Change In The Weather

This past three weeks has been fascinating; I’ve watched a whole lot of people I’d considered fairly rational, sensible people completely losing their grip on reality. I could talk – “joke”, sure, what the heck – about how people on the political left frequently seem groaningly ignorant about history, but that’s a separate subject for another time.

I’ve seen some of them writing or sharing *precisely* the sort of end-of-the-world apocalyptic gloom and doom that they were mocking *some* Republicans for writing eight years ago – advice about surviving the end of civilization, the fall of civil society, barbarians at the gates, pretty much the whole “Walking Dead” bit.

The part that has me the most interested, though, is the dark, furtive references some of them are making to “resisting”…whatever it is they’re worried about. Some are even taking measures they’d considered downright unholy – indeed, measures that a month ago most of them were working to foreclose.

And while I detest schadenfreud, I just have to ask those liberals; are you finally starting to understand (however irrationally and mistakenly) why some of us bitter, gun-clinging deplorables fought to hard to protect the *originalist* interpretation of the Second Amendment?

Maybe just a little?

I’ve seen more than a few liberal writers claim that black people arming themselves is how we’ll “finally” get gun control.  Only at the hands of Democrats.  The NRA has been arming minorities since 1866.

False Equivalence

I was listening to some archival coverage from NPR over the weekend, from May of 1945, about the death of Adolf Hitler.  I was kind of surprised:

“On the one hand, he directly ordered the death of 11 million Jewish, gay, Roma, Sinti and Slavic civilians in a campaign of ethnic cleansing, and launched a war that led to the deaths of between 50 and 70 million people.

On the other hand, he was a committed vegetarian and dedicated to animal rights, and his death by gun suicide highlights attention on the epidemic of gun violence, in which guns killed millions of Europeans.

So the truth is somewhere in between.”

Well, no.  I made the whole thing up.  Well, not the whole thing; Hitler could in fact not bear the though of animals coming to harm.  He was a very forthright vegetarian, and had no tolerance for any sort of cruelty to animals.  But nobody in history has suggested that those facts even nudge the scale in comparison to his crimes against humanity and morality.

That would be just stupid.

I thought about this as I was listening to NPR talking about the death of Fidel Castro.

It was a series of “Journalists” bending over backwards to ensure the world knows that there were two sides to Fidel Castro; the one who “stood up for the little guy” (using funds taken from Russian and Eastern-European “little guys”, but that’s getting too detailed, right?), who was a huge patron of Cuban arts and sports, and public health on the one hand…

…and who may have been a bit of a totalitarian tyrant on the other. The truth, an NPR reporter sonorously reminded us, was “somewhere between the two”.

And it made me wonder – how many people WOULD he have had to murder to push the needle?

A visitor to this planet might wonder who’s being more satirical, NPR or me.

 However, one can forgive NPR for being at least a little less detached from reality than five notable world leaders in their statements about Castro’s expiry.   If you happen to be a citizen Canada, have a word with Prime Minister McDreamy, eh?   Likewise, if you’re from Ireland or the EU, you need to see about changing leaders.  (If you are an Iranian citizen, you don’t have much more choice than the Cubans did; if you are a member of Britian’s Labour Party, you probably don’t know any better.
Fortunately, the WSJ has some moral sense, and has written about the effort to count Castro’s victims (from a conservative 9,000 to an all-too-plausible 90,000).

 

Cuba Libre – Someday

Fidel Castro is dead – but the dictatorship lives on.

For now.

Over at Bablublog – the foremost Cubablog for the past 13 years, now – Humberto Fontova notes a couple of the facts that the worst of our repulsive media, especially NPR, can’t quite:

In the above process he converted a highly-civilized nation with a higher standard of living than much of Europe and swamped with immigrants into a slum/sewer ravaged by tropical diseases and with the highest suicide rate in the Western hemisphere.Over TWENTY TIMES as many people (and counting) have died trying to escape Castro’s Cuba as died trying to escape East Germany. Yet prior to Castroism Cuba received more immigrants per-capita than almost any nation on earth—more than the U.S. did including during the Ellis Island years.

He helped train and fund practically every terror group on earth, from the Weathermen to Puerto Rico’s Macheteros, from Argentina’s Montoneros, to Colombia’s FARC, from the Black Panthers to the IRA and from the PLO to AL Fatah.

Would anyone guess any of this from reading the media today? Or from reading President Obama’s message of condolences to the terror-sponsoring Castro family?

