11 January 2013

Andrew has been thinking...

From my very good friend, Andrew Colglazier:

I have been thinking about the things some people have said to me during the many debates I have participated in since the Sandy Hook murders.
There is no doubt that our country has been shaken by the killings in that school. It has caused many to question the tradition we have of private citizens possessing weapons of various sorts. Some have begun to call for the repeal of the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution.
After such a horrible event as happened in Connecticut, it is understandable that some might begin to believe that the price we pay for widespread gun ownership is too high, and that the ideals espoused so clearly by the men who founded our country, and which stand behind the words of the Constitution are out of date, obsolete, and invalid in our modern society.
The call, which we have heard before when such tragedies have occurred, rings out once more. "Turn in the guns! We don't need these weapons! Destroy them!" We turn to our government for a solution, and our government begins to formulate ways to grant us our wish.
Never mind that there is a strident group within our population which, anachronistically, clings to the idea that the power of an individual is important. That, ownership of a weapon makes a human more than a subject, or a slave. Never mind that the Constitution itself seems to forbid this. Never mind, that since time immemorial, Man has had to fight for every scrap of freedom.
So, a portion of our elected government puts in motion legal action to grant us our wish, to be free of fear and safe from violence. There is by no means unity within the government on this action. There is by no means unity within the population for this action, either.
But after a horrible killing public opinion seems to be in favor of measures which have been tried before, but which failed because they didn't go far enough. These failed measures are again put forward, but with enhancements. The types of guns to be banned will be more inclusive; the ability of the citizen to transfer weapons already owned will be forbidden; the possibility of obtaining more guns in the future, illegal.
The motivation of the government in taking these steps seems clear. Our elected officials wish to take "reasonable" steps to protect the lives of innocents. They wish to grant us what we seem to want, security. A benevolent goal, and one which will surely save lives.
And yet.... and yet. Before rushing headlong into this undertaking it might be a good idea to stop, take a deep breath, and ask ourselves, and each other, a few questions.
We stand at a precipice. There is a change ahead of us, many of us can feel it. It's a turning point of a type this country has never faced.
In the history of this country, the progression has been trending in one direction. The progression has been the winning of rights and freedoms by more and more people. These rights and freedoms were originally only held by the rich, the white, the landholders. And before that, by royalty and despots.
In this country, a group of men called for independence. Independence from thousands of years of subjugation. After a long and bloody war, this group of men put together a philosophy of thought which was based on two important tenets.
First, human beings have rights and freedoms which they hold inherently, without having them granted by other humans who claim the right of rule. Second, a government must be formed in such a way that these rights are protected from infringement by the government itself.
Our progression has been to broaden the rights first held by our founders, so that now more of us than ever enjoy them. This work is ongoing, it isn't finished, there is more to do.
But now, many of us say we are ready to start relinquishing these rights and freedoms. The cost of the right to keep and bear arms is too high, we say. It's exercise too frightful. It scares us. We don't want it anymore, we are ready to give it up. This is something new which we Americans have never done before.
After all, why do we need a right to keep and bear arms? Our government is stable, our country is secure. Our economy is strong, our society is on the road to inevitable improvement. What need have we of weapons?
What need indeed? We see the fruits of weapon misuse every night on our television sets. Bodies, murder, blood, mayhem. Young men killed, children murdered. Robbery, assault, assassination. It must stop.
But what if we did turn in our weapons? Are we at a place in our history where this would truly be a good idea? Does anyone use their weapons for a purpose besides crime and murder?
We are a nation of more than 300 million people. There are an estimated 250-300 million guns in the hands of American citizens. That number is increasing rapidly.
With that many guns, why is it that we don't have more dead? The fact is that while the numbers of guns in private hands is increasing, the death toll associated with misuse of firearms is decreasing. DEcreasing.
Why do we have so many guns? So often I hear people bemoaning how many there are, but I never hear anyone ask WHY we have so many.
