Lightning Fails To Strike

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is out running his snowblower down the block.  BILL GUNKEL, former Republican who is now chairmain of the Inver Grove Heights chapter of “Former Republicans for Ron Paul”, pulls up to the curb.  

GUNKEL:  Hey, Merg!

BERG:  Oh, hey, Bill.  What’s up?

GUNKEL:  Elections are a sham.  The best way to “participate” in elections is withdrawing your consent by refusing to vote.

BERG:  Huh.  Well, feel free to tell the Minnesota Department of Revenue “I have withdrawn my consent” when they come for your money and property after the DFL wins.

GUNKEL:  Hah.  So what?  Your participation makes absolutely no difference.  In fact, settled science has shown us that your chance of dying on your way to the polls is greater than your chance of affecting the outcome of an election.

BERG:  That’s absurd!

GUNKEL:   It’s science!  Why do you hate science?

BERG:  It’s not science.  It’s arithmetic.  The writer – apparently a barrista who contributes to “Forbes” – calculated your chance of being the single vote that decides an election versus your chance of dying in a car accident on the way to the polls.

GUNKEL:  So?

BERG:  So nothing.  Of course your chances of being the single vote that decides an election are small – although if you think they’re nonexistent, tell it to her.

GUNKEL:  Hah.  That’s just the religion you were taught in high school civics class.

BERG:  Right.  And all of you “libertarians” who sit resplendently above it all snarking at the commoners are so much better than that.  I get it. Look – it was a stupid article, and it reinforces an even dumber point.  It’s not about tipping elections yourself.  It’s about bringing a lot of people who believe the way you do to the polls to help you tip it.  Which, to be fair, is something your crowd has never been good at.

GUNKEL:  Pffft. That never happens.  If it did, you’d see election results change significantly.

BERG:  It most certainly does.  Thirty and forty years ago, support for gun control was extremely common at the state and federal levels.  Over the course of thirty years, Human Rights advocates in ones and twos voted, and convinced others to vote, for rather than against the Second Amendment.  Today, those regular schnooks voting by their ones and twos have flipped that issue 180 degrees.

And you “liberty” people could do it too, if you ever stopped purity-testing each other to a fine sheen and started trying to convince people, instead of bellowing about “principles” to rooms full of people just like you.

GUNKEL:  Oooh, look – a city snow plow!  (Forms a snowball, begins the stalk)

And SCENE

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:

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:

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

Why We Fight, Part I: History

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.

We Real Americans absolutely crush the gun-grabbers at every turn on the facts and the statistics.

And it shows; the American people are casting off the detritus of decades of leftist, statist propaganda; gun control is now a minority position (and while support for gun control even at the worst was a mile wide and an inch deep, America’s shooters are passionate and committed), and the NRA is more popular than President Obama.

But it goes way beyond facts.

So this week, I’m going to leave statistics aside for a moment, mostly, and focus on the the philosophical, historical, and yes, emotional reasons to support the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

Continue reading

It’s The Rights, Stupid!

One of the mixed blessings of being involved with an issue – the human right to self-defense – as long as I have is that every couple of years, I’m treated to the spectacle of a whole new generation of gun-grabbers excitedly making arguments that they just know are going to send the Real Americans scurrying for mama…

…not realizing that they are probably the fourth or fifth generation of gun grabbers I’ve heard use the argument since I started.

“Put a 1000% tax on bullets?  You mean like Patrick Moynihan proposed in the seventies the National Coalition to Ban Handguns talked about in the eighties, and Chris Rock in the nineties?  No, ma’am, that one’s new to me.   Does that also mean that the First Amendment protects speech, but that the government can regulate newsprint, or that it protects freedom to worship, but the government can censor the Bible, the Torah and the Quran?  That the Fourth Amendment says we can be secure in our papers and possessions, but that we need to give the cops a master key to our front door because it’s not made of paper?”

That one’s been pretty beaten down again; it’ll be another generation – 3-5 years, in gun-grabber terms (Heather Martens notwithstanding, although she makes the same “arguments” every generation anyway) before we hear that one.