Every item above thoroughly documented here.

More tomorrow on the American media and left’s repulsive performance over the weekend.

Oh, yeah – and Canadian Prime Minister McDreamy.

UPDATE:  Or Green Party Prez candidate “Dr.” Jill Stein:

Please, “Doctor” Stein, I beg of you – run for president again.

Fringe-y

SCENE: Mitch BERG is shoveling his sidewalk. As he’s shoveling to the east, Avery LIBRELLE, out for a walk, comes up from the west and catches BERG by surprise.

LIBRELLE: Hey, Merg!

BERG:  Uh…hi, Avery.  What’s…

LIBRELLE:   Drumpf is appointing racist white supremacists from the Alt-Right to his cabinet!

BERG:  Avery, I have a question for you.  One of the reasons I support the Second Amendment is that I believe it’s possible – not “highly likely”, but possible – that despite all the safeguards built into the Federalist system, our government could one day be take over by people who actively trample the peoples’ freedom.

LIBRELLE:  That’s paranoia, treason, and an ammosexual gun fondler fantasy.

BERG:  Huh.  But Donald Trump is now president, and you’re worried…

LIBRELLE:  …that government is actively going to stifle and quash peoples’ freedom.

BERG:  Gotcha.  So when a Second Amendment supporter says that they’re acting in defense of liberty, they are…

LIBRELLE:  Fat bald white gun fondlers who’ve watched Rambo too many times and are probably terrorists waiting to happen.

BERG:   And when Hillary Clinton supporters say it about Trump, they are…

LIBRELLE:  Guarding freedom against a fascist tyrant.

BERG:   Gun owners…

LIBRELLE:  Fat angry stupid traitors.

BERG:  People attacking Trump…

LIBRELLE:  The highest expression of democratic ideals.

BERG:  Conservative…

LIBRELLE:  Evil.  Hate.  Death.

BERG:  “Progressive”

LIBRELLE:  Love.

BERG:  Naturally.

And SCENE

Nullified (Not!)

We don’t know what happened in the jury room in Oregon yesterday – but as we noted last night, a jury acquitted all of Ammon Bundy’s group of all charges.

The decision smells like jury nullification – the notion that a jury can invalidate bad law by not finding people guilty of it.

Say what you will about the Bundy clan and their methods, but the original charge that led to the fracas – the “setting a fire in federal property” rap that arose from a controlled blaze that became not-so-controlled and overlapped federal property in the trackless waste of eastern Oregon – was a crock and needed to be nullified.

And, as a lot of libertarian Westerners (or as the Southern Poverty Law Center would refer to them, “terrorists”) have been talking about for a long time, the jury would have none of it.

The feds don’t like being denied:

Ammon Bundy’s lawyer Marcus Mumford argued that his client, dressed in a gray suit and white dress shirt, should be allowed to walk out of the court, a free man.

U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown told him that there was a U.S. Marshal’s hold on him from a pending federal indictment in Nevada.

“If there’s a detainer, show me,” Mumford stood, arguing before the judge.

Suddenly, a group of about six U.S. Marshals surrounded Mumford at his defense table. The judge directed them to move back but moments later, the marshals  grabbed on to him.

“What are you doing?” Mumford yelled, as he struggled and was taken down to the floor.

As deputy marshals yelled, “Stop resisting,” the judge demanded, “Everybody out of the courtroom now!”

Mumford was taken into custody, a member of his legal team confirmed.

Ammon Bundy’s lawyer J. Morgan Philpot, said afterwards on the courthouse steps that Mumford had been arrested and marshals had used a stun gun, or Taser, on his back.

Jurors (apparently) nullified the charges because, one suspects, they believe the feds have become an authoritarian bureaucracy.  The feds then give them evidence to support the thesis.

It’s going to be an interesting four years.

UPDATE:  Not nullification?  No problem.  Good guys win either way.

Skål!

The “Pirate” party is poised to take power in Iceland..

…and then give it back:

Although the Pirate Party formed just four years ago, its popularity has skyrocketed — most likely for unconventional tactics aligning loosely with libertarianism — the promotion of privacy rights and personal freedoms, and simultaneous shrinking of Big Government.

Edward Snowden has been offered the safe haven of Icelandic citizenship should the Pirates likely victory come to fruition — which makes sense, given the party’s anti-establishment roots.

