Two for Tuesday

Well, let’s try something, I keep falling behind, and often I have two (or more) articles that bear on the same thing. Let’s see if we can connect them and make a coherent whole out of it. For Instance:

The school shooting in Florida is still rattling around the internet, but finally, some sensible people are saying things. These thoughtful people we should maybe be reading and thinking about. Gene Veith over at Cranach picked up an article that got my attention too at The Federalist. Rev Veith says:

On the most basic level, according to Romans 13, we are not to impose justice by taking personal “revenge.”  Rather, God protects us and punishes evildoers through the agency of authorities whom He has called to “bear the sword.”  In today’s terms, that would include police officers, our military, and other lawful officers.

A well-ordered society is not going to be what later political theorists would call “a state of nature,” in which everyone has to battle everyone else in order to survive.  God’s gifts of vocations makes for an interdependent society.  Then again, not all societies are well-ordered.  Lawless societies, as in the “wild west,” function differently.  And even in a well-ordered society, those who “bear the sword” cannot be everywhere.  But vocation still applies.  Keep in mind that we have multiple vocations, not just in our particular line of work, but in our families, the church, and society.

That’s important I think. We do have multiple vocations. Like him I’m using the term in the Lutheran sense of a God-given job, whether it’s preaching, policing, carpentering, homemaking, fathering, mothering, whatever. None of us is only one thing.

In his article linked from Rev Veith, Mathew Cochran says this:

It is therefore no wonder that, like people who work in schools and other gun-free zones, American Christians are beginning to ask themselves, “What happens when the shooter comes to my church?” How are we to handle a situation like that? Like anyone else, Christians would rather mentally and physically prepare for such an eventuality rather than being caught unawares.

I recently encountered a story about one such congregation’s deliberation on the issue. They opted to take advantage of a course on active-shooter situations offered by their local police department. Unsurprisingly, they caught a lot of flack on social media.

There was, of course the usual hatred about how these killings prove the supposed inefficacy of prayer or non-existence of God (how that reasoning applies to a religion that believes God sent his own son to be killed for us, they never quite explain). But someone also questioned how Christians, who are supposed to love their enemies, could possibly fight back against a shooter. Doesn’t “thou shalt not kill” prevent a Christian congregation from shooting a guy who came to murder them all? It’s not only a question Christians are asked, but one that we also ask ourselves.

On the Question of Returning Fire

First, nothing in that story talks about the congregation arming themselves so they can fight back. Nor is that implied simply by arranging a class of this kind. I attended the same kind of class at my church several years ago, and while I think they broached the possibility of shooting back once or twice, it was largely focused on other strategies to maximize survival.

And yet, there is no inherent dichotomy in a congregant returning fire. Last night I reread, Andrew Branca’s The Law of Self Defense. It’s something I do regularly, and you probably should too. In matters of life and death, there is no substitute for getting it right the first time.

Not for the first time, I was struck by how closely the US law on self-defense parallels the just war theory as expounded by St. Thomas Aquinas, and yes that has secular predecessors as well. One of the things that gets us is a quirk of the English language. Most of us know the Commandment as “Thou shalt not Kill” but the usage of the work kill has broadened since the King James version was written. For what we mean as kill, the translators used slay. For what they meant as kill, we use murder, including involuntary homicide, which is a different matter.

It’s still something you have to figure out between you and your God, but it seems pretty clear to me.

But that doesn’t really solve the problem, does it, although it might lower the body count a bit. Other factors than self-defense are necessary to make a real difference. My friend Leslie Loftus on Medium wrote a bit about how training is everything and linked us to another article there. That article is by Benjamin Sledge, and it is outstanding.

The Military Does a Better Job at Gun Control Than Anyone

One thing that has baffled me over the years is that I can go to the grocery store and buy a pack of tic-tacs and then walk across the street and buy a gun. I’m not baffled that I can buy a gun, as I believe it’s an important liberty to have, but it’s the ease and utter lack of training in which I can buy something that has no other role than to kill something.

