Archive for June, 2013

Colorado is Pissed: Part Four- “A Farewell to Arms”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on June 30, 2013 by blackshepherd

index

Tomorrow, 1 July 2013, is going to be a sad day for Colorado. The rights of the citizens of this great state are about to be infringed by unconstitutional laws, passed by the State Legislature. This is a state where it is legal to smoke pot, or ride a motorcycle without a helmet. Colorado is the birthplace of the Libertarian Party. However, we are about to lose the freedom to own any more than a fifteen round magazine or transfer weapons without a government background check. I previously discussed how ridiculous and ineffective magazine restrictions are when it comes to keeping people safe. Limits on freedom must be offset by a proven and overwhelming benefit to society. Neither proof, nor benefit exist when it comes to magazine restrictions. I have also discussed the problems inherent with the background check system. These laws will not reduce crime, nor increase public safety. They will erode freedom in Colorado, a place that was remarkable for its personal liberties. After tomorrow, Colorado will be less than what it was. My hope is that Coloradans will not stand for it, but will take back Colorado.

Mrs. and Baby Blackshepherd were out of town for the week, leaving me in a temporary bachelor status. Sadly enough, for me that consists of reading until early in the morning while having one too many homebrews. I know, party animal. In addition to the raucous reading, I elected to make the drive up to Glendale to attend the Free Colorado and Magpul “Farewell to Arms,” event on Saturday evening. This was a unique event, despite cribbing the title of my least favorite Hemingway novel.

 To be frank, this was one last flip of the bird from Magpul to the politicians in Denver before the July 1st magazine ban goes into effect. Magpul donated over 20,000, 30-round magazines to the event, with the proceeds from sales going to Free Colorado’s efforts to fight the new gun laws. I went in order to support the company, check out the scene, and contribute my presence and money to the one-finger salute directed at the Denver state house.

There was a line of people about 800 meters long waiting to get into Infinity Park, which is incidentally the nicest rugby pitch I have seen in America. Local news sources estimate the crowd at around 5,000 people, which sounds about right. Ages seemed to range from eighteen to eighty and there were a lot of families with children. There was lots of pro-gun apparel, people open carrying pistols, and probably many more that were concealed carrying. Once the event started people queued up to buy magazines, Magpul swag, and to join Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. The stands selling barbeque, burgers, and beer also did a booming business. The whole thing had the air of tailgating a sporting event before the game starts, except with guns.

A helicopter flew in to deliver several additional cases of magazines and the keynote speaker, Dana Loesch, a conservative radio host. I had not heard of her before this event but she has been banned from Piers Morgan’s show so she is doing something right. Other speakers were: Glendale Mayor Mike Dunafon, State Senator Greg Brophy, radio personality Michael Brown, Weld County Sheriff John Cooke, and State Senator Ted Harvey. No one had anything particularly earth shaking to say, it was mostly preaching to the choir. I did particularly enjoy listening to Sheriff Cooke who was representing the other Colorado Sheriffs that have filed a lawsuit against the magazine restrictions.

I think I am quoting him verbatim when he said: “These laws are unconstitutional. These laws are unenforceable. These laws hinder our rights, they are knee-jerk reactions. Therefore, since they’re unenforceable, I will not enforce them.” I thought this was the most cogent and strongly worded statement of the evening. It certainly played well with the crowd.

It was an entertaining evening and well worth the drive. Surprisingly, for you gun control advocates not a single person was injured. Despite thousands of armed people milling about the same venue, not a single pistol leapt from its holster and started shooting bystanders. There were no shootouts over parking places. Despite its obvious suitability no duels were fought on the rugby pitch. In fact, people were respectful, polite, and seemed to be having a great time. Weird I know…

Here are a few websites for further perusal:

http://www.magpul.com/ – Again, worth visiting just for the photos and quotes

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners – Organization promoting firearms within the Rockies

http://putittothepeople.wordpress.com/ – Grassroots effort to put magazine capacity restrictions on a Colorado ballot

Advertisements

Gun Control Debate: Part Seven- The Ridiculous

Posted in Concealed Carry, Firearms, Gun Control Debate with tags , , , , , on June 29, 2013 by blackshepherd

I just don’t like guns.

