Tag Archives: 2nd Amendment

“New York Revolution” Goes Eliminationist

15 Sep

This was found at this Facebook page around lunchtime on Monday September 15th. 

 

I have no words for this. 

This “New York Revolution” group had the support of Republican challenger for the SD-62 (Maziarz, incumbent) seat, Gia Arnold. 

Teachout, Cuomo & the Dictatorship of the Bureaucracy

27 Aug

When I think of Zephyr Teachout, I am specifically mindful of the fact that she’s a protest vote for the liberal wing of the statewide Democratic Party.  Most of them in and around the 5 New York City Boroughs. When I think of Zephyr Teachout, I think of this classic scene from Annie Hall: 

Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu are bright and, as far as anyone can tell, beyond reproach. Both of them are Manhattan intellectuals, and Teachout has adopted statewide political corruption as a platform plank, and Wu is known for his work on behalf of net neutrality.  Indeed, he coined the phrase. 

Andrew Cuomo has disappointed a lot of left activists. While the right assail him for the mild additive restrictions on guns via the “NY SAFE Act”, the left is sick and tired of continued Albany corruption, the constant, unchecked abuses of power, the power of incumbency, the insidious poisoning of the process by money and electoral fusion, and – above all – the comical overnight dismantling of the Moreland Commission just as soon as it started really doing its job. 

The New York Times declined to endorse Teachout due to her rookie non-credentials and her ignorance on anything going on north of Poughkeepsie and west of Nyack. It also declined to endorse Cuomo because of his fumbling of corruption. I think this is something of a cop-out. 

I have no idea whether Teachout can win the primary – I highly doubt it, but stranger things have happened.

Here in WNY we have a unique position unlike other parts of the state. There’s no Billion for Binghamton; no Assets for Albany, no Riches for Rochester or Silver for Syracuse.  Yet Buffalo and WNY have come under special Cuomo attention for two reasons: 1. he lost to Paladino here in 2010, and he wants badly to win; and 2. if he can show the world that Buffalo underwent a turnaround under his watch, he can sell that to the rest of the country in some future run. Fix Buffalo and the world is your political oyster. 

So, it’s tough to ignore the attention that the state has heaped on our fair city and region and simply dismiss Cuomo out of hand. Indeed, it’s about damn time an Albany pol tried to un-fuck Buffalo. 

But from a less selfish point of view, Albany politics are just as ugly and problematic as they’ve ever been. Efforts to change that have not only been stymied – Cuomo has actively prevented them.  Our Democratic governor, whom gun nuts liken to Karl Marx, actively supported the notion of a Republican majority in the feckless State Senate. It took Teachout to get him to actually support the idea that Democrats should win elections. 

Last night, I received a call from a Cuomo phone bank asking for my support. I bluntly told them, “ordinarily I would, but this Moreland thing has really thrown me for a loop”.  She marked me down as “undecided”, but seriously – it’s tough for me to support a governor who so casually dismisses the root of all state evils – Albany dysfunction and corruption.  This is especially true given the clean mandate that Cuomo has had to do just that. Cuomo’s inaction and outright refusal to address these issues is disappointing to me as a Democrat, but should be disappointing to all New Yorkers. 

Bluntly put, you can take your “REPEAL NY SAFE” sign and shove it, because the size of your magazine isn’t the assault on liberty you should be concerned about.

Instead, get angry about Albany’s multipartisan conspiracy with the dictatorial bureaucracies to commit managerial and legislative malpractice. This perverse system ensures that state government works for the tri-state area and no one else. Manhattan’s own Teachout and Wu aren’t going to fix that. Neither is Cuomo from Queens or Rob from Mount Pleasant (really). 

There’s nothing new here. The Brennan Center’s blueprint for reforming Albany is a decade old. No one pushes it because it’s heady and complicated and not as shiny as a gun. 

You won’t do anything about it. Your village, town, city, Assembly, and state Senate won’t do anything about it. Andrew Cuomo won’t do anything about it, and neither will Rob Astorino. Zephyr Teachout is at least talking about the right things, but there’s zero chance that she would get elected in November.

So, suck it up, New Yorkers. No matter whom you vote for in September’s primary, you’re in for another 4 years of bureaucrats running the state for their own benefit.  Unfortunately, short of a governor with some balls or a Constitutional Convention, it’s never going to change. 

