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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 5,286

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You've Got to Admit Though, the Economy Has Really Gone South Under Obama...

As many of our conservative friends keep reminding us.


Yes, clearly, everything started going south right around the time Obama took office.

Oh Boy, is My English Teacher Gonna be PISSED!

So we're winding down to the end of the semester in my English Composition 2 class.

Throughout this whole semester, she's been having us read excerpts from our textbook which (more often than not) have a definite liberal bent to them.

Most of the other students in my class are pretty conservative, so they've been struggling with some of the views being presented (everything from abortion to excerpts of Obama's Dreams from my Father book, to the idiocy of Dan Quayle), while the professor keeps praising me for consistently hitting it out of the park in my online discussion board posts.

Well, this week she is in for a nasty surprise. After having us read two argumentative opinion pieces heavily critical of the Second Amendment, I had the following to say:

Oh boy, gun control. Where do we even begin?

Adam Gopnik's short essay definitely tugs at one's heart-strings, his emotional description of all those cell phones ringing in all the dead kids' pockets at Virginia Tech, as parents desperately tried to call and find out if their sons and daughters were okay, definitely drives home the gravity of the situation. It must have been truly horrible for all involved, not just the dead kids but the survivors as well.

While I agree with Gopnik that it would be nice if we could keep guns out of the hands of crazy people who would use them to do harm, the problem is that the government just isn't very good at figuring out who those people are. Not just with the Virginia Tech shooter, but with the Aurora (movie theater) and Tucson (Gabby Giffords political gathering) shooters as well, none of them had any criminal record or history of being involuntarily committed to a mental institution whatsoever. So they could all legally buy their guns. Even instituting universal background checks on all gun purchases like the U.S. Senate just tried and failed to pass today wouldn't have stopped these people at all.

Now one could make the argument that we should add more people with even signs of mental illness to the prohibited buyers' list, but then you have the problem of denying rights to those who are suffering from minor mental illness but are currently being treated for it with anti-depressants or anti-psychotic drugs. Because the fact of the matter is, the vast majority of mentally ill people are not dangerous to anyone, especially if they are compliant with their medications. So I have a hard time scapegoating them for the acts of the very few truly deranged people who wish to do others harm. So I think Gopnik kind of misses the mark there.

Akhil Reed Amar's essay was a bit more balanced. He argues that both the NRA and the gun control side have got it wrong. He points out that where the Second Amendment states "shall not be infringed", it appears in its second clause, which speaks of "the people" and not "the states" like many gun control advocates presume it means. Indeed, the Founders knew how to say "states" when they meant states. He further makes the point that "the militia" covers the entire body of the populace.

Where I think Amar goes off the tracks is when he tries to say that "the people" doesn't mean individual persons. He claims that the phrase "the people" only exists in the preamble to the Constitution ("We the People..." and thus speaks of a "collective" rather than "individual" right -- the problem is, it also appears in both the First and Fourth Amendments, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a constitutional scholar who would claim that the First Amendment doesn't protect an individual's right to free speech. Likewise, the Fourth Amendment defends an individual's right to be free from unlawful search and seizure. "The people" simply means every adult citizen, as the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in both the recent Heller and McDonald decisions.

Amar then goes on to compare "the militia" to "the jury", suggesting that they both embodied "collective" political action rather than private pursuits. Fair enough. But as he even points out, the whole point of a jury is to provide a check-and-balance against judges and prosecutors, just as the militia's purpose is to provide a check-and-balance against a standing army. It's hard to imagine how the militia could ever hope to stand up to any army without being able to bear the same types of small arms that the organized military can. That is, if we are talking about a strict interpretation of that amendment. But I digress.

Amar goes on to point out that violent felons get their First Amendment (free speech) rights back upon completion of their prison sentences, but don't automatically get their Second Amendment rights restored. Indeed, both the NRA and the Supreme Court accept this bizarre double standard. My personal view is that if a person is deemed safe enough to be free walking the streets, they should be considered safe enough to exercise ALL of their constitutional rights. Granted, felons who are out on probation or parole still have restrictions, but for those who complete their entire sentences, full rights should be restored and their criminal records sealed like they do in France. If people are deemed too dangerous to have their gun rights restored, that's what lifetime supervision is for -- or Life Without Parole in the case of the worst of the worst.

I think Amar is more fair than Gopnik also when he points out that guns aren't just for "essentially killing people." Amar points out that there is a great deal to be said on behalf of an individual's right to keep a gun in one's home for self-defense as well.

And while it may be true that states with more restrictive gun laws tend to have less gun violence, it still doesn't stop determined crazy people from resorting to other means of violence, such as detonating bombs in crowded streets like in Boston earlier this week.

I know its a cliché, and I've said it before in this class, but: sometimes the occasional act of random violence really is just the price we have to pay to live in a free society. And sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.

But that's just my 2 cents.

I already have a solid `A' in this class, so even if she gives me 0 points for this week's discussion board post, it shouldn't affect my overall grade that much.

Can't wait to see how she responds.

Oh FFS! Boston Bombing "Truthers" Coming Out of the Woodwork Already!

Poster "Libtards" says:

Now THIS is bizarre. A few minutes ago I posted a link to a FB page called "Thoughts Go Out To All Involved In The Boston Explosions." The page was created TWO DAYS AGO. Within a couple of minutes, not only did the page disappear, but so did my links to that page! But guess what? While I still had the page up on my screen, I PHOTOGRAPHED it. Better copy and send this around now, because something is very, very wrong here......


Photoshop aside, isn't it true though that you can EDIT the day when it says a Facebook page was created, not to mention edit the TITLE of the page/group after the fact? If that's true, then any one can (either purposefully or unintentionally) create a bunch of conspiracy theory drama just by messing with the dates/titles on Facebook.

These "truthers" made the same claims about Sandy Hook, claiming that "the gubermint" had staged the whole thing -- their proof? Facebook page create dates "before the event happened" of course!

Gimme a fucking break.

Senate Gun Control Bill Actually a "Christmas Tree" of Pro-Gun Measures?

Sounds like the pro-gun group Second Amendment Foundation had a heavy hand in crafting this Manchin-Toomey bill.

Here's SAF's Alan Gottlieb bragging about it:


“There’s a Million other checks in there it’s a Christmas Tree,” bragged Gottlieb, “We just hung a Million Ornaments on it.”

It sounds like, in exchange for universal background checks, quite a few pro-gun measures are going to be included in there, such as National CCW Reciprocity, and no record-keeping (hence registration), which could make it a bitter pill for the pro-control side to swallow.

Indeed, it makes you wonder how much the pro-gun side can get away with adding before the antis deep-six their own proposal.

This could be fun to watch.

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