The number one reason, and the reason which covers every conceivable use is this; because we CAN own them. Americans from the inception of this country have believed that we have a RIGHT to keep and bear arms. Americans still believe that we have this right, even though many wish to deny it. Even though some of us now want this right to go away.
Can one person misusing a firearm cause the downfall of this country? Let's think of the worst mass killings in recent times; have any of those incidents come anywhere close to destroying this country?
What if five people went on similar rampages in one day; would the deaths of 150 in one day through the criminal use of firearms bring down this country, change it from what it is today into a place where there was no rule of law, no safety, no protection from violence?
No. No, even if such a horrible thing happened, it would not cause the downfall of this country. Why? Because even with such happenings, we would still have our representative system of government. We would still be able to enjoy our lives as we have now for many years. We would still live in great safety. We would still have our individual freedoms. This would still be the United States of America.
But let's say we all turn in our arms. Let's say we give them all to our government for disposal. By committing this act, we are telling our government that we are abdicating any responsibility for our own safety. We are ceding personal sovereignty. We are giving up any meaningful ability to defend ourselves, and we now expect our government to fulfill these duties for us.
For a long time we have enjoyed the benefits of our representative system of government. We still, for the most part, believe that our government functions with our interests foremost. Generally we believe that our government is trustworthy.
Could one man within our government destroy our country? Probably not. We have a system of checks and balances after all, designed to prevent such things from happening. So far they have worked well. What if five men connived to warp our governance into something we could not accept? Could five men do it? Could ten? How about 100? How many people would it take within our government to short circuit the system and hijack it? 200? 500?
There is a tipping point there, somewhere. I don't know where it is, but it exists, and that number of people is a tiny, tiny number compared to the rest of the people in this country. If that tipping point were reached, how could it be stopped?
Forget the Supreme Court. It has no power. Forget the Legislature; it has no power. But the Executive, that is the branch which must always be looked upon with suspicion. The Executive holds the true power in our country. It controls the various agencies. It controls law enforcement. It controls the military. The Courts and the Legislature only pose a check on Executive extremes so long as things are stable. In times of instability, all power flows to the Executive.
What exists to oppose the Executive, should that be necessary? The military? Perhaps. I would like to think the military would refuse to follow. But if the military, or a large part of the military moved with the Executive to seize power, as has happened in so many countries through history, what then? Who could oppose them?
My point here is that individual freedom can be misused in such a way as to cause harm, there is no doubt of that. It happens every day. People are killed through the misuse of our freedom by the thousands every year. And yet at no time can this misuse of freedom destroy our country as we know it.
By ceding our individual power and sovereignty to the government however, we gift any future despot a clear road to seize control of this country. If we lose our confidence in ourselves, and give away our freedom to a government which we can never believe will always be a benevolent one, then we open the door to losing our country. The misuse of power by a small number of men in key positions in our government can cause all of us to lose our freedom, when the random violence of any number of citizens cannot.
If we give up our right to arms, we may decrease the amount of mayhem in our country, but we may also be handing our freedom to a small group of men who would never give it back. Arms held legally by large numbers of citizens can present significant opposition to a government out of control.
We have murder and mayhem, albeit in decreasing amounts, in our society. This is a horrible thing, and we should work to make it as rare as possible. But we must beware the fallacy of giving up individual rights in exchange for some fleeting measure of security. We can truly give up what it is that keeps us free. Should we give up the vote? The right to pray? The right to an attorney? The ability to travel, to marry, to work towards success? Anything which allows us the ability to be free will bring with it risk, and failure, and even death. We must think very, very hard before we give up any of the rights and freedoms which we as Americans fought so hard to obtain.