In fact, the Pirates have experienced astonishing success in a short time — taking the nation’s longstanding political traditionalists off-guard in the process — even the group’s founder, a programmer and former Wikileaks activist, is stunned.

The GOP needs to learn a few lessons from the Pirates.

I’ll  be here to teach ’em.

Spanish Bonds On The Costa Brava

Once upon a time, when I worked at a radio station whose initial rhymed with “Ay Ess Tee Pee”, we went without a general manager for six months.

In that time the station’s ratings doubled.

Eventually, in their good time, Hubbard Broadcasting sent us a GM.  Who promptly screwed everything up, where it stayed until the dawn of Limbaugh.

I’m not saying that kind of thing happens all the time with businesses.

But it certainly is associated with civilized people who observe the law, in regard to “government”.

Spain, after the better part of a decade of stagnancy in squalor under a socialist government, is bouncing back strongly:

The eurozone’s fourth-largest economy is on track to expand around 3% this year, outpacing the International Monetary Fund’s projections for France, Germany and the U.S.

The landed punditry believes that is inconsistent with the fact  Spain hasn’t had a functioning  government in nearly a year:

Spain has been without a full-fledged government since December. Doubts about who will form the next one have persisted since the divided parliament elected that month failed to install a prime minister and was dissolved. A new parliament, elected in June, is also deadlocked among four major parties, none close to a majority.

It is – to borrow a phrase that the Obama administration has turned into a national punchline it – “unexpected”.

But only if you’re the kind of person that believes “Brexit” is going to send the UK back to the Stone Age, and that raising taxes fight recessions.

Keeping The Peace

As very few of you know, I was on the road a good chunk of this past two weeks; in Hartford the last week of September, and I just got back from Jacksonville late yesterday.

Naturally, I was keeping a close eye on Hurricane Matthew, which I beat out of Jax by about 12 hours.

The most vulnerable time for people and communities during these sorts of disasters is when the population is dislocated; evacuated, out of power, or bludgeoned with massive damage.  If worse comes to worst, coastal Florida and South Carolina might be all three of the above.

Just a reminder to potential looters; last year, Governor Scott signed a law allowing law-abiding gun owners to carry their firearms while complying with evacuation orders without need for a permit (emphasis added).

“As Hurricane Season approaches it’s critical that our rights are protected during natural disasters,” advised Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-Petersburg, in a statement. “With the signing of SB 290, all lawful gun owners will be permitted to carry a concealed weapon if they are complying with a mandatory evacuation during a state of emergency. I’m proud to have sponsored this bipartisan bill ensuring that we have the right to protect our families during these sometimes chaotic times.”

Brandes bill, SB 290, creates an exception to Florida’s prohibition against concealed carry of a weapon without a permit by allowing adults not otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm to temporally do so while evacuating. The law allows for a 48-hour window that this would be allowed after the evacuation has been ordered. However, the governor can authorize an extension as needed.

Compare this to the arm-twisting that needed to happen with the metro DFL to ban the governor from confiscating firearms during emergencies, and you can see who actually supports freedom, to say nothing of public order.

 

A Matter Of Trust

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

This guy was sitting in the car reading a book, Tasered four times, then shot.

 Or he got out of the car with a gun and threatened the officers.

 Depends on who you believe.

 On the one hand, a certain group of people Whose Lives Matter have a history of making up facts to support their story.  The “Hands Up” thing comes to mind.

 On the other hand, a certain group of people Who Are Above The Law have a history of making up facts to support their story, too.  The cop who dropped the Taser next to his shooting victim comes to mind.

 I honestly can’t decide which group is less trustworthy and that terrifies me.  It means the main source of social cohesion is failing.  Every time that’s happened throughout history, it’s been a pre-cursor to societal upheaval, often leading to collapse, chaos, anarchy, dictatorship, riot, plague and death.

 It doesn’t matter who we elect as President, if there’s no nation to govern. 

 Joe Doakes

This is the elephant in the room; if we can’t trust our government and our fellow citizen, then freedom is really just a slogan.

Last Gleaming

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is shopping for chainsaw chains at MENARDS.  He sees Garth MULLER, a professional golf pro and Vice Chair for Ideological Purity at the Minnesota 5th CD Libertarian Party.  He is dressed head to toe in Minnesota Vikings wear.  

MULLER:  Hey, Merg!  People who pledge allegiance to Skycloth before football games are no better than Nazis who sieg-heiled along with Hitler.

BERG:  “Pledge allegiance to Skycloth?  What are you talking about?”

