Category Archives: Civil Liberties

More on Guns

Cato, which was heavily involved in the suit, has the details.

Shelly Parker lived in a high-crime neighborhood in the heart of Washington. People on her block were harassed relentlessly by drug dealers and addicts. Parker called the police, time and again, then encouraged her neighbors to do the same. She organized block meetings to discuss the problem. For her audacity, Parker was labeled a troublemaker by the dealers, who threatened her at every opportunity.

One dealer tried to pry his way into her house, repeatedly cursing, then yelling, “I’ll kill you. I live on this block too!”

For obvious reasons, Shelly Parker would like to possess a functional handgun within her home for self-defense; but she feared arrest and prosecution because of the District’s unconstitutional gun ban.

You see, Shelly is not a good little minion, allowing herself to be raped and killed at will — which is what the gun-grabbers apparently want. Doesn’t she know that the appropriate response to crime is to let them do what they want and die content in the knowledge that the police — maybe — will put the in jail for a few years?! Sheesh. It’s like she thinks her life is worth something.


I’ve of two minds about the HPV vaccine. I don’t like being friends with the religious zealouts who think that eliminating VD and pregnancy risk will turn women into wanton harlots. But at the same time, I’m not comfortable with mandating the use of the vaccine. This post from Cato is as good a response as any, making both good points:

The rate of all 37 types [of HPV] together is high – 34% among women ages 14 to 24, but the rate for the types 16 and 18 that are responsible for 70% of cervical cancer cases in the U.S. – is only 1.5% and 0.8% respectively.

And unfortunately hysterical ones:

Risk assessment is not easy, particularly when, as is the case with Gardasil, the long term effects of a vaccine are totally unknown. Women who participated in the drug trials were followed for an average of less than three years. Consider this totally hypothetical example: what if 90% of all school age girls are vaccinated within the next five years and then ten or twenty years from now it is discovered that the vaccine made them sterile or actually caused them to get a different type of cancer than what they were vaccinated against?

Side effects don’t magically appear at 20 years. They phase in slowly. If Gardasil were going to ruin women’s reproductive systems, it would already be showing up.

I am also disturbed by the deliberate deception and buying of politicans Merck is displaying (and I own stock in them). My fundamental philosophy of human nature is that we are basically good people but we are easily tempted to be bad. And with $10 billion in Gardasil on the line, it’s easy to fudge the ethics.

My opinion? Recommend it but don’t mandate. This isn’t like polio or measles, which can be spread by casual contact and become an epidemic. This is spread by intimate contact and actually kind of rare (although Sue’s grandmother died of it). I will probably get my soon-to-arrive daughter vaccinated when she is of age. Of course, by then, we’ll have ten years of data to show how effective the HPV vaccine is and if there are any side effects. And as anyone who knows me or reads this blog is aware, I have nothing but antipathy for the anti-vaccination crowd, be they ignorant libs, faith healing theo-cons or ideology-addled libertarians.

But let’s take it slow, huh?

Fisking the Wapo

The Washington post has a preditaby hysterical reaction to the Second Ammendment ruling striking down the anti-gun statute that has made DC ever so safe with no violence whatsoever.

IN OVERTURNING the District of Columbia’s long-standing ban on handguns yesterday, a federal appeals court turned its back on nearly 70 years of Supreme Court precedent to give a new and dangerous meaning to the Second Amendment. Yes. The intended meaning. Freedom is always dangerous, isn’t it?

If allowed to stand, this radical ruling will inevitably mean more people killed and wounded as keeping guns out of the city becomes harder. Any evidence to support this hysterical prediction? No? I didn’t think so. As shown in Freakonomics, More Guns, Less Crime and other studies, there is no proven connection between gun laws and crime unless it favors a crime decrease with gun ownership – since the criminals now fear the public. I’ve never understood why the gun grabbers are so convinced that society is better off when the law-abiding live in terror of the criminals, rather than vice-versa.

Unless the logic is that the mere possession of a gun turns someone into a criminal. The gun is, apparently, an evil talisman that makes people go out and commit crimes.

Moreover, if the legal principles used in the decision are applied nationally, every gun control law on the books would be imperiled. Great! And when the Supreme Court over-turned segregation, it imperiled every cracker-ass Jim Crowe law in the nation, too!

The court grounded its unprecedented ruling in the finding that the Second Amendment right to bear arms extends beyond militias to individuals. Gee. It’s almost like they read that part of Constitution that says: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” In modern language – because a standing army is necessary to keep the American people free, we must make sure that the people have weapons of their own to avoid tyranny. Goddammit, WaPo, could do you fucking research? Do you think that perhaps the opinions of the men who wrote the Constitution should count slightly more than those of FDR’s packed 1939 Supreme Court? If you want to rewrite the Second Ammendment, pass a 27th repealing it.

The Supreme Court, in its landmark 1939 decision United States v. Miller, stated that the Second Amendment was adopted “with obvious purpose” of protecting the ability of states to organize militias and “must be interpreted and applied with that end in view.” This was when FDR was packing the court and it is utter bullshit. Total absolute complete crap. Nowhere in the Bill of Right are powers given to the states (they are merely reserved in the tenth). The Bill of Rights is about . . . Duh! . . . people’s rights! That FDR was concerned about some wave of anarchy sweeping the nation is irrelevant. The Supreme Court was wrong in 1939, just as they were wrong with the Commerce Clause, with seperate-but-unequal laws and with Dred Scott. Legal precedent is written by men not brought down from Mount Horeb on stone tablets. And sometimes, men are wrong.

You can’t just fall back on precedent and declare the debate over. That’s no better than falling back on the Bible and stoning gays.

