Friday, February 22, 2013

Grammar Granny

A brief trip through a bit of the United States Constitution...

Article I, section 8:

The Congress shall have Power

[... list truncated for space ...]

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;


To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repeal [sic] Invasions;

Amendment II

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.
Let's examine this language carefully. 
The congress is granted the power to create armies, a navy, and call upon "the militia".  What then, is the definition of "the militia"?  According to Webster,

a:  a part of the organized armed forces of a country liable to call only in emergency
b:  a body of citizens organized for military service
the whole body of able-bodied male citizens declared by law as being subject to call to military service

The 2nd Amendment states in its first noun phrase, "A well regulated militia". This is not, however, the primary subject in the clause.

Subsequently, the second phrase adjectively qualifies the first phrase as "being necessary to the security of a free state".  The first comma (between these phrases) appears to be completely superfluous.  Its absence would not change the meaning in any way.  Having a militia is deemed important to protecting the integrity of "the state" - which one can readily take to mean the country as a whole.

The third phrase (which is the second noun phrase), "the right of the people to keep and bear arms", presents itself strongly as the primary subjective material of the complete clause.

The fourth phrase, "shall not be infringed", is the predicate for the subject (in the third phrase).  Its separation from the third phrase by a comma also appears to be superfluous.

With the corrected punctuation, having no effect on the statement of the clause, we have the following:
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.

With that we can see more clearly the intent in the clause:
Because a militia affords necessary protection to the country, the people's right to own and possess arms cannot be curtailed.
Or in other words, to be able to have a militia, you really can't disarm the general population, and it's not lawful to do so through legal machinations or otherwise.

Furthermore, the use of the term "right" implies an inherent existence of the assertion;  it is not granted by authority nor descended from legislation or privilege.  It exists and stands axiomatically on its own, as an fundamental fact of human existence.

So, in my opinion, that would make the gun-grabber crowd to be a bunch of screaming idiots.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Share your Ignorance

Organizing for Action

Just got another creepy email from one "Jon Carson", aka "". It asks me:

"Why are you fighting to reduce gun violence?"

What a clever, presumptive title that places me immediately into one of two boxes!
  • EITHER:  I'm aiding these "control junkies" in their quest strip off rights and liberties of the general population "for a common cause",
  • OR:  I'm apathetic and unconcerned with violence (at best) and causing the deaths of my fellow citizens (worse). 
This stuff is exactly the kind of plainly-executed Orwellian nightmare fodder that would make someone like Joseph_Goebbels glow with pride.

Here's the message:
Maybe you've seen firsthand how gun violence can rip apart a family and a community.

Or maybe you're concerned by what you see on the news.

Whatever your reason, those in Congress who oppose sensible change need to hear from you: Share your personal story or views on why Congress should act right now to help protect our kids and reduce gun violence.

Notice how Jon's last paragraph says essentially nothing - except that you should help provide their propaganda operatives with more ideas that can be utilized to reinforce their agenda,  Nothing is said about what that agenda is, or how it is helpful.  So any cooperation you provide will be akin to writing a blank check for them.

It's right about one thing though.  What I see on the news does disturb me, quite often in fact.  But I don't think we're talking about the same events at all.

It continues...

Your story will inspire others to speak out and show legislators that now is the time.

President Obama said it: "More than a thousand birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun" in just the two months since the tragedy in Newtown.
Billions and billions to be served.
So why is our government buying up guns and bullets as fast as possible right nowIs this a new economic stimulus program?  Why are there ammunition shortages where the public is concerned?  It's hard not to think that their is a deliberate effort afoot to deprive the citizens of ammunition, possibly in advance of Something Big... like a total economic collapse, for example.  It would be advantageous for the showrunners to be the only ones with firepower in such a calamitous scenario, wouldn't it?  Oh, I know, I'm just being paranoid.  But 1.6B (yes, billion) bullets?

Each of those families deserves a vote by Congress on commonsense measures to help protect our kids.

But we need to demand it.

It's easy to share your story or point of view:
Blah blah blah ... instructions are provided next, supposedly to submit a story to be shared with your fellow citizens in a public forum... However, I'm sure my own would never be published, only ones which fit the right "mold" that supports the gun-grab agenda of the radical left in our country.

Notice, to submit anything you must provided enough information to be located and "subsequently corrected" if your thoughts are "wrong".