MULLER:  The American flag, and the miltaristic ritual of standing for the national anthem before NFL games.

BERG:  Before what?

MULLER:  NFL games.

BERG:  That’s what I thought you said.  I don’t stand to pledge allegiance to the government.  I do it out of respect for what this nation is supposed to be about.  And other than some community opprobium, there’s really no consequence for not standing for the anthem.

MULLER:  But all the fuss about Kapernick and the other people taking a knee…

BERG:  I don’t really care.  Let ’em.  It costs nobody anything.

But – that team you support?

MULLER:  Go Vikes!

BERG:  Yeah – if I decide not to pay my part of the taxes for “The People’s Stadium”, and carry the protest on long enough, men with guns will beat down my door and take the money.  To pay for your recreation, sixteen Sundays a year.

So – “Skycloth”, consequence-free observance of an ideal.

Your NFL game?  My money being taken from me by force.  Which is either theft or slavery.

MULLER:  But…

BERG:  I know.  Principle.

And SCENE.

Lie First, Lie Always: Authoritarians For “Liberty”

One of the things that always annoyed me about the Libertarian Party was its’ members predilection for purity-testing each other to a fine sheen, to the point where nobody could ever really get supported for anything.

The good news?  Apparently they’re not doing that anymore.

The bad news?  We know this because they’ve apparently endorsed a non-Libertarian for office.

Democrat “Libertarian” Veep nominee Bill Weld is as clueless about firearms as any NPR reporter.

The “clueless” is so strong, I won’t bother fisking it.  I’ll just let the statement sit in its full glory, and wait ’til the footnotes:

“The five-shot rifle, that’s a standard military rifle; 1 the problem is if you attach a clip to it so it can fire more shells and if you remove the pin so that it becomes an automatic weapon, 2 and those are independent criminal offenses, 3” Weld said. “That is when they become, essentially a weapon of mass destruction. 4 The problem with handguns probably is even worse than the problem of the AR15.” 5

Weld also said he believed no one on a terrorist watch list should be allowed to purchase guns, even though, as the Huffington Post pointed out, it isn’t too hard for an innocent person to end up on the list.

Indeed, that’s the point – which Weld would know, if he were a Libertarian.

Footnotes:

1:  The “standard military rifle” hasn’t been “five shots” since about 1942.

2: If you “remove the pin”, it becomes a club.

3: No, it becomes zero offenses; adding a larger magazine isn’t a crime (except in places like DC, Chicago, California and Massachusetts (unless you’re Brian Gregory)), and “taking out the pin” is called “Field stripping and cleaning”.  Converting a gun to full automatic is a federal felony – but Weld is not curious enough to know that’s practically impossible with a garden-variety AR15.  Not that I’d know, because guns scare me.

4:  No, they do not become nuclear, biological, chemical or high-explosive weapons.  They become rifles that are easy to use, don’t jam, and don’t run out of bullets before the bad guy runs out of attack.

5:  Well, duh.  Handguns kill two orders of magnitude more people than “assault weapons”.  Or, put correctly, criminals use handguns to murder two orders of magnitude more people – disproportionally brown or black, most of them in Democrat cities.

Keystoned

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Neither the Castile shooting nor the Miami shooting seem like racial incidents.  They seem like Keystone Kops incidents: running in circles, nobody in charge, contradictory commands, misinterpreted actions, improper over-reaction.  

When a mass of cops arrive at the scene, who’s in charge?  Who gives the orders?  Who decides when to shoot?  Doesn’t seem to be a consistent policy and as a result, people are getting shot.

 I can forgive an honest error in judgment.  I can’t overlook incompetence. 

 Joe Doakes

A few years (OK – a few decades) back, I read about the training involved in a hostage rescue team, including the danger involved with lots of men running around in a cramped space, high on adrenaline and guns.  The training to develop the teamwork necessary to make the team more dangerous to “the enemy” than to themselves alone was a long, drawn-out process.

Do local SWAT teams, much less patrol cops, get this?

I don’t think so, but I’m genuinely curious.

Impropriety

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Suppose someone dropped off their real estate documents and I said “I’m very busy right now, I won’t be able to get to them for a couple of weeks.  Unless you wanted to paperclip $100 bill to the documents, then I’d be willing to stay late to get them done today.”  Would there be howls of protest over me abusing my government position to put money in my pocket?

