Tag Archives: gun control

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)

Fuck Your Gun

15 Jan

Let’s limit gun ownership to what Heston is holding here.

Yesterday, in something of a whirlwind session of the oft-feckless New York State legislature, Senate Majority leader Dean Skelos, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and Governor Andrew Cuomo agreed to the key provisions of what is called the “NY SAFE” act, or “Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement” Act. It passed the state senate late Monday, and will be taken up by the Assembly today. 

The law will do the following: 

– limit gun magazines to hold a maximum of 7 bullets; 

– universal background checks for every single gun transfer, including private ones that are person-to-person; and 

– a “Webster provision” mandating life without parole for anyone who murders a first responder. 

Here’s what at least one 2nd Amendment purist had to say about it on Twitter: 

 

The second amendment. The one that helps enshrine perpetual violence and revolution. Its purpose – clearly stated – was to make sure that our new country, which at the time had no standing army, could protect itself from attacks by Britons, Frenchmen, Spaniards, and whatever Indian tribe or nation from which we were trying wrest control of land.  

You want a gun for hunting? Target practice? Skeet? To ward off robbers or burglars? That’s fine. You don’t, however, get to keep a military arsenal. 

Those on the deepest fringes of the right wing – the people who think lunatic Alex Jones is an influential and sane voice about guns – love to bring up the notion that the 2nd Amendment exists to protect you from “tyranny”. No one gets too worked up trying to define what “tyranny” is, or who gets to decide when “tyranny” becomes a clear and present danger. This crowd loves to cite the Declaration of Independence – a document that was a declaration of war against a monarch who brutally exploited his American colonies. The Declaration, however, ceased to have any legal effect the moment that Britain lost the war and recognized American Independence. 

So, no, proud patriot, you don’t have a right to take up arms against the government. Indeed, Article III, section 3 of the U.S. Constitution makes that sort of thing a very serious crime.  

One more gun control effort, one more gun fetishist makes some broken, semi-informed analogy about how if the Jews were armed in the 30s, they could have somehow halted their own genocide in the face of a German war machine. One more gun debate, one more person suggesting that our representative democracy – flawed though it might be – is or could oh-so-easily-be the equivalent of Pol Pot’s Cambodia. One more effort to limit the firepower we so casually make available to lunatics, one more person expressing their idiot fever-dream of single-handedly taking on the FBI or One World Government or ZOG, notwithstanding the fact that the government could – if it wanted to – easily take out your entire neighborhood with an unmanned drone operated by a teenager nursing a Monster Energy Drink in a dank, smelly basement in Northern Virginia