Monday, December 18, 2006

Been a while...

I guess life got "interesting" in that it's been three months since I posted here. Much has happened in that time.
  • The liberal left has been given control of the next Congress, not because they won the election, but because they control the party of the conservative Democrats who got elected. Okay, perhaps that's a little overstated. Several left wing tax and spend liberals did get elected, including Sherrod Brown in Ohio who defeated the gonadless RINO Mike DeWine.
  • Ohio lame duck Governor Taft vetoed the long-anticipated concealed carry reform act, then had that veto shoved back in his face. Thousands of gun owners (and both antigunners) called their state representatives and senators to express their desires for this bill. For the first time in 29 years, the legislature decided for the people and against the politicians. This bill fixes the insane open carry requirement for people with concealed carry permits when they are in a vehicle. Perhaps more importantly, the new law will also enact statewide preemption for firearms laws and invalidate approximately 80 local ordinances that create a patchwork of laws across the state. Big city politicians have vowed to challenge the law, so more interesting fireworks are likely to be pending.
  • I took about three days off at the end of October and went camping with my daughter. It rained constantly for the first two nights, turning the area into a big mud puddle. And as God did for Noah, the wind blew hard and dried things out a little. By Sunday, the weather was beautiful and we spent the afternoon fishing at the lake shore. That added to all the rest of the time off so far this year to make a total of four days. Guess I'd better get busy and take off the rest of the year!
  • SimTrainer Academy hosted the first NSSF First Shots® event in the Midwest last Saturday. Even though it was only scheduled and advertised for a couple weeks prior, people packed the house. A great time was had by all, including us instructors!
And that's just a few things I can think of. As much as I'd love to comment on some of the insanity swirling all around, that will have to wait. Just needed to keep this alive, in case anyone's watching.

Friday, September 15, 2006

One more example...

Ever since retiring after 20+ years in the United States Air Force, my Service of choice has blessed me with repeated reminders why I did so. And, it seems, the longer I am retired, the more often the Air Force chooses to remind me. This latest insanity from Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne does it again:
"If we're not willing to use it here against our fellow citizens, then we should not be willing to use it in a wartime situation. [Because] if I hit somebody with a nonlethal weapon and they claim that it injured them in a way that was not intended, I think that I would be vilified in the world press.
Back in the "old days," I never remember a senior military official ever giving a gnat's eyelash about what the international community thought about our use of military weapons. It sure wasn't the ultimate deciding factor in the use of fission weapons against the Japanese Empire. It absolutely could not have been a factor regarding the use of Agent Orange in Vietnam...Veterans Administration Hospitals are full of American victims of that chemical.

It really is time that this West Pointer who couldn't cut it in the real Air Force quits trying to mess it up permanently. Surviving AF Chief of Staff McPeak was more than enough punishment for one century...

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Homeland Security and Privacy

This morning on Fox News Channel's Cavuto on Business Head to Head segment, the guest visiting the show was "ACLU member Michael Gross," as introduced by Neal Cavuto. The question was whether people would or should be willing to give up some privacy to gain security. Issues on whether it's a valid question aside, his answer knotted my knickers...
What the administration and Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff need is a lesson in Constitutional law. They have been speaking with forked tongue. You can't understand the piece that he asks for now. Is it European data they want to fish? Is it illegal use of, uh, in other words, avoiding FISA warrants again? Go back to Congress like the Supreme Court told them to do and play it the way the checks and balances system in this country works, which is, you debate it before Congress, tell them why you want what you want, they pass a law, then when they sign it you execute it. You don't sign another statement saying you're not gonna do it.
Okay, where to start with this diatribe?

Well, first, the Supreme Court was divided on this, with the majority opinion being emotional and vapid (73 pages plus rebuttal), ripped to shreds by the dissent (83 pages in three separate dissents). Of course, the Supreme Court has been divided on many cases where the majority was wrong but still won...Kelo comes immediately to mind. This only confirms how important it is that justices be selected based on their Constitutional foundation and not their political ideologies. But that's a whole other rant...

The main point here is that civil libertarians love to whine on about the freedom of speech in the First Amendment and the inferred "right to privacy" they like to find in the Fourth Amendment, but patently refuse to acknowledge the explicit right to keep and bear arms of the Second Amendment.

The Second Amendment is often maligned and misrepresented by those who think government is the answer to all problems. The Founding Fathers believed government was the source of more problems than solutions for the citizens. The Constitution they crafted described the operation of Government but, especially, put strict limits on its power. The main opposition to including the Second Amendment in the bill of rights was not that keeping and bearing arms was inappropriate. Rather, those who opposed codifying that right believed that the words themselves might be twisted and used against the citizens to disarm them. Indeed, that has been the case. If you are one of those who think that the preparatory clause in this amendment limits its coverage to the national guard, go back and do your homework--I've already covered it.

We are at war, people!

The fact some don't like it doesn't change reality. War was declared on the USA in 1993 with the first World Trade Center bombing. It wasn't until 2001 that we finally acknowledged being under attack. The Cavuto on Business discussion was supposed to center on whether airline passengers right to privacy supersedes the need to ensure security of the passengers. Mr. Gross chose instead to use the opportunity as a soapbox for his own left-wing brand of activism.

I have held for some time that the number sequence 9-1-1 would today have no more meaning than a call for emergency services if even one law-abiding passenger on each of those flights had been appropriately armed. I'm not the only one to see it that way, either. Oleg Volk put it in his unique and eloquent style with this photo of a well-equipped airline passenger:
The Real Airline Security - Armed Passengers. Hijack this!
(click on the photo for the full image)

When gun control was defined only as "using both hands and hitting your target," there were no restrictions on passengers being armed. There were no passenger screenings other than to be sure you had your ticket and that your bags weren't too heavy. There were no highjackings, either.