While the ruling caught observers off guard, it was not completely unexpected, given the unconscionable campaign, led by the National Rife Association and abetted by the Bush administration, to broadly reinterpret the Constitution so as to give individuals Second Amendment rights. I like it that an interpretation – one that was upheld by the Supreme Court of 150 years is “unconscionable” – that certain opinions are now politically incorrect. Plus, the WaPo is ignoring that the NRA opposed this lawsuit. And what is wrong with the NRA anyway? Why is an organization that teaches responsible gun ownership evil? Oh, because they oppose the liberal police state. Gotchya.

The NRA predictably welcomed yesterday’s ruling. Wrong. They were upset. Because they think the Supreme Court will strike it down. Which it probably will. The three liberal justices will do what they always do – rewrite the Constitution for their own ends. The two moderate justices will go along, not wanting to upset precedent. As to the four conservatives — Thomas and possibly Alito and Roberts will uphold the decision. But who knows what planet Scalia will be on. This is a man who thinks we no longer need the exclusionary rule. I’m sure he’ll say the “new professionalism” of our government means we need no longer fear tyranny.

According to its myth, only criminals have had guns in the city and now law-abiding citizens will be able to arm themselves for protection. Um . . . if guns are outlawed, by definition those with guns are outlaws, no? How is that a myth? This is a piece of logic I have never understood — mainly because it’s not logic, it’s emotion. It’s based on the totalitarian fantasy that you can stop something by passing a law. But what is it in the deranged anti-gun mind that thinks criminals won’t break gun laws? Can someone please explain this to me? I mean, outlawing drugs sure cleaned up that problem, didn’t it?

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) counters that argument with the sad record of what results from a proliferation of guns. As he points out, more guns mean only more violence. A statement given (as usual) without proof. There is zero evidence to support this. Every time gun laws are liberalized, such as in Florida a decade ago, a crime wave is predicted. We’re told people will be shooting each other over traffic accident, abusive men will murder their wives and kids will blow their brains out. And every single time it fails to happen. But facts don’t matter to the gun control crowd. Emotions do. Banning guns gives the illusion of safety. And illusions are all they have.

Well, here is an illusion I’d like to cling to. If there ever comes a time when our government becomes tyrannical — and it’s closer now than it was six years ago — I’d like to think that Americans could resist. If a criminal comes barging in my house, I’d like to think I could have a chance to defend myself. If a woman is attacked on the streets of DC, I’d like to think she’d blow some crook’s brains out rather than blow a stupid fucking whistle and hope the cops come before the criminal finishes raping her and gets around to blowing her brains out with a gun that is banned but manages to exist anyway.

That’s my illusion. And I’m sticking to it.

Guns and Booze

An appeals court has realized that there is actually a second ammendment in the Constitution.

In a 2-to-1 decision, a panel of the court, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, ruled those provisions unconstitutional. The Second Amendment says, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

The basic question in the case was whether the first clause limits the second one.

Most federal appeals courts have said that the amendment, read as a whole, protects only a collective right of the states to maintain militias — in modern terms, the National Guard. But in yesterday’s decision, the majority focused on the second clause, saying that the amendment broadly protects the rights of individuals to own guns — an approach that has been embraced by the Justice Department and by some constitutional scholars

The former interpretation is pure garbage. It’s using the letter of the law to defeat the purpose of the law. Our founding fathers made it abundantly clear precisely what the Second Ammendment meant. The use of the word “militia” is a caveat to two principles: (1) some of the Founding Fathers, like Thomas Jefferson, opposed the creation of a standing army and wanted a free militia of armed citizens to be our line of defense; (2) the right to bear arms was given because of he creation of government militias — to prevent them being use to oppress the people.

If the Second Ammendment has been designed to give the state militia power, it would be the only part of the Bill of Rights that gives a power to the government, rather than taking one away.

If you oppose gun freedom, ammend the Constitution. But don’t go reading bullshit that isn’t there into it. For the first time in generations, the court has decided to uphold the Constitution. This is a good thing.

After I heard of this, I also heard of a program in Austin to curb under-aged drinking. What struck me was hat the puritan-in-charge said she wanted to change the attitude toward alcohol of those between 12 and 25.

Um, 25 year-olds can drink, even in this state. Especially in this state. Keep an eye on these jokers. Just like MADD, they are cloaking their temperance agenda in the rhetoric of stopping drunk driving and keeping booze from kids.

In The News

Browsing the news….

  • I’m shocked, SHOCKED that the FBI is abusing the power given to them in the Patriot Act. Wait, you mean we can’t just punt our civil liberties and hope that the government will play nice?
  • Expect the left to go apeshit over Newt Gingrich having an affair during the Clinton scandal. Of course, Newt didn’t grope women in hallways, expose himself to an employee and lie under oath. But don’t expect that subtlety to show up on Daily Kos or Huffpo. It will also be forgotten how the Clinton “we need to end the politics of personal destruction” personal destruction machine was after Gingrich from day one, circulating an exaggerated story of him serving his first wife divorce papers on her hospital bed.
  • You know, when Bill Clinton slimed his opponent, that was bare-knuckle politics. When the Attorney General does it, it’s something else. I’m glad Bush has backed off and hopefully it will turn out that these are disgruntled ex-employees mouthing off. But I doubt it.
  • Fascists, Slavers and Knaves, Oh My!

    Nice to know that the French never learn anything. Of course, our cops are, informally, trying to get the same thing here.

    Walter Williams takes the starch out of VA’s apology for slavery. I always love it when people apologize for things that happened 150 years ago.

    I’m sort of in the middle on the whole climate of fear thing. Yes, I agree that the threat of terrorism is overstated and the War on Terror is quickly becoming nothing but a pork barrell. But there is a very real threat. I think we could make ourselves much safer with a fraction of the money we’re spending now.