SPECIAL UPDATE: Could restricting who owns guns actually preserve 2nd Amendment rights?

The biggest push from gun control advocates comes in the form of comprehensive background checks.

Gun rights advocates say universal background checks would be ineffective and might represent the first step toward registration and complete disarmament.

Captain Mark Kelly, a gun owner and according to his words, a supporter of 2nd Amendment rights, is one of the advocates of tightening background checks. His wife, Gabrielle Giffords, is the Congresswoman shot in a mass murder spree. In this interview, Kelly says this is not really a 2nd Amendment issue.

Capt Mark Kelly

Well- is it?

Nearly 75% of NRA members say they’d support universal background checks.

Could restricting who owns firearms actually preserve the right of law abiding people to keep and bear arms?

Should this be a 2nd Amendment issue at all and if so- why do gun control advocates avoid the 2nd Amendment debate?

What are your thoughts?


If I pose a threat to you- then you should work passionately to disarm me!

Revolver

I’m absolutely sick to my stomach over the vilification and denigration of those of us who defend our God given right to self defense.

First I found myself under attack at, of all place, my local chamber board meeting! Next- a dear friend sent a link to post written by an associate of his that directly challenges the character and intentions of those of us who defend the right to bear arms.

Jordan Chariton writes in Hypervocal.com:

“I’ve found it maddening as gun rights advocates wrap themselves around ‘protecting the Second Amendment’ instead of protecting our kids. Although the NRA and a lot of Republicans would like you to think differently, every last word and amendment from both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution is not hard and fast.”  Read more at http://bit.ly/XtYCCv

He goes on to cite several examples of the Constitution being usurped- though I’m not sure if he’s making his argument or mine.

I am extremely grateful Chariton makes this a Constitutional issue. Sadly, this is the component missing from most debates on gun regulations. I’ll return to that point, but first…

“The NRA and its followers continue citing “the right to protect themselves” from home intruders, and out of some loonier mouths “government coming to their doors and taking their guns.” The truth is, the NRA does not care about the safety of our children or the safety of a family trying to protect themselves from intruders. If they did, they would adjust their position based on the overwhelming pattern of what is killing people in America.”

Jordan, to your first point:

Home invasion is one of the few areas of crime that continues to rise despite an overall decline in both violent crimes and violence involving firearms. In my debate with a colleague at my chamber meeting, she also opined that those of use who own handguns to defend our homes should be evaluated to assess our mental well-being.

From “The Women’s Self-Defense Institute:”

“According to American Police Beat, the average response time for an emergency call is 10 minutes. Atlanta has the worst response time with 11 to 12 minutes and Nashville comes in at a lightning speed of 9 minutes.”

The average criminal spends about 10 minutes in your home. For people living in rural areas, response times can expand to as much as an hour leaving a family undefended for nearly 50 minutes- unless they defend themselves.

I can assure you, Jordan, that if you lived next door to me and I knew you were being assaulted by a violent criminal intent on doing you or your family harm, you would not have to wait 10 or more minutes for the police to arrive. I would gladly risk my life to come to your defense.

As to the accusation that “the NRA does not care about the safety of our children,” and it’s clear from Chariton’s narrative that this unfeeling attitude is shared by the rest of us gun totting radicals, well Jordan, you’re just plain wrong.

The NRA promotes and teaches responsible gun ownership and safety. I can tell you from personal experience that NRA instructors are adamant in their classes about furthering this mission.

Contrast that with the hypocritical outcry from actors and celebrities who “demand a plan” while continuing to profit by producing ever more violent movies, programs and games that continue to glamorize extreme violence and vengeance and turn outlaws into cult action heroes.

The profile of mass murderers almost universally includes a fascination with violent entertainment, particularly action movies and first-person shooter games. While the jury is still out on whether this type of entertainment can cause violence in and of itself, there is little disagreement that violent entertainment has a direct negative affect on an already unstable mind- particularly if that mind is still young and impressionable.