2nd Amendment and Kathy Weppner

29 May

According to the silly lady, the founders of our country supposedly included the 2nd Amendment so that our servicemen and women could keep their arms and use them to commit treason and insurrection. 

I’m pretty sure the intended purpose of the 2nd Amendment was the exact opposite of that. But here’s a chillingly awful video that Tea Party Kathy released on her husband’s YouTube account. My favorite is when she stuffs the pistol in her pants. 

UPDATE: As you can see, Weppner removed this video. I looked at her other accounts – Friends of Kathy Weppner and Weppner for Congress, and it doesn’t appear there, either. Most of her videos appear on an account labeled “Dr. Weppner”

Weppner has already made herself famous by scrubbing just about any trace of her pre-2014 existence from the internet. Now, the scrubbing takes place in real time. 

Guns and Fun Unter dem Totenkopf

6 May

Waffen und Spaß!

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Shown above are three images from Assemblyman David DiPietro’s (R-Gunhug) recent gunapalooza fundraiser. A supporter posted them to Twitter, and they seem to have been taken during the “free gun” portion of the event.

Note the skull & crossbones – the Totenkopf – behind DiPietro.  Reading “2nd Amendment 1789 America’s Original Homeland Security”, that flag is as ugly and ominous, and makes believe we still live in a postrevolutionary frontier. Our original homeland security was made up of state militias, well-regulated.

It must be so horrible to live a life so perpetually in fear of imminent danger and violence that you feel the need to arm yourself to the teeth, and then tell people it’s all about “sportsmen”.  Then, when Cuomo says a sportsman doesn’t need 10 bullets to kill a deer, you mock that. Because it’s isn’t about sportsmen or target shooting or hunting, it’s about protecting yourself from Obummer and Hitlery Klintoon and il Duce Cuomo.

I don’t have a problem with legitimate sportsmen or people who want to keep a gun in their home for protection. I do have a problem with the paranoid freaks who demand the right to own an arsenal so they can kill all the people. I have a problem with nuts like the guy in Minnesota who, sick of break-ins, sat in the dark, with tarps at the ready, to shoot and kill the next people to do so. Now, he only used one gun that he purportedly kept in his house for “protection”. If you listen to the nauseating audio of the actual double murder, towards the end he gives a speech.  In it, he regurgitates all the NRA propaganda he can muster. You get a window into what it’s like when the gun lobby takes a legitimate self-defense right and turns it into a license to murder.

Thankfully, the prosecutors and the jurors saw through this and convicted this ignorant monster of murder. As a society, we’re trying to make it more difficult for unhinged lunatics to commit mass-murder. We’re trying to make it more difficult for the criminals and the insane to obtain, own, and possess firearms and ammunition. I frankly don’t understand why the DiPietroite gun nuts and the gun lobby are standing in the way of those goals.

 

Shane Kinney’s NRA Shirt and Your Rights

15 Mar

A public school cannot stop a kid from wearing this

The Bill of Rights in our Constitution – it’s easy to cherry-pick the parts of it you want to defend. It’s also easy to see who cherry-picks what. 

Western New Yorkers have tested the First Amendment on two occasions in the past few weeks. I highlighted one of them already – the efforts of a handful of people in the Clarence community to censor books, censor parts of the curriculum, and demagogue the disease prevention unit of the sex education curriculum. The other is Shane Kinney’s NRA t-shirt on Grand Island

Kinney was asked to remove a “Protected by Smith & Wesson” sweatshirt, and then to turn a pro-NRA t-shirt inside-out. The school apparently gave Kinney a suspension when he refused to do so. 

I don’t like the gun lobby, and I don’t like guns. I detest the gun culture in all of its incarnations. I don’t like Freudian allusions whereby one extols the virtue of self-protection with killing machines and their long, cold, hard shafts. As point of fact, I hate guns. 

That doesn’t mean Shane Kinney’s rights to free speech should be infringed. 

Eugene Volokh explains that at least one federal circuit has declared school prohibitions on shirts that display guns. The issue is a tricky one for schools. A school is a government entity, but it deals almost exclusively with minors. A school is well within its rights, for instance, to censor a child’s clothing if it, for instance, glorifies or promotes violence, drugs, alcohol, or some other inappropriate or harmful behavior. When it comes to guns, the Constitution is invoked, and it’s a matter of degrees. 

