Along those lines;https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiJIYdgkF9MIt is unfortunate that too many people fail to see the exceptionalism that is this country.
Amen, Dennis. Most people do not understand what American Exceptionalism is. They do not know what makes this country unique and great. They do not know how our system of government is deigned to work. They do not understand the Separation of Powers. They do not understand what a republic is, what a democracy is and why a constitution is in place. They do not understand why our Constitution (the shortest in words and most enduring in the world) has lasted so long. I was so sad to read Judge Richard Posner's comments in Slate the other day, when he opined that an 18th century Constitution should have no bearing on his thinking at all, and why he doesn't study it. It's pathetic, actually. He took an oath. If he can't fulfill it, he should resign. We take so many things for granted. I've spent the last 20 years (of my 44) waking up to the context of our Western civilization, and America's uniqueness in it. I'm proud to be an American citizen and (on this day especially) not a British subject. Our Declaration of Independence is our foundation, and our Constitution safeguards liberty, justice and civil rights. I can practice my own religion and not have to fund someone else's. I can speak freely. I can read, watch and listen to information sources the government might not like me to, but they cannot limit my enjoyment. I can hang out with who I want, and I can tell politicians what I'd like them to do about things that bother me as a citizen. I can own firearms... the means to my own self-protection. I don't have to house soldiers in my home. I have protection from arbitrary searches and seizures. I can expect due process and protection from self-incrimination. I am prevented from secret legal proceedings against me. I have the choice to face the judgment of a jury of my peers if I am indicted by my government for a crime. I can expect to be treated humanely, and subject to punishment commensurate with a crime I am convicted of. I have other rights of self-government beyond those covered in the U.S. Constitution. Thr state in which I reside has a scope of powers that are beyond federal authority, and I can affect results in my state through democratic participation. Furthermore, my home state also safeguards my life, liberty, justice and property in ways similar to those in the federal Bill of Rights. My county and municipality offers unique and expansive protections as well. I enjoy a life with great liberty, freedom and civil order. I am fortunate. I am an American. These are not the vagaries of some monolithic dead white slave-owning men who lived in the 18th century. This idea that I am a citizen of a constitutionally-limited federal republic is RADICAL. It remains radical. It seems radical to many in our own country today... politicians who cannot stand thr limits our Constitution places on them and their "marvelous" ideas, and those who view our freedoms as absolute license for the mob to do whatever they want and have a range of material comforts paid for with someone else's money. My hope is that our nation moves beyond this time of decadence and un-seriousness. If you read the Library of America's two-volume "Debate on the Constitution," you will see that we are having the same arguments today as the time of ratification. That's why our Constittution survives... it is a document fraught with creative tension. In coming to understand this, I realize I am a Federalist and Anti-Federalist. While this nation is not perfect, it's the best a free human person could hope for. I am proud to be a citizen of the United States, and will defend it and my fellow citizen from enemy encroachment, whether foreign or domestic. I suppose this makes me "insufferably patriotic," too. Happy Fourth of July!
IAC: I can own firearms... the means to my own self-protection. I'm curious where you stand on the constitutionality of firearm ownership. Is the current standard correct for you - basically no automatic weapons for civilians? Are there weapons that are legal now that shouldn't be? Are the weapons that are illegal to own that should be? Should convicted felons or people with restraining orders against them be limited in their ownership of legal weapons? Should there be laws that restrict your selling of your firearms to people who are not lawfully able to own them? Should there be any lawfully required training before someone can purchase a given firearm? Should there be any waiting period for purchasing firearms? And lastly, are all of these issues constitutional ones, or which questions can be decided by local governments?IAC: I have protection from arbitrary searches and seizures. I'm curious by this one too, that is the general problem of authority is uninformed people may generally defer to whatever orders an officer of the law gives them, while people who are informed about their rights may want to practice skills in how to assert those rights without escalating a conflict.So how do you decide about asserting these protections? Do you say "I'm innocent, and I have nothing to hide, so I'll defer to the police, and take them to court after the fact if they screw up?" That's a safer approach, but perhaps more expensive since you have to hire a lawyer. And if you're very poor, you may not have the money needed to challenge charges against you gained by illegal search. Should poor people perhaps be given the right to a public defender when they feel their legal rights have been broken, even for something as small as a parking ticket that they can't afford to pay?Anyway, I agree its nice to live in a country where knowledge of the law and skill in communication are power, and if you're willing to stand up for yourself, there's a fair chance you won't end up dead and missing for your troubles.Along with our pride for our exceptionalness, we could define some civic duties as well that are vastly neglected. I think some sort of civic rights education would benefit in other ways too, like recognition of the difficulties of law enforcement, especially in locales where perhaps every 4th person is packing, so even if you don't have a gun, you have to know the police can shoot you merely because they think you have a gun, and moved in a way that convinced them, and you need to know they NEVER aim to wound. So we need to learn how to be tactically submissive to police authority, keeping your hands always visible, and that might be the difference between life and death. Perhaps many minorities are taught these lessons as children while upper class and whites never worry because cases are too rare?And I imagine (presumably) people with conceal and carry are taught to always tell a police officer at the start of an encounter of weapons and their location, without reaching for them! At least when you have a gun on you, you know your life is in danger if you are at all erratic in your speech or movements.
