Sunday, December 30, 2007

Rock the Hawkeye Cauci with Ron Paul

We all say that we’re tired of “politics as usual.” Then, when decision time arrives, (as it will on January 3rd here in Iowa) we vote for the candidates that the mainstream media and entrenched political power structure tell us are “electable.” When the election process ends, we all wonder why nothing has changed.

This continual cycle of events has left us with a federal government that is 9 Trillion dollars in debt and still increasing its spending. It is a government that has broken free of the constitutional shackles designed to protect us from it.

The Republican Party, which once wanted to reign in government spending and place it back within its constitutional bounds, has strayed from its course, instead aiding and abetting the enemies of the Constitution. Federal spending increased by at least 33% under the GOP and rights as ancient as habeas corpus were assailed.

Most of the current candidates have been a party to this. Romney, McCain and Guiliani have all worked to restrict Second Amendment rights. Huckabee increased taxes and spending within his sphere of influence. Thompson and McCain stomped on First Amendment political speech with their “Incumbent Protection Act,” to list a few examples.

Cue Ron Paul. In his 10 terms as a U.S. Congressman:

He has never voted to raise taxes.
He has never voted for an unbalanced budget.
He has never voted for a federal restriction on gun ownership.
He has never voted to raise congressional pay.
He has never taken a government-paid junket.
He has never voted to increase the power of the executive branch.
He voted against regulating the Internet.
He does not participate in the lucrative congressional pension program.
He returns a portion of his annual congressional office budget to the U.S. treasury every year.

I won’t tell you to vote for Ron Paul for “change,” because every candidate in the race says that they’re for “change” and we Iowans have been carpet-bombed with that message for months now.

What I will tell you is that if you support decreased spending and smaller, less obtrusive, Constitutionally-limited government, then you should vote for Ron Paul. If you believe that government exists to protect your life, liberty and property, not to provide you with someone else’s, vote for Ron Paul. If you thirst for liberty and want your progeny to have more of it, rather than less, you must vote for Ron Paul.

I implore all Iowans who like Ron Paul’s message to attend the Republican caucus. Dr. Paul’s Iowa website can help you find your local caucus location and give you other pertinent information. For freedom’s sake, caucus for Ron Paul!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Liberty and Charity

Hope everyone had a good Christmas. As 2007 wraps up, its not too late to make those tax-deductible contributions to your favorite charities so that your money can go towards something good and useful rather than to the government. If you need some ideas of worthy charities with conservative or libertarian values, here’s a few:

Alliance Defense Fund: “The Alliance Defense Fund is a servant organization that provides the resources that will keep the door open for the spread of the Gospel through the legal defense and advocacy of religious freedom, the sanctity of human life, and traditional family values.” Charity Navigator rating: 4 out of 4 stars.

The Cato Institute: “The Cato Institute seeks to broaden the parameters of public policy debate to allow consideration of the traditional American principles of limited government, individual liberty, free markets and peace. Toward that goal, the Institute strives to achieve greater involvement of the intelligent, concerned lay public in questions of policy and the proper role of government.” Charity Navigator rating: 2 of 4 stars.

Gun Owners Foundation: “Defending America's unique constitutional right to keep and bear arms, through education and legal assistance in important firearms cases.” Charity Navigator rating: NA

Institute for Justice: “Simply put, we sue the government when it stands in the way of people trying to earn an honest living, when it unconstitutionally takes away individuals' property, when bureaucrats instead of parents dictate the education of children, and when government stifles speech. We seek a rule of law under which individuals can control their destinies as free and responsible members of society.” Charity Navigator rating: 4 of 4 stars.

Jews For The Preservation of Firearms Ownership: “To destroy "gun control" and to encourage Americans to understand and defend all of the Bill of Rights for everyone. Those are the twin goals of Wisconsin-based Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO). Founded by Jews and initially aimed at educating the Jewish community about the historical evils that Jews have suffered when they have been disarmed, JPFO has always welcomed persons of all religious beliefs who share a common goal of opposing and reversing victim disarmament policies while advancing liberty for all. JPFO is a non-profit tax-exempt educational civil rights organization, not a lobby.” Charity Navigator rating: NA

The NRA Foundation: “Established in 1990, The NRA Foundation, Inc. ("NRA Foundation") is a 501(c )(3) tax-exempt organization that raises tax-deductible contributions in support of a wide range of firearm-related public interest activities of the National Rifle Association of America and other organizations that defend and foster the Second Amendment rights of all law-abiding Americans. These activities are designed to promote firearms and hunting safety, to enhance marksmanship skills of those participating in the shooting sports, and to educate the general public about firearms in their historic, technological, and artistic context. Funds granted by The NRA Foundation benefit a variety of constituencies throughout the United States including children, youth, women, individuals with physical disabilities, gun collectors, law enforcement officers, hunters, and competitive shooters.” Charity Navigator Rating: 4 of 4 stars.

Public Interest Institute: Located at Iowa Wesleyan College, it’s goals include: 1)“Promote the importance of the free-enterprise economic system and its relationship with free and democratic societies” 2)“Formulate proposals and action programs that revolve around taxpayers' rights and the general principle of limiting the role of government” 3)“Assist and become an integral part of similar organizations in promoting the importance of limited government, individual freedoms, and the impact of governmental policies on the operation of the free-market” 4)“Define the concept of the proper role of a limited government in a free and democratic society based upon individual freedom and liberty.” Charity Navigator rating: NA

Happy and free new year!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

To Be or Not To Huckabee

If Ron Paul doesn’t get the Republican nomination I’ll probably vote for whoever the Libertarian Party runs. (By the way, that might just be Dr. Paul since the L.P. has offered him the slot if the GOP doesn’t want him.) But I’m always curious if the Republicans can field someone who could lure me back. Besides “m’buoy” Ron Paul, the only other GOP contenders that have piqued my interest are Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee. Huckabee is polling in first place here in Iowa.

A Baptist preacher, I think we can safely assume that he wouldn’t preside over the moral cesspool that the last Arky we had in the Whitehouse did. But how does Huckabee stack up on the issues? Here’s a few of my hot buttons:

Second Amendment- Top Marks! I consider Huck to be second only to Ron Paul on the right to keep and bear arms. In 1998 there was a school shooting at a Jonesboro, Arkansas middle school while Huck was governor of that state. The media and liberals (but I repeat myself) from President Clinton on down to Katie Couric were screaming for the Second Amendment’s head on a pike. This is when most politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike, dive for political cover and throw the Second Amendment to the wolves. Not Mike Huckabee! He stood by the right to keep and bear arms, resisted calls for gun control and even locked horns with members of the news media pushing for it. He still opposes gun control, and remains a stalwart friend of gun owners.

Taxes and Spending- Here’s where Huck stinks the place up. According to The Club For Growth, Governor Huckabee increased state spending by 65.3% and supported numerous tax increases on everything from gasoline to nursing home beds. The Cato Institute, a libertarian think-tank, gave the governor an “F” on spending and tax policy in 2006. On the positive side, Huck supports the FairTax, a plan to deep-six the income tax and replace it with a national sales tax. (If you haven’t heard about the FairTax, read about it here before passing judgment.) However, being a demonstrated real-life tax hiker outweighs support for a good but hypothetical plan that may never come to pass. On taxes and spending, Huck sucks.

10th Amendment/ Limited Government- I’m afraid Mike Huckabee doesn’t smell any better in this category either. The number of state government workers increased by 20 percent during his tenure as governor. His support of a national smoking ban and expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program shows me that he’s not the man to stem the tide of governmental paternalism or slow the march of the Health Nazis in this country. He advocates an increased role for the federal government in local education, fighting global warming, building infrastructure and healthcare. When it comes to the federal government butting out of Americans’ day to day life, Huckabee is a big- government neo-con.