A knife can be used for cooking and a bat for baseball. But a gun? Unless you’re collecting them for a museum, the point of a gun is to kill something.

Let me give you a breakdown of how the military has gun control right, and society has the process backwards.

When you enlist in the military, you will spend several weeks learning weapons safety and training. Before you are ever allowed to fire a weapon, you must be able to disassemble the rifle, clean it, and then reassemble the weapon. You will take tests and quizzes asking you questions pertaining to the distance and speed a bullet can travel. Once you pass your exams, you will then fire the weapon under the supervision and training of drill sergeants and weapons experts. Last, you must qualify with your weapon on targets. If you’re unable to do that, they will not allow you to graduate from basic training.

He’s correct, it is rather silly. When the system works properly (not always a given) we do check if one is a felon, and sometimes if there are mental issues, but it’s not all that rigorous, and it’s pretty much of a one-shot deal, even more than your driver’s license is. That doesn’t make a lot of sense. Read his article – I don’t completely agree with all of his points, but it makes the most sense of anything I’ve read on the subject.

For instance, I have no problem with arming teachers who volunteer, with their eyes wide open to the responsibility and possibilities, say like veterans who have become teachers, but there is room for debate there, not simply the yelling at each other we have been doing. I understand why we are doing that yelling, I do my share. But while it is important not to give away our God-given rights, this is not productive, in fact, it is harmful, to us, and to the Republic.

What cannot continue, will not continue, and having our kids shot down in school should not continue, and won’t for all that long.


Get Woke, Go Broke.

The title is stolen from a commenter at Ace’s because it is the perfect summary of the story. From Hot Air.

At what price does Twitter fame come? Corporate brands that offered virtue signaling to online mobs might discover that it’s more expensive than they thought. A new Morning Consult survey shows that every major brand that disaffiliated themselves from the NRA has suffered overall damage to their standing with consumers:

After the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting, several prominent companies ended their businesses relationships with the National Rifle Association — and some are facing backlash in public opinion, according to a new poll.

Morning Consult survey of 2,201 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 23-25 found increases in negative views of businesses that severed ties with the NRA after consumers learned of them. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 2 percentage points.

MetLife Inc., the insurance giant that ended a discount for NRA members last week, had a 45 percent favorable rating, compared to a 12 percent unfavorable rating, before survey participants were informed of that move. After learning of it, respondents with an unfavorable view of the company doubled to 24 percent, while its favorability rating was unchanged.

The chart’s left column shows the overall impact

All of these companies did get a boost from Democrats, but it turns out that it’s not enough to offset the overall damage to their reputations for tossing the NRA under the bus. That’s even more remarkable considering that only 14% of the sample had NRA members in their households. There is a distinct partisan split on this question, with that number rising to 23% among Republican respondents and only 8% for Democrats. Still, the relatively low numbers of NRA membership fall far below the backlash shown overall to these corporate moves.

On the other hand, 42% of all households in the survey own a firearm, including 28% of Democrats and 42% of independents; over half of all Republicans surveyed have a firearm in the house (55%). Twenty-one percent of all Democrats surveyed had more than three firearms in the house (38% of Republicans), showing that gun ownership is not partisan nor is enthusiasm for firearm ownership. A bigger differentiator is geography; only 15% of all urban respondents own more than three firearms, while 41% of all rural respondents do.

What about the millennials that these companies tried to woo this week with their virtue-signaling? Well, 43% of respondents below 30 years of age report having firearms in their households, roughly the same percentage as the other age demos, and 24% report having more than three of them. Twenty-one percent report that their household includes at least one member of the NRA, a higher percentage than any other age demo. They are more likely to want corporations to take public stances on social issues, but only slightly so when combining “very important” to “somewhat important,” and they’re slightly lessinterested corporate takes on political issues.

