Sunday, July 29, 2012

Couldn't've said it better

"On this morning's edition of Fareed Zakaria GPS, the host reported that the U.S. accounts for 5% of the world's population and 50% of the world's privately owned firearms -- now that makes me proud to be an American. For those who are ashamed of Liberty but don't have the wherewithal to relocate to another country, I offer this graphic. (Instructions included at no extra charge.)" (via Facebook)

Sunday, July 22, 2012


That poster is part of a campaign by USDA Food and Nutrition Services, aimed at recruiting applicants for its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), better known as "food stamps."

It must be working. Since January of 2009 the number of Americans living in poverty, statistically speaking, has risen 6 million to almost 16 million. And today almost 46 million Americans are on food stamps, up 14 million over the same period.

Yes, times are tough.

Last week we learned that the USDA made an agreement with the government of Mexico to increase participation in the food-stamps program among Mexican nationals living in this country. As if that weren't enough of a puzzler, few days earlier the House Minority Whip opined that food stamps is one of the "most stimulative" things that our government can do for the national economy.

You read that right.

I'm sure that taxpayer-funded assistance, when used according to directions, helps keep individual Americans and their families from going hungry. You won't convince me, however, that a ballooning and much-abused entitlement program is making our nation stronger.

Another voice on Aurora

[Massad Ayoob, noted firearms instructor and prolific author, posted this yesterday on his Backwoods Home Magazine blog, "Massad Ayoob on Guns." The hyperlinks are mine.]

And it happens again...

Shortly after the clock ticks into the early morning hours of July 20 during a midnight movie premier at a theater in Aurora, Colorado, a mass murderer opens fire. A dozen or more dead, dozens more wounded, and practically by the time responding officers arrive the anti-gunners are already at their keyboards choreographing their traditional dance in the blood of innocent victims. One, CNN's resident Pommie priss -- who has already long since proven himself totally clueless as to the real-world dynamics of violence -- twitters that guns should be 100,000 times harder to access.

Maybe jobs as public-opinion-forming talking heads should be 100,000 times harder to get, as well. By the way, the "Pommie" reference is nothing against the British in general. The pragmatic Brits I know are aware that they have living countrymen who remember when England begged American gun owners to ship them hunting rifles, shotguns, and handguns for their civilians to use as last ditch weapons against the expected Nazi land invasion. It was the Brits themselves who coined POME (Prisoner Of Mother England) to define their brothers and sisters who evinced the mentality we see in the commentator in question.

Overlooked by most is a point discovered by famed Constitutional lawyer Don Kates: the theater in question forbade firearms inside. They themselves made it impossible for even one good person in the theater to draw a lawfully-carried handgun and put a bullet through the monster's brain, to stop the horror and shortstop the tragedy.

Once again, we see that "gun free zones" are hunting preserves for psychopaths who prey on humans.

[Amen, Mas -- amen.]

Saturday, July 21, 2012

On Aurora

[This was posted by a Facebook friend last night. It echoes "Here's your sign," which appeared on KintlaLake Blog almost a year ago.]

I'm sorry to be posting this so soon after the mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado -- please know that my heart goes out to the victims and their loved ones -- but I'm angry.

I'm angry because, according to news reports, the movie theater where 12 people were murdered and another 59 wounded had a "No Guns Allowed" policy. It may well have posted signs like this one.

This sign kills.

Make no mistake -- even if one or more moviegoers had been lawfully carrying firearms in that theater this morning, there's no guarantee that they could've stopped the shooter or reduced the number of casualties. But we do know two things for sure.

First of all, permitting lawful carry just might've given those theater patrons a fighting chance. More important, signs like this -- and the policies they represent -- advertise to the world that the facility on which they're posted is full of unarmed people, potential victims, fish in a barrel.

It makes no sense.

Today's massacre was an act of evil, carried out by a madman. Everyone knows that madmen are shadows and evil is a fact of life, and yet some among us still suggest that we can prevent such violence by restricting or outright banning some or all firearms -- leaving innocents outgunned at best, disarmed at worst.

That's the equivalent of posting this sign on our houses and on our cars, tattooing it on our foreheads. And it makes no sense.

Madmen and criminal predators always -- and I mean always -- will find a way to get 'hold of the tools of their trade, and incidents like the one in Colorado this morning demonstrate that they sure as hell don’t obey laws and policies, much less signs. Disarming law-abiding citizens by statute, then, can have only one result.

Innocent people will die. When will we learn that?

I see signs like this on businesses every day. Uncomfortable as I am to be entering an "unarmed victims zone," sometimes I patronize the establishment anyway, rationalizing my choice in one way or another.

Not any more. It makes no sense.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Principle & counter-principle

Speaking last Friday in Roanoke, Virginia, Pres. Barack Obama now-infamously said,
"If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."
Mitt Romney, at a campaign event yesterday in Irwin, Pennsylvania, responded:
"Something happened on Friday -- President Obama exposed what he really thinks about free people and the American vision and government, what he really thinks about America itself.

"He probably wants to understand why his policies failed. If you want to understand why his policies have failed, why what he has done has not created jobs or rising incomes in America, you can look at what he said.