 Suppose an off-duty cop gets pulled over for speeding, shows the on-duty officer his driver’s license and oh, just incidentally flashes his badge.  The obvious intention is that the on-duty cop will not write the off-duty cop a ticket, to save the driver embarrassment and also $100 fine.

 Putting $100 in my pocket or keeping $100 in his – they’re both corruption, using an official position for personal enrichment.

 Of course, not all cops are corrupt just as not all Muslims are terrorists and not all Blacks are criminals and not all . . . yes, yes, we know that.  But we also know for certain that some cops are corrupt except – and here’s the really important point – we can’t tell who they are.  A few known bad apples make us suspect the entire bunch may be rotten so the rational conclusion is to treat all of them as if they are rotten.

 Lawyers talk about avoiding even the appearance of impropriety, so as not to cast suspicion on the entire legal profession.  Cops don’t seem to understand the concept. The instinct is for cops to band together, to circle the wagon to protect the Thin Blue Line, to denounce their critics as ignorant, to absolve themselves of technical wrongdoing despite what appears on the video.  That does nothing to solve the problem that cops appear to be corrupt, appear to be using their positions to put themselves above the law.

 The Black community already hates cops.  Politicians no longer reflexively support cops.  Middle class mainstream America sees video of cops beating or shooting people and are beginning to lose confidence. What happens when the bulk of society no longer believes cops are trustworthy but instead begin to view them as armed gangs, not much different from the Crips, just different gang colors?

 A professional public police force is relatively recent, invented by Robert Peel in London in 1829.  What did society use to keep law-and-order before the Bobbies?  And if the public decides the police are now hopelessly corrupt, what will replace them after they’re disbanded? Vigilance Committees made up of ordinary citizens, armed as necessary to protect their families, homes and neighborhoods? 

 Behold the wisdom of Federalist 29.

 Joe Doakes

There’s a reason you can’t find a Federalist Paper in a public school anymore.

Policies Matter

Not so long ago, a not overly bright person on a community forum called me a “racist” for asking “what does Black Life Matter” actually want?”

One might wonder if BLM is “racist” for finally answering my question.

Thing is, their ideas aren’t entirely wrong:

1. End “broken windows” policing, which aggressively polices minor crimes in an attempt to stop larger ones.

Broken windows policing has always been controversial.  But it’s worked; it was a key element in turning New York from a crime-sodden wasteland in 1975 to one of the safer cities in America in 2005.

It did lean hard on “communities of color” – because some of those communities have had all sorts of problems, both “broken windows” and crime.  We can debate the reasons for that – and a lot of African-Americans disagree with BLM on that; it’s usually they who are asking for more, and more integrated, police presence in their communities.

Is it possible to get good policing in a trouble community without impacting those, in the community, who are trouble?

2. Use community oversight for misconduct rather than having the police department decide what consequences officers should face.

I don’t disagree in principle:  groups investigating themselves never works.

But community review boards, especially in Democrat-run cities where most police problems are, inevitably turn into political footballs.

Better idea?  Make police carry individual liability insurance.  It’ll have the same effect it has on drivers; it’ll show us who the “bad” ones are, and fast.

3. Make standards for reporting police use of deadly force.

Excellent idea.

4. Independently investigate and prosecute police misconduct.

This would seem to make good common sense.

5. Have the racial makeup of police departments reflect the communities they serve.

A passable-sounding idea in principle; very hard to carry out in practice; if applicants for police service reflect the larger American community – 12% Latino, 11% black, 2% Asian, 75% white – what is “the community” supposed to do?  Assign cops to precincts on the basis of race?

Is it a good idea, though?  If our idea of “justice” is “bean-counting based on skin color”, then haven’t we really lost?

6. Require officers to wear body cameras.

Fine idea in practice, and I support it in principle.

The devil is in the details.  Can we allow officers to turn off their cameras?  Do you want officers stopping at Superamerica to take a dump preserved on the public record?

I’m not asking to be funny or gross.  If you allow officers to turn off the camera for purposes of bodily functions, then you create an opportunity – several, in fact.  Unethical officers will use that facility.   Bureaucrats will create more rules and procedures around cameras, which’ll take more time away from policing.

I’m in favor, but with questions.

7. Provide more training for police officers.

Not a bad idea, provided the “training” is useful.

8. End for-profit policing practices.

We’re talking about civil forfeiture, and even if the other nine proposals had been complete hogwash, this alone would be worth it.  Using funds from “crimes” that haven’t even gone to trial should be stopped, now.

