Friday, March 22, 2013

Governor Herbert Vetoes HB 76 – Concealed Carry Without a Permit

Governor Gary Herbert has vetoed Utah House Bill 76, a modification to Utah’s concealed carry laws for fire arms, and I’m glad. This bill would allow anyone in Utah to carry concealed weapons, without a concealed carry permit. Some of my friends will likely be upset with me, but I can’t imagine why it would have passed in the first place.

I am a firm believer in the right of American citizens to bear arms. Indeed, when I joined the USMC I took an oath to defend the U.S Constitution and, although that was many years ago and I no longer actively serve, I till take that oath very seriously. I prefer to think of myself as an “inactive Marine,” not a former one. As such, I have the honor of having belonged to a warrior culture. Being part of a warrior culture is very different from being part of a gun culture.

Most members of a warrior culture prefer peace over violence; we’re just not above using violence to protect ourselves, our friends, our family, our community or our country’s lawful interests. NOTE: that’s LAWFUL interests. We’re trained in the appropriate use of deadly force, weapons use and safety. We are NOT trained to kill indiscriminately. Accidents involving “friendly fire” are common enough to make us nervous. Such accidents can lead to the death of civilians, or members of our units. As you can imagine, we wouldn’t be very happy about any of those things happening. Such things are taken very seriously by “higher ups” in the chain of command, regardless of what the media shows.

Currently, in Utah people with a concealed weapon permit have to go through gun safety training. They are given information about the appropriate use of deadly force. In short, they may not be warriors, but they know when to, and when not to, use a firearm. They can be trusted to carry a gun.

Most people who participate in gun culture share the same goals and concerns that members of a warrior culture do. Most of them are intelligent people who take gun ownership and use very seriously. Not all of them have taken the time to be trained, however. Not all of them understand the fine points of gun safety or the appropriate use of deadly force. Not all of them know not to fire into a crowd. Many do, but not all. So called “common-sense” is far from common. Someone with a loaded gun, who doesn't know the proper and safe use of it, is a danger to himself and others every time he draws it.

Changing the laws so that anyone can carry a concealed firearm, training or not, means that we will have more people who are untrained carrying weapons that they may, or may not, know how to properly use, and there is no way for anyone around them to figure out if they are packing or not. From the perspective of a bad guy, that might be a good thing. Bad guys are less likely to act badly if someone might be packing. But they don’t know who’s got a concealed carry permit or not so, from that standpoint, the impact is minimal at best.

It would pose a problem for law enforcement, however. Right now, if you’re packing a concealed weapon without a permit, you’re breaking the law. Pretty cut and dried. If not, the officer has to make a call as to your intent. The wording of “intent” is pretty vague. Even if the officer decides that you may have criminal intent in carrying the firearm, if he can’t prove it, later, this opens the state to lawsuit after lawsuit.

If the governor’s veto of HB 76 is overturned, we can expect an increased number of both trained, and untrained, gun wielders running around, as well as a waste if more state tax dollars on frivolous lawsuits. Why would anyone think this a good idea?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Obama Abandons the Defense of Marriage Act

President Barack Obama has decided that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional and has directed the Department of Justice to quit defending it.

Supporters of gay marriage are declaring a victory. Detractors are up in arms.

There's one problem that only a few people seem to get, President Obama doesn't have the authority to do that. Only the Judicial Branch, and ultimately the Supreme Court, can declare an existing federal law unconstitutional and stop it's enforcement. It can be repealed, but only by Congress. The Executive Branch has no say in the matter until such a move passes both the House and the Senate. Representative Feinstein, as much I am not a fan of her, at least understands that and has decided to put forth a bill calling for it's repeal.

I personally believe she won't be able to get it to pass in the House of Representatives. At least I hope she won't.

This is just one more move by this administration to spit on the Constitution and try and take more authority that it actually has. I used to shake my head in disbelief at the people calling for President Obama's impeachment. Now I'm not so sure they're wrong.

My own feeling is that, regardless of the bogus rhetoric, marriage, at it's core, is about having children. It's a sacred institution and should only be between a man and a woman. Putting religious differences aside, there are many compelling secular reasons as well. If you don't think same sex marriage hurt anyone, you may need to take a second look.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Free Speech Dies in Austria

In Austria, a free speech activist has been charged with inciting religious hatred and faces three years in prison after criticizing Islam and Shariah law. Don't think it can happen here in America? With "political correctness" protecting everyone except those who agree with the current left-wing agenda through vilification of opposing ideas, I suspect it won't be long before jail time for peaceful dissent becomes real here, too.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Defending Sarah Palin's Blood Libel Comment

There are a ton of left-wing bloggers, vloggers, so-called journalists, and media moguls that are trying to call Sarah Palin stupid because she used the term “blood libel” in a video she recently posted to the web. The video was done in response to a cry from the media to respond to criticism that she was somehow connected to the events of the recent shootings in Tucson, Arizona.

The accusations were that the cross-hair symbols that used to appear on her website, “targeting” Democrat political leaders that she, and the Tea Party movement considered to be bad leaders they wanted to replace through the election cycle, were directly or indirectly responsible for pushing Jared Loughner into a shooting frenzy, killing a Federal Judge and a 9-year old girl, among others, as well wounding more than a dozen people including Representative Gabrielle Giffords (a Decmocrat). Such pundits have gone on, sometimes back-peddling and sometimes not, to include other right-wing celebrities as part of a “group of terrorists” that, these left-wing pundits claim, are spewing hate speech and inciting riots and violence.

Of course, the Democrats and the rest of the “left” never do that.

This is all nonsense, of course. Let's review some of the facts surrounding these accusations, even though the term “facts” may turn off a few liberal-leaning people in America these days.

How in heaven's name does an otherwise rational person get a picture of a guy who's gone off the deep end because of Sarah Palin and right-wing talk show hosts from that? It's ludicrous.

Now let's look that the timeline involved in the shootings, and Palin's response:

January 8: A tragic shooting in Tuscon takes place. Within minutes, some people in the media begin blaming Sarah Palin and demanding she respond.

January 9: Evidence about Jared Loughner begins to be revealed, showing that he had nothing to do with Sarah Palin or the Tea Party movement. The media continues to demand a response from her.

January 10: More evidence about the shooter is revealed, showing him to be mentally ill. The media continues to cry for a response from Palin.

January 11: Evidence comes out to show that the shooter didn't care about politics. The media continues to call for a response from Palin.

January 12: Sarah Palin responds via video posted at YouTube and her Facebook page. NBC Nightly News pulls out her “target map,” ties it to Gifford, and then focuses on two words of her response video, “blood libel,” and then accuses her of being anti-Semitic because of it. The rest of the media, and the blogosphere, go wild with continuing accusations and nonsense.

What kind of story is the media trying to create? Note that I said CREATE, not REPORT. There are no facts here linking any of Palin's activities to Loughner.

In other words, in order to attack Palin and the Tea Party movement, they're making shit up.

Are you still with me? Here's the part of Palin's response so many seem to have trouble with:

“But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn.”

Blood libel (also called blood accusation) refers to a false accusation or claim that religious minorities, usually Jews, murder children to use their blood in religious rituals and holidays.

In other words, in order to attack Jews and other religious/cultural groups, they're making shit up.

Her analogy is spot on. In this case, it's not an unfounded attack on a religion. It's an unfounded attack on a political ideology.

How many of you recognized the next step, already being taken by at least one government official, attacking free speech and the first amendment?

In the words of Arsenio Hall, “Just something to make you go, Hmmm ...”