An NRA t-shirt that quotes an excerpt from the 2nd Amendment is completely acceptable in all aspects. There is nothing objectively controversial about it, regardless of whether or not you like guns. The issue in cases such as Kinney’s revolves around the depiction of actual firearms. Here, you run into an analysis that requires you to parse the definitions of terms like “disruption” and “violence”.  A picture of two crossed rifles is not a big deal. On the other hand, a t-shirt depicting, say, a trenchcoated figure using an assault rifle to shoot a schoolkid in the head would be patently objectionable. 

But if you look at the Grand Island school district’s own dress code, it doesn’t really say much about guns. It prohibits “vulgar” or “obscene” t-shirts, and clothing cannot “promote and/or endorse the use of alcohol, tobacco or illegal drugs and/or encourage other illegal or violent activities”.  Courts use a case from the mid-60s to handle these sorts of issues. From the case Volokh cites,

Because most public school students are minors and school administrators have the duty to provide and facilitate education and to maintain order and discipline, the Supreme Court “has repeatedly emphasized the need for affirming the comprehensive authority of the States and of school officials, consistent with fundamental constitutional safeguards, to prescribe and control conduct in the schools.” Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Sch. Dist., 393 U.S. 503, 507, 89 S.Ct. 733, 21 L.Ed.2d 731 (1969). Consequently, while a public school student does not “shed [his] constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the school-house gate,” id. at 506, those rights may be limited as long as the limitation is consistent with constitutional safeguards…

…”conduct by the student, in class or out of it, which for any reason — whether it stems from time, place, or type of behavior — materially disrupts class work or involves substantial disorder or invasion of the rights of others is, of course, not immunized by the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech.”Id. at 513, 89 S.Ct. 733. Accordingly, Tinker “requires a specific and significant fear of disruption, not just some remote apprehension of disturbance.” Saxe v. State Coll. Area Sch. Dist., 240 F.3d 200, 211 (3d Cir.2001). In sum, “if a school can point to a well-founded expectation of disruption — especially one based on past incidents arising out of similar speech — the restriction may pass constitutional muster.” Id. at 212.

Courts have upheld, for instance, students’ rights to wear black armbands to protest war, and also upheld a school’s ability to restrict or punish lewd and inappropriate language.

Arguably anything involving firearms is by definition “violent”, but in Kinney’s case, the firearms were merely depicted – in the image, they were not being fired at anyone or anything. The “protected by Smith & Wesson” sweatshirt was likely closer to the line, as it specifically invoked a threat of deadly force in response to a provocation. Even deadly force in self-defense is, by definition, violent, and under the “substantial disruption” standard in the Tinker case, that invocation of violence might be legally restricted, depending on whether the school could establish that the restriction was based on ” something more than a mere desire to avoid the discomfort and unpleasantness that always accompany an unpopular viewpoint,” and instead on whether the shirt would “materially and substantially interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school.”

I remember I was once handling a criminal matter in Massachusetts and a man with an Irish surname was being arraigned on an assault & battery charge. He had been arrested while wearing a Notre Dame jacket, which depicts an angry leprechaun with his fists up, waiting for a fight, and I thought to myself that it was an especially funny thing to be wearing under those circumstances. Does that belligerent Irish stereotype violate high school dress codes because it glorifies violence? I doubt any principal would punish a kid for that. 

But while local right-wing media have been milking this NRA shirt thing for a week now, even causing it to go national, they’ve been completely silent (as far as I can tell) as far as efforts to violate the 1st Amendment when it comes to banning award-winning literature in Clarence schools. They’ve not said anything about protecting the sex education unit recommending that kids who have sex use condoms to prevent unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. (Abstinence is part of the curriculum, incidentally, but not the entire curriculum because that would be insane). 

So, Shane Kinney should be free to wear his NRA t-shirt and probably even his Smith & Wesson t-shirt.  It’s not my favorite thing in the world, nor something I would send my kid to school in, but my sensibilities and opinions can’t be the arbiter of what is and is not appropriate or legal. The school district likely owes Kinney an apology. 

Sheriff Tim Howard: From Law Enforcement to Law Selection

26 Jul

Howard and Arpaio – two of the worst Sheriffs in America

Has anyone else managed to wrap their head around the fact that Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard isn’t just opposed to the NY SAFE Act, but has pledged to not honor or enforce it in any way? The power of the sheriff is not law selection – to pick and choose which laws to enforce – it is, instead, law enforcement.

It’s altogether possible that Howard has some sort of problem with the way NY SAFE and many other laws are passed or written. If he doesn’t like it, he should run for – and win – a seat on the Assembly or in the Senate.