9. End the police use of military equipment.

I’ll meet ’em halfway on this.   The hero gear gets way too much of a workout.  When you have armored cars and police in full battle rattle knocking down doors to serve warrants for non-violent crimes – pot dealers, people who owe the city money, that kind of thing – that does kinda send a message about what you think about “a community”.

10. Implement police union contracts that hold officers accountable for misconduct.

Now that is going to be interesting to see out in practice.

BLM’s got a few useful ideas.  Where they go wrong is in relying on politics and politicians to do the reforming for them.

Opportunity For Improvement

Police overreach; it’s not just for black people anymore:

In 2014, for the first time ever, law enforcement officers took more property from American citizens than burglars did. Martin Armstrong pointed this out at his blog, Armstrong Economics, last week.

Officers can take cash and property from people without convicting or even charging them with a crime — yes, really! — through the highly controversial practice known as civil asset forfeiture. Last year, according to the Institute for Justice, the Treasury and Justice departments deposited more than $5 billion into their respective asset forfeiture funds. That same year, the FBI reports that burglary losses topped out at $3.5 billion.

The WaPo’s Christopher Ingraham notes that on the one hand, the figure is a little misleading for two reasons:  the “burglary” figure counts only rigidly-defined burglaries, and ignores a variety of other larcenies and thefts (which, together, add up to double what the cops take), and the cops don’t keep it all.

But even counting only what they keep from burglaries, they still siphoned 50% more out of the economy than burglars did.

And that includes an awful lot of people never convicted of any crime.

Taking property without a conviction is something that needs to stop.

Another Shooting

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails about the story of the day:

White cop from St. Anthony department shot Black man at traffic stop on Larpenteur at Fry in Falcon Heights.  Passenger took video, protests and vigils occurring.

you might want to reiterate your policy of refusing to comment until facts are known to stop speculation on SITD.

As with all shooting stories; the first 24-48 hours of media reporting will be absolutely squalid.    I’ll be withholding most comment.

Doakes continues, speaking about the narrative from the video (which I’ll include below the jump):

Passenger says cop asked driver for his wallet, driver reached down for it and while reaching, told cop that driver had a concealed carry permit and was carrying (which they tell us in training you’re supposed to do).  Cop told driver to put his hands up, driver brought his hands back up and officer opened fire because driver was making threatening movements, possibly bringing up the gun.

I’m guessing young cop, twilight, Black guy, gun . . . yeah, that script pretty much writes itself.  Girlfriend and child in the car watched it all.

Not an accidental discharge, by the way, several shots fired.

Driver age 32, employed, no serious criminal record if he had a concealed carry permit . . . bad scene all around.

Not just employed; employed by the Saint Paul Public Schools, apparently, in a position for which (I’m informed) one needs to pass a background check.

My focus would be additional mandatory training for law enforcement and for permitted carriers: What, exactly, are permitted carriers supposed to do if stopped when carrying? Play-act it.  Drivers need to know so they don’t alarm officers, and officers need to have a standard method of handling the situation.

Joe Doakes

While I neither confirm nor deny I own or carry any firearms, I have sat through carry permit training; the most prudent course seems to be to inform the officer only when there’s a likelihood of a search – like, if you’re asked to get out of the car.    This was posited for exactly the reasons that seem likely to have occurred in this incident;   an incident that started as a fix-it ticket (apparently) escalated because a (law-abiding, black) man told the (apparently jumpy, possibly rookie) cop that he had a permit and gun in a manner that had likely been prescribed to him in his training.

We don’t know all the facts, though.

Indeed, that’s my only real answer to everything in this incident; we don’t know the facts yet.  Everything that everyone is saying is conjecture at this point.  Not pure, unadulterated conjecture; the video shot by the girlfriend an interesting wrinkle to this case (statements made while the incident is still in progress are admissable under Minnesota rules of evidence, although I’m not sure of any limitations that might apply); her story, for what it’s worth, stays very consistent through several retellings on video.

Question:  if Philando Castile was shot unjustly, was it because of paranoia over black men, or over the new plague of urban paranoia over gun owners?

Anyway, I’ll urge everyone to reserve judgment, knowing full well nobody will.

Video follows:

Continue reading

Wrong About Rights

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Liberals want to strip gun rights from people on the No Fly List.  The only civil rights group standing up for the constitutional rights of citizens is the National Rifle Association.