10 January 2013


I'm sick and tired of fools.  I know the world is full of them.  I'm just disappointed that the United States has so many of them.  

'While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.'  -- 1 Thessalonians 5:3

I'm pretty much done suffering the foolish.  You need to look after yourselves.  The next person that tells me, "I'm glad you have guns.  If anything really bad ever happens, I'm coming to your house," my response will be, "You just stay home.  If I need anything, I'll come and take it from you." 

I'm more than happy to help someone who has the foresight to anticipate trouble before it comes.  But if you're part of the herd, part of the flock of sheep that bleats about "peace and safety," you're too naive.  It's a hard, mean world, full of bad things that will come and get you.  You're food, unless you decide you're not food.  

It's not up to me or anyone else to protect you.  It's up to you to wake up, smell the coffee, and realize that letting someone else (Obama, the NRA, the U.S. Government, the Brady Center, Crazy Uncle Bob, whatever) "take care of things" on your behalf is utter foolishness.  

If you're willing to give up ANY freedoms for imagined safety, then you'll just get what you deserve.  Natural selection will tend to the flock.

Cornyn Op-Ed: Why I Can’t Support Hagel

‘By Nominating Hagel for Defense Secretary, the President has Sent the Worst Possible Message to Our Closest Middle Eastern Ally and Our Greatest Middle Eastern Enemy’

WASHNGTON — The following article, authored by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), appeared today on CNN.com:

To the surprise of many, including me, President Barack Obama has nominated former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel to be his next defense secretary. Like many Texans, I am grateful for Hagel's courageous military service, but I fear he is the wrong man to lead the Pentagon.

One of the biggest foreign-policy challenges of Obama's second term is preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons -- which means we need a defense secretary who understands the nature and magnitude of the Iranian threat. Based on his record, Hagel does not.

In July 2001, 96 U.S. senators voted to extend sanctions against Iran. Chuck Hagel was one of only two senators who voted against sanctions. A year later, he urged the Bush administration to support Iranian membership in the World Trade Organization.

Even more disturbing, Hagel voted against a 2007 measure that called for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to be designated a terrorist group. (At the time, the IRGC was aiding and equipping Shiite militias that were murdering U.S. troops in Iraq.) A few weeks after this vote, Hagel sent a letter to President George W. Bush asking him to launch "direct, unconditional, and comprehensive talks" with the Iranian government, which the State Department has labeled a state sponsor of terrorism every year since 1984.

In July 2008, Hagel recommended that Washington go beyond direct talks and establish a U.S. diplomatic mission in Tehran. Later that month, in a Senate Banking Committee vote, he was one of only two senators to oppose the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act. (Obama signed a subsequent version of this bill in July 2010.)

Finally, in his 2008 book, "America: Our Next Chapter," Hagel appeared to suggest that the United States could live with a nuclear Iran, writing that "the genie of nuclear armaments is already out of the bottle, no matter what Iran does."

These comments and actions indicate that he does not fully appreciate the dangers of a nuclear Iran or the character of the Iranian regime. It is a regime that has effectively been at war with the United States since 1979 -- a regime whose proxies (such as the terrorist group Hezbollah) have killed Americans in Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. For that matter, Tehran was recently implicated in a plot to blow up a restaurant (and the Saudi ambassador) in our nation's capital.

This is not a government that calculates self-interest the way America does. It is a messianic theocracy intent on exporting its violent Islamist revolution. And if Tehran gets the bomb, we might soon have a nuclear arms race in one of the world's most volatile regions.

It is no exaggeration to say that a nuclear Iran represents an existential threat to Israel. And yet, while Hagel wants us to be softer on the Iranians, he thinks we should be tougher on the Israelis. In October 2000, at the beginning of the second Palestinian intifada, he was one of only four senators who refused to sign a letter to President Bill Clinton affirming U.S. solidarity with Israel. More recently, in January 2009, Hagel signed a letter advising Obama to spearhead direct, unconditional talks with Hamas, a terrorist group that had just fired hundreds of rockets into Israel.

Lest we forget, Hamas is an Iranian proxy whose senior leaders openly pray for genocidal violence against both Israelis and Americans. Last year, for example, a Hamas official named Ahmad Bahr, who serves as deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, declared in a sermon, "Oh Allah, destroy the Jews and their supporters. Oh Allah, destroy the Americans and their supporters. Oh Allah, count them one by one, and kill them all, without leaving a single one."

Thus, by nominating Hagel for defense secretary, the president has sent the worst possible message to our closest Middle Eastern ally and our greatest Middle Eastern enemy.

Senator Cornyn serves on the Finance and Judiciary Committees.  He serves as the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee’s Immigration, Refugees and Border Security subcommittee. He served previously as Texas Attorney General, Texas Supreme Court Justice, and Bexar County District Judge.

09 January 2013

Go Fix Something That Needs Fixing

Here's what bugs me the most about the current firestorm over gun rights, executive orders, etc.: it would appear that almost half of our population in these United States of America are OKAY with abridging, if not discarding, our rights for the sake of what? Imagined safety? A warm, fuzzy feeling that we've done something, even if it's futile? We've already tried this experiment, and it FAILED.

People, you can't discard your inalienable rights. You just can't.

