October 4, 2014 10 Comments
From Bill Whittle
Moral cowardice that keeps us from speaking our minds is as dangerous to this country as irresponsible talk.
Margaret Chase Smith
The view from the Prairie, with an emphasis on Energy
July 22, 2014 5 Comments
So we are starting to see a few Palestinians die. Without being overly hard about it, why are you surprised? I did a little checking yesterday on just how big Israel is. It’s almost the same size an Maryland. That’s pretty damned small, hard to understand why anyone thinks they should cower forever in their shelters while 2000+ artillery rockets go off on the civilization they built.
Here you go.
|Name||Area in square Miles|
Seems to me the British tried that one time in Maryland, some lawyer wrote a song about it, it starts, “O, say can you see…”. And the thing is the British, honorable people that they are, were attacking Fort McHenry, not Baltimore. Nor did the Americans pack the population of Baltimore into the fort, and leave them sitting on the powder magazines.
And just how long should the Israelis sit in their shelters with the economy more or less stopped, trading $60K anti-missile missiles for $1000 artillery rockets?
The closest comparison I can come up with is the German’s V weapons campaign in 1944 against the south of England. What was the response? United States 8th Air Force, and 9th Air Force, and RAF Bomber Command all diverted much effort from the air war to hunting the launch sites, and there was no attempt to limit civilian casualties. It was marginally effective at best, the problem was solved by infantry on the ground, and the complete suppression of Nazi Germany.
For me this cartoon summarizes the whole thing:
It is admittedly difficult to root out combatants who attempt to hide behind women and children. At least without harming aforesaid women and children.
The Israelis, member of western civilization, that they are, are risking their soldiery, by going far out of their way to protect so-called civilians in Gaza, even as they know they will simply be damned for it.
Under any moral system, they would be completely justified going in behind a wall of fire not seen since Russia took Berlin, or the Allies bombed Dresden. I’m not sure that any solution short of that will solve the problem of living next door to a state whose very constitution calls for the destruction of your country, and the extermination of your population. An American general, fighting the Indian wars in Colorado during the Civil war once remarked, “Nits grow into lice,” it strikes me as appropriate.
You know, the opponents of Israel like to compare her to the United States by referring to her as ‘Little Satan’ even as they refer to the United States as ‘Great Satan’. They think it pejorative, I think it a great compliment. And our commitment to protecting life is once again being demonstrated in Gaza, as once again Israel expends blood and treasure to protect those who would harm her.
May 20, 2014 14 Comments
This is interesting, and it’s a completely different perspective than mine. I grew up in farm country and long enough ago that guns were just part of life. Unless you misbehaved with them of course, for the most part the rules were the same ones taught to soldiers for their (and other soldier’s) safety. Most of you know them as well as I do, just like we know what side of the road to drive, until we visit Britain, anyway. Just another tool, chipmunks digging holes in the yard, squirrels eating the garden? A ten-year old boy (or girl, I suppose) with a .22 can fix that, no muss, no fuss. Bat’s in the barn? Unless you’re really good with that 22, borrow Dad’s shotgun, it’s easier on the roof. And so forth.
But not everyone grew up that way, I guess. Those lesson learned in youth never go away but some poor people have to learn about tools in adulthood.
A gun is not the tool for everything, any more than a hammer is. If your only tool is a hammer (or a rock) all problems look like a nail, and if your only tool is a gun, all problems look like a target. That’s why God (with a little help from Gerstner’s and Snap On) created tool boxes, so you had a place to keep thousands, make that tens of thousands of dollars worth of tools.
But let’s see what Rachel Lu says about coming to guns, later in life. And I would say to her, “Welcome to being responsible for yourself.” No, it’s not all about guns but they are an apt sign.
We just became a Second Amendment family. For the first time in my life, my home contains an object that is, by the manufacturer’s intent, a deadly weapon.
I received fair warning that this would happen. Even before we were married, my husband announced his general intention to own a gun. A year or so back he started researching the topic more earnestly, and then one afternoon there was a gun sitting on my kitchen table. It was unloaded, of course. We had extensive conversations about trigger locks and all the other safety measures. I know that the kids can’t get it, and are in fact far more likely to be injured by stairs or cleaning solutions or sporting equipment. Intuitively it still feels like a menace.
The thing is, I don’t come from a gun-happy culture. Apart from my husband, I doubt any of my near relations have experience with firearms. Mind you, I was raised by conservatives, but Mormons trend towards a communitarian, good-government brand of conservatism. They’re rarely drawn to the more suspicious and individualistic culture of the N.R.A. If my parents had any gun-owning friends when I was growing up, I wasn’t aware.