It’s also possible that Howard thinks that the NY SAFE Act is unconstitutional or that it was hastily passed. To that end, he should have attended law school and then run for – and won – a judicial seat. Be a named plaintiff in the suit to strike it down. Be lead counsel on the case.  But that’s not all – to have a real effect he should have so excelled as a jurist that the governor would appoint him to the Court of Appeals, where the penultimate say would be had on the constitutionality question. Better still, make your way right onto the United States Supreme Court, which has the power of judicial review and to declare what the law is. It is the courts that determine the constitutionality of statutes that legislatures pass – not county sheriffs.

Instead, we have a county sheriff who has donned the mantle of legislator, governor, and Supreme Court Justice. He has unilaterally and extralegally decided that he will not enforce a duly passed law with which he doesn’t agree. This is, frankly, astonishing.

The 40 year-long war on drugs hasn’t been successful, yet Howard continues to enforce our narcotics statutes. Why?

Here’s what Howard says about the state’s new, more restrictive law regarding assault weapons:

January 31, 2013 – Our state already had some of the toughest gun laws in the nation and with the stroke of a pen our State Legislature and Governor made them even more restrictive last month, all in the name of making us safer. I don’t believe for one minute that Governor Cuomo did this to protect us; rather he rammed this bill through for his own personal agenda, so he could be the first out of the gate to thump his chest and say how restrictive gun laws are in New York , thus beating President Obama to the punch.

It is no secret Andrew Cuomo wants to be a presidential candidate in 2016. He took a very emotional event in our nation (the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut) and the unrelated murders of two first responders in Webster, NY and wrapped his constricting gun legislation around them like a bow, hand delivering it to the NYS legislature in a sweeping package that, in my opinion, infringes on every American’s constitutional right to bear arms.

We as citizens never even had an opportunity to respond to the proposed bill with our input; even law enforcement wasn’t consulted on this. In my opinion, this new law is proof of what gun rights people have been saying all along – that registration is a precursor to confiscation. We have landed on a slippery slope allowing the government to start tinkering with our second amendment rights – what comes next?

Well, why bother enforcing even the prior, “toughest gun laws”? Can you believe a local sheriff impugns the motives of the governor and the entire legislature in passing a law in the wake of the tragic massacre of 20 1st graders? Can you believe the way that statement sounds identical to the morningtime rantings of some high school dropout, shut-in, underemployed radio talk-show caller? And what especial knowledge or right does Howard possess to determine that the SAFE Act is violative of the Constitution? That’s a job for the courts, not law enforcement. Instead, Howard has appropriated for himself the unheard-of power of law selection. That’s the only real assault on the Constitution in this case – Howard’s self-appointment to be a co-Governor and court.

“We as citizens” have an opportunity to respond to the proposed bill with this input: don’t vote to re-elect the people who passed it. That’s what you can do. You can protest, you can complain, you can write, you can petition, you can call your legislators, etc. What Howard has done here – making believe that “registration is a precursor to confiscation” – is beyond an outrage. It should be, frankly, grounds for removal. 

Gun registration is not a precursor to confiscation any more than car registration is a precursor to car confiscation.

And Howard’s position isn’t the analogue to some brave Nazi soldier refusing to obey an illegal order. (That analogy has actually been made). No one asked Howard to round up and commit mass-murder of Jews, gays, gypsies, or other groups of people, and making that comparison demeans and cheapens the memories of the millions of victims of the Nazi horror.

Although stylistically different, Howard’s refusal to enforce the laws of this state is no different from what Gilbert, Pennsylvania police chief Mark Kessler is busy doing on YouTube: calling out “libtards” and shooting automatic weapons into trees and mounds of dirt.

Sheriff Tim Howard, who is running for re-election this year, can talk about confiscatory slippery slopes all he wants, but make no mistake that this is precisely what’s going through his head. (Language NSFW)

Brave Patriot Fights Tyranny of “Traffic Stop”

6 May

Here’s what happens when a brave 2nd Amendment patriot decides to fight the tyranny of the “routine traffic stop” in Ohio. 

The brave well-regulated militiaman had a Kalashnikov on his person, along with eight 40-round magazines. It is somehow important for the proper exercise of his 2nd Amendment liberties that he have these so that he can shoot as many bullets as possible at the unsuspecting police officers who were “just doing their jobs” as the AmeriKKKan lamestream media calls it. 

