Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Rumblings on the Left

Clayton Cramer points us to a post on Democratic Underground that you must read to believe. The person who posted it, Watcher, is fed up with conservatives. He or she calls them sub-humans and every other name one can use to insult other people. Watcher's tone is basically calling for a civil war, though Watcher says he/she will only become violent if conservatives invade his/her space.

The rhetoric is terrible and there's more vitriol in Watcher's screed than I can stomach. It’s too long to quote adequately, but here’s a sample:
I can no longer peacefully co-exist with these people. They are accessories. They are co-conspirators, willful or ignorant, misguided or fearful, it matters not. They are ALL Guilty. I cannot have these people around me. I cannot have them in my personal space. I do not have children, but if I did I would not accept them being around my children.

They are filthy, degenerate, and LOST. And I no longer find their very existence acceptable. They are aiding in the destruction of this country, and as individuals they have absolutely NOTHING to contribute to the progression of the human species. NOTHING. I deeply hesitate to use the word "Useless Eaters", because of the negative connotations behind it, but I no longer care.
Even worse is that many commenters (any many jumped on the thread) agreed with Watcher. A few pointed out that such screeds have led to genocide and fascism in the past. These words of moderation were condemned. Interesting that the "party of peace" shall we say harbors so many haters.

What personally struck me about Watcher's rant was not the vitriol or commenters who agreed with Watcher. What struck me is Watcher’s wish to be left alone. You see, I sometimes conclude my posts with a lament to anti-gunnies. I tell them to leave me alone and let me enjoy shooting and collecting guns to my heart's content. I'll certainly leave them alone.

But, there's a big difference between Watcher and me. Watcher wants to see the left rise and create a utopia, but “Bushies” are preventing it. That utopia, if created, would be a nightmare for most Americans and probably for Watcher as well. It would be a world of high taxes, no guns in civilian hands, enforced veganism. In this vision, politically correct definitions will rule over common sense. It would lead to a country that none of us would recognize as America—it would be worse than Europe because we Americans never do things in halves.

Watcher's hopes are why I stopped being a Democrat (I am not a Republican either even though my family had been Democrats since before anyone can remember). Watcher is an example of what fervent moonbattism could bring about--a dystopian world enjoyed by only a handful of our "enlightened betters." It's worth fighting these totalitarian snakes in our midst.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

A Conversation with an Anti-Gunnie

Most of my co-workers are very anti-gun. Many of them were born and raised in Massachusetts and have sucked down recent anti-gunism philosophy with unquestioning gusto. The only one who surprises me is a woman who was born and raised in Texas, who lived on a ranch, and now hates guns. I have no explanation other than it must be in the water.

I had an interesting conversation with one of my co-workers today who learned I'm a gun owner and avid shooter. Since he's a new employee, he hadn't met a gunnie before (that’s me a rare bird). He asked me a few questions and then asked why I wouldn't support firearm licensing and registration.

He carted out all the usual arguments. He compared guns and cars, how police could track guns, how bad guys wouldn't be able to buy guns. You've heard them all before and they’re all bunk. I tried to explain why to him, but he continued to push the argument. He finally said something to the effect, "Well, I know you're reasonable, so if you designed a gun licensing and registration system what would it look like?"

I hadn't heard that one before, so I had to get back to him. Here's what I came up with. First, I'd never support any kind of registration—that's out of the question entirely. I explained that even if I trusted today's crop of politicians (which I don't), who knows how such records would be used in the future. Someday, someone will use them to confiscate once legally owned firearms.

He didn't have an answer for that one, so I moved to licensing. I told him the only firearm license I could support is a "universal" license. That is, everyone must get a license unless society thinks they are a danger to others based on objective criteria. (Note: I think felons should get gun rights back after they prove they can re-enter society and not resume criminal behavior. I suppose there are a few out-and-out violent bastards and mentally ill people who shouldn't have guns, but why they're not in prison or a hospital is a question for another time.) Since everyone must get a license, there would be no way for authorities to know who actually bought a gun assuming the NICS check was put out of business.

My co-worker sputtered for a minute and said, "Well that would mean I’d have to get a gun license, too." And I said "damn straight there, chief"—or words to that effect. Then he observed that it still wouldn’t mean people were "qualified" to own a gun. I observed back that if you really wanted to be certain you could have gun classes and shooting lessons for everyone, including him.

