January 30, 2009

Corruption at the top

Let's start here: Giuliani Defends CEO Bonuses

Rudy Giuliani, the world's most popular former mayor, is responding to the outrage being expressed by American taxpayers because banks which spent enormous non-existent funds to float checks and pay out insanely high bonuses to their senior management are now expecting the taxpayers to keep their insolvent businesses afloat. Long sentence, I know. Nonetheless, it covers all the main points.

Next, a pleasant diversion: Sen. Claire McCaskill Sponsors Bill to Cap CEO Salaries

I laughed when I read that one. In private conversations I have argued for years that something has gone deadly wrong when we find ourselves in a situation where the American President is the lowest paid executive in the country. My wife makes more than the American President and she's not even a senior executive! I applaud Sen. McCaskill for her courage and integrity. Even though it would mean a reduction in my own quality of life, I hope her bill passes into law.

The problem with all of these extreme executive salaries is that they are based on imaginary money generated by excessive use of credit. Take the automotive industry for example. The CEOs of the Big Three have comparable salary/bonus packages. Where does that money come from? The vast majority of revenue enjoyed by the Big Three is not the result of sales to you and I. No, in the automotive industry the real money is in fleet sales. Companies, government offices, schools, commercial farms, and transport companies that routinely buy vehicles in lots of hundreds, thousands, and even tens of thousands every single year. How do they pay for those fleets? With credit! Companies borrow money from banks while governments issue bonds. It's all imaginary money made possible by the fractionalized reserve banking system. This is one of reasons the banking system has reached the point of collapse.

Another reason goes straight to bad economic planning. Over the past three decades the Federal government has created a large body of legislation that encourages the movement of industry and agriculture to foreign countries through outsourcing and free trade. As a result, not only is our economy based on imaginary money, but now we no longer produce any real capital at all! Instead, our entire economy is now based the imaginative manipulation of numbers by the richest 10% of our citizens instead of on the productivity and creativity of 90% of our labor force.

Lots of folks will tell you Karl Marx was insane, and he might very well have been, but he did get one thing right: the only true capital is labor and natural resources. Communism failed because the socialist economic model's communal work ethic assumed every individual would work for the sake of work. We don't. The only way we're willing to spend our labor transforming raw materials into marketable products is if the rewards are high enough.

Therein lies the seeds of destruction for capitalism, as well. When work is solely based on a pyramid of rewards, with the highest rewards going to those who exploit the labor of others rather than those who are doing the work, then the real capital of labor is being abused and individuals will not work at peak efficiency. Instead, they form labor unions, chant Marx-inspired slogans, and go on strike.

The simplest solution, and also the least likely to have any real-world impact, is to do what Sen. Caskill is trying to do and enforce limits on those who sit on top of the labor pyramid giving orders and making plans. We do need these exploiters, unfortunately. Most of us will not bother to do anything worthwhile unless someone else comes up with an idea, plans it out in detail, anticipants and allows for impediments, and then finally tells the rest of us what to do. The human animal is by nature quite lazy, sometimes to the point of self-destruction. Sen. Caskill's proposed legislature, if it passes, will destroy the motivation of those who make the plans.

What we really need is a new cultural paradigm. We need a philosopher or economist to come up with a new social organization theory that will keep both the exploiter and the laborer highly motivated, well-rewarded, and busy at what they do best. The difference between the new model and the current one would have to be finding some means to make the system stable and reliable without depending on imaginary capital such as that created by a fractionalized reserve banking system. No small task and not one I am competent to pursue. Nonetheless, if an answer cannot be found, then economic collapse coupled with dramatic infringement on Constitutional rights will lead the United States of America straight into a new civil war. The way things are going now I give us eighteen months, five years at the most.

Infringment on our Constitutional rights is my next point. Those 10% of us who make up the economic elite know the same things I do. Even though they know the current system cannot continue, they have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, even to the point of total social collapse. A couple paragraphs ago I mentioned, "laziness to the point of self-destruction." Laziness is exactly what has been happening in the United States for the past three decades. Instead of fixing our broken system, the 10% at the top who run our economy (and by extension, the world economy) have been slowly and steadily taking away the tools you and I need to remove them from the political landscape.

Freedom of speech has been curtailed by using social intimidation to prevent journalists from investigating corruption and reporting it. Our First Amendment rights have been further curtailed by creating an elaborate system of permits and fees preventing anyone and everyone from standing on a street corner (or better yet, the middle of the street!) and decrying the corruption they see. YouTube, Facebook, and thousands of other "social networking" sites have begun implementing detailed and wide-ranging "decency" policies to prevent "unruly" participants from posting pornography, profanity, or even worse, dissent.

Other freedoms have been stripped from us as well. The epitome of this loss of freedom is best illustrated here:

Motorist with 16 guns arrested at LAX

Scary headline, isn't it? Sixteen guns at an airport! Surely this fellow must be a terrorist?


His name is Phillip Dominguez. He was stopping at the airport to pick up a friend and then the two of them were headed out to the gun range to do some target shooting. His weapons were carried securely and safely in a legal and effective locked gun box underneath the locked solid cover over his truck bed. Like a good, law-abiding citizen he told the officers what he was carrying, and then undid multiple layers of key and combination locks to show them.

So they arrested him, confiscated his guns and impounded his truck. They had no search warrant, no arrest warrant, nothing at all to hold him on except a truck full of legal guns and ammo. Does anyone out there realize how deeply this man's Constitutional rights have been violated? The Second Amendment allows him to have those guns and carry them. The Fourth Amendment prevents the government from arbitrarily searching his truck and then confiscating his weapons. The Fifth Amendment should prevent the police from demanding to know what he has in the back of his truck, or at the very least, allow him to refuse to answer when they do ask!

The original Associated Press article which I linked to above has been carried by hundreds of news organizations around the world. One news program, Fox 11 in Los Angeles, went so far as to label him a "knucklehead" and spent more time insulting his person than reporting on his arrest. Of the dozens of reports I have read on this incident, not a single article has mentioned how deeply the arresting police arbitrarily and without justification completely violated this man's Constitutional rights! Not even the ACLU! The only people who have come out in fury have been scattered Second Amendment supporters who have blogs:

Sensibly Progressive
Free in Idaho
Crime File News
Calguns Foundation

And that's it! These are the only ones I've found defending Dominguez' Constitutional rights. All of the other posts, commentaries, forum discussions, and so on, that I have been able to dig up have called this arrest justified and legal.

I don't understand. He's just a guy headed out to the range to do some shooting with a buddy. He never left his truck and never planned to leave his truck. All of the weapons were carefully and safely locked away. Sixteen guns might seem like a lot to some people, but I can remember many times when my family went to a gun range carrying two or three times that number of guns and somewhere around 5-6,000 rounds of ammunition in various calibers. A family of four spending 6-8 hours practicing at a gun range and chatting amiably can easily burn through 10,000 rounds of ammunition. Having a variety of guns available keeps the day interesting and challenging.

This man's legally protected rights have been violated. The ACLU does not care because they will touch nothing involving firearms. The news media treats him like someone insane. Most people who take the time to comment on this incident focus on the guns and ammo and ignore the man himself, either that or they agree with the media that he is just another gun looney who deserved to be arrested.

People, there is no kind way for me to say this. You have all gone insane! By coming out against this stranger and encouraging his civil rights be violated in order to keep you safe from terrorists you are paving the way for the transformation of America from a Democratic Republic into an Aristocratic Dictatorship. Rudy Giuliani is 2462 miles from Phillip Dominguez. Giuliani's net worth is in the millions, his friends have even more, while Dominguez's net worth is probably half a million (assuming he owns his own house). Do you really not see what is happening? Do you not realize what you are bringing about? What will it take to break you away from World of Warcraft, MySpace, American Idol, and Grey's Anatomy? If you do not support Phillip Dominguez' right to keep and bear arms, freedom from search and seizure, and freedom from self-incrimination then Rudy Giuliani and his friends will someday very soon have the power to take away your home, imprison you and enslave your family.