Thus, I can tell you how it feels when you’ve lived a completely gun-free life, and suddenly have a gun under your roof. Your instincts tell you: we don’t need it. It’s threatening. Bad things happen to people who own guns.
I’m pretty sure this instinct is dramatically reinforced by the violence-drenched entertainment that we (like most Americans) consume in considerable quantities. This might seem counter-intuitive, especially to men, but psychologically it feels to me like the obvious dividing line between the world of television (in which people regularly die horrible deaths) and the world I live in (in which they don’t) is the presence of guns. Leave guns alone and they’ll leave me alone, or so my subconscious tells me. It’s worked for me so far.
May 16, 2014 2 Comments
Here in America we talk a good bit about the sheriff, and if we like westerns we all know what a posse is. If we have much knowledge at all, we know what the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 prohibits. Yep, no more can the executive use federal troops against US citizens, at least in the United States. But did you know that the posse comitatus law in 21st century America is almost identical to ninth century England under Alfred the Great? David Kopel published an excellent article on this yesterday. Enjoy. And then we’ll talk a bit.
Most people familiar with American history know that in the late 19th century American West, Sheriffs would sometimes call out “the posse”–armed citizens–to assist the Sheriff in apprehending a fugitive, or providing additional support for community defense against violent criminals. What is less well known is that the institution of the posse comitatus thrives today in 21st century America.
The law governing the posse comitatus has changed little since its origin in Anglo-Saxon England, around the time of King Alfred the Great in the ninth century. Northwestern University Law School’s Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology is producing a symposium issue on arms law and policy. My contribution is an article on Sheriffs and their posses. (Draft available here.)
The article begins with a detailed history of the Office of Sheriff, from its origin in Anglo-Saxon England. The word “Sheriff” is a combination of the Anglo-Saxon words for “shire” (what we today call a “county”) and “reeve” (meaning “guardian”). The county guardians of Anglo-Saxon England were responsible for organizing communal defense. Often, they led the shire’s militia, as part of King Alfred’s reorganization of national defense which finally protected the nation from Danish invaders and marauders.
By the time that the American Colonies were being settled, the Office of Sheriff was declining in England, but the move across the Atlantic brought new energy and importance to the Office. The Americans restored what they considered to be the ancient Anglo-Saxon practice of popular election of Sheriffs. The Americans also strongly reaffirmed the traditional common law understanding of the Sheriff’s powers and authorities, especially the Sheriff’s autonomy and independence. During the latter 19th century, elections and other common law principles were often formally constitutionalized in the new states. Legally speaking, the Office of Sheriff in most states has changed little since the 19th century.
Frankly, although I haven’t read the draft yet, I found little of that surprising. Really, the most surprising thing is how little it is all changed from the days of the Anglo-Saxon Shire Reeve, in America, that is. This, of course, part of the genius of the built up from below, common law. Like so many other things that we have preserved in America that help preserve the liberty of the citizens, the British have thrown away. Posse comitatus is one of the underlying reasons for the right and duty of free men to keep and bear arms, something that still only exists in the United States, and something that we are beginning to see the importance of. We, most of us, anyway, know the old saying:
Where the government fears the people; there is liberty
Where the people fear the government; there is tyranny
That does of course, presume an aware and involved citizenry, which is something we do have a problem with. We are all familiar with the term ‘low information voter’ (LIV), after all.
But that’s not something that we are alone in. Daniel Hannan in his excellent Inventing Freedom tells us,
In November 2012, England introduced–or reintroduced–direct accountability for its law officers. Police forces were made accountable to elected county officials. I had had some role in promulgating the policy, and had originally wanted the commissioners called sheriffs, as in the United States. In a sad comment on how the English have lost their sense of history, the Home Office dropped that name when its focus groups told it that the title sounded “too American”.
Rather sad, I think, when the teaching of one’s own history is so poor that an ancient title of yours that a former colony borrowed a few hundred years ago, is considered to be the property of the borrower. And don’t the Brits remember Robin Hood’s opponent? You know, the Sheriff of Nottingham.
And we thought we had trouble with LIVs.
But you know the real problem here for England is? They have become completely dependant on the government for all of their protection, and for that matter increasingly on the almost completely foreign system promulgated by the (at least) semi-tyrannical Brussels oligarchy.