Mike Huckabee is pro-gun and pro-life. He seems like a personally good and spiritual man. I’m inclined to like him. Unfortunately, his record on nearly everything else demonstrates that, as president, he would be George W. Bush sans the tax cut. Too bad. If Huck gets the GOP nod, I’ll definitely be voting Libertarian.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Omaha Mall was a "Gun-Free Zone"

Unfortunately, I caught some of the TV news coverage of the mall shooting in Omaha. Some local nut-bag shot 8 people at a shopping mall with an AK-47, (which, along with the Uzi, are the only guns that liberal anti-gunners know by name) then ate a bullet himself.

On the cable news network that I was watching, they were interviewing their on-staff “security expert,” asking him how public shootings like these can be avoided. He pointed to the example of Israel. Over there, Palestinian terrorists had invented a new terror tactic of going to public places, such as markets, and lighting up the crowd with automatic weapons. The Israelis have managed to all but stop these public shootings. He rattled off a list of security measures, everything from metal detectors to more cops, that the Israelis had used to combat these shootings.

Glaringly absent from the expert’s list was one of the most cost-effective and unobtrusive security measures that the Israelis had implemented: issuing concealed gun permits to its citizens. Since cops and soldiers can’t be everywhere, the Israeli government decided it was best to allow the people to defend themselves. After a few terrorists died of citizen-induced lead poisoning, the rest figured out that innocent bystanders were no longer just defenseless victims. The shootings soon abated. (Unfortunately for the Israelis, the terrorists switched to suicide bombings instead.)

Here in America, a study by crime researchers Professor John Lott and Bill Landes revealed similar circumstances. Analyzing all "multiple-victim public shootings" (two or more victims) from 1977 to 1999, they found that when states passed right-to-carry laws (which automatically grant concealed weapons permits to citizens meeting certain requirements), these attacks fell by 60 percent. Deaths and injuries from these attacks fell by 78 percent.

While all but a few states now issue concealed weapons permits to citizens, most multiple-victim public shootings now occur in places where these permit-holders are forbidden to carry their weapons. This prohibition on carrying can either be by law, such as in schools (like Virginia Tech and Columbine) or at the behest of property owners (such as at Omaha’s Westroads Mall and Utah’s Trolley Square Mall, both of which posted signs banning guns on their premises). Either way, “Gun-Free Zones” are nothing but “Disarmed Victim Zones” for budding psychopaths.

I know I shouldn’t hope for the news to include information like that in their reports. I’m just glad that the expert didn’t start screaming “Ban all guns!” and jump about frothing at the mouth as I expected, or blither techno-nonsense about “super automatic high-powered assault sniper guns” that can be purchased anywhere by children using their underwear labels as ID. Maybe on another channel.

Saturday, December 01, 2007



As always when working for a huge bloated inefficient government entity, I am re-learning all about Civil Rights. In fact, I became a Civil Rights Rep, mainly because I was out doing actual work when they had a meeting to pick one.

One would think a Constitutionalist like myself would be all about Civil Rights. And I am. All men are created equal under God. I always try to judge each individual I meet by his or her own merits, not by what group they belong to, with the exception of bureaucrats and Hillary supporters. My copy of Webster's Dictionary and even Wickapedia defined Civil Rights about like I do; there's a whole pesky bunch of INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS that are known collectively as CIVIL RIGHTS in that pesky old document known as the BILL OF RIGHTS.

Well, that ain't the way Civil Rights work in the Federal Alphabet Soup Bureaucracy. The Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution do not concern the powers-that-be; in fact, many of them are verbotten. Earlier this year, a certain tree-related Federal agency spent close to a million dollars having an outside firm "study" it's problems. The almost universal consensus of the employees anonymously studied was that, "The Agency is adrift and leaderless." Caring for the land and serving the people had long since gone out the window. Nobody actually even knew what the agency's mission even was these days. Facilities, programs and workers that might in any way be of some benefit to the public were being cut (field-going permanent employees down 24%, field-going seasonal workers down 42%) while the positions for useless bureaucrats in distant offices are expanding exponentially. We receive numerous emails from above shouting in alarm because the agency cannot get bright young, or even dim young, college kids to show any interest in government jobs with us. A once well-respected and productive agency has become, in the words of a colleague, a "For-shit, do-nothing organization" which is increasingly held in contempt and even hatred by the Western public.

Not to worry! The new Chief is on the ball. In something eerily right out of Atlas Shrugged, she hath decreed that all our problems can be effortlessly solved in one fell swoop by simply adding more diversity to the workforce!

This is the current definition of Civil Rights. Some in our organization are even flying teams of outreach recruiters down to the American Southwest to beg Hispanics to apply for jobs with us. We need to do more "out-reaches". We must hire more "diverse" candidates whether or not they are even remotely qualified for the position. We must make people who live in warm and sunny Arizona and So-Cal "feel at home" in the frozen wastes Alaska, Montana, and Idaho. An Alaska workforce of natives and whites may represent perfectly the demographics of Alaska, but it does not represent the demographics of the United States as a whole, which is an intolerable situation. Boil it all down and the individual need not change anything to fit into the agency; the rest of the population of the entire organization needs to change to kiss the individual's butt. And if that still doesn't work, I suppose "Shanghai-ing" diverse candidates from waterfront bars is the next step.

Of course, no one can or is even trying to explain just exactly how a more "diverse" workforce will suddenly solve all our problems, make manna fall from heaven, and cure male pattern baldness all in one fell swoop. That's because, obviously, it won't have any effect whatsoever. But the powers-that-be have latched onto a SOLUTION, an idiotic one to be sure, and perhaps a solution in search of a problem, but by God it will be implemented.

Meanwhile, the flushing sound continues and the water swirls dangerously low in bowl.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Foreign Paulicy

There are many things that Republican voters agree with presidential candidate Dr. Ron Paul about. For instance, as a U.S. Representative, Ron Paul has never voted for a tax increase. He’s never voted for an unbalanced budget. He’s never voted for a gun control law. He has never voted to raise congressional pay and has never taken a government-paid junket. He’s pro-life.

One position that has caused some misunderstanding among some Republicans (including Rudy Giuliani) is his foreign policy. A strict constitutionalist, Dr. Paul favors a return to the noninterventionist policies that our founding fathers envisioned.

Dr. Paul agrees with Thomas Jefferson, who advocated “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.” Spurning that advice, America now has treaty guaranties with 50 foreign nations on five continents, threatening to drag us into every potential conflict anywhere. He agrees with John Quincy Adams who advised that America be “the well-wisher of freedom and independence of all” but “the champion and vindicator only of her own[,]” lest we involve ourselves “beyond the power of extrication.”

In short, Ron Paul believes that America should be run like “a republic, not an empire,” if I may borrow a phrase from Pat Buchanan. That may seem like a radical change from the foreign meddling and “nation-building” of the Bush/Clinton era, but it is not isolationist. Under Ron Paul’s policies the American people would be freer to engage in commerce, cultural exchange and charity with the people of the world (and they would have more money left in their pockets with which to do it).

A former Air Force captain, Dr. Paul is not anti-military. He would use the military against those who pose a clear and direct threat to tangible U.S. interests. He voted against the Iraqi quagmire but FOR the “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists.” He is peace-loving, but not a peacenik.

One group that seems to understand this is the military itself. According to the Federal Election Commission, in the last quarter, service members sent twice as much in donations to the Paul campaign than to any other candidate. It's no wonder the troops support Dr. Paul. Every service member swears an oath before God and man to defend the U.S. Constitution. Ron Paul has been defending the Constitution his entire adult life and is the only candidate who supports it still.

