Monday, August 20, 2007

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ – What Does It Mean?

So I just finished watching the movie 300 on DVD. If you haven’t seen the movie – I highly recommend it. It’s a historical fantasy version of the Battle of Thermopylae in which a vastly outnumbered force of 300 Spartans and roughly 6000 other Greeks (who were largely dismissed by the second day) hold off a Persian army numbering at least 10 times that many (accounts vary from 60,000 to over 2 million). Xerxes the Great of Persia demanded the Spartans surrender their arms, to which King Leonidas of Sparta uttered the now famous retort “ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ”. Literally translated, it means “come and take them”, but in many ways it is better translated as “over my dead body.”

The phrase has been adopted by many groups dedicated to the preservation of our Right to keep and bear arms. One important thing to note, however, is that in as spoken today “come and take them” implies that the outcome may not be certain. In other words, the speaker is daring the opposing force to come ATTEMPT to take them. In the Greek, however, the outcome is clear – the speaker will be defeated and only then can the weapons be taken. Is this an important nuance? I think so. In many ways the latter meaning harkens to Charlton Heston’s “my cold dead hands” proclamation or the New Hampshire motto “live free or die”.

The Founders of this great Republic were willing to fight and die to preserve rights and liberties they saw as being fundamental to the basic quality of life. Those 300 Spartans almost 2500 years ago knew they would die, but would rather die than betray their principles. They hoped through their deaths on the field of battle, their way of life would be preserved. How many Americans today share that spirit? How many times have you seen people willing to sacrifice their rights in order to “feel safe”?

The illusion of safety, and those who promise it through gun control is the greatest threat to our Second Amendment rights. To all those working toward that end, I say ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ!

Until next time!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Celebrate your Civil Rights – Buy a Gun on August 28th!

This in from the Knox Report: The Firearms Coalition is joining other pro-Second Amendment groups to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King’s march on Washington DC by exercising our Second Amendment Rights.

According to the Knox report:

“Reverend Jesse Jackson is calling on citizens to exercise their First Amendment rights by participating in anti-gun/anti-violence protest marches in 25 cities nationwide on that day. The Firearms Coalition echoes that call to supporters of the Second Amendment, encouraging them to exercise their rights by purchasing a firearm or ammunition on August 28.”

As reported here on several previous occasions, Jesse Jackson just doesn’t seem to get it. He seems to think that being anti-violence equals being anti-crime which equals being anti-gun. Jackson mistakenly believes that if citizens are denied the use of firearms, the people will “live safe and secure.” In fact, quite the opposite is true, though we all agree that citizens have the right to “live safe and secure”. Jay Knox, Executive Director of The Firearms Coalition correctly notes:

“Mr. Jackson has made a valid point and we believe the best way to ensure that safety and security is for responsible citizens to have the means to defend themselves. The idea that all violence is bad is simply incorrect. Violence is sometimes the only way to stop evil and brutality. When used in this way, violence is an agent of good.” said Mrs. Knox

“Gunowners trust our fellow citizens and have no fear of them having the means to effectively engage in righteous violence when necessary. Martin Luther King preached and practiced non-violence, but he did so with armed Deacons around him and a loaded pistol in his pocket. It seems that Dr. King understood that the rights to arms and self defense are basic civil rights and were an integral part of the civil rights battle he waged.”

So it appears that Rev. Jackson is either ignorant of history or is simply a hypocritical demagogue. It was okay for Rev. King to be armed to protect himself from violence perpetrated on African Americans by white racists, but when economically depressed African Americans turn those same weapons on each other in gang warfare and rampant crime, then the gun is the problem? Sorry, I just don’t buy that. It seems to me that Jackson has found an issue that will garner him some support and he’s riding the gravy train.

