We Are All George Zimmerman

On August 19, 1991, a Jewish man driving a station wagon in a motorcade fell behind and eventually got into an accident. The driver knew he was going to end up on the sidewalk, so he steered his vehicle away from all of the people he could see – yet ended up hitting a wall. The wall collapsed, killing 7-year-old Gavin Cato and seriously injuring his cousin, Angela. The two children were black, their parents immigrants from Guyana. City EMS and Hatzalah (an all-volunteer private Jewish EMS service) both arrived. City EMS directed one of the two Hatzalah units to take the driver to the hospital for his own safety; another Hatzalah unit stayed to help extricate the children from the rubble and transport the children to the hospital.

Crown Heights has very high numbers of blacks and Jews, and the two had long kept an uneasy relationship. When 22-year-old driver Yosef Lifsh averted one tragedy only to unleash another that day, long-dormant tensions almost immediately hit the ignition point and the neighborhood was overtaken in a racial flashover of epic proportions.

When city EMS workers arrived, Lifsh was being pulled from his vehicle and beaten by black witnesses – some the very people he had desperately tried to avoid hitting. A large crowd gathered. Lifsh tried to help the children but was eventually beaten back, and when the ambulance services arrived, Lifsh was taken away to the rising fury of the crowd – which had begun to chant, “Jews! Jews! Jews!” The resulting uproar sparked a pogrom which, to this day, has never really been answered for.

Ari Goldman, then a reporter for the New York Times, was openly angry with his bosses for not reporting the truth about the riots. Jews, who had not shown violence, were brutally attacked by their black neighbors. A few hours after the riots began, some 20 black youths set upon Yankel Rosenbaum, an Australian Jew in the US to study for his doctorate. Yankel was beaten and stabbed. As he lay dying, he was able to identify the 16-year-old who stabbed him for police. The next day, black demonstrators chanted, “death to the Jews!” Jewish homes and businesses were looted and set on fire; bricks and bottles were thrown through windows and at Jews. At Gavin Cato’s funeral, race-baiting charlatan Al Sharpton made crude remarks referring to Jews as “diamond merchants” and said, “it’s an accident to allow an apartheid ambulance service in the middle of crown heights!”

Sharpton has since had the unmitigated gall to claim that he went to Crown Heights at the start of the riots to see “brick-throwing on all sides.” He’s talked about “extremists in the Jewish community” and how those supposed extremists called him out wrongly for referring to them as diamond merchants. He claimed that he should have talked about how precious Yankel Rosenbaum was as he eulogized Gavin Cato, but failed to mention that he was too busy challenging Jews to “pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house!” Even more astonishing, he has the temerity to say that we shouldn’t be too concerned with who is the “greater victim”.

Lemrick Nelson, Jr. was acquitted of murder charges in the death of Rosenbaum despite video evidence showing his involvement. He was later found guilty on federal charges of depriving Rosenbaum of his civil rights. Only one other rioter faced any charges; nobody else was arrested or brought to justice, and not one acceptable apology has ever been offered to the Jewish community in Crown Heights for the outrageous crimes committed against them in August of 1991. Yet we have never seen Jewish protests or outrage; we haven’t seen Jewish youths go on rampages down black streets. Instead, they have maintained their dignity and used their intelligence to call out the flagrant anti-Semitic acts during the riots and the lack of concern on the part of the press or the authorities.

Fast forward to February 26, just one month ago. 17-year-old Trayvon Martin has just gone to stay with his father in Sanford, Florida and on a rainy day walks to a convenience store for iced tea and candy. He has his hood pulled low over his face. As he walks back to his father’s house, neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman spots him and calls police to tell them he’s following a young black man who is acting suspiciously. After a long spate of break-ins and violent crimes in the gated community, Zimmerman hears a dispatcher tell him not to follow Trayvon and goes back to his SUV.

The story gets hairy from there. The only eyewitnesses say they heard someone scream for help and came to see Trayvon standing over Zimmerman, banging his head against the sidewalk. Several 911 calls are placed. A gunshot is heard. The voices go silent. When police arrive, they find Zimmerman bleeding from his nose and the back of his head, a single round discharged; Trayvon is lying face-down, a bullet wound to his chest, dead. Other witnesses made claims that couldn’t be corroborated. Zimmerman tells the police that Trayvon attacked him from behind, knocked him down and beat him, eventually leaving him with no option but to shoot him in self-defense.

Since the incident, tensions have reached the boiling point yet again, with members of the black community spewing vile hatred for Zimmerman, claiming he’s a white racist (in fact, he’s Hispanic). Trayvon’s family has claimed he was just a good boy. Pictures of Trayvon as a 12- and 13-year-old, smiling in his football uniform, have been widely circulated. A picture of Zimmerman after an arrest in which charges were dropped has been widely circulated. Strange facts have begun to emerge: Trayvon was with his father because he’d been suspended from school after getting caught with marijuana. Zimmerman was actually well-liked by his neighbors and had thwarted at least one known break-in attempt.

