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February 17, 2012

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Maybe the original intent in many cases was to leave a fairly wide space in which to move about, in anticipation of life not being exactly the same however many years into the future.

We have a winner.

The argument about what the text of the Constitution "really means", and what the founders' "real intent" was, has been going on since day one. The founders themselves were the first ones to have the argument.

And no, Brett, it was not that evil Hamilton on one side, and everybody else on the other.

FDR was a President for Life

FDR is dead. No longer a threat to the nation.

So, for that matter, are a host of other POTUS who pushed the constitutional envelope as far as they possibly could.

Cheney, not quite a POTUS, is, for our sins, still with us. In my book he's the all time heavyweight champion of creative textual parsing, with the one-man 'Fourth Branch of Government' doctrine.

Where was the mob of originalists on that day? Why didn't we see them surrounding the Naval Observatory, Gadsden flags and assault rifles in hand, demanding the restoration of constitutional government?

For that matter, where was one lousy freaking libertarian blog post demanding the restoration of constitutional government?

It's all purely a matter of principle until the targets get selected.

Yeah, I think we're headed for a revolution

Be careful what you wish for.

The Rules. Which are, of course, subject to only your interpretation. Anybody else's is wrong.

If there is a revolution, Brett, you might want to spare a look in the mirror before you start laying blame.

Anyway, it's possible that calling a CC might be the LOTE option (in other words, I could be wrong about my pessimism).

Again, Brett my fear isn't about losing arguments. I'd expect to lose many. I'm a Democrat. We expect to lose. ;) Seriously, of course I would worry about the arguments & who wins/loses them. But that's actually secondary. If that was my only worry, I'd be calling for a CC.

My fear is disunion and the chaos (and possibly warfare) that I fear that entails.

I have no objection, btw, to Congresscritters proposing amendments. But I don't think it's surprising that we haven't seen any such efforts go anywhere for a long time.

Watching events unfold in Syria makes revolution an unattractive option.

That said hedging with a few shares in Acme Guillotine Inc. might be a good idea.

Revolutions generally don't go well. Ours worked out amazingly well, all things considered (and still there was some nasty stuff that went down).

You say you want a revolution, well, you know...

Our's was not a revolution. We had our independence, de facto, with our own political institutions, and then King George launched a war against us to undo that. The 'Revolutionary' war isn't the revolution that's the exception, it was a war of defense.

I think it takes a fairly narrow view of history to think there's a noteworthy probability that we're headed for revolution now or in the near future, as compared to other points, say, since the Civil War. As bad as things may seem, domestic tranquility is pretty high. What protests do occur are mild. Crime rates are low. Things are generally pretty damned stable.

It seems there is a mindset among some percentage of the population that sees tyranny and unrest in what are relatively mild, if still objectionable, abuses by government and relatively mild reactions to the same.

Not to pick on Brett, but this phenomenon is typified by a recent comment of his that comes to mind on the stimulus packages in which he uses the phrase "the real horror" of the stimulus - the real horror.

Hyperbole becomes literal and perspective is lost.

My theory is that the US is way too diversified, religiously, culturally/ethnically, geographically, etc for revolution to develop.

There would have to be some large and deeply effected umbrella category into which most of the current divisions (e.g. catholic, Russian immigrant, hispanic, white college eductaed, East coaster, deep south....) would fall and then re-identify with, before a revolution could begin to come together.

The great depression did not result in revolution.

I really cannot imagine what would.

Brett: We had our independence, de facto, with our own political institutions, and then King George launched a war against us to undo that.

What? All of a sudden de facto things are okay in law and war? This seems to be a bit of a switch.

Our's was not a revolution. We had our independence, de facto, with our own political institutions, and then King George launched a war against us to undo that. The 'Revolutionary' war isn't the revolution that's the exception, it was a war of defense.

Doesn't this play a wee mite heavy on the "Us v. Them" myth that pretends that Loyalists (or for that matter, the apolitical) were an insignificant portion of the Colonial population?

Back on the topic of federalism, bobbyp asks "they CAN what"?

The answer is "do things differently".

Brett identifies early on an interesting way of looking at it. Liberals want to nationalize everything because they see the huge potential upside: if we get things right, they are right EVERYWHERE. Conservatives fear a huge potential downside: if we get things wrong, they are wrong EVERYWHERE.

Both sides, consisting of human beings, aren't particularly consistent about the concept when their ideas about what are right or wrong are trending the way they like or don't like on the national level. The US Constitution tried to straddle these in a pretty neat way--by trying to nationalize certain things and let states go on their own way on other things.

In the past seventy years ago, we've pretty much abandoned the straddle allowing both sides to just go whole hog on the national level on everything. But isn't it possible that we've gone too far?

Can't we even ask the question "is this really so important that we can't let different states come to different answers"?

Another issue (that I don't know the answer to but think might be worth thinking about).

Did the nationalization of the debate on nearly everything significantly contribute to large scale hyper-polarization and gridlock? I *speculate* that by trying to stamp out provincialism, our more tribal loyalties may be getting displaced onto political parties. That cure might be worse than the disease.

Our's was not a revolution. We had our independence, de facto, with our own political institutions, and then King George launched a war against us to undo that. The 'Revolutionary' war isn't the revolution that's the exception, it was a war of defense.

Interesting take. I think this would be the minority view.

I think it takes a fairly narrow view of history to think there's a noteworthy probability that we're headed for revolution now or in the near future, as compared to other points, say, since the Civil War. As bad as things may seem, domestic tranquility is pretty high. What protests do occur are mild. Crime rates are low. Things are generally pretty damned stable.

I agree. Worst case, down the road, is disunion, not revolution. Which is why Russell's comments on devolution are a very nice middle ground.

Right, I think "disorderly breakup" is much, much, much more likely that what we'd call a revolution. Even that doesn't strike me as likely, but it's possible.

If I thought that was a realistic threat, btw, I'd be on the Russell/McKinney bandwagon. LOTE, baby. ;)

Did the nationalization of the debate on nearly everything significantly contribute to large scale hyper-polarization and gridlock? I *speculate* that by trying to stamp out provincialism, our more tribal loyalties may be getting displaced onto political parties. That cure might be worse than the disease.

Quite possible.

When/where did we "go to far" though? I hope we agree that Civil Rights legislation in the 60s was not "too far." That was a resort to Federal action to enforce minority rights being trampled by the States. The Feds proper role is (in part) to step in if a state/local government is violating Constitutional rights.

Apply to gun control. 2nd amendment. Given How can Connecticut be allowed to go its own way? It can't.

So there are some issues - indeed, many of them are the very hot-button issues we would like to defuse - that I don't think can be devolved. Gun rights are an obvious one.

How about state campaign finance laws? 1st amendment issue. No going your own way, right?

Abortion you can devolve, I guess, if Roe is overturned.

I'm not totally against the general idea here, but could you give me some examples of issues that are paralyzing us that could be devolved to the benefit of all?

Arg. Too far. TOO. Sloppy proofreading.

I'm not totally against the general idea here, but could you give me some examples of issues that are paralyzing us that could be devolved to the benefit of all?

Two of the more paralyzing issues are abortion and healthcare, the latter both philosophically and as a budget item. Abortion requires that Roe be overturned, which could go either way.

Medical marijuana, school curriculae and social services are all wedge issues that different states could handle differently.

I particularly would like to see HCR and social services devolved, for several reasons. One, to get the cost off of the federal budget. Two, with 50 states taking a stab at the issues, the chances of someone, somewhere getting it right, or closer to right, go up. Three, locals could decide for themselves how richly or not they want to spend and tax themselves accordingly.

Health, safety, commerce and financial regs would remain federal as would civil rights.

Gun rights are an obvious one.

Gun laws already vary widely from state to state. About the only thing you can't have is an absolute ban on ownership.

Which, to me, makes sense.

There already are a broad range and number of things that are devolved to the states, either explicitly or de facto.

Some things, for example Medicaid, or some aspects of eduction, are a mix.

I don't see the idea as that much of a reach. And I think Seb's point upthread about existing, and long standing, regional differences getting projected onto the parties is apt.

We're mired in arguments that nobody is going to win, and that nobody really has to win.

I don't care if my brother in law in AZ has a big collection of guns. Conversely, I don't really care if folks in MA have to jump through nineteen hoops to get a concealed carry permit.

I don't care if somebody in CA gets high. I don't really care if folks in OK want to start a high school football game with a prayer, as long as nobody is being coerced into saying it.

Etc etc etc.

None of these things really bug me. They're all just examples of people in a particular area living the way they want to live.

This is an unusually large country, and has a very wide range of kinds of people in it. I don't think it's going to be possible to function effectively as a nation if we keep arguing about stuff like this.

We have bigger fish to fry.

This is an unusually large country, and has a very wide range of kinds of people in it. I don't think it's going to be possible to function effectively as a nation if we keep arguing about stuff like this.