The fact is that NRA members are not your problem. In fact, the NRA and other 2nd Amendment advocates do in fact support several reasonable measures that would have a meaningful impact on keeping weapons out of the hands of criminals and those with mental illness. These proposals include universal background checks, background checks on gun shop owners and a minimum federal standard for concealed weapons permitting.

I speak for many who feel as I do when I say I care deeply about the safety of children- and those who are unable or choose not to defend themselves. This is why I own and carry firearms.

This is also why I volunteer to work with incarcerated youths. Our system has not failed- many parents have. For whatever reasons, we have tens of thousands of young people who grow up without positive parental guidance and influence. They grow up isolated, without discipline and without a sense of personal responsibility. They blame others for their conditions and circumstances and justify their crimes and violence on that basis.

I can tell you from listening to these kids that if they want to hurt you- the choice of weapon is unimportant. I can tell you that if they want what’s in your medicine cabinet, you are nothing more than an object in their way.

If you want the current decline in violent crime to continue. If you want to prevent violence as much as possible- reach out to these kids and give them a positive influence in their lives.

Chariton also says:

“Adhering to every last misinterpreted provision of a 225-year-old document written by slave owners is far less important than protecting our children from death by bazooka gun.”

Now let’s get to the heart of the matter.

Yes, Jordan, the founders made compromises in their time. Let’s avoid the juxtaposed contextual difficulties of the argument and stick with the facts.

Constitution and Declaration of Independence on Grungy Betsy Ross FlagThe founders crafted a document and a system of law that would protect freedom and liberty- from the abuse of a tyrannical central authority. Yes- slavery would continue for some time, but many of those who drafted the Constitution were avowed abolitionists. That’s why although they compromised on the enforcement issue to preserve the newborn United States, they would not compromise on the language.

Read the letters of Franklin, Jefferson and Madison and you’ll find the entire context of these compromises. You’ll also find that what they understood above all was that by creating, for the first time in human history, a government that would give the law the pre-eminent position over any individual leader or a compact of ruling elite, that any inequities would be resolved by the people over time.

It was their hope that these inequities could be resolved without bloodshed; through reason and through continued self-governance.

Their greatest fear was that this experiment would not last. They feared that the People would not participate fully in self-governance, that individual rights would be threatened by strong central authority and that, as Jefferson articulated, another revolution may be necessary in the future.

And to that end, the 2nd Amendment was crafted.

You cannot defend life and liberty without arms. This is not a utopian world. As long as there are criminals and tyrants there will be a need for self-defense.

If you support the Constitutional defense of life and liberty, you cannot separate the Constitutional protection of the right of self-defense.

You rightly and accurately quote the Constitution when you wrote:

“…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Remember- the Constitution was written to restrict the actions of government, not to subvert the inalienable rights of the People.

No- the slaves were not freed as soon as they scribed “all Men are created equal.” But the foundation and justification for emancipation was set.

No- the 1st Amendment does not protect your actions when you yell “fire” in a crowded theater. That’s because while certain rights are inalienable, meaning they are natural rights and not granted by any human authority, no right is unlimited. You abdicate any right- even unalienable rights, when your actions infringe on the rights of others.

The 2nd Amendment stand is crucial precisely because many people think, as Jordan seems to indicate, that the Constitution is vestigial. We will agree on the point that this “225-year-old document written by slave owners” has been and continues to be widely misinterpreted. On second thought, I’d argue that the Constitution has been purposely re-interpreted to serve specific political interests throughout history.

Misinterpretation and abuse are no reasons to disregard the Constitution. This should awaken our passion to preserve it- and to return to it’s original intent and value which is, above all, to assure individual freedom and liberty.

Our framers understood the that the greatest threat to individual freedom comes from two major aggressors:

  1. A tyrannical central authority
  2. The mob

Contrary to popular believe, we do not live or govern by majority rule. No majority can deprive you of your fundamental rights at the ballot box. The onerous process of amending the Constitution is a safeguard against any confederation of citizens, majority or minority, from denying any individual right- especially in the heat of a highly charged emotional debate.