[You might want to check the Gladstone quote in the sidebar]
May 7, 2014 2 Comments
Jess and I have a friend (yeah, really, we do), a young Englishwoman in her 30s, who claims all the good men are gone. It’s a complaint we are hearing fairly often now, but why? Probably because it’s becoming true, depending on your definition of a man. There’s no real shortage of males over 21, but I think there’s more to a man, let alone a good man. Amy Ott wrote an article yesterday at The Federalist on this very subject, let’s excerpt it a bit, it’s excellent.
The good men are going away, because women tell them they aren’t needed. In fighting for “equal rights,” women forgot about the huge reservoir of power they’ve always had. Spending time shaming men who want to protect the life of unborn children is telling them to value neither women nor their children. To later lament that men have stopped stepping up only when it’s convenient for women is to ignore their complicity in developing a society that has told men to sit down and shut up. Whether men are supposed to “check their privilege” or nod their heads along to the daft idea of defying gender norms because “shut up” or remain silent when their own child is threatened, eviscerating their honor and protective instincts is leaving men rudderless and without ambition.
Men crave a protective role in women’s life. They want to be seen by a woman like they saw themselves as a boy: a protector, a savior, a hero. Women who refuse to cede this space to a man are doing so out of fear not confidence. Relationships are not a zero-sum game or reductive job description waiting for the perfect applicant. Even in this latest dust up over the confidence gap, it’s shown that it’s women who downgrade themselves — not men. Maybe it’s not just men listening when women are told to discount their power to bring life into the world, to consider it a hindrance, a weakness or source of shame warranting a violent act to remediate.
You know, she’s right, that protective thing is instinctual in us. I was just recalling that a bit over a year and a half ago, shortly after she started her job, Jess got knocked down just outside her office, by a college boy who just kept on going. You know sitting here, a third of the way around the world, I was so enraged that I could barely type coherently, if I had been there, that lad might have found out a bit about consequences. And yes, given the way UK law works these days, I likely would have ended up in jail. But that’s me, and I’m one of those rather ‘in your face’ Americans, and I’m also old enough to remember a polite society, where we showed respect for each other. That world, I am afraid, is mostly gone, mostly for reasons very similar to what Amy wrote about.
Sort of. As I sat here and thought about it, I realized that it does still exist, mostly. Out here, in flyover country there are pockets, where we still run pretty much on the old rules. Where do you find them? Two places and yes, they overlap. One is serious, practicing Christians, and the other group is the gun community. Yep, those infamous people who cling to their Bibles and guns. If you want to know more about this kind of Christianity, go to Jess’ site, it does a far better job than I can in a few (or many) paragraphs.
But guns? How could evil nasty guns have anything to do with this? You see, a gun is a tool, and like any tool can be used for good or evil. The highest use for a gun is defending: you, your life, your family, your community, your country. Community and country we have mostly delegated to the state but, you know we (unlike Obama and his appointees) cannot delegate responsibility. It’s up to us, and always has been, and always will be, to make sure it works. No ifs, ands, or buts. You bear almost complete responsibility for yourself and your family though, although the responsibility for the family is shared amongst all those mature enough to share in it. And maybe that has something as well to do with the dearth of men in the UK, they’ve pretty much made it clear that you have no right to defend you and yours, let alone your property. In other words the state has taken over the role of the head of the family.
And something else that I’ve noted, is that in recent years, women have begun arming themselves as well, to the horror of the left. But not to those of us on the right, you know the ones that believe women should be barefoot, pregnant, and chained in the kitchen. Huh? With a gun? Damned straight with a gun, our women are smart and powerful, we completely trust them, and we can’t always be there. Amy talked a bit about Abigail Adams in her article and I think that she would have been a wonderful woman to know, a heroine, in fact. And you know what? I don’t think John Adams would have been nearly as good a man, if he hadn’t married Abigail.
We also never forget that God created all people, but it took Colonel Colt to make them equal. You know the safest place in America? A bar in a state with both open and concealed carry, filled with guns. You know why? Because Heinlein was correct. “An armed society is a polite society”. Doesn’t matter if it’s swords, or guns, or lightsabers, it’s always been true and it always will be.
Amy closed with the story of an eight year old boy who died defending his older sister. It’s a sad story, and I grieve with the family and pray for them and the boy. But I also celebrate his life, because he died doing the highest calling of man, defending another person, and he did it heroically. He was a better man at eight, than many so-called adult males I’ve met.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.