We have bigger fish to fry.

Exactly.

russell: I don't really care if folks in OK want to start a high school football game with a prayer, as long as nobody is being coerced into saying it.

I might agree with you if, e.g., those (especially the students) who didn't wish to say the prayer were respected and not ostracized, or if the prayer were not universally (at least in OK, I have to imagine) Christian (will there be an Islamic prayer as well/instead of? Or even Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha'olam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu l'hadlik ner shel Shabbat?).

Unfortunately, not so much it seems. And as school events such as football games are state actions unless we're talking about two private schools, they're going to have to deal with the First Amendment, it seems to me.

My theory is that the US is way too diversified, religiously, culturally/ethnically, geographically, etc for revolution to develop.

Not a unified one. But a violent breakup would be revolutionary too in my book. Also there is what is called the revolution from above. That one works best against a population that is split and polarized because one group can be used against the other. The Tea Party was a small bore attempt at such a thing but even there the dangers for the instigators became obvious. Stirred up to defeat Dem projects and win the midterms the useful idiots released part of their anger against the very establishment that had called them up (in disguise). We will see in the not too far future, whether that frightened the wizard's apprentices enough, or they will try again.


The great depression did not result in revolution.

It was believed at the time (and still so by at least some historians) that another round of Hooverism would have triggered one and that FDR did what he did only because of that. He would not be the first aristocrat breaking 'sacred' custom to save as much of the status quo as possible. The Prussian reformers did under Friedrich Wilhelm III and Bismarck under Wilhelm I. They managed to keep the basic system until 1918 and then went out with their heads still attached. Louis XVI did not and his high aristocracy would have taken his head instead of the people had he tried. The financial aristocracy of today sounds a lot like their French forebears, esp. on the topics of taxes. And then there is Russia...
No, there will be no guillotine in Times Square but political murder will become en vogue again (and some strategically targeted organized mob violence). Personally I am quite surprised that the former has not yet really started (until now only some rubes have answered the call and failed miserably). And the more unrest the less free will society get.


I'd like to press the reset button on the general issue of devolution/federalism and ask how a significant portion of these culture-war quibbles rise to something more than an annoyance for people who read blogs or newspaper editorials or watch cable news (or whatever else you can think of). Where's the beef?

I mean, yeah, there are some stupid arguments going on over this stuff, but is that really reason to move a significant number of policy decisions from the federal to the state level? I don't necessarily have a problem with doing that if it makes sense. I just don't know that the "culture wars" are anything more than stupid and annoying, thus I'm not sure that they should be the impetus for much of anything, other than maybe blog comments.

I find a significant percentage, though not necessarily a majority, of the human species to be annoying and stupid, which makes me think they'll be annoying and stupid about something or other, not matter what and even if we eliminate all the issues they're being annoying and stupid over right now.

Maybe I just forgot some examples of some serious "culture war" problems we've been facing, even if I wholeheartedly agree that we have bigger fish to fry.

I might agree with you if, e.g., ...

That specific example comes from a long conversation I had with a guy on RedState, way back in the day. He was from OK, 99% or more of the folks in his town where Christian and primarily evangelical Christian, and football games were a combination of social gathering, community identity lovefest, and quasi-religious experience. They were a heavy tribal ritual. In his town.

I took basically the position you take, and would take that position if someone were to suggest reciting Christian prayers en masse before HS football games in my town, for all of the reasons you cite.

But OK is not MA. So I've been told, anyway.

I'm not sure I can assume that anybody in that guy's town was harmed by them saying a prayer before a Friday night ball game.

The flip side might be the case of a kid who is both strongly religious, and valedictorian, and who wishes to speak about the connection they see between their faith and their academic life.

Some people in the audience may be offended. Should the kid leave the god stuff out, or not? If so, whose rights are being abridged?

Maybe everyone could just chill, and recognize that not everyone is like them, and let some of the culture stuff go.

I can't tell you where the line is, because I don't know.

russell: But OK is not MA. So I've been told, anyway.

I'm not sure I can assume that anybody in that guy's town was harmed by them saying a prayer before a Friday night ball game.
...
Maybe everyone could just chill, and recognize that not everyone is like them, and let some of the culture stuff go.

A couple things. I actually considered throwing in an exception to my comment that if "everyone" agreed that having a prayer was just fine, then I wouldn't mind, but those situations seem few and far between, even in that guy's town (I would assume).

Further, while I'm inclined to take the "maybe everyone should just chill" route myself, it seems that majorities in places such as the OK small town (or in the case of many of my relatives, the IA small town) are particularly NOT inclined to "just chill" should anyone publicly object to how things are, or even merely suggest doing things differently.

The harm is the blatantly obvious message that you're not "really" part of the town, or the county, or the state, or America, so why don't you GTFO? Or worse.

"Gun laws already vary widely from state to state. About the only thing you can't have is an absolute ban on ownership.

Which, to me, makes sense."

Jim Crow in the South but not the North made sense to Bull Conner, too. Didn't mean a compromise was really possible. Right now the RKBA battle is at the same stage the fight over Jim Crow was immediately after Brown: Massive resistance, in the hope that a President opposed to the civil liberty in question can replace one or more Justices, and make the whole thing go away.

But it's an enumerated civil liberty, right there in the Bill of Rights, and that makes it real line in the sand material, gives the defenders of this liberty no reason at all to think compromise of the sort you want is reasonable.

Repeal it if you want local option.

The answer is "do things differently".

I can't let that pass absent a greater level of specificity. McTx trotted out a few ideas. I was underwhelmed. Leave health care to the states? You can't be serious. Education? Well, you might be suprised to learn that mostly is under local and state control. Guns? Please. Give that one a break. Abortion? Devolving to state sovereignty is merely special pleading....sorry, no dice.

I'm all for trying things differently or at a more local level (how about true democracy in the workplace?), but absent some specifics, my guard is still up, and McTex only reinforced my concerns as his plea for local control was tightly entwined with a rather obvious political agenda. That's OK, but let's be unashamed to call it what it is. Having a political agenda is not a drawback in my book. Obfuscating it is.

As others have pointed out, we have an incredibly diverse country. The scary and hoary monster of federal control has not obviated that fact significantly. If we are less parochial or locationally less differentiated these days, I'd say it's due more to technology (auto, plane), mass marketing, and mass communications.

THERE IS PLENTY OF LOCAL CONTROL. Do you believe you municipal judge, cop, politician, or building official is tied up, bound hand and foot by the oppressive federal government? If you do (and by you, I do not mean "Sebastian"), I'd suggest taking a deep breath and find a nice landscape to look at. Rest the fervid mind.

It couldn't hurt.

So there's no local option for leaving gun laws more open than would be required by the 2nd Amendment, without repealing the 2nd? Or is it that you think there's no such thing as more open than the 2nd Amendment requires, since it means "no restrictions whatsoever?"

Brett: But it's an enumerated civil liberty, right there in the Bill of Rights, and that makes it real line in the sand material, gives the defenders of this liberty no reason at all to think compromise of the sort you want is reasonable.

It wasn't until 2010 that SCOTUS decided the 2d A. applied to the states, more than 220 years after its adoption (and more than 130 years after the 14th A). How do you square your apparent approval of this with your view that, e.g., the commerce clause jurisprudence was just fine until FDR clubbed SCOTUS circa the 1930s?

This lgm post discusses John Nance Garner, FDR's second term vice president. From the post

When discussing the Flint sit-down strike of 1937 last weekend, I noted John Nance Garner’s support for using soldiers to bust the strike. It reminded of just how awful Garner was. And how close we were to a Garner presidency in 1940.

We remember that Franklin Roosevelt won an unprecedented third term in 1940, but we don’t pay much attention to what would have happened had he followed convention and stepped down. The almost certain Democratic nominee would have been John Nance Garner and given the nation’s repudiation of the Republican Party during the 1930s, he would probably have won the Oval Office as well.

Reading the rest of the post, it does suggest that FDR ran more to prevent Garner from becoming president than because he " had no patience at all with not getting his way on everything".

Right now the RKBA battle is at the same stage the fight over Jim Crow was immediately after Brown

Local police chiefs are hosing down gun owners in the streets? Sicking dogs on them? Beating them to death?

Sorry, I'm not seeing it.

My observation was that gun laws vary widely from state to state. You can't absolutely ban gun ownership, because the 2nd Amendment doesn't allow that. I think that's fine.

Comparing gun owners to disenfranchised black people ca. the 1950's and 60's is borderline paranoia.

I have family members with lots and lots of guns. I know lots of other folks with lots and lots of guns. I have no problem with it.

Nobody is coming to take any of those people's guns away. Nobody. And, I have no problem with that.

The FBI estimates that there are about 200 million guns in private hands. Not cops, not military, private. Somewhere between 40 and 50% of households have a gun.