"And what he said was this, he said, and I quote -- and he's speaking, by the way, of businesses like this one, small businesses, big businesses, middle-size businesses, mining businesses, manufacturing, service businesses of all kinds. He said this:

'If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen.'
"That 'somebody else' is government, in his view. He goes on to describe the people who deserve the credit for building this business. And, of course, he describes people who we care very deeply about, who make a difference in our lives -- our schoolteachers, firefighters, people who build roads.

"We need those things. We value schoolteachers, firefighters, people who build roads. You really couldn't have a business if you didn't have those things. But, you know, we pay for those things.

"The taxpayers pay for government. It's not like government just provides those to all of us and we say,

'Oh thank you, government, for doing those things.'
"No, in fact, we pay for them and we benefit from them, and we appreciate the work that they do and the sacrifices that are done by people who work in government. But they did not build this business."
And that's the truth -- not bankable truth, alas, but truth nonetheless.

Monday, July 16, 2012

For once, for cryin' out loud, choose Liberty

Shortly after declaring my support of Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party candidate for President, I began catching flak. The most common reaction (and the easiest to have predicted) goes something like this:
"A vote for a third-party candidate is a vote for Obama."
That presumes, of course, that I agonized over the choice between Johnson and presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney -- which I didn't. It wasn't even a contest.

A second term for Pres. Barack Obama, undesirable at best, isn't the worst thing that could happen to our country. Swapping a big-government Democrat for a big-government Republican and expecting something to change would be far more disastrous. Wishing for such an outcome is symptomatic of our national two-party disorder.

I had a rather strident exchange with one particular fellow, a friend for more than a decade, over the role of government. It was prompted by the assault on individual liberties, as I see it, represented by the Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare").

My friend reportedly suffers from some sort of "pre-existing condition" and, because he now relies on the federal government to forestall what he describes as a "death sentence," his physical affliction is indistinguishable from his ideology. That is,
"If you don't support Obamacare, then you don't care if I live or die and you're certainly not my friend."
A passion for Liberty, according to him, also means that I hate all sick people, all poor people and all women. On top of that, he says, it makes me a racist.


I'm not unsympathetic to his suffering (or anyone else's, for that matter), but it's sad to see what happens to a man when self-interest swallows principle.

And then there was the customer who came into our shop late last week. An unapologetic Obama supporter, he summarized his perspective this way:
"What's the problem? Just keep printing money!"
That, he said, would avoid the "unnecessary pain" of slashing programs, cutting government jobs and balancing the federal budget.

Naturally, he wants "rich bastards" to pay higher taxes -- a lot higher.

So here we have a guy who doesn't get that printing money and deficit spending only postpone pain -- they don't prevent it. He jaws about "expanding access to the American Dream," but he wants the "rich bastards" who have achieved it to pay for entitlement programs demanded by those who haven't.

The good news, though, is that even if his man doesn't win in November, he should be happy with a Romney administration.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

One more from Jeff Cooper

"One bleeding-heart type asked me in a recent interview if I did not agree that 'violence begets violence.' I told him that it is my earnest endeavor to see that it does. I would like very much to ensure -- and in some cases I have -- that any man who offers violence to his fellow citizen begets a whole lot more in return than he can enjoy."

(Lt. Col. John Dean "Jeff" Cooper)

Problems (illustrated)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A bit of Cooper's wisdom

"We are steadily asked about the age at which to teach young people to shoot. The answer to this obviously depends upon the particular individual; not only his physical maturity but his desire.

"Apart from these considerations, however, I think it important to understand that it is the duty of the father to teach the son to shoot.

"Before the young man leaves home, there are certain things he should know and certain skills he should acquire, apart from any state-sponsored activity. Certainly the youngster should be taught to swim, strongly and safely, at distance. And young people of either sex should be taught to drive a motor vehicle, and if at all possible, how to fly a light airplane. I believe a youngster should be taught the rudiments of hand-to-hand combat, unarmed, together with basic survival skills.

"The list is long, but it is a parent's duty to make sure that the child does not go forth into the world helpless in the face of its perils.

"Shooting, of course, is our business, and shooting should not be left up to the state."

(Lt. Col. John Dean "Jeff" Cooper)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Flagg Day

James Montgomery Flagg's iconic image of Uncle Sam turned 96 years old yesterday.

Although most of us know the stern, finger-pointing Uncle Sam from the 1917 U.S. Army recruiting poster, he first appeared on the cover of Leslie's Weekly magazine over the caption, "What Are You Doing for Preparedness?"

Among the artist's other patriotic characters was the distaff Columbia. Flagg's Uncle Sam personified American power, authority and resolve, both at home and abroad, while his Columbia evoked Liberty, industry, unity, complacency -- human qualities, human aspirations, human failings.

In short, Uncle Sam embodied the U.S. government and everything it represents. Columbia stood for the People.

Of Flagg's many propaganda illustrations, perhaps my favorite is a menacing-looking Uncle Sam holding a pistol, from a 1917 Leslie's cover. It was captioned, "Get Off That Throne!"

I'll close with one more American propaganda image from the World War I years. This one was created not by James Montgomery Flagg but by renowned illustrator J.C. Leyendecker, a poster promoting the Boy Scouts of America's 1917 Liberty Loan Campaign.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Our Lives, Our Fortunes, & Our Sacred Honor

The unanimous Declaration of
the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.