Cause And Effect?

Panera is the latest large chain to succumb to the blandishments of “Harpies For A Criminal-Safe World” “Moms Want Action” (a fully-owned subsidiary of Michael Bloomberg).

Bakery-cafe chain Panera Bread has joined a growing list of retailers including Starbucks and Target  by announcing that customers should leave their guns at home.

It makes no difference to me – I have eaten at Panera exactly thrice, and the last two, it was because someone else was picking up the tab.   I never ever really want an $8 grilled cheese sandwich that bad.

In the weeks and months leading up to this policy announcement, Panera Bread sought advice from Michael Bloomberg-backed Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, now part of the former Mayor’s $50 million Everytown nonprofit.

Behind every dumb decision about guns…

“Panera deserves our thanks and our congratulations for taking this important step, and I applaud the company for proactively consulting Moms Demand Action as it developed and implemented its policy,” said the group’s founder Shannon Watts, who has herself become the focus of ire from open carry activists and the NRA in recent months following efforts to see retailers and restaurant chains change their firearms policies.

And everyone deserves Moms Want Action’s(a fully-owned subsidiary of Michael Bloomberg) thanks for taking this action, which will end “gun violence” at Panera restraurants nationwide…

…oh, wait.   Never mind.

A Bridge From Nowhere

I’ll admit it; I’ve gotten into a bit of a rut when dealing with the left and media (pardon the redundancy).

Especially when they talk about “reaching across divides”.  Whenever people on the left talk about “Reaching” across one “divide” or another (let’s leave aside the fact that divides are always of their making), the best one can hope for is that they’ll act like Jane Goodall – ideological anthropologists, here to furrow their brows and write about the Conservatives in the Mist.   At worst, they come to mug for their fans and exude their self-perceived superiority and laugh at the locals.

Both efforts pretty generally backfire when the subject is firearms and the Second Amendment.  The mugging and smugging usually gets undercut by a lot of unforced errors.  And once in a while, the lefty has a Road to Damascus moment and sees the light.  Yes, it happens.

Continue reading

Today’s News, A Month Ago

January:  the Real Americans of the Second Amendment movement watched President Obama’s tearful, angry, and utterly theatrical broadside about guns, gun owners and gun manufacturers, noted that nearly everything he was “proposing” was existing law already, and said that the President’s big “effort” was nothing but a shallow bit of political grandstanding calculated to make it look like he planned to, as his supporters wailed, “dooooooooooo something”, without actually signing the political death warrants of every Democrat between the Hudson and the Sierra Madre.

February:  The New York Times notices the same thing.

Lesson:  the Real Americans of the Second Amendment movement are smarter and better-informed than the media.

On Track

Joe Joe Doakes from Como Park emails about an appeals court ruling of interest to Second Amendment supporters:

This article focuses on the important point:  the battleground for Second Amendment rights is in the court-created rules, not the Constitution.

If firearms ownership is a constitutionally protected fundamental right, then any law infringing that right must pass “strict scrutiny” meaning the law must be narrowly tailored and the least restrictive means to further a compelling government interest.  This is the same level of scrutiny given to restrictions on speech and religion and very few laws can meet that test.  Which is as it should be – the whole POINT of constitutionally protected rights is to prevent the government from infringing on them.

The lower court applied “intermediate scrutiny” which is a lower standard: laws can infringe on rights if the law furthers an important government interest in some way that is substantially related to the government’s interest.  This is the level of review given to sex discrimination laws: it’s easier to pass because the right being protected is not as important in the constitutional hierarchy.

The Court of Appeals got it right.  Firearms belong with speech and religion on the top of the hierarchy of rights the Founders wanted to protect.

Yes, I know, the Court of Appeals is still applying the idiotic “home defense” notion instead of recognizing the Founders intent that the citizenry be as well-equipped as the government in order to resist tyranny; but that’s a battle yet to come.

Joe Doakes

But only if we keep the Supreme Court in rough balance.

Which is one reason why I will plug my nose and vote for Donald Trump if he’s nominated.

 

Details

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Once a week, the Minnesota Court of Appeals releases decisions in criminal cases that have been appealed.  This week, four of them involve pistols possessed by people who aren’t eligible to have them.

One was handed his pistol by a friend just before the murder.  One had a pistol in the trunk of a stolen car.  One was carrying a pistol wrapped in plastic, secured with earbuds (not the way gun stores package the products they sell).  One was found under the seat of a van – nobody knows how it got there.

The court doesn’t discuss how these ineligible people got their pistols, only the fact they had them.  And these four cases are not everybody arrested with a gun, only those who had a strong enough case to appeal; but it’s an indication that the problem is widespread.

How would these crimes would have been prevented by universal background checks?

Joe Doakes

They’d give urban liberals that sense that they’ve dooooooone something.

Which is all that they really care about.