I’m supporting the man that our troops support, Ron Paul.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Supreme Court to Decide Fate of DC Gun Ban

Text from NRA:

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear First Second Amendment Case Since 1939

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Fairfax, Va. - The United States Supreme Court today announced its decision to take up District of Columbia v. Heller-a case in which plaintiffs challenge the unconstitutional gun ban in the nation's capital. The District of Columbia appealed a lower court's ruling earlier this year affirming that the Second Amendment of the Constitution protects an individual right to keep and bear arms, and that the District's bans on handguns, carrying firearms within the home, and possession of loaded or operable firearms for self-defense violate that right.

The NRA will participate in this case through briefs as a friend of the court. Oral arguments are likely to take place in early 2008.

In March, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that "[T]he phrase 'the right of the people,' when read intratextually and in light of Supreme Court precedent, leads us to conclude that the right in question is individual." The D.C. Circuit also rejected the claim that the Second Amendment does not apply to the District of Columbia because D.C. is not a state.
The decision marks the first time a Second Amendment challenge to a firearm law has reached the Supreme Court since 1939.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


This guy stands for Freedom, not Freebies.

More years ago than I care to relate, I was manning a display booth for the National Guard at a county fair back in Iowa. Along comes this big fat slob of a guy. Unshaven, rumbled old clothes, reeking of alcohal and cigarettes, and about a hundred pounds overweight. He had a smoke in the corner of his mouth, and a cheese-stuffed chocolate-dipped deep-fat-fried turkey drumstrick in one hand. In his other hand was a big old grocery bag and he was going from table to table snatching up everything free. He came to my table, glared at me, then began scrabbling across the table with his chubby little claws scarfing up all the goodies; pens, pencils, notebooks, key chains.

Then he came to a free booklet that contained the United States Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Bill of Rights. His greasy fat fingers engulfed it. He raised it to his squinty eyes. He read what was contained within the booklet.

Then he dropped it like it was a live puff adder. "(Expletive deleted)!" he snarled at me, glaring even more fiercely. "I don't want THAT (Expletive deleted)!"

With that, he stomped right out of the building. Within 10 or 15 minutes, the air had cleared to non-toxic levels and I was able to remove my gas mask. I later heard that Big Fat Sheeple, as I came to dub the individual, was banned from the 4-H Livestock Barn as he offended the pigs.

Big Fat Sheeple quickly became my unconscious example of the Ugly American Public. I thought for many years that a sadly large portion of our populace was represented by Big Fat Sheeple. They just want free stuff, they don't want freedom. Freedom entails taking care of yourself and your family, excersizing responsibility, and taking credit for your own actions and their repurcussions, both good and bad. Sheeple want all decisions made for them and don't want to be held responsible for anything they do. Which explains welfare and dish TV (Bread & Circuses), the mainstream media, academia, and a host of government entitlement programs and entities.

Now I am coming to hopefully (wishfully?) consider that maybe Big Fat Sheeple and his ilk do not constitute an overwhelming majority of the American populace. Of course, it's the Ron Paul Revolution that's given me that glimmer of hope. Despite the efforts of the mainstream media and the GOP itself to shut him out, down and up, Ron Paul is still gaining momentum. And it's all coming from little people, ordinary folks, the rank-and-file, the grassroots. I live in a town of 900. The only 2008 election signs I've yet to see are, to date, a half a dozen big ones for Ron Paul. Likewise, the only political bumper stickers I see in my small town are also for Ron Paul. The other day in Missoula, a college kid flagged the wife and I down just to give us a cheer and big thumb's up for our Ron Paul bumper sticker.

Despite being brainwashed by a self-important media that's about as fair and balanced as Pravda, and official governmental press releases as reliable as those sent out by Joseph Goebbels, more and more people are starting to see through the smokescreen despite our orders to, "PAY NO ATTENTION TO THAT MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN!"

Yesterday, I read a very grudging AP story that reluctantly acknowledged Ron Paul's growing momentum and support. He's coming up in the polls steadily all the time. He's won more straw polls than the other GOP talking heads. In fact, the GOP recently shut down a straw poll in Colorado because too many Ron Paul supporters showed up. The Guy Faulk's Day "Money Bomb" was a recrod-breaking one-day fund-raiser that netted over $4 million for the campaign; this is even more notable because it was almost all small donations from a very large group of "little people". Lobbyists, major industries, and the Red Chinese were not among the donors. "Conservative" talk show host Yawn Hannity is frothing at the mouth against Ron Paul and recently a Faux news exec was caught on tape demanding that the camera crew keep out shots of Ron Paul supporters at a recent Chicago political event. Despite this, Paul was even on Jay Leno not long ago.

So, the little people are fed up and are finally being heard despite a hearty dose of GOP and media censorship. Our voices are finally growing too loud to be ignored. The best thing we can do is to increase the pressure.

Got a yard? Put up a Ron Paul yard sign. Got a bumper? Get a bumper sticker. Got ten bucks? Make a donation to the campaign and, if you're still a registered Republikrat, tell them where you sent your $$ the next time the GOP calls on one of their Beg-A-Thons. Call local talk radio and write letters to the editor. Copy and leave fliers. Talk to people.

Up-coming in December, the weekend of the 15th and 16th, there is going to be a "Sign-Bomb" to follow-up the Guy Faulke's Day Money Bomb. Paul supporters nation-wide are supposed to put up signs that weekend. If you need anymore encouragement, check out this you-tube video.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


I've been fiddling around with reloading my own ammunition for over fifteen years now, but I just recently started getting SERIOUS about the deal. Sure, I always loaded up my own hunting ammo to the tightest-shooting specs I could find, maybe fifty rounds, and would occassionally load handgun plinking ammo with the odd box of 300-grain .44 Magnum "Bear Medicine" thrown in. My biggest stumbling block was always how much time and effort it took just to prep the fired cartridge cases so that I could even get around to reloading them. This year, however, my wonderful wifie got me some new toys, such as an RCBS case prep center and a case polisher and a Zip trim. This has gone a long, long way towards shortening case prep time and making it more a pleasure than on ordeal. I just had to give the new toys a workout, which led me back into the whole wonderful, interesting, and amusing passtime of reloading.

As I believe Colonel Townsend Whelen once said, "Only accurate rifles are interesting." I was on the verge of losing some interest in my 6.5x55mm Swedish Mauser Model 1894 carbine Scout Rifle, as I found I could only squeeze, at best and off a sandbag, five shots into 3 inches at 100 yards. Might as well be shooting an SKS. So I started playing with my new toys, taking test loads to the range, and firing them for the record.

Eventually, I was able to tweak both a standard hunting load and a varmint load that would go 1.1 inches for 5 shots at 100 yards, which I figure is good enough for a Mauser built in 1901. Now a 140-grain .264 bullet with a muzzle velocity of 2500 feet per second is not considered too awesome by the modern short belted super duper magnum crowd, but is dandy for me, shooting flat out to 300 yards with a 250 yard zero. With modern controlled expansion bullets such as the Sierra GameKing and the Noslers, I may even take it elk hunting. Such a caliber and load is considered small for elk by most folks, but I've met several people in Montana who hunt with it, and those wacky Scandinavians, not knowing all the wisdom of modern gun writers, have been killing moose for over a century with the 6.5x55.