Some would counter that the world has changed and we have to disarm all passengers to be sure that the terrorists aren't armed. I ask you whether that plan was in effect or could have stopped the attacks on 9/11/01. Yes, that plan was in effect. No, it obviously didn't do anything to prevent those attacks and, IMAO, probably allowed them to occur. Should we let everyone on the plane carry firearms? Wrong question. In the first place, "we" (meaning the government) have no business determining whether the airlines, which are private companies, should allow their customers to be armed. That ought to be up to the airlines as a business decision. Ohio's concealed carry law contains provisions (similar to many states) for private businesses to prohibit the carrying of weapons by their employees and customers. It's their choice, their business decision. Many of those who initially banned weapons later changed that policy because their best customers decided to take their business elsewhere. The same should be true for airlines. If an airline decided to allow their passengers to carry weapons, and even more so, allowed their ticket agents and flight attendants to be packing also, I'd fly them to the exclusion of any "terrorist protection zone" airline.

Should airlines be able to discriminate and make their own determination of who may or may not carry a weapon? Absolutely. And that could mean they'd tell me that I don't meet their criteria, even though I shoot nearly every week, have no criminal record, and spent a full 20-year career as a military officer. Unlikely, but possible. Then it would be up to me to decide whether I want to fly on an airline that exercises such poor judgment. :-)

It is all the more important, now that we are in an unconventional war, for citizens to be armed with effective weapons and well trained in their use. The Civilian Marksmanship Program was once a key element of homeland defense. A well-armed and trained citizenry was credited by some with at least deterring a Japanese invasion of the continental US during World War II. Would knowing that citizens traveling on aircraft might be sufficiently armed to take out highjackers have deterred them from their attempt? Hard to say. Would armed passengers have stopped the attempt cold? Absolutely. Even the unarmed passengers of Flight 93 stopped the attempt. The difference in outcome would have been how many died preventing that airliner from flying to its target in Washington DC. Maybe the death toll would have been the four terrorists, maybe they'd have killed a flight attendant before the armed passengers realized the severity of the situation, maybe some other passengers would also have been killed, or perhaps the threat of failure would have caused them to stop the attack with nobody being killed. These radical terrorists aren't afraid of dying for their cause, but they are afraid to die in a failed attempt.

I submit that the unconstitutional abridgment of the right of citizens to keep and bear arms which started over 70 years ago with the National Firearms Act of 1934 is a direct contributing factor in the lack of security the left-wing "civil libertarians" decry. Would we be asking whether to trade privacy for security if we hadn't already surrendered individual rights and responsibility to the imperial federal government? I don't think so.

It is long past time to take back those rights. Our lives depend on it.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Columbus NE Concealed Carry

Update: more postings at original article
In an article regarding Nebraska's new concealed carry law and the city of Columbus deciding to "opt out" as it were, several commenters waxed ignorant regarding concealed carry, firearms laws, the NRA, and gun issues in general.

Two in particular just begged for my wisdom, the first by Concerned, and a later one by roca, who listed "educator" as the occupation.

Now, I have no idea if my answers to them will make it past the StatePaper reviewers and actually get posted on the site. But that's part of why I have my own blog, right? Of course, right!!

So, here in all their original glory, are my answers to Concerned and roca:

"Someday, people will realize the NRA is only interested in the profit that can be made, not in public safety, child safety, or even the right of a hunter to own a gun.

Dear Concerned,

There is almost no profit to be made in selling guns. The market is extremely competitive. And since the NRA doesn't sell guns and is a non-profit organization, it doesn't have a profit motive. However, it does have an interest in preserving the freedoms endowed by our Creator and codified by our Founding Fathers in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

There is nothing dangerous about allowing trained law-abiding citizens to carry weapons concealed. Your visceral opposition to it is based on fear, which is based on either a lack of information or an overabundance of misinformation. Unfortunately, the anti-gun lobby and their allies in the traditional media have filled print, radio, and television with misinformation about firearms and self-protection issues.

One of those canards is the concept of "gun safety features". Your example of having a counter on a gun is absurd, and one I have never heard before. All guns have counters. Are they externally displayed? No, of course not. Cameras have external counters because opening it to look at the number of exposures left ruins the film. Most semi-automatics have a "chamber loaded" indicator with the magazine easily inspected to determine number of remaining rounds, and all modern revolvers can be opened to visually inspect which rounds have been fired.

There are several so-called safety features that have been proposed. The most famous is perhaps the "smart gun" which will only operate for its intended user. Technology to create such a feature does not exist, but that doesn't limit the anti-gunners from trying to get the requirement codified into law. The main problem with it, even if it were possible to create, is that it cannot be guaranteed to work properly 100% of the time. When you need a firearm for self defense, you cannot have the risk that some sophisticated technology designed to prevent unauthorized use will also prevent your use.

Another feature recently pushed is called "microstamping." This technology is completely unproven. It is based on the popular CSI television series and assumes that since they can so easily match casings and bullets to particular guns, think how much easier it would be if the gun was designed to intentionally "microstamp" its identifying information on the casings. The problem with it is multifold. First, CSI story lines aside, it is rare that casings are matched to a random collection of cases fired by the same or different guns. Second, because such markings would have to be applied without adversely affecting the gun's operation, they can't be very large. Third, the barrels, firing pins, and extractors, all identified as the means for applying the microstamps, are easily replaced by necessity...barrels wear out, firing pins and extractors break. Fourth, even without replacing such items, a criminal could easily file or buff off the identifying marks...making it illegal to do so doesn't stop them from their other criminal acts, so there's no reason to believe it would stop them from this one. Fifth, marked cases could not be used as evidence, even if they did match a particular gun, because there is no way to prove that the criminal didn't collect the marked cases some other location and leave them at the scene of the crime...there is no chain of custody.