Kim Norton: Minnesota’s Greatest Gun Salesperson

GOCRA notes that since Barack Obama and Kim Norton started their parallel offensives against guns (in the hands of the law-abiding citizen), Minnesota carry permits are flying off the shelves as fast as guns of all types.  January was a near-record month for permit applications:

The number of valid Minnesota carry permits is now 221,712, an increase of more than 6,000 in the last month, according to figures released by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

That’s the second-largest increase ever. The largest increase occurred in March 2013, in the wake of calls for increased gun control following the murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Permittage-2-4-16

The sharp increase following the San Bernadino, California mass murder — and subsequent calls for more restrictions on firearms — was entirely predictable, according to GOCRA President Andrew Rothman. “Nothing gets people more interested in exercising their rights than the threat of having them taken away,” he said, noting a similar increase after Sandy Hook.

The people are generally smarter than their legislators:

GOCRA’s founder and chairman, Professor Joseph E. Olson, emphasized that although police arrived at the San Bernadino scene in under five minutes, the killers had already taken 14 lives and fled the scene.

“The only solution to a mass murder incident is instant counterfire,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who is shooting back: police, security, or an ordinary citizen. All that matters is that someone is. As history shows, after the first armed resistance, the murderer will almost always either give up, or run for cover — and often commit suicide. Either way, the presence of instant counterfire ends the murdering. Nothing else does.”

The next nine months are going to be intense.  And if Bernie or Hillary wins the election, look for the lines at gun stores to make the lines at Star Wars look like the lines outside Truth.

Liability

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

This seems like a sensible balancing of rights.

 

It’s already the law that a business owner owes his customers a duty of care (to make sure the floors aren’t slippery, for example).  If you, as the business owner, invite me to your place of business but prevent me from protecting myself therein, this proposed law says you have assumed an additional duty of care to protect me.

 

You could fulfill the additional duty through armed guards, for example, but you cannot neglect the additional duty that you voluntarily assumed, leaving me unprotected.  If you do neglect your additional duty and I get hurt when I could have defended myself, you should pay.

 

Naturally, the insurance company will have a say in setting your premiums . . . .

 

Joe Doakes

When liability insurance is allowed to account for all liability, we’ll see some sense come to that side of the debate.

Hint:  Joe’s right.

Disparity

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Compare the green shaded areas on this map:

with the red circles on this map:

I know, I’m comparing apples to oranges but it’s the best available data to make my point.  The area of the state with the most shots fired has the fewest permits to carry.  Why is that?

Perhaps because criminals don’t obey laws?

Joe Doakes

Let’s ask Kim Norton.

This Is “Gun Safety”

Chicago has dragged their feet and obstructed the law-abiding gun citizen’s attempt to protect themselves ever since the day the Heller decisions was announced.

And the city’s murder rate is setting new records; January saw 51 homicides, the bloodiest January since the gory days of the ’90s.

Gang conflicts and retaliatory violence drove the “unacceptable” increase in homicides, the police department said in a statement. But the rise in violence also notably comes as the Chicago Police Department faces increased scrutiny following the court-ordered release of a police video showing a white police officer fatally shooting a black teenager 16 times, and as the department implements changes in how it monitors street stops by officers.

Chicago routinely records more homicides annually than any other American city, but the grim January violence toll marks a shocking spike in violence in a city that recorded 29 murders for the month of January last year and 20 murders for the month in 2014. In addition to the jump in killings, police department said that it recorded 241 shooting incidents for the month, more than double the 119 incidents recorded last January.

Some on the left – including, I suspect, Kim Norton – might think that the spike in violence is despite the city’s intransigence on guns in the hands of the law-abiding.

Some of us know better.

Fiction And Fact

Fiction: Liberal “comedians”, trying to show how easy it is to “legally” buy a gun without a background check, show that the law and system works (not that they’re apparently smart enough to see it that way, judging by their responses in the comment section) – and flirt with committing a felony in the process:

Note for those who don’t know their gun laws: “Comic” Steve Hofstetter took his friend in with his ID to do the buy, which – “joking” notwithstanding – went through without a hitch.  Because “Brent”, the “buyer”, was perfectly legal.   He has a criminal record and is, as such, a relatively low risk, himself.

But if he’d given the gun to someone who was otherwise disqualified from owning a gun,  that, too, would be a felony.  And while Steve Hofstetter’s “comedy” would be a disqualifying felony in a just world, it’s not in this one.  But if Steve had a couple DWIs, a domestic abuse rap, or some other mischief on his record?  They’re both committing a felony.

So you might ask – what if a criminal with a long felony rap sheet had gotten a friend with a clean record to go to a gun show and buy a gun, and give it to him out in the parking lot?  Well, it’s already illegal, and both parties would be committing a felony.  And if we instituted mandatory background checks to close the so-called “gun show loophole” – more about that below – then what?  They’d be committing another felony – which, like the two they committed without the mandatory background check, will go utterly undetected until some other crime is committed.

Same as today!

Fact:  Crowder goes to actual gun shows, tries to actually find the “gun show loophole”.

And fails:

Not that I need to reinforce this to people who are smart enough to deserve the right to vote – I get this.

I mostly write these things so smart people can pass it on to their friends who need convincing and educating.  Because God knows there are still a lot of them out there.

Them Rootin’, Tootin’, Shootin’ Minnesotans

It’s one of Minnesota liberals’ standard conceits; that Minnesota is just plain more civilized than rough ‘n tumble southern zip codes like Texas.

But if you look at the numbers, Andrew Rothman at GOCRA reminds us, you can find some interesting surprises.