On the other end of the scale, I kind of struck out. No matter the powder/primer/case/seating combination, The Swede just spat out the 85-grain varmint bullets with obvious distatse into 4 inch groups. Fortunately, the Swede showed to have a better appetitie for the 100-grain Sierras, with IMR 3031 powder, velocity of 2800 fps, again putting five shot groups just on the ragged outside edge of an inch. As a varmint gun, set to hit vitals in a 5-inch circle, it's zeroed at 200 yards and one can still hold dead on with the crosshairs out to 240 and still be able to hit the boiler room on a coyote or fox. As I may try it next year as a long-range antelope/deer load in eastern Montana (10-inch "bullseye"), a 270 yard zero keeps you in the vitals of such critters out to 320 yards. Of course, for all this jabber about ranges, I shot my mule deer buck at about 130 yards and my whitetail doe B Tag at less than 50.

For my wife's .30-06 sporter, which began life as a Model 1903A3 U.S. Army Springfield built in 1944 with a two-groove wartime Remington barrel, I still need to "tweak" the long-range load a bit for accuracy. At any rate, a 130-grain bullet leaving the muzzle at 3100 feet per second boasts a 300 yard zero and shoots flat out to 360 yards. My .308 loved this load; the Springfield a little less so. I need to play with the types of powder and charge weights a bit more to close up the groups. It was more than good enough this past weekend, however, when my wife bagged her mule deer at around 225 yards from the kneeling position.

This was the first year I really shot the .300 Winchester Magnum and all I can say is that I need to do a lot more tweaking or that the old girl just isn't gonna go much inside 1-1/2 inches at 100 yards. At present, I only have 40 cases to play with, which is just as well as sometimes it seems you need a #9 coal shovel to scoop the copious amounts of expensive powder down the gullet of those big cases. For instance, to launch a 165-grain bullet at 2800 fps, a .30-06 takes 58.7 grains of H4831 powder; to match that load, the .300 takes 68.6 grains of the same powder. Of course, that "maxes out" the .30-06. The .300 can still take that same bullet up to 3200 feet per second, but it costs you 77.4 grains of powder. I started out with Federal 180-grain factory ammunition, and for the first time Federal let me down, as the .300 just didn't like that stuff, shooting 4-inch groups.

The best I came up with so far is a 165-grain bullet at 3,000 fps, with which I can manage to get groups in the 1.3-1.4 inch range. It lobs a bigger bullet, suitable for elk, the same as the 130-grain out of the .30-06, that is a 300 yard zero and maximum point blank range of 360 yards.

OK, I've been blathering out all these numbers for awhile. What it boils down to is Jeff Cooper's old "Rifleman's Quarter Mile". Basically, a good shooter with a good rifle can "rule" the landscape around him or herself for a quarter mile. Of course, that applied to war, where exact shot placement in the vitals for a humane kill on game gets substituted for "good enough; I hit him", enemy soldiers being much more fragile than a deer or elk.

In the hunting field, 300 yards is probably about as far as you want to go. With some of the loads described above, 350 or even 400 is perfectly do-able by a good, well-practised shooter with no wind and a range-finder. Way out there, though, should be reserved for last-weekend-of-season-and-I-still-haven't-gotten-a-shot. Although I am a big fan of the Scout Rifle concept, with a low-magnification long-eye-relief scope mounted forward of the action, and I once did knock down my antelope at 400 yards with a 2.5X Scout Scope, this is more the area of conventional hunting arms with a large, high-magnification scope. You still need to be able to place the crosshairs accurately on the vitals. The crosshairs on one of my Scout Scopes blot out a 6-inch bullseye at 200 yards.

Another plus for reloading involves those who like accurate hand-gunning as well. Since having to switch to shooting southpaw after an eye injury, some of my handguns were stilll shooting 6-8 inches high at 25 yards with the back sights cranked all the way down as far as they could go. Two solutions were available; having a gunsmith put a taller front sight on the weapon, or playing with the loads. I played with the loads. I can't use 300-grain bullets at 1300 fps in my .44 Magnum anymore, but I'm dead bang on target with 240-grain flat-nose hardcast bullets lobbed out at 1450 feet per second, which ought to handle any bear problems I might ever have.

I almost got a chance to try this out on a whitetail deer in a special weapons restricted hunting zone down in the river bottom this past weekend. The doe stood broadside to me at about 40-45 yards, but I had just seen two mule deer bucks and a mulie doe. It took me too long to make sure it was a whitetail. About the time I figured that out, she took a half turn and bounded over the fence into the river, waving that infamous white flag at me.

Well, the coffe is about gone and my wife is up, so I had better wrap things up for now. Good hunting for those who indulge in the sport reccomended by Thomas Jefferson himself (A Species of Excersize).

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Second Amendment- Part Four: Why?

In parts One, Two and Three of this series on the Second Amendment I adeptly demonstrated that the amendment does in fact protect an individual right of citizens to keep and bear arms. Laying that issue to rest in my usual artful, inspired, yet unassuming manner, only one question probably remains in the now-expanded mind of you, the reader: “Why is an individual right to keep and bear arms needed?” I’m glad you asked.

As the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit wrote in their Parker decision, this right “was premised on the private use of arms for activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from abroad).” Joseph Story, the famous jurist and Supreme Court Justice put it this way: "The importance of this article [Second Amendment] will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defense of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers."

So, besides hunting (a subject on which I defer to Bawb), the right to bear arms provides a defense against crime, foreign invasion and tyrannical government. Let’s examine each of these.


John Jay
"Even if it was practicable, would it be wise to disarm the good before 'the wicked cease from troubling?'" [Job 3:17]

This is probably the most relevant issue to modern day Americans. It’s only common sense that police can’t (and a free society shouldn’t) be everywhere. Reaffirming this fact, courts have routinely ruled that the police have no legal obligation to protect any individual, only society at large. They have no obligation even to enforce court-issued restraining orders. This means that the only duty to protect the individual resides with the individual himself. Some places have recognized that fact while others have tried to hide from it.

Even a cursory look at crime rates from around the country shows that areas with the most restrictive prohibitions on civil gun ownership have the highest crime rates (i. e. Washington D.C.), while areas with the least restrictive gun laws have some of the lowest crime rates (i.e. Vermont). States that legally recognize the “right to carry” (RTC) concealed firearms have lower violent crime rates on average: total violent crime lower by 26%, murder by 31%, robbery by 50%, and aggravated assault by 15%.

After hitting a record high in 1991, national violent crime rates declined steadily and hit a record low in 2004. This decline in crime happened while the number of guns and gun owners increased to all-time highs, states issuing RTC permits increased from 15 in 1991 to 40 today, and many state, federal and local gun laws were loosened or repealed. Compare these results to those of England and Australia which have seen their violent crime rates (including gun crimes) skyrocket after passing near-total gun bans. According to the U.N., these two countries now have higher violent-crime rates than America. Noted crime researcher Professor John Lott summed it up succinctly in the title of his book, “More Guns, Less Crime.”

Foreign Invasion:

Thomas Paine:
"[A]rms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property... Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them."

Admittedly the risk of foreign military invasion is pretty remote. Fortress America is protected by oceans on two sides and friendly (I think) neighbors to the north and south, but who knows what the future holds. Any nation foolish enough to send an invading army into the United States would be in for a fight. Even if they were able to defeat American military forces and capture certain areas, the armed citizenry would be able to conduct a campaign of guerrilla warfare against the occupiers. As Vietnam, Iraq, and numerous other examples have proven, armed civilians are often harder to defeat than trained, professional armies.

Perhaps the best real-world example of the deterrent effect that an armed people have against invasion is Switzerland. During World War Two, Hitler had designs on controlling Switzerland, mostly because it irked him that the largely Germanic Swiss didn’t want to be a part of his “glorious” Reich. Although the Nazis didn’t think twice about starting fights with France, Russia, or England (the military superpowers of the day), they shied away from tiny Switzerland. It’s tough military, imposing terrain, and, most importantly, it’s resilient and heavily armed civilian population seemed like too tough of a nut to crack. (Stephen Halbrook has two good books about Switzerland during WWII, “Target Switzerland” and “The Swiss and The Nazis.” Bawb and I recommend them.)