 But wait, didn’t the ACLU also object?  Sort of.  The ACLU objects to using the No Fly List in its present form to deny civil rights.  If there was an easier way to get your name off the list, the ACLU would be fine with using it to block gun purchases.

 That idea flips constitutional law on its head.  The Founders explained in the Declaration of Independence that Rights come from God, not from government.  The Constitution exists to protect our Rights from the government.  Therefore, the government should not have the power to arbitrarily take away Rights and then allow citizens to beg to get them back (ACLU version).  The government should bear the burden of proving why the citizen’s Rights should be taken away BEFORE the Rights are taken (NRA version).

 To see how absurd the ACLU’s plan is, try substituting other rights.  “Journalists on the No Truth List are forbidden to publish anything bad about Hillary Clinton.  But you can request a special waiver to get off the list.”   Or how about “Women on the No Fetus List are forbidden to get an abortion.  But you can submit an application to get your name removed from the list.”  Can you imagine the ACLU’s response?

 Justice Thomas wrote a dissenting opinion to the new Whole Women’s Health abortion case, saying: “ . . . our Constitution renounces the notion that come constitutional rights are more equal than others.”  Too bad it’s only a dissent; the country would be better off if more people believed that.

 Joe Doakes

The big problem is that a majority of Americans have no idea what a “right” is.

Diagnosis

Andy Aplikowski – long of the “Residual Forces” blog – writes re the Brexit on Facebook:

So it appears the only people still whining about ‪#‎BREXIT‬ are:

1) European politicians who will lose power.
2) American politicians afraid of Federalism and State’s rights catching on in the US.
3) Filthy rich who lost a “crap ton” of money due to stock market and currency corrections.

The rest of the world doesn’t seem to be permanently affected. Maybe we should have more votes of no confidence in the people who are screwing up the world.

Line up the petitions.  I’m good to go.

Our Ever Changing Moods

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The movement to ban hate speech, especially on campus, reminds us that the political pendulum swings both ways.

At the time of the Revolutionary War, Britain’s laws were so strict that the Founders put Freedom of Speech first on the list of protected activities in our new country. Then the pendulum swung so far that pornography became protected speech. Now it’s swinging back again.

What would help is a more coherent explanation of WHY the more restrictive speech codes are required.  I’d like to hear a college president say:

“In Victorian times, women were considered too delicate for harsh and unseemly conversation. Speech was curtailed, lest it bring on spells of fainting and nervous agitation in women of tender sensibilities. For a time, American women were thought to be made of sterner stuff and regulations on speech were loosened to the point that nude dancing and cross burning were protected by “freedom of expression” but now, on college campuses everywhere, we see that American women are more like their Victorian ancestors than previously thought: unable to suffer the savagery of seeing the word “Trump” written in chalk; incapable of hearing English teachers read the title of Dick Gregory’s famous novel, “Nigger;” in desperate need of strong men in positions of authority to protect their fragile emotional state by punishing anyone who says anything that offends anyone.  I call on faculty and students here at Cocoon U. to cloister women, to keep their mental virtue untested, to pamper their feelings so they never have to grow to be strong, independent women who are fully equal to men.”

Joe Doakes

It’d help if public education did a better job – or any job at all – of explaining what “rights” are.

In turn, it would help if our public education system knew.

Rights

I’m not going to talk politics, here. I’m going to talk morality and ethics.

First: as a general rule, it’s considered immoral to make someone accountable and responsible for something, but to withhold the rights needed to carry that responsibility out. It’d be wrong to say “raise this kid!” without giving someone the rights to, y’know, raise the kid.

Right?

Second: If someone said to you “I have the right not to be hit by a tornado”, you’d think they were nuts – right? Your rights don’t affect nature – do they?

Likewise, if someone said “I have a right not to get hurt while driving”, you’d likely respond “there is no “right” to be exempt from bad luck, equipment failure, or even human negligence – your own, or someone else’s”.

No – in both cases, you have the *responsibilty* to protect yourself, and especially your family, from these dangers that nature, technology and human nature throw at you. You listen to the sirens and haul the kids down to the basement; you check your tires, you make sure your kids are belted in, and yourself to boot; you watch for drivers who seem impaired or reckless, and drive defensively. You have the *right* to take action to meet your responsibility to *avoid* having human nature, mechanical nature, or Mother Nature harm you and yours.