That is OK, it is absolutely your right not to like firearms. My problem with “I don’t like guns,” is not what people say, but what they mean. Think about the last time that you heard someone say this. What was their body language? Typically they put their hands out in front of them as if to ward off a foul smell and make a face like they have just seen a rat on the kitchen floor. When the sentence “I don’t like guns” comes out of someone’s mouth what they often mean is: “I am afraid of guns and find them objectionable.” Or “None of my friends own guns and I don’t understand why anyone would want or need a gun.” or “The thought of having an armed stranger near me scares me.” These attitudes are OK too, except for the fact that they are often based on nothing more than ignorance and fear. Many people who have these attitudes have no experience with firearms other than what they see on TV, in movies, or on the nightly news. Others may have had a negative experience with guns, or gun owners, in the past and have never gotten past it.

 It has been my experience that many people in the “I don’t like guns,” camp are highly educated. The kind of people that will lecture others about the negative aspects of emotion on the decision making process. Often these are people that would not allow ignorance to color their attitudes in regard to any other aspect of their life. They would never presume to judge someone based on race, gender, sexuality, or age. However, when you ask them why they don’t like guns you typically get a well thought out and rational response like, “I just don’t like them!” From that point, it is a short step to describing gun owners as ignorant bumpkins or bloodthirsty paranoids.

If this describes you, shame on you. You owe it to yourself and your fellow citizens to do better. Educate yourself! Walking around with an irrational fear of an inanimate object is no way for a thinking adult to go through life. Find a reputable instructor or knowledgeable family friend and learn about the things that you claim not to like. You do not have to become a gun owner or lifelong shooter but you will learn something about yourself in the process. At a minimum, your opinions will no longer be colored by ignorance. You will no longer have to form your opinions and cast your votes about a fundamental right bereft of facts. Have the intellectual honesty to admit ignorance and do something about it; educate yourself.

Here are some good places to get started:

https://blackshepherdblog.wordpress.com/training/

http://outofoptions.wordpress.com/mentors/

Guns are fetish objects.

Anti-gun individuals are fond of tossing this argument around because it sounds vaguely indecent and has connotations of deviant sexual behavior. Many of them are seemingly unaware of what the word “fetish” actually means and that it applies to them far more than to individuals who have actual experience with guns.

Fetishism is the attribution of inherent value or power to an object.  A fetish object is something believed to have supernatural or extraordinary powers, specifically power over other people, animals, or objects.

I occasionally admonish fellow gun owners because some do fail to keep in mind that a gun is a tool. A gun is not a magic wand that can be waved to make bad guys go away and it is not a totem or lucky charm whose presence makes you immune from danger. One must have the competence, expertise, judgment, and willingness to use a firearm correctly in order for it to function as intended. Just owning or carrying a gun will not make you intrinsically safer. Even expertise with firearms is not an ironclad guarantee against crime or tyranny. However, it is much preferred to the alternatives, ignorance and dependence.

My occasional soapbox moments with fellow gun owners are typically just a gentle reminder to train harder and smarter. Gun owners as a whole are well aware of the responsibilities and lifestyle changes that they have assumed by providing for their own defense. They know that potentially life-threatening situations are not something to entertain lightly and they have thought long and hard about the mental, financial, legal, and moral implications and repercussions of such an encounter. For them guns are tools, not fetish.

It is actually gun-control advocates who view guns as fetish objects. They imbue inanimate objects with all manner of evil intent and capability. They often claim that good, rational people will become blood thirsty killers because they have access to firearms. Simply look at the hysterical opposition to concealed carry laws. Anti-gun debaters will claim that if law-abiding citizens are allowed to carry guns then public spaces will turn into the Wild West. They imagine a dystopian de-evolution of society where citizens shoot one another in arguments over parking spaces. This is not reality. Good people do not change their character because they are armed. There is no malevolent spirit residing in firearms. They are simple machines. Gun-control advocates are the real believers in firearms as fetish objects because they blame inanimate objects for violence instead of people.