Perhaps before you again rant about what the NRA is interested in, you might want to actually read their materials. The foremost gun safety program available anywhere is sponsored by the NRA. The NRA teaches gun safety in every class, regardless of other content, and even has a special gun safety only class for elementary school children called "Eddie Eagle". The course is taught only by active police officers, usually in school assemblies, and teaches children that if you see a gun, you "Stop, Don't Touch, Leave the Area, and Tell and Adult." Tens of thousands of school children have been taught this firearms equivalent of "Stop, Drop, and Roll", and many of those children have done exactly what they were taught when they found an unattended gun.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the Second Amendment to the Constitution does not only protect the right of a hunter to own a gun. It protects the rights of all citizens to own arms - weapons - for defense of themselves, their families, their neighbors, and their country...especially against a government that gets out of control and tries to take away those rights. When the right to keep and bear arms is wrongly limited to hunting or other "sporting uses," the citizens have begun to lose a right that was deemed so inalienable by the Founding Fathers that they included it in the Bill of Rights. That inclusion did not grant the right; it only codified the right which had already been granted. And, frankly, the first place I'm aware of where such a right, perhaps even a responsibility, to keep and bear arms was codified, was in Luke 22:35-38 where Jesus changed his previous instruction to go without purse, bag, or sandals, and instead told the Disciples they should sell a cloak to buy a sword if nobody had one. As it happened, no cloaks were sold that evening because two swords were found among the eleven disciples, which Jesus said was enough.

So if you're in a group of people where fewer than two of eleven are armed, perhaps it's time for a garage sale...

"It seems to me it would be better to let people carry weapons openly rather than concealed weapons. I think it would be better knowing a person has a gun than not knowing that a person has a hidden weapon. jw

It's not overly surprising that an "educator" would ask this question. The NEA has been viciously anti-gun for a long time, long before school shootings ever happened, and has preached their anti-gun message as though all their arguments were fact for years. (For the record, almost nothing anti-gun groups state categorically is fact.) I ask you to step out of your own shoes and into those of the "bad guy" when determining what is better for the "good guys." I put myself in the latter category, but have spent plenty of time with the former while visiting prisons and jails. Does that make me an expert on the criminal mind? Hardly. That caveat in place, let's proceed...

Situation: "Bad Guy" decides to prey on "Good Guy". Being criminal but not having a death with, "Bad Guy" carefully selects the victim "Good Guy" to minimize his own risk.

Option 1: Jurisdiction bans concealed carry. "Bad Guy" looks at potential victims and sees one carrying a firearm and does not see a firearm on the other. "Bad Guy" knows most people are law abiding citizens, and that criminals like him are a distinct minority. Odds are that both potential victims are law-abiding citizens. Therefore, the chances of the potential victim who does not have a gun visible probably has no effective defense against attack.

Option 2: Jurisdiction permits concealed carry. "Bad Guy" looks for potential victims and sees none carrying a firearm. However, he heard on the news last week that another criminal was shot by a potential victim. He also checked the statistics (okay, maybe a little stretch) and discovered that several thousand people have applied for and received concealed carry licenses. But "Bad Guy" doesn't live (as I do) in Ohio, so no newspapers print lists of concealed carry licensees. There's no way for him to know in advance who is not or is licensed and potentially carrying a weapon. "Bad Guy" now needs to choose between two people who both look vulnerable, but might not be.

Which of these two options do you think protect the greatest number of people? If you set aside the emotional bias and fear of guns that has crept into society in the last have of the 20th century, the conclusion should be pretty obvious. Open carry protects the individual carrying the weapon by reducing the likelihood of attack and by providing an effective means of defense. Concealed carry protects everyone, the license holder by providing an effective means of defense and the non-license holder by creating uncertainty in the mind of a criminal contemplating an attack.

Unfortunately, the city of Columbus has chosen option 1.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Taking Hannity to task

For the last few weeks, Sean Hannity has been listing off several races across the country where Republicans are in trouble - Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and others. In the show opening today, he said that Mike DeWine and Ken Blackwell are behind their left wing opponents primarily due to Governor Taft's problems.

Sean, I'm in Ohio. I think you're missing the point on why Mike DeWine is in trouble. It's not because of the governor's integrity problems. It's because Mike DeWine is a RINO.

Frankly, I'm hoping that several other Republicans in the Senate win their elections, because it's unlikely DeWine will. Too many conservative Republicans would rather let DeWine twist in the wind, even if it means having the wacko Brown in the seat, so that the Ohio Republican Party and the National Republican Party will finally get the message that they don't deserve support when they oppose rights guaranteed (not granted) by the Constitution and Bill of Rights. DeWine opposed the First Amendment by supporting campaign finance reform, the Second Amendment by supporting the extension of the Clinton Gun Ban, and resolution once and for all that Article II Section 2 of the Constitution means what it says, and that "advice and consent" does not mean the minority can veto a judicial (or any other executive) appointment. The DeWine campaign is saying that the Senator voted with the President 92% of the time. That may be true, but the problem is in the details. The most important and crucial votes where his vote mattered? Too many of those votes were with the obstructionists on the left side of the aisle, including opposing working towards energy independence by drilling for domestic oil in ANWR, voting against the President's budget and opposing spending cuts, opposing strengthening our border security without granting amnesty to illegal aliens and immigration reform in general, votes with environmental wackos instead of working to make us energy independent, supports laws to restrict the right to keep and bear arms, and votes half the time with labor interests against a free and efficient economy. DeWine isn't losing because Governor Taft doesn't deserve to be in office. DeWine is behind because DeWine doesn't deserve to be in office. No, neither does Sherrod Brown, but there are enough union liberals in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, and Toledo inner cities that he just might.