So in this past week and a half, since the atrocity in Orlando, a lot of people have been arguing about the Second Amendment. One line I’ve heard a lot is “your Second Amendment right doesn’t trump my right not to get shot!”, usually from people who think they’re making a show-stopper point.

They’re half right; the Second Amendment trumps nothing. Literally. Because there *is* no “right not to get shot”. There is only a responsibility to try to deter, deflect or end threats to your community, to you, and your family.

Like Mother Nature, human nature is full of ugly surprises and perversions; people who want to take what’s not theirs (criminals), people who think that violence is a means to a political end (terrorists), some who think killing is their ticket to immortality (rampage killers) and, every so often, someone who thinks their will to power is more important than your life, liberty and happiness; none of them have the “right” to do any of it, but that doesn’t prevent them from doing it anyway.

Do you have a “right” not to be affected by the worst human nature has to offer? In an abstract sense, maybe – but discussions of “rights” with criminals, terrorists, madmen and tyrants are about as useful as discussions with tornados and flat tires.

You don’t have a “right” not to be affected by perversions of human nature, any more than you have a right not to be affected by tornados, earthquakes or blowouts. But you do have that responsibility.

To meet that responsibility, you have rights; the right to take actions that protect everyone; you don’t need a permit to check your tires, to take your kids to the basement when the sirens go off [1]…

…and the *right* to defend you and yours from the worst of human nature with a firearm (among many, many other options – from speech, peer pressure and dogs, to locked doors and motion lights, through restraining orders, police calls and the like). The Second Amendment doesn’t grant this right; our creator did, just like our rights to speak, worship, publish, and so on. To try to suppress that right – the right to uphold that responsibility to protect ones self, community and family – is as immoral as giving people any other responsibility without rights.

There is no more “right not to get shot” than there is a “right to shoot people” [2].

——

OK, I lied. There’s some politics in here too.

Some people who should know better have been given to stroking their chins and intoning “y’know, the 2nd Amendment exists and is a right – but we’ve rolled back other rights, like the right to own slaves”.

Sure – we’ve changed the Constitution. The 13th Amendment abolished the “right” to own other humans – an institution that was morally repugnant BECAUSE it stripped away the other human’s rights. Basic principle, here: one person’s rights can not infringe other peoples’ rights.

But abolishing the Second Amendment – or more likely, trying to ban a class of firearms – has less in common with the 13th Amendment than the 18th, which banned alcohol. Like Prohibition, the gun grabbers believe that if they just regulate what people can get their hands on, they can repeal human nature itself!

Prohibition made everything that it was trying to help, even worse, and had unintended consequences that were far worse than the original problem (all-time high crime rates, ballooning government spending, contempt for the law).

Naturally, this’ll be different.

Anyway – you don’t, ever, get more freedom by taking other peoples’ freedom away.

[1] although don’t give the Saint Paul DFL any ideas

[2] other than in self-defense, naturally

And To The Banana Republic For Which It Stands

While our professional ninny class was jabbering about the Second Amendment (almost entirely to try to gin up enthusiasm for a geriatric white woman this November), America actually, quietly, and with the nodding approval of an ignorant majority, became an actual police state.

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that evidence found by police officers after illegal stops may be used in court if the officers conducted their searches after learning that the defendants had outstanding arrest warrants.

The Fourth Amendment is as near-death today as the Second was thirty years ago, and for pretty much the same reasons; political expediency.

We, the people, brought the Second back to life. Who’s going to do it for the Fourth?

UPDATE:  The more I read about the actual case, Utah v. Strieff, the more nuance I see in the majority decision.

Which doesn’t change the fact that the Fourth Amendment has been beaten to a pulp this past 50 years.

Separation Of Powers

There’s a reason our founding fathers put an ironclad separation between the state and the military.

“I believe that our Constitution affords responsible Americans the right to own guns, but we need to keep dangerous people from having easy access to guns. Felons, domestic abusers, even known terrorists can buy a gun here without something as simple as a criminal background check. This has to stop,” retired Marine Brig. Gen. Stephen Cheney said in a statement. “Our laws don’t support responsible gun ownership, and far too often guns fall into the hands of dangerous, irresponsible people.”

And, Gen. Cheney, when you tell us how it is that background checks will stop criminals, by all means let us know.  

 

And if there’s any talk of “terror watch lists”, clearly you didn’t know much about that “Freedom” stuff you were sworn to defend.  Sorry, Generals McCrystal and Petraeus; your input is not required, here.