In many states in this country, there is NO permit requirement to buy a gun, NO registration requirement to own. Some, but by no means all, states require a license to own. Some, but by no means all, require a permit to carry a handgun. Few if any require a permit to carry a rifle.

And, I'm fine with all of that. Don't point your gun at me, and we have no problem. Live your life.

There is no realistic scenario in which guns are going to be taken away from people in this country. None.

Seriously, I have no idea WTF you are on about.

I can tell you that if folks keep waving their guns around and threatening to shoot people who they disagree with, there will be at least one more gun owner, and that person will be me. And I will shoot the f*** back.

So perhaps you and folks like you are among those who should learn to chill.

I wonder whether Washington State will pass a law requiring insurers to cover abortion.

his plea for local control was tightly entwined with a rather obvious political agenda.

BP--which political agenda did you infer from my comment? And why is it 'obvious'?

Right now the RKBA battle is at the same stage the fight over Jim Crow was immediately after Brown: Massive resistance, in the hope that a President opposed to the civil liberty in question can replace one or more Justices, and make the whole thing go away.

I missed the massive resistance part. My take is the left has decided this issue is a loser and is staying the hell away from it. Smart move.

BP--which political agenda did you infer from my comment? And why is it 'obvious'?

A fairly standard right wing/conservative political agenda. Stand up a be proud of it. There is no need to hide behind 'states rights'. That's so 1850's and 1950's. This is the 21st century. Or so I hear.

A fairly standard right wing/conservative political agenda.

Hmmm. I must have missed the memo from Conservative Central advising that all right thinking conservatives should lobby for devolving medicare, medicaid, food stamps, unemployment and other safety net duties to the states. I'll look around for it.

I must have missed the memo from Conservative Central...

I'll call Roger Ailes and get you another copy. It was issued with the same memo wherein you are to speak of the "Democrat Party" and the directive to commonly preface your remarks with "The Left always......"

And always remember: Hold that finish! :)

My favorite in these comments was the assertion, "the left wants to nationalize everything".

An oldie, but a goodie.

"It wasn't until 2010 that SCOTUS decided the 2d A. applied to the states, more than 220 years after its adoption (and more than 130 years after the 14th A). How do you square your apparent approval of this with your view that, e.g., the commerce clause jurisprudence was just fine until FDR clubbed SCOTUS circa the 1930s?"

The tale of how we had no 2nd amendment jurisprudence at the Supreme court is a sordid one, which doesn't reflect well on the Court. The Court's deliberate misconstrual of the 14th amendment, (According to it's author, intended to guarantee to the freed slaves, among other liberties, the right to own guns.) protecting state laws from the 2nd amendment. While the first federal gun control laws didn't come until the New Deal, to be met with a freshly neutered Court with no interest in overturning any law. Then seventy years during which the Supreme court refused cert to any case where the 2nd amendment was raised as an issue. All in all, some 140 years of malign neglect, until the Court finally took a case. Not a pretty picture at all.

Revenge of the angry white people.

i most certainly don't want my local RED state to run all social safety net issues. Society is a no-no here in LA, i'm just fortunate to have a job, cause so little of my taxes ever go to help the poor and needy. these people live outside under the over passes and empy corners of vacant building. Brothers' keepers( RED staters) my eye! Save me from my local RED state, please.

Society is the enemy of the local R party here, always has been since the Blacks took over the cities. ever since George Wallace. Watching my mother protest Integration in the streets and voting for George Wallace. was with her in the streets, couldn't leave a little child home alone. so, i got to see those angry white women curse the Gov.

Abortion and gay rights are not things i want the local states to run or rule on. bad enough having the National R party tell all of us who and what we can love or marry. but devolve to the local OWNERS? yikes.

frankly the idea of anybody thinking that gun rights were worth fighting over. let everybody kill each other with their guns. just stay away from me or i'll shoot back.

there just seem to be such a different concept of what is your right and mine.

your religious/political point of view limits my rights is where i want the Gov,Big Brother, to stand in and say you can't stop me from being equal to you. just because i don't have the same political power as the Elites do, nor would i ever be accorded such rights, if i had to expect a RED state to be "humane." or principled.

scares the daylights when i see the comparison of states voting for the Civil Rights acts and this concept of Big Brother telling me i can't have an abortion if i want to , or marry a same sexed person. States Rights are a death sentence to the Outsiders.

i never heard God came in the Human form yet. though i see it implied that some of us are less than cause we don't believe and accept that you have the Right thinking and therefore are "Better" than me do to your Beliefs. Christian Taliban in my book.

frightening to see the intolerance for tolerance of pluralistic beliefs. that's when enough is enough. letting others force ONE version of Rights down and on the lesser who have the wrong beliefs or opinions.

geez, frightening to see. And Let us devolve into local areas of Political obeisance? i guess all the Blue people will have to move to Blue States/Area, RED people into RED states... like what happened after the British left India.


don't see how imposed authority can solve this nowadays. before the unsettled questions were not actively fought RED MEAT issues.
i have to thank Lee Atwater and Karl Rove for their successfull campaign to divide and conquer America.

gosh what a future we as Americans have to look forward to. yours, mine and NOT ours. i often wish the lines for the Blue and Red states was plain and simple.

this rule by fear and might is not condusive to a United States, just empowers Big Brother more and more each day. i thought the Right didn't like Big Brother, except for the Culture Wars, that is. One of Many, E Pluribus Unum is long now, thank you R's very much.

E Pluribus Unum is long gone now. is what i wanted to type.

Bart: Look at that hunk of junk.
Grampa: [sputters] You're ignorant! That's the Wright Brothers' plane! In Kitty Hawk in 1903, Charles Lindbergh flew it 15 miles on a thimble full of corn oil. Single-handedly won us the Civil War, it did.
Bart: How do you know so much about history, Grandpa?
Grandpa: I pieced it together, mostly from sugar packets.

Some red states would still ban interracial marriage, if it was up to the locals. Rachel Maddow had some jaw-dropping polls on that not long ago. Maybe folks would not go to public lynchings anymore but probably not protest any 'private justice' outside publicc view.
Beleck's India/Pakistan analogy is a good one, I think, although the US is not that far YET. Btw, if you can get your hands on 'Jinnah' (played by Christopher Lee), it's worth a view.

"Local police chiefs are hosing down gun owners in the streets? Sicking dogs on them? Beating them to death?"

Not so long ago, the feds were shooting women holding their babies, and burning people alive, in order to intimidate gun owners. Maybe you forgot about that?

The analogy is not perfect, as no analogy is; At least in the 1st civil rights battles, the executive branch was on the side of civil liberties, not generally opposed to them.

A fairly standard right wing/conservative political agenda. Stand up a be proud of it. There is no need to hide behind 'states rights'. That's so 1850's and 1950's. This is the 21st century. Or so I hear.
I'll call Roger Ailes and get you another copy. It was issued with the same memo wherein you are to speak of the "Democrat Party" and the directive to commonly preface your remarks with "The Left always......"

As always, we SuperUsers encourage you to attempt to argue counter to other people's actual statements, as opposed to holding them responsible for statements some third party may or may not have made.

Not so long ago, the feds were shooting women holding their babies, and burning people alive, in order to intimidate gun owners. Maybe you forgot about that?

Is this a Waco and/or Ruby Ridge reference?

While I'm noting commenter shortcomings:

Brett, the veiled reference is not your best point-maker. It's best to come right out and say what you're trying to say.

CC: self.

I'd like to point out, btw, mainly to Russell & McTex, that Brett agrees with my point regarding "devolving" matters such as gun rights. 2nd Amendment. RIGHT. Brett, and anyone who sees things that way, would never accept CT going its own way on such matters, because he sees any gun control as a violation of an enumerated right. The End.

If your purpose here is to defuse the "culture wars" I'm not sure it would work.

Is this a Waco and/or Ruby Ridge reference?

Yes, if I'm not mistaken those are Ruby Ridge and Waco / Branch Davidian references.

IMVHO, both of those cases were unnecessary displays of force by the government. And people died in them, unnecessarily.

Also IMVHO, in both cases there was cause for government interest in the type and amount of ordnance that the Weavers and Koresh were assembling, whether allegedly or IRL. As well as the association of folks involved, in the Weaver case in particular, with organizations involved in acts of violence.

Shorter me: I have no problem with the FBI wanting to check out the Weavers, or the Branch Davidians. I think bringing what was essentially a military assault against both was wrong and likely criminal.

And all of that said, again IMVHO, neither provides a realistic analogy to the civil rights efforts of the 50's and 60's.

Last but not least, I don't see that either case amounts to a program intended to 'intimidate gun owners'. Nor do I know any gun owners who were intimidated by either action.

Unless you're interested in assembling a personal arsenal of machine guns and hand grenades, I'm not sure why anyone would feel otherwise.