And when it comes to gun control, they turn out to be less interested than other age demos, too:

More at the link, but it seems to me there is a very old saying that applies here. “Shoemaker, stick to your last.”

The point of a corporation is to make money for the shareholders, anything that intentionally detracts from that is malfeasance by the management of the firm, and the employees bear the brunt of the cost. That is one reason why I tend to be slow with boycotts, but I’ve reached my limit, and these companies that intentionally insult my beliefs, and my fights, will have to do without my trade. For most of them, that’s an easy decision, I have no reason to deal with them in the foreseeable future. But they are no longer on my list of acceptable vendors.

From what I read, I’m not the only one, either. I wouldn’t be all that much happier if they were coming out in support of the NRA, by the way. If it’s in their interest to support the organization, fine, like say, Colt, for example, but if it’s just a generic corporation, well, why are you doing this? Yes, it is different for a company wholly owned by an individual (or family), it is quite appropriate for their organization to reflect their beliefs. While a corporation is (and has to be) a person for legal purposes, it is a limited thing. General Electric is not a citizen with a right to vote.

Best we keep it that way.

Parry, and Thrust Home

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but after the horrific murder of 17 people, aided and abetted by the incompetence of the FBI and the craven cowardice of the Broward County Sheriff and some of his deputies, the left has found that the absolute refusal of the normals to talk about so-called gun control, until the present laws are enforced, and likely not then because there is no need, is infuriating.

So they have decided that the way to make things happen is to use sympathetic people in charge of corporations, to essentially ban us from commerce. Well, they can try, but, if we are wise, there will be a price.

Delta Airlines has decided that the NRA no longer qualifies for group airfare rates. Under current law, they can do this (more later). But companies based in Georgia probably shouldn’t do such things.

Oops! That just might leave a mark on Delta shareholders.

That’s how it’s done. Good job, Georgia.

Not surprisingly Colonel Schlichter is walking point on this one.

We’re now supposed to give up our guns because it’s the 21st Century, people, and the cops will totally protect us and oh, you can’t dare criticize the FBI for failing to disarm yet another ticking time bomb and what kind of crazy nut would expect a police officer to actually confront a gunman?

Show of hands: Who thinks this stops, even slows down, once those mean old not-actually-assault weapons get banned? That liberals have taken a hard stand in favor of cowardice does not exactly fill one with confidence that once we give up our Second Amendment rights that we’ll be safer or freer. […]

Conservatism is not a suicide pact, and our principles are not a mandate to unilaterally disarm. We need to make them hate the new rules. Maybe they won’t learn anything, but at least they won’t win by cheating.

The liberal elite is using its social and cultural ties to those at the helm of big companies to essentially blacklist the NRA, and thereby the tens of millions of Americans who support gun rights. But oppression is oppression whether it’s done by a government bureaucrat or a corporate one, and our principle of non-interference in business assumes business stays out of politics. But now National, Hertz, and others are cutting ties to the NRA, and liberals are advocating banks do the same. Their intent is clear – what they can’t do in politics they will simply do by not allowing the representatives of people whose politics they don’t like access to the infrastructure of society. And we’re not supposed to do anything about it because, you know, free enterprise and stuff.  You know, our principles. […]

No. They are exercising political power. We have our own political power, and we need to exercise it – ruthlessly. The first step is an executive order at the federal level directing that no federal contract can go to any company that discriminates against an organization based on its advocacy or exercise of an enumerated constitutional right. We wouldn’t allow a company to do business with our federal government if it discriminated on other grounds, so why should we do it discriminate on political grounds? Why should taxpayers be subsidizing people who hate them? When those government employees start walking past the Hertz and National counters, the liberal jerks who run those companies are going to find that they’re posing and posturing has a price.