I leave this argument with the words of the immortal Col. Jeff Cooper:

“The rifle itself has no moral stature, since it has no will of its own. Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter cannot be persuaded to the path of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles.”

 

Gun owners are compensating for small penises.

I almost refused to acknowledge this particular argument but it is fairly pervasive, in certain circles. It is usually the snarky final response of a gun-control advocate who is losing an argument based upon logic and reason. As infantile and stupid as this argument is, some people seem to actually believe it. Interestingly enough, those that subscribe to this particular fallacy rarely have the cojones to say it to someone’s face. So who is actually compensating?

My AR-15 is surely not a phallic symbol, if it were it would surely be a much larger caliber. My carry pistol is certainly not a compensation for my penis. If it were, I would have selected something with more than a 3” barrel. So where is the basis for this argument?

If you believe that gun owners carry firearms to compensate for small genitals please get in touch with me. We will go the range, shoot some guns and talk about real world experiences. After all that, if you still think gun owners are compensating I will be happy to take the Pepsi challenge.

Early 1980's U.S. 12 oz. "Pepsi Challenge...

Early 1980’s U.S. 12 oz. “Pepsi Challenge” promotional can, plus promotional button given for partaking in the challenge. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Colorado is Pissed: Part Three

Posted in Colorado, Firearms, freedom with tags , , , , , on June 25, 2013 by blackshepherd

Yesterday, 24 June 13, the Colorado Secretary of State certified that there are enough valid petition signatures to recall State Senator Angela Giron of Pueblo. The recall effort originally submitted 13,466 signatures. Following review by the Secretary of State’s office, 12,648 signatures were certified, exceeding the required number of 11,285.

Pueblo Freedom and Rights, the recall organization, is a grassroots organization headed by brothers Victor and Adam Head, both of whom are plumbers and union members. The organization did not use any paid petitioners. Instead, they relied on local volunteers who are furious that their representatives ignored the will of the electorate in order to advance a personal anti-gun agenda. Citizens feel that legislators are ignoring the people and are overstepping their bounds. Hence the recall.

In accordance with Colorado law, any eligible elector can file a protest with the Secretary of State within fifteen days in order to challenge the validity of the petition. Following the fifteen day time period, barring a successful protest, the Governor must set a recall election date within thirty days. I absolutely expect a legal protest to the Giron recall.(Update: A protest was filed to the recall petition shortly after certification of the requisite number of signatures. The protest is almost identical to the one filed in the Morse recall and also hinges on the language used in the petition. The protest was filed by a voter from the district, S. Douglas McMillan. A date for the hearing before the Secretary of State has yet to be set.)

A protest has already been filed in the Morse recall. Moments after the Secretary of State’s office validated the necessary 10,137 signatures necessary for the recall, Morse supporter Catherine Kleinsmith submitted a legal protest to nullify all of the signatures. The crux of the legal argument is that the language on the petition did not specifically demand the election of a successor for Morse. The protest argues that omission of that language invalidates every petition signature submitted to the state. The protest will be heard by the Secretary of State, Scott Gessler, on June 27 at a public hearing in Denver. The decision from that hearing could be challenged in the Denver District Court and possibly appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court.

Thus far two candidates have filed paperwork with the Secretary of State’s office stating their intentions to run in the recall election. Republicans Jaxine Bubis and William Herpin must gather 1,000 signatures from voters within the district in order to have their names added to the recall ballot. In the coming weeks several more candidates are expected to announce that they will compete for the seat. If challenges to the petitions are unsuccessful, it seems likely that both the Morse and Giron recall elections will take place in late August or September. The recall elections should make Colorado pretty interesting for a while. We’ll see what happens.

What are you training for?