I am armed. I am trained in the use of firearms and tactics. I accept full personal responsibility for my own safety and defense. I commit myself to the protection of others. I take my responsibilities as an armed citizen very seriously.

If I pose a threat to you then you should work passionately to disarm me and others like me.

If you choose to do so, the burden is yours. Yes, Jordan, “every last word and amendment from both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution” is supposed to be “hard and fast.” That’s what protects from the rule of the mob or the whim of the tyrant.

If you want to disarm American citizens, your only option is to amend the Constitution- not to use Congress as a weapon to infringe my natural right to defend myself as I see fit.

Of course, that’s a tougher fight!

_______________________

Want to see what happens when you adopt a total gun ban? It can’t happen here, right? Watch this…


Stuck In The Middle With Who or Is it wrong to question Leon Panetta’s decision to remove the military’s ban on women serving in combat?

As someone who spends a good deal of time analyzing data as well as doing copious amounts of research to prepare for an interview I have to admit that today’s post has very little to do with anything more tangible than personal feelings based on how I was raised.

I come from an era in which I was taught to open a door for a lady and pick-up the check on a date.  I was also taught that you should always walk a lady to her door at the end of the evening and, if you say you will call, you actually call.  I know, I know these somewhat quaint and seemingly misguided concepts usually incite either smug ridicule or accusations of misogynistic tendencies.  What can I say, this is part of who I am as a person, and it was not then (nor is today) my intent through these kinds of overtures to offend anyone.  Least of all women.

This being said when the news broke that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was removing the military’s ban on women serving in combat, I had mixed feelings.  On the one hand, I understood the equality logic behind the decision.  If for example Rosie the Riveter could step into the male bastion of yesteryear’s factories to help with the war effort in the 1940s, why isn’t she capable of donning a weapon and defending our nation in the year 2013?  Especially given the fact that warfare in the modern era involves more technology than it does hand-to-hand combat.

RosieTheRiveter

But here’s the thing . . . is opening up the combat field to women really a question of equality and mutual respect?

The Rambo’s of the movie world notwithstanding, I do not think that there are too many men who relish the idea of going into battle.  War, no matter how automated, is still an ugly deadly business.

I am also certain that there isn’t a mother or a father out there who doesn’t have reservations in terms of their sons going to war.  I can only imagine that these sentiments are that much more magnified when they now have to deal with the prospects of their daughters being put in harms way as well.

This of course is and should be the underlining point in that a life is a life regardless of gender.  In this light, we are not talking about equal rights but instead expanding the risk of death to include a greater percentage of the population.  I cannot think of any society in which increasing the risk of death or serious injury is one that should be embraced.

So to me the real question is if a woman wants to go into battle should she have the option to make that choice?  I would have to say yes.  However, and this is where it can get dicey, should a woman be forced to go into battle?

According to the Army Times, there is a 9-to-1 ratio of men to women in the military.  This is an important number because 51% of all Americans are female.  The relatively small percentage of women who have joined the armed forces is certainly due to a number of factors including what was once the traditional roles to which men and women were confined.   But that does not detract from the fact that despite being given the equal opportunity to serve in the military most women have taken a pass.  Now that the combat issue has been dealt with, the question of whether or not a woman should be drafted will undoubtedly be the next hot topic in the equality debate.

Within this context, and keeping in mind the small percentage of women who are in the military, if there is ever a draft should this new right be imposed on all women?

I think that this might be the middle ground in which most of us will find ourselves stuck . . . regardless of gender.

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A Picture’s Worth: Why We Should All Turn Our Backs on the NHL

Given events of the past week maybe its time we stopped cheering boys in short pants who chase after a rubber disk with a stick and focus on what really matters in life . . . of course there was a time when professional athletes were part of the community and had to take jobs in the off-season to pay the bills . . . but that was a long time ago.

Why you may ask am I writing such an angered prose?

Check out the picture below and the corresponding link to the Sportsnet article titled Money shot: Jets’ Kane tweets Vegas picture, in which Winnipeg Jets player Evander Kane flashed his Vegas winnings in a Tweet.