Next, Congress needs to pass a comprehensive non-discrimination regime designed to protect us into law and allow individuals and entities the right to sue any business that discriminates on the basis of the advocacy for exercise of any constitutional right. We need to make sure there are huge penalties for non-compliance – how about $1 million a day? We also need attorneys’ fees provisions for the plaintiffs as well, because we want to turn lawyers into bounty hunters seeking out these posers who are doing so much damage to our society by collaborating in the suppression of speech that the elite does not approve of.

And that is pure and simple lawfare with malice aforethought. It is also what has been done to conservatives in this country for decades. Why do it? Because it works. And because it is targeted, like a rifle, on a specific target, and not simply an IED. And most of all, because freedom itself must not go quietly into the night.

Frankly, I’m not, and I suspect COL Schlichter isn’t either, all that enthused at picking a fight against American businesses. But, I’ll pick that fight in a heartbeat against anybody, or any group, that thinks it is going to deprive me of my God-given rights. And that definitely includes those rights enumerated in the US Constitution.

Saddle up.


The Indispensable Man

Yesterday was, of course, the anniversary of George Washington’s birth. Without his life, the United States, if it even existed, would be a very different place. Long ago, Jessica touched on his (probably unconscious) model:  Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus.

I addressed King George’s view of him after he resigned his commission in the Continental Army here, and here, even how the left attempts to steal the legacies of the founders.

Scott Johnson at PowerLine wrote about him yesterday, as well.

In anticipation of Washington’s visit to Newport, the members of America’s oldest Jewish congregation prepared a letter welcoming Washington for presentation to him at a public event on the morning of August 18. The letter was authorized by the congregation’s board and signed by its president, Moses Seixas. It is Washington’s magnificent letter responding to Seixas that that has become famous as one of the classic statements of religious toleration in America.

The congregation’s letter to Washington is not so well known, although the most prominent line in Washington’s letter is an echo of the congregation’s letter to Washington. By far the most striking feature of the congregation’s letter is its expression of sheer gratitude to Washington himself and to America for the freedom and equal rights the congregants had attained as American citizens. Here is the congregation’s letter:

Permit the children of the stock of Abraham to approach you with the most cordial affection and esteem for your person and merits ~~ and to join with our fellow citizens in welcoming you to NewPort.

With pleasure we reflect on those days ~~ those days of difficulty, and danger, when the God of Israel, who delivered David from the peril of the sword, ~~ shielded Your head in the day of battle: ~~ and we rejoice to think, that the same Spirit, who rested in the Bosom of the greatly beloved Daniel enabling him to preside over the Provinces of the Babylonish Empire, rests and ever will rest, upon you, enabling you to discharge the arduous duties of Chief Magistrate in these States.

Deprived as we heretofore have been of the invaluable rights of free Citizens, we now with a deep sense of gratitude to the Almighty disposer of all events behold a Government, erected by the Majesty of the People ~~ a Government, which to bigotry gives no sanction, to persecution no assistance ~~ but generously affording to all Liberty of conscience, and immunities of Citizenship: ~~ deeming every one, of whatever Nation, tongue, or language equal parts of the great governmental Machine: ~~ This so ample and extensive Federal Union whose basis is Philanthropy, Mutual confidence and Public Virtue, we cannot but acknowledge to be the work of the Great God, who ruleth in the Armies of Heaven, and among the Inhabitants of the Earth, doing whatever seemeth him good.

For all these Blessings of civil and religious liberty which we enjoy under an equal benign administration, we desire to send up our thanks to the Ancient of Days, the great preserver of Men ~~ beseeching him, that the Angel who conducted our forefathers through the wilderness into the promised Land, may graciously conduct you through all the difficulties and dangers of this mortal life: ~~ And, when, like Joshua full of days and full of honour, you are gathered to your Fathers, may you be admitted into the Heavenly Paradise to partake of the water of life, and the tree of immortality.

Done and Signed by order of the Hebrew Congregation in NewPort, Rhode Island August 17th 1790.