The other one that pops up every time a new wave of naive proto-statists takes the stage is “the founders never envisioned assault rifles”.  Which might be true – but while everyone from Leonardo DaVinci to James Puckle had designed firearms that were conceptually similar to “assault weapons” by 1789, the founders hadn’t the faintest inkling of lithography, radio, television, the Internet, chat rooms, Craig’s List, megachurches, the supercomputer, the NSA, electronic surveillance, photo-cops, photography itself, the electric chair, standing municipal police forces, cradle-to-grave social welfare, the Internal Revenue Service and do you still really want to go there, Ms. “Progressive?”

The point, of course, is one that I also sometimes get so far down in the weeds of the minutiae of the subject that I miss it; the Founders, in their much-greater-wisdom-than-today’s-brand-of-bobbleheads, wrote the Constitution not to guarantee things, but to guarantee broad, unalienable rights.

Charles C. W. Cooke had the reminder I needed:

Because, our contemporary rhetorical habits notwithstanding, the right to keep and bear arms is not so much a right in and of itself as an auxiliary mechanism that protects the real unalienable right underneath: that of self-defense. By placing a prohibition on strict gun control into the Constitution, the Founders did not accidentally insert a matter of quotidian rulemaking into a statement of foundational law; rather, they sought to secure a fundamental liberty whose explicit recognition was the price of the state’s construction. To understand this, I’d venture, is to understand immediately why the people of these United States remain so doggedly attached to their weapons. At bottom, the salient question during any gun-control debate is less “Do you think people should be allowed to have rifles?” and more “Do you think you should be permitted to take care of your own security?”

And to a large – and, at its logical conclusion, disgusting – part of our population, the answer is “isn’t the state’s security more important?”

Which is what we’re fighting, here.

Read Cooke’s entire article.  It’s a good primer for the battles we’ll face in the coming year.

Boys Don’t Cry

I was among the conservatives who shook their heads in (in my case) muted mockery during the President’s “gun grab” speech on Tuesday.

Like most shooters, I’ve prided myself for decades on being able to run factual rings around gun grabbers, whether they be politicians or activists, without breaking a sweat; about knowing their case better than they did; about being able to meet challenges like this with a humble “well, actually, not much here surprises me”.   Ever since I was a 24 year old kid with a talk show at KSTP in 1986, I’ve happily made the grabbers look like the ignorant, emotion-based naifs that the imponderably vast majority of them are.

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But a lawyer friend of mine once told me an attorney’s adage; “When the law is against you, argue facts; when the facts are against you, argue the law; when they’re both against you, argue like hell”.  In other words, accentuate the positive; play to your strengths.

All the gun-grabber movement has is emotion – so the President plays emotion.

And as David French cautions, “emotional” isn’t necessarily bad politics.   I’m going to add some emphasis here and there:

And while I don’t think this campaign will work, it is incumbent on gun-owners to persist in making the moral case for carrying a firearm. Too often we find ourselves locked into wars over statistics — comparing gun violence across national and cultural boundaries, examining the effectiveness of a particular gun-control measure, or measuring the lives saved by the use of personal weapons in self-defense against the lives taken through suicide and homicide. But gun ownership is about values that are far deeper than any set of statistics.

That last sentence?  Read and absorb.

Gun ownership goes to the heart of what it means to be a responsible citizen in our constitutional republic. It goes to the heart of what it means to be a responsible parent or spouse. It isn’t merely about hunting, or the joy of an afternoon at the firing range, or “looking tough.” It isn’t about fear. It’s about autonomy, independence, and a deep and self-sacrificial regard for the lives of those you love. It’s about exercising the fundamental human right to defend oneself and others. And that can’t be stressed enough, unless we want “gun culture” to live on in ever-shrinking regional enclaves, with each generation bowing just a bit lower to a relentless, motivated political and cultural elite.

I worry, at times, that Real Americans have gotten complacent; many of today’s shooters weren’t around, or don’t remember, the nadir of the late seventies through the early nineties – when gun-grabbers ran the show, when Real Americans were a minority in fact as well as perception.

Never again.

Barack Obama won’t be the last president to feel this deeply about gun control, and his tears reflect the deep feelings of millions of Americans, including those who effectively control the entertainment consumed by millions more. Politics are downstream from culture. We ignore that reality at our own risk.

This is going to be a big subject tomorrow on the NARN, and next week on the blog.