If your purpose here is to defuse the "culture wars" I'm not sure it would work.

I agree. The problem with the "culture wars" too is that they're mostly worth winning. Gay hating isn't a regional issue. Women's rights isn't a regional issue. Immigrant bashing isn't a regional issue. Guns aren't a regional issue either - and I'm not on Brett's side of the Constitutional fence on that one. (The reason why the recently repealed once-a-month gun restriction was enacted in the first place wasn't to reduce gun violence in Virginia; it was to eliminate Virginia as the illegal gun running capital of the East Coast. Before its enactment, 40% of guns involved in gun crimes in NYC were from Virginia.)

Everybody here, in fact, about half of people everywhere, want marijuana to be legalized (and far more want it done for medical purposes). The biggest demographic disparity isn't by region; it's by age group. That's the trend regarding most "culture war" issues. The throwbacks are largely old white people. Maybe we should have nongeographic "states" and a new federalism based on age. (Not.)

The fact that we have a state/federal system with states having power over issues that are truly local (land use and local police power) is okay, and has always made a certain amount of sense. Most culture war issues, on the other hand, are civil rights issues of one sort or another. Drugs and guns (anymore, since most liberals believe that they have lost the gun control battle) are pretty low on anyone's list of "culture war" issues in the first place.

And always remember: Hold that finish! :)

Odd you should mention this. I plan to hone my game starting tomorrow and not let up until sunset Sunday.

If your purpose here is to defuse the "culture wars" I'm not sure it would work.

I just want to localize them.

I don't see that either case amounts to a program intended to 'intimidate gun owners'. Nor do I know any gun owners who were intimidated by either action.

A former BATF employee who was at Waco is now behind bars, Federal bars. He was discharged from BATF after the conflagration, but no charges were brought. He went to work for a client of mine, and actually did pretty good work. But, he was and probably still is, an adrenalin junkie.

Two-three years ago he was involved in a prank involving an altered flash-bang grenade at a bachelor's party. One of the attendees lost part of a foot (flash-bangs are not supposed to inflict injury of that type). The feds swooped in pretty shortly thereafter and prosecuted this former BATF employee who was at Waco with a level of enthusiasm usually reserved for high profile terrorists.

As I said, he is now behind Federal bars.

And, whatever he did or didn't do or is believed to have done or believed not to have done, he is a pretty decent guy whose intent was, in the many instances I observed or interacted with him, good. He is not a bad man.

My conclusion: the BATF was mortified by what happened at Waco and wishes mightily they could have a do-over, without that that particular employee around. And that particular employee: I know him. He is perfectly fine with 2 amendment absolutists. His is one, as a matter of fact.

Intent to intimidate? No, just the opposite. And a powder keg situation, which is what it was, exploded. That happens, unfortunately.

Frankly, I wish the government had left Weaver and Koresh to their own devices so that we could have enjoyed the spectacle today of the former brandishing his weaponry at Tea Party fetes while threatening the life of the President and the latter joining the other clowns as a candidate in the Republican Presidential primary and enjoying front-runner status for a week or two as the dangerous and probably murderous Republican base careened their support to him in yet another anyone-but-Romney surge.

I'd enjoy watching Koresh packing the house with his underaged harem and regaling the electorate with his views regarding birth control.

Foster Friess' witch wife no doubt would leave a Hansel and Gretel long trail of aspirin along the campaign path as she unclenched her knees for the two of them.

McK, don't go bringing facts in here, you're going to confuse some easily-confused people.

BTW, relevant!!

About an hour ago, Virginia House Bill 1160 (HB1160) which recently passed the House of Delegates by a vote of 96-4, was approved by the Senate Courts of Justice Committee. The vote was 8-4 with 3 abstentions.

The legislative goal of HB1160 is to codify in Virginia law noncompliance with what many are referring to as the “kidnapping provisions” of section 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA). The official summary of 1160:

“A BILL to prevent any agency, political subdivision, employee, or member of the military of Virginia from assisting an agency of the armed forces of the United States in the investigation, prosecution, or detention of a citizen in violation of the United States Constitution, the Constitution of Virginia, or any Virginia law or regulation.”

HB1160 is sponsored by Delegate Bob Marshall, who recently told The New American – “They say this law [the NDAA] is designed to fight terrorists. You don’t defeat terrorists by adopting their tactics. I will be faithful to my calling to stand against these predators who would sell their birthright for a mess of pottage.”

I think one of the most interesting developments in the drug war would be if a major state ordered its police force not to participate in drug investigations. It probably won't happen, but it would be fascinating watching the federal government respond.

Actually it might not be fascinating. We might just see the federal government threaten to cut off everything everywhere until the state complied.

I think one of the most interesting developments in the drug war would be if a major state ordered its police force not to participate in drug investigations. It probably won't happen, but it would be fascinating watching the federal government respond.

I thought this had already been litigated (though I forget in what context), with SCOTUS ruling that, no, the federal government can't dragoon state police, or employees generally into serving the feds' ends without permission of the state.

We might just see the federal government threaten to cut off everything everywhere until the state complied.

Yes, this is the obvious work-around, "if you don't help us out in drug investigations, we'll not provide you with highway funding," or whatever. Hopefully this would require an act of Congress but to the extent the Executive has discretion over handing out funds that may be sufficient.

".....he is a pretty decent guy whose intent was, in the many instances I observed or interacted with him, good. He is not a bad man."

???!!!????

He's an A hole adreneline junkie that used to have a badge. I'll bet if I tossed a flashbang into your office you would NOT think I was a good guy with a boys will be boys sense of humor. Would you?

You get a Waco or a Ruby Ridge or innumerable doors kicked in and injuries and deaths and confiscations of private property by the govt because there are LAWS that enable + ecourage psycho adreneline junkie criminals with badges to act out their base antisocial impulses.

That is at least half the problem with these laws. The govt employes brutal thugs and turns them loose on the public under the guise of enforcing the laws. The govt cure is worse than the alleged societal ailment.

P.S. Flash bang grenades are not harmless little things. They frequently cause serious injury and even death. These tragic events are recorded facts.

The worst part is that these dangerous weapons are used against citizens who are merely *suspected* of a crime - or happen to be in the company of citizens suspected of a crime and they are often deployed without warning.

NYC cops at least have had the decency to cease use of flash bangs because they are so dangerous and, quite frankly, storm trooper-esque.

There is no war on drugs.

There is a federal govt war on citizens - real flesh and blood tax paying people - who might (or might not) be using drugs.

"The govt employes brutal thugs and turns them loose on the public under the guise of enforcing the laws."

No "guise" about it. The terror is actually central to the enforcement.

You've got a very difficult to enforce class of victimless crime laws here, in gun control, which are widely viewed by the enforcement targets as utterly illegitimate attacks on a basic civil liberty. Right off the bat you're missing the two most effective tools law enforcement has: People complaining to them about the violations, and a population which actually feels some moral obligation to obey the law in question.

So what's left, if you really want to enforce the law? Only ramping up the terror, unfortunately. And for that you WANT brutal thugs turned loose on the public. Remember, Waco was perpetrated by people who were promoted for what happened at Ruby Ridge.

It's basically the same reason enforcement of drug laws is abusive. Because victimless crime laws can't be effectively enforced without terror.

I will grant you that the Democratic party has figured out, (And it took a LOT of teaching!) that being honest about their hostility to the 2nd amendment isn't smart politically. So Kagan lied her head off about accepting Heller as binding precedent and the 2nd amendment as an individual right during her confirmation hearing.

I fully expect, should Obama get the chance to replace one of the Heller/McDonald majority, that he'll appoint a virulently anti gun fanatic, who will dutifully lie during their confirmation hearing, and then vote to razor blade the 2nd amendment out of the Bill of Rights when the first test case comes along to give them the chance.

And then the shit will really hit the fan.

Agreed Brett.

It is much easier to establish a fascist police state if the populace is disarmed such that they cannot have a level playing field on which to fight back against the gestapo. Hence the hostility to 2 amendments rights. Bullies that throw flashbangs and shoot women and children do not want to face men with guns.

If anyone thinks that is far out, consider this. All i need to do is make an anonymous tip of sufficient quality - say that McTex is dealing and has drugs in his office - and there is a fair chance that he will have a flashbang in his lap before lunch. That's all it takes these days.

Or that he is a "terrorist".... or.......

There is a federal govt war on citizens - real flesh and blood tax paying people - who might (or might not) be using drugs.

Wait a second. How much police misconduct is done by federal officers? It's mostly local and state police, right? And state drug laws, or states happy to work with the feds to enforce federal drug laws.

I've been enjoying your comments lately, avedis, but I'm not sure about this one.

And. I know there are people with guns, and other people who don't have a problem with people having guns. I have a problem with unfettered access to guns by irresponsible people who don't know how to keep them away from their kids. Could someone suggest how we do something about that? Because it happens all the time. It even happened once to someone I knew.