Moses Seixas, Warden

The painting that leads this article was painted by Scottish-born portraitist Archibald Robertson, on commission from David Erskine, 11th Earl of Buchan (1742-1829), who wished, he wrote,  “that I might place it among those whom I most honor.” (You can read the earl’s entire letter to Washington here;Buchan also entrusted Robertson with a special gift for Washington, a wooden box said to be made of the oak that sheltered William Wallace.). From: Two Nerdy History Girls.

After some adventures of its own,”in 1951, the current Earl Buchan presented the painting to Sulgrave Manor,the English birthplace of Washington’s ancestors, where it hangs today.”

But before (or after, who knows) painting that portrait of Washington as the fearless and decisive Commander in Chief, he painted another one, a miniature of Washington (and another of Martha, as well, as they appeared in 1792.

This one shows the very man that quelled the only reported American military coup with the words.

 “Gentlemen, you must pardon me. I have grown gray in your service and now find myself growing blind.”

As General Light Horse Harry Lee eulogized him:

First in War, First in Peace, First in the Hearts of his Countrymen.

Dog Whistling for the Stupid

William Stone, Sheriff of Accomac Shire, Virginia, 1634

You must be very careful out there, these days, the stupid it lurks everywhere. Paul Mirengoff tells us that Jeff Sessions when he spoke to the National Sheriff’s Association lately had the effrontery to refer to our Anglo-American legal heritage. He said.

I want to thank every sheriff in America. Since our founding, the independently elected sheriff has been the people’s protector, who keeps law enforcement close to and accountable to people through the elected process. The office of sheriff is a critical part of the Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement.

Cue the stupid outrage:

Sen. Brian Schatz (D. Haw.) led the charge. He tweeted:

Do you know anyone who says “Anglo-American heritage” in a sentence? What could possibly be the purpose of saying that other than to pit Americans against each other? For the chief law enforcement officer to use a dog whistle like that is appalling. Best NO vote I ever cast.

My word, does he think our law was delivered on stone tablets on Mt. Washington, by the Spaghetti Monster, or perhaps that we borrowed that paragon of fairness, the Zambesian legal code.  Life is hard, and it harder when you are still stupid, and even worse when you haven’t the sense to shut up.

Even some leftists know better

From Barack Obama in 2006:

The world is watching what we do today in America. They will know what we do here today, and they will treat all of us accordingly in the future—our soldiers, our diplomats, our journalists, anybody who travels beyond these borders. I hope we remember this as we go forward. I sincerely hope we can protect what has been called the “great writ”—a writ that has been in place in the Anglo-American legal system for over 700 years.

Obama invoked the same tradition in 2008, while campaigning for the presidency. The Washington Post reported:

Obama, who taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago for more than a decade, said captured suspects deserve to file writs of habeus corpus. Calling it “the foundation of Anglo-American law,” he said the principle “says very simply: If the government grabs you, then you have the right to at least ask, ‘Why was I grabbed?’ And say, ‘Maybe you’ve got the wrong person.’”

As President, Obama continued to speak of the Anglo-American legal tradition. From CBS News:

Obama would not say whether [closing Gitmo] could be achieved within the first 100 days of his term, citing the challenge of creating a balanced process “that adheres to rule of law, habeas corpus, basic principles of Anglo-American legal system, but doing it in a way that doesn’t result in releasing people who are intent on blowing us up.

The Sheriff goes far back into our history. Yes, we all know the semi-legendary role he played in the American West. But he was an old hand by then.

The Sheriff was the chief law enforcement officer in colonial America, the first sworn sheriff was William Stone, pictured above, who was sworn in as the Sheriff of Accomac Shire in Virginia in 1634.

Thomas Jefferson said that the Sheriff was, “the most important executive officer of the country”.

But this is recent history, The Sheriff is mentioned nine times in Magna Charta. Nor was it a new office then, even if this is contemporary with the Sheriff of Nottingham chasing Robin Hood.