Much Ado

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

President Obama supposedly issued some Executive Orders relating to guns.  Both sides are in an uproar.  But wait – what did he actually do?

The White House has a website, naturally.  It lists all Executive Orders.  There are no new orders relating to guns.

Okay, well, maybe the orders were issued but staff is slow updating the website?  No, his speeches and remarks are right up-to-date.

So maybe they’re not technically Executive Orders, maybe they’re some other Presidential Action?  Doesn’t look like it.  The only new Presidential Action relating to guns is a memo directing the AG and the Army telling them to put together a research proposal to investigate the possibility of inventing some future technology that might make guns safer someday.

The White House did post a FACT SHEET about guns.  It refers to Executive Actions.  Is that the same as Executive Orders?  Apparently not.  Looking through the Actions, we find:

 

  1. ATF is finalizing a rule clarifying who needs an FFL to sell a gun.  The federal rule-making process is a well-established procedure for making administrative law, this isn’t a spontaneous action by the President
  1. The Attorney General sent a letter telling states to follow the law and also held a conference call.  That’ll take a bite out of crime.
  1. The FBI will hire more people to do background checks.  Good, they’ll need help processing all the applications generated by panic over the media’s reporting of the President’s unconstitutional power grab – which doesn’t seem to have happened, yet.  Keep reading.
  1. Democrats want to spend more money, $500 million for mental health care.  This is, in fact, the right place to spend money because the mental health system is a disgrace that all too often leads to tragedy; but considering the history of Democrat spending, I’m not convinced any of the money actually will reach the mentally ill.  Instead, I fear it’ll end up being block grants to mental health advocacy groups who will hold picket signs and issue press releases demanding . . . another $500 million.
  1. Social Security will begin the rulemaking process to strip seniors of their right to self-defense, if they mis-manage their finances. Rulemaking takes forever and mis-managing your finances isn’t the same as posing a danger to yourself of others.  I doubt that proposal will go anywhere.
  1. DHS is finishing up rulemaking to clarify that HIPPA does not prevent shrinks from reporting psychos to the background check folks.  Rulemaking, again, not bold new initiatives to make playgrounds safer.
  1. ATF is proposing a rule to outlaw gun trusts used to hold title to machine guns, which have been used to kill exactly zero children and will do precisely nothing to make Americans safer.  More rulemaking, wait and see.
  1. ATF issued a final a rule that gun dealers who lose a gun in transit must report it.  Not controversial, everybody supports that.

Frankly, I don’t see that the President did anything today.  This looks more like a publicity stunt to rally the base and deflect attention away from other administration failures, at home and abroad.  This Presidency started with vacuous promises of hope and change but it’s ending with tearful press conferences about memos and conference calls.  It’d be funny if it weren’t so sad.

Joe Doakes

It does indeed look to be shaping up that way.

Nothing New

Reading the President’s “sweeping” new “gun regulations”, it occurs to me – I was right.

The “war on guns” is one of this electoral season’s candidates for “war on women”; it’s an attempt to get Democrat, especially Black, voters, to come out for an election where there won’t be The First Black President Ever sending tingles up peoples’ legs, and vote for a geriatric white woman.   If Obama, or any president, were serious about violence, he’d send the National Guard into Saint Louis, Baltimore, Oakland, Newark, Camden

It is, like everything Obama has ever done, a lot of big talk combined with a few little nuggets of unconstitutional abuse of power.

With the help of our friends at the Minnesota Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance, rather than read the bill, let’s just sort it out.

You’re Being Redundant, Again, All Over:  Restating things that are currently law, including:

  • Background checks
  • Calling for enforcement of existing federal gun laws; Obama’s prosecutions are down 30% over Dubya’s.
  • Ensuring dealers notify law enforcement if guns are stolen.
  • Denying the mentally ill the right to keep and bear arms, with due process, (although the Administration seems to want to remove due process from this)
  • Asking communities to keep guns out of the wrong hands.  Paging Rahm Emanuel.  And Eric Holder.
  • Ensuring dealers have federal licenses, and have criminal penalties for not complying with the rules
  • Watching for large numbers of sales, in conjunction with other factors. This already happens.
  • Ensure criminal data is forwarded to the NICS database from the states completely and promptly.