Domestic Tyranny:

Joseph Story:
"The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium (safeguard) of the liberties of a Republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them..."

The history of gun control is the history of tyranny and oppression. From Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot to Rwanda and Darfur, nearly every despotic, murderous regime has had one thing in common: gun control. While our forefathers considered taxes on their tea to be tyrannical, the blood-soaked tyrants of the modern era have given new meaning to the word tyranny. Every major genocide of the 20th Century involved gun restrictions of some sort upon the oppressed people.

Adolf Hitler:
"The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subjected people to carry arms; history shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subjected people to carry arms have prepared their own fall."

Even in America, gun control has historically been a tool of tyranny and oppression. The earliest gun control laws denied slaves the right to bear arms, for obvious reasons. After slavery was abolished, these laws returned as “Jim Crow” laws denying black freedmen guns once again. It was much easier to keep blacks under the thumb of segregation if they were disarmed. Ending these racist gun laws was one of the primary reasons for passing the 14th Amendment, which essentially made the bill of rights applicable against state laws.

Other gun laws would forbid selling guns to the Indians, and later gun laws were designed to limit gun ownership among “lowly” Irish and Italian immigrants. These laws were used to oppress, not to elevate these groups. Ironically, in what must be the biggest political spin of all time, opposition to gun control is now considered intrinsically racist by many elites.

The U.S. Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA68) was, in many parts, a verbatim translation of Nazi gun laws used to oppress the Jews and other conquered people. The author of this legislation, Senator Dodd, had worked at the Nuremberg trials and later asked the Library of Congress to translate the old Nazi laws to be used in his GCA 68.

"Cato" (Nov. 27, 1787):
"[Y]ou do not believe that an American can be a tyrant? If this be the case you rest on a weak basis; Americans are like other men in similar situations, [...] your posterity will find that great power connected with ambition, luxury, and flattery, will as readily produce a Caesar, Caligula, Nero, and Domitian in America, as the same causes did in the Roman empire."

Our founding fathers understood that an armed populace was the final, last ditch safeguard against government suppression of the people’s liberty, when all the other “checks and balances” had failed. It was freedom’s reserve parachute, if you will.

George Mason:
"To disarm the people [is] the best and most effectual way to enslave them."

Noah Webster:
"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States."

Alexander Hamilton:
"[I]f circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights and those of their fellow citizens."

Reverend Nicholis Collin:
"While the people have property, arms in their hands, and only a spark of noble spirit, the most corrupt congress must be mad to form any project of tyranny."

St. George Tucker:
"Whenever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms, is under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction."

Richard Henry Lee:
"[T]o preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."

George Mason:
"I consider and fear the natural propensity of rulers to oppress the people. I wish only to prevent them from doing evil... Divine providence has given to every individual the means of self-defense."

Thomas Jefferson:
"And what country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms."
"When governments fear the people there is liberty. When the people fear the government there is tyranny."

Benjamin Franklin:
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."

Patrick Henry:
"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined."

The Second Amendment reads: “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.” The militia that the framers referred to was all citizens capable of fighting. The amendment therefore protects an individual right of the people to keep and bear arms, which is necessary to defend themselves from crime, invasion and tyranny. I hope that the Second Amendment will remain strong well into the future, preserving the right of the people to preserve their rights.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Second Amendment- Part Three: Court Interpretations

In Part One of this superlative series we explored the definition of “the militia” at the time that the Second Amendment was written and discovered that it referred to all citizens capable of bearing arms. In the equally brilliant Part Two we further examined how the Second Amendment refers to an individual right to keep and bear arms. Now we’ll examine how the Supreme Court has interpreted the Second Amendment through the years.

There are two things that gun-prohibitionists always say about the Second Amendment as interpreted by the Supreme Court. One is that the Supreme Court has never overturned a gun law on Second Amendment grounds and the other is that, in the case of U.S. v. Miller, the Supreme Court declared that the Second Amendment only applied to the right of states to arm their National Guard. One of those statements is true and the other is a lie.

Lets start with the lie. The case of U.S. v. Miller is often referred to by anti-gun activists as confirming their collectivist “National Guard” interpretation of the Second Amendment. It is the only Supreme Court case where they ruled upon the Second Amendment per se. In this 1939 case two suspected moonshiners were charged with violating the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA) by transporting an unlicensed sawed-off shotgun across state lines. In Miller the Supreme Court said that the NFA could stand constitutional muster. The court concluded:

"In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a [sawed-off shotgun] at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument. Certainly it is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment or that its use could contribute to the common defense... The signification attributed to the term Militia appears from the debates in the Convention, the history and legislation of Colonies and States, and the writings of approved commentators. These show plainly enough that the Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. 'A body of citizens enrolled for military discipline.' And further, that ordinarily when called for service these men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time." [Emphasis added.]

That’s hardly a rejection of the individual rights interpretation. It should be noted that although neither of the men involved were members of the National Guard, the court never even brought that fact up. Far from declaring that common citizens don’t have a right to bear arms, you could interpret the decision as meaning that individuals have a right to own military-style weapons only.

However you interpret the Miller decision, it’s important to note that the Supreme Court rendered its decision without ever hearing the defense’s argument. Neither the defendants nor their legal counsel appeared at the U.S. Supreme Court to argue their case. That’s why the court prefaced its decision with, "In the absence of any evidence…[.]” The lead defendant Jack Miller was found shot to death shortly before he could testify before the court and the other defendant, Frank Layton, quickly accepted a plea deal. The only argument presented to the court was by the government defending its own gun law!

While Miller was the only Supreme Court ruling on the Second Amendment itself, the Court has mentioned the Second Amendment peripherally in several other cases. In Dred Scott v. Sandford, for instance, the court debated whether or not blacks were citizens. The Court contended that if they were, they would be accorded the same constitutional rights as white citizens, including the right to keep and bear arms.

Scott v. Sandford:

"It would give to persons of the negro race... the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased,... and it would give them full liberty of speech...; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went."

"Nor can Congress deny to the people the right to keep and bear arms, nor the right to trial by jury, nor compel any one to be a witness against himself in a criminal proceeding."

In U.S. v. Cruikshank the Court ruled that the First and Second Amendments were protections against the federal government only, not state governments. In Presser v. Illinois the court ruled that a state law that prohibited civilians from drilling or parading with arms in cities or towns "[did] not infringe upon the right of the people to keep and bear arms."

Presser v. Illinois:

"States cannot... prohibit the people from keeping and bearing arms, as so to deprive the United States of their rightful resource for maintaining the public security and disable the people from performing their duty to the general government."

In Miller v. Texas the Court ruled that the Second and Fourth Amendment did not limit state action. Thereby, states may pass laws prohibiting the carrying of firearms in some ways. While discussing the 13th Amendment in Robertson v. Baldwin, the Court recognized the Second Amendment as a "fundamental" individual right.

In Lewis v. U.S. the Court ruled that convicted felons can be deprived of many fundamental rights, including the right to keep and bear arms. During Moore v. City of East Cleveland the court listed the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms with the other individual rights protected by the Bill of Rights, "the freedom of speech, press and religion; the right to keep and bear arms; the freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures…[.]"

U.S. v. Verdugo-Urquidez:

"'The people' seems to have been a term of art employed in select parts of the Constitution... [and] it suggests that 'the people' protected by the Fourth Amendment, and by the First and Second Amendments, and to whom rights and powers are reserved in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, refers to a class of persons who are a part of a national community or who have otherwise developed sufficient connection with this country to be considered part of the community."