Just like they did during the Crown Heights riots, the press has made a mess of the story. They’ve provided extremely biased coverage. They haven’t challenged a single aspect of their own story. They’re not reporting on Spike Lee tweeting Zimmerman’s address or the death threats Zimmerman has received; they haven’t called out the New Black Panther Party for openly putting a $10,000 bounty on Zimmerman’s head. Instead, they report only on the emotionally charged family demanding justice without questioning whether their son may have actually attacked a man. Yes, it is tragic that Trayvon died. It is unthinkable that we would allow mob justice to take over in America and a travesty that nobody is asking questions before taking action. We should have learned after Crown Heights.

The title of this post is meant to get your attention. I hope it has. We could all end up being George Zimmerman someday – accused of a hate crime you didn’t commit, the people in your corner being ignored by the public when they say you’re not a hatemonger or a thug, with extremist groups so ready to take your life that they’d offer a large sum of money to anyone willing to deliver you to them. If for no other reason than the fact that the truth is often distorted and we could one day be the targets of unfounded rage, we should defend Zimmerman’s rights and shout down the mob. If warranted, we should be willing to do violence to be sure the mob is stopped.

We all know the images being circulated of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. We’ve become well-acquainted with them. What if someone showed you different images of the two? What would you think then? Well, here you go…

NOTE: it would appear, according to a commenter, that Twitchy did, in fact, acknowledge that the photo previously posted here was NOT of Trayvon. While I didn’t get the photo from Twitchy, I feel it necessary to remove the photo and put another one up – this one actually of Trayvon. I maintain that the more recent photos of Trayvon have been deliberately hidden from the public.

NYC Mayor Harasses AZ Over Gun Laws Despite Layoffs

On January 23, the Crossroads of the West gun show in Phoenix, Arizona became the target of an investigation. Neither Arizona authorities nor federal authorities carried it out. It wasn’t a journalist, either. Private investigators, hired by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg at a price tag just over six figures, entered the popular gun show with the intent of trying to buy guns and making it appear illegal. Hidden cameras caught the PI’s telling gun sellers point-blank that they couldn’t pass a background check. We don’t know if any sellers told the hired hands to take a hike, but we do know that at least two guns were sold to them.

All of this is going down in the face of the biggest layoffs in the city’s history.

600 NYC firefighters are about to get their walking papers and 21,000 teachers are slated for the same fate thanks to the city’s budget shortfalls, yet Bloomberg is paying top dollar for what amounts to little more than political posturing. Bloomberg already runs a city that bans handgun ownership, but he’s been pushing for more stringent gun laws in the state for some time. The Tucson shooting provided the backdrop he had hoped for and, like any good liberal refusing to let a good crisis go to waste, Bloomberg joined the rest of the harpies in doing the gun control rain dance. The stunt he pulled right here in my city was his swan song.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ORGlpb_HfE&feature=player_embedded]

Here’s the kicker: in Arizona, private sellers can be prosecuted for knowingly selling guns to those who cannot pass background checks. In this case, however, they can NEVER be prosecuted. Bloomberg didn’t notify Arizona officials that the investigation would be going down. So, because he has no jurisdiction, none of the illegal sellers will be held accountable. They can keep selling just as they did on January 23. The law is in place for a reason – breaking the law is supposed to result in penalties designed to deter people from selling guns illegally. Bloomberg wasn’t interested in bringing those sellers to justice. He wanted to accent his point, and in political terms, it is perfectly acceptable to ignore the law if it helps you win an argument.

I’m curious…how many teacher or firefighter jobs could have been spared by the money blown on this peacockery? Since we know that more layoffs will come because of governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget cuts, how many police jobs could have been spared the chopping block before those layoffs were even considered? How many officers need equipment that money could have purchased? How many bait cars could have been bought? How many investigations, rape kits, overtime hours could have been paid for with the money he flushed on this excursion?

What amazes me is that Bloomberg’s spokesman said, “The background check system failed in Arizona, it failed in Virginia and it fails in states around the country. If we don’t fix it now, the question is not whether another massacre will occur, but when.” In the video above, Bloomberg makes much of the fact that the gun purchased – a Glock 17 with two high-capacity clips – is the same weapon used in Tucson. The myth is busted, however. Most people have been led to believe by Bloomberg and most of the press that Jared Loughner, the Tucson shooter, was only stopped when he ran out of ammunition in one high-capacity clip. That is a patent lie. His weapon actually jammed precisely because of the clip he was using. All clips feed rounds into a gun chamber with a simple spring-loaded mechanism; the shorter the clip, the better the spring works. With a little practice and several smaller clips, Loughner could have held off every unarmed person for some time. The larger clip had a spring that was longer and had less loading power, resulting in a mis-chambered round and an opportunity for two unarmed people to wrestle him to the ground. The loading problem is an issue I have experienced when testing larger clips, so I have never bought one.

The background check system would not have stopped Loughner from getting a gun, even in New York. He had no criminal past and had not been determined legally mentally unfit. The only thing that would have stopped him before he killed five people would have been a law-abiding citizen carrying a gun and shooting him. In a day and age where people freak out at the sight of a person carrying a gun on their hip, though, why should anybody in a liberal bastion like Tucson actually have the balls to fight back and defend themselves?