He revealed his true colors and said that my scheme would coerce everyone into being a gun nut and he couldn’t shoot one of those things even if he were forced to. Then, I said, "I don’t have the right to coerce you into getting a gun license and maybe even firing a gun. But, why do you think you have the right to coerce me into getting a license for a Constitutional and human right? Why should I go to great lengths, which I did to get a Massachusetts gun license, that potentially marks me as a ‘suspect’ citizen?" No answer.

Of course, even if I could implement a universal license I wouldn’t. The government shouldn't have that much power. But, I found it interesting to turn the tables on an anti-gunnie and maybe make him realize that ideas he supports are just as onerous to me as my idea was to him. Then again, I probably just wasted my time.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Self Evident Rights

Via The Bitch Girls, we have this letter to the editor of a Mississippi paper from a former British subject. The writer feels that we Americans value our right to bear arms too fervently and should become more civilized, perhaps I suspect more in line with his former country.

Here is the most relevent portion:

Do I want the government to have a monopoly on force? You betcha! Those we elect and appoint to protect us need to hold all the cards. The time at which officialdom might abuse such a monopoly is miniscule when compared to the daily slaughter of Americans by Americans throughout the land.

I am a relatively new American, having migrated from Britain in 1965, and becoming an ardent American citizen in 1976. I realize that the desire to bear arms is a matter going back to the founding of the nation and is deep in the soul of most Americans in a way which I cannot feel or understand. This right will not be changed easily or overnight. But it must change in the fullness of time. The presence of semi-automatic weapons in the hands of the public and the general ease with which current gun laws are circumvented is counter productive to a people seeking public safety and mutual respect.

John Paul


Bitter thinks he might feel more at home in a less freedom loving state like New Jersey or Massachusetts. I would concur, but add that maybe he would be happier moving back to where he came from, namely Britain, a country who's government no longer seems to believe in inherent rights.

To become a citizen of the United States, you have to study the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. John Paul must have read those documents at some point. Obviously he read them but understood nothing.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --

In today’s language: We are born with Rights that are a fundamental part of our humanity. Everyone has those Rights whether or not they or their government choses to recognize them. People in North Korea, New Hampshire, Great Britain and Iraq have those Rights. They are part of what makes us human beings. Part of what it means to be an American is the ability to recognize those Rights. One of those fundamental rights is the Right to Bear Arms which was iterated by our founders in the 2nd Amendment to the Bill of Rights. The Founding Fathers recognized this Right to be so important and vital that it was one of the ten they thought needed to be listed for posterity.

If a person who has been a citizen of this country for nearly 30 years cannot understand this fundamental aspect of what America is all about and in fact wants to change this nation into one that no longer recognizes the right to bear arms and probably other fundamental rights, I would argue that that person should leave this country and seek citizenship in one that better suits their belief system. His home country of Great Britain seems to be an ideal choice since the current government seems to be hell bent on ignoring the ancient rights that even Henry the VIII accorded to his subjects. Rights like double jeopardy and the right to confront ones accusers, as well as the right to bear arms.

More "Advice" on Self-Defense

Why does anti-self-defense sentiment rear its head in states like Maine? What is it about today’s police and society in general that discourages people to defend themselves?

Yesterday’s Boston Globe discussed a training program in Maine for pharmacists and their assistants. Law enforcement officials laud the proposed training which Maine’s pharmacy association will sponsor. The program’s gist is: avoid any confrontation, do what the robber wants, be a good witness.

In other words, they want us be good sheep, to bleat, call 911, and wait to give a police officer a description that will fit thirty percent of the population. And we wonder why crime is so high.

I’ve seen such advice before and I’m writing about it now because it was to pharmacists. My father, now retired, was a pharmacist who owned his own store in a small western city. He was aware of security even 30 years ago (despite the quote a Maine pharmacist gave saying that he didn’t worry about security when he entered the business 28 years ago). My dad’s store had an alarm including a daytime panic alarm, a safe for narcotics, and other security features. And, he and his assistant pharmacist kept guns in the store.

My dad believed in self-defense. He is also a wise man who once explained to me that getting shot over a bottle of pills or your wallet is not a good idea, but that you can’t trust a criminal. You don’t know if that criminal will shoot even if you cooperate. My dad also once said that dignity is worth defending.