"How much police misconduct is done by federal officers?"

A lot. However, your point is taken. LLE is equally culpable - perhaps more so on a quantitative, if not qualitative, measure. That said, LLE is empowered, ultimately, by decisions and policy at the federal level that permits or perhaps even condones the abuses.

My main point should be parsed out because I think it is important. The war is not on "drugs"; mere inanimate objects. Rather it is on people, citizens, who use or are suspected of using drugs.

"I have a problem with unfettered access to guns by irresponsible people who don't know how to keep them away from their kids. "

Agreed in that children should be taught firearm safety. Yet this is a red herring. The incidence of firearm accidents involving children is miniscule compared to a host of other preventable tragedies that befall them. The real problem is parents that are just plain irresponsible in all regards and probably should not be having much less raising children. Of all the serious and not so serious undertakings in life that government seeks to control, it is amazing that there is no restriction, educational requirement, permit application, etc in order to bring a new life into this country; quite the contrary actually, as we have discussed recently.

Back to children and guns; I know when I was a boy my old man had two locked and loaded weapons in the house. I knew where they were. I never ever dared to even look at them without his permission. By the time I was ten I had my own rifle, in my room and with ammunition. I knew how to handle it safely. Just about all of the boys I knew came up the same way. By the time we were twelve or so, we could go out hunting by ourselves without parents. I can't remember there ever being an accident as a result. So I think it is a matter of proper parenting and education.

What does this have to do with federalism? I dunno. Something I'm sure.........

If anyone thinks that is far out

I think it's far out.

My old man had a gun in the house for most of his adult life. Of my three brothers in law, three have guns, and two are fairly avid collectors with a number of guns, apiece. My sister in law's husband can cite muzzle velocities for a bewildering array of guns from memory.

I know a lot of people with guns. None of those people has ever been hassled about owning a gun, none has ever been denied a gun, none has ever had a gun taken away.

None, never. Not one, not once.

There is no national campaign, secret or otherwise, to disarm the American public. It does not exist.

Weaver came to the attention of the feds because it was alleged that he had threatened to kill the President and the governor of Idaho. He got involved with the ATF because he was at an Aryan Nations meeting. Aryan Nations are violent white supremacist terrorists.

As screwed up as every aspect of the federal handling of Weaver's case was, I have no problem whatsoever with the FBI checking out a guy who is alleged to want to kill the President and a governor, and I have no problem with the feds checking out somebody with an association with the Aryan Nations.

The Branch Davidian raid had its origins in an attempt to execute a search warrant on the Waco compound. There was some reason to believe that Koresh was modifying legal assault weapons to convert them into fully automatic weapons, and there was reason to believe Koresh was screwing underage girls.

Here is a catalog of the firearms actually recovered from the Waco compound after the raid.

Again, the raid was an ungodly clusterf***, but I have no problem with the feds investigating folks (a) claiming 12, 13, and 14 year olds girls as their "wives", and (b) assembling arsenals of military grade ordnance.

To argue that these two incidents are evidence of some systematic campaign to disarm the American public bears no resemblance to reality.

There are 200 million firearms in private hands in the US, today. How many of those have been seized in the last year? In the last 10 years? In the last 30 years?

In general I don't really give a crap about stuff like this. If you want to pursue some odd hobby, or lifestyle, or political agenda, fine with me. Live your life.

I like drums, you like guns. Fine with me.

Unfortunately, folks who get fired up about the government coming to take their guns seem to end up killing people. So, I do give a crap about it.

Lots of shit has hit the fan already. For every person you cite who has been killed or harmed in some half-assed federal raid, I can cite somebody who has been killed by some crazy gun fetishist.

There needs to be a lot less shit hitting the fan. Not more, less.

Nobody's taking your guns away. Go to wherever it is in your house that you keep your guns, and look. They're there.

You want some kind of absolute, unrestricted access to any kind of ordnance, in any amount, for any reason that suits you?

Sorry, that's not what the 2nd Amendment says.

You want to own a firearm for your personal use? With damned few exceptions, you are free to do so. Enjoy.

Nobody's after your damned guns.

What does this have to do with federalism? I dunno. Something I'm sure.........

Precisely. ;)

Wait, I used that ";)" once before here and got chided for it. Don't take it wrong, sir. Apparently I am not aware of all internet traditions.

Come on, Russell. If you are innocent, you have nothing to hide, right? Now where have I heard that before? Hmmmmm.......

;)

"Weaver came to the attention of the feds because it was alleged that he had threatened to kill the President and the governor of Idaho."

"Alleged" being the operative word.

"He got involved with the ATF because he was at an Aryan Nations meeting."

Hmmm. So now there is another ammendment or two or three being violated - something about freedom of speech and right to assemble. maybe something about unreasonable searches and seizures. But you are ok with that? Just going to meetings of certain groups get's you "checked out". I note that "checked out" equates with black helocopters and snipers gunning down family members. Again, all ok if you are an alleged member of a group with ideas Russell disagrees with?

Yeah yeah, "Aryan Nations are violent white supremacist terrorists." Can you prove this - the terrorist part? Each and every member? Sure they talk some smack, but how much of that has been acted out? Not much if any.

Any how, my point wasn't even about guns per se. Actually it was more about drugs and you help make it for me. All I need to do is make an accusation - an anonymous tip would suffice - and you can have flash bangs thrown at you and your door kicked in.

I, like you, find the Aryan Nation's ideology offensive. However, I recognize that they have the right to believe whatever hateful nonsense they want to. They also have the right to speak their minds, to assemble and to own guns. All without being interefed with by the govt, let alone shot down in their homes.

Ditto Koresh. Again, we have a murky accusation (of child molestation) being the premise for a full scale assualt by govt forces with deadly force including tanks.

"I like drums, you like guns." Actually, I prefer guitars to guns. To me guns are a necessary evil in a cruel and violent world. Any man that wouldn't pick up a gun to defend a woman or child is a fool and a coward, IMO.

"There needs to be a lot less shit hitting the fan."

So just keep your head down and your finger in the wind, don't make waves and only speak the party line is Russell's recipe for the good life in the USA? Because, you know, step out of line and the man may come and take you away....

"Nobody's taking your guns away. Go to wherever it is in your house that you keep your guns, and look. They're there."

Actually someone did take some guns away from me. When I first moved to the socialist republic of new york from a southern state, I met a local deputy who lives near by. Just neighbor meeting new neighbor. As the conversation went on I told him how there had been a rabid racoon in the barn I had to shoot it before getting the barn ready for horses. he asked what I shot it with and I replied "a 357 magnum" and then, thinking a cop would find it interesting, I added, "both my wife and I have one...." Next thing i know he is asking me to hand over both revolvers because, unbeknownst to me, in new york you have to have special permission to own a handgun. the process is rediculously cumbersome and takes up to two years and, worse, for me, it required local people (same county) to vouch for my character and family members don't count. I didn't know anyone outside of family, being new to the area. Fortunately, once I realized what the cop was up to I clammed up and failed to mention the .45 and the 9mm.

More than three years after they were taken, I had finally completed and been approved for the permit process. I then learned that the revolvers had been sold at auction having exceeded the storage time.

So yeah. My guns were taken.

"You want some kind of absolute, unrestricted access to any kind of ordnance, in any amount, for any reason that suits you?"

Yes. It is my right. You don't like guns so you are happy having them restricted. There are people that don't like drugs and are happy to have them restricted. There are people that like porn and there are those that wnat it restricted. There are people that don't like abortions and birth control and want them outlawed...where does it stop?

Look, if i want to build a ranch and grow pot and opium and have 47 wives and have a ma duece with a hundred belts of ammo each in fortified bunkers as well as a mortar section with crates of HE ready all around the property because it gives me the warm fuzzies and helps me sleep better at night, then i have the right to do that. The fact that Russell or some coast dweller doesn't like it and doesn't value it positively don't mean squat; or shouldn't. Maybe this is where the federalism issue comes in. There are probably states that would elect to allow me to live that life style sans federal interference in state matters.

The more I think about it, the more I am for the states. Concentrated power is tyrannical power. Whatever complications are involved with states setting their own laws re; drugs, guns, etc the cost of the complications is outweighed by the benefit of disolving the fed's growing tyranny.

Freedom must be valued above ease of administration.

All we've got here is a demonstration that Russel swallowed the propaganda line on Ruby Ridge and Waco hook, line, and sinker.

Randy Weaver was a racial separatist. Not my cup of tea, obviously, or I wouldn't have a mixed race son, but he was neither violent, nor particularly seeking to force his views on other people.

But he had a real history as a racial separatist, was known in racist circles, so the government though he'd make a really good infiltrator for them into the Aryan Nation. THAT was his Aryan Nation connection: The government wanted him to infiltrate it for them. He said no.