For example:  If you divide Minnesota’s population of 5,457,173 by its total number of carry permits – 210.647, you get a figure of 3.86%.

If you do the same thing with Texas’ population and carry permits, you get 3.38%.

How about in convenient graphic form?

12552772_10154475874172542_3192169079444791877_n

In other words, while liberals want to have you believe the sky will fall if Minnesota becomes as “gun crazy” as Minnesota liberals’ stereotype of Texas, we are already carrying more than Texans are.

By the way – that 3.86 becomes closer to 5% if you count only adults.

And yet we have one of the lowest murder rates in the country, down around western European levels.

Surely there must be some mistake.

Those Gun-Toting White Christian Terrorists Strike Again

Gun toting white Christianist terrorists armed with carry permits and a perfectly legal semiautomatic handgun and lots of hatred shoot a gay man seven times outside a gay bar in Lubbock Texas.

Clearly, that wave of white Christianist terror that Barack Obama, Janet Napolitano and wave after wave of earnest lefties have been warning us about is upon us.

Well, no.

They were Muslims.

And the attack happened in Sydney, Australia – where, President Obama assures us, hate crime can’t turn into a handgun homicide because law-abiding people can’t get those kinds of guns.

One thing’s for sure; when Mark Dayton says “if you don’t like immigrants, leave the state”, there are people out there who are ready to put some teeth into the demand!

Our Illogical Ninny Overlords

Told that the State Capitol Police wanted to hold “active shooter” training for the legislature and its staff, Rep. Kim Norton decided to introduce a bill repealing last year’s law allowing law-abiding carry permittees to have their legally-carried firearms in the Capitol complex.

And the logic was…

…entertaining:

screenshot-www.facebook.com 2015-12-31 15-34-52

 

If law-abiding citizens can’t bring guns to the capitol, criminals won’t shoot anyone.

Just like nobody sells crack, drives over the speed limit or after too much to drink, or robs liquor stores any more; because they are laws against each.

Norton is wrong, by the way; at least 18 states allow law-abiding citizens to carry their legal firearms in the state Capitols in one way or another.

That’s the reason so many Real Americans have such a hard time taking gun-grabbers seriously; they’re not serious.

 

Shots Fired

Rep. Kim Norton is going to come for your guns this session.

It may not work, but it’s the next measure in what Big Left hopes to make into a steady drumbeat that eventually wears the great, underinformed middle down on the issue.

But the facts are out there.

Location, Location, Location:   If you live in Minnesota, you know that North Minneapolis is the state’s little Oakland.  While Minnesota as a whole has a murder rate of 1.6 per 100,000 people, the North Side’s violent crime (about 30 murders last year, in a population of under 40,000 people) teases out to a murder rate of 75/100,000 – higher than Venezela, double that of Columbia.

Of course, Minneapolis (and Hennepin County in general) has among the lowest legal firearms ownership rates in the state:

So if the left’s conceit  – less guns (in the hands of the law-abiding) equals less crime – would seem to predict a nice, low crime rate in Minneapolis.

But the MinnPost ran a piece earlier this week – and for starters, it confirmed what everyone already knew; the North Side is a shooting gallery, at least judging by the MPD’s “Shot Spotter” system.

Here’s a “heat map” of the city:

screenshot-www.minnpost.com 2016-01-19 12-16-08

 

 

There’s a faint dribble of shooting in the “Phillips” neighborhood (between Franklin and Lake, east of 35W and west of Hiawatha), and some in the central core of the south side between 35W and probably Chicago (and just so we’re accurate, here, the shot-spotter microphones are only installed in high-crime areas; we don’t see shots fired in Linden Hills or along Minnehaha Creek because there are no microphones in Linden Hills or along Minnehaha Creek.  But there are no microphones there because, objectively, there really isn’t a big “gun violence” problem there.  Or Nordeast.  Or by Nokomis. Or even on Lake Street east of Hiawatha or much west of Nicollet.

More telling?  Shooting has been trending down on the south side for the past six years:

screenshot-www.minnpost.com 2016-01-19 12-16-33
Even the NYTimes knows that North Minneapolis is a free-fire zone:

But as Willesha Moorehead, who came here from Chicago a dozen years ago, can attest, struggle is baked into its streets.

Seven of her friends or members of her family, including the father of her first child, have died from gun violence in North Minneapolis. She has struggled to get work, in part because she could not find child care for her two daughters, she said. And for the past three years she has bounced between the homes of friends and family because she could not find affordable housing.

The problem, the NYTimes seems to imply, is that not enough money gets spent on the North Side:

Public transportation is poor, residents say, and though local officials are planning to spend more than $1 billion on a light-rail line, North Minneapolis residents have been critical because it will run through downtown and the suburbs but skirt their community.

So clearly, the answer is to crack down on guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens in Northeast and Saint Paul and Anoka and Thief River Falls.

That should solve it.

The real problem?  The government has been using the North Side as a warehouse for the poor for a couple of generations now.  The city has been fine with that – they’re a nice pool of captive DFL voters – but now, the social consequences of keeping a bull pen full of dependents is catching up with the city.

Again.

“Nobody Wants To Take Your Guns!”

Yes, as a matter of fact, they do.