There could be a better argument that Ken Blackwell is being tarred with the Taft brush, but I don't think that's happening either. Liberals are targeting him because he really IS a conservative, unlike either Taft or DeWine (or Voinovich, for that matter, previous Governor and currently junior RINO in the Senate). When they can't win fairly, liberals want to win by any means available. In 2004, that meant villifying the secretary of state who was sworn and dedicated to a fair and honest election. He has been targeted, just as your Senator, Katherine Harris, was targeted for her role in upholding the integrity of the 2000 election. Frankly, I think Ken Blackwell may still win, regardless of what the polls say. The latest poll showing Strickland ahead by double digits was conducted for stations in Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Youngstown, all pockets of deep blue in an otherwise red state.

If Sean, or any other conservatives, want to weigh in somewhere for conservative values in an Ohio election, don't tie the DeWine and Blackwell campaigns together and blame them on Taft. By doing so, you impugn Blackwell's integrity; DeWine has done that for himself already. Tying Blackwell to DeWine, even by making any comparison that implies they are in any way similar, does a disservice to Ken Blackwell. And, at least for Ohio, the Governor's seat is much more important for a conservative win than is the Senate, and, frankly, I absolutely believe that is true for the country as a whole. Taking DeWine out of the Senate, even though it means one less seat for a Republican in the Senate, is probably a benefit in the long term, especially if any at-risk Senators in other races go Republican. Losing the Ohio governor's race has national implications that are, in my opinion, more dangerous than losing one Senate seat, even in this year's close races.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Cease Fire!

It's been widely reported that a ceasefire has been negotiated in the UN between Israel and Lebanon, supposedly with Nasrallah's qualified support.

The topic has received several comments at One comment in particular stoked my burner. Naturally, all that hot air had to go somewhere, so I sent it to HotAir. My rant is down about comment 21 or so.

All that said, in many ways I hope Hizbullah (no, it's not's spelled as the Israelis transliterate it to English) decides to follow their leader's guidance and continue to attack Israel as long as they remain in Lebanon. According to the terms of the agreement, that could be several weeks. Although Hizbullah must cease all attacks immediately, the agreement requires Israel to cease only offensive military operations (OP1). Basically, that means Hizbullah must stop first.

Nasrallah, in accepting the resolution, qualified that acceptance by saying 'As long as there are Israeli soldiers on our soil we'll continue to fight them.' Well, back to the resolution...

(PP5) Lebanon will be sending 15,000 troops to the southern area to extend its authority over the area and requested immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces, but (OP2) that won't happen until full cessation of hostilities, which won't happen until Hizbullah is destroyed or Nasrallah changes his perspective. Although not explicitly stated in the resolution, this is a parallel withdrawal by Israel, meaning they pull back gradually as they are replaced by Lebanese and UNIFIL forces. Those forces, especially UNIFIL forces, will not go in if there's a hot zone. So it's up to the in-place Israeli forces to hold the territory until Hizbullah stops attacking them.

The best we can hope for is that Nasrallah is true to his word and that the Hizbullah fighters back him to the end. If that happens, Israel will have the chance to do what we failed to do after their attack on our embassy...eliminate the Hizbullah army entirely.

True peace is never achieved via UN ceasefire agreements. True peace is achieved when the superior force eliminates the threat entirely and to its very roots. Israel didn't start this fight any more than we started the war at the World Trade Center. If they are not allowed to finish their war, there is very little hope we will ever be able to finish ours.

There is only one place where it's appropriate to apply a ceasefire. That's on the firing line so we can go down range to score and replace targets. In fact, I think I'll go do that later today...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Today was (or at least should have been) a wake up call for anyone who might have lost their sense of outrage at the terrorist attacks that hit this country on 9/11/2001. Today, US and British authorities announced they had foiled a terrorist plot to blow up as many as 10 airliners in flight between Great Britain and the United States. So, what is Reuters' approach to this? Tell the terrorists more about how to build the bombs. No doubt the real bad guys don't need Reuters to tell them that such is possible, but is the public served by an article like this? I don't think so. I don't think the public would be served by any news outlet publishing details on how to produce weapons grade uranium or how to improve missile guidance, either.

But maybe that's just me.

A Washington Post poll conducted July 21-24 indicated that 30% of those surveyed didn't even remember the year that the 9/11 attack occurred. At first hearing, that news really bothered me. So I asked my lovely bride what year the attacks occurred. She wasn't sure, but figured about 4 years ago. Okay, so not everyone remembers dates. A better question might have been to ask what event they remember that occurred on September 11 and, assuming they associate that date with the terrorist attacks, what do they remember of the day or how did it affect them? But back on topic...

Suppose the terrorist attacks hadn't been detected and foiled today? Would 8/10 have been burned in our minds with the same passion as 9/11, 12/7, and 7/7? (Maybe I need to instead say WTC, Pearl Harbor, and the London subway bombings...) Or, more critically, should we be more alert of our surroundings as we travel on those days plus 10/12, 11/13, and 12/14? After all, our enemies appear to be big fans of date symbolism and anniversaries.

Of course, it could be just my limited and distinctly American perspective. Yes, we are focus of their hatred and attacks. But Israel has been putting up with this sort of terrorist attack and have lost a much larger percentage of their population to these attacks. Did they lose 3000 in one attack? No, but that's not the point, or at least it shouldn't be. We all have our own triggers.