While the Supreme Court hasn’t ruled directly on the Second Amendment in nearly 70 years, there are two recent lower court decisions that give freedom-lovers hope. In 2001, the U.S. Court of Appeals for Fifth Circuit ruled that the Second Amendment was indeed an individual right in U.S.v Emerson.

U.S. v. Emerson:

"All of the evidence indicates that the Second Amendment, like other parts of the Bill of Rights, applies to and protects individual Americans. We find that the history of the Second Amendment reinforces the plain meaning of its text, namely that it protects individual Americans in their right to keep and bear arms whether or not they are a member of a select militia or performing active military service or training. We reject the collective rights and sophisticated collective rights models for interpreting the Second Amendment. We hold, consistent with [U.S. v.] Miller, that it protects the right of individuals, including those not then actually a member of any militia or engaged in active military service or training, to privately possess and bear their own firearms..."

The Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of the case. Anti-gunners tried to spin that fact by implying that the individual rights interpretation of the Fifth Circuit was so ridiculous that the Supreme Court didn’t even want to hear it. However, by not hearing the appeal, the Supreme Court allowed the Emerson decision to stand as legal precedent within the Fifth Circuit. If the high court disagreed with the lower court’s decision so much, they no doubt would have taken the opportunity to strike down the decision.

More recently, in March of 2007, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down D.C.’s 32 year old ban on handguns as a violation of the Second Amendment in Parker, et al. v. District of Columbia.

Parker, et al. v. District of Columbia:

“To summarize, we conclude that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. That right existed prior to the formation of the new government under the Constitution and was premised on the private use of arms for activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from abroad). In addition, the right to keep and bear arms had the important and salutary civic purpose of helping to preserve the citizen militia. The civic purpose was also a political expedient for the Federalists in the First Congress as it served, in part, to placate their Antifederalist opponents. The individual right facilitated militia service by ensuring that citizens would not be barred from keeping the arms they would need when called forth for militia duty. Despite the importance of the Second Amendment's civic purpose, however, the activities it protects are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual's enjoyment of the right contingent upon his or her continued or intermittent enrollment in the militia.”

Desperate to keep their policy of victim disarmament, the nations murder capital appealed the case to the Supreme Court. If the Supremes agree to hear the case, it may be the our best chance to get a fair ruling on the Second Amendment in quite some time. Stay tuned.

Now that we’ve established that the Second Amendment does, in fact, protect an individual right for citizens to keep and bear arms, in the next installment of this masterfully written and provocative series we’ll see why that right is necessary.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Yup, that is an exact quote from "Conservative Republican" presidential candidate Rudy Guiliani from March 16, 1994. In a more recent interview, the ex-New York mayor and gun-grabbing cross-dresser also noted that...
Hmmm. Now where have we heard that before? So Orwell was only 24 years off.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Dear George

Dear George,

I trust that I can call you George, since we’ve been through so much together, right from the start. I was there at Jim Nussle’s barbecue in Amana where you first declared your candidacy for president. (You probably remember me. We shook hands.) I gave you the benefit of the doubt when you went to war to topple Saddam Hussein. (At which you did succeed, lest we forget.) I voted for you enthusiastically in 2000, then reluctantly, holding my nose, in 2004. But still, I voted for you twice George.

Since we’ve been buds for so long, I feel I need to tell you something that might be awkward coming from someone else: the fact that your recent veto of the bill expanding the SCHIP “children’s” healthcare program makes you look like a complete hypocrite.

Don’t get me wrong George, I fully support your veto of this massive expansion of the federal nanny-state. It’s just that your justification for vetoing it, that it is too expensive, seems strange given the last seven years of your administration.

You and the Republican Congress increased federal spending by 33%, twice the rate that it grew under Bill Clinton. If you didn’t have the money, it didn’t matter because, in the words of your V.P., “deficits don’t matter.” You guys once dumped $25 billion of additional, unneeded pork projects into a single transportation bill. You even started the new Medicare drug program which will cost 2 Trillion dollars over the next two decades. But the Democrats’ SCHIP expansion, which would cost an additional $35 billion over 5 years, is too expensive? Your new found principals as a born-again fiscal conservative seem odd since they only surface when it’s the “other” party handing you the big spending bills.

You could say that you vetoed the bill because it’s unconstitutional. You could point out that the Constitution only authorizes a handful of powers to the federal government and that funding healthcare isn’t one of them. But then, the Constitution doesn’t grant the federal government power to meddle in local education (like with “No Child Left Behind”) or to treat every petty street-crime as a federal offence (like with “Project Safe Neighborhoods”) or to implement a host of other programs and laws that you and the Republican Congress either passed or made no attempt to abolish. So I guess that line of reasoning won’t hold water either.

You rightly pointed out that the SCHIP expansion by the Democrats is a step “toward their goal of government-run health care for every American.” But you yourself want to expand the program, just not by as much as they do. So are steps toward government-run healthcare okay, as long as they’re baby steps? I fail to see the deep philosophical difference between expansion and “not quite as much” expansion. And wasn’t the aforementioned $2 Trillion government drug plan a big step toward “government-run health care for every American?” So that dog won’t hunt either, George.

So, there is no way in heck that your veto won’t make you look like a hypocrite. Your sudden aversion to the big-government excesses of the Democrats will always seem perplexing after spending years rubber stamping the big-government excesses of the Republicans. That’s what happens when a party abandons the key principals that distinguish it from another. Sorry George.

Warmest Regards,

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Above is a picture of a pal o' mine from the Iowegian Flatland territory out here in Montana last fall for his first antelope hunt. It shows typical "speed goat" country; i.e. miles and miles of miles and miles. My wife and I are headed there this weekend for Montana's antelope opener on Sunday the 7th.
Conventional wisdom says that antelope meat, to quote Michael Richards as Stanley Spadowski in the cinematic classic UHF, "Tastes like poop." We beg to differ. Then again, where we hunt speed goats, they are usually found under the irrigation pivots eating alfalfa or winter wheat every morning and evening. The wife and I put it right up there with whitetail venison.
Conventional wisdom in the form of the glossy outdoor magazines also says that you need the latest greatest flat-shooting .256-1/2 short-belted ultra super turbo Magnum cartridge. It's true that antelope hunting sometimes requires a long shot. But then again, if you're willing to get your fat butt out of the truck and do a little walking and stalking, you can shorten the range considerably.
In the photo you can see the type of country we hunt. And there's something special about antelope hunting out there. I have spotted them literally miles away and used my truck and my feet to make a detour of many more miles to be able to belly crawl over a small rise and be right in amongst them. Their normal vision is the equivalent of me and you looking through 8X binoculars, so when you can sneak up on them beasties unseen and unscented, you have accomplished a stalk you can be proud of. My first antelope, I shot at about 50 yards with my old .30-06. Just be aware of prickly pear cactus when crawling around the prairie; it once took me several months to get all the teensy little spines out of my knees after "sneaking" through some of that stuff.
Still, I now have my pet load for pronghorn whacking. An ordinary .30-06, when loaded with 130-grain Hornady bullets with a muzzle velocity of around 3,100 feet per second, has a maximum point blank range of 360 yards. That means if the critter is anywhere from fur-in-the-muzzle range way out to 360 yards, you just hold your crosshairs dead center on the boiler room and you will hit the vitals. If you can't sneak within 300 yards of a speed goat, you should either give up the sport or get out of the truck. This load, by the way, is more than enough medicine for deer and black bear as well, but a tad light for elk.
Remember, if God didn't want us to kill and eat animals, He wouldn't have made them out of meat.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ron Paul's Million Dollar Week

Ron Paul surprised many political pundits last quarter when he blew away John McCain in fundraising, rising to the number three spot for campaign cash on hand. It looks like Dr. Paul will have another banner fundraising quarter in the third-quarter as well.