Ares Okympus @july 4, 2026 at 1:57 PM:"I'm curious where you stand on the constitutionality of firearm ownership."Really? You are "curious"? Here's the reasoni ask: I view you as a hemorrhoid. I'm not going to waste my time in an exchange with someone who has no idea what he is talking about. Most people I talk to have no conception what the Second Amendment is about.Being that I don't believe in a "living constitution," I'm not going to waste my time exchanging with you about your modern interpretation(s) of the Second Amendment, and your boring arguments for an immediate need for gun control... self-evidently silly and un-serious. So, Ares... which is it?
More importantly, Ares...You seem to have so many opinion ion about concealed carry permits. Why don't you go get one?
For some reason, this is very 4th of July like. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjImFYf2Vzc
IAC: Being that I don't believe in a "living constitution," I'm not going to waste my time exchanging with you about your modern interpretation(s) of the Second Amendment, and your boring arguments for an immediate need for gun control... self-evidently silly and un-serious. I'm not taking sides on gun control. We have gun control. I'm working on the details. If the constitution isn't "living", then apparently we still live in a world of muskets and slave trading states wanting their own militias to suppress their slave revolts.IAC: You seem to have so many opinion on about concealed carry permits. Why don't you go get one?Perhaps there will be a day when I'll seriously consider owning gun. I'm still debating the pros and cons, but so far I feel 100 times safer without a gun.
IAC,You might find this interesting. http://www.breitbart.com/milo/2016/07/04/happy-birthday-america/Another person who was not born here, but seems to have a better understanding of American exceptionalism than many who were born here do not.I am reminded of the fact that my neighbor across from me was so proud of becoming a citizen that she could not wait to tell me. The joy she exhibited was something to behold. Sadly, there are too many who take their freedoms for granted.I am not ashamed at the fact that I get tears running down my face when I see so many people celebrating this country for they have realized "the only real prison is fear and the only real freedom is freedom from fear" and this country offers them the opportunity to succeed like no other. Anyone can be what they desire if they are willing to work hard and utilize failure as a step to becoming the best person they can be. The luck, privilege, that is in being an American is where preparation meets opportunity.
Ares Olympus @July 5, 2016 at 5:27 AM:Really? You want me to respond to that? Why would I ever waste my time?FYI: A "living constitution" is an interpretation device. The Constitution has been amended many times... your remarks show your lack of familiarity with the 13th Amendment in particular. The Second Amendment has nothing whatsoever to do with a desire to "suppress... slave revolts." And it has nothing to do with duck hunting, either. It's a liberty Amendment to protect against federal tyranny (in its many forms). "I'm curious where you stand on the constitutionality of firearm ownership."The Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. Without that individual right, the rest of the liberty and justice amendments make no sense at all. It's for citizens to be a part of the militia, or the "light guard." Being that this is militia service in personal defense is primary, and service in defense of the state is secondary. Therefore, I needn't drill on the public green in order to own a firearm. 't you can't defend your person, the right makes no sense at all. This was a direct result of British attempts to suppress liberty, as the Amendments make clear. You can't have freedom of expression without freedom to defend yourself. I believe the citizen should have access to the same equipment an individual soldier possesses in the regular army. This includes fully automatic (as opposed to semi-automatic) small arms. This is not permitted in America today, and I can live with that restriction. But gun sales serve as an indicator of tyranny and a failure of the federal and local authorities to do their job. People don't need guns if they feel secure. Obama is the greatest gun salesman who has ever lived.Justice Scalia's opinion in the Heller case was the best exposition on the Second Amendment and its context. It has no more to do with musketry than free speech has to do with a town crier. The principles are sound, and endure. We are a constitutionally-limited federal republic. A republic means the people are sovereign. We don't serve the government.