God knows we don’t want to make anybody uncomfortable.

Libertarian Pacifism: A Pacifism by Any Other Name Wouldn’t Smell as Sweet

Note:  This post is not aimed at all Libertarians.  There are some Libertarians who are not pacifist.  I am only discussing those who advocate pacifism while hiding behind the Constitution.  I am in agreement with many who state that wars should be declared and stated with a clear purpose by our government; to do anything less and drag a war out longer than necessary is, in and of itself, immoral.  This post isn’t meant to be a discussion on war-gaming.  It is, instead, a philosophical post.

Ayn Rand correctly identified the source of all conflicts in the world when she said:

Wars are the second greatest evil that human societies can perpetrate. (The first is dictatorship, the enslavement of their own citizens, which is the cause of wars.)

As long as there are societies on earth who endorse collectivism or dictatorships in any form, whether secular or theocratic, then there will always be wars.  Collectivism is any system of governance defined as that which demands the sacrifice of the individual to the collective with altruism (or in some cases simply the psychosis of its dictator) as its justification. 

My inspiration for this post came after reading an article entitled Glenn Beck’s Lincoln Contradictions by Thomas J. DiLorenzo.  Mr. DiLorenzo utilizes the term “Neo-con” quite a bit.  I want to state upfront that the proliferation of all these new terms, Neo-Con, Neo-Liberal, Neo-Keynesian, Neo-Communist, Neo-Fascist, are simply attempts at continued muddying of the real argument which is between collectivism vs. individualism.  That is the only descriptive consideration that matters when discussing man’s inalienable right to be free; the rest is simply meant to confuse people’s minds and complicate the issues.

Let’s be frank–there is no discernible difference between Libertarian pacifism and Left-Wing pacifism.  Pacifism is pacifism and the justifications for it no matter from which group it arises are equally misguided.  Ayn Rand had this to say about pacifism:

The necessary consequence of man’s right to life is his right to self-defense. In a civilized society, force may be used only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use. All the reasons which make the initiation of physical force an evil, make the retaliatory use of physical force a moral imperative.

If some “pacifist” society renounced the retaliatory use of force, it would be left helplessly at the mercy of the first thug who decided to be immoral. Such a society would achieve the opposite of its intention: instead of abolishing evil, it would encourage and reward it.

Leftists justify their pacifism usually by intoning their committment to peace.  Peace cannot be achieved by the absence of all conflict.  It can only be achieved by the destruction of all collectivism.  Human existence is defined by conflict; the hiring of one person over another who is better qualified, the victory of this hockey team over that hockey team, the victim of a robbery or rape who pulls his gun against his victimizer in order to defend the value which is his or her’s continued existence.  Those who wish to pretend that in order to live one’s life by trying to ignore conflict simply because they don’t like it–will never learn how to achieve the greatest value of all which is their life and by default their happiness. 

Pacifist Libertarians tend to justify their pacifism on the grounds that all cultures are equally valuable and have the right to exist on their own terms without interference from other cultures.  However, the notion of multiculturalism is equally flawed in its premises.  The idea that all cultures are equal in their value necessarily demands that you therefore believe all collectivist cultures have value.  You cannot claim, as many Libertarians do, to stand for individual freedom while at the same time trying to justify the existence of collectivist cultures; that is called “wanting to have your cake and eat it too.”  That is a demand reality imposes on any individual who wants to stand for individual freedom.

From the article Diversity and Multiculturalism:  The New Racism at The Ayn Rand Institute:

Advocates of “diversity” are true racists in the basic meaning of that term: they see the world through colored lenses, colored by race and gender. To the multiculturalist, race is what counts—for values, for thinking, for human identity in general. No wonder racism is increasing: color blindness is now considered evil, if not impossible. No wonder people don’t treat each other as individuals: to the multiculturalist, they aren’t.

Advocates of “diversity” claim it will teach students to tolerate and celebrate their differences. But the “differences” they have in mind are racial differences, which means we’re being urged to glorify race, which means we’re being asked to institutionalize separatism. “Racial identity” erects an unbridgeable gulf between people, as though they were different species, with nothing fundamental in common. If that were true—if “racial identity” determined one’s values and thinking methods—there would be no possibility for understanding or cooperation among people of different races.

Some ask, “What about America’s melting-pot?  Isn’t that multiculturalism?”  No.  It’s not.  America was devised by its Founders to elevate the individual over the government.  All other nations throughout history elevated the government over the individual.  Freedom of the individual over the government provides a country where all men, of all cultures, backgrounds, and religions come to be free “as individuals” within the American culture of individual freedom.  Can they uphold their roots and honor and celebrate them?  Absolutely.  But, America is not defined by those various cultural roots–she is defined by the individual which is, in and of itself, a “culture.”