Posted in Concealed Carry, Firearms with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2013 by blackshepherd

My apologies to all for the brief hiatus. We were busy with the local wildfires and then I took some time to attend to my own training. I had the rare opportunity to attend two very different firearms courses within one week. The juxtaposition of the two highlighted the differences between shooting and fighting.

The first class was the NRA Basic Pistol Instructor’s Course. I decided to take this class because I regularly get asked for advice and there has been a lot of interest in the NRA sponsored courses from friends, family, and associates. I refuse to dispense advice about things that I have no experience with, so I cowboy-ed up and paid for the class. All shooters are teachers and coaches, even if you are simply trying to improve yourself, you have to be your own instructor so taking a basic instructor’s course is not a bad idea for anyone. This particular course was very professionally managed and run. The lead instructor makes his living teaching NRA courses and was entirely proficient with his subject matter. The students ranged in experience and attitude from an ordained minister to active duty military personnel and everything in between.  Course materiel was appropriately oriented towards safety and training progression. Suggested lesson plans provide a framework for beginning with a student who has never fired a handgun and progressing through safe handling and shooting of the most common types of pistols and revolvers. I have never been to a firearms course where I did not take away something but I have taught hundreds of people how to shoot. As a result, most of my personal learning in this course was from interaction with the other students as they instructed. Some people seriously underestimate the value of this kind of interaction. Someone teaching you a skill that you already possess provides a fresh point of view that can improve your shooting or help you to instruct someone else. Everyone learns in different ways and everyone’s window on the world is a bit different. The more ways that you can describe, demonstrate, and relate to the same skill, the better. I would recommend that anyone with baseline firearms proficiency take this course. Learning to teach others to shoot, even if you don’t plan to  actively instruct, will improve your own shooting immensely.

My one real complaint about the course materiel is the NRA’s desire for its instructors to drop the word “weapon,” from the lexicon when teaching. The organization’s reasoning is that “weapon” may have a negative connotation which may be detrimental to the learning processes of some students. Utterly ridiculous, poppycock, goose feathers, elephant dung, oxen shit, take your pick of appropriate adjectives.

A weapon, any weapon, is an inanimate object, a tool. Something that is in the literal sense “motivated” by the will of the operator. As such, the word “weapon” holds nothing but a neutral connotation. This is beside the fact that many people taking the NRA Basic Pistol course will be primarily interested in learning about handguns on order to put them to their intended purpose, the defense of self and family. Denying the essence of a firearm is off-putting to many more people than calling it what it is. It also smacks of semantic trickery and intellectual dishonesty, tactics of those that want to disarm the populace, not those that are on the side of liberty.

As a group, gun owners cannot hammer gun control advocates for failure to use proper terminology and then censor ourselves from using one of the most correct terms for firearms; at least not if we expect to retain any intellectual honesty. I can avoid calling a Fairbairn-Sykes a “dagger” all that I like. I can even use one to slice bread and put jam on toast, it is still not a butter knife. It remains what its designers intended it to be, and what thousands have used it for, a fighting knife. In the same sense I can use a pistol for any number of innocuous competitions and shooting events. It still retains its purpose. It is a tool used to equalize and neutralize adverse situations. An object that can be used to increase the efficacy and efficiency of damage delivered to an opponent. A weapon. To deny that is disingenuous and the NRA should absolutely reconsider this teaching point.

The second class was a high-intensity course attended only by professionals and run by some of the best instructors in the country. We fired in excess of one thousand rounds per student, through many types of weapons, within a five day period. However, this was not a shooting course, it was a fighting course. Nine hours a day we were fighting with something. Empty hands, improvised weapons, contact weapons, rifles and pistols of multiple makes, models, and calibers. Single opponents, multiple opponents, single targets, multiple targets; no breaks.  At the end of the day we would limp our way back to our homes or hotel rooms to slam a handful of ibuprofens and a beer or four. Then we were back at it the next day. Every student was hurt, several were injured, but no one quit working.