One of the gun grabbers’ chanting points of late is “Obama hasn’t confiscated a single gun”.  Perhaps, but states like New York, Connecticut and California are.  And Obama needn’t send a single SWAT team out on a single “search and confiscate” mission to “win” his real goal; start changing the culture back to the intolerance of guns we had forty years ago, to set the stage for making the Second Amendment irrelevant.

The good guys can not give ground ever.  Not on anything.  We are dealing with people who are fundamentally dishonest.  We need to treat them as such.

Good Spirit. Lousy Idea.

Anyone with a living soul was nauseated by the display in Cologne on New Years Eve, where thousands of men of “North African” descent roamed the street in gangs, sexually assaulting women and impeding the police’s attempts to respond.

Here in the US – where this sort of thing is thankfully very rare – the responses depended on the responder’s politics.

People on the left strenuously denied there was a problem, or blamed it on fraternities affiliated with the NRA.

People on the right bought another box of ammo.

Either would be more productive, I suspect, than this group of…er, males in the Netherlands:

The sign says “If you’re not wearing pants, you make less of a mess when they attack you”. No, that’s not true. It says “Don’t make women dress chaste / keep your hands to yourself”. That’ll show ’em.

I’m sure the women of Cologne are thankful for the “solidarity”.

A more productive statement?  Germans are doing their best to arm themselves, as best they can given Germany’s patriarchal gun laws.

And where real people try to arm themselves, you can count on the media to get the Victorian vapours.

The caption says “The Weapons industry profits from the Refugee crisis”. Naturally. Blame Big Gun.

Or in this case, I suppose, the Hohenzollern vapours.

Which group do you suppose will actually benefit the women of Germany – the shooters or the Dutch guys in dresses?

America’s Oldest Civil Rights Organization

In recent years, I’ve had two fascinating interviews on my show, on a subjects that gets short-to-nonexistent shrift in the mainstream media and academia; the role of our Second Amendment in the Civil Rights movement.  Charles Cobb’s This Non-Violent Stuff’ll Get You Killed chronicles the role of armed blacks in protecting the nascent civil rights movement of the sixties, while Nicholas Johnson’s Negroes and the Gun: The Black Tradition of Arms documents the history of armed black resistance to racism.

Another story that needs to be told – especially in the wake of President Obama’s “town hall meeting” about guns two weeks ago, and the wave of the President’s minions trying to paint gun control as a racial issue, is the inextricable involvement of the nation’s oldest civil rights organization in protecting the nascent civil rights movement.

That’d be the National Rifle Association.

A group called the “Deacons of Defense” – largely black military veterans – sprang up to defend civil rights workers and leaders, including Martin Luther King, as well as helping defend blacks in general from the Klan’s depredations.

It wasn’t an academic exercise:

On a hot July night, a cavalcade of 25 Klan automobiles drove through a black neighborhood in Bogalusa, shouting vile comments at women and spewing racial insults. Some Klansmen then randomly fired into some houses. To the Klansmen’s shock, the response was a fusillade of return fire. The Klan members sped away in fear.

“They finally found out that we really are men,” one Deacons leader remembered, “and that we would do what we said, and we meant what we said.”

The escalating crisis forced the hand of the U.S. Department of Justice. Previously timid about expending political capital against the Klan’s alliance with local police, the DOJ unleashed Civil Rights Division head John Doar. For the first time ever, the DOJ took action against pro-Klan local law enforcement. By the end of the year, the Louisiana Klan had been devastated.

The Deacons were rigidly politically neutral – the snubbed Stokely Carmichael’s “black power” agitation, sticking to self-defense – but their impact was immense:

Black dignity—the responsible protection of family and community—was a CORE value of the Deacons. For centuries, adult black men had been called “boy,” and—because of fear of white violence—often acted in servile manner to those whites who treated them with disdain. No longer.

And that thought alone terrifies the Big Left.

And let nobody forget that the NRA was right there with them (I’ve added various bits of emphasis):

As America’s youngest civil rights organization, the Deacons received support from America’s oldest civil rights organization—the NRA, which, like the Deacons, was dedicated to training Americans in the responsible exercise of constitutional rights. At the time, the NRA was the authorized public representative of the U.S. Army’s Civilian Marksmanship Program, and could sell army surplus ammunition at discounts to NRA members.

So the Deacons for Defense—as NRA members—bought ammunition in bulk, and distributed it for free to individual members. It’s little wonder, though, that the NRA was the Deacons’ arsenal. For most of the 20th century, the NRA shooting range in Washington, D.C., had been one of the few public accommodations in the city that was not racially segregated. Virtually alone among the sporting organizations of the late 19th and early 20th century, the NRA had always remained open to members of all races.

As for firearms, the Deacons already had plenty of their own—especially in the “Sportsman’s Paradise” of Louisiana. As it had back in 1775, a strong tradition of hunting provided a solid foundation for armed defense of liberty.

Initially, the Deacons’ main arms were shotguns, plus some handguns. Over time, there were efforts to standardize the Deacons with .30-cal. M-1 carbines [obtained from the Civilian Marksmanship Program, administered by the NRA] and .38 Special revolvers.

Read the whole thing.

And spread it around.