I will agree with Mr. DiLorenzo’s statements, as well as Ms. Rand’s statements, that many times war is used to justify the theft of liberty by a nation against its own people.  He says:

Of course, all of this high-handed talk about the Republican Party supposedly being “the party of great moral ideas” is also a convenient smokescreen for the economic greed that is its real motivation, and has been ever since the party first gained power. As Rothbard further explained: “On the economic level, the Republicans [in 1860] adopted the Whig program of statism and big government: protective tariffs, subsidies to big business, strong central government, large-scale public works, and cheap credit spurred by government.” It hasn’t changed much since.

I am in complete agreement with this assessment; both parties are guilty of crony capitalism which is the politically correct term for Fascism.  The only difference is–the Democrats are more open about it while the Republicans like to pretend they are not engaged in it.  Presidents Wilson, FDR and George W. Bush, to name a few, were all guilty of growing government under their administrations during a time of war.  I have no argument with that assertion.  What I do challenge is the notion that a  nation’s citizens cannot demand limited government at home, which necessarily entails separation of the state and economics for the same reasons and same purpose we have separation of church and state, while at the same time protecting itself from threats over-seas.  Many Libertarians say that’s what they want too but then reveal themselves by saying the phrase “protecting itself from threats over-seas” means “bring the troops home from everywhere and cease and desist active conflict”.  Yes.  That’s called “pacifism”.  If you are not actively fighting but instead you are sitting on your weapons–that is pacifism.  If your enemy has already declared war (which the Islamists have) and you are not acknowledging the need to fight back actively–that is pacifism.  If you are not fighting–you are being “passive.”     

What complicates America’s situation is–we are not living in a fully free society under true laissez-fair capitalism.  That is the reason we keep growing government every time we find it necessary to wage a battle against collectivist threats from elsewhere.  I submit, it most certainly is possible to have and maintain limited government and fight necessary wars against collectivists who threaten their free-state neighbors.  The pacifist Libertarians promote the false premise that war must necessarily equal big-government.  These are mutually exclusive concepts; they are not dependent on each other for their existence–necessarily.  A free-nation can remain an economically free nation under laissez-faire capitalism and fight a war to defend itself; the keyword is defend —in other words–not subjugate–which is what tyrannical nations feel it necessary to do against their neighbors when losing their grip on power.  The promotion of the idea that a free nation engaged in a war to defend itself will necessarily result in the growth of its government–is simply a false premise.  Whether that free nation’s leaders grow government or not is another matter entirely and those issues can be dealt with apart from the issue of war itself.

Another aspect that is problematic for America is that we have spread ourselves too thin.  I am in complete agreement with most Libertarians who assert we have too many troops stationed in too many areas of the world where we should no longer be; the Middle East is not one of them, however.  There is no discernible difference between Adolph Hitler, a secular collectivist, and the collectivist theocratic tyrants of the Middle East.  Hitler was driven by national socialism and his irrational hatred for the Jews.  The collectivist theocrats of the Middle East are driven, not only for their hatred of Israel (take note also a free-society–though with a similarly mixed economy like the U.S.), but also by the notion they are doing the will of their God by fighting the infidels for the purpose of creating the conditions of the return of the Twelfth Imam.  Libertarians often state that the Islamists hate us because we are “occupying their land”–but, they rarely, if ever, address the theocratic reasons the Islamists give us in their own words as to why they are fighting us.  Usually the Libertarian will just say, “Those are just words” or “That’s just an excuse”.  Ironically, those are the same excuses the Left-Wing pacifists give in regards to their reasons for upholding pacifist ideas.

All collectivist societies need war to uphold their control on their populations.  That is why it is so imperative that America beat back the march towards statism in our own country and restore true laissez-fair capitalism as opposed to the mixed disaster we currently employ.  If America’s leaders are indeed using war as an excuse to uphold crony capitalism then that is an issue we as citizens need to confront them with; it doesn’t necessarily translate into “therefore, we can’t fight necessary wars anymore.”  From Ayn Rand:

Observe that the major wars of history were started by the more controlled economies of the time against the freer ones. For instance, World War I was started by monarchist Germany and Czarist Russia, who dragged in their freer allies. World War II was started by the alliance of Nazi Germany with Soviet Russia and their joint attack on Poland.

By no means am I implying that it is the duty of America to transform all of the collectivist societies of the world into bastions of free-market capitalism–no matter how appealing that notion may be.  In fact, that is the only way there ever will be peace in the world–the supremacy of free capitalist societies upholding freedom of the individual.  What I am saying, however, is that it is the duty of the American government, indeed it is the one primary duty of any government of a free-society, to protect its citizens from collectivist tyrants who now need to turn their attention to warring with the free-societies around them in order to maintain their power and hold over their own citizens.  By no means am I even suggesting that the citizens of our country who do have problems with armed conflict from a moral or religious perspective should not be allowed to reserve their tax dollars from being used for that purpose just as those who don’t approve of abortion shouldn’t be forced to have their tax dollars used for that purpose.  However, we do not have that ideal system at the moment and that is a discussion for another time.