IAC: The Second Amendment has nothing whatsoever to do with a desire to "suppress... slave revolts."Are you sure?http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/13890-the-second-amendment-was-ratified-to-preserve-slavery--------The real reason the Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says "State" instead of "Country" (the framers knew the difference -- see the 10th Amendment), was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia's vote. Founders Patrick Henry, George Mason and James Madison were totally clear on that... and we all should be too.In the beginning, there were the militias. In the South, they were also called the "slave patrols," and they were regulated by the states. In Georgia, for example, a generation before the American Revolution, laws were passed in 1755 and 1757 that required all plantation owners or their male white employees to be members of the Georgia Militia, and for those armed militia members to make monthly inspections of the quarters of all slaves in the state. The law defined which counties had which armed militias and even required armed militia members to keep a keen eye out for slaves who may be planning uprisings. ...Patrick Henry then bluntly laid it out: "If the country be invaded, a state may go to war, but cannot suppress [slave] insurrections [under this new Constitution]. If there should happen an insurrection of slaves, the country cannot be said to be invaded. They cannot, therefore, suppress it without the interposition of Congress.... Congress, and Congress only [under this new Constitution], can call forth the militia."And why was that such a concern for Patrick Henry? "In this state," he said, "there are two hundred and thirty-six thousand blacks, and there are many in several other states. But there are few or none in the Northern States.... May Congress not say, that every black man must fight? Did we not see a little of this last war? We were not so hard pushed as to make emancipation general; but acts of Assembly passed that every slave who would go to the army should be free."Patrick Henry was also convinced that the power over the various state militias given the federal government in the new Constitution could be used to strip the slave states of their slave-patrol militias. He knew the majority attitude in the North opposed slavery, and he worried they'd use the Constitution to free the South's slaves (a process then called "Manumission"). ...Patrick Henry even argued that southerner's "property" (slaves) would be lost under the new US Constitution, and the resulting slave uprising would be less than peaceful or tranquil: "In this situation," Henry said to Madison, "I see a great deal of the property of the people of Virginia in jeopardy, and their peace and tranquility gone."So Madison, who had (at Jefferson's insistence) already begun to prepare proposed amendments to the US Constitution, changed his first draft of one that addressed the militia issue to make sure it was unambiguous that the southern states could maintain their slave patrol militias. His first draft for what became the Second Amendment had said: "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed, and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country [emphasis mine]: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person."But Henry, Mason and others wanted southern states to preserve their slave-patrol militias independent of the federal government. So Madison changed the word "country" to the word "state," and redrafted the Second Amendment into today's form: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State [emphasis mine], the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."----------
My, my, Ares... you're going to counter what I've offered with some silly blather from a Progressive site, in an article written by Thom Hartmann? Do you really expect me to take this seriously? Would it have any impact on your opinion if I gave you a bunch of NRA links to read? Shall I bombard you with Wayne Lapierre quotes? Thom Hartmann is a bona fide buffoon with lots of theories about how things came to be. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thom_HartmannThink this through, please. What was the context of the Constitutional Convention? Was it to prevent a slave revolt, or a grand attempt to create a workable union? We are hectored constantly that the Founding Fathers' ideas are worthless because some of them were slaveholders. Yet that wasn't the point of the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment grew out of the Framers' concerns about the tyrannical nature of monarchy, and how King George III limited their right to keep and bear arms. Indeed, Lexington and Concord took place because the British regular army marched to these locations in search of arms and gunpowder. This should've been abundantly covered in your American history classes. Just because slavery was commonplace in 18th century America and found an unfortunate place in our Constitution does not mean that the entire enterprise was (a) a disaster, or (b) indicative of a desire to forever be a slaveholding people. Indeed, our country suffered greatly decades later settling this issue with blood and passing the 13th Amendment. Everything does not necessarily tie back to the slavery question. It is your obsession, not everyone else's. And to close on Thom Hartmann, I suppose I could come up with some nutty theory and then find quotes to give it validity. The Framers were very concerned about federal tyranny. How this turns into "slave patrols" as a primary concern is beyond me, but that's what I expect from Mr. Hartmann.
Dennis @July 5, 2016 at 5:47 AM:My concern is that we have reduced the value of American citizenship. Your testimony here shows there are still people who appreciate and value it. Thank you for sharing.My greatest concern is that the "smart" people have taken over so many elite, influential institutions that we will lose what makes us truly unique: freedom, enterprise, hard work, and innovation. When the experts quantify life into a predictive algorithm, life becomes stale and gray. America's greatest strength is her energy, and that energy can be unpredictable. There's nothing "smart" people hate more than unpredictability and uncertainty.