For my wife, it was the third airplane that really got her attention...the one that hit the Pentagon. She didn't know anyone in New York and had never been to the World Trade Center. It was a tragedy, and it was awful, but it wasn't personal. On the other hand, I had worked in the Pentagon for over three years, and she knew people who still worked there. For me, both places were very emotional. I had stayed at the Marriott World Trade Center Hotel twice only two years before the attack, and that hotel was destroyed by the debris from the WTC. Some of the people I'd worked with and met worked within walking distance of that facility. I had eaten dinner in the mall under the WTC towers and walked around the buildings.

Let the thwarted attacks be a warning and a reminder. Keep them in mind as you vote in the upcoming elections, particularly if your elected representatives are running against winning the war against radical Islamist terrorists.

And, above all, never forget...

Update Okay, so now they're telling us it wouldn't have happened on this day, so the 8/10 would have been 8/16. Which, following pattern, might make some folk think twice about traveling on Christmas Eve...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Demobrats National Security Collapse

Hugh Hewitt posts today at titled The National Security Collapse of the Democratic Party. No doubt the conclusion captured in the article title is routinely confirmed by the left side of the aisle.

So why bother even mentioning it here? He made a statement I had to dispute:
I ... want to suggest we start by assisting the four GOP incumbent senators who are best positioned to win crucial close contests:

Montana's Conrad Burns
Ohio's Mike DeWine
Missouri's Jim Talent
Pennsylvania's Rick Santorum

Each is a very solid, very committed vote for victory in the war and clarity about our enemies...

What? The senior Senator from Ohio a very solid, very committed vote on any conservative principle?

Not based on anything seen so far.

I had to comment, of course...
Neither solid nor committed...
I'm afraid I have to differ with your assessment of Mike DeWine of Ohio as a solid and committed vote for anything. Mikey has no spine whatsoever and will be more than happy to bend to whatever whim best suites his immediate purpose. Unfortunately, the conservatives in Ohio couldn't get together and agree that a single candidate would have a much better chance of drawing enough of the "Anyone But DeWhine" vote in the May primary to win the party nod. Doubly unfortunately, there are no qualified third party candidates and the Demobrat Sherrod Brown is an even worse option.

Then again, perhaps you meant that the senior Senator from Ohio would be solid and committed to freedom compared to the only remaining alternative. Against that position I can have to argument. Indeed, we're stuck with a horrible candidate to vote for instead of one that is even worse.

Monday, July 31, 2006

DC Still Clueless

The WaPo reports that DC residents don't think much of the actions taken as part of the recent "crime emergency" declared by DC Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey. Not surprising. The report includes that back in October 2005, two teenagers shot and dumped on Suitland Parkway became the 11th and 12th "young" homicide victims in 13 days, prompting the original declaration. This state of emergency was reiterated and highly publicized after 14 killings in 14 days. Such short durations are not statistically significant, so we can't really say this constitutes an 9% increase in the crime rate, but it's still an increase, at least anecdotally.

The latest action? Put 16-year-olds and their younger compatriots off the streets by 10PM, starting this writing, just about an hour away. Oh yeah, add surveillance cameras and police overtime. It should reduce the number of juvenile deaths, right? Well, maybe...

And what's the excuse the WaPo reports for why juvenile arrests went from 6% in 2005 to 8% in 2006? Boredom.

Bite me.

Boredom isn't the reason; it's the excuse. The real problem is that it has become unfashionable to hold people, regardless of age, accountable for their own actions. When kids are bored, they can choose how to entertain themselves. Stealing cars isn't the only option. Roving neighborhoods in gangs and terrorizing residents isn't either. And, as Clinton proved so wonderfully, neither is turning lights on basketball courts at midnight.

So, whose job is it to hold these kids accountable? Parents. Failing that, schools. Failing that, police.

I will grant you that the DC government education system has failed these kids. That comes back to the parents, also. It's almost impossible for students to hold the education system accountable. The student is powerless in that environment with their grades held hostage should they choose to stand up to a miserable teacher. That is the parents' job. But the parents are either missing in action or clueless. Perhaps they've abandoned their kids. Perhaps the single remaining parent is swamped just keeping food on the table and something akin to a roof overhead. Perhaps they never had a parent stand up for them and don't know it's their job.
Doesn't matter. It's still the parents' job.

Don't get me wrong - the schools need to be responsive and provide quality education. It's not a matter of money, regardless of what the NEA would have you believe. Sure, well-funded education programs have options not available to small budget schools. But this is DC! The civics, history, nature, science, and math centers of the nation are within a Metro ride. It takes planning on the part of the school to bring in these experts or to go to where they are, but it's not expensive. With proper motivation, there is no reason why these kids, instead of being told they can't leave their homes after 10PM, couldn't instead have to be encouraged to go do something besides study, work, or even teach/tutor for a while.

This rant isn't done, but I am. Start ripping it apart and let's see if we can actually find something that might work better than what isn't working now.

Comments? Anyone?

Blog Maintenance

If you have read earlier posts, particularly the debut post, you already know this whole blogger thing is new territory for the author. As a result, mistakes were made. One of those was choosing a goofy name to tag all the posts with as the author. Being tired of having the post line fill the page, I've cut it down. It's still me, I'm still in Beavercreek, you'll still hear my TalkBacks at, but "Mark in Beavercreek at" was just too much of a mouthful. Same guy, new name - NRAMark.

That and a million other items of similar value would fit nicely on the head of a pin...

Friday, July 28, 2006

An Individual Right or a Collective Right?

One of the big arguments between supporters of an individual right to keep and bear arms and those who oppose that right is whether the Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the right of the individual or guarantees the rights of states or only for militias. Anti-gunners have argued recently that the opening clause of the amendment, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State...", means it is a collective right, not an individual right. In 2004, the Justice Department released a Memorandum Opinion with over 400 footnotes which concludes that "the Second Amendment secures an individual right to keep and to bear arms." It's a long document, but it's worth the time to read it. And if you don't believe its conclusions, also go back and read all the references. Argue with the logic, if you can, but don't just disagree with it because it guts all the gun grabber's rationales for existence.