Like him, I believe in self-defense. I have problems with “be a good witness” advice. It doesn’t work and I believe it actually increases crime. Here’s why I don’t like it;

1) Most people are not observant enough to give a description that will lead to an arrest unless the robber just barely exited the store and had no time to get away. And the longer the time between the offense and capture, less likely an arrest will be made based solely on description.

2) A criminal can change his or her appearance with a change of clothes, putting on or taking off a hat or jacket, re-combing hair, etc. One doesn’t need to be a master of disguise to alter one’s appearance.

3) There’s not enough difference between us humans to really describe someone (the famous description of “he was medium height, build, medium complexion, medium colored hair” comes to mind).

4) A cooperative attitude makes robbery easier causing more people to commit more robberies. There is little risk to robbing people.

5) People have been convicted of crimes based on eyewitness testimony and then were found innocent later. One could have a slight resemblance to a robber and end up doing his time.

6) If a robber does go to prison based on good eyewitness, that robber will be released some day. In the likely event that he returns to crime, he may decide it’s in his best interest to eliminate eyewitnesses. Thus, current law enforcement advice may actually be escalating violence levels.

So, what’s my answer? Be armed whenever possible and practical. Practice often and realistically. Keep your weapon in good working condition. Don’t allow yourself to be disarmed at all costs. Don’t be a sheep, but be smart and don’t get killed over property. If a robber is already pointing his gun at you, cooperate because you can’t outdraw his trigger finger. If you have a chance to go for your gun, do it. Have a plan and always be aware of your surroundings. I’m not paranoid and I don’t fear leaving my house, but I am careful. (Remember I’m not a lawyer or self-defense expert so the above is only my personal advice and you can follow it or not as you choose.)

Friday, November 25, 2005

Happy (Belated) Thanksgiving and Update

Bill and I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We had a fairly busy Thanksgiving, or at least I did. I made a traditional Thanksgiving feast even though Bill and I were they only people at the table. We had turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie--the works. That meant I spent a few memorable moments with my hands up a turkey's ass, but it's all good. By the time I finished, the kitchen looked like a mini-tornado that had taken everything out of cabinets, dunked them in old food, and dropped them all on the counters.

This is not the first Thanksgiving dinner we have by ourselves. Bill's family lives in Texas and mine lives in Idaho and that's a little too much "over the river and through the woods" for us to do on a four-day weekend. Even though we miss our families, we do enjoy each other's company a lot.

I've been quite busy at work this week, but here's the good news; my project is winding down and this week I put finishing touches on my deliverables. I've already received a performance award for my work. You can bet at least part of that award will find itself into a gun or lots of ammo.

With the end of my major project, I can concentrate a little more on the blog. You will soon see a few changes and better housekeeping; a few additions to the blogroll, a few more photographs, and other stuff we hope will make Ten Ring better.

So, thanks for sticking with us for about 11 months now. We've gotten a lot out of it and we hope you have too. Now, I gotta go and tackle that kitchen.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Ammo Day

Today is National Ammo Day--one day of the year when gunnies stage a buycott of ammo. Each year, more gunnies adopt ammo day as a day to add to our supplies, to raise awareness of the shooting sports, and to support our local gun dealers.

This year, several bloggers and forums added a twist and said to buy ammo at Wal-Mart. They even added a certain time. Their arguments convinced me and I decided to buy ammo at our nearest Wal-Mart and at our favorite gun store. We hope to raise a spike in Wal-Mart's sales records and convince them that we are an excellent market that they better make happy.

Here are our purchases:

The Winchester white boxes are from Wal-Mart. We bought 4 boxes of .223 ammo (40 to a box for a total of 160 rounds), and we bought three boxes of 9mm ammo (100 to a box for a total of 300 rounds). The subtotal is 460 rounds.

At our local gun shop, State Line in Mason, NH, we bought two boxes of .308 Winchester and two bricks of .22 long rifle ammo--one is CCI Standard Velocity and the other is Eley Sport. Eley makes the best target ammunition in the world, and they have a line of inexpensive practice rounds. National Ammo Day gives me an excuse to try it out. That's a sub-total of 1,040 rounds and a grand total of 1,500 rounds.

We hope your Ammo Days were at least as productive and we hope you have a lot of good, safe fun using up those brand new cartridges.

Friday, November 18, 2005

A Tale of 54 Guns in Pennsylvania

I haven’t talked about the shooting in Pennsylvania. An 18 year old man, David Ludwig, killed his 14-year old girlfriend’s parents and then he and his girlfriend took off. They were captured in Indiana and police officials aren’t sure, or they’re not telling, if the girl was involved with the murders or if he kidnapped her.