Talk, Talk, Talk:  Stuff the President can ask for, but needs Congressional approval and, most of all, funding:

  • Funding for 200 new Keystone Kops.  Er, ATF agents.  Tomayto, tomahto.
  • 500 million in mental health funding.
  • Mining Social Security information for info about mental health.
  • Funding for “Smart guns”.  Good luck with that.

Peace And Joy Through Memos:  Calls for sternly worded memos and announcements, including:

  • Demanding the AGO write a letter to the states about coughing up mental health info
  • Telling the AGO to write a memo about domestic violence

Even A Blind Squirrel Can Find A Nut:  There are a few things buried in the proposal that aren’t actually stupid:

  • Overhauling the background check system to make it open 24/7, and cut down on bottlenecks.  This is especially important if Obama insists on constantly launching waves of panic-buying.
  • Investigating illegal online trafficking in guns.  Presumably excluding Eric Holder.  But still.
  • Defining responsibility for reporting thefts at the manufacturer/carrier/dealer level (might be good, provided it doesn’t merely serve as the basis for endless litigation)
  • Help for the mentally-ill.

Have You Really Thought About This?:  The President mentioons “removing the stigma” of mental illness – in the same metaphorical breath as he demands taking guns from people at slightest sign of it.

Would You Like Hobnails With Those Boots?:  These are proposals that are completely unacceptable, and pretty much stupid to boot, including:

  • If the President really is trying to put firearms trusts in the hands of politicized local cops, this will be a big problem.
  • Denying guns to people whose finances are being a managed by Social Security, for no other reason.

You First, Barry:  Things like:

  • “Smart” guns”.  I’ll use them, Mr. President, when your Secret Service detail does.
    • Not to mention the police, to say nothing of the military.  They won’t.  Either will I.

 

 

All Others Pay Cash

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Good article on the War on Cash, but I suspect the most important motive is if Liberals can ban cash, they can control what you buy and when you buy it.  Want to buy bullets or donate to the Republicans?  Sorry, cash card not working.

Once the government gets that control, it never ends.  Trying to buy Twinkies at Cub?  Sorry, the items you scanned to purchase are not on the approved list maintained by your Health Care Provider and forwarded to the IRS to demonstrate compliance with Obamacare.  So we’ve automatically deducted $10 from your bank account as a surtax to off-set your Attempted Weight-Loss Sabotage.

Joe Doakes

Too bad we The People can’t give government a debit card.

Lie First, Lie Always: It’s Science!

Rep. Kim Norton – the Rochester legislator who will be serving as Michael Bloomberg’s bag-woman in the coming session – has decided to try to put some numbers behind her increasingly strident and faith-based posturing on guns.  She posted these “survey” “results” on her Facebook page.

How did it work?  I did say it was a liberal trying to do numbers, right?

The results, to date-12/22/15, of a survey sent out by my office to 3 precincts in my district:

Three precincts?  A whole three precincts?

Now, a legislative district has dozens of precincts.   I don’t know exactly how many precincts there are in Kim Norton’s HD25B, but there are a total of 56 in the city of Rochester, and Norton has roughly half the city.  Let’s be (what else?) conservative, and say she’s got 24 of ’em.

Her district also includes a grand total of 39,762 people, over 21 square miles.  It’s a cozy district.

So Norton sent out a “survey” to three precincts – maybe 1/8 of her district.  Which three precincts?  What are their demographics?  Do these three precincts represent her district?  More importantly – why does Rep. Norton think these three precincts represent her district?

Anyway.  So Rep. Norton mails out a survey to three selected precincts.  And here’s what she got back:

1. Are you in favor of background checks for gun show sales, private gun sales, and gifts?
Yes (73) 78%
No (21) 22%
Total 94

Forget the actual question for a moment.  There were 94 answers.

Out of nearly 40,000 people in her district, and out of maybe 3-4,000 (I’m estimating) in the three precincts she favored with her survey, she got less than 100 answers.

That’s one quarter of one percent of her district.

And do you suppose those people are a representative sample of the precincts, much less the district?  Or might they – just possibly! – have been an intensely self-selected sample of people who are motivated not only to pay attention to bulk mail from their DFL Representative, but also driven to fill out an utterly symbolic survey about an issue that Rep. Norton is wrapping herself around?