So do your patriotic duty and purchase a firearm on the 28th! I’m thinking about picking up an XD9 for home defense myself…

Until next time!!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Bill Monroe on “Assault Weapons” and Hunting

I continue to think that there may be hope for The Oregonian yet. The most recent salvo is this editorial by Bill Monroe, the Outdoor editor simply entitled “'Assault rifles' have a legal and useful place in hunting”. In the wake of the Jim Zumbo incident, the title alone is a step in the right direction. I did, however, find a few things in the article that seemed confusing or contradictory in light of the bold title. I also found a few too many popular anti-gun misconceptions in the article.

Problem one was indicating that the Ruger 10/22 used a “banana clip” and implying that when outfitted with a high-capacity magazine it qualified as an “assault weapon”. Rifles like the Garand and Carcano rifles have “clips”. The cartridges are held together and inserted into the magazine well in a clip. The magazine well provides the remaining moving components to allow the rifle to load. Conversely, the Ruger 10/22, AR-15, and many other semi-automatics descended from post World War II automatic rifles have “magazines”. Nor would I consider any variant of the Ruger 10/22 to be classified as an “assault weapon”.

So why am I overly hung up on semantics in this case? If you want to win a debate, you have to define your terms. Modern debate over the Second Amendment has typically used terms coined and defined by individuals who would like nothing better than to see private firearm ownership in the United States strictly regulated, at best, or eliminated all together. That effectively cedes the advantage to the anti-gun movement. I therefore think it’s very important that those who recognize and support our Second Amendment rights are very careful in our word choice to try to frame the debate in terms based on real technology, not terms devised to create a political or emotional reaction.

Bill also still seems to be bitter about the Jim Zumbo incident referring. I can at least understand where he’s coming from here – he and Jim are effectively in the same line of work. For me the Jim Zumbo situation boils down to a few simple facts. First, Jim has a right to say whatever he pleases within the limits of the First Amendment. His comments were well within those confines. However, his sponsors and many of their customers were quite taken aback by the ignorance of his remarks and how easily those remarks could be taken by the Gun Control lobby to support their own aims. Pro-Second Amendment groups were well within their rights to drop Jim, and I believe it was appropriate to do so as his blog made it into Senator Carl Levin’s weekly tirade calling for nationwide gun bans the next week. In my mind it would be no different than a member of the Brady Campaign being dismissed because they wrote a pro-Second Amendment piece.

There’s one confusing statement in the editorial that seems to be a non sequetur when compared to the rest of the article: “We all wish there weren't assault weapons afield during hunting seasons -- or perhaps any other season.” I don’t understand who he’s referring to when he says “we all” and it’s not clear what class of weapons he refers to when he uses the phrase “assault weapons” in this context? I certainly have no problem with weapons the Brady Campaign mistakenly labels “assault weapons” being in the hands of the law abiding. Why? By their definition any semi-automatic firearm with certain features can be branded an “assault weapon”. Whereas the true weapons that date back to the tradition of the German Sturmgewehr are fully automatic. Fully automatic weapons are rare, expensive, and strictly regulated. I agree that in fully automatic mode they really don’t have any place in hunting, but again, I have no problem with these weapons being in the hands of law abiding citizens either.

Bill continues to state “The fact is, as one reader pointed out, one of the newest, the AR-15, when reduced to a five-round magazine and semi-automatic (pull-the-trigger-each-time), and with a scope mounted above the barrel, is an uncommonly steady hunting weapon.” I agreed with him in sentiment here. I own an AR-15 with a scope and a 20” free floating barrel. It routinely puts 5 rounds through 3 touching holes at 25 yards and is only limited by my accuracy at longer distances. However, no modern “assault rifile” is “reduced to… semi-automatic.” By indicating that they are “reduced” to semi-automatic, Bill seems to be falling prey to the (incorrect) conventional wisdom that “assault rifles” can be easily made fully automatic. AR-15’s, semi-automatic AK-47’s and others are PURPOSE BUILT RIFLES. They are built on specially designed semi-automatic receivers, and are not “converted” or “reduced” from their military counterparts. Some of the parts interchange, but not the critical fire group components. Semi-automatic receivers also lack the correct pin-out configuration and rail system to convert the firearm to a select fire weapon.