The email continues, imploring me to participate in their zombie horde:
Please share your story today:
Well gosh.  If you insist, team-Obama.  But instead of wasting space reposting the instructions to aid anti-constitutional traitors, I'm going "green" to save you some server bandwidth and carbon-credit.  I'll just go ahead and post my own story and point of view here.  I will make my demand known in very short and concise language, which I am more than happy to share with everyone:
"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."
You might recognize that from the Bill of Rights.  Or maybe not.
The needs of the many... or the one?
Then, Jon provides us with the courteous closing pitch, replete with the insipid and perfunctory "needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many" fallacy that we have come to loathe as much as any public statement by Dianne Feinstein ...

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Guns are Good

Regarding current media trends in the anti-gun (or as I might say, the gun-bigot) camp, I keep hearing the same, worn out things. It irks me. It worries me. And I am tired of repeating myself. So I think I will respond to some of the recurring bullshit here, and save my breath for a while. Maybe just link a QR code back to this page, and have it tattooed on my forehead. (Second thought: maybe just print it on a card.)
"Assault weapons like the AR-15 are destructive and should be banned."
Actually, the AR-15 (as with almost every weapon the media refers to as an "assault-weapon") does not actually qualify for the definition.  A true assault weapon is, in general, capable of selectable fully-automatic firing.  That means that the weapon itself is capable of sustaining rapid, repetitious firing, initiated by a single trigger-pull by the operator.  There are variants, such as burst or continuous modes, but the fundamental idea is the same.
A semi-automatic weapon never produces more than one fired shot for each trigger-pull by the operator.  The rate of fire achievable by a semi-automatic weapon is typically much lower than that of a fully-automatic weapon.
In fact, today the the AR15 is specifically a non-military version the venerable M16.  But it looks almost identical, and can share a number of the basic components (stocks, grips, barrels, etc.) - but not the select-fire capability.  That's not trivial circumvent, and it's illegal to do so (and has been for a very long time).
One can argue that porn is destructive, and being delivered by home computers, often to the detriment of children - so then should home computers should be banned?  I'm sure that would stop the "porn problem", too, wouldn't it?
"There's no reason you need to own a gun like ________."
Your rights, your liberties  - are not based on your needs.  There just isn't a logical connection here, yet somehow this phrase keeps coming out of the mouths of politicians.   The fallacy of the "need" argument is endlessly frustrating.  And it is manifest in other areas of our life nowadays, not just in firearms discourse.
You don't know how to feed yourself, so governments have decided to adjust your diet according to their liking ("You don't need trans-fats, or super-sized soft drinks, or so much meat in your diet.  Kids, eat more bean-sprouts and hummus -- even if you think it's gross like horseshit.  Etc.")
You don't know how to choose a vehicle properly for yourself.  ("You don't need a gas-guzzling SUV or truck.  You're killing the planet with carbon-emissions, destroying civilization by way of wrecking the environment.")
 And although politicians in some states have decided that you don't need to carry a weapon for self-defensive purposes, it is universally understood that those very same politicians travel with armed protectors or their own concealed weapons.
Some people are just more-equal than others, I guess.

Here are some other things that, likely, you don't need.
  • Contact lenses, Lasik surgery, etc.  (glasses work fine)
  • Swimming pools (such a waste of energy and precious water)
  • Timely medical care (unless you're bleeding to death, stand in line, bucko)
  • Physical stores (hey, shop online now)
  • The US postal service (obsolete)
  • Extensive knowledge about historical facts (disinformation)
  • Offensive music or visual art (incorrect ideas or concepts)
  • Excessive supplies of food, water, or other resources (depriving others)
  • Telescopes, two-way radios, binoculars (what are you looking at?)
  • Anything made by Apple (just get a PC, they work fine)
  • A large house or fast car (wastes fuel).
  • Adult entertainment (aka porn), in any form
  • Recreational travel across the globe (wastes fuel)
  • Colorful clothing - or anything except a single style of standard-issue clothing from the state.  Prison clothes, actually.  That would save a lot of trouble.  Yes, everyone should wear only prison clothes.
  • Snack-food, silly toys, videogames, alcohol, tobacco, jewelry, boats or aircraft, too much furniture, pets, refrigerators, ultra-soft toilet tissue, over-the-counter medications.
  • And the big one - a free market.  Why go through all that trouble, when the government can just coordinate your needs in a more orderly, efficient manner?  It's called central-planning, buddy.
"We need common-sense gun-control - NOW."
 A popular phrase with the anti-gun crowd, but what does "common-sense" actually imply?  That's the magic sauce here.  It can mean anything you like, depending on context - and where on the slippery-slope you are presently.  I'd say we're already way, way beyond "common-sense" with firearm regulations today, and in some places so far beyond "common-sense" that using the term is not just vague and meaningless but downright inapplicable and stupid.
California, for example.  If you're a criminal, California is a great place for you.  Nice weather, good scenery, the ocean, and lots of disarmed, gun-terrified potential-victims for you to choose from. Yes, taxes are ridiculous and housing unaffordable, but since it's virtually impossible for lawful citizens to get any kind of "permit to carry", the average guy on the street should be an easy target.  That is, unless he happens to be another criminal, in which case he could potentially shoot back at you if you go after him.