Jets Vegas Banner Shot

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Sham Justice: How HSBC avoided criminal charges for laundering drug money

“State and federal authorities decided against indicting HSBC in a money-laundering case over concerns that criminal charges could jeopardize one of the world’s largest banks and ultimately destabilize the global financial system.”

December 10th, 2012 New York Times DealBook article HSBC to Pay $1.92 Billion to Settle Charges of Money Laundering by BEN PROTESS and JESSICA SILVER-GREENBERG

Sometimes you require very few words to provide insight into a particular situation.  The HSBC story is one of these instances.

I never knew that HSBC was in the dry cleaning business . . . I wonder if they do same day turnaround?

I never knew that HSBC was in the dry cleaning business . . . I wonder if they do same day turnaround?

What’s the message that state and federal authorities are sending . . . it is okay to blatantly break a law that would result in significant jail time for a normal citizen as long as you are a big financial institution?

I wonder when the gates of freedom are going to open for Madoff, Ebbers and Skilling?  Oh maybe that’s where they went wrong . . . they weren’t the top dogs at a bank.  And don’t get me going on the colossal stupidity that is the purported war on drugs.

So what are your thoughts regarding the government’s decision not to prosecute HSBC?

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Have pharmaceutical companies replaced tobacco companies as America’s number 1 killer?

Did you see the CNN special on prescription drugs (Deadly Dose: A Dr. Sanjay Gupta Investigation)?

Here are just two of the many interesting facts that came out during the segment;

  • 90% of the world’s opiate prescription drugs are consumed in the U.S and
  • between 1997 and 2007 the prescription of opioids increased more than 600%.

For those of you who have followed my coverage of the pharmaceutical industry starting with my 2009 post “Antipsychotic Prescriptions . . . for Children: Is the Medicaid Story Today’s Version of Go Ask Alice?,” in which I discussed the prescribing of these powerful drugs to children between the ages of 3 and 17, you will know that my research points to some pretty shocking revelations.

This being said I have to admit that the rate at which Americans consume painkillers caught me somewhat by surprise.  I am not talking about the fact that America is the biggest user of prescription pills mind you.  What I am referring to is the sheer numbers which tend to show a country that is out of control . . . medically speaking.

However, and eerily similar to a pusher of illegal drugs, the pharmaceutical industry representative that Gupta interviewed did a obvious bob and weave evasion in terms of answering the question regarding the industry’s role in facilitating the epidemic.  I only wish that Gupta had been more direct by putting out the question regarding the commonplace practice of off-label marketing that provides physicians with the incentive to over-prescribe drugs.

In January I will be airing a special in which I will talk with health industry experts about this growing problem.

In the meantime, what are your thoughts?  Has the pharmaceutical industry taken over from the tobacco industry as the biggest threat to the health of Americans?

The old drug of choice . . .

The old drug of choice . . .

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Mattress finance or why you should not deal with banks or Wall Street

I sleep better with my money close by . . .

Don’t trust banks or Wall Street . . . A friend’s mother has it right re it makes more sense to stow your cash in your mattress than to invest in Wall Street or place your money in the banks . . .

He recently took in a paper bag full of $20 bills that she had saved from her old age security. Turns out when he opened the bag at the bank to ask for $100s because the $20s were taking up too much space at her home she had amassed $40,000.

What’s interesting is that when the bank discovered how much was in the bag they called the police who then took the friend downtown for questioning. The mother showed up at the police station and told them to let her son go as it was her money to do with as she pleased and that no one was going to tell her she had to put it in the bank.

She then went to the bank and got her $100s.

When she was leaving she told them to expect another bag of $20s and did not expect to encounter a problem.

So let me get this straight, Morgan Stanley and Facebook rip off the public for billions, but no police in sight.

An elderly lady saves her money and her son is accosted when he tries to convert it to more manageable bills.

Hmmmm . . . what’s wrong with this picture?

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