hinders their power just as much as the government agents the courts send to execute warrants in the first place.

Ya see, the courts are as politically minded as the legislature; they're just not nearly as overt about it. That is why they only hear 2nd Amendment cases which do not require a judgement on the 2nd Amendment itself. They wouldn't hear Emmerson or Haney, but they did hear Bean (which was about a due process claim, not the 2nd Amendment). They decided that the lower court in Bean erred because it did not have jurisdiction to restore Bean's firearm Rights in relation to a felony in Mexico (that felony was possessing ammunition).

Kevin of the Smallest Minority thinks that the courts can't duck the 2nd amendment issue forever. I don't know if he's correct in the literal sense, but for the past 65 years they've been doing a bang up job of it. But whether or not they can duck the issue forever (as in until the end of time) doesn't matter. What matters is they've ducked it yet again. They refuse to take any sort of stand. They do not want government power to regulate weapons diminished, but they don't want to risk the anger of the people by coming out & saying so in an opinion.

Clayton Cramer thinks we're better off not having the Supreme Court decide Silveira, as he thinks the case is flawed. Clayton is a good historian. His research (from what I have seen) is impeccable. But I'm afraid he's off base on more current affairs.
Clayton thinks the 3 questions involved in Silveira were too complex & too numerous. He would prefer a slower approach with one question at a time addressed & the scope of the question narrowed.

& on that Clayton & I disagree. I also disagree with those who say it'd be better to wait for a more favorable court to bring these issues up at all. Newsflash - there's no way of knowing if this court isn't going to be the most favorable for decades to come. Bush may get to appoint a justice or two, but think about it - Bush himself is in favor of gun control; do you really think he'd appoint a justice who would strike down a federal power just because it intereferes with the Rights of the people?

As to the complexity of the questions presented in Silveira I don't see how they could be any more simple & still deal with the issue. The questions were:

1; Does the 2nd Amendment guarantee an individual Right?

2; Does the 14th Amendment incorporate the 2nd Amendment?

3; Are "assault weapons" protected by the 2nd Amendment?

Seems pretty damn simple to me.

& yes, SCOTUS could have answered "no" to all the questions in Silveira. I don't doubt for a minute that "no" to all questions was a possible outcome. But we'd have at least known with some finality that we have no recourse through the legislature or the courts, & it would have woke some people up who think they'll never have to give up their "wabbit" gun.

But it's a non-issue because once again the Supreme Court has decided that it's easier to avoid the issue than tell us where they stand.


So what to do? Wait for the CATO lawyers' D.C. case to go up before SCOTUS? Hold our breath while we pray they grant cert? That's soon to be a non-issue as well because Sen. Hatch is determined to get his D.C. gunowners legislation through & effectively kill the CATO lawyers' case.

So while we're waiting for SCOTUS to hear a 2nd Amendment case we'll just have to be sure to rush to the door every time we hear a knock - otherwise the cops might bust the door down.

Geek With a .45 has an idea: pepper your elected reps (from any & all parties) with copies of the Bill of Rights.

Mike Vanderboegh tells a story about a more radical strategy to try to keep your congresscritters in line.

My suggestion? Pick one or the other. I seriously doubt either will have any positive effect on the going on in congress &/or the courts. I don't think we're gonna see anything close to freedom unless there's another revolution. The government has too much of a hold on power & it will not let it go easily.

But I would suggest that if anyone busts down your door, defend yourself. It may be cops & it may not. But if I can't check out their credentials & read the warrant to determine its validity before they enter, I'll assume they're either criminals in disguise or just criminals in uniform & attempt to repel them accordingly.

In summation none of this bodes well for the Republic, or its people.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

A New Study Says Gun Laws do Not Reduce Criminal Violence

"Restrictive firearm legislation has failed to reduce gun violence in Australia, Canada, or Great Britain. The policy of confiscating guns has been an expensive failure, according to a new paper The Failed Experiment: Gun Control and Public Safety in Canada, Australia, England and Wales, released today by The Fraser Institute."

"What makes gun control so compelling for many is the belief that violent crime is driven by the availability of guns, and more importantly, that criminal violence in general may be reduced by limiting access to firearms..."

Violent crime is not driven by the availability of guns, but rather by opportunity. Criminals do not want to face an armed victim. This has been proven again and again, by the number of "hot" burglaries in the UK (nearly 60 percent) where the vast majority of the public is disarmed, giving the criminal ample opportunity to commit the crime with impunity, and by a survey of convicted felons by Professors James D. Wright and Peter H. Rossi. According to this survey, when asked if the one reason burglars avoid houses when people are home is that they fear getting shot, the vast majority of criminals either agreed (39 percent) or strongly agreed (35 percent).

In other words, gun availability is not a deterrent, but the realization that the victim might be armed (lack of opportunity) is.

Additionally, a simple review of the law of supply and demand tells us that where there is a demand, there will always be a supply. In the UK, where private firearms ownership has been all but destroyed, criminals are modifying air guns to shoot real bullets. This phenomenon is contributing to the UK's rising gun crime.

This new study confirms what we already know.

Isn't it nice to know some academics are on our side?