Remember – most people just don’t care that much.  And if most conservatives are at all like me, they don’t open junk mail from legislators, especially legislators they disagree with.

So I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that of the .25 of 1% of Norton’s district that opened the mail, read it, were motivated to complete it and send it back to the Representative’s office, a pretty disproportionate chunk were motivated by supporting Rep. Norton’s agenda.

But I’m no professional…

…well,  no.  Wait. I am.  I design samples for research as part of my job.  So I may be a little harder to BS than the average bear.

(Am I wrong?  Please, Rep. Norton; have your people call my people and set me straight.  You have my number.  Operators are standing by).

Sadly, Kim Norton’s typical supporter may not be so lucky.

2. Do you support requiring gun owners to register their guns with the local government?
Yes(66) 71%
No (27) 29%

Total 93

You know what’d be interesting?  If Rep. Norton had thrown in a question about whether the respondent was a gun owner.

I’m gonna take a flyer, here, and guess the answer would be about 30%.

3. With the goal of reducing suicides and impulse shootings, would you support extending the current seven day waiting period between a gun purchase and receipt of the gun?
Yes (64) 69%
No (29) 31%
Total 93

By law, of course, there is a seven day waiting period.

In practice?  Every store, federally licensed dealer and gun show in the state requires a “Permit to Purchase” issued by the police, or a Carry Permit issued by the state, to sell a handgun or “assault weapon”; they won’t sell without one, waiting period or no.   The very idea of waiting periods is statistically dubious, to the point where even the Ninth Circuit has asked what’s the purpose, especially with someone who already owns firearms.

And the idea that “waiting periods” affect suicides is just a wierd fantasy, of course.  Gun suicides – 2/3 of gun deaths – don’t occur at the end of the waiting period.  They are disproportionally older, usually white males, usually socially isolated, usually depressed – and they’ve owned their guns for decades.

3a. If yes, how many days should the waiting period be?

10 Days (8) 13%
14 Days (18) 28%
28 Days (38) 59%
Total 64

By this point in this exercise, I’m actually wondering why she didn’t put “eleventy-teen years” as an option.

5. Do you support a ban or restriction of sales on:
High Capacity Ammunition Clips of 10 or more bullets? (66) 69%
Exploding Bullets? (68) 72%
Assault rifles or Semi-Automatic guns? (59) 62%
Total 95

Exploding Bullets?

EXPLODING BULLETS?

Y’see, this is why so many Second Amendment activists have such contempt for their opponents’ arguments.

Imagine if you will someone arguing for regulation of healthcare, who proposes banning phrenology clinics, adding standards for blood leeches and healing crystals, and licensing  sexual healing practicioners.  Now, people who actually work in healthcare know that Phrenology was debunked 120 years ago, that leeches and crystals are irrelevant, and Sexual Healing was a Marvin Gaye song – and they get annoyed that someone is not only wasting their time arguing BS, but just a little disgusted that the legislator is finding people incurious enough to get on board to try to logroll the legislation.

10 rounds is not “high capacity”.  “Semi automatic” does not equal “assault” (you awake yet, hunters and skeet shooters?).  “Assault” does not mean “likely to be used in crimes”.

And…exploding bullets.

(Shaking my head, at a loss for civil words, awaiting a line about “guns that go pew pew pew”)

6. Do you believe gun safety and usage training should be required by all gun owners – even those who do not have a hunting license or permit to carry?
Yes (73) 81%
No (17) 19%
Total 90

And even a lot of shooters will aver that that sounds reasonable.

Of course, in Chicago and DC we see the whammy of this approach; in Chicago, you have to take a range test to get a permit – but there are no firing ranges in Chicago.

It’s not a stretch to imagine Minnesota’s government requiring training – and forgetting to issue trainer’s licenses.

7. Given these two values, is it more important to:
control gun ownership?
(49) 56%
protect the right of the people to own guns? (39) 44%
Total 88

FYI – These survey results generally mirror those share by scientific polls done across the country.

I’d be interested in seeing the “scientific polls” Rep. Norton is referring to.  But I am under no illusion she knows anything beyond “tacking ‘scientific’ onto a dubious assertion will gull a few of the gullible”.