The stark difference in the two student bodies reminded me of a truism that I discovered early in life and have seen proven again and again:

“There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men.” -Robert A. Heinlein, Starship Troopers

Everyone in the first class was competent, everyone in the second class was dangerous. I am glad that the first group represents the American population.  I thank God that the second group is on our side. These men are not mean or brutal, they are not arrogant and they are certainly not psychopaths. (Yes, they all happened to be men but if you think that a woman can’t take you apart, you are not hanging around with the right women. Weapons don’t have a gender.) In fact, if you were given the chance to hang out with them, you would find that they are some of the most engaging, intelligent and witty people that you will ever meet; until they are not. They are extreme sheepdogs.

Why was there such a disparity between student bodies?  Part of the answer is level of training. The second group of students had a much higher level of training than the first, but that is not the whole answer. Increased training just makes a dangerous individual more dangerous.  The answer is intensity of training. The first class of students accomplished exactly what they intended. They drove to the range, went to the line, put some rounds through paper targets, packed up their stuff and left. No big deal, except for the fact that many of them finished a shooting drill and immediately concealed their pistols for the drive home. With the exception of three students, myself included, no one fired any combat drills prior to leaving. They took the lessons that they reinforced on the range out into the dangerous places of the world.

The second group of student started every day on the range with shooting drills. Exercises designed to hone accuracy, precision, and speed. However, shooting drills were used as a warm up for gun-fighting drills. Exercises emphasizing movement, speed, necessary accuracy, lethality, and preparation for worst case scenarios. Everyone on the line was training like their lives depended on it, because they do. Guys made things as difficult as possible on one another and themselves by starting drills from positions of disadvantage and inducing malfunctions on one another’s guns.  It was not uncommon to see pistols or knives instinctively punched through a close target when a student ran out of ammo. It was also not uncommon for a student to sprint away from a target to find cover once an engagement was complete. Students were training like they were in the real world, not a flat range. They understand that guns are just tools, the man is the dangerous weapon. They took the dangerous places of the world onto the range and trained for a fight. The last thing every student did on the range for the day was run a successful combat drill.

What are you training for? If you carry a gun, or have one in the home for protection, an appropriate amount of your training time should be devoted to fighting with that gun, not just shooting it.  Yes, both skills are vital and one must be able to shoot a gun before being able to fight with it.  For most of us, training time is hard to come by and ammo (especially right now) is dear. This makes it even more imperative that we know what we are training for, identify personal weaknesses, and have a training plan. If you are new to firearms, take a basic course from a reputable instructor (I am going to do another article on how to find a good instructor) and learn to safely handle your weapon. If you have progressed past that point, it is time to stop admiring how small your shot-groups are and get serious with your tools. Know when you are training to shoot and when you are training to fight. Learn to fight with your guns and finish every training iteration with a fighting scenario. Then take those skills with you into the dangerous and unpredictable world in which we live.

Gun Control Debate Part Six: Gun Insurance

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on June 8, 2013 by blackshepherd

Gun owners should be mandated to have liability insurance as a prerequisite for owning firearms or ammunition

Mandatory gun insurance is an idea that has recently come into favor with many gun control advocates. They claim that insurance will reduce gun violence by encouraging responsible gun ownership. They argue that insurance would provide a means to compensate victims of accidental or negligent shootings.

On 21 March 2013 Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, of New York, filed a bill in the House of Representatives. The Firearms Risk Protection Act of 2013 ( HR 1369) would require gun owners to purchase liability coverage and to show proof of that coverage when they purchase a firearm. Maloney says that her bill would introduce a market-based solution for holding gun owners liable for the weapons they own.

“In the wake of horrific tragedies like those at Newtown, Aurora, and Tucson, we as a society and we as lawmakers must provide answers. We must respect Americans’ rights to own guns but limit gun violence and gun death. We must continue to enable guns to be used in a lawful and safe manner by responsible citizens and we must keep guns out of the hands of others. We must make sure the atrocities we have witnessed never happen again. This federal requirement would serve as a market-based solution to holding gun owners liable for the weapons they own. As with car insurance premiums, higher risk gun owners will face higher premiums. Actuarial determinations will be made by insurance companies, as those experts are in the best position to make those determinations based on sound data analysis.”