Half a million Americans lost their jobs last year. Three-quarters of a million lost their homes. This year will be even worse. You cannot expect President Obama to take a direct, personal interest in preserving your individual freedoms and livelihood. If you do not stand up and demand the freedoms of all law-abiding Americans be preserved then very soon blood will flow in American streets as the last enclave of those who love liberty is mercilessly hunted down and eliminated.

Not long ago two border patrol agents, Ramos and Compean, were imprisoned for shooting an illegal alien while he was smuggling drugs across the Mexican-American border. An Oakland BART officer shot and killed Oscar Grant while he was cooperating with police and now we learn that investigation is going nowhere. Almost two months has gone by and the media has been completely silent on the death of Billy Joe Johnson. And then today, I learn about Fox 11's coverage of the Phillip Dominguez incident.

This is not the America I grew up in. We now have more in common with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics than with the Republic founded in 1776. The America I grew up in believed in liberty and freedom. When that liberty was challenged, people took to the streets in tens of thousands. Oscar Grant's death generated some public outrage, but where is the outrage over Ramos, Compean, and Phillip Dominguez?

Real change does not start in the Whitehouse. Real change starts with you and I standing up for what is right. I am doing my part by writing this blog entry and sending letters to Congress. What are you doing?

Unexpected late update to Phillip Dominguez' story:

Sensibly Progressive reports having received an e-mail from Phillip Dominguez' wife. Apparently, the Los Angeles police department sent a SWAT team to search his house!

Is anyone angry yet? I am! I'm furious! Not only did they search his truck without a warrant and confiscate his guns, now they are searching his house and sending a brevy of armored men and women carrying automatic rifles to do it!

He has broken no laws and he has violated the peace and security of no one's life. Why does exercising his 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms subject him to police scrutiny and arbitrary raids?

Auburn: Business Owner Shoots Robber

Watch the video at WRJT-TV Michigan

Apparently this time two men walked into an insurance agency with the intent of robbing the self-employed agent who ran the office. The owner shot one of them and the other fled. I am glad to see average Americans in so many different walks of life finally standing up and taking charge of their own destinies.

However, I cannot help but offer up a word of caution: self-defense is not vigilantism. Whenever people discover their own personal power, whenever they finally awaken to realize they need not be dependent on the police for personal protection, there is always the danger that they will take things to the next level. If all of us try to replace law enforcement by chasing down the criminals then the only thing we will achieve is chaos.

So far I have not seen any indication of this happening and as long as the vast majority of concealed carry licensees continue to act with restraint and decorum I think it would very beneficial to expand this practice into all fifty states. Perhaps, one day, there will even be a new constitutional amendment clarifying the definition of "militia" and confirming once and for all that every citizen has the right to carry firearms or keep them in their own home for the purposes of defense, sport shooting, and teaching each new generation the price of freedom.

January 29, 2009

Hammond: Chicago teen killed during robbery

In Illinois it is illegal for law-abiding adults to defend themselves, although that may change soon. So I find it both ironic and amusing that three Chicago teenagers went to a neighboring state which does have a concealed carry permit law in effect in order to commit an armed robbery. Normally one would expect criminals to move away from concealed carry permit issuing regions as a way of avoiding this very problem:

Chicago Teen Killed in Shootout After Robbery

While it is tragic that this young man who had his whole life ahead of him is now dead, and I would like to offer my deep felt, honest condolences to his family, none of that changes the simple reality that this young man in the company of two friends attempted to rob an honest, law-abiding citizen who had offered them no provocation. Three to one, and they still needed to carry a gun in order to feel brave enough to accost a much older man just as he was getting out of his car.

Yes, allowing mature, law-abiding people to be trained and armed will result in the death of more young men like Kenneth Denson. However, there a couple of real-world facts that need to be remembered:

First, and most important, these young men were smoking marijuana. Drug-trafficking is the number one cause behind the insane levels of unimaginably sadistic violence now plaguing northern Mexico. Even if they had not engaged in armed robbery, just by participating in the use of illegal narcotics they have contributed directly to massive loss of life thousands of miles distant from where they live.

Second, the unidentified man in the Cadillac Escalade had done them no harm and offered them no threat until they pulled a gun on him and attempted to rob him. Everyone, everywhere has the natural right to defend their person, their loved ones, and their property against criminal predation. Whether or not they also enjoy the legal right to do so is not something we should be arbitrarily denying them. In this kind of situation I, personally, will always side with the intended victim.

It is always tragic when a young person dies. However, if that person dies while engaging in predatory, criminal behavior then we as a society must stop and ask ourselves who is more deserving of our sympathy, the dead criminal or their intended victim? As long as we allow our society to disintegrate into a land where criminals enjoy better legal protection than their victims by continuing to push emotional agendas which strip law-abiding, responsible people from their natural rights, then we fully deserve the violent, gang-run battlegrounds our cities have become.

Passing more gun control laws in direct violation of the Second Amendment will not make us safer. On the contrary, the only real-world benefit will be to insure that young men like Kenneth Denson go on to lead entire lives of violent predation, thereby creating dozens, and potentially thousands of traumatized, depressed victims. This can only have one real-world result: adding exponential suicide rates to spiraling crime until finally no one will be safe.

(Interesting articles found later in the day.)

Kearney, Nebraska Repeals Concealed Carry Ban
U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns Sponsors Concealed Carry Bill
Additional Information About Representative Stearns' Bill
Video of Sen. Inhofe Opposing Eric Holder's Appointment
Video of Stephen Holbrook Opposing Eric Holder's Appointment
Sen. John Barrasso Posts Blog Entry About Eric Holder's Career


Two relevant videos found on Feb. 1, 2009:

January 24, 2009

Here we go again!

Final update (Jan. 25, 2009):

Gun Enthusiasts Take Aim at City Ordinance

Especially this:
Meadows reported that some of the callers referenced the the value of carrying permitted guns after the Columbine High School incident several years ago. In a measured tone Meadows said, “The city remembers Columbine and the city is fully funding the School Resource Officers in both county high schools as an aid to the Board of Education.”

Meadows added he felt that there should not be personal guns in schools, but professionally trained officers should be there. He added that there is always an armed officer at the city council meetings as well as uniformed and armed officers at the recreational facilities during tournaments and large events.

The bold in the second paragraph is mine. This is the very definition of a "police state". If we post armed guards at every sporting event, every church meeting, and every city council meeting, then we have voted ourselves into a political and legal system identical to Nazi Germany. If we sell ourselves into slavery, then when the master turns cruel, we will have no one to blame but ourselves. The danger of a police state is not when the benevolent are in charge. The danger is when the sadist rises to power and sooner or later, they will!

When a man refuses to defend his own self-interest, he becomes a slave to whoever will protect him.

And yes, you can quote me on that.

Late breaking update:

Some people think I've gotten a little weird over the past ten months or so. I've been told by online correspondents and my own family that America is still the land of the free and nothing will change that. Well, here is one example of what Fox News, MSNBC News, and even CNN have not been reporting:

Orange County Sherriff Uses Deputies to Spy on Opponents

In Orange County a woman named Sandra Hutchens has recently become the County Sherriff. Instead of dealing with overcrowded jails and corrupt management, her top priority is revoking Concealed Carry Weapon permits for everyone who does not regularly carry large amounts of cash or valuables. In other words, only the richest of the rich can be trusted to carry a concealed weapon. Their briefcases full of cash, jewels, antiques, and so on, are extremely valuable and well worth protecting while the children of law abiding taxpayers are not.