She’s wrong, of course.  Not that that matters to her, or to the audience she’s trying to reach.

Rights Matter

Black Lives matter is planning to protest against a police killing in North Minneapolis via the logical outlet of protesting at the Mall of America.  In Bloomington.

The Mall’s management, remembering the chaos during BLM’s protest the Saturday before Christmas last year, has obtained a restraining order against the protest.

BLM, naturally, is having none of it.  Walter Hudson:

Black Lives Matter has responded with typical victim posturing, claiming that the restraining order would violate their constitutional right to free speech. This proves particularly rich given that the group has deleted comments on their Facebook page and blocked this author from commenting. Apparently, their loose interpretation of free speech only applies to their own.

It’s worth noting that when he dismissed previous charges against BLM protest organizers, Hennepin County Chief Judge Peter Cahill signaled that a restraining order such as the one currently sought was necessary to secure the mall’s property rights.

Of course, property rights are on an equal plane with speech rights (or are when courts and legislation haven’t perverted both outside their original intents). BLM seems to have trouble distinguishing between public and private property.

Perhaps staging a counterprotest on Nekima Levy-Pounds’ lawn would get the point across.

No Problem Here. Move Along, Citizen.

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Grandma, what a big passport printer you have.  The better to vet you with, my dear.

I’m sure it’s no problem, the authorities will just  cross check any person coming in from those countries against the court records from there.  They (Syria, Libya, Pakistan, …) have computerized, up to date, accurate records of every criminal and suspected terrorist online and available to the TSA don’t they?

Joe Doakes

As the US gets more fussy about American citizens showing their papers on demand, it’s funny – funny weird, not funny ha ha – that they’re getting less so with foreigners.

Dumb And Dumber

I think it’d be useful to document, from an almost anthropological standpoint, what happens in a “progressive’s” mind when they talk about “common sense gun laws”.

For example, when Virginia attorney-general Mark Herring – a Democrat, natch – says “let’s implement a common-sense measure ending reciprocity in carry permits with other states”, what he really means is “let’s make sure that people from other states who have documented histories of being reliably law-abiding citizens can’t carry their guns legally in Virginia“.

Criminals remain free to carry whatever they want, as always.

Seems commonsensical to me.

You know what else sounds like common sense?  Minnesota should refuse to honor Virginia driver’s licenses until they honor our carry permits.

Because we wouldn’t want dumbass Virginians on our roads, now, would we?

A Slow, Languid Blow For Freedom

A Brief Bit Of Background:  Whenever I sit down in a large room with a bunch of co-workers to “meet” a new manager, and that manangers starts their presentation with “I’m a ‘process person'”, I tell my co-workers “Well, time to get our resumes polished up.  This department is screwed blue”.

And I’ve never been wrong.

Another Bit Of Personal Background:  Whenever I decry some miscarriage of justice, and some twerp – often a liberal, Ivy-League law-school grad – smugly intones “the process was met!”, I’m kept from strangling Ivyleaguer with his own intestines only with great difficulty, and sometimes only by other people.

Paging Petty Tyrants: There’s an old cliche; “state and local goverment are the laboratories of Democracy”.  Perhaps it’s true – but Pageville, Missouri is conducting an experiment in democracy’s extinction.

Faced with a court ruling that capped how much the city could earn in traffic fines, they decided to add fines for…

…well, pretty much everything, according to George Will:

Pagedale residents are subject to fines if they walk on the left side of a crosswalk; if they have a hedge more than three feet high, a weed more than seven inches high, or any dead vegetation on their property; or if they park a car at night more than 500 feet from a street lamp or other source of illumination; or if windows facing a street do not have drapes or blinds that are “neatly hung, in a presentable appearance, properly maintained and in a state of good repair”; or if their houses have unpainted foundations or chipped or aging layers of paint (even on gutters); or if there are cracks in their driveways; or if on a national holiday — the only time a barbeque may be conducted in a front yard — more than two people are gathered at the grill or there are alcoholic beverages visible within 150 feet of the grill.

Upshot; it’s pretty much impossible not to violate some sort of law or another in Pageville, MO.