I’m a little surprised that anti-gunnies haven’t made more of this story. It has all the elements they need to twist it into a tight little ball of gun-hatred:

*The young man had access to firearms;
*He is a hunter;
*He was home schooled in probably a Christian family, and;
*He seemed like a nice guy until he went berserk with a gun.

Jeez, could gun-banners asked for anything more. Well, if they did, they got their wish.

There are two news articles this morning that make a great deal about finding 54 guns in the teen’s home. A court document lists three AR-15 “assault weapons” and, gasp, “Several rifles and shotguns, some pump-action….” Of course, the family had “…numerous rounds of ammunition….” The guns were removed from the house. I don’t know why they were removed since there are no allegations that Ludwig’s family had anything to do with the murders.

The stories don’t say who the guns belong to. My guess is most belong to Ludwig’s father who is a commercial airline pilot. They might be owned by several family members. Who knows?

I don’t know if these guns are a collection in the sense of historically interesting guns, or an accumulation a gunnie might build up over the years. After all, different guns have different purposes and if family members were active shooters in more than one discipline, they would have similar guns for different sports (i.e., an accurized AR-15 rifle for Service Rifle competition and a M4-type AR-15 for plinking).

The Lancaster story (second link above) includes reader comments. Be sure to skim them. Many people think the report is sensationalized and others call for more gun control—in various ways (“…how many guns does one need to hunt?”). There are also attacks on home schooling.

The article sensationalizes the number of guns found in this home. Its author, Janet Kelly, knows (even if she wouldn’t admit it) that when gun haters read her article, they will take a collective gasp. They wonder why people could own so many firearms. They imagine such owners to be troglodytes with too little education to understand the error of their gun-accumulating ways. For them, one gun is too many, but 54 guns put the household beyond society’s pale.

An event such and the fact the murderer’s family owned so many guns gives gun-banners the truths they need to twist into lies. They will use it to try to pass “arsenal” laws while hoping to reduce gun ownership in general. Ludwig’s actions are inexcusable, but so are gun-banners’ soon-to-come attempts to use this tragedy for their political ends.

Bill and I own a lot of guns—I won’t say how many. We also have numerous rounds of ammunition. We like to shoot a variety of guns and I collect historically and technically significant firearms.

When I see stories like this, I can only imagine how a reporter could spin our collection into something evil. But it’s not. Our collection and shooting are our avocations and our guns have never hurt anyone while we’ve owned them. We take gun safety and gun security seriously while still enjoying owning and using them. And yet, someone could twist our stories into something we wouldn’t recognize.

We’re not rednecks or troglodytes even though we hunt. Like Ludwig’s father, Bill and I are responsible professionals with three college degrees between us. I own a sizable book collection, primarily literary fiction. Bill owns a matchbook collection. One big difference is that we don’t live with a love-sick foolish young man. However, if you ever see a story about an arrest of two people in a home full of guns, ammunition, matches, books, and one cat, please send bail.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Notes on Posting about Wal-Mart

Sunday night, I wrote a post on buying a little ammo at Wal-Mart and ended up with more comments than I've got on a single post in a long time. I might have got fewer comments if I said I'd decided to drink "blended puppies" like Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds.

I thought I had explained that Bill and I only occasionally buy ammo at Wal-Mart and we've never bought a gun there. In fact, we strongly prefer supporting our local gun dealers.

That said, what is it about Wal-Mart that inflames liberals and conservatives alike? I read books and magazines on both sides of the culture war. Many on each side simply hate Wal-Mart. Certain conservatives hate it because it buys overseas now despite Sam Walton's original vision of "Buy American." Liberals hate it because of its resistance to labor unions. Both sides hate it because it's too big.

I have to admit I view Wal-Mart with a certain degree of mistrust because of its size. In the comments to Sunday's post, "Doug in Colorado" mentioned that Wal-Mart could put the small gun stores out of business. Then, for whatever reason, they could pull the plug on its gun department and leave many communities without a gun store. Certainly, Wal-Mart has put a lot of small hardware stores out of business. I don't know if they've put any gun stores out of business yet, but it's a legitimate concern.