This is real. This is happening right now. The rights and freedoms of hardworking, taxpaying Americans are being ignored while the superrich pay for their friends to be appointed into positions of power. Once they gain those positions, they employ humiliation, illegal search and seizure, and pure intimidation to silence their political opponents and ignore the Constitution of the United States of America.

America's worst enemies are NOT foreign terrorists. Here and now, our worst enemies are people in positions of power who believe they and their friends are more important, more intelligent, and more worthy of life than the rest of us. We are under assault from within and unless more people get motivated, get informed, and demand these people be removed from office and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law our government will soon become indistinguishable from the People's Republic of China, the now-defunct Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and Hitler's Third Reich. The worst criminals in America are not trying to steal your money, your possessions, or your life. They are trying to steal your freedom.

Original post is below (Jan. 25, 2009):

Science is a wonderful thing. I love all three CSI programs, but my personal favorite of the three is CSI:Miami. Keep in mind, however, that CSI is a fictional series.

One thing employed in nearly every other episode is a ballistics database. You know, one of them recovers a brass shell casing or a bullet and then they compare the marks to their database and come up with the owner of the gun. Presto! Instant conviction. Unfortunately, as revealed in an article at Reason.com, after spending millions of taxpayer dollars over seven years setting up and maintaining two such databases in the high-crime states of New York and Maryland the databases have helped in a grand total of ONE conviction.

It's quite simple really. Gun owners who buy their guns at gun stores don't generally commit crimes. Criminals, especially the hardcore repeat offenders, buy illegally imported, stolen, or home-manufactured guns off the street. They'd never buy a gun at a gun store because their prior convictions mean the gun stores cannot sell them guns.

Getting guns out of the hands of criminals is important. A recent shooting in Miami is a perfect example of what happens when guns are used in crime. In this case, an AK-47 (according to the news report) was used to gun down nine people, killing two and wounding seven.

The AK-47 is not the problem. The real problem is the criminal who used it. Confiscating automatic weapons from the millions of Americans who use them at target ranges, bringing back the Assault Weapons Ban, and other restrictive gun legislations will not help, even as they would not have helped in Miami. The AK series is the most common automatic rifle in the world. It is also one of the simplest. It can be made from raw steel and cheap wood in a garage-based shop using tools and machines readily available at Sears and Roebuck. The vast majority of AK series weapons circulating around the world are from China, a nation that ships over a million of these guns overseas every single year. In the United States it is already illegal to manufacture, sell, trade, or transport these weapons across state lines. Once the shooter is found, and I have no doubt he will be found, the gun he used will probably turn out to be an illegal weapon that the shooter obtained through the black market. If this criminal had no regard for existing laws, what makes us imagine that future criminals will be any more considerate?

My father spent his life in law enforcement. Every single firearm-based crime he encountered was solved, and the criminal convicted. The current laws are already sufficient to convict anyone who uses a firearm in a crime and forensic science is well up to the task of identifying the weapon used and connecting the weapon to the criminal who used it. Punishing, restricting, or harboring prejudices against law-abiding, responsible gun owners will not lessen crime one bit. The only thing additional gun control will accomplish is providing criminals with more targets by making it easier for them to victimize the rest of us.

To my mind the solution is simple: train and arm every law-abiding, mature, emotionally stable citizen who is willing to own and maintain a firearm. In this way we can make sure there are always more good people with guns than bad ones. Additionally, we should punish severely anyone who uses a gun in a crime, especially if they are a repeat offender.

It's about freedom

The freedom to defend myself from a criminal should not become a crime. It started small in England, an innocuous requirement to list up your guns at the local post office. A few years ago it became a total prohibition on private ownership of firearms. Those "innocuous" lists became centerpiece in the "voluntary surrender" of all those weapons. Recently they even extended the restrictions to cover airguns and crossbows!

If banning firearms prevents crime, why does California, the state with the strictest gun control, also have the highest number of homicides? Again, look at the FBI Uniform Crime Report. California and Texas are comparable in terms of size, population, and population density, and yet in 2007 California had 1,605 homicides using guns while Texas had only 946. Even though 946 is a much larger number than anyone would like to see (including myself!), it is still about half the figure for California. An interesting comparison is the column labeled "other weapons". Here California is still higher with 228 homicides while Texas has only 203. Notice how close these two numbers are? They are only separated by 25 people killed with "other weapons". This is the kind of difference I would expect to see between two states with similar population densities.

So why the much larger difference in gun-related homicides? Because Texas boasts a "shall-issue" concealed carry permit law. Apply, pay the fee, and anyone without a criminal record or history of emotional instability is granted a permit to carry a concealed firearm. It is much more dangerous to attempt to shoot someone when that someone can easily carry a gun of their own. Criminals who use handguns are generally unwilling to learn how to effectively use their weapons. They don't take gun safety courses, they don't practice shooting at the local gun range, and they seldom clean their weapons. If two people have a gun, and one of them is a responsible, mature gun-owner who maintains his weapon and practices regularly while the other is an irresponsible, immature gun-owner who expects the gun itself to impart a magical level of respect and admiration, guess whose gun is most likely to jam or misfire? Even more importantly, which one do you think is most likely to hit their intended target on the first trigger pull, maximizing their intended effect and minimizing the danger to innocent bystanders?

Here's another interesting chart: Justifiable Homicide. A valid concern when expanding the number of people carrying firearms is the possibility that the number of "justifiable homicides" will dramatically increase. Naturally if more people have guns it is logical to assume that more people will use them to defend their person, their family, and their property. However, as you can see in the chart, there is very little movement over the past five years. 2005 is the lowest while 2003 and 2007 are almost identical. Concealed carry permit issuances in all states that allow them have expanded rapidly over the past five years (along with gun ownership) and yet there is no statistically significant increase in justifiable homicides. The "wild west mentality with shootouts on every corner" that so many people have been expecting has not materialized.

Unfortunately, as I've mentioned in several recent posts, the U.K. has not been so lucky. They have successfully banned handguns and although violent crimes committed with handguns has declined, violent crime overall has risen dramatically and violent crimes committed with bladed weapons have increased even more dramatically. Obviously the criminals did not abandon their life of crime. Did the government of the U.K. honestly expect them to? I don't know, but the people who supported the handgun restrictions, buybacks, and ultimately confiscations, promised it would make their cities safer. I guess they were mistaken.

Do we really want America to make the same mistake? I would hope not.

The right to self-defense is a right every citizen possesses. The 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution allows for every person in the United States to own a firearm and use that firearm in defense of self, family, property, community and nation. Every gun control law introduced over the past hundred years has dramatically reduced that right and as a result, crime is rampant across the United States. Worse yet, it is highest in those communities where gun ownership is the most severely restricted. Disarming the citizens is not the way to reduce crime, as the U.K. has learned the hard way. The only effective way to reduce crime is to reverse the trend and rearm mature, emotionally stable, law-abiding adults. As a side effect, the ability to resist either an armed invasion or the top-down enforcement of a dictatorship would also be preserved.

Rearm America! The future of our children and grandchildren depends upon it.

January 22, 2009

An emerging pattern of revolution?

The theme of Barack Obama's campaign was "Change". The ideal he has put forth as his own is a grassroots transformation of what it means to be "American" through a return to traditional values. As the next four years unfolds, we will see firsthand how many of us, or how few, agree with his ideas of what America needs to become. To a great extent, the foundation of Obama's campaign was rebellion and revolution against the hypocrisy and perceived corruption of the Bush administration.