Dr. Paul's war chest was already doing good when, on Monday, September 24 his campaign announced its goal to raise $500,000 online by Sunday, September 30th, the end of the third-quarter. Ron Paul grassroots supporters rose to the challenge, raising $170,ooo online by the next day, with contributions rolling in at about $10,000 per hour.

On Saturday night Dr. Paul and his wife Carol, campaigning in New Hampshire, watched on a laptop computer as the website counter ticked past one million dollars raised. $1,000,000 raised online in less than a week! Not too bad for a candidate who seems to be ignored by the media and party bosses. It shows what the support of the people can still do.

How much will he raise in the fourth quarter? Hopefully enough to keep scaring the snot out of the political establishment.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Second Amendment- Part Two: An Individual Right

In Part One of my informative series of flawless and thought-provoking essays on the Second Amendment, I brilliantly dispelled the fallacy that "the militia" referred to in the Second Amendment referred to a "select militia," such as today's National Guard. Instead the "general militia" that the Constitutional framers referenced meant all citizens capable of bearing arms for defence.

Although both sides of the current gun debate could probably squabble over the definition of "the militia" indefinitely, the Founding Fathers left little doubt as to what they meant. It is clear that the right they referred to was an individual right, not a "collective" right for the people to bear arms via some state agency as modern gun-prohibitionists (such as Sarah Brady) assert.

The following quotes should further dispel any doubts. Bold emphasis within a quote was added by me.

Patrick Henry:

"The great object is that every man be armed... Every one who is able may have a gun."

Thomas Jefferson:

"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms within his own lands."

Zachariah Johnston:

"The people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them..."

Samual Adams:

"The said Constitution [shall] be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms."

Pennsylvania Convention Minority Dissenting Opinion(Dec. 18, 1787):

"That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and their own state, or the United States, or for the purpose of killing game..."

John Adams:

"Arms in the hands of citizens [may] be used at individual discretion... in private self-defence."

Boston Independent Chronicle (Oct.25,1787):

"[I]t was in the law of nature for every man to defend himself, and unlawful for any man to deprive him of those weapons of self defence."

James Madison:

The Constitution preserves "the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation... [where] the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms."

William Grayson:

"[A] string of amendments (The Bill of Rights) were presented to the lower House; these altogether respected personal liberty."

Tench Coxe:
"[T]he people are confirmed by the next article (of amendment) in their right to keep and bear their private arms."

Akhil Reed Amar (Modern Yale Law School Professor):

"The ultimate right to keep and bear arms belongs to 'the people', not the 'states.' As the language of the Tenth Amendment shows, these two are of course not identical and when the Constitution means 'states,' it says so." [See below.]

Tenth Amendment, U.S. Constitution:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

See Mrs. Brady? The people and the States are two separate entities. The United States is a third.

Its ridiculous to think that "the people" referred to in the Second Amendment actually means "the States." It is the same "the people" who have the right to peaceably assemble under the First Amendment. It is the same "the people" whose "right [...] to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures" is guaranteed in the Fourth Amendment. If we apply the gun-prohibitionists' "the people means the States" logic to the other amendments in the Bill of Rights, it becomes clear how absurd that logic is.

U.S. Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution (1982):

"The conclusion is thus inescapable that the history, concept, and wording of the second amendment to the Constitution of the United States, as well as its interpretation by every major commentator and court in the first half-century after its ratification, indicates that what is protected is an individual right of a private citizen to own and carry firearms in a peaceful manner."

Amen you crafty old Senate Subcommittee you! In the next piece of this stellar series we'll look at how the courts have interpreted the Second Amendment.

To be continued...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Second Amendment- Part One: Who Are "The Militia?"

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitutions reads simply, "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." There is some debate as to what exactly that means.

The anti-gun crowd says that it is only meant to protect a "collective" right, wherein only state-sponsored militias (namely the National Guard) have the right to keep firearms. The pro-gun rights side contends that it protects an individual right, meaning that any law-abiding citizen may keep and bear firearms.

Anti-gun groups assure us that this individual rights interpretation is "divorced from legal and historical reality." Sarah Brady's anti-gun group stated on their website that "The [gun rights side] tends to omit the first, crucial, half of the Second Amendment -- the words referring to a 'well-regulated militia'."

We on the pro-gun side do not omit the militia clause of the amendment. We merely don't try to attach the 21st Century definition of the word "militia" to an 18th Century document. Since many words were even spelled differently at that time (Congress was Congrefs, for example), it stands to reason that their meanings may have changed a bit as well. Think about how the meaning of the words 'gay' and 'mouse' have changed.

So, who are the "militia" referred to in the Second Amendment? For the definition of the militia at the time that the Bill of Rights was written we must look at the statements of the Founding Fathers who were alive at the time.

George Mason:

"[W]ho are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers."

"That the People have a right to keep and bear Arms; that a well regulated Militia, composed of the Body of the People, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe Defense of a free state."

State Gazette of S. Carolina (Sept.8,1788):

"Such are a well regulated militia, composed of the freeholders, citizen and husbandman, who take up arms to preserve their property, as individuals, and their rights as freemen."

Samuel Adams:

"The militia is composed of free citizens."

Tench Cox:

"Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American... The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people."

Providence Gazette & Country Journal (Jan.5, 1790):

"[A] well-regulated militia include[s] the body of the people capable of bearing arms."

The Founding Fathers drew a distinction between the "general militia" composed of the body of the people and a "select militia" which received special weapons and training from the government (like today's National Guard). They viewed "select militias" with almost as much suspicion and loathing as they did standing armies, as the following quote demonstrates.

Richard Henry Lee:

"A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves... and include all men capable of bearing arms... To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms... The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle."

Shortly after the ratification of the Constitution, the U.S. Congress passed The Militia Act of 1792 that declared that all free male citizens between the ages of 18 and 44 were members of the militia. It also stated that "[e]very citizen... [shall] provide himself with a good musket, or flintlock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints...", in short, that every male citizen be armed. As with other rights, such as voting and owning property, the right to keep and bear arms was slowly extended to women and minorities through the years.

Connecticut Courant (Jan.7, 1788):
"But the people of this country have arms in their hands; they are not destitute of military knowledge; every citizen is required by law to be a soldier."
U.S. Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution (1982):

"In the Militia Act of 1792, the second Congress defined 'militia of the United States' to include almost every free adult male in the United States. These persons were obligated by law to possess a [military-style] firearm and a minimum supply of ammunition and military equipment... There can be little doubt from this that when the Congress and the people spoke of the 'militia,' they had reference to the traditional concept of the entire populace capable of bearing arms, and not any formal group such as what is today called the National Guard."

Many people don't care what some "arcane" agrarian-era law says anyway. But, this definition of the militia is still used today.

Current Federal Law: 10 U.S.C. Sec. 311:

"The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and... under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States..."

Stephen P. Halbrook (Contemporary Author & Attorney):

(From his book, 'That Every Man Be Armed') "In recent years, it has been suggested that the Second Amendment protects the 'collective right' of states to maintain militias, while it does not protect the right of 'the people' to keep and bear arms. If anyone entertained this notion in the period during which the Constitution and Bill of Rights were debated and ratified, it remains one of the most closely guarded secrets of the eighteenth century, for no writing surviving from the period between 1787 and 1791 states such a thesis."