On the other hand, Wal-Mart and most gun stores are not really in competition. Wal-Mart grabs certain cream parts of the market like .22 long rifle ammo, 9mm pistol ammo, 12 gauge shotgun ammo, cleaning kits, and related. They carry no handguns (anywhere in the country to the best of my knowledge) and only a few shotguns and rifles.

A fully stocked gun store is your source for all of the above and for more esoteric cartridges like .32-20, 7.62 x 25, and others. Then, there's your local gun store’s wide selection of rifles, shotguns, and handguns. Certainly a local gun store will give you more services and have more knowledgeable employees than will Wal-Mart. As “Seth from Massachusetts” points out, Wal-Mart won’t mount a scope for you.

All this is true, but here is why I plan to buy a couple of hundred rounds of ammo from Wal-Mart this Saturday. I really like the idea of having many outlets for ammo and guns. When I was growing up, you could buy ammo at Sears, any hardware store, and some grocery stores. Do we really want to concentrate all ammo sales in a few stores that zoning boards could force out of town? Wal-Mart will stand up to zoning boards if it is in their interest.

Further, Wal-Mart is under pressure from anti-gun groups to stop selling guns and ammo. Wal-Mart must see customer support or it will walk away from the business. Do you really want the gun-grabbers to win?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

National Ammo Day Plans

As you can see by the graphic, Bill and I support National Ammo Day. Each year, we've bought ammo on or about November 19--at least since it started.

A familiar gun blogger who is now anonymous started National Ammo Day. He chose November 19 because it was his birthday. His first year included statistical reporting that quickly became impossible for one person to do. After that, he began only advertising the idea. Other gun bloggers picked it up and now, well I wish I could say the rest is history, but the idea is growing.

I think it's a good idea to spike sales on a given day or week. This year several bloggers, including Smallest Minority, and some members of plan to buy ammo from Wal-Mart at the same time on November 19.

Normally, Bill and I buy our ammo at our local gun stores. We rarely buy ammo at Wal-Mart although we've made exceptions. This year, we'll make another exception and visit our local Wally World. We plan on buying several boxes of .308 Winchester, maybe 9mm, and other select calibers.

I don't know if gunnies will spike Wal-Mart's ammo sales and I doubt if they would announce it (competitive edge and all that), but it may do good in other ways. Most stores of Wal-Mart's type don't sell ammo or don't sell handgun ammo. If Wal-Mart sees a little kick in their profits, it will help them decide to stay in the ammo business. And, given that you can find a Wal-Mart almost anywhere in America open almost any time of the day, that ain't bad at all.

So, if you've ever thought about joining a "buy-cott" come to your local Wal-Mart at 4:30 Eastern Time. Let's buy 'em out. Besides, it's not like Bill and I would just let that ammo sit around. We've shooting to do.

Friday, November 11, 2005

A Respectful Veteran's Day

I wish all of our readers in uniform, those who've been in uniform, and those who support our military a very good Veteran's Day.

I get Veteran's Day off. Ironically I am not a veteran, but Bill is and he has to work. Every year for the past four or so, I do the same thing. I go to the range by myself and I make sure that I am shooting at the 11th hour of the 11th day of this 11th month--the time and date of the Armistice that ended World War I.

I don't turn my range session into a ceremony and I don't make a fuss about it. But, I believe exercising my Second Amendment rights in a country that our veterans helped make free is a fitting tribute to them. After all, gunfire is used as a salute and with it I mentally salute our veterans.

So thanks to all you veteranss and soldiers for winning and protecting our rights.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

A Notice to Gun Banners

I was reading various things about San Francisco’s new gun ban. Alphecca has a post on it with many comments. I even cruised over to Democratic Underground to read fevered rantings.

Here’s a sample if you can stomach it, “They only stopped at handguns. They should have banned every type of weapon from handguns, rifles, shotguns, to bows 'n arrow. They are only used to kill or inflict injury to animals and people. This ain't Dodge City, and we don't need a bunch of Wyatt Earps running around! Today San Francisco, tomorrow, the world!” (posted by Hogwyld on 11/9/2005 at 4:06pm).

I need to rant on this topic so bear with me; it’s going to be a bumpy ride. First, I want to thank NRA for their rapid response. They are already filing suit to stop this April Fool’s joke (the ordinance becomes effective on April 1, 2006).

Second, I want bitch about people who want to change our way of life by eradicating gun ownership. San Francisco’s ban aims to do exactly that and its author called it “sensible gun control.” So, because total bans are deemed sensible; even the most political ignorant gun owner now understands what sensible really means.

When we argue with these anti-freedom idiots, we often mention self-defense. Guns are after all the best defense tool we have. But, there’s more I want to tell these gun bigots. I want to tell them about the sheer joy of owning and shooting guns.

Most gun-banners refuse to see that shooting is a wonderful source of fulfillment. They tell us to get a new hobby as if that were a valid choice. They forget that a hobby is also called an avocation: that is, an occupation separate from one’s employment that brings enjoyment. What gives them any right to tell us how to use our time and money?

Gun-banners don’t want me to enjoy shooting and owning guns. They want me to feel guilty about actions taken by criminals, murderers, gang-bangers, and suicides. They want me to “realize” that my sport and hobby (said with a dismissive sneer) is an issue of public health. They want me to bow before their gods of “the needs of the many outweigh the rights of the few” and the community is more important than the individual.

I have news for them. A community is made up of individuals and anytime you take away one person’s rights you diminish that community. Each community is made up of groups: gun owners, gun haters, gays, straights, whites, blacks, liberal, conservative. Each group must respect each other and learn to compromise in order to live together.

Gun banners don’t want to live with gun owners and their idea of a compromise is a total ban. They call us cowboys, trigger-happy rednecks, and so many other kind terms. Granted we respond in kind—I sneer a little myself when I type gun-banner, but we didn’t attack them first.

Banners want to change my way of life, because they believe they know how to live my life better than I do. They want to ban my guns, or ban certain guns they don’t like, to tax ammo, to ban hunting, or whatever scheme excites them at the moment.

Despite gun banners’ best efforts, I don’t feel guilty about owning guns. I don’t feel guilty when a criminal kills someone with a gun anymore than I feel guilty when a criminal kills someone with a kitchen knife. My rights are not subject to something a mutant does with an object.

Gun-banners want me to give up my so-called hobby. Well, I ain’t going to do it. I love shooting guns. I love the challenge of putting a small object into a ten ring at 200 yards with a rifle or 25 with a pistol. I love hitting a flying clay bird with a column of shot.

I’m not good at other sports and never have been. But, shooting is my sport and I love it and I’m damn good at it. I also love collecting guns and I’m as good at that as my pocketbook allows. My enjoyment of my sport is harmless.

Understand this you gun-banners. Your laws make my life harder. I moved out of Massachusetts largely because of your stupid gun laws. I once lived five minutes from work and I now live an hour away in New Hampshire. I made that move and many other compromises to live my life as I see fit. But you want to spread your poison further. You want the entire world to live your way—as Hogwyld said above.

Further if you ban my avocation and try to confiscate my guns you must realize that my love of guns and shooting is part of me. If you take that away, you diminish me and change who I am for the worse. I won’t let that happen and neither will the millions of Americans who join me in my sport. So leave us alone and we promise we won't make you own a gun.

Monday, November 07, 2005

My View on Samuel Alito

I don’t do much political blogging. Bill (Yosemite Sam) does that task around here—when he posts, which isn’t often enough. Friday, he lamented that bloggers won’t be considered “journalists” for McCain-Feingold and thus subject to very unconstitutional rules infringing on our right to free speech. We won’t let our rights be curtailed.

In that post, frequent commenter, Seth from Massachusetts, asked how we felt about Samuel Alito’s nomination to the US Supreme Court and I decided to answer. First, I’m glad that Harriet Miers got the boot. Being good friends with the president is not suitable qualifications for a Supreme Court justice.

Alito seems very well qualified, so that’s gratifying. My chief concern is Second Amendment rights—at least in my blogging life. Even outside of Ten Ring, gun rights are a huge issue for me. I’m not sure about Alito’s views on the Second Amendment. He dissented in US v Rybar stating that Federal law couldn’t prevent someone from owning a machine gun if that weapon was not involved in interstate commerce.

For that decision, the Brady bunch disparaged him as “Machine Gun Sammy,” but its not a pro-gun decision anymore than Clarence’s Thomas’s dissent in the Raich Medical Marijuana case was a pro-drug decision (the court ruled that Federal drug laws still pertained in a state that legalized medical marijuana even if the pot was never involved in interstate commerce).

Alito’s argument was for a limited application of the Commerce Clause and I like that. This clause has been used to support big government and it’s time its put to pasture or at least curtailed. But, I’m not convinced that Alito is pro-gun any more than John Ashcroft was pro-gun. You see, Ashcroft stated that there was an individual right to own guns, but subject to “reasonable restrictions.”

That’s a conservative anti-gun philosophy that bothers me. We know the liberal anti-gun version all too well (“Guns are bad, they kill, they must be banned, and then we can achieve Kumbaya”). The conservative anti-gun philosophy can be more insidious than outright bans. Basically, you can use a reasonable test to infringe on almost all gun rights if the test stops short of an outright ban.

For instance, a politician may say that it’s reasonable to restrict handguns since they are used in crime. But, that politician could recognize a so-called sporting purpose for handguns in target shooting. That could lead to a right to own a handgun suitable for target shooting only—and the politician and his cohorts could decide what that gun might look like. I could imagine a twelve-inch barrel, a bulky wood grip, and other items that would make it hard to carry concealed.

Similarly, another politician could argue that it’s reasonable to curtail “assault weapons.” Whoops, that’s already been done and we saw how that turned out.

Given that I don’t know Alito’s philosophy on gun ownership, I’m still concerned he could be one of those “Law and Order” conservatives who think “Project Exile” is wonderful even though logically it could be used against any gun owner. I wonder if he would argue for “reasonable restrictions.”

Lest you think I’m overly thinking this point, remember that the founder of Handgun Control, Pete Shields, was a California Republican. Sarah and James Brady took over and renamed the organization. James Brady was Ronald Reagan’s press secretary and presumably Sarah shared her husband’s philosophy.

I’m glad that Alito is not the nominee a President John Kerry (shudder) would have picked, but he will bear watching.

As Paris Burns

Denise and I have been paying a lot of attention to the nightly riots in Paris, which have recently spread throughout France. We traveled in France in 1999 and transited the banlieus on the way into Paris from Charles De Gaulle airport. They are comprised of block after uniform block of high-rise Socialist apartment buildings. Small wonder that people living there are completely alienated from French society. They then often turn to radical Islam to find some meaning to their subsidized existences.

If you haven’t already, please read this excellent article by Theodore Dalrymple, The Barbarians at the Gates of Paris. The French have done a lot to create this problem and I find it rather hard not to partake in a little schadenfreude.

I also can’t help wondering that if the French had firearms rights, like we have here in New Hampshire, that these riots might have been nipped in the bud. Somehow we don’t seem to have all that many riots in New Hampshire, Texas and other areas that believe in a strong Second Amendment.

But before we get too smug about the situation the French find themselves in, it might behoove us to realize that we are well along the path that the French have trod for us. Many in this country bow down to the twin gods of Multiculturalism and Political Correctness and if we are not careful, we could be in the same boat as the French. Massachusetts is more than half way there already and there are many among us who think that the French way is an example we should emulate.

Friday, November 04, 2005

First Principles

The Gun Guy, in a recent post, discussed his reaction to the recent defeat of a bill in the House of Representatives. This bill (H.R. 1606) sought to exempt online free speech from the effects of the McCain-Feingold Law in the same way mainstream journalists are protected. The gist of the Gun Guy’s post was “Damn the Torpedo’s, full speed ahead”; he will continue to exercise his free speech rights, law or no law, regardless of the potential consequences.

We at the Ten Ring wholeheartedly concur with The Gun Guy's attitude and will continue to write about what we see fit. We will not allow a bunch of two bit politicians, who are not fit to shine the shoes of our country's founders , to decide who has Constitutional Rights and where and when those rights are to be exercised.

We realize that the powers that be have been chipping away at the Constitution for many years, at the Second Amendment in particular, as we have discussed over the past year. But in our opinion, this infringement is the final straw. We will not be silenced, pre election or post election.

We find it interesting that Congress, in its infinite wisdom, only sees fit to dole out free speech rights to those in big media, comprised of huge conglomerates that the founding fathers could never have imagined.

We suspect if Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin could be around today, they would think it more important to guarantee the free speech rights of bloggers, who are much closer to the people who printed bills in colonial days, than the free speech of huge media corporations that have their own agendas and know or care little about the lives of ordinary citizens who work and struggle from day to day.

History has shown that the free speech of the powerful and well connected (as the mainstream media is) is never really much in jeopardy, but the rights of the ordinary man or woman must be vigilantly guarded and exercised. Denise and I are ordinary people and we will exercise that right.