In 1776 the thirteen American colonies gave birth to a spirit of revolution that eventually swept through Europe. Will we see a new, different kind of revolution sweep over the world as the result of Obama's win? The folks at Prison Planet TV seem to think so, and they began discussing it way back in October.

The Rebellion that Failed (Oct. 3, 2008)
Terrorism Laws can be Abused to Stifle Dissent (Oct. 15, 2008)
Celente Predicts Food Riots, Tax Rebellions in U.S. (Nov. 13, 2008)
Iceland Riots Precursor to U.S. Civil Unrest? (Nov. 25, 2008)
Greece-Style Riots Coming to U.S.? (Dec. 15, 2008)
IMF Chief Warns of Riots in Response to Economic Crisis (Dec. 17, 2008)
2009 Heralds "New Age of Rebellion" (Jan. 21, 2009)

Assuming the pattern they are perceiving is real, then it is entirely possible that the first victory in this global rebellion was the election of Barack Obama to the Presidency of the United States. Since the folks at Prison Planet opposed Obama throughout his campaign, they would probably disagree with me. However, in the past America has always been the trendsetter for any kind of global cultural revolution. So rather than the enemy, it is possible (and preferable!) to hope that the new Democratic majority in the United States Congress serving alongside America's first non-white president will become the first victory in this global cry for change.

If it is not. If the Democrats squander this opportunity in fascist-like programs demanding conformity to a certain "modern ideal" as defined by the superrich of America's largest cities, then the election of Barack Obama and the overwhelming majority in the Congress will become the seeds for a new American revolution rather than the first victory in a global cultural realignment.

Personally, despite concerns over the waning power of the United States Constitution and the growing move toward a dictatorial central government, my own hope is that Barack Obama will lead the U.S., and by extension the world, into a new era focused on accountability, transparency, individual empowerment, and true democracy as envisioned by America's founding fathers. I recognize and support the need for a truly global political, economic, and legal system that can protect the weak without destroying the rewards of those willing to work hard in order to improve their lifestyle. We need a world where no one starves, everyone has the freedom to express their own opinion, and each individual has the political clout necessary to defend their home against those who prefer anarchy to civilization. We don't need a global dictatorship that reinforces the superrich and their culture of corruption while reducing the rest of us to peasantry.

There is a golden, historic opportunity here to bring freedom to our besieged world. Those who have built personal fortunes on the basis of corruption and oppression must be brought to justice and their wealth returned to the people it was stolen from. We need global systems that can clearly and fairly distinguish between those who empower the impoverished and those who enslave them. Granted, sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between the two, but a way must be found to shine a light into the darkest corners so that deeds and decisions can be clearly evaluated by those who endure the burden of misjudgment and who suffer beneath the narcissistic greed of the callous.

The new oppressors use gold as their justification, wealth as their weapon of oppression, and self-aggrandizement as their morality. If there is to be a global rebellion, I hope that the people doing the rebelling will focus their rage at those who deserve it most, the greedy and the egocentric. I also hope that the newly installed American government will start the revolution by banishing corruption from it's ranks and opening it's decision-making process for everyone to see. Most importantly of all, they must serve the needs of honest, hardworking American citizens rather than the power-hungry elites who dream of becoming hereditary kings, queens, princes, and nobles.

January 21, 2009

Cautious Optimism

Well, for what it's worth, I stayed up half the night to watch Obama's Inauguration speech. Parts that were of vital importance to me were too vague and general to have any meaning. Parts that don't worry me (like our approach to Islam) were clear and specific. Obviously our approach to Islamic countries has to change, but the main responsibility for curbing radical Islamic terrorism must come from within those countries. If it does not, the best foreign policy in the world will be useless. If Islamic countries do not take charge of their own internal policing while taking firm, positive steps to eliminate class inequalities and improve education for everyone, then protecting our own society might end up requiring a brutal, unforgivable genocide.

Mind you, I do not like that solution, but if we are left with no other choice then we must do whatever is necessary to protect our people and our way of life. I hope and pray that Obama's new policy will bring a peaceful resolution to the jihad being waged against us. The alternative is too horrifying to contemplate.

On the other hand, he was very general and vague about protecting "rights written down by our forefathers". What exactly does that mean? Does that mean unpopular political views (including extremes like neo-nazism) will be allowed a voice in public media? Does that mean I will one day soon have the freedom to strap on a loaded pistol and walk around town in any city in America without police assuming I am intent on murder and mayhem? Does that mean high school students will be allowed to form prayer groups? Will Islamic students be allowed to perform their midday prayers in the high school cafeteria? Will "rational" atheists be allowed to ridicule any expression of faith in public schools?

On a more personal level, the Obama campaign is working hard to shift their grassroots support into mass volunteerism. I applaud this wholeheartedly. I am even considering looking for opportunities to help them. On the other hand, there is this:

Obama-Biden Urban Policy:
End the Dangerous Cycle of Youth Violence: As president, Barack Obama will support innovative local programs, such as the CeaseFire program in Chicago, that have been proven to work. Such programs implement a comprehensive public health approach that implements a community-based strategy to prevent youth violence. He will also double funding for federal afterschool programs and invest in 20 Promise Neighborhoods across the country to ensure that urban youth have meaningful opportunities to succeed.

Address Gun Violence in Cities: As president, Barack Obama would repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, which restricts the ability of local law enforcement to access important gun trace information, and give police officers across the nation the tools they need to solve gun crimes and fight the illegal arms trade. Obama and Biden also favor commonsense measures that respect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, while keeping guns away from children and from criminals who shouldn't have them. They support closing the gun show loophole and making guns in this country childproof. They also support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent, as such weapons belong on foreign battlefields and not on our streets

This worries me. In fact, it scares me to death. Just spend a few minutes reading about the Chicago "CeaseFire" initiative. On paper, it sounds fine. In reality, this is nearly identical to another, much less acceptable campaign: the National Socialist 25-point Program. I admit, I am walking a razor's edge here. Community involvement is essential to overcoming the violence prevalent in American cities. The Chicago "CeaseFire" program is achieving a dramatic reduction in violence, but then, the National Socialists were very, very good at rounding up "malcontents" and shipping them off to death camps.

Is this what the modern world is coming to? Is genocide and facism the only way to have a peaceful, prosperous society? Has diversity and cross-cultural communication failed so badly in so many different realms that we are faced with no other choice than to eliminate, banish, or exterminate those who hold to a different philosophy of life? I don't know.

I do know that anti-gun extremists enjoy an overwhelming majority influence among the members of Obama's cabinet. I also know that the Brady Campaign and their followers (including Eric Holder), are not open to real-world data and statistical analysis. Instead, they are utterly and completely convinced that everyone who owns a gun is either a criminal or a criminal in the making. Now I understand that in the Bronx and in South Chicago, and in West L.A., people who own guns are generally gang members. I also know that even though these criminals terrorized the neighborhoods where Obama and Holder spent important developmental years in their youth, in view of the total United States population these violent criminals are a small, almost insignificant minority of gun users.

Yes, that's right. Despite the headlines and the Hollywood hype, the number of criminals who use guns in crime is statistically irrelevant. The Brady Campaign's quote of "30,000 annual gun deaths", does not correspond to the FBI count of 8,890 nor to the CDC count of 12,352 (both figures are for 2005, the latest year available online). Even if you combined the two you would only have two-thirds the figure provided by the Brady Campaign and regularly quoted by advocates of hyper-restrictive gun control.

Unfortunately, looking at the makeup of the Obama cabinet it is patently obvious that the only number Obama himself will ever see is the inflated and unrealistic Brady Campaign number.

