Mission statement:

Armed and Safe is a gun rights advocacy blog, with the mission of debunking the "logic" of the enemies of the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

I can be reached at 45superman@gmail.com.You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/45superman.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Balanced journalism, Contra Costa Times-style

Columnist Tom Barnidge makes some . . . interesting assertions in his "According to the NRA, we need guns to keep us safe" screed.

NOT EVERY member of the National Rifle Association is a gun-toting survivalist with an ammo belt slung over his shoulder.
Thank goodness for Tom clearing that up--I'm sure many readers were confused, and under the impression that "EVERY" one of the NRA's approximately 4 million (and growing) members are "survivalists" (what's wrong with putting some effort into survival, anyway?), who apparently own belt-fed firearms.

At this point, though, Tom hasn't really even gotten warmed up. Now he gets down to business:
The Second Amendment, which protects Americans' right "to keep and bear arms," has been dissected, parsed and mulched so many times that no one knows for certain what it really means.
Is that so, Tom? David E. Young certainly seems to have a good idea (good enough to be cited six times in the Heller decision)--good enough for 838 pages of exhaustively researched scholarship. And that's not all of his work on the subject. David Hardy seems to have a pretty good idea of the meaning, as do Dave Kopel, Stephen Halbrook, and quite a few others.
Was it intended to protect states' rights to arm a "well regulated militia" against an overbearing national government as the wording suggests . . .
The wording somehow "suggests" that, without mentioning the word "states" (it does mention the right of the people, but perhaps Tom was thinking of Dennis Henigan's version of the Second Amendment, in which "the people" go unmentioned).
. . . or does it mean that every American has the right to strap on a shoulder holster in the morning and keep an Uzi under his pillow at night?
No histrionics there, eh? I of course, can't imagine what the problem would be with people "strap[ing] on a shoulder holster in the morning," and I fully support their Constitutionally guaranteed right to do so. As for the "Uzi under the pillow," it sounds rather uncomfortable, but it's not my place--or anyone else's--to forbid it.
Because the amendment dates to 1791, the authors are unavailable for comment, leaving the matter to advocates such as [former NRA president Sandy] Froman to provide enthusiastic, if decidedly partisan interpretation.
As opposed to Tom's evenhanded, impartial interpretation.

I'm not quite sure what to make of this part:
And the organization's stance against an assault-weapons ban was a matter of definition: Assault weapons, as described by proponents of the law, would have included even semiautomatic weapons used for deer hunting.
If she really said that, I have one more reason to castigate the NRA--because however so called "assault weapons" are defined, and however little use they have for "sporting purposes," any gun rights advocacy group that doesn't fight such a ban tooth and nail isn't worth a glass of spit. In Froman's and the NRA's defense, though, it is extremely plausible that Tom paraphrased her very poorly.

The next part surprised me a bit (my emphasis added)
That explains the NRA's stance against gun registration. When a government sets out to disarm its citizenry, she said the task is too easy if gun owners' names are stored on a database.

For those of us not yet convinced the feds' grand plan is to strip us of our inalienable rights, the visions of doom seem a bit over the top.
So is Tom acknowledging that private gun ownership is an inalienable right? Sure sounds that way, but it's not very consistent with anything else he says--especially when he ends the piece with what sounds like an endorsement of a government monopoly on force.
Besides, we've seen what happens when a well-regulated militia takes up arms against the government.

You might know it as the Civil War.
We also know what happens when there isn't an effective citizen militia to take up arms against the government.

It's called the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust, Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, the Khmer Rouge killing fields, etc.

15 comments:

strandediniowa said...

Well said, Kurt.

Just because some people are confused about what the founders wrote, they project that on everyone else.

Seems to me that he's confused about what he writes as well.

45superman said...

Thanks, Stranded. Sometimes, when dealing with an op-ed like that, I get so lost in where to start critiquing it that I never get very far with it.

mikeb302000 said...

45, Do you really think if the Government of the United States, with it's world-class military apparatus decided to oppress its citizens, you guys would save the day? Don't you see how ridiculous that is? Not only is the possibility of that happening in 21st century America nearly zero, but if by some bizarre turn of events it did, what are you gonna do?