Going forward, I’ve actually been impressed with Jim Zumbo. He realized he screwed up – big time – and in the process endangered everyone’s Second Amendment Rights. Not only has he issued a retraction of his previous comments, he’s endeavored to learn more about the rifles he ignorantly and unfairly demonized in his blog. Unfortunately when you’re in a position of responsibility, when you screw up, you’re held accountable for it, and that can mean losing your job.

In closing, overall I thought Bill made some decent points in the article. Not as many as I’d hoped when I read the title, but it’s a real step in the right direction. What really detracted in my mind was the sloppy terminology and the clearly tenuous familiarity with “assault rifles”. The only way that the Second Amendment is going to remain secure is through breaking through the anti-gun crowd’s miasma of fear and ignorance with facts and data.

Until next time!!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Jackson Facing Trial in Anti-Civil Rights Arrest!

In an update to a previous story, it appears that Jesse Jackson has asked for a jury trial in relation to criminal trespass charges levied against him. According to the AP (courtesy of Yahoo!) the trial is set for November 26th. Jackson still seems to be laboring under the delusion that if you get the guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens, you’ll save lives. They plan to escalate their campaign of protest at legal gun stores.

I just don’t understand why Jackson and others can’t see what is so blatantly obvious – the guns aren’t the problem – the GANGS are. You’ve got communities overrun with gangs and gang violence. Getting rid of the legal outlets for firearm purchase isn’t going to change that. It’s just going to mean that ONLY the gangs have the guns. The gang culture in Chicago has to change – and no attempts to limit the tool of their violence is going to make an impact.

Unfortunately solving the problem of gangs isn’t easy. You have to solve the problems of broken families, low education, unwed teen mothers, fathers in prison for drug convictions, no economic opportunity. Those are tough problems. Those are problems with no easy answer. Those are problems which require groups to take a hard look at themselves warts and all and admit that they are part of the problem. It’s much easier to scapegoat the tool used by the criminal. That’s something that doesn’t require introspection, that’s something that lets you play on decades old prejudices and not have to think too hard... So much for “leadership”.

Until next time!

Feinstein Goes After .50 Cals and Long Range Hunting Rifles

The gun grabber crowd is back. Senator Dianne Feinstein is now going after the .50 caliber long-range target rifle, and any rifle that develops more than 12,000 ft-lb of energy. That includes your long range hunting rifles. Co-sponsors read like a who’s who of the worst anti-Bill of Rights offenders in the nation: Kennedy, Levin, Menendez, Mikulski, Clinton, Durbin, Lautenberg, Schumer, and Dodd. The Fifty Caliber Institute put out this alert about Senate Bill S.1331. It redefines the .50 cal target rifle as well as other high energy rifles as destructive devices requiring registration – as if the ATF will really let you register them. The full text of the bill can be read on THOMAS.

I’ve already written my representatives on this one. Here’s the full text of my letter:

I am writing today in regards to bill S.1331, the deceptively and dishonestly named “Long-Range Sniper Rifle Safety Act of 2007”. This bill represents nothing more than yet another misguided attempt by certain members of our government to further erode the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution through attacking what they believe is a “soft target” – the .50 caliber target rifle and other long range target and hunting rifles that develop more than 12,000 foot-pounds of energy.

This bill completely redefines a class of firearms that are used by law-abiding citizens in long-range competition target shooting. Because of the loose wording of the law, it would also apply to certain long-range hunting rifles as well inaccurately redefining these weapons in the same class as large caliber military howitzers. This legislation would effectively end the use of these classes of firearms in civilian hands for no valid reason as these classes of firearms have a virtually zero incidence of use in crime.