In fact, the Shire system was designed by King Alfred the Great around 871AD and Shire was administered by none other than the Shire Reeve, which term, English being English became the Sheriff.

Think about that for a bit, that guy that in our more rural areas many us know, might even be friends with, his office was established by King Alfred the Great, taken over as is by King William the Conqueror, mentioned in Magna Charta, the first executive agent in the American colonies, helped bring law and order to the Wild West, and continues on much the same today, 1147 years later.

Hat tip to: The Henry County Sheriff’s Office.

Dan Hannan tells a story about a few years ago, when the UK was seeking to decentralize and democratize law enforcement (don’t worry, leftists, they mostly got over it) he told all and sundry that the proper term for the executive was the “Sheriff”. He says he was rebuffed with the comment that the term was ‘too American’. Must have studied history with Sen. Brian Schatz (D, Stupid).

That looks a good bit like an Anglo-American heritage there to me, Pilgrim.

[On another note, see you at Ash Wednesday service, and Happy Valentine’s Day. The first time since 1945, that the two signal markers of love have happened on the same day. Seems fitting somehow. God’s perfect love reflected in our (very) imperfect love of his creatures.]

Worse Than Watergate

NBC News

Chris Buskirk at American Greatness:

The FISA Abuse Memo is out and now we know why the Democrats were desperate to keep its contents hidden from the public: it confirms the worst fears not just of President Trump’s supporters but of everyone concerned about the abuse of police power, government corruption, and the sanctity of our elections.
The memo shows interference in the 2016 presidential election by hostile elements within a United States intelligence agency. It wasn’t the Russians we had to worry about — it was rogue actors at the highest levels of the FBI and Department of Justice. Left unanswered is to what extent the West Wing knew about or was complicit in this gross abuse of power. . . .
We now know that almost every accusation leveled against the president with regard to so-called “Russian collusion” actually reflects the actions of what amounts to a cabal of Democratic Party operatives working with FBI and Justice Department fellow-travellers. . . .

R.S. McCain adds:

There was no actual “Russian collusion” because the people who arranged the Trump Tower meeting weren’t working for the Kremlin, they were working for the Democrat Party.

It’s like what they used to say down South: If you ever go to a meeting of five Klansman, one of them will be an FBI undercover agent and at least two of the others will be confidential informants. In the case of the make-believe “Russian collusion,” it appears that practically everybody involved in trying to get the Trump campaign tangled up in this embarrassing mess was, in one way or another, working for FusionGPS, which was being bankrolled by the Clinton campaign and the DNC.

That’s the size of it. Trump’s people come off as a bit credulous, they kept talking to stray people wandering in, but that’s not criminal, merely foolish.

Chris Buskirk again:

Nearly 50 years ago, the Watergate scandal forced a president from office. The Left thought it could do it again. But the Nunes memo—and the millions of documents and hundreds of hours of interviews behind it—makes clear that rogue elements within the FBI and Justice Department broke the law in an attempt to use the police power of the United States government first to throw the election to Hillary Clinton and then to destroy the presidency of Donald Trump.

This cannot stand. There must be consequences. And they must be swift, public, and severe.

Why is this worse than Watergate?

Because Watergate (the crime, not the coverup) was done by private individuals acting on their own. Foolishly, stupidly, and several other adverbs apply, but they were working for themselves and a private group.

However here we have high-level government law enforcement figures acting in an official capacity to corrupt the election process of the United States.

This is the problem that arises with any self-selecting elite (you may read experts if you choose), the time always comes when they conclude that they know better than the people they work for. Even if it is true, they have not the right to usurp their lawful superior (in this case the electorate). But almost always, it is not true, people have an innate sense of what is most likely to benefit them. And as we’ve seen in this matter, the experts are not acting in the people’s best interest, invariably they are acting in their own.

Indeed, this cannot stand, and the consequences must be swift, public, severe, and permanent.

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