The 2005 Firearms Law & Second Amendment Symposium discussed this issue at length, with speakers taking both sides of the issue (or at least attempting to). The video clips are very interesting, even for those of us who aren't lawyers. If you're particularly focused on the first clause of the amendment, be sure to listen to Prof. Nelson Lund, Ph.D. in the first block of speakers on the general topic, Second Amendment, Congress, & The Courts. Listening to the entire conference is a worthy use of your time if you really want to know the facts on this issue, whether it agrees with what you feel or not.

Exposing the UN Gun Ban Fraud

I just found this at JWR - Mallard Fillmore's take on "The United Nations Conference to Review Progress Made in the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects" a few weeks ago.:

After the Secretary General's "Who, us? Why, no, we'd never try to take guns from citizens..." opening speech in response to a hundred thousand plus letters and postcards from American citizens, the conference succeeded in accomplishing pretty much nothing. (I'd give you a media link regarding the volume of letters, but - shock - it didn't get much press and what it did get has dropped out of search engines. And besides, the UN shredded the letters anyway.)

Of course with the UN, accomplishing nothing is usually a good thing for freedom in the world.

The full UN version of what happened is linked to the snappy conference title above. The condensed NRA version is certainly more readable.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Phoenix Under Fire

No, I'm not talking about the range fires that have been burning up millions of acres in the dry southwest. This is a much more deadly and unpredictable menace, two serial killers still on the loose. As my mother puts it,
We go on with the serial killers here - two of them. No clue to what is going on but they strike from 10 PM to 4AM. Just awful. People are pretty scared.
This may sound cold, but the killing spree is somewhat of a wakeup call for people in that area. Firearms sales are up. I'd be willing to bet the cops will not find them until they attack the wrong person...the person who is determined not to be a victim, got themselves effective tools of defense, learned how to use them, and carried them with them always. Basically, these whack jobs will eventually attack a person who is ready for them and that will end it with the serial killer DRT -- Dead Right There, taking the eternal dirt nap, assuming room temperature. And the media will do just as happened with the knife attack in Tennessee - misreport the story and leave out that it was a citizen with a concealed weapon who ended the conflict, or invent "facts" regarding how the conflict was ended. (Yes, those fictional accounts have now been corrected and are no longer online...)

Because the moral foundation the country was founded on has been so severely maligned in "society", anyone who goes out anywhere and is not preapared to defend themselves from a violent assault is giving up every hope of returning safely. No, it won't happen every time and probably not for years. But it only takes one time. The lives of good citizens are too valuable to allow them to be snuffed out by a sociopathic mutant. It is time for the rest of us to return to the days of the American Revolution when everyone was armed and expected to be so. Crime was virtually zero. Same is true for the "old west" - although the "meet me at high noon" style gunfight was popularized in Hollywood inventions, the old Dodge City was a safer place to be than today's Washington DC. As Robert A. Heinlein is oft quoted, "An armed society is a polite society...".

It's time we made society polite again.

Monday, June 26, 2006

On "24" and Homeland Security

If you haven't yet watched the Hertiage Foundation sponsored panel disucssion, "24" and America’s Image in Fighting Terrorism: Fact, Fiction, or Does it Matter?, it's very much worth the 2 hours. In addition to the participants having a good sense of humor and making the time just fly by, there are some great summaries of where we are, some very insightful questions from the audience and moderator Rush Limbaugh, and great quotes. One of my favorites -
Ninety-nine percent of what needs to be done is not somebody in Washington picking up the phone and doing something. ... If you're waiting on somebody in Washington to do something before we can start saving lives, then we're all gonna die!

James Jay Carafano
Senior Research Fellow
Defense and Homeland Security
The Heritage Foundation

Precisely true. Folks, if we are not willing to do whatever it takes to keep things moving in the right direction, to turn things around that are going the wrong way, and, if necessary, take up arms to defend our country, homes, and families (and ensuring we each have the tools and supplies to ensure that is possible), you can be dead certain that the Federal government isn't going to do it for you. The operative word in that would be "dead"...

Gagging on Ice Cream and Pie...

My favorite Ohio "up for re-election" Senator, Mike DeWine, has posted two articles on his web site regarding last weekend's Pie and Ice Cream free-for-all, only $5. One anecdote in particular from DeWine offers sweet treats, but foe isn't buying caught my attention:

Sometimes personal connections, not issues, win votes -- as evidenced in the Cedarville crowd yesterday.

Leaning onto a red-and-white checkered tablecloth, Phyllis Orcutt of Columbus said she is a Democrat who supported Mr. Kerry's 2004 presidential bid. But she's voted for Mr. DeWine since the 1980s, when he was a congressman. At a constituent forum, she asked him to help her husband get disability benefits, and Mr. DeWine, she said, came through.

"I went to Democrat after Democrat, and nothing," Ms. Orcutt said. "So you can see why I support him." now we should vote for DeWine because he was able to buy this lady's vote away from the Democrats by making sure her husband gets disability benefits. Well, I'm really glad to finally have a reason. Until this article, I hadn't been able to find one. Unfortunately, it also means we now have two Democrats running for the Ohio Senate seat.

I really hope that Mike DeWine announces his intention to switch parties prior to the November elections. For him to have retained full integrity, he should have done that before the May primary so we could choose a Republican to run. However, it would certainly be better for him to announce his intention to switch before the election than pull a Jumpin' Jim Jeffords move and switch after the results are finalized.