In summary, I strongly urge you to defeat bill S.1331, the inappropriately named “Long-Range Sniper Rifle Safety Act of 2007”. The proposed legislation would do absolutely nothing to deter violent crime, has absolutely nothing to do with safety, and would merely serve to prohibit the ownership of weapons already held by law-abiding American citizens.

Feinstein claims "This legislation doesn't ban any firearms; it would only institute common-sense regulations for the sale of these dangerous sniper rifles." Yeah right! If you believe that one, then I have some beach front property in Colorado to sell you...

This bill represents yet another attempt by Feinstein to erode the Second Amendment to the point where she can call for the seizure of all firearms in the United States. She’s admitted she would love to do this in the past – do you really think her goals have changed? I urge you to write your representatives and have them consign this bill to the dung heap where it belongs. I also urge any readers in California to VOTE FEINSTEIN OUT! She represents a clear and present danger to the Bill of Rights.

Until next time!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Oregonian Finally Prints Something Pro-Second Amendment

After printing a typical anti-Second Amendment diatribe on July 24th which started with the auspicious beginning “I don’t like guns…” I personally began to fear that The Oregonian would never print anything remotely positive about the Second Amendment. I’d written in to the paper on many occasions regarding the plethora of anti-gun editorials and misconceptions printed on their pages, but I’d never seen any contrary opinion printed…

… that is until Wednesday August, 1st. After the most recent diatribe cited above, I wrote a response and sent it to the paper. I am pleased to say that they published my letter with only minor editorial changes for clarity. I’m reprinting it here for your enjoyment!

Losing a child in an accident is unthinkable and senseless -- regardless of whether it's related to a firearm, an automobile or any other cause. So the family of Scott Rutherford, the Beaverton boy who was shot and killed last month in a target-shooting accident, deserves our most sincere condolences.

But we should admonish those with opportunistic zeal who would take advantage of this tragedy to grind a personal ax, as is evident in the very first line of Carol Robinson's commentary in The Oregonian ("Stop tolerating our national obsession," July 24) when she says, "I don't like guns." Last time I checked, personal dislike did not give anyone the right to line-item veto the Bill of Rights.

Robinson's views, while designed to elicit an emotional response, have no real substance and suggest a fantasy state in which people may feel safe but in fact are subject to reduced individual security.

Robinson wonders, when it comes to firearms, "how much of this attraction results from a society infatuated with violence." In modern America, that may be a fraction of the story, but the real story goes much deeper, is far more textured and is categorically ignored by those calling for greater gun control.

The framers of the Constitution chose to affirm several inalienable rights, among those the right to "Keep and Bear Arms." Note I say affirm, as no rights are granted by our Constitution or government. That which a government gives can easily be taken away. The framers had seen evidence of this behavior in governments firsthand and sought to preclude any of what they viewed as inalienable human rights from ever being abridged in our fledgling republic. They saw an armed populace as the ultimate check and balance against a government run amok and acting contrary to the interests, rights and liberties of its citizens.

Robinson suggests that we should implement "rational gun laws" but offers no indication as to what these laws would be or how they would be superior to existing laws. She even goes so far as to concede that additional gun control probably would not have prevented the death of Scott Rutherford. Yet she still unreasonably and illogically concludes that more laws are necessary.

Looking at the history of gun control in the United States and the world, violent crime using firearms has generally gone up not down in areas with strict gun control laws, as strict gun control guarantees a ready supply of defenseless victims.

I'm forced to conclude that Robinson has little true understanding of the history and issue of firearms in the United States. More gun control laws are not the answer because they are ineffective as well as unconstitutional. The only truly rational course of action is to enforce existing laws and perhaps stiffen penalties for crimes involving the use of a firearm.

I sincerely hope that this signifies that The Oregonian will print a wider range of views on Second Amendment issues going forward. I’m also interested in seeing if my editorial elicits the standard far left wing knee jerk response.

Until next time!