Monday, December 24, 2012

Rock, Paper, Scissors

The other day, I popped into Twitter to see what was trending.  I noticed the NRA tag was trending so I bit and took a peek.  Wow.  What a mess.  It is amazing how many really stupid people there are out there.  One tweet in particular caught my eye.  I’ll paraphrase here: 

To the NRA:  If a kid hits another kid with a rock, does that mean we should arm all kids with rocks?

I had to chuckle.  Really?  So let’s play this game out a bit: 

"If all the good kids had rocks, would the bad kids hit good kids with rocks knowing that the good kids would hit them with rocks?"

Oh – how about this one:  "If we allow good kids to carry concealed rocks, will bad kids be afraid to hit other kids with rocks?"

And maybe just a bit further:  "If you were a bad kid with a rock, where would you go to hit other kids with rocks?  A place where the kids may have rocks or a place where you know NO kids have rocks?"

And one more:  "In a world with rocks, would you rather your child go to school where an adult with rocks will protect them against bad people with rocks, or would you rather they go where the only rocks were wielded by bad people wanting to hurt them?"

See?  I LIKE this analogy!  It really helps put things into focus for me. 

Let’s try another tack:  If you send your child to Karate or Tai Kwan Do or Judo or other ‘self-defense’ classes, it’s obviously not just because of exercise.  Kids can get exercise doing a lot of other, non-violent things.  What if your kid is a jerk and uses that training in a wrong way; say to beat up other kids at school to steal their lunch money or sneakers?  The question then has to be asked:  Is the child to blame or is the martial art to blame?  To remain consistent with the anti-gun crowd, you would have to say that the child is not to blame – the martial art is to blame.  We should then ban all dojos and fight training of any kind, regardless of the reason.

Many times the argument about guns is that since nobody with a legal carry permit prevented the crime, that obviously guns are not the solution.  The thinking is that since it wasn’t stopped, that it couldn’t be stopped, and therefore guns can’t be part of the solution.  The other argument I hear is that the legally armed citizen could wind up killing or injuring other innocent folks if he/she gets into a gun battle with the crazy.  History seems to tell us something different.  There are many times when a citizen has stopped a rampage by simply pointing their firearm at the nut job.  Even if the wacko intends to kill himself, it seems that they don’t want to take the chance that the other person might make a mess of it and leave them suffering and alive.

The first example that springs instantly to my mind is the Pearl High School shooting in Pearl, Mississippi.  One of the main reasons that this one sticks out for me is that Pearl High School is where I went to school.  You may remember the story - a 16 year old student slit his mother’s throat, then went to school with a .30-30 rifle (not an ‘assault rifle’ or AR-15 – a hunting rifle) and started shooting folks.  The assistant principle, Joel Myrick, ran to his truck to retrieve his .45 caliber pistol.  He then chased the student down and held him at bay by pointing the pistol at him.  He then forced the kid down on the ground and held him down by putting his foot on the kid’s neck.  Two female students and the shooters mother were the only deaths.  Seven others were wounded.  But because of his actions, which did NOT include any shots fired, nobody else was killed and the shooter was arrested.

The shooter had planned to kill a bunch of kids at the High School, then go to the Junior High and do the same thing, but an armed citizen stopped the rampage.  Basically, the good-guy with the rock stopped the bad-guy with a rock, and a lot of good-guys are alive today because of that. 

An interesting aside is that the hero, Assistant Principle Joel Myrick was treated awfully and was roundly criticized by gun control advocates for pointing his gun at a student (it doesn’t seem to matter that the student was killing folks) and for holding this nut-job down with his foot on the kid’s neck.

Another example of this is Nick Meli.  He is the gentleman who, in December at the Oregon Clackamas Town Center mall shooting, brandished his weapon at the shooter and likely ended the rampage.  What?  You didn’t hear about that?  Huh.  I wonder why?  Anyway, the official report says that the shooter likely stopped shooting other people and shot himself when his gun jammed. 

Now, I don’t know everything about everything, but normally when guns jam, they don’t do it in a way that allows you to shoot yourself and not others.  As reported by KGW, a local television station in Portland, Oregon, a citizen with a concealed weapon’s permit, Nick Meli, drew his firearm and pointed it at the shooter, Jacob Roberts, but held his fire for fear of hitting other innocents.  The shooter was having problems with his rifle and saw Meli, and it appears that when he cleared the gun, rather than shoot other folks in the mall, he decided to shoot himself. 