Why We Fight, Part IV: The Underdog

In Charles C.W. Cooke’s fantastic piece in National Review last week on the power of emotion in the gun debate, he made an excellent point; the gun debate is about more than just cold numbers.

Much more.

Influence:  I grew up in a family that was very uncomfortable around guns.  My mom didn’t let me have toy guns when I was a kid; and while I enthusiastically built my own, parts of the whole distaste rubbed off on me.

Until I was about 14 years old.  Then, on one of my sojourns through the history section at the Jamestown public library, I found a copy of The Black Book – a collaborative record of the history of Nazi atrocities against the Jews in Europe, and of Jewish resistance.

The Synogogue in Baden-Baden, ablaze after Kristallnacht.

Maybe I was way too young to read it. Maybe it caught me in my formative years.  Maybe it warped me.

All I know is, nobody ever had to teach me “Never Again”.

And it occurred to me; barring the Jews that managed to get out before the war started, or the lucky few who were hidden and smuggled away by the resistance, the Jews that survived were the ones who found guns, and fought their way through the war.

The Bielski Brothers gang; a group of Jews, mostly escapees from the various ghettos, who fought for years in the swamps of Belarus. Hundreds of Bielski’s people survived the war – the largest single Jewish partisan group.

And even from the depths of Concentration and Extermination camps, access to even a few guns bought some lucky, tenacious Jews a shot at survival.

Some of the 50-odd survivors of the uprising at Sobibor, soon after the war. The guy on the right in the back row is Leon Feldhendler – a mild-mannered businessman from Krakow who led the revolt, who killed SS troopers with a homemade shiv, led 300 to freedom and 50 to survival, and who lived to the end of the war – to be killed by antisemitic goons in 1946. Evil never sleeps.  Its why we fight today.

And even if they didn’t survive – was it not better to die on ones feet, facing the enemy, maybe taking a few with, than to be slaughtered like sheep?  To be an instrument of God’s vengeance, in some  way small or large?

(There is a sliver of the academic grievance-mongering community that believes memorializing those who were able to fight back is prejudiced against those who died without fighting.  Nonsense.  Anyone who says they would or would not be among those who, under mortal but imponderable threat, absolutely would leave the world of the normal to go out and fight against an enemy that seems, at that moment and in that place, omnipotent and unbeatable, has been watching too many movies.  Although having the mindset is a good start.  At any rate, that particular bit of grievance-mongering is simply daft; do you think those who died in the gas chambers begrudged those who fought in the forests the shot they’d taken at freedom?  Do you not think those who fought in the forests fought, as best they could, on behalf of the victims who could not?  This sort of academic navel-gazing repulses me at a level too deep to discuss).

It’s not “the” Holocaust; it’s Rwanda. The things that are supposed to “never” happen “again” keep coming back to haunt us.

And so, even when I still called myself a “liberal”, maybe even a “progressive”, I slowly, furtively began feeling my way toward being a Second Amendment supporter.

It’s been accepted as a truism among Real Americans for decades – there’s never been a totalitarian dictatorship in a country with civilian gun ownership.  It’s not entirely true – the Nazis allowed some tightly regulated civilian guns – but one of the first of the Nuremberg restrictions on Jewish life barred Jews from having guns.

“Never Again”, Israeli-style.

It was the first, necessary step on the road to the Holocaust – denying the Jews the actual ability to be more than a speed bump on the way to extinction.

And I, and every Real American who learned the right lessons from history, live “never again” every day we go to the range.

Enforcing Non-Violence:  But one needn’t go to Europe, or even back seventy-five years, to find oppressed citizens winning their freedom through force of arms – in this case, the threat of it.

Martin Luther King gets a lot of credit – justifiably so – for leading the fight for civil liberty for blacks in South at the end of the Jim Crow era.   And even when I was in school, not all that long after the fact, we were taught that King’s victory was a victory of non-violent resistance.

The March on Selma was dangerous enough outside the watchful eye of the media. Out in the backwoods of Alabama and Mississippi, what was a civil rights worker’s recourse?

And it was true – in places like Montgomery and Birmingham, where and when the northern, urban media was there to keep a spotlight on things.

But much of the battle for justice and political equality was fought outside the glare of the media’s Klieg lights, in sharecroppers shantytowns and hollers and delta villages that hadn’t changed much since the Civil War.

The militia? You’re damned right it was.

And there – as documented in the book This Non-Violent Stuff’ll Get You Killedby Charles Cobb – it was black men and women, World War II veterans and lone activists and mutual-self-defense groups, with hunting shotguns and war-surplus rifles and relics handed down from God only knows when, black people seeking equality, their franchise and their justice stared down the Klan over open sights, deterring the worst of the violence, just as their great-grandparents, back from the Union Army, had nearly a century before.

Black man, German pistol. BTW, don’t EVER put your fingers on the trigger until you’re ready to shoot. How many accidents has this photo inspired? Good Lord, people…

Even King himself carried a handgun through most of his travels, and his home was reportedly an “arsenal”.

Nicholas Johnson goes back further than Cobb, in Negroes and the Gun: the Black Tradition of Arms.   The case is convincing; had blacks not been able to deter Klan and supremacist violence in the sixties, the battle for equality would have been at the very least an incredibly bloody one, and at worst been either impossible, or a fault-line leading to another civil war.