The NRA has an interesting article from 2005 (the last year available for gun death statistics at both the FBI and CDC) called "Guns & Gun Ownership". According to that article, the ATF estimates that there are 214 million guns in the United States. 214 million guns and 12,352 gun deaths? Automobiles are more dangerous! Of the 250 million passenger vehicles, there were 39,252 traffic fatalities in 2005.

Hmm. Maybe the Brady Campaign confused guns and cars?

January 19, 2009

Be secure! Be safe! Be smart!

(Wow... This is my 150th blog post! A fitting topic for such a milestone.)

I learned today that gun sales in America continue to grow. Gun stores and sporting goods departments are running out of stock and manufacturers are having trouble filling orders. I think this is amazing. I wish I owned stock in a couple gun companies!

However, there is a downside, a very dark downside. It turns out that many of these new gun owners are first-time buyers with no previous firearms experience. They're going to need to learn some new habits in order to keep themselves and everyone around them safe. If you just bought your first gun, or if you know someone who just bought their first gun, then today's post is for you!

First, buy a gun safe. Spend at least as much money on your gun safe as you did on your shiny new firearm. In many cases, you might even want to spend considerably more. A good gun safe will not only protect your friends and family from accidents, it will protect your guns from thieves, from weather, from fire, and from other unforeseen disasters. If you're worried you won't be able to get to your gun in time to use it, put the safe right next to your bed.

Second, get trained! The best gun in the world will be of no use to you if you cannot maintain it properly, use it safely, and hit what you aim at every single time. You don't have to be able to put holes in dimes at five hundred paces, but you do need to be able to hit a dinner plate at fifty yards with every trigger pull. That won't happen if you don't have proper training.

Third, practice regularly! A gun is a tool. It is a very sophisticated tool with a design that features centuries of refinements. A quality gun is a precision machine with more attention to detail and hard-core engineering than a laptop computer. The simplicity and elegance of modern firearms is no accident. If you bought a good gun, you can be assured it was designed by some of the finest engineers in the world, manufactured by some of the best trained workers in the world, and upholds a quality standard that car manufacturers can only dream of.

If you didn't buy a good gun then take it back and trade it in on one with better quality. Your life really does depend on it.

But all that quality will not help you if you do not practice. Like any sport, you will have to practice for hundreds of hours to shoot well, thousands to excel. So find a gun club near your house or workplace and practice at least once a week.

And now, here are some links to get you started:

Browning Gun Safes
Heritage Safes
NRA Firearms Training Center Database

Be secure! Buy a good gun safe and use it.
Be safe! Learn to shoot safely and accurately.
Be smart! Hone your newfound skills with regular practice. Clean your gun after every practice session. Lock your gun up when you're not carrying it, using it, or cleaning it.

Most important of all, have fun! Shooting is a hobby that will put you in touch with some of the finest people in the world. True, there are a few oddballs, but as long as they use their firearms safely you won't have anything to worry about from them. If they don't, they'll either wind up dead or in jail and then no one will have to worry about them.

January 18, 2009

Hunting down the facts

Okay, let's start here: Gun Control Network

Look closely at the charts on their page. Years and countries are chosen apparently at random. Data is taken from the United States for 2001, from Italy for 1997, from England/Wales for 2002. This is like comparing apples and oranges. Choosing different years for different countries implies (but does not prove) cherry-picking the years that best illustrate the writer's main point. In other words, the facts are changed to fit the argument rather than the argument being derived from the facts.

In 1997 the United Kingdom banned all cartridge-based modern handguns regardless of caliber (Wikipedia article). In 2001 gun-related crimes rose 40%. In 2002 gun-related crimes rose another 35%! Even worse, in 2008 we learned that official stats underestimate gun-related crime by 60%! (Unfortunately, these were the only years I could find online articles about. Feel free to use your favorite search engine and learn what the other years look like!)

It seems to me that the best thing the U.K. could do now is reverse their handgun ban. Obviously the effect of banning handguns has been exactly the opposite of what legislators expected. It is time to face reality. The grand experiment is a dismal failure. In the United States we need to look to the British experiment (and the Australian buyback where the results are just as bad) and ask ourselves if we really want to subject our country to the same experiment. Britain banned handguns and experienced dramatic growth in gun-related crimes. Australia bought them back and experienced no statistically significant changes in murder and suicide rates.

People are afraid. I understand and sympathize. I really do. But that does not change reality! Punishing handgun owners and enthusiasts by passing draconian regulations restricting or banning handguns will not assuage those fears. It does not matter how the Brady Campaign and their followers manipulate the data, misquote their facts, or twist the information around. In the real world any and every attempt to reduce the number of guns in the possession of law-abiding citizens has led directly into greater crime while a city in Georgia that requires every home to have at least one gun has seen almost the complete elimination of violent crime. Their population tripled (from 5,000 to 13,000). Instead of expanding their police force, they expanded gun ownership. In doing so they achieved the goal of gun control advocates everywhere, dramatic reductions in crime.

It seems so logical, "fewer guns = less crime", but like any other faith-based assumption, logic fails in the face of cold, hard facts. The facts are clear: legal restrictions on gun ownership encourage crime while removing obstacles to gun ownership reduces crime.

Training law-abiding citizens to use guns safely and effectively and then letting them buy guns with no limits or restrictions is the only way to reduce crime. It might not be logical, but it is real.

Think about it this way, since 1965 the United States has passed almost 20,000 laws at all levels of government that restrict or prohibit law-abiding citizens from owning handguns. Yet, in every community where these laws are the most restrictive crime is growing in leaps and bounds. Every time they pass another law, crime in their community increases. Don't believe me? Look here: FBI Uniform Crime Reports. National statistics complied from 17,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide.

Don't trust commentators, lobbyists and advocates. Don't even trust me! Go to the FBI website and browse the stats for yourself. You don't have to be a mathematician. Compare California (strictest gun control laws in the nation) in any Uniform Crime Report after 1996 with any other state in the nation. Just look at the raw numbers.

Here's a quick example: Murder by State, type of weapon, 2007
For California, total murders by handgun is 1,374
For Texas, total murders by handgun is 727

Those crazy hyper-conservative Texans with their lax handgun laws and easy to get concealed carry permits only murdered half as many people as the fun-loving, liberal Californians where concealed carry permits are virtually impossible to get and handguns can be confiscated at traffic stops (even if they are properly registered and readily visible). Population size and density for the two states is (much to my own surprise) quite close.

When thinking about guns (or any other controversy), look beyond your own emotional response, ignore the wild rants of commentators on both sides of the debate. Do your homework and get the facts for yourself. You might not like what you find, but at least you'll know the facts.

January 17, 2009

Atlanta: Victim shoots robber

There are many who insist that "self-defense" is not a valid argument for owning and carrying a handgun. As stories about people using handguns to defend themselves appear, I will collect them in my blog.

The anti-gun people are right about one thing: the main purpose of a handgun is to kill a person. That is the main reason for their size, their short effective range, and their ability to be concealed. However, there will never be a world where an individual does not need to be prepared to defend themselves. We cannot perfect the human species to the point that no one will commit robbery, rape, murder or assault. There will always be criminally minded people, therefore, the rest of us must be prepared to defend ourselves when confronted by these people, with lethal force if necessary.

If every adult in America carried a handgun, either openly or concealed (or both!) would the number of handgun accidents increase? Yes. Would the number of impassioned fatalities increase? Yes. However, far more important in my own mind is the simple fact that even though we would experience an increase in unnecessary tragedies, we would also experience a much greater, much more profound increase in people whose lives are saved by the presence of a well-trained private citizen armed with a handgun.