"Common-sense" to me means:
  • It's wrong to kill people for fun or profit, and hey, it's been unlawful to do so - like - forever.
  • Everyone has an inherent and natural right of self-preservation.  This right descends not from government's generosity, but is axiomatic and immutable.
  • All citizens capable of rational reasoning should be permitted to carry weapons of their choice for protection, without being forced through convoluted bureaucratic machinations a priori.
  • You should be able to own whatever gun you want and can afford.
 That's about it.

"Pro-gun advocates, like the NRA, are maleficent lunatics dominated by the gun industry."
So what is implied then, is that only gun-bashing, anti-freedom leftist organizations have valid points to make?  Where have we heard this reasoning before?  Sounds very familiar.  When you don't have a solid case with facts, your best strategy is to discredit your adversary before he can convince a majority of the correctness of his position.  This is the recurring modus operandi of the left; using general ignorance of the facts to their advantage, to advance their own causes rooted in their own ulterior motives.

Ask yourself this:
  • Who's working to TAKE liberties/property from you?
  • Who's working to PREVENT others from TAKING liberties/property from you?

"Only the police, and military, should possess firearms."
Do you believe the police will be able, or even required, to save you in every crisis situation?  Do you trust your government fully and completely to act in your best interests, forever more?  How are they doing in this vein?  I am always shocked to hear anyone state their desire to be a disarmed and defenseless citizen.

If your daily concerns look like:
  • What are my Facebook friends up to?
  • Where's the closest Starbucks right now?
  • What's happening on Jersey Shore?
  • What can I do to help stop global warming?
  • Should I buy another pair of shoes today, since they're on sale?
  • Should I be recycling more than I am now?
  • What's the latest music on iTunes?
  • Where are my missing socks?
 Then you probably aren't worrying about:
  • In an emergency, could you protect yourself and family?
  • How can $16 trillion ever be repaid, to anybody, anywhere?
  • Which freedoms are really guaranteed to you?
  • What can be taken away from you against your will?
  • What are your fellow citizens plotting to do regarding your future?
  • What does government have planned for your future?
  • Am I condemning subsequent generations to ever greater subjugation at the hands of a merciless governmental monstrosity?
  • When I vote in an election, what am I actually voting for?
"Hi-capacity magazines should be banned."
Actually, what's being referred to here, most often, are "standard-capacity" magazines.  The anti-gun crowd merely wishes to "dumb-down" the hardware below the level that it was designed to be;  They've come up with this magical "10-round" figure which holds some special significance for their narrative as a "reasonable" magazine-capacity limit.  Maybe it's because that's how many fingers/toes they have.  Maybe they want 5-rounds per hand, if you're shooting with both hands.
I've personally never understood this thinking at all, since switching mags can be a very fast operation without much practice.  Again, if those advocating such things had the first clue about what operating a weapon is like, with first-hand experience, they might just understand how moronic their claims sound to the rest of us.
It's essentially as ridiculous as mayor Bloomberg's high-capacity (20-oz) soda ban in New York - resulting in much pain-in-the-ass for the public, which now just buys twice as many bottles to get what they desired in the first place.

So in summary, my message to the gun-grabber crowd:  I'll leave you alone, but you must afford the same in return.  Find another hobby.  Go enjoy your marijuana bong and the occasional abortion or whatever you do.  Leave me out of it...