Obviously, we won’t ever truly know what led him to shoot himself instead of continuing with his rampage – However, it seems odd to me that he went to the mall to kill lots of folks, was heavily armed with multiple magazines so he could accomplish that task, and after shooting only three people, has gun problems, cleared those problems and then decided to shoot himself instead of continuing what he came there to do.  I tend to believe that he thought it likely that if someone else started shooting at him, he might be injured and taken alive, so he killed himself to make sure it was done right with the least amount of pain on his part.  It’s also possible that he may have intended to kill himself when the police arrived, and may have mistaken Meli for an officer.  We’ll never really know.

What we do know is that a citizen with a firearm was present, and contrary to everything the left wants us to believe, there was no bloodbath caused by the law-abiding citizen.  In fact, this seems to be another case of a major bloodbath being prevented by the ‘rock’ carried in the hands of a citizen who hopes sincerely with all his heart, that he never has to ‘throw’ it.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Deconstruction - the 2nd Amendment

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” – 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

 We’ve all read these words and seen them.  We have heard people pontificate over and over about how the 2nd amendment gives us the right to have and carry arms, or that it only gives those in a well regulated militia that right.  In light of all of the angst and hand-wringing after the tragedy in Connecticut last week, I think it’s high time that we actually read the words above to see what they are saying.  Once we cede a right to the government, it’s very unlikely we’ll ever get it back.

Before we do, however, it is CRITICAL that you remember that the Constitution doesn’t GIVE us anything.  It is the definer of the limits on the government.  It is NOT a limit on you and me.  So first and foremost, the 2nd amendment does not give us the right to have and carry guns.  It prohibits the government from taking that right away from us.  See the difference?

Ok.  So let’s move on:  Tell me what this sentence would mean to you:

“A great loaf of bread being desired by everyone in the house, the right of the people to keep and use flour shall not be infringed.”

Does that mean that the ONLY reason we can have flour is to make a great loaf of bread?  Of course not.  Any normal person would read this to mean that we have the right to keep and use flour with the outcome being that we may make a great loaf of bread.  In fact, you have a right to keep and use flour, even if you produce an awful loaf of bread.  Also, it says nothing of using that flour to bread our chicken or to thicken the gravy, but it’s understood that from the perspective of the writer, the defining function of the flour in this context is to make a great loaf of bread.  If this were in the constitution, you’d have to say that you have the right to keep and use flour, and that the government couldn’t prevent you from keeping and using that flour, even if you couldn’t make a great loaf of bread.  The limit is on the government, not on the flour user.

So carrying this forward to the 2nd amendment, the right of the people to keep and bear arms will have the effect of providing a well regulated militia.  It is not exclusionary.  Nowhere does it say that we can’t use those firearms to hunt or target shoot.  It also doesn’t say that we can’t use those firearms to provide protection against those who would do us harm.

Most importantly, if you remember the core premise of the Constitution and the bill of rights, you’ll remember that the 2nd amendment limits the government, not the people.  The very idea of a ‘constitution’ is to explain what constitutes the government.  It does not anywhere define limits on the people.  It’s a document that explains how the government works and what it can and can’t do.  In the case of the 2nd amendment, this means that regardless of whether we hunt, shoot skeet, or want to protect ourselves, that because we want a secure free state, the government cannot prevent you from keeping and bearing arms.  In fact, there doesn’t even need to be a well regulated militia, but if there is, it is the government’s job to regulate that militia.  If the government does not see fit to maintain a militia, that still does not allow the government to limit the ‘RIGHT’ of the people to keep and bear arms.

Remember – when you allow the constitution to become a document that defines the people’s rights in any way, you become bound by the government’s interpretation of those rights.  The bill of rights is ultimately a definition of the line the government can’t cross, not where our rights end.

One last thought:  You might think that the ends justify the means – that if we give this right away and let the government decide that we should all be stripped of this right, that it’s a good thing.  But what will you do when they come after the rights that YOU hold dear?  Like the freedom of speech?  Or the freedom of assembly?  Or the freedom of the press?  Or the freedom from self-incrimination?  Be very careful when you are picking and choosing your freedoms, or you may find you have none left.  The U.S. wouldn’t be the first country to give away it’s freedom.

Blame the Tool

Over the course of my adult life I have had the pleasure and the pain of working with contractors of different types having work done on my home.  Some have been very good.  Their work was exemplary.  The fit and finish was top-notch and the outcome was better than I ever expected.  However, there have also been some real stinkers.  These are the folks that just don’t seem to get it.  They have the same tools and the same amount of time.  I think I’ve finally figured out what’s different between the good ones and the bad ones.  When I tell you what it is, I’m sure you’ll have one of those ‘head-slapping’ moments, wondering why you didn’t think of it earlier.  The difference between the good ones and the bad ones MUST be the tools.