Training will prevent the majority of accidental deaths. Although no one likes to admit it, proper training will also reduce the number of impassioned deaths. When individuals understand the destructive power of a handgun the vast majority will be unwilling to endanger their loved ones by pointing it at them either in jest or in anger. One of the reasons that handgun accidents and impassioned killings occur is that the person pulling the trigger does not realize the destructive power they are holding in their hand. Granted, that is not always true. Some of them know exactly what they are doing. That is why we call them "criminals" and put them in jail.

We cannot eliminate criminals. Period. I'm sorry, but it's not going to happen. There will always be murderers, rapists, thieves, bullies, and so on. The skills these people employ are powerfully effective in insuring the survival of the individual in times of hardship. They are natural inclinations that cannot be curbed, only disciplined. The rule of law must be established and maintained so that those who can discipline their animal behaviors will have the means to force those who cannot into isolation, thus protecting the community of those who can discipline the animal within. For those situations in which the rule of law is too slow to prevent the criminal from preying on the innocent, the innocent must have the means to thwart the criminal's intent.

The best equalizer currently available is a handgun. Since we cannot create utopia, let us create an armed society trained and prepared to handle dangerous situations when they arise.

January 15, 2009

I do not believe what I'm seeing!

Just a few days ago I wrote this post, "What Happened to the U.S. Constitution?" Then today, I find this article at the Washington Post, "Evidence is valid, despite police error."

It would be nice if we lived in a perfect world, but that is impossible. The world is not perfect, and never will be. The more power and authority the government assumes the closer we get to a dictatorship. Even now, with some of the U.S. Constitution still intact, the modern American government has as much power reserved to itself, and only to itself, as was enjoyed by King George at the time of the American Revolution. We have recreated the overreaching power, the unbearable taxation, and the loss of personal freedoms almost exactly. The only practical difference is that we elect our king every four years and call him "president".

What are you waiting for, America? Are you waiting for the day black humvees show up at suburban homes with no warrant? That's already happening! Are you waiting for the corrupt politicians to start arresting enforcement officers who shoot criminals? That's already happening, too!

Wake up, America! Your paranoia has granted the Federal government dictatorial powers. If you don't act now to reverse the Patriot Act, to get Officers Ramos and Campean pardoned and to get Prosector Sutton either jailed or sued into bankruptcy you will soon find that "innocent until proven guilty" has become "guilty until proven innocent". How much longer will you endorse corruption and support the erosion of your God-given, Constitution-guaranteed rights? How much longer will you allow criminals to enjoy better legal protections than hard-working, tax-paying citizens?

Demand Obama and his Democratic congress repeal the Patriot Act and reverse the hundreds of Cheney-Bush Executive Orders that have granted almost unlimited power to the Presidency. Either get on your phone and demand your freedom be returned to you or sit back and watch while Obama and his team remove the few personal liberties you have left.

There will not be a second chance.

Update, January 17, 2009

January 14, 2009

Palestinians must be either blind or naive

There are hundreds of similar videos now online. Why is the United Nations taking the side of Hamas? The deaths of so many civilians is a great tragedy, but as clearly shown in the video above, at least some of those deaths are the "freedom fighters" of Hamas slaughtering their own people!

How much longer will the United Nations and thousands of NGOs perpetuate the lie? Why do we allow this lie to become front page news in western press? Hamas, Hezoballah, Al Qeada, and others like them are criminals. They are thugs, bullies, murderers, extortionists, and terrorists. Why do so many desperate Palestinian people support criminals solely intent on brutalizing the very people they claim to be protecting?

I don't understand. When did the rights of criminals become more important than the rights of their victims? How did terrorists, rapists, and murderers become folk heroes?

January 13, 2009

Reality Check Time

The English banned handguns six years ago. Now the citizens want to reverse the ban and the government is refusing to even consider it.

Reality is what it is. We might not like it, but that does not change it. When guns are removed from society only the criminals and the state enforcement agencies will have them. Avoiding the cops is second nature for the bad guys, therefore, the only real-world effect from banning or overly controlling handguns is the creation of a nation-size pool of sitting ducks ripe for the picking. As crime rises, government becomes more oppressive.

It seems so simple to me.

Ban guns
Crime rises
Government responds
Tyranny results

And once the guns have been removed, the citizens have no recourse to fight tyranny. If we remove or restrict American gun ownership in violation of the 2nd Amendment, sooner or later the nation will become a dictatorship. The process is inevitable. History shows clear repetition in every society that has slid into tyranny. The very first step is to remove the weapons from the average citizen.

The next step is to remove their freedom in order to "better protect" them.

You cannot have a gun-free democracy. Elimination of gun ownership in the United States, or even just restricting it, will lead to massive upsurges in crime. The only way to fight that upsurge is more restrictive government. People who support gun control are seeking an oppressive, paternalistic government like the one in Japan where police can search any house for any reason without getting a warrant. Police in Japan can arrest any person they like, charge them with whatever crime strikes their fancy, and then hold them up to seven days until they coerce a confession out of them. If they haven't gotten a confession, they can request a fourteen-day extension. The request is merely a formality because in reality, the extensions are never denied.

Innocent until proven guilty is meaningless in Japan. It has become meaningless in England. Is America next?

H.R. 45 <---- Read it and remember, no guns leads directly to dictatorship
H.R. 17 <---- Read it and remember, the criminals won't wait around for the cops to show up

In the end, there is really only one reason for the 2nd Amendment: to allow those of us who care about freedom to arm ourselves and engage in armed revolt on that day when our government stops caring about our needs and transforms itself into a dictatorship! The founding fathers knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that someday a group of people would come along with the influence and stage presence necessary to convince large numbers of voters that they alone knew what was best for everyone else. Like it or not, the 2nd Amendment not only allows you to arm yourself against predatory criminals, it also allows you to arm yourself against a predatory government. It is the last bulwark against the greatest danger of all: corrupt and self-serving politicians.

January 12, 2009

What happened to the U.S. Constitution?

2nd Amendment:
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.

4th Amendment:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated and no Warrants shall issue but upon probable cause supported by Oath or affirmation and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

Now read this: Midnight Warrantless Search in Maryland

The case above is exactly why I cringe when I read an article in the Washington Post about how proud the police are to have reduced violent crime without allowing law-abiding citizens greater freedom to defend themselves. When the state becomes your protector and the police become the first line of defense then the only way they can do their job is for you to become a peasant whose life and wellbeing are the property of the state. It's good that violent crime has gone down. It's good that the police are proud of their role in reducing crime. But the cost to the average, hardworking, law-abiding citizen has become too high!

We need to reverse the now fifty year-old trend of eroding away at the rights and freedoms enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. Instead of limiting the freedoms of ordinary people we need to spend more time and energy training ordinary people to be self-sufficient and vigilant against crime. People need to cooperate with law enforcement and report the crimes they witness. How many police cases have gone cold because when the police canvas a busy public street no one comes forward to report what they saw? How many victims would never have encountered a violent criminal if that criminal had been shot dead by the first person they attempted to rape, rob, or assault?

Crime is rampant in many of America's major cities for these reasons:

1> People with time and money routinely purchase "recreational drugs" from street dealers.
2> Law-abiding citizens in most major cities are not allowed their constitutional right to defend themselves.
3> The only people in the streets that carry weapons are the cops and the criminals and naturally the criminals avoid the cops.
4> When a crime occurs on a crowded street, witnesses don't step forward and help the police identify the criminal.

Train people to defend themselves and then give them back their guns. According to John Lott, just that one change alone would reduce crime by so much that we would no longer need the illegal search and seizure practice that has become commonplace in cities like Los Angeles, Oakland, Chicago, Washington D.C., and New York City. If in addition to this one simple change the United States as a nation could dramatically increase the penalties for possession of illegal narcotics and provide better protection for the witnesses of drug and gang related crimes then we could easily and dramatically reduce crime in every major American city, in most Mexican cities, and in major cities throughout South America.