No, I can't endorse voting for Sherrod Brown. But a vote for Mike DeWine is little better. This is really a case of having to vote for the horrible candidate and against the even worse one.

Friday, June 23, 2006

AP Slants a Second Amendment Story

Now I'm sure this is no big surprise to the two people reading this blog, but the Associated Press just couldn't quite bring themselves to report the USA citizens' response to the upcoming small arms conference without adding a slam on the NRA and slanting the report in favor of the reasonable, benevolent UN. When the left wing launches a mail protest with pre-printed post cards and downloadable letters for their advocates to sign, stamp, and mail, does the AP report that the recipients are "bombarded with form letters"? Not in my memory. But let freedom-loving citizens send letters to Kofi Anan and the conference chairman and that is precisely how it is characterized.

Now, to be fair, I'm sure many of the letters received to protest this conference are indeed just copied and printed. But even the AP has to admit that only "Many of the letters contained a form message" downloaded from the NRA's "Stop the UN Gun Ban" web site. Not "all," or even "most," but "many." Reading between the lines, it says that at least half the senders took the time to write their own letters or at least customize the text to include their own thoughts and passions.

After having done all it can to discount the writers and their messages, the AP proceeds to justify the conference as affecting only illegal firearms trade, not the individual ownership of such weapons by law abiding world citizens. This is the official position of the UN regarding the focus of this conference. Since that's what they say it's all about, shouldn't we just believe them?

If only it was that easy.

The UN has a history of supporting the rights of dictators and despots over those of the people they subjegate and slaughter. The NGOs it listens to and who become darlings of the global media follow the same path. Amnesty International is one of those NGOs. Given their stated human rights focus, you'd think they would certainly oppose such nonsense...and you would be wrong. According to them, providing citizens with the ability to defend themselves against genocide is a bad thing in that firearms may upset an "uncertain violent situation". Translated, it means that Amnesty International opposes arming citizens because doing so will make it more difficult to predict. I would think that's a good thing given that the current predicted outcome is a subjegated population.

Amnesty International also fully supports IANSA, the International Action Network on Small Arms, headed by Rebecca Peters. The UN give IANSA privileged access to meetings regarding gun control, even when other NGOs are excluded. And IANSA has repeatedly held that small arms are a problem no matter who owns them. Athough they avoid putting it in writing, their objective is to make private ownership of all small arms illegal, then collecting and destroying them. Rebecca Peters stated it most clearly in her debate with Wayne LaPierre.

So, if you combine the statement that the UN only wants to eliminate illegal gun sales with IANSA's objective that personal ownership of firearms be outlawed, it sure seems to me like our Second Amendment rights are under fire.

And, just in case you're still not convinced, the report from the last conference is posted on its own domain - Hoisted with their own petard...

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Dead Lawyer Prompts Saddam Hunger Strike reports that one of the attorneys on Saddam Hussein's defense team was killed, prompting a hunger strike by him and his co-defendants. Seems to me this is could be a marvelous development. All the Iraqis have to do is say they're doing the best they can to protect the lawyers. That won't satisfy the protesters, of course, which means they'll have to continue their strike.

Obviously, civilization is returning to Iraq -- they're reading the Bard.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Mike DeWine - Now in Top 10 Senators!!

Yes, Ohio's senior RINO in the Senate has made it onto a Top Ten list of Senators. How did he do this? By just being himself, of course!! has published two Top Ten lists - one of most anti-gun Senators and one of anti-gun Representatives posted the week prior. Now, he could have tried a little harder, because at number 10, he was beat out by the only other Republican to make the lists - House Republican Mike Castle from Deleware made it up to number 7 on his list.

So, in a state that swung against Kerry (arguably due in some part to his bogus goose hunting trip where he honked off the media by not giving them a real interview and proved just how much of a hunter he is by not even carrying out his own birds) and has a large number of real hunters, plus a strong pro-gun electorate, Senator DeWine proves how much he doesn't represent the constituents and gets national recognition in the same class with Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, Ted Kennedy, and five other Senators who have made their camp so far to the left of the mainstream that there aren't even mosquitos...

Gotta admit that it really takes some kind of arrogance to so completely flaunt the will of the people that you get national recognition as the only Republican in the Senate on this particular Top Ten list.

So would someone please explain to me why both the Ohio Republican Party, the national party organization, and even President Bush supported this guy in the primaries against two real conservatives? Comments welcome if you can figure it out...please!

[Thanks to Cam Edwards and NRA News for pointing out this list...]

Update....someone else also noticed
Yes, the Brady Bunch has endorsed Mike DeWine. Wow. I mean, we always knew this RINO Senator had little in common with basic standards like, say, the Constitution, but a full endorsement by Queen Sarah herself? You really have to admire someone who can snorkle that particular crowd for an endorsement! Should be interesting to see how that affects the outcome. The last Rassmussen poll shows DeWine down to Sherrod Brown by a few points but within the margin of error.

There were hints of a third party candidacy by George Mays. The last update was that he didn't gather enough petition signatures to get on the ballot. Looks like we're stuck with DeWine and Sherrod Brown. Ohio voters now have to choose between two absolutely horrible candidates for a national office. It's depressing.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

An Ice Cream Social? YGBSM!!

Got this lovely email addressed to me, personally, signed by Alice DeWine, inviting me to ... well, you can read...
I wanted to remind you that my family's annual Ice Cream Social is next Sunday, June 25th from 1 to 5pm in Cedarville. Our family tradition of hosting the Ice Cream Social is older than I am, with this year marking the 30th Anniversary of the very first one. So, it is going to be an extra-special event this year and just a great day of old-fashioned, family fun.