All Together Now:  So we are a nation that is built on not merely the idea of freedom, but the notion that it’s our job to stay that way.   We are a people who know that government is at best imperfect at protecting us from crime, much less insulating us from tyranny.  And we – the ones who pay attention – know that at times, heaven forefend, it’s The People’s job to seize that freedom back.

Iraqi Christians, arming themselves to resist ISIS. What, you thought genocide ended in Rwanda?

And while the gun-grabbers ascribe a lot of motives to Real Americans’ struggle, from “defending gun industry profits” to “compensating for something, yuk yuk”, those are the reasons that keep us fighting, year in, year out.  They are the reasons we, the Real Americans, are the most successful grass-roots political movement in recent years.

And they are the reasons we can not rest on our laurels.  Evil never sleeps.  Either can we.

There you go, Heather Martens and Kim Norton and Barack Obama.  That’s why we fight.

And why you will lose.

To Sum It Up In A Sentence:  Freedom is endowed to us by our creator – but not everyone got the memo; history shows that the need to deter or repel threats to freedom, and life, are lamentably common.

This Series:

Small Victories

Making government follow the rules?  Should be a gimme.

It’s never a gimme.

But the folks at the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance (GOCRA) notched a couple of wins earlier this week.  You can, in fact, fight city hall.

First?  A DMV office in Anoka tried to post itself “No Guns Allowed” – which is in fact against the law.

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Click to see full-sized image. All photos courtesy GOCRA.

But the sign is gone now.   Which is a reminder, BTW – state and local government offices, except for courthouses and buildings that include courtrooms, can not be posted (Federal buildings can – don’t carry there).

And the city of Brooklyn Center added its own special, extra-intrusive, and extralegal questionnaire to its “permit to purchase” process:

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Nosey much? Click to see full-size.

But it‘s gone now, too.

That, by the way, is a way you can help.  While most of the “No Guns Allowed” signs disappeared from private businesses within months of the passage of “Shall Issue” (gun owners are better customers and better tippers than the general public), every few months we see the occasional government office trying to sneak one in.

No dice, people.  Our civil rights are not negotiable.

Just a quick reminder – GOCRA has been in the civil rights business for 26 years, now.  It’s one of a number of great civil rights groups in the Twin Cities – and, on 2nd Amendment issues, it’s the big one.

 

 

Why We Fight, Part III: The Public Good

In Charles C.W. Cooke’s fantastic piece in National Review last week on the power of emotion in the gun debate, he made an excellent point; facts and statistics aren’t enough to really win this battle.  There’s a real, living, breathing emotional case to be made for the Second Amendment.  And while Real Americans have been winning the factual, statistical and legal case for decades, we need to win the emotional case – the case that speaks to America’s heart and gut and liver – before we can really relegate gun control to the shallow intellectual grave it belongs in.

History Repeats:  A longtime friend of this blog, long known as “Buddhapatriot”,  a charter MOB member, sent me a poem the other day.

“Community Organizers” in Mongol-run China

It’s from a post he wrote a couple years back:

Last year the edict forbidding us to ride horseback;
This year another edict saying we cannot carry a bow.
Yet we still hear about all those robbers who by the light of day
Ride their horses and shoot people on the empire’s highway.

Technology aside, it looks like it could have been written by anyone in Chicago, slaving away under a de facto gun ban as hoodlums shoot up his neighborhood.  It could even have been Otis McDonald himself.

But it was written in China, under Mongol occupation, in the 1300s.

Some things never change.

Numbers:  When America was founded, there was really no such thing as a municipal police force.  County sheriffs – with their strictly limited powers, and their volunteer posses – were often days away if trouble sprang up.

And yet crime in America, as a general rule, was exceptionally low.

Murder Rates Since 1900

That changed, somewhere along the way, of course.  About 100 years go, a variety of factors – urban crime, Prohibition and the concomitant explosion in organized crime and turf-protection murders – and then the War on Drugs and the 1968 Gun Control Act all correlated with massive surges in criminal homicide.

Do It Yourself:  Real Americans have always had an organic sense of law-enforcement; civic responsibility is part and parcel of participatory democracy.

And it’s by no means a given everywhere in the world.  Attitudes of civilians and citizens toward “law enforcement” vary widely, even wildly, around the world – and for good reason, since “enforcing the laws” (or engaging in a sham version of it) is often accompanied by brutal tactics, unaccountable power, and stunning, stunting corruption.  Worse than Chicago, even.

Even in “democracies”, the role of the citizen versus “law enforcement” is sometimes – for lack of a better term – brain-damaged.

As, indeed, it was in the United States.  At the nadir of the gun debate in the late seventies and early eighties, as major cities were enacting de facto or de jure gun bans, the individual right to self-defense was very much on the ropes.

I remember reading advice to people living in major cities in the seventies, urging people to carry a “mugging” wallet, with a little money – not too much to break you, not so little that the mugger would get angry – to give to muggers when you got stuck up. It was an abdication of our streets to our criminals – the smarter among us knew it.

Some New Yorkers are nostalgic for the Lindsay and Dinkins years. I suspect they may be the type of people who look forward to colonoscopies and tax audits.