Pacifism is driven by guilt over the necessity of justifiable war.  It is an unearned guilt.  Many people are driven in their objection to war by the deaths of “innocent” people.  The truth of the matter is, any “innocent” deaths created in the Middle East by America and it’s allies–i.e. other free-societies–are not on the heads of America and its allies.  The deaths of those people are on the heads of the tyrannical collectivists who enslaved their people to begin with.  A free-nation, just as a free-individual, has the right to protect itself from the force of others who would impose their tyrannical will.  The death of innocent people in a war is no different than that of a woman stepping between you and the mugger you were aiming your gun at and who happened to get shot in the cross-fire.  The mugger’s death is called justice.  The woman’s death is called an “accident” and the guilt of that accidental death is not on the head of the one defending himself but instead lies with the mugger. Whether tyrannical force stems from a tyrannical dictator against it’s more free neighbors or from a mugger in Central Park against a jogger–is irrelevant.  The morality and ethics of the two situations are the same; and it always, without exception, boils down to the individual over the collective, and since capitalism is the only economic system which upholds the freedom of the individual it is only capitalism that can save the world from the constant threat of war.  From Capitalism:  The Unknown Ideal by Ayn Rand:

     Observe the nature of today’s alleged peace movements.  Professing love and concern for the survival of mankind, they keep screaming that the nuclear-weapons race should be stopped, that armed force should be abolished as a means of settling disputes among nations, and that war should be outlawed in the name of humanity.  Yet these same peace movements do not oppose dictatorships; the political views of their members range through all shades of the statist spectrum, from welfare statism to socialism to fascism to communism.  This means that they are opposed to the use of coercion by one nation against another, but not by the government of a nation against its own citizens; it means that they are opposed to the use of force against armed adversaries, but not against the disarmed.

It is those who, like our friends Cindy Sheehan and Sean Penn, uphold collectivist economics, socialism, communism, or fascism while at the same time preaching peace.  They hold the incorrect premise that we have wars because various populations are poor or subjugated by the more free societies.  Free societies under laissez-fair capitalism have no “need” for war since their citizens and government have plenty of creative fuel on which to draw derived from the very freedom of its citizens.  It is Cindy and Sean who are the hypocrites.  It is they who want to “have their cake and eat it too.”  Reality, from a philosophical perspective, cannot and will not ever allow opposing ideas to occupy the same philosophical space.  They want peace–but, they promote tyranny; and it will always be the reality of that dichotomy that will not let them, in the end, have their way.  It is they who are promoting tyranny.  It is they who stand with the likes of Hugo Chavez.  It is they who, by virtue of what they advocate, are actually continuing that which they say they hate the most–war.

The Brady Center’s Lies

It is astonishing just how liberals will twist just about anything to try to make a point that is completely wrong. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence is no exception to that rule; during the most recent round of Second Amendment arguments before the Supreme Court, Brady Center has come out swinging. The slightest knowledge of the facts of some of the events that Brady Center has held up as reasons for stringent gun control – even outright bans – can give one astounding insight to the reality of these claims. Click here and you’ll see a document chronicling a list of “mass shootings” that Brady believes to be reasons to severely restrict Second Amendment rights.

One of the oldest mass shooting incidents on the list is the Pearl High School shooting in 1997. Luke Woodham stabbed his mother and went to school prominently displaying his rifle. He walked in and immediately killed his ex-girlfriend and her friend and wounded seven others before running out of ammunition. What Brady doesn’t tell you is how the incident ended: the principal chased Woodham out to the parking lot and retrieved his own .45 pistol and disarmed Woodham. Had that principal done that today, he’d have gone to jail for having a gun on a school campus. He was a hero, and if he’d had that weapon in the building the incident likely would have ended much more quickly.

Later that year, Michael Carneal walked into Heath High School in Paducah, Kentucky and opened fire on a group of classmates in a prayer circle, killing three and wounding one before being tackled by another student. What Brady doesn’t tell you is that the pistol, two rifles and two shotguns – and over 700 rounds of ammunition – were all stolen. Like Woodham, he was a minor and not allowed to buy or carry a gun.

In 1998, Mitchell Johnson and Andrew Golden stole seven guns from Golden’s grandfather and packed the guns along with camping gear in Johnson’s mother’s minivan. The next morning they drove the van to Westside Middle School and pulled a fire alarm before running to a spot nearby where they had set up in camouflage. They killed five and wounded ten. They were minors and not allowed to have guns – they STOLE the weapons. In an added twist of cruelty Arkansas law didn’t provide for prosecuting children as adults in the case of murder. Consequently, Johnson was released from confinement in 2005, Golden in 2007. Since, Johnson has been re-arrested for associating with another felon and possession of a firearm (a 9mm pistol) by a prohibited person. The bad guys get guns no matter what the law says.