But the city’s pecuniary interest in particular judicial outcomes, which creates an appearance of bias, is not the crux of the argument that the city is violating the 14th Amendment guarantee that Americans shall not be deprived of life, liberty, or property without “due process of law.” The entire nation should hope that this small city’s pettiness will be stopped by a court that says this: The Due Process Clause, properly construed, prohibits arbitrary government action, particularly that which unjustifiably restricts individuals’ liberties.

That is, the Due Process Clause is not purely about process.

And if this case were a step toward enshrining, Heller-like, the idea that government isn’t about sanctifying process, but upholding the freedom of the citizen, it would be a huge start.

Because the sooner the idea that government exists to protect process is rhetorically loaded into a train and sent to a camp in Idaho to smash metaphorical rocks for a few decades, the better this country will be.

Everyone Is One Signature Away From Being A Terrorist

The “gun safety” movement’s latest bright idea is “No Fly, No Buy”; people on one of the various government no-fly/terrorist watch lists would be disqualified from buying guns.

Second Amendment human rights activists oppose the idea, to the deep confusion of anti-gunners, who just don’t understand why it’s a bad idea.

The answer?  It’s a bad idea because government can’t be trusted with lists of people built without due process.  Ever!

I’ve added emphasis:

The Maryland State Police classified 53 nonviolent activists as terrorists and entered their names and personal information into state and federal databases that track terrorism suspects, the state police chief acknowledged yesterday.
Police Superintendent Terrence B. Sheridan revealed at a legislative hearing that the surveillance operation, which targeted opponents of the death penalty and the Iraq war, was far more extensive than was known when its existence was disclosed in July.

You gotta break eggs to make an omelet.

First Amendment: Abolished In Saint Paul

I’m not a big Donald Trump fan.

No.  Really .  Not.  A.  Fan.

But I’m reminded of Churchill’s statement about Stalin; he didn’t care for him, but if Satan were Hitler’s enemy, Churchill would at least do lunch with him.

And so the Saint Paul City Council might be responsible for me doing  lunch with The Donald, after they put their own special carve-out in the First Amendment:

The St. Paul City Council will vote Wednesday on a resolution that condemns presidential candidate Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric and declares Trump unwelcome within the city limits….[Councilman Dai Thao] acknowledged on Thursday he had not yet touched base with fellow council members on the resolution. “We think it will pass,” he said. “St. Paul has always been welcoming to immigrants.”

But not, apparently, dissent in any form.

Dear Mr. Trump:  While I won’t be voting for you at caucuses, I beg of you; please, please, please come to Saint Paul (aka “Chicago on the Mississippi”).  Call these morons on their bluff.

It’d be the show of the century.

It’s another big win for urban liberal privilege.

Representative Norton’s MkKarthyistic Kangaroo Kourts

Yesterday, we noted that Rep. Kim Norton – the soon-to-be retired legislator from Rochester who’s going to be pushing the various gun-control bills that the DFL is copying and pasting from their benefactors at Bloomberg – accused people who oppose US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s “idea” of barring anyone on the government’s double-dog-secret “Terrorist Watch List” from buying guns, of “supporting allowing terrorists to have weapons”.

No, I’m serious.  In an incredible display of the kind of logic that most adults were shamed out of using back in fourth grade, Norton accused Bryan Strawser of the MN Gun Owners Political Action Committee of supporting guns in the hands of terrorists:

IMG_4518.JPG

And this introduced an interesting question: what does it take to get on the list?

From that noted conservative tool, the HuffPo, we learn that this watch list is something of a roach hotel; easy to get in, impossible to get out.  I’m abridging the copy from the HuffPo, which you should read in its entirety:

1. You could raise “reasonable suspicion” that you’re involved in terrorism. “Irrefutable evidence or concrete facts” are not required.

In determining whether a suspicion about you is “reasonable,” a “nominator” must “rely upon articulable intelligence or information which, taken together with rational inferences from those facts,” can link you to possible terrorism. As Scahill and Devereaux noted, words like “reasonable,” “articulable” and “rational” are not expressly defined. While the document outlines the need for an “objective factual basis,” the next section clarifies that “irrefutable evidence or concrete facts are not necessary” to make a final determination as to whether a suspicion is “reasonable.” So how could intelligence officials be led to put you on the watch list?