It is easy to see that it is, in fact, Sarah Brady's constitutional theory that is "divorced from historical reality."
To be continued...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Straw Poll Pictures

This is a little out of date, but here are my pictures from the Ames GOP Straw Poll.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007



I decided to put aside politics for the moment as, in the course of researching a new book, I came across some quotes that I felt I should share. My bigggest pet peeve in the United States Army was rifle marksmanship, or rather the lack of it. The age-old Army attitude of suppressive fire (aka "Spray-n-Pray) was a bad idea in the first place, even on a regular battlefield free of civilian bystanders, but it's really coming back to bite 'em in the butt in the crowded urban battlefields of Iraq. Suddenly, they've realized rifle marksmanship is pretty darned important after all, especially when you're trying to take out an individual amongst many you're not trying to take out. Rather than advanced marksmanship training and spending some time and live ammunition at the range, they have decided to throw money and technology at the problem. The Perfumed Princes of the Pentagon, who will be seeking six-figure incomes after retirement by being "consultants" for defense contractors, are proposing instead all kinds of widgets and gee-gaws and doo-dads and entire new "weapon systems" in lieu of range-time and training. Instead, they just need to get back to the basics of shooting. If you don't believe me, perhaps a few quotes from these other fellers might help.

"You must have forgotten what happened in the American Revolution. We won that war with accurate fire, when the enemy had all the volume. It won at Kings Mountain and Saratoga, and every other battle we won. And real shooting almost whipped the mass-firing Federal army in the Civil War. It's still like that, anywhere I've seen men shooting it out. You don't hurt 'em if you don't hit 'em."

USMC Legend Lt. General Lewis "Chesty" Puller

"When 'arf of your bullets fly wide in the ditch,

Don't call your Martini a cross-eyed old bitch;

She's human as you are--you treat her as sich,

An' she'll fight for the young British soldier."

British Poet & Author Rudyard Kipling

"In battle, the only bullets that count are those that hit."

President & Rough Rider Theodore "The Good" Roosevelt

"The primary job of the rifleman is not to gain fire superiority over the enemy, but to kill with accurate, aimed fire."

Former Chief of Staff General Joseph "Lightning Joe" Collins

"If the fighting Army does nothing else, we must be able to hit our targets. Conversely, if we do all other things right, but fail to hit and kill targets, we shall lose."

Former Vice Chief of Staff General John Vessey

"One hundred misses per minute is not firepower. One hit per minute is."

The Guru, Colonel Jeff Cooper

"Firepower means bullets hitting people."

Mevlin Johnson, WWII Weapons Designer

"Put your heart and soul into being expert killers with your weapons."

General George S. Patton Jr.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Message From Ron Paul

Not all the media are biased. A local newspaper in New Hampshire reported on anannual GOP bbq in the town of Hollis. It could be called "the Ron Paul show,"they said, since the far bigger crowd that usual consisted mostly of our supporters. One volunteer even rented an airplane and flew a wonderful sign around the sky. What great, creative, self-starting people I'm meeting, at every stop, all ofthem united by a love of America and American freedom.

Politics is usually about division. But this campaign is just the opposite. Notonly are our volunteers a bunch of happy warriors, but they also practice the virtuesof tolerance and peace, just as they want the nation to do.

The other day, the state chairman of an opposing campaign (not in New Hampshire!),angrily tore a sign out of one of our supporter's hands and trashed it. Different people with different beliefs might have responded differently. But our people,though they'd been standing in the rain all day, applied the Golden Rule. It's because of quiet heroes that I know we can change this country.

A reporter in New Hampshire told me this story about Florida: she had seen the same three supporters working every day passing out our literature, and so decided to interview them. She was startled to discover that one was a Republican, one was a Democrat, and one was an Independent. But I wasn't.

Freedom brings us all together. We can all agree on leaving people alone to plan and live their own lives, rather than trying to force them to obey at the point of a gun, as runaway government does. Instead of clawing at each other via the warfare-welfare state, people under liberty can cooperate in a unity of diversity.

There is no need to use government to threaten others who have different standards,or to be threatened by them. Looking to our Founders, our traditions, and the Constitution,we can build, in peaceful cooperation, a free and prosperous society.

At a talk show in Nashua, New Hampshire, the host asked me about the fair tax. Well, I agree on getting rid of the IRS, I told her, but I want to replace it with nothing, not another tax. But let's not forget the inflation tax, I said.

This was something she had never considered, but after I talked about the depreciation of our dollar by the Federal Reserve, its creation of artificial booms and busts,and its bailouts of the big banks and Wall Street firms, to the detriment of the average person, she loved it. That is another tax, she agreed, a hidden and particularly vicious tax.

They try to tell us that the money issue is boring or irrelevant. In fact, it is the very pith of our social lives, and morally, Constitutionally, and economically, the central bank is a disaster. Thanks to the work of this movement, Americans are starting to understand what has been hidden from them for so long: that we have a right to sound and honest money, not to a dollar debauched for the special interests.

Unconstitutional government has created a war crisis, a financial crisis, a dollarcrisis, and a freedom crisis. But we don't have to take it. We don't haveto passively accept more dead soldiers, a lower standard of living, rising prices, a national ID, eavesdropping on our emails and phone calls, and all the rest.

We can return to first principles, and build the brightest, most brilliant future any people on earth has ever aspired to. Help me teach this lesson. Help me campaign all over this country, in cooperation with our huge and growing volunteer army. Help me show that change is not only possible, but also essential. Please, make your most generous contribution ( ) to this campaign for a Constitutional presidency worthy of our people. Invest in freedom: for yourself, for your family, for your future.



Saturday, August 18, 2007

5 Things Every Iowan Should Do Before They Croak

Many Iowans, especially young Iowans, think that since Iowa doesn't have mountains or oceans there's nothing to do here beyond binge drinking and destruction of property. Not true! Here is my list of five uniquely Iowan things to see or do before the gophers start bringing your mail.

#5) Visit The Field of Dreams Movie Site near Dyersville:
This is the site where the 1989 Kevin Costner movie about baseball and second chances was filmed. In it, Costner's character (Ray Kinsella) is instructed by a mysterious voice to build a baseball diamond in his cornfield. A feel-good movie that would have made Frank Capra proud, it features the best line ever uttered on film:
Shoeless Joe Jackson: Hey, is this heaven?
Ray Kinsella: No, it's Iowa.
If you've never seen this movie you should have blood tests done to make sure you're not really a Minnesotan. Visiting this mystical baseball diamond amidst the corn provides an even more spiritually uplifting experience than visiting the Iowa filming site of the Bob Newhart flick "Cold Turkey."

#4) Attend The GOP Straw Poll In Ames:

Attending this event last week got me thinking of what a unique and weird political tradition this is. Where else in fly-over country can you see so many leading presidential contenders in one spot? Where else can you have these men, mostly powerful senators and governors, kiss your butt, then ride on a Ferris wheel?
Not a Republican? No problem. Just pick a candidate that is offering you a free ride and the best lunch. If you're a Democrat vote for one that you think will be easy to beat in the general election.

I'm not necessarily advocating this for sport or leisure, I just think it's the civic duty of every Iowan to kill at least one of these locust-like horned rodents, so that Iowa motorists can quit crashing their cars into them. If you're morally opposed to killing these graceful woodland creatures, then stay there in Iowa City and wash your beansprouts down with a nice, big glass of, "Shut The Hell Up!"

#2) Attend a Hawkeye Football Game:

Sorry Cyclone fans, but this IS the Hawkeye State. I'm not much of sports fan, but even I've attended one of these. I never enjoy watching football on TV, but there's just something about going to an actual game in the crisp autumn air that is exhilarating.

#1) Attend the Iowa State Fair:

Sure it's corny and cheesy, but this is Iowa what do you expect? One of the best state fairs in the country it even inspired the film "State Fair," which I've never actually seen but I remember the people on the TV show "MASH" watching it on movie night, so it must be good. I've only been to the state fair once when I was a kid, but, when my kids are old enough, you can bet your butter cow that we'll be going there.