Right?  Did I nail it?  What?  You don’t agree?  Wait – you mean you think the difference is that the bad contractors have bad skills????  But wait.  That can’t be right.  You see, I keep seeing people blame the tools instead of the people using the tools in other areas, so it MUST be the tools, not the worker.  Example?  Every time somebody uses a gun illegally the left runs out and screams that we have to get rid of guns – that the guns are the problem.  So if the gun is the problem when it’s used in a manner inconsistent with its intent, then the tools must be at fault when they are used in a sloppy or incompetent way. 

When you come right down to it, guns are ultimately just tools.  They meet a need (ask a policeman if he’d feel ‘right’ being unarmed or try to hunt geese without a shotgun.  Try to protect your family from an armed assailant without a firearm) and are basically no more than an extension of the person wielding them.

Each time this kind of awful tragedy occurs, we see a segment of the population run out and try to take the blame OFF of the person who actually committed the heinous act, and put it on the firearm they used.  I’m not the first person to say this, but isn’t it possible that if some of the teachers had been armed with SOMETHING other than dry-erase markers and binders that maybe a psychopath would not have as good a chance to kill so many?

People always ask the same question when this happens:  Why.  It’s the simplest and most basic question and it’s also the most important.  I would like to posit some reasons why we’re seeing this kind of thing a bit more:

-        For years we’ve taught our children that they can do no wrong.  Parents are afraid to tell their kids that they are wrong – they don’t want to hurt their feelings.  Have you ever been to a kids soccer game where they don’t take score?  What happens if you punish your child with a spanking or a stern talking to in public these days?  It’s easier to let our kids ‘self-determine’.  Society won’t take your kids away if you let your kid be a brat.  They will if you try to stop the bad behavior.

-          Kids see themselves as their own moral authority.  They are taught that they should follow their hearts and that they know what’s right.  There is no ultimate standard taught.  Our society is, at every level, trying to destroy religion by making it the butt of jokes, by attacking those who might believe that there is a God or even that the universe was created.  If you are a ‘creationist’, these days that will be used against you to keep you from holding just about any public office.  Turn on the TV and you’ll find that those who believe in and follow God and religion (particularly Christianity and Judaism) are treated as though they are stupid beyond belief.  If each individual is his/her own standard, then we are doomed – remember:  Hitler, Mussolini, Amin, Stalin… they all believed they were right.  I venture to say that this idiot who killed all of those children also thought he was right.

-          For years we’ve taught our children that they are without hope.  This is the real destructive power of the religion of ‘global warming’.  It takes away all hope of a future.  Kids today are taught in school that everyone they know and love is contributing to destroying the earth they are going to have to live in, and that they have no future because of all of the horrible people that came before.  No wonder they have so much anger and resentment.  When you teach people that they are doomed from the day they are born, we shouldn’t be surprised that they are a bit unstable.

-        We teach our children fear.  Helicopter moms are legion these days.  Kids aren’t allowed to go outside the view of their parents.  They aren’t allowed to explore the rain culverts, or climb the trees or ride their bikes to the woods or build tree-houses or play with B-B guns or any of a million other things that most of the 50+ generation did when we were kids.  It’s much safer to put them in front of a computer or PSP or TV.

One quick aside here:  which do you think is more likely to teach a kid gun safety and proper use:  having a B-B gun or playing Modern Warfare, hmmm?

So our children have no faith, no hope and no sense that they can be wrong when they have an idea or want to do something and they are afraid.  Since all of this isn’t bad enough, we do one more thing that is, in my opinion, unforgivable:  We screw around with their brain chemistry by giving them psychotropic drugs to help control their behavior.  I’m pretty sure that in just about every single case where this kind of thing has happened, it comes out that the kids were on some kind of ‘mental’ medication.  That can’t be a coincidence.  In fact, the labeling on many of these drugs (like Adderall, for example) warns of things like extreme nervousness and paranoid delusions – mood swings that might include hostility and severe aggression. 

The bottom line is that it’s a tragedy that this happened.  It’s a tragedy that so many died.  But it’s also a tragedy that we aren’t identifying the REAL cause and working to correct it.  The tool is not the problem.  The defective human being is the problem.  We need to give our kids hope, teach them that neither they nor any other human being is the ultimate authority, and let them learn to trust themselves and not fear.  Finally, we MUST get stop medicating our kids into oblivion.  It’s taken 50 years to screw this up, so we probably won’t see it fixed for many years, but we have to start.  Otherwise, we’re just blaming the bad workmanship on the tool and not on the workman.