And at the very nadir of that awful period came Bernard Goetz – who, sick and tired of the regular mugging, carried a gun.  It was against the law, of course – unless you had the political clout to get a carry permit, which many media and business figures did for the asking.

But not Goetz.  The humble electrical engineer, mugged one time too many, shot his way out of a jam in the New York subway in 1984.

The police arrested him, and New York’s pencil-necked, pasty, pusillanimous prosecutors, operating at the behest of an administration that figured armed criminals was better than safe people, prosecuted Goetz to the fullest extent of the law.

And a funny thing happened; America – even New York City’s cowed, pseudo-European subjects – feted Goetz as a folk hero.  Oh, the establishment media reviled Goetz, of course; What’ll happen if regular schnooks kill all the criminals, they gasped.

But Real America looked at Goetz, I think, and they saw…

…themselves.

In the early eighties, at the nadir of the American right to keep and bear arms, and the peak of the urban crime wave that only started to break 20 years ago, it was very easy to identify with Goetz; robbed over and over, first by street thugs, and then by thugs with law degrees or working for newspapers, Goetz’ situation reflected a lot of peoples’ fears – and his response sparked a lot of imaginations.

It may be uncaused correlation, a complete coincidence, that on the day Bernard Goetz shot his muggers, exactly eight states had “shall issue” laws, requiring states to prove one should not have a permit to carry a firearm;  by 1990, it was 15; by the 10th anniversary of his trial, 20; today, 42 of the fifty states have either “Shall Issue” or “Constitutional Carry”.

Was Bernard Goetz the cause celebre that led, slowly and circuitously, to the state we’re in today, with Real Americans in the ascendant?

I like to think they’re related.  Prove me wrong.

Beyond The Stats:  The statistics of civilian gun ownership in combating crime have been part of the diet on this blog since Day 1` – literally.

But beyond the numbers and the charts and the books?

Americans (of Korean descent) protecting their property and lives during the LA Riots. If this doesn’t make you proud to be an American, then you need both heart and brain transplants.

There might be people in this country who don’t crack a smile when a typical schnook with a gun saves dozens of lives; whose step doesn’t quicken when the little woman with the kids repels the big bad robber; whose hearts don’t well up with pride when regular American schnooks seize order from disorder, as Los Angeles’ Korean shopkeepers did during the 1992 riots; They might exist.

But they’re not my  countrymen.

We are a nation, historically, that treats “keeping order” as a community activity.  And the message is getting out to The People, a majority of whom now believe that civilian carry makes us all safer.

May it ever be so.

That’s why we’re here.

To Sum It Up In A Sentence:   Americans were never intended to be helpless in the face of evil.

This Series:

Sources

SCENE:  Avery LIBRELLE is sitting in a dilapidated Subaru outside Mitch Berg’s house.  LIBRELLE is peering through binoculars, and starts visibly when a glimpse of BERG is visible through the door window. 

Shortly, BERG emerges, walking his golden retriever. 

LIBRELLE:  (Leaps from car).  Merg!

BERG:  (Turns sharply, then relaxes as alarm turns to a groaning acceptance) Oh, hi, Avery.  (BERG notes the windows of LIBRELLE’s car).  Um, been waiting long?

LIBRELLE:  There’ve been seventeen killed in Chicago in the past ten days!

BERG:  Right.  And 117 total shot.  So…?

LIBRELLE:  By guns!

BERG:  Right.  It’s been in all the papers for years.  Parts of Chicago are incredibly violent,l even with all of the celebrated gun control they have.

LIBRELLE:  Hah!  But those guns come from rural red states!

BERG:  Come again?

LIBRELLE:  You heard the President in his Town Hall meeting!  All the guns used in urban shootings come from guys in vans selling them from their trunk in parking lots in rural red states!

BERG:  Well, for starters, no, they’re mostly stolen.  Often sold to others after being stolen.   Some come from straw buyers.  Almost none come from people selling otherwise legal guns.

LIBRELLE:  But if guns weren’t so available in the neighboring areas, urban crime wouldn’t be so high.

BERG:  If access to guns were the problem, wouldn’t the crime rate in rural Indiana be higher than in the middle of Chicago?

LIBRELLE:  (Mouth flaps open and shut a few times, like a boated bass).

(BERG continues on his walk)

(And SCENE).

Why We Fight, Part II: Enemies Foreign And Domestic

In Charles C.W. Cooke’s fantastic piece in National Review last week on the power of emotion in the gun debate, he made an excellent point; facts and statistics aren’t enough.   This series is about making the case not in terms of statistics, but in terms of grabbing you in the freaking liver.

Den Velregulerede Hjemmeværnet:  In 1940, the Nazis conquered Denmark in less time than it takes to play an NFL football game.    One of the flattest, most featureless places in all of Europe, Denmark was a terrible place to try to form a resistance movement; it had no mountains like Norway, Yugoslavia or Greece or southern France; no wooded highlands like Poland; no forests like Russia or Ukraine; not even swamps like Belarus or urban warrens like Warsaw or Paris.  Like the Netherlands, the prospect of guerilla warfare in Denmark was about as appetizing as doing it in North Dakota, only with a tiny fraction of the space.