You live in a hard world full of both good and bad people. Go get the bad people, and leave the good ones alone. The good people are your allies, not your enemies. Do something that will impact the bad and the sick. Fix them, not the people who don't need fixing. And trying to fix THINGS is just...misguided. Going after (pick your poison) guns, alcohol, drugs, baseball bats, knives, whatever...isn't addressing the issue.

You're trying to fix the things that aren't broken. Go fix the broken things.

06 January 2013

Ted Cruz - Keeping up the Pressure!

I hope someone caught this today.  I missed it, but watch the videos.

Cruz Addresses Debt Ceiling, Second Amendment and
Potential Hagel Nomination on Fox News Sunday

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) today sat down with John Roberts on Fox News Sunday, addressing issues related to the debt ceiling, the Second Amendment and President Obama’s expected nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. Below are excerpts of Sen. Cruz’s comments and links to video clips of the interview.

Debt Ceiling:

“I am happy for there to be lots of new revenue. I am not happy for there to be new taxes. The best avenue for new revenue is economic growth. If the economy is sputtering along at 1%, 1.5%, 2% GDP growth, tax revenues plummet, people hurt, people are out of jobs.

“If we get the economy up to the historical level since World War II, the average has been 3.3%. In the fourth year of Reagan's presidency, our economy grew 7.2%. If we can get GDP growth up to 3, 4, 5%, that will be dramatically more revenue to pay off the deficit and debt, but the way to do it is through pro-growth policies, not new and additional taxes.”  

“I do not support default on the debt. We should never default on the debt. And the only players in Washington who are threatening default on the debt are President Barack Obama and Harry Reid.” 

“There is plenty of revenue to service the debt and any responsible President would have stood at that podium and said, ‘Under any circumstances, whatever happens with the debt ceiling, we will always pay our debt. We will never default on the debt.’ 

“And the reason the president isn't doing that is he is trying to scare people. He is trying to raise the specter of a financial apocalypse.” 


“Every parent was horrified by what happened [in Newtown]… it takes your breath away. But within minutes, we saw politicians run out and try to exploit this tragedy, try to push their political agenda of gun control. I do not support their gun control agenda…

“I don't think the proposals being discussed now make sense.  Look, are there things we can do? Sure.  One of the things we could do is we could improve the quality of the federal database [for background checks]. Right now a lot of states, a lot of local jurisdictions are not reporting criminal convictions, not reporting mental health, barriers to ownership - and so the federal database is not nearly as good as it should be.  That would be a common sense improvement…

“Sen. Dianne Feinstein's bill would create a national gun registry. I don't think the federal government has any business having a list of law-abiding citizens who choose to exercise their right to keep and bear arms. “

Hagel as Secretary of Defense Nominee:

“If Hagel is nominated, it is very difficult to imagine a circumstance in which I could support his confirmation.

“It's interesting. The President seems bound and determined to proceed down this path despite the fact that Hagel's record is very, very troubling on the nation of Israel. He has not been a friend to Israel, and in my view the United States should stand unshakably with the nation of Israel, and he has consistently advocated weakness with respect to our enemies… 

“The job of the Secretary of Defense is to be a serious, credible strength and deterrent, and unfortunately, I think weakness in a Secretary of Defense invites conflict because bullies don’t respect weakness.”

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out, Kid!

Here in the post-holiday depression season, I'm reminded of the classic movie, "A Christmas Story," the tale of Ralphie and his quest for the ultimate Christmas present: a Red Ryder BB rifle.  All through the story, Ralphie tries everything he knows to convince those around him that he must have that rifle.  

And all through the story, the common retort from authority figures is the same: "you'll shoot your eye out, kid."

This story is an analog to our government's current crusade, where we're being told what's good for us.  We're being told that, "hey, we got this - we're your elected officials, and as such, we know better than you what's good for you.  Guns?  You'll shoot your eye out, kid."

So what?  So what if I shoot my eye out?  Bad news for me.  But I won't shoot my eye out.  I won't shoot anything but cardboard or steel in all likelihood.  I won't shoot another person, unless they're in my house when they don't belong there, or if they try to steal my car, or they try to rob me, or they attack my loved ones, or...well, hopefully you get the point.  

The government's concern for whether or not I shoot my eye out is nothing in comparison to my clear and present desire or need, and my inalienable right to own the firearm of my choice.  Go solve some real problems.