The time has come to recognize that "harmless recreational drugs" are funding the crime wave that has gripped the American continent from glacial reaches of Canada's Northwest Territories to the frozen shores of Tierra Del Fuego. Cocaine or methamphetamine pick me ups for fast-track financiers, that evening marijuana joint shared with your spouse, along with the rainbow-colored Ecstasy pills that are the mainstay of modern parties and raves are the foundation of modern organized crime. North Americans who use these drugs are fueling and funding the daily slaughter on their own streets, the corruption of every single government and police force on the continent, and the gradual transformation of the land of liberty into the dictatorship of the rich and powerful.

The twin North American dependencies on foreign oil and recreational narcotics are the real reasons for the dramatic upsurges in both violent crime and international terrorism. I'm sorry my fellow Americans, but you really are the source of almost every scourge that is bringing modern civilization to a dramatic and violent finish. If you don't give up your drugs, your oversize cars, and your childish inability to take responsibility for your own behaviors, then within another decade there will be no United States of America. Instead there will be a dictatorship of the rich and powerful that is indistinguishable from Hitler's Third Reich, Mao's Democratic Republic of China, and Stalin's Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Yes, that joint you smoked last night and the Ecstasy you dropped at last week's rave, not to mention the Hummer you drive back and forth to work all by your lonesome, these are the real reason you cannot walk in Central Park after dark and you had to give up your right to privacy following 9/11. It's your fault and no one else's. The terrorist and the Columbian bombmaker are doing what they do because you paid them to do it.

January 08, 2009

Racism on the rise

In the first two videos police officers shoot innocent black men. In the third, three young white men respond to the election of a black president by assaulting innocent blacks in a Stanton Island neighborhood.

Why is racial profiling and racially motivated violence on the rise in the United States? Just yesterday I pointed out that fear, not science, is the motivating factor behind the strongest anti-gun groups. Likewise, it is fear and not reality that brings about instances like the three videos above. It was only a month ago that this video aired as well:

This kind of fear and paranoia will bring about more violence and more infringement of freedoms and Constitutionally mandated rights of every American citizen. We must not continue to cater to this kind of insane paranoia. It can only lead to one place: an American dictatorship.

Stop the paranoia, America. Please? You are destroying the greatest nation the world has ever seen.

More guns = less crime, but only with good training!

I'm a Christian. I've been a Christian for over three decades. My faith has been attacked as irrational and unscientific more times than I can count. And then the same people who call me unscientific will ignore valid, well-documented research and make faith-based claims like, "the government always has our best interests at heart", or "hunting animals in areas suffering from overpopulation is illogical". Worse yet, they anthromorphize guns and ignore the criminals wielding them.

I've been reading a book, "More Guns, Less Crime", by John R. Lott, Jr. He brings into play over a decade of hard data from national crime registries to clearly demonstrate that every single American State and county that has passed non-restrictive concealed carry laws has experienced a reduction in violent crime. No exceptions. The strongest critic of the research doesn't even bother to offer a counterpoint. Instead, they spend endless hours compiling personal attacks on the researher!

Huh? I thought crazy religious nuts like myself were the only people allowed to have faith-based beliefs! Guess I was wrong.

Early in the pre-dawn hours of January 1, 2009, a white BART cop in Oakland shot and killed a young black man. Videos captured on multiple personal cameras clearly show what can only be considered an assassination. Well, I suppose there is some small possibility that the gun discharged accidentally, but I have two problems with that scenario. First, the officer's training should have reinforced the absolute need to keep the chamber empty when transporting his firearm, making it impossible for the gun to fire without charging the chamber by working the slide. Second, there was no legal or logical reason for the officer to remove his gun from the holster. The situation was under control and there was no threat.

So, either the officer's training was so poor that no one can ever trust BART cops at all, or in the heat of the moment fear and pride drove a white officer to murder an annoying black man.

The black man was unarmed. The white cop was either unqualified to carry a firearm or mentally unstable (which would also make him unqualified). If the common people are not allowed to carry firearms then who will protect them from unbalanced, murderous law enforcement officers, let alone the criminals? Oakland is so violent, and has so much crime, that in my opinion the best course of action would be to provide complete firearms training and one handgun to every single member of every single household. Mr. Lott's research demonstrates that in every place where people are allowed to carry concealed weapons violent crime strongly declines, so let's arm the population of Oakland and let them protect their homes and their families! And, when necessary, even from the unqualified and unbalanced local police force!

The key is not the guns. The real key is the training regimen. Handing out guns will help no one. I know this. What we really need is for everyone who is qualified to undergo extensive and complete training in the use of firearms.

Education is real key to all of the problems we have in today's world. Radical Islamic terrorism, a failing economy, a collapsing global eco-system, all of these are the direct result of complete ignorance. Sometimes that ignorance is willful, and sometimes purely naive. Nonetheless, ignorance about the consequences of our decisions and the better long-term solutions available to us is what leads societies, communities, industries, and individuals into disastrous choices.

I agree with my critics, science backed by hard data is the key to understanding our reality. The problem is, my critics want to ignore the science when their own faith disagrees with the findings.

For example, on one page at the Brady Campaign website they open with this question:
"Do you feel safer sitting next to someone carrying a gun?"

Well, actually, I do! Apparently no one at the Brady Campaign does, however. Funny thing about that page. Although they reference many different reports and studies, they don't offer a single fact. Instead, they list a data set and without quoting a single data point state unequivacolly that the data set supports their belief.

Here's a couple book suggestions for anyone out there looking for real studies based on real data:

Seven Myths of Gun Control, by Richard Poe
Thank God I had a Gun!, by Chris Bird
More Guns, Less Crime, by John R. Lott, Jr.

There is too much fear running through modern America. We hide from reality and try to pretend that all the bad things in the world won't touch us if we keep our cable subscription paid. Maybe they won't, but maybe they will. If they do, then we need to be able to defend ourselves. I don't understand why instead of hiding away behind closed blinds more people don't get out and take a few self-defense courses. Learn some hand-to-hand techniques, learn to shoot a gun, learn how to disarm a mugger or rapist without risking your own well-being. The key, as always, is to learn!

If you sacrifice a couple seasons of "Amazing Race" or "American Idol" and take some self-defense courses you'll feel better, you'll walk taller, and you won't be afraid to walk down the street after the sun sets.

Break the habit of fear. Learn to take care of yourself, your family, and your property.

January 03, 2009

There is no evil, only sadness

January 6, 2009

As I said, these "freedom fighters" are criminally insane. There is not a single Islamic "counter-crusade" group out there that does not share in the insanity. Islam is a beautiful religion and the Qu'aran is one of the most elegant holy books ever written. The perversion of their religion for the purpose of terrorism should bring the disdain of Muslims everywhere. Why are Muslim leaders failing to speak out against these hate-filled fanatics?

Al Qaeda Blames Obama for Israeli Attack on Gaza


January 5, 2009

I know some people will call this video propaganda. Sadly, it is not. Hamas, Hezoballah, and all of the smaller militias that support their agenda are not freedom fighters, they are criminals. My heart bleeds for the countless civilians placed in the line of fire by the cowards who claim to be defending them.


January 4, 2009

Let's start with a couple short videos. The top video is a Palestinian doctor lamenting the high number of civilian casualties, the lower video an Israeli mother lamenting the rockets falling in her hometown.