So they entrapped him. A very poor guy, they offered him big bucks to do a "gunsmithing" project for them: Provided him with a shotgun, and a line to cut at, and paid him to cut on the dotted line. An eighth inch shorter than was legal, a felony. (Let's not get into, at the moment, the idiocy of making it a felony to cut on the wrong side of a dotted line.) Then arrested him, and offered to drop the charges if he'd be their infiltrator.

He refused, and holed up on his own land.

So they sent him the wrong date for a court hearing, and he didn't show up at the right date. (Admittedly he didn't show up at the right date, either, but it was lose-lose no matter what he did, by design.) Now he's a "fugitive from justice", neat as can be. Still won't be their stooge.

So they decide he will make a nice test for all this high tech surveillance equipment they want to try out, and spend over a million dollars ringing his shack in the woods with cameras. Only one day while they're on their rounds, the father and son are out hunting, and the dog barks at one of the agents.

So they shoot the dog, right next to the boy, and the boy, perhaps thinking HE is the target, fires back, and they kill him.

Now he's really holed up, and in mourning, too. So they move in, and start trying to "talk him down", you know, by suggesting this can all be resolved, and he and his son can go on with their lives. You know, the son they killed?

Then they issue shoot on sight orders, and their pet sniper kills his wife while she's standing in the door of the shed holding their infant. He finally caves.

And come the trial, he gets off, because a fancy pro bono lawyers notices something in the news coverage, gets photos from the press, and manages to prove that the feds altered the crime scene after the press photos were taken, to conform to their fraudulent version of events.

The guys in charge get promoted. A box shipped to Waco breaks open in the post office, and out falls a few demil'd hand grenades. (The Davidians made money selling those "Complaint department, take a number." curios out of them.)

Again with the millions in survailance, only this time the plan is an assault from the start, because they need some good press; Seems somebody got wind of the BATF's nigger hunting license booth at the racist "Good ole boys" roundup they send agents too each year.

The plan goes pear shaped, the parts of the surveillance videos covering disputed events turn up blank, the Davidians agree to surrender if the press comes in first with cameras, having heard what went down at the Ruby Ridge trial, and all ends in fire.

Stupid 2nd amendment fanatics, thinking the BATF are a bunch of thugs just because of little things like this...

So yeah. My guns were taken.

The rules for keep and carry are different in NY then they are wherever you moved from.

If you follow the drill in NY, you can have a handgun there.

Don't like the drill? Don't move to NY.

Federalism. It cuts both ways.

Yeah yeah, "Aryan Nations are violent white supremacist terrorists." Can you prove this - the terrorist part? Each and every member? Sure they talk some smack, but how much of that has been acted out? Not much if any.

You have some homework to do.

"You want some kind of absolute, unrestricted access to any kind of ordnance, in any amount, for any reason that suits you?"

Yes. It is my right.

No, it's not. There is no right to have absolute and unrestricted access to any kind of ordnance, in any amount, for any reason.

You don't like guns so you are happy having them restricted.

I have no problem with guns. None.

I think it's fine for jurisdictions to regulate the ownership and use of guns if it makes sense for them to do so.

What they cannot do is absolutely ban ownership of firearms, because the SCOTUS has ruled that the 2nd Amendment is an individual right.

The rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights are inalienable, but they are not above regulation or restriction. You can't yell "fire" in a movie theater and claim 1st Amendment protection. Unless, of course, there actually is a fire.

What you are b*tching about is, as it turns out, federalism.

All we've got here is a demonstration that Russel swallowed the propaganda line on Ruby Ridge and Waco hook, line, and sinker.

Actually my understanding of events in both cases are the same as yours. IMO both events were total, unnecessary cockups, and arguably criminally so.

Further, IMVHO the BATF should be disbanded. Everything they touch turns to crap. And people get killed.

My point about Weaver and Koresh was a very simple one:

Both attracted attention the attention of the feds for good reason. Yes, if you receive black powder and hand grenade parts in the mail, it's reasonable IMVHO for the feds to follow up. Yes, if somebody claims you threatened to kill the POTUS or the governor of your state, it's reasonable for the feds to follow up. Yes, if you hang out with groups that advocate the violent overthrow of the government and violence against other people, it's reasonable for the feds to follow up.

None of this has bugger-all to do with whether there is any kind of federal plan or intent to disarm Americans. Saying that Ruby Ridge or Waco demonstrate such a plan simply does not pass the smell test.

Federalism. It cuts both ways.

Yeah, the argument that, based on his guns being taken from him by a local according to state law, gun laws should be devolved to the states, to increase his liberties and prevent his guns being taken away isn't one of avedis' best.

What he's really after, ISTM, based on his presented anecdote, is federal-level, absolute enforcement of the 2nd Amendment such that state and local governments are prevented from restricting or regulating gun ownership.

That's a different sort of federalism.

I didn't say it demonstrated such a plan. (For that you can go to statements by various politicians, before they figured out honesty was political suicide.) It demonstrated that enforcement of gun control laws was, you know, really, genuinely, comparable to marchers being hosed down, and all the other violence that happend during the civil rights marches. That the war on the 2nd amendment hasn't been all peaches and cream, it's been as bloody as it's partisans could get away with, and maybe a bit more.

"Don't like the drill? Don't move to NY."

Actually, don't let your plane be diverted to NY, and held over due to a snow storm, either, if flying with checked guns. They'll use the opportunity to charge you with a felony, as they have hundreds so far.

That's what "local option" gets you, in a country where people actually travel further than 50 miles from their birthplace, and sometimes have their plans disrupted. Felony charges for innocent behavior, because of local officials who are malignly opposed to this enumerated civil right.

Actually, don't let your plane be diverted to NY, and held over due to a snow storm, either, if flying with checked guns. They'll use the opportunity to charge you with a felony, as they have hundreds so far.

Holy sh*t. Got a link on that?

...

And see, here we agree on the limits to federalism.

I still think the Civil Rights Movement is a stretch of a comparison, but only a stretch of degree (not kind). The parallel is there.

I support a re-write of the 2nd amendment to allow for *some* regulation. I don't have a problem with someone owning guns. I do think it's reasonable for local authorities to put up some hoops to try and limit irresponsible ownership (a basic gun safety class seems a reasonable requirement to me). I'm abivalent about banning categories of guns (assault rifles, etc). I'm persuadable there. I also think we ought to specify what sorts of other weapons are acceptable. I really don't think it's a good idea to have individuals acquiring high explosives, missles, and other heavy weapons (I have no issue with somebody buying a de-militarized tank, but a fully operational one? Pass). If a particular state wants to allow that, well, ok, but I'd want the revised amendment to make it acceptable for, say, CT to restrict such things.

Federalism: you takes the good with the bad.

"What he's really after, ISTM, based on his presented anecdote, is federal-level, absolute enforcement of the 2nd Amendment such that state and local governments are prevented from restricting or regulating gun ownership"

Yes. In lieu of that, the next best would be states where i could do what I want.

As it is, I get neither.

Like i said, i am not all that concerned about guns per se. It's any issue, guns, drugs......

sex, rock 'n roll...

What we oughtta do is we oughtta ban fans so's the shit has no place to hit and can't fly.

I'm curious about avedis ratio of 47 wives to 100 bandoleers of ammo.

Seems a little heavy-handed to me.

I mean, I can understand feeling outnumbered when all a guy wants to do is watch the game on the satellite TV and you've got yourself 47 headstrong women stomping around wondering why you haven't cleaned out the gutters yet which you said you would do last weekend and the one before and then the full phalanx of 47 declare "Get it yerself, Jasper!" in unison when you wonder if they could grab you a beer while they're up.

Is there dissension in the ranks? Do some of these women want to leave the compound? Perhaps two-by-two and hand-in-hand, the hubby's affection being so diffused, there being only so many hours in the day and bullets in the fun gun?

Regarding ordnance, I myself collect unexploded artillery shells (got em on a shelf in my apartment) and I'm building a live replica of Little Boy, the bomb that done the deed in Hiroshima, in my living room.

What the landlord and the other tenants don't know bout my local option won't hurt them.

Seriously though, boys, my solution to all of this is to ban all officialdom at all levels of gummint from packing heat for any reason whatsoever and leave the enforcing to the individual and whatever non-gummint militia-type congregations y'all come up with.

Then real quick we could get down to finishing once and fer all the endless "you can't make me", yes, I can", "no, you can't", "you and what army" crapola the Founders bequeathed us.

To clarify my position, I would prefer a federal level solution *if the federal level would follow an originalist interpretation of the Constitution and then actually adhere to that interpretation*.

Since that apparently isn't going to - maybe can't - happen and instead we get an increasingly restrictive interpretation that seems best suited - or perhaps more accurately, less evil - for affluent power holding inhabitants of, primarily, the east coast, I look to the states to have the flexibility to craft laws which best reflect the the needs and desires of the local populace.