Everyone is invited -- so please tell your family and friends!
Today, Mom, Grandma, and a few of Mom's friends made over 150 pies for the Ice Cream Social. Mom put them in the deep freeze and will bake them the day before the Social. My favorite is rhubarb-strawberry, and Mom always saves an apple pie for Dad! Our local dairy -- Young's Jersey Dairy -- will provide the ice cream.
The Ice Cream Social really is a great time for the whole family. There will be jugglers, face-painting, and games for the kids. And, everyone will enjoy performances by local theater and musical groups. Dad will judge the three-legged and sack races, and my favorite -- the pie eating contest!
The Ice Cream Social costs just $5 for adults and kids are free!
To get there, just take I-70 (west) from Columbus to Route 72, then go 12 miles to Cedarville, and follow the signs. You can take I-71 (north or south) to Route 35 (west) to the Bickett Road exit. Again, just follow the signs. Or, take Route 42 (east) from Xenia to Cedarville.

I hope to see you there, and remember -- bring your family and friends! We'll have a fantastic time!

Alice DeWine
P.S. If you have any questions or need additional information, please call our office at (614) 229-5380 or email us at

Paid for by Mike DeWine for U.S. Senate
(Not at Government's Expense)

So, I'm posting this here since she all but insisted I invite my friends...whether I plan on going or not.

Gee, I don't know...think it's likely her husband will be willing to engage in some lively conversation? neither... Besides, the gall of inviting me to a big family party they're throwing and telling me it costs $5....

I also received a call yesterday from the Ohio Republican Party looking for money. Felt a little sorry for the kid who called...he really tried hard. Basically, every time I'd mention the party's support for DeWine as a reason to not contribute, he'd tell me about defeating Hillary Clinton, keeping a Republican majority in both houses, and getting Ken Blackwell elected to Governor. Hillary? Sorry, I thought this was the OHIO Repbulican Party calling... Yes, I'll probably vote for DeWine since there apparently isn't a conservative running. The Ohio Republican Party wouldn't abandon him during the primaries and back Smith or Pierce instead. As bad as DeWine is, at least he's not the liberal wack job Sherrod Brown. Still, it would be nice to have someone to vote for instead of just choosing who to vote against. But I'm damn sure not going to give the spineless Ohio organization any money...anything I'll give will go directly to the candidates. The party didn't even back Blackwell during the primaries...refused to make a selection between him and Petro until after the primaries when there wasn't any decision left to make. Could they have backed Blackwell earlier, "encouraged" Petro not to run in the primary and saved that money for the general election? Sure, but that would require a conservative spine. Don't think there's one to be found.

I told the kid that I'd be happy to support the party when it decided to return to being conservative. Until then, I'll support candidates directly, tyvm. They have another chance in two years when teary-eyed pantywaist Voinovich's current term is up. And if the national Republican party backs someone like McCain or Frist, both of whom are supporting immigration amnesty, they'll have written me off completely. Bush has been a disappointment in that area, unfortunately. Thank God the house Republicans have their heads on straight. I do wish they'd split the immigration into two bills...first, fix the borders and stop the illegal immigration. Then, contingent on completing the first, think about a way we can let people work here if we really need them and they really, really want to work here but only if they pay a flat percentage of their income to the government as a special migrant worker income tax. And it would be a big percentage, too...something like a third, right off the top. Anyone caught working here who had been avoiding that tax would be fined an extra percentage, plus the employer would be fined the same amount. Anyone sending funds outside the country without proof of payment of this tax just have the entire transfer rerounted.

And if any Senator or Representative with an (R) after their name even hints at supporting a national minimum wage increase (Santorum??!!!), it's time to start defending the constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic, exercising our rights under the First and Second Amendments...Speak, Print, and Assemble, Redress Greivances, Praise the Lord, and pass the ammunition!

So, no thanks...I can get a half gallon of Bryer's Vanilla Bean at Kroger for $5, sometimes 2 for $5...without the drive to Cedarville, the hokey yard contests, or the indigestion.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Just a thought

Something to kick this blog off the ground. As I've always believed that everyone is entitled to my opinion and acted accordingly, here's the chance to prove it.

It remains to be seen whether there's enough spare bandwidth in my average day to make this blog worth reviewing on a regular basis. My personal web site was updated once about 6 years ago...

All that said, I do enjoy active discourse with people who can express themselves articulately, have opinions they can back up with logic and facts, and who have minds open to new ideas but not so open-minded their brains fell out. If this actually works, you will find that there is absolute truth, but unlike others with strong views, I don't even begin to think I'm the source of it. If you think you are, you get about one chance to be reformed, so feel free.

Comments are always welcome. Cheap shots and ad hominem attacks will probably be sent unceremoneously to the bit bucket, regardless of whether they target me or others, and regardless of whether I agree with the comments or not. Repeated offenses will be cause for banishment. Conversely, you can hit the issues as hard as you want with reason, logic, and facts. However, if you just parrot some whacko talking points (right or left), you'll be swimming in the same honey bucket with the previous offenders. Nobody has to agree with me, of course -- I'll defend to the death your right to be wrong. Just disagree agreeably and nobody gets killed. Do we understand each other? More importantly, I couldn't care less whether we understand each other on this point as long as you understand me...after all, it's my blog, I'm not the State, and freedom of speech isn't guaranteed by anything other than the benevolence of my dictatorship!

I've never "blogged" before, and I'm not really a huge follower of any, although I did get one of the coveted commenter accounts at Michelle Malkin's new video blog site, Hot Air, so I will try to make that worth the space it consumes. There are many great blogs out there, and probably many more worthless ones. I might link to a few occasionally, but that likely will not be the main focus of what happens here.

Not that it's likely, but anyone who might have been here before and noticed the date changed on this first post gets extra credit if you can figure out why. :)