A few months later, Kip Kinkel was expelled for bringing a gun to Thurston High School at age 16. His father, despite Kip’s numerous legal problems, had decided that buying him a .22 Ruger rifle and a 9mm Glock would be a great idea. It wasn’t one of these weapons he was expelled for – a classmate stole a .32 Beretta pistol from the father of another classmate and offered to sell it to Kip, who paid $110 for it. His father had locked up his guns in a back bedroom. The next morning Kip broke into the gun locker and murdered his parents before going back to school and killing two and wounding 24. He was tackled by wounded classmate Jacob Ryker. Here’s what Brady doesn’t tell you about this one: Ryker had grown up with guns and knew from experience that Kip needed to reload.

Then, in 1999, came the most violent school shooting in American history, the one whose name would become a synonym for school shootings and revenge: Columbine. It was significant to me because I had friends in Littleton. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into their school, calmly placed a homemade bomb attached to a propane tank in the middle of the busy cafeteria, and waited. When the bomb didn’t go off their plans changed. They walked into the cafeteria again, shooting everyone they came across. In the end, 12 students and a teacher were dead and the shooters had committed suicide with another 23 seriously wounded. Here’s what Brady doesn’t tell you: the guns they used were all illegally obtained. Three of the guns were bought by Klebold’s legal-adult girlfriend, the fourth was bought from a third party who went to prison for some time for selling firearms to a minor.

The most egregious entry in Brady’s shooting list is the shooting of 6-year-old Kayla Rowland by a classmate in Michigan. Here’s why: the classmate, 7 years old, had a single mother, a father in prison and was living in his uncle’s crackhouse when he found a .38 caliber revolver – a stolen gun – hidden under a pile of blankets. He took it to school and shot Kayla after she got him in trouble. How, exactly, does THAT stand out as a shining example of the need for gun control? The uncle who had it stole it, and was a prohibited person to boot (hence the fact that he STOLE it). How does the Brady Center intend to coax drug-dealing criminals to stop stealing guns? Oh, I have the answer…a few more laws. That’ll do it. If we just had a few more laws, they wouldn’t be able to get their hands on all of those drugs, either.

Here’s another little factoid that Brady and other gun control advocates leave out: nearly all of the shootings on their list, from beginning to end, were perpetrated in so-called “gun free zones.”

Even in Germany, Switzerland, Finland and Sweden, where guns are almost entirely outlawed, mass shootings have still occurred in recent years. Great Britain, which has banned all civilian ownership of guns (to include hunting, a national pastime), has seen an exponential rise in gun violence. Why? Because the criminals don’t care about what the law says. If they cared, they wouldn’t be criminals! So, since the thugs didn’t care before the gun ban that violent assault and robbery were wrong, it stands to reason that now they see an even bigger opportunity: an entire nation of disarmed victims ripe for the picking. The numbers have proven this.

On the other hand, the Supreme Court overturned the Washington, DC handgun ban in 2008. While the politicians and gun control lobby wailed that the streets would become killing fields the exact opposite happened. The murder rate, in the six months in 2008 – 2009 after the decision, dropped an amazing 25%. I’ll be interested to see how much further it drops with a full year of armed, capable citizens being allowed to defend themselves.

Here’s a thought: if civilians were incapable of being responsible gun owners, reason says they should not be allowed to become police officers, either. Yet the police often cannot act until a crime has been committed. They try to do all they can to catch the bad guys before something serious happens, but until a man actually snaps and starts trying to harm and/or kill someone, he can’t simply be thrown in jail. There has to be a reason to put him there. I don’t care to be that reason.

What kind of a world do we live in when we can say, “oh, he was shot by an everyday mugger,” and move on as if it’s nothing?

Illinois and Guns: An Issue To Consider For 2010 Governor Races

As 2010 approaches, I run the risk of sounding reminiscent of the 1994 mid-term elections.

I was still a youngster during those days but remember the 2nd Amendment was a big deal. Also; of course, we are also in the midst of one of the worst economic periods in history where far too many state and local governments are tainted with wasteful spending policies.

There are three candidates that have gotten my attention. The first (probably like many of you) one I have been noticing has been Andy McKenna. He galloped in by referring to himself as an “outsider.” Then, along came Adam Andrzejewski claiming that McKenna headed the Republican party within our state (to which I still must back this up with sources), he’s calling himself the true “outsider.” Then comes Bill Brady — another conservative.

While all three promise major ethics reform within our state — which is a heartbeat away from California #2 on the economic no-no list, it seems that Adam Andrzejewski wants to cut the most from state spending sprees.

The three candidates on the issue of guns — according to an article from the Associated Press:

On the question: “Would you sign or veto legislation banning the sale and possession of semiautomatic assault-style weapons in Illinois?”

McKenna: “I believe in the Second Amendment and law abiding citizen’s right to own firearms to protect their families and for sporting purposes.”

Andrzejewski: “Would veto a ban on semiautomatic ‘assault weapons’ in most circumstances. It comes down (to) law abiding citizens having the right to defend their life, liberty and property.”

Brady: “I am opposed to any further restrictions to the ownership of firearms as guaranteed in the Bill of Rights and would veto legislation banning the sale and possession of semiautomatic weapons.”

Here is where it changes:

On the question: “Would you sign or veto legislation allowing concealed-carry for handguns?”

McKenna: “I am opposed to concealed-carry legislation.”