Maloney emphasizes that her bill does not establish a federal insurance program. Instead, it imposes a fine of $10,000 if during the sale of a weapon the seller does not confirm coverage or the buyer does not have coverage.

This is important because multiple states including California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania have considered, but not passed, mandatory gun insurance legislation similar to HB 1369. Members of the Washington DC city council have also been advocating for mandatory gun insurance laws within the District of Colombia.

As always, do your own research:

California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington DC

At first glance, the idea of mandatory gun insurance seems almost feasible. After all, many of the things in our daily lives are insured, either by choice or by fiat. However, there are several problems with the idea. The first and biggest problem is one of constitutionality. It is simply outside of the scope of any American government, local, state, or federal, to require people to pay for the right to exercise their Constitutional freedoms; any of them. Advocates of the gun insurance scheme are fond of comparing it to homeowner’s or auto insurance, things that most people are familiar with and believe to be reasonable. What they fail to acknowledge, is that neither home nor auto ownership are enumerated in the Bill of Rights. What would the public reaction be if a lawmaker proposed legislation requiring liability insurance for libel or slander lawsuits prior to the exercise of free speech? What about a tax at polling places to cover the public cost of holding elections? The comparison fails the test in several other ways. One does not have to maintain insurance to own a car or drive it on public property; only to drive it on public roads. One does not have to maintain homeowner’s insurance to own a home, but you must to get a mortgage. The proposed legislation demands insurance merely for owning an item that lawmakers deem dangerous or scary. To smack the comparison around a bit more, approximately one in seven Americans do not have car insurance. This is despite laws mandating compulsory insurance, despite harsh legal penalties for driving without insurance, despite legions of state patrolmen, police officers, and parking officials that spend the majority of their time enforcing traffic violations; one in seven Americans is moving around in public in a large, unconcealed, and dangerous, rolling contravention of existing insurance laws. The comparisons between mandatory gun insurance and other forms of insurance simply do not pass muster.

The insurance industry also has multiple problems with the idea of mandatory gun insurance. The majority of the proposed legislation has included clauses covering “willful acts.” This clause goes beyond the scope of any existing liability insurance. No insurance company will write a policy that would cover criminal or intentional misuse of a firearm. This fact alone makes laws that mandate gun insurance untenable. The industry has also noted that the insurance would be redundant, due to the fact that many accidental shootings occur in the home and would already be covered by homeowner’s insurance.

The insurance industry does not want to become a government proxy for the regulation of guns or gun owners. The industry is adept at quantifying and pricing risk. However, the level of intrusion necessary to do so for firearms is beyond what most companies, or most individuals, are willing to accept. The industry would have to send insurance adjustors into the homes of the insured in order to conduct inspections. Individual companies would have to maintain massive amounts of personal data on their customers in order to accurately assess their individual risk. Aside from the massive privacy issues associated with this amount of information, mandatory insurance would become a de facto national gun registry. In order to accurately insure firearms an insurance agency would absolutely have to collect serial numbers, make and type, and location of all firearms that it insures. In an age when the government justifies access to all of the cell phone records maintained by major telecommunications companies, what is to stop governmental access of insurance records?  We have already talked at length about the implications of a national gun registry. It is unacceptable. Aside from governmental access what provisions would be in place to prevent criminal access to these insurance records? A criminal with location information concerning firearms has a shopping list of homes to rob and information about how to do so.

Then there is the issue of money. The costs of maintaining firearms insurance would effectively remove the capability from many who need it most. The working poor, elderly, disabled, and those who most struggle with their finances, would be effectively disarmed. This is in contravention of the fact that these same groups of people are often targeted by crime due to the neighborhoods in which they live, their age, or their disability. How is it moral to deny Americans a Constitutional right due to their inability to pay for it? No legislator would consider such a thing with any other portion of the Bill of Rights.