IAC,I share your concerns as well. Also I have wondered if we have forgotten the phrase "All men are created equal." It would seem that our betters in DC are so special that there are two sets of laws. One for them and one for the rest of us. I keep hoping that Comey is one smart prosecutor relying on the court of public opinion where he has laid out the case for everyone to note knowing there will be NO exoneration for Hillary. I sincerely hope this was not the day that justice in this country died.I have long ignored Ares and his puree of leftist drivel. How many times can one disprove this bilge before one begins to see that it is a waste of time? "A more perfect union" I suspect has no meaning to those who cannot see the exceptionalism that is this country.
IAC: And to close on Thom Hartmann, I suppose I could come up with some nutty theory and then find quotes to give it validity. The Framers were very concerned about federal tyranny. How this turns into "slave patrols" as a primary concern is beyond me, but that's what I expect from Mr. Hartmann.When I asked "Are you sure?" I was tempting you to open your mind that you don't know everything, even if you think you do, or that a counter argument by the president of the NRA negates scholarly works that question historical assumptions.I looked where Thom Hartmann got his article from and it comes from Carl T. Bogus, Professor of Law at Roger Williams University, Rhode Islandhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aK_XfU8Sju4 Author of The Hidden History of the 2nd Amendment, joins Thom Hartmann.The original paper is here:http://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3286&context=cklawreviewMinnPost Journalist Eric Black also wrote about it and recommended it:https://www.minnpost.com/eric-black-ink/2013/01/was-second-amendment-adopted-slaveholders---------Thanks to a long-time Black Ink reader and commenter, Paul Udstrand, my attention was recently called to a long, fascinating 1998 law review article by a law professor who specializes in gun issues which argues that the Second Amendment was added to the Constitution to reassure white slave-owning southerners that the federal government would not use its Constitutional power over state militias to disarm the southern states and leave them vulnerable to a slave revolt.Although I have spent more time than has the average bear in trying to understand the history of the Constitution, this was a new one on me, and a jaw-dropper.The author of the article is professor Carl Bogus of the Roger Williams University Law School in Rhode Island. The piece was published in the University of California at Davis Law Review. The full piece is here. It’s long, scholarly in tone and heavily footnoted, but I absolutely encourage you to read the whole thing if you are so motivated. It’s not hard to follow. Whether or not you buy Bogus’ conclusion, you’ll learn a lot.---------
IAC: I believe the citizen should have access to the same equipment an individual soldier possesses in the regular army. This includes fully automatic (as opposed to semi-automatic) small arms. This is not permitted in America today, and I can live with that restriction.Looking up arms of Soldiers, I find this list, under small arms including: Pistols, Submachine Guns, Assault Rifles, Shotguns, Machine Guns, DMRs and Sniper Rifles, Grenade-Based Weapons, Portable Anti-Materiel Weaponshttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equipment_of_the_United_States_Army#Small_ArmsSo I presume your preference would be that any adult citizen, with no requirement of training or military experience, would be able to purchase all of these weapons and stockpile them in his home, supposely under the possibility of a civil war of some sort, where non soldiers would suddenly group together into their own self-styled militias to protect family and home against their own rejected government authority?
It looks like Minnesota will now be the center of a new case of a dead black man, killed at a traffic stop, because he had a gun and failed to make the police officer feel safe enough to not shoot first, ask questions later.If you're black, always keep your hands visible to police, and move very slowly, as if your life depends on it, because sometimes it does.http://www.mprnews.org/story/2016/07/07/reports-officer-involved-shooting-falcon-heights-----In the video, Reynolds can be heard saying Castile was licensed to carry a weapon, that he told the officer he had a gun and was just trying to get out his ID when he was shot "for no apparent reason." An officer outside the car in the video is heard saying, "I told him not to reach for it!"St. Anthony police said no one else was injured in the shooting and a handgun was recovered at the scene. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating.On Thursday, Castile's mother said she had instructed her son to always "comply" if he was ever stopped by law enforcement. Valerie Castile told CNN that her son didn't deserve "to be shot down like this."She said her son was just "black in the wrong place" and that he was a victim of "a silent war against African-American people." -----Like the Daily show said in 2014 on second amendment manners, Don't be black. There can't be any other conclusions here. http://www.cc.com/video-clips/14muzr/the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart-2nd-amendment-manners-do-s-and-don-ts