The feds clearly do not want to surrender power, yet they do not want to interpret the Constitution widely enough to grant enough elbow room in the law to meet the different needs of our diverse population. This is the problem.

I'm curious.

If the ATF had de-escalated and removed all of their weaponry from the vicinity of the Waco compound and THEN served the search warrant, only to be refused entry, then what?

Let's say the Waco Compound was instead a Catholic church and the priest and his minions were holed up inside armed to the teeth and refused entry to authorities with a search warrant gathering evidence about the alleged rape of 47 (that number again) minor choirboys.

What then?

As an aside, no wonder the Catholic Church doesn't want to be forced to provide contraception. They don't need it, given some of their employees' activities.

Another suggestion to the Feds: Pink and yellow helicopters. Black is for evening wear and for those in mourning.

I'm not sure the gun control example is a counter example in the way you seem to think.

I can't speak for everyone, but MY argument is that the Constitution tried to strike a number of important balances. One of them was between the states and the federal government. That balance has gotten ignored to the point where (so far as I can tell) pretty much anytime the federal government wants to have its view win over the states, it does. That is the definition of failing to strike a balance, so I'm talking about ways we can think about striking a balance.

Arguing that creating a complete imbalance such that states would always win any state/federal disagreement is not trying to strike a balance. To the extent that you're arguing against that, you're not arguing with me.

The Constitution has a number of specific rights. Despite what the Supreme Court tells us, it is clear that those rights were to be applied against the states by the privileges and immunities clause of the 14th amendment and that the privileges and immunities clause wasn't meant to be interpreted, literally as a nothing clause (which is exactly how the Supreme Court has interpreted it).

So the bill of rights is part of the balance. I realize that lots of people here aren't excited about certain parts of the bill of rights, but they are there.

I'm not arguing for a complete free for all. I'm arguing for a balance. At the moment there is definitely not a balance.

...for affluent power holding inhabitants of, primarily, the east coast...

Is this a reference to DC, or something else?

Sebastian, I agree with the perspective you just laid out in your last comment.

"Is this a reference to DC, or something else?" Both.

How can DC and the type of people that inhabit it corridors of power relate to the life style of an Idaho rancher?

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=49695

It's one of the many abuses by anti-gun jurisidictions which cause gun owners to laugh bitterly when they're told that they're imagining that they're being persecuted.

The way it works is that there's a federal law that says that, if it's legal to have the gun at the beginning and end of your trip, you can't be charged for just passing through a jurisdiction where it isn't legal. But NY takes the position that if you actually stop, (Maybe you need to get gas?) you're no longer passing through, an they can get you.

So every year a lot of people flying from one gun friendly destination to another pass through NY, and if their plane is held over due to weather or repairs, they have to take possession of their checked baggage, including the guns. At which point they are now in violation of NY law, and when they recheck the bag, the NY police will, by arrangement, be notified to come and arrest them.

Because Mayor Bloomberg is exactly the sort of anti-gun maniac we're told are history...

The fact that Russell or some coast dweller doesn't like it and doesn't value it positively don't mean squat

What's your problem with the coast? I kinda like the ocean, myself.

*if the federal level would follow an originalist interpretation of the Constitution and then actually adhere to that interpretation

Here is the full text of the 2nd Amendment:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

What does that mean?

If you can have one gun and only one gun, is the "right to keep and bear arms" satisfied?

Or does "shall not be infringed" apply not only to the basic ability to own a gun, but instead refers to any restriction, whatsoever, on personal and private gun ownership?

If it's an absolute rule against any restrictions or limits at all, does that mean I can have a machine gun? A bazooka? An RPG launcher? A surface to air missile? A tank?

Can I have one of these?

If you want to own a gun, but do not and have no intention of participating in the militia, does the guarantee apply to you?

And WTF is it with those weird commas?

If it was all that simple, we wouldn't be arguing about it.

I can understand feeling outnumbered when all a guy wants to do is watch the game on the satellite TV and you've got yourself 47 headstrong women stomping around wondering why you haven't cleaned out the gutters yet

I sometimes reflect upon the fact that the Biblical patriarch Jacob was married to two women, and they were sisters.

It's one of the many abuses by anti-gun jurisidictions which cause gun owners to laugh bitterly when they're told that they're imagining that they're being persecuted.

As regards the NYC thing described in the Human Events article you cite, I see your point.

I agree, that is messed up.

Pretty sure Idaho has two senators and at least one representative, but it's been a while since I've taken a civics class.

Also when gun owners (qua gun owners, so BB doesn't try to get flippant about convicted felons) are being systematically denied the right to vote, and are in danger of being killed just for trying to do so, and are kept out of public schools, and are required to use separate bathrooms (which sometimes consist of just a hole in the ground), and separate drinking fountains, and are refused service at businesses, and are arrested for trying to get that service, and are required to sit at the back of buses, and are systematically killed for looking funny at white people, can someone let me know?

What's that? That's not going to happen, ever?

russell, I like the ocean too. However, I do not think that a resident of Virginia Beach or NYC or LA should be able to dictate that an Idaho rancher should live according the coastal life style.

I am a Militia of One. So yes. I should be allowed to own any weapon system I desire if I can afford it. In Switzerland private citizens are all members of the militia/military and they keep fully automatic assualt weapons in their private residence. Works out just fine. Not as weird as you want to make it out to be.

The commas: It's the same font everyone here ends up posting in. Maybe you just need to become more habituated. Relax and gaze intently at each of the following for a minimum of one minute. Enjoy,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

"Pretty sure Idaho has two senators and at least one representative, but it's been a while since I've taken a civics class."

Yep. They do. That's 2 versus 98.

So no senators from Wyoming or Montana or Nebraska or South Dakota or Iowa or Utah or New Mexico or Texas or Arizona or Oklahoma, then? And Washington, DC has 98 SENATORS????? Interesting. Congress has changed since I last checked the senate.gov page.

Sucks to be Idaho, I guess. RIP.

In Switzerland private citizens are all members of the militia/military and they keep fully automatic assualt weapons in their private residence. Works out just fine.

That would be fascinating if it were true, which it isn't.

Swiss males grow up expecting to undergo basic military training, usually at age 20 in the Rekrutenschule (German for "recruit school"), the initial boot camp, after which Swiss men remain part of the "militia" in reserve capacity until age 30 (age 34 for officers). Each such individual is required to keep his army-issued personal weapon (the 5.56x45mm Sig 550 rifle for enlisted personnel and/or the 9mm SIG-Sauer P220 semi-automatic pistol for officers, medical and postal personnel) at home. Up until October 2007, a specified personal retention quantity of government-issued personal ammunition (50 rounds 5.56 mm / 48 rounds 9mm) was issued as well, which was sealed and inspected regularly to ensure that no unauthorized use had taken place.[4] The ammunition was intended for use while traveling to the army barracks in case of invasion.

In October 2007, the Swiss Federal Council decided that the distribution of ammunition to soldiers shall stop and that all previously issued ammo shall be returned. By March 2011, more than 99% of the ammo has been received. Only special rapid deployment units and the military police still have ammunition stored at home today.[5]

When their period of service has ended, militiamen have the choice of keeping their personal weapon and other selected items of their equipment. In this case of retention, the rifle is sent to the weapons factory where the fully automatic function is removed; the rifle is then returned to the discharged owner. The rifle is then a semi-automatic or self-loading rifle.

The government sponsors training with rifles and shooting in competitions for interested adolescents, both male and female.
A "shooting society " somewhere in Switzerland; people come to such ranges to complete mandatory training with service arms, or to shoot for sport and competition.
A "shooting society" somewhere in Switzerland; people come to such ranges to complete mandatory training with service arms, or to shoot for sport and competition.

The sale of ammunition – including Gw Pat.90 rounds for army-issue assault rifles – is subsidized by the Swiss government and made available at the many shooting ranges patronized by both private citizens and members of the militia. There is a regulatory requirement that ammunition sold at ranges must be used there.

So, what you clearly meant to say is, "Swiss males undergo directed military training, and are permitted to keep an unloaded, semi-automatic rifle at home, but are not permitted ammunition unless part of a very specific unit."

We, need guns, to, keep, all of them fancy-,pants New, Yorker type editors, from, confiscating, our superfluous c,o,m,m,a,s.

If Twitter and email had been around for the Founders to communicate the Constitution and its Amendments they could have dispensed with punctuation, paragraphing, and capitalization altogether.

When Ben Franklin would recite the Second Amendment over a pint, he would enclose the words "well regulated" in air quotes to add to the confusion.

Then he and Sam Adams would fall out into the street and go at it with exclamation points drawn.

"but are not permitted ammunition unless part of a very specific unit"

It wasn't clear that they were not permitted to have ammunition, only that they were not provided it by the government.

However, they all did get to keep a semi-automatic weapon.