Funny they mention that:

2. You could post something on Facebook or Twitter that raises “reasonable suspicion.”

 

According to the document, “postings on social media sites … should not be discounted merely because of the manner in which it was received.”

Someone who doesn’t like you reports you to a governnment bureaucrat, who thinks “what the heck, better safe than sorry!”, and will never be held accountable for it…

…and boom!  There you are!

(Whoops – can I say “boom” anymore?)

And if you think government wouldn’t do that?  Do you really think Lois Lerner was the only bureaucrat to abuse her authority for political ends?

3. Or somebody else could just think you’re a potential terror threat.

The guidelines also consider the use of “walk-in” or “write-in” information about potential candidates for the watch list. Nominators are encouraged not to dismiss such tips and, after evaluating “the credibility of the source,” could opt to nominate you to the watch list.

In other words, there are no checks and balances.

And these next two…:

4. You could be a little terrorist-ish, at least according to someone.

(Given the liberal fad of “Swatting” conservatives – calling the police to report a conservative is dealing drugs and child porn and guns out of their houses, to draw a swat team, it’s not an idle threat).  Or…

5. Or you could just know someone terrorist-y, maybe.

…should make your blood run cold, when you remember #6:

6. And if you’re in a “category” of people determined to be a threat, your threat status could be “upgraded” at the snap of a finger.

The watch-list guidelines explain a process by which the assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism can move an entire “category of individuals” to an elevated threat status. It’s unclear exactly how these categories are defined, but according to the document, there must be “current and credible intelligence information” suggesting that the group is a particular threat to conduct a terrorist act.

And the Obama Administration has designated vast swathes of people who disagree with him as potential terrorists.

If you’re a pro-lifer?  Second Amendment activist?  Tax protester?  Land rights, Tenth Amendment, open-government, anti-war?  You name it – you could find yourself on the watch list for any reason.

Or…no reason at all:

7. Finally, you could just be unlucky.

The process of adding people to the terror watch lists is as imperfect as the intelligence officials tasked with doing so. There have been reports of “false positives,” or instances in which an innocent passenger has been subject to treatment under a no-fly or selectee list because his or her name was similar to that of another individual. In one highly publicized incident in 2005, a 4-year-old boy was nearly barred from boarding a plane to visit his grandmother.

And there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.  There’s no due process; there’s noplace to file an appeal.

You’re screwed. Your liberties can be held hostage by any petty bureaucrat, any ex-spouse, anyone who really, wants to mess you up in the most passive-aggressive yet damaging way possible.

So I’d like to ask Kim Norton (if she takes questions, which she does not) – how many of our civil liberties does she believe should be subject to a secret list with no due process or accountability?

Komissar Kim Norton, MkKarthyist

We’ve gone around and around with Representative Kim Norton of Rochester.  Norton, who is retiring from the Legislature after this coming session, is going to be carrying Michael Bloomberg’s water; she’ll be sponsoring, so we’re told, a number of gun control bills.

Not that you can get a straight answer out of her; although she went into great detail in the Rochester Post-Bulletin in which she called for a “conversation about guns”, she also told anyone who wanted to engage in dialog (as opposed to echo-chamber monologue) that she really had no idea what she was going to put into any bill, and had nothing to talk about.

Which is kind of hilarious, if you think about it.

Of course, on Twitter over the holiday weekend, she found a specific proposal to support – from Bloomberg’s chief streetwalker in the Senate, Kirsten Gillibrand.

And her response (below) to MNGOPAC leader Bryan Strawser is one for the record books, and one that every Rochester voter should take up with Ms. Norton:  That’s right – for opposing denying civil rights to people who wind up on a non-transparent, easily-abused, unsupervised grab bag of names collected so willy-nilly it’s become the stuff of folk legends, for which the Feds don’t have to tell why, or even whether, you’re on it, Rep. Norton, one of the DFL’s inner circle thought leaders, equates you with a terrorist.

Remember when Democrats were opposed to mysterious starchambers handing down secret lists of enemies, with no transparency or accountability?  I’ll bet Rep. Nortdon does.

This is today’s DFL.

Question:  Do you suppose anyone in the media will question Rep. Norton on this?