Andrzejewski: “I would sign it. … Law abiding citizens have this right.”

Brady: “Constitutional rights should be afforded to eligible, law-abiding Illinois citizens, and therefore concealed carry should be legalized.”

MCKENNA IS OUT!!

For me, anyway. Sadly, he apparently has more money to run more commercials. Brady and Andrzejewski both gave the same answers, yet, to me Andrzejewski’s was more direct and obvious to him.

Just weeks ago in my neighboring small town — a lovely Hispanic business owner who owns a small-town hair salon had her business invaded. In the small shop, her three children were there who all worked small jobs for their mother. Her oldest was 23. The illegal gunmen entered the shop and demanded the money from the register. The 23-year old opened the drawer and gave them every cent they had — which came to about $100.00. They then demanded his cell phone and once he handed it to them, they shot him in the head tragically killing him almost instantly in front of his younger siblings before fleeing.

Just three nights ago, my brother’s car, in our very small rural town, was broken into. His glove box and armrest was ransacked for a few dollars in change….we immediately contacted a security company for an alarm system.

The point is, we should have the right to carry guns to protect ourselves. What if I had decided to get my haircut that night? I have been to this small town salon many times as my family runs a small accounting firm as well.

I want the right to protect myself and my home! If guns are only in the hands of the illegal folks, we may as well kiss our futures goodbye.

Take a look at Chicago’s murder rate. Mayor Daley for years has advocated strict gun control and he got it.

Every year though, gun violence and murders continue to rise.

The only way they will go down is when law-abiding citizens have the power to protect themselves.

We must push this issue hard for 2010. Talk to your neighbors and please, share your thoughts with me on this issue as well.

Just A Few More Laws…

The complete ignorance of many people–particularly liberals–when it comes to the subject of guns in the hands of civilians never ceases to amaze me. Tomorrow, a law recently passed here in Arizona allowing CCW holders (concealed carry weapons permit) to carry their concealed firearms into restaurants and bars will go into effect. But as I watched the news last night, I saw a not-so-shocking trend: reporters talking to a small but very vocal group of restauranteurs who are angry with the new law. Out of five local channels I watched, only ONE talked to a manager who didn’t have a problem with the law–ONLY ONE–and each and every one of those channels downplayed an important part of the law.

The law previously banned any and all firearms inside any establishment that served alcohol for on-premesis consumption (meaning all restaurants with liquor licenses and all bars). That part of Arizona gun law was changed, however, earlier this year. Ken Cheauvront, a Democrat lawmaker and restaurant owner, ardently opposed the bill to no avail. The argument is that alcohol and guns don’t mix. “People who are drinking shouldn’t be carrying guns,” they said. “We’re gonna see a huge spike in gun violence and deaths because of this!”

Here’s the kicker: the owners can put up signs that require guns be left in the car. AND, if you’re carrying into a bar, you can’t drink. That nullifies the alcohol-and-guns argument, doesn’t it?

Well, the opponents come back with, “even if I put up this sign, how do I know those CCW holders are going to leave their guns in their cars when they come in here?”

Oh, my. Tell me this, folks–how were you able to tell if someone was carrying a gun to begin with? The bad guys never obeyed the laws in the first place, and they’ll carry their gun anywhere they want. There’s a law banning handguns in New York City, yet I seem to remember a well-recognized NFL player recently getting some serious jail time not just for having one, but carrying it stuffed in his pants into a club, where he shot himself with it.

The CCW holders aren’t the ones to worry about. They’re the ones who will obey the law. They’ll leave their guns in the car if they see the sign, and if they’re carrying they won’t drink. What the hell are you whining about?

I also have to bring up this interesting little factoid. Chicago also has a law banning all handguns within the city’s limits. But did you know that school violence involving gangs and handguns killed 18 students in schools all over Chicago during the 2007-2008 school year? 27 total died in acts of violence carried out with various weapons. And last school year–the one that ended this past May–a whopping 37 were killed, including one who was carrying a gun that was illegal by two rival gang members who were adults.

They’re not supposed to have them, but they get them anyway. And it’s the law-abiding citizens who suffer.

I suppose if we just had a few more laws, though, the thugs wouldn’t be able to get their hands on all those drugs, either.

The Question of Deadly Force

I had never blogged on this case before because I wanted to get as much perspective on it before I made a decision. As I typically do, I read everything I could and watched all the news footage I could find about this before formulating an opinion about it. Now I’m ready to post something I’ve been working on for a couple of days.

On May 11, 2004, then-57-year-old Harold Fish was ending a long hike in the Coconino National Forest in Northern Arizona (just north of a little town called Strawberry). The events of that day are known only to him, but the facts are that he met Grant Kuenzli at the end of the trail and shot him three times in the chest. As Kuenzli lay in the dirt, Fish tried all he could to help him–he put his backpack under Kuenzli’s head, covered him with a blanket to keep him warm, and flagged down another vehicle to help. He used his OnStar system to call for paramedics, and remained on scene to answer questions. He told investigators later that when two dogs charged him on the trail, he pulled his 10mm Kimber handgun and fired a warning shot, drawing Kuenzli from the top of the hill. He said Kuenzli then charged him in a rage, swinging his fists and swearing to kill him. He said he fired in self defense, because Kuenzli–a much younger and stronger man than Fish–made him fear for his life. Typically, a man guilty of murder (which can be loosely defined as the taking of a life without cause or justification) doesn’t stick around and try to help or explain to police what happened. But I’ll go another route to prove what I believe.