The Same 2 NY and all those other awful coastal states get. That particular whine gets no sympathy from me.

...

As for the Human Events story: ok, that's messed up. I tried to find any other stories about it and found this:

http://volokh.com/2010/03/30/unexpected-flight-delay-hotel-stay-criminal-prosecution-for-gun-possession/

That's a really crappy application of local laws. I don't know if it's burecratic stupidity or a shakedown (or a bit of both).

It does show, however, that just saying "federalism!" doesn't solve our problems. That situation has to be addressed by the Feds (forcing NY to quit harrassing gun owners who are clearly trying to comply with the laws).

Well all ObWi rapier wit aside we still have a situation where some states want to legalize cannabis and the fed.s will not permit it.

So regardless of cute little civics lessons concerning representative governement in the US something is happening that appears to be foiling its application.

Seriously, are Idaho ranchers sufferring under current federal gun laws? Does complicance with such require living a "coastal lifestyle?"

(Or, in the voice of Idahoan Napoleon Dynamite: What the heck are you even talking about, avedis?)

Marty, these two clauses seemed to read that way to me but maybe I'm wrong. Hartmut will hopefully be able to tell me, as I'm sure he knows more Swiss people than I do:

Only special rapid deployment units and the military police still have ammunition stored at home today.[5]

and

The sale of ammunition – including Gw Pat.90 rounds for army-issue assault rifles – is subsidized by the Swiss government and made available at the many shooting ranges patronized by both private citizens and members of the militia. There is a regulatory requirement that ammunition sold at ranges must be used there.

BTW, I'm fine with pot legalization. Go for it. When I sat on the grand jury, the number of piddling possession cases we had to hear was enough to make you tear your hair out.

And with the gun laws, what Rob in CT said. If there are cracks in the system, let's patch them up so that people otherwise complying with the law are not unfairly punished.

But a bunch of otherwise untroubled people (and, not incidentally, white people) sitting around and claiming the mantle of the suffering that occurred under Jim Crow is wholly obscene. It's nice to think otherwise, but all injustices are not created equally.

Hairshirt can you seriously be saying that someone living a rancher lifestyle has the same salient interests as someone living in say NYC?

Also I find your argument interesting because there was recently a discussion here wherein no one including myself wanted to have abortion or contraceptive laws imposed by a particular constituency. The original topic of this thread was federal cannabis law which most of us think onerous and wish to not have imposed from the federal level.

When it comes to guns which most here don't have sympathy for federal restrictions are viewed more positively.

So I'll spell it out for you as it relates to gun ownership. New Yorkers tend relatively speaking to use guns to rob and shoot each other and living in a population dense high taxation/high civil service area they have a more responsive police force than would be the case out on a ranch and therefore the need and value of guns in NYC is less that out on a ranch in Idaho. NY and NYC have more political clout in DC than do Idaho ranchers. Thus the interest of NY is more likely to carry weight regarding federal law formation around gun ownership than that of Idaho ranchers.

Are ranchers suffering? Maybe or maybe not. It doesn't matter. it is the principle that counts.

Why does anyone need a fully automatic weapon? I don't know. Why does anyone need to smoke pot? there are other legal ways to get high like alcohol and legal ways to relieve pain like drugs prescribed by a licensed physician. Why does anyone need to have sex except for procreation?

Why do we need anything? Maybe we should all just do whatever we are told to do and nothing more and be happy with that. Is that what you want?

Now we just need to figure out who gets to do the telling and who gets to be the follower.

avedis: NY and NYC have more political clout in DC than do Idaho ranchers.

Well, NYC alone has five times as many people living in it than people in the whole of Idaho, all of which (I'll assume) are not ranchers. Are you saying NYC/NY shouldn't have more political clout in DC than Idaho ranchers?

In fact, I'm not sure what you're saying. Different state rules via federalism good? Bad?

Hairshirt can you seriously be saying that someone living a rancher lifestyle has the same salient interests as someone living in say NYC?

No, I can't. Why would you ask such a question?

Are ranchers suffering? Maybe or maybe not. It doesn't matter. it is the principle that counts.

What principle? The issue is whether or not federal gun laws violate 2nd Amendment rights. Short of that, I don't know what principle you mean. You're not suggesting that any law limiting what people can do in any way violates some sort of general principle, are you?

I mean, I agree that it shouldn't matter what people do when it doesn't affect anyone else in an appreciable, negative way, and that any law, even if it's constitutional, that limits anyone's actions should be justified on the grounds that it protects the rights or well-being of others.

But I'd like to know what it is that ranchers in Idaho can't do as the result of decisions made in Washington, DC and how those limitations are unjustified.

Or even in the abstract, given your stated, absolute stance on any and all restrictions, if there are no undue dangers to the populace in the unfettered possession of weaponry. How much destructive power should any given individual be allowed to possess, despite the risks that power poses to others, despite the benevolence, caution and competence of the possessor of that power? Is there any point at which that risk should not be borne by everyone else such that their rights outweigh those of the one who wishes to hold a source of destructive power?

(The other funny thing is that legislative power imbalances tend to actually favor the distinguished gentlemen from Idaho and other rural states. A senator representing 1.6 million Idaho residents has exactly the same legislative power and same number of votes as a senator representing 37 million Californians. Thanks to Senate rules, a single person representing 1/300th of the US population can prevent things that a clear majority of the Senate -- and, by implication, their constituents -- wants to pass. And it happens all the time!)

It is much easier to establish a fascist police state if the populace is disarmed such that they cannot have a level playing field on which to fight back against the gestapo.

HOW OFTEN DO I HAVE TO SAY IT: THE NAZIS DID NOT DISARM THE POPULATION!!!
FIREARM POSSESSION WENT UP AND USE OF FIREARMS WAS TEACHED AT SCHOOL. THEY HAD COURSES IN HAND GRENADE THROWING FOR PETE'S SAKE AND BOYS COULD FAIL THEIR GRADES IF THEY DID NOT GET RESULTS GOOD ENOUGH:

Fascist states want the 'true' citizens to be armed against the 'enemies'. For comparision: communist states also often teached basic military skills at school but were extremly hostile to private ownership.
In the special case of Central European fascism (and esp. the related but not identical Nazism) there were often referrals to medieval and pre-medieval practices, like 'a free man must be armed, the non-free (and non-members of the tribe) must not'. The similar strict rules for length of hair got not adopted though (for obvious practical reasons).

Phil: Basically, the Swiss government provides ammo to reservists, which they must not use save in specified emergencies, and have to return after their enlistment. It also provides a subsidy for ammo purchased and used at shooting ranges for practice. This doesn't mean that you can't buy unsubsidized ammo and bring it home.

You just do so at your own expense.

Switzerland is not quite so pro-gun as they used to be, but they've got a long way to go before any gun controller would want to replicate their system here.

Hartmut will hopefully be able to tell me, as I'm sure he knows more Swiss people than I do:

Not that many actually, and I am not following Swiss politics in detail (apart from the fact that traditional Swiss xenophobia went up to 10.5 in the past few years. What I remember about the gun question is that the state comes down like a ton of goldbricks on anyone using their service weapon unauthorized. So, if a Swiss person feels the need to use a firearm, it will not be the state-issued one. Btw, Switzerland took its militia system so seriously that they were the last European country still to send conscientious objectors to jail. When I went to school a slow shift had begun (pushed by international condemnation). COs had to stay in jail only at night but could go to work during the day. It must have been the late 80ies before they dropped that too. But I think there is still a strong stigma attached to it.
---
In addition to my short rant above: In Nazi Germany there were official directives to interpret the existing gun laws (some of which were btw imposed by the Entente powers after WW1) hyperleniently for full citizens (citizens that were both Staats- and Reichsbürger) and hyperestrictively for second class citizens (Staats- but not Reichsbürger), i.e. 'non-Aryans'. The Nazis tended not to make new laws but to bend old ones to their requirements. Hitler formally ruled through a special article in the Weimar constitution (§48, Notverordnungen = Emergency Directives/Orders) in combination with the Enablement Act that extended its applicability. There never was a Nazi Constitution. It was not needed. Cue comparisions to the USA PATRIOT Act. If Patriot Act II had been adopted (at times there were pushes for it), it could have served essentially the same function, allowing POTUS to rule by executive order bypassing Congress. Btw, which party held the WH at the time?

Hartmut: THE NAZIS DID NOT DISARM THE POPULATION!!!
Thank you, Hartmut, for some historical accuracy.

Avedis: Agreed in that children should be taught firearm safety. Yet this is a red herring. The incidence of firearm accidents involving children is miniscule compared to a host of other preventable tragedies that befall them. The incidence of children's death from guns is about the same as children's death from car accidents (circa 2003). When one weighs the usefulness of shooting against the usefulness of travelling, one wonders whether it's worth it to have as many children die from shooting as from travelling. Just me probably.

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