The foothills of the Stordenbjarl mountains, the most rugged geographic feature in central Denmark. Kidding. It’s a typical lane in rural Denmark. Quick, all you infantrymen out there; there’s an enemy column on the way. What do you do?

And yet the Danes resisted, passively and actively, occasionally to earth-shaking effect.   Fighting against many brutal handicaps, the Danes spawned a ferocious and cunning resistance.

British cavalrymen meeting with Danish resistance fighters near the end of the war.

And at the end of the war, when Denmark’s various constituencies gathered to reconstitute the Danish nation, the men and women who had fought in the Resistance had a seat at the table.

It was more than a token seat, and they weren’t there to make nice; the Resistance was intensely angry at King Christian X for surrendering the nation with only a token fight.  Christian had had his reasons, of course; Denmark was nearly demilitarized in 1940, and had few features other than the water between its islands to stop a modern military; Christian, seeing the foregone conclusion, wanted to spare the Danes the bloodbath that Europe had watched the Poles suffer seven months earlier.

Danish resistance fighters, in action against German holdouts in Copenhagen, 1945.

The former guerillas saw the results; trading freedom for security still left the Danes dispossessed in their own land.

And so when Denmark restructured itself in 1946, it rebuilt its military around four basic branches; the traditional Army, Navy, Air Force…

…and a fourth branch, the Hjemmeværnet, or Home Guard.  The branch specifically traced its roots to the resistance, alone among Europe’s militaries (although infantry regiments in the Netherlands and Belgium  trace their lineages to their various resistance movements).  And among the missions stated in the Home Guard’s charter, other than the obvious stuff about defending the nation from invasion and serving as the nucleus of a guerrilla movement against any future occupiers, was to prevent any future Danish government from betraying the nation and its people.

Mary – the Danish Crown Princess – in Home Guard marksmanship training.

To serve, in short, as a “well-regulated militia” for “the protection of the free state”.

No, they weren’t lifting the Second Amendment; the Hjemmeværnet’s charter existed for purely Danish reasons.   And since the end of the Cold War, that particular proviso in the Hjemmeværnet’s DNA has been shuffled further and further to the back of the political stove.  For the past two decades, that aspect of the Home Guard has gotten less and less emphasis.

But it existed for reasons that resonate with many other societies.

Israel, surrounded and outnumbered 100-1 by people that vowed to drive them into the sea (and most of them still do), has armed nearly every able-bodied member of their population.

Israeli reservists, present and future.

And those citizens are indeed part of a national military, rather than a decentralized “militia” – but a military constituted on the ideal that it’s the citizen’s responsibility to defend the freedom (and, in Israel’s case, sanctuary) they have.  Military service is an intrinsic part of Israeli civic duty.

The Israeli system (as well as that of Singapore and Finland) was borrowed from Switzerland, where most adult men (and since 1972, many women) have kept their service (and non-service) weapons at home, entirely to deter invastion from the nations that surround them.

Swiss beginning their National Service hitch.

They’re on friendly terms today – but 75 years ago, they were not.

Norway has a similar Home Guard – the vast bulk of the strength of Norway’s military.  And while they don’t have the same constitutional internal focus as Denmark’s (Norway’s monarchy escaped the Nazis and fought without cease until liberation), Norway’s post-war constitution not only specifically directed the military to disobey any orders from the monarchy, administration or parliament that would betray Norwegian sovereignty, but the posted the specific provision and directive in every Norwegian military office, barracks and installation until long after the Cold War ended.

Norwegian Home Guard on maneuvers

In other words, each of these nations, and peoples, discovered a few key points about their freedom, independence and sovereignty:

  • It truly is not free.  The Voltairean perfect world does not exist.  Left to their own devices, there are plenty of people and governments in this world who will seize your independence, your freedom, and your lives, to say nothing of your stuff.  None of those things defend themselves; coherent philosophies, brave words and noble intentions certainly don’t do it, or Norway, the Netherlands and Denmark would never have been invaded in 1940!
  • It takes people with guns, when worse comes to worst.  Which is why we have governments.
  • But you can’t always trust your government to defend your freedom; indeed, the historical record of standing militaries actually defending freedom is really bad.  And even when your government isn’t, well, evil, sometimes they make lousy decisions.

Rerun:  Of course, those were things our founding fathers knew 200-odd years ago; that any whiff of Voltairean “ideal state” we managed to wrench from this Hobbsian world would have to be done by non-ideal means; that not only was the permanent government and its military at best an imperfect instrument for ensuring freedom, any government was just a hair-trigger (as it were) from doing just the opposite.

And so in an ugly, awful world, the best guarantor of freedom was, in fact, a people who had the means to not only protect it from external enemies, but ensure their government doesn’t seize it, or just deal it away out of real or imagined expediency.

The Danes learned the hard way what our founding fathers predicted in 1793.

And protecting that legacy is an integral part of the intellectual DNA of every single Real American that fights for the Second Amendment today.

To sum it all up in a sentence: – it’s not about the guns.  It’s about defending our freedom.

This Series:

  • Part I:  “History
  • Part II:  Enemies Foreign and Domestic
  • Part III, Tomorrow:  The Public Good
  • Part IV, Thursday: The Underdog