Even if one is able to ignore all of the other issues, mandatory gun insurance would not achieve the stated goals of those proposing it, reducing gun crime. In the same way that those with criminal intent do not legally purchase firearms, they will not subsequently pay for insurance on illegal guns. The criminal personality is not the type to acquire liability insurance simply because someone passes a law saying that they must. The idea is ludicrous. Gun insurance laws would also not deter mass shooters. I only bring this up because Rep. Maloney cited the shootings in Tucson, Aurora, and Newtown, during the introduction of her bill. It is extremely difficult for law enforcement and mental health professionals to identify potential mass killers before they act. Why would it be magically easier for an insurance salesman? If someone is committed to mass murder, they will borrow, buy, or steal, whatever they need to go through with their insanity. The advocates of gun insurance claim that their only interest is in reducing gun crime. However, the people that will comply with firearms insurance statutes will be those that are law-abiding members of the community, people who have something to lose by breaking the law. In other words, people that don’t commit gun crimes. Any limitation upon freedoms must be offset by the overwhelming and demonstrated efficacy of that limitation to contribute to the public welfare. Mandatory gun insurance does not even come close to passing that test.

Requiring liability insurance for all gun owners is in effect making the law-abiding culpable for the actions of the criminal or irresponsible. Gun insurance advocates claim that the societal costs of gun crime must be borne by gun owners. Why is a responsible and legal gun owner guilty for the acts of someone who is willing to use firearms irresponsibly or in commission of a crime? To make this leap of logic, one must believe that all guns are evil and gun owners should be punished for their decision to keep and bear arms. The people proposing mandatory gun insurance really do believe this. Unable to abolish the right to firearms through legitimate legislation, they are seeking a semantic end run around the 2nd Amendment. As discussed in previous posts, gun control legislator’s public statements do not match their private desires; they are not to be trusted. They pay lip service to liberty but their goal is to make gun ownership a hardship for American citizens. They want to make the exercise of an enumerated Constitutional right, firearms ownership, as onerous and expensive as possible. The only real purpose of their legislation is to consign gun owners to the margins of society and thus control the direction of America’s future. Do not let them get away with it.

 

D-Day

Posted in freedom with tags , , , on June 6, 2013 by blackshepherd

Today is the 69th anniversary of the D-day invasion. On June 6, 1944, over 160,000 allied troops assaulted the beaches of Normandy. Over 9,000 of those men were killed or wounded during the invasion.

If you can ever make the trip to Normandy, you must. Standing on Omaha beach, facing inland, is terrifying. Looking up at the sheer cliffs of Pointe Du Hoc, knowing that Rangers conquered them with only ropes and courage is awe inspiring. The American cemetery at Omaha beach is humbling in a way that few other places can be. It is a beautiful monument to free men who risked everything for the liberty of strangers. It is holy ground.

normandy

There is a possibly spurious quote that is attributed to Colin Powell. I don’t care if he actually said it, or if it is verbatim, it is still true.

“Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return.”

The D-Day anniversary stands in stark contrast to another anniversary that took place earlier this week, the Tiananmen Square atrocities. In one case, the might of a nation committed itself to freedom; in the other, tyranny.

I ask again, what are you doing with your freedoms?

Reality Check

Posted in freedom with tags , , , , , on June 4, 2013 by blackshepherd

Today marks 24 years since the Chinese government conducted a bloody repression of pro-democracy protestors in Tiananmen Square. Officially the Chinese government considered (and still considers) the protest a “counter-revolutionary revolt,” and justified the atrocities that followed as necessary for the maintenance of social order. Today in China even the most oblique internet searches related to the event are censored by the “People’s Republic.”

89-63_tank_man_-_web

Today in America we still have our freedoms, only because one generation after another has paid for them with money, time, sweat, tears, and blood. Sometimes with their lives. Most Americans have not earned their freedoms, they were given them as a gift the day they were born. A gift from those that have gone before. You were given freedom. What are you doing with it?