Linda Almeter, Kuenzli’s sister, described him as “an honorable, noble, responsible, caring, loving person.” She loved her brother and it certainly shows in the way she talks about him. Another friend said he was astonished when he heard Kuenzli had been killed, and started a petition in the town of Payson (where they were all from) to convince the Coconino County Attorney’s Office to prosecute Fish for murder. What was never brought up in trial, however, was a long line of incidents that proved Kuenzli’s behavior. That friend who started the petition, who said there was no way Kuenzli could have attacked Fish? His name is John McCauley, and he knew Kuenzli for a grand total of four months before he was killed.

The witness testimony that would have proven what Kuenzli was really like? It was challenged by the prosecution. The court suppressed any mention of prior bad acts, meaning testimony from witnesses who had seen Kuenzli behave in a way that would affirm Fish’s testimony that he’d felt threatened on the trail by Kuenzli’s posturing. In fact, there was quite a bit of very relevant witness testimony that was suppressed by the court, and it would have proven the point that Kuenzli did, in fact, have a raging, out-of-control temper.

Ernie Encinas, the Gilbert fire marshal who supervised Kuenzli as a fire inspector, said that Kuenzli would frequently lose his temper with everyone. He’d ball up his fists, bang them on the tables and other furniture, throw things, and scream at the top of his lungs while pacing back and forth. Encinas later said that when he heard the story and was asked to testify, he had no trouble picturing Kuenzli charging and threatening to kill someone. Steve Corich, director of security at Mesa Community College, said his run-in with Kuenzli stuck out above all others in his 26 years in his position: when Kuenzli was asked to take his dog (which was not on a leash) off campus, he started posturing, clenching his fists and screaming, making little sense. Clayton Hamblen, a Mesa court justice of the peace, once asked Kuenzli to leave his dog outside the courthouse before coming in for a hearing, and still says that Kuenzli stuck in his mind as the most hateful, angry individual he’d ever crossed paths with. He also described Kuenzli’s threatening posture, clenched teeth and fists, and a look that he described as, “I want to rip your throat out.”

Kuenzli had a history of PTSD, depression and anxiety disorders. He was on the anti-depressant Effexor when he met Fish on the trail. Many of his coworkers have since said that they were not surprised to hear that this had happened, because Kuenzli had a violent temper, one that they all believed would get him into serious trouble someday.

The prosecutor argued that Fish carried a high-powered handgun and kept it loaded with hollow-point ammunition though he didn’t need it. He also argued that Fish, who had an Arizona CCW license, should never have fired a warning shot at the dogs. He said that Fish knew when he pulled the trigger that Kuenzli would die. But Fish carried his Kimber when he hiked to protect against wild animals, not necessarily people. It is true enough that in training to obtain a CCW, you’re taught never to fire a warning shot; you’re taught to fire at center mass to take down the threat before you can be harmed or killed. I have this question, though: who wants to kill a dog? If it’s me, even though I’ve gone through CCW training and I’ve been attacked by a dog before, I’d have a hard time shooting a dog, too. As for knowing that Kuenzli would die, that’s hearsay, something that shouldn’t have been allowed into evidence. I see gunshot victims survive on a regular basis. I’ve seen them survive rounds from AR-15’s and arterial bleeding. Nobody can claim that Fish knew Kuenzli would die. The hollow-point bullet argument? Hogwash. I put hollow tips in my handgun. If you fire at a person with target ammunition, that round will go through their body and every wall and other object behind it, possibly harming or killing an innocent person. Hollow tips make that sort of scenario nearly impossible.

For those of us who believe firmly in the right to keep and bear arms, the decision to fire in self-defense is not an easy one. In my whole life, I’ve had to pull my weapon exactly once, and thank God never had to fire. Training and beliefs aside, the choice to do something that may result in another person’s death–even a person who is threatening you–is a choice nobody wants to make.

I have also studied Shaolin gongfu and Krav Maga for several years. Officially, my body is a dangerous weapon. I know quite well what I am capable of. Moreso, I know what others are capable of, and believe it or not, there are some people I would not ever, ever want to have to fight because I know they’d likely beat me to death. A person does not have to touch you to commit assault. Until you’ve had a person get in your face and threaten you or even take a couple of swings at you, you cannot understand how much fear that can produce. It doesn’t take much to do serious damage and injury to a person with your bare hands. Harold Fish likely had every reason to believe his life was in immediate danger on that trail.

It doesn’t happen often, but I cannot disagree more with prosecutors on this case. The question of deadly force here should have been asked before they wasted taxpayer money to try an innocent man.