The difference between a “responsible gun owner” and “deluded homicidal lunatic” is sometimes razor-thin. But this video also depicts the idiotic pseudo-patriotic fever-dream of the particular gun people who think that the founding fathers intended for individuals to arbitrarily take up arms to fight an undefined “tyranny” from time to time, or that the Constitution somehow sanctions that. They didn’t, and it doesn’t

Peaceable Assembly

21 Jan

Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Photographs by Flickr user Sunny Hasija, used with permission. 

The Second Amendment and Tyranny

16 Jan

Tyranny is defined generally as oppressive, absolute power vested in a single ruler. The United States cannot, by definition, be tyrannical because it is a representative democracy where you have the right to overthrow any person or party every two, four, or six years – depending on the office. Your recourse is political action and being enfranchised to vote, organize, and petition. 

When the 2nd Amendment was drafted, the United States did not have a standing army – because of our experience with our British oppressors, America was decidedly hostile to the idea of a standing army.  As a result, our new nation depended on amateur on-call militias; Switzerland still uses this model wherein only 5% of its military is made up of professionals, while the militia and reserves are made up of able-bodied men aged 19 up to their 30s and 40s.  Because these people are members of a reserve militia, they keep and own their own military equipment. 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. 

But we long ago reconfigured our domestic military structure to switch from state-based reserve militias into a professional national military. To the extent the old state militias exist, they’re made up of the various National Guards. We don’t call upon average citizens to keep arms to fight off the Indians or the British; we have the Pentagon. 

If you look at the two recent Supreme Court cases which held that the “well-regulated militia” language, which was so carefully inserted into the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution, doesn’t really mean anything. Astonishing, that, but little can be done about it. In DC v. Heller , the Court affirmed an individual right to possess a firearm without respect to whether the bearer is a militia member, and that these arms can only be possessed for lawful purposes, such as self-defense. 

Heller also confirmed that your 2nd Amendment rights are not absolute or unlimited. Concealed weapons can be banned by states, you can limit their possession by felons and the mentally ill, and you can ban carrying a weapon in certain areas and regulate the sale of weapons. Particularly dangerous and unusual weapons can also be regulated or banned.  Although Heller applied only to federal districts, a subsequent case – McDonald v. Chicago – held that the 14th Amendment ensures that the 2nd Amendment and its jurisprudence also apply to state action. 

Because handguns aren’t unusual, and the petitioner in Heller intended to keep a handgun in his home for personal protection, his use was lawful and DC was ordered to issue him a permit, and could not require him to keep the gun essentially unusable while being kept. 

Nothing that happened yesterday in Albany is violative of the 2nd Amendment. The 2nd Amendment is silent on the number of rounds a clip can hold, and bans on certain types of weapons have been consistently upheld. If you have to re-register to drive a car every few years, you can re-register to own a gun. How do we monitor felonies or mental illness with lifetime permitting? 

But I want to pivot back to something – tyranny. How many people have you heard in the past month since the Sandy Hook massacre explain that assault weapons and other militaria must be legal because we have some sort of right to fight tyranny. How many people have suggested to you, with an astonishing ignorance of history of propriety, that, e.g., German Jews could have halted the Holocaust if only they had been armed. 

Make no mistake, notwithstanding Jefferson’s tree of liberty, there is no law, statute, or Constitutional provision that exists in this country to allow someone to fight domestic “tyranny”. What these people are saying is that they detest the government – especially Obama’s government, because he is Kenyan or an usurper or a Nazi or a communist or a “king” or maybe just because he’s brown-skinned. At which point do we determine as a society when we have made the flip to “tyranny”? Who is the arbiter of “tyranny”? At which point do we determine that all of our anti-treason statutes and the constitutional provision found in Article III, section 3 of the Constitution can be set aside because of “tyranny”? 

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.

You have no right to possess militaria to fend off “tyranny”. If you think you do, show me the statute or law that says so. Show me the statute or law that repeals our anti-treason legislation. It doesn’t exist. 

If New York wants to ban assault weapons or clips holding more than 10 bullets, it can. If you don’t like it, get your tea party buddies together and elect a legislature in Albany that will repeal it.  But there’s not a thing in the world that suggests that you can, if you don’t like it, take up arms against Albany or Washington. That would be a crime. If you try it and you’re armed, law enforcement won’t like that. Not at all. 

 

Human Shields

18 Dec

HT Marquil at EmpireWire.com