I know, you'll go down in a blaze of glory, the last true patriots. Is that it?

45superman said...

Mikeb, that world-class military apparatus hasn't managed to kill all the insurgents in Iraq or Afghanistan, has it? And in those places, the politicians who send them aren't around to be targeted. In those places, the Oath Keepers aren't refusing orders on Constitutional grounds.

I'm not saying that the likelihood of any one individual patriot's survival is very great, but a few of us might make it.

If not, what's the alternative--just sit here and accept tyranny? You are far removed from America indeed if you think dying while fighting isn't a million times preferable to that.

Bob S. said...

Kurt,

Only quible is that you missed one item, admittedly it is a pet peeve of mine.

States don't have rights. The states have powers reserved to them under the constitution. Only the people have rights.

MikeB302000,

Isn't it amazing that you are such an expert on what the military and the police can do.
I'm not surprised you kept up with what the police can do, but you've admitted to not keeping up with your military training.

Not only is the possibility of that happening in 21st century America nearly zero,

And you base this statement on what analysis? On what understating?

You might want to consider also that law abiding gun owners like us might not be the only ones fighting.

Do you think that people who owned guns illegally, like you did, would also fight the government or they simply turn in their guns.
On this I think you might have more experience or knowledge then the rest of us.

45superman said...

Only quible is that you missed one item, admittedly it is a pet peeve of mine.

States don't have rights. The states have powers reserved to them under the constitution. Only the people have rights.


Agreed, but I think the only reference to "states' rights" is in my quote of a passage from the original op-ed piece (of crap) that inspired this blog post.

I have sloppily used the inaccurate term "states' rights" in the past, but I've gotten away from doing so lately.

45superman said...

Bob S.--on further analysis, I think I see what you're saying: that I neglected to call out the author on his use of the "states' rights" term. Yeah--I probably should have, but there was so much to pick on that I was inevitably going to miss some things.

I guess I've kinda come to accept that people are going to think in terms of "states' rights," no matter how often we try to correct them, and that's not a battle I have a lot of energy for.

Bob S. said...

45Superman,

That is what I'm saying...you missed the opportunity to highlight that bogusness.

In your defense, you are right. You had so much to work with on this one that it is easy to miss.

I'm not faulting you, just trying to add to the general discussion via pointing it out.

This is an area where I'm willing to expend energy. I am tired of hearing how the 2nd amendment is a "states rights" issue. Taking on that false statement supports the individual rights view of the 2nd.

Each person has to decide where to spend time. I think you did a great job fisking that steaming pile.

45superman said...

Point taken, Bob S. You're right--that is a battle worth fighting.

the pistolero said...

does it mean that every American has the right to strap on a shoulder holster in the morning and keep an Uzi under his pillow at night?
Well of course it does, but my personal subgun preference would be a 10mm MP5. ;-)

45superman said...

Pretty hard to argue with your choice of SMGs, Pistolero--unless someone chambers the KRISS Vector for the .50 GI cartridge, and better yet, loads the .50 GI to .460 Rowland pressures, which would hopefully make it capable of launching a .325 grain Speer hollowpoint at 950 fps. Now that would be a room broom ;-).

the pistolero said...

Indeed. In fact, I'd venture to say that between those higher pressures and the Vector's longer barrel, that 950 fps would be a lowball figure.

45superman said...

Yeah--I didn't think to take the barrel length into account (I was hoping for that kind of performance from a 5" barrel, which might be a teensy bit overly optimistic).

Anonymous said...

GOt so lost in the general chit-chat, I forgot my original train of thought.

"We also know what happens when there isn't an effective citizen militia to take up arms against the government."

You forgot to mention that WE, as a free American nation, would not be here were it not for citizen militia taking up arms against the British government.

B Woodman
III-per

45superman said...

Good point, B. Woodman, although I'm not sure the author of the Contra Costa Times op-ed thinks that our casting off the colonial yoke was such a great thing, anyway. He probably would be happier if we were still under the same government that's now considering banning long, pointy kitchen knives.