Ares Olympus @July 6, 2016 at 9:27 AM:Yes. I have no problem with someone owning a lawfully-procured firearm, provided they are a law-abiding citizen with no felonies or diagnosed mental health issues. I generally do not have problems with background checks, provided they are instant (requiring less than 5 minutes via data or telephone) and there is some sort of due process to have oneself removed from a list if the information is erroneous.Law-abiding citizens who will go through the process to legally purchase a firearm or acquire a concealed pistol license (CPL) are the least of your worries... especially the latter. The number of gun crimes committed by people with CPLs is infinitesimal. Most gun crimes are committed by people with abundant criminal records, and they don't care about gun laws. That's why they're called criminals. I have no problem with the list of small arms you offer, up to the grenade-based weaponry... though you can find them and they can be fabricated. You're talking about a grenade launcher that mounts to the bottom of a rifle, like an M203. The grenade ammunition for it requires a special "destructive devices" license, but can be used by civilians for launching flares and smoke. Anti-materiel weapons are large-caliber rifles meant to take out armor. Again, these are available, and they can be fabricated. A .50 caliber BMG is such a weapon... it can take out an engine block (hence, the moniker "anti-materiel"). I have friends who reload .50 BMG cartridges. It's a fun weapon to shoot. You should try it sometime. No criminal will use a 50 BMG (or like caliber) because it's too heavy and too large to be concealed. And yes, I'm okay any adult citizen owning a firearm who fits the profile in my first paragraph. It's not my "preference" (your words). I don't know if you've ever shot a firearm, but I assure you safety is the main consideration, just like all firearms. There is no special training or military experience required to safely operate a semi-automatic rifle like an AR-15. It's just like a semi-automatic hunting rifle that the lying gun controllers say they don't have a problem with. It's this nomenclature of "assault rifle" that is so silly. In the target shooting community, we call them "black rifles." I own an AR-15. It's fun to shoot. I don't hunt, so target shooting is my recreation... one of my true joys. The AR-15 is accurate, easy to maintain and is flexible should I ever need it for personal defense. It's an outstanding weapon system/platform. I don't know what "stockpile" means. There are some people who are preppers and believe there will be a civil war in this nation. I am much more optimistic. That said, if civil order were to break down, I want to be able to defend myself and my family, because no one else will. A breakdown in civil order means there is no "government authority" to rely on. That's just reality. If you're one of the nice guys I don't have to worry about, then good for you. But there are desperate, fearful, aggressive people out there who will do harm if there's something they want. That's the human condition. I'm sure you think I'm a kook. I don't care. You mock what you don't understand. I appreciate my Second Amendment rights. If you don't want to avail yourself of them, that's your choice. But if you want to trample on my most dearly-valued liberties, freedoms and rights, why should I care about the ones you care about? That's what people like you you are forgetting. It's a social contract.
Ares Olympus @July 7, 2016 at 9:59 AM:Philando Castile's death is an awful story... simply awful. Firstly, police officers' commands must be followed scrupulously, even if they seem tedious. Otherwise, unfortunate events happen like this.Minnesota is a "shall issue" state for concealed pistol license (CPL). Here is the law: "Upon request of a peace officer, a permit holder must disclose to the officer whether or not the permit holder is currently carrying a firearm."In the video Reynolds took, the police officer, distraught, screams, “Fuck! . . . I told him not to reach for it! I told him to get his hand out . . .”That was captured on video. That is what was said immediately afterwards. The police officer does not seem happy about the outcome.The question is: Did Philando Castile have a valid CPL? I did not see this verified in this or any other story I could find. I ask this as a matter of fact, not to cast dispersions. I tried to find some verification of his CPL status from a reputable news source on the web, but all I found is blog entries and references from activist organizations. I did see a reference on the NPR website saying that Ms. Castile (Philando Castile's mother) was interviewed and said both her son and daughter have CPLs.I'm sorry Ms. Castile's son is dead, and I'm inclined to believe her characterization of him if he had a CPL. If you go through the process of getting one, you are likely to be a person who respects the law.I am surprised the officer would not have seen Mr. Castile's CPL on the computer when he pulled him over and ran the license plate. Then again, my assumption is that he was driving his own car. Perhaps not.That said, if the officer told the man not to reach for anything, then you don't reach for anything... ever! I have a CPL, and when I am pulled over, I am very careful to inform the officer and follow his commands perfectly. The police officer (Reynolds) is on administrative leave. If this is an unjust shooting, he should be tried. If he is found guilty, he should be punished and held to a higher standard because of his authority as a police officer.Given all I've read, it appears there is no excuse for this shooting. Philando Castile sounds like a law-abiding citizen driving his car. I don't believe the police have an "open season" on black people. I don't believe there is a "silent war against African-American people." I think urban police officers have a very difficult job to do, and they face a lot of hostility. This makes them nervous and cautious. It's not an excuse, it's the lay of the land. The "shoot first, ask questions later" standard you've used here and many times previously seems unfair. All lives matter.
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