From the time I was old enough to watch a news broadcast and understand the content, the Middle East has been a hotbed of violence and human suffering. Over the past three decades the violence has spread to Munich, Mogadishu, and New York. At the moment, Israel is in the first stages of a ground invasion of Gaza that will probably result in tens of thousands of civilian casualties. What no one in the western media ever bothers to tell us is that organizations like Hamas and Hezobollah routinely place their operational offices, armories, rocket factories, and even rocket launchers in hospitals, mosques, apartment buildings and schools. Their "militia" lives among everyday civilians. They live in the same housing complexes, shop in the same stores, and think nothing of storing their weapons in elementary school storage closets. They hire orphans and widows to work in their rocket factories, clean their AK-47s, and press their uniforms.

How could Israel or any other normal military ever hope to eradicate violent criminals who pretend to be an army without causing civilian casualties when those criminals live and work side by side with the people they tell the rest of the world they are "protecting"? Until Arab nations stop supplying these groups and Palestinians themselves stop supporting them, these groups will continue to place their military hardware and personnel in places where any attempt to destroy them will create five or ten civilian casualties for every fighter captured or killed. As long as the Palestinian people and Arab nations continue to throw their support behind criminal gangs disguised as "citizen militias" there will be civilian casualties every time someone steps up to stop the violence these people perpetuate.

If Hamas, Hezoballah, or any of the hundreds of smaller militias were genuine military organizations dedicated to liberating their people then they would not be using the people they claim to defend as human shields. As long as they rain rockets on Israeli cities, as long as nations like Iran and Syria refuse to put Israel on their maps and pour money into them, these groups will be a blight on the modern world. This is not a "holy war". This is a criminal action against a sovereign nation that has every right to defend itself and a responsibility to its citizens to provide safety and security.

The current system of walls, checkpoints, and blockades was erected in direct response to continual cross border raids by terrorists against ordinary civilians. Before the PLO decided to start killing Israeli citizens in their sleep in the mid-seventies, there were no walls, no checkpoints, and no blockades. Palestinians routinely commuted into Israel to work in factories, farms, shops, and even civil service jobs. If the Palestinian people really want peace and freedom, then they must break their association with violent criminal organizations and treat those organizations the same way they would treat any other underground gang bent on violence: with arrest and prosecution of its members.

The Palestinian people and the Arab nations that support them have always had it in their power to bring an end to the violence in the Middle East. The process is really quite simple: acknowledge the reality of the nation of Israel and stop supporting criminal organizations dedicated to violence.

It's not about Yahweh vs. Allah, and it's not about Jew vs. Arab. No, the real problem is the same as it always is, regardless of whether it takes place in Chicago, Dublin, Paris, or Beirut. The real problem is violent sociopaths supported by crime and ignored by politicians who profit from their existence.

January 01, 2009

New Year's Meditations

It is 8:30 p.m. Tokyo time on January 1, 2009. Today has been the first day of a new year and like many years I've seen, it has not started well. Israel is marching into the Gaza strip, Gazprom is shutting off gas and oil supplies to Ukraine, some of the worst weather in history is rolling through North America and Europe. On reflection, this might be the worst global New Year I've ever seen.

If nothing unexpected happens then in a few weeks Barack Obama will be sworn in as President of the United States. Even though I supported him, and even though I am glad he was elected, I do not believe he will be able to reverse the tide of history. My one hope is that he will have enough political clout to shift the direction far enough that we can avoid the worst consequences of the many mistakes that have been made over the past forty years.

What do I mean by that? Well, it's kind of complicated.

Partly as a result of the spiritual and psychic trauma of having come through two world wars, in the early sixties American churches were beset by a massive wave of ennui and apathy. Church leaders themselves had begun to have doubts about the foundations of both their personal beliefs and the beliefs the United States of America was founded upon. Do not be mistaken by modern revisionists who cannot accept the published writings, diaries, and personal notes left to us by Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock, George Washington and so many others. The United States of America was founded first and foremost as a Christian nation dedicated to protecting the rights and privileges of the individual. I know it will offend many modern people, but I can promise you this, there will be dire, long-standing consequences for the damage we have done by denying our foundational beliefs.

I am not saying God will pour down his righteous wrath and judgements on America in some kind of irrational Old Testament sense. Not in the least. God won't have to lift a finger. You see, the one detail every revisionist, every modern commentator, every perverse and unrighteous secular leader dedicated to "freeing us from the bondage of irrational religion" has overlooked is the simple, undeniable reality that Christian ethics and morals are neither abstract nor random. The laws of the Old Testament, the Ten Commandments, the Precepts of the Apostles, and every moral or ethical precept set out in the Bible has one purpose and one purpose only: helping you and I to avoid the unseen dangers inherent in the lifestyle choices the Bible encourages us to deny ourselves.

Adultery leads directly to vicious and unstoppable cycles of pain, anger, and revenge. Deception leads directly to equally painful cycles of mistrust and abuse. Killing people in revenge, in anger, in jealousy, or in any other passionate state starts the same violent cycles as adultery. If you abuse, misuse, or oppress people who serve you (either as citizens, employees, or slaves), then sooner or later those same people will rise up and destroy you. Biblical morality is the only way individuals within a society can deal with one another in justice and fairness.

Now I know modern Bible critics will tell you that the Biblical code is cruel and inhumane. They will point out passages like, "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" and then ask, "Do we really need this kind of archaic morality in our daily life?"

And I agree, we don't need to take out eyes, stone adulterers, and so on. On the other hand, we do need to recognize that the behaviors the Bible prohibits have far-reaching consequences and all of those consequences are negative.

We need Christianity in modern America. We need freedom from our selfish, naturally self-destructive animal instinct toward raw, naked passions like lust, anger, jealousy, ambition, and domination. The one truth the revisionists, the atheists, the modernists, and the anti-Christian "equal rights" groups are denying is the simple reality that promiscuity, same-sex romantic entanglements, rebellion against any presentation of God, and other "life-style choices" they advocate are not freedoms at all. These kind of life choices lead directly into slavery to your own selfish passions and those passions lead directly to self-destructive patterns of behavior.

The damnation God wants us to avoid, and Christ died to free us from, is not just eternal damnation in a fiery hell. Not at all. If anything, hell will be a cakewalk compared to the pain, agony, dissonance, depression, and suicidal drive that personal addiction to selfish passion will bring. It's not about eternal damnation at all. It's really about having the richest, most fulfilling life possible right here on planet Earth. A life that is only possible if we have the power of the Holy Spirit and the encouragement of loving friends to help us.

We don't need freedom to fulfill our selfish desires. No, what we really need is freedom from our selfish desires.

The last fifty years has seen the United States of America moving steadily and irresolutely into slavery to selfish passions. Once we are enslaved to our own passions, we will need a dictatorial, oppressive government to prevent us from destroying one another utterly and completely. The kind of "change" Barack Obama has promised to bring us cannot come from the Oval Office. No matter how hard he tries, Obama cannot save us from ourselves. The only person who can save us from ourselves is Jesus Christ.

I'm sorry. I know how offensive this is to so many people. But stop and look at the history of the United States. The dividing point is clearly World War I. Prior to World War I we worked hard to live our lives in accordance with the high ideals and self-discipline of our Puritan ancestors. After World War I we spent a few decades in apathy and self-delusion. One result of that dissonace was allowing, and in some circles encouraging, Hitler's rise to power. Over the past five decades we have been exploring every way of life possible except traditional Christianity and look where it has brought us!

This will be a pivotal year. If repentance and revival comes to North America than the entire world will benefit. If it does not, then the entire world will continue to spiral downward into economic collapse, global warfare, massive plagues, and ultimately, the end of life as we know it.

The choice belongs to each of us individually. Will we return to the ideals of our ancestors or will we continue to embrace the self-destructive lifestyles espoused as "freedom" by those leaders who either have no concept of the consequences those lifestyles bring or who are secretly hoping to take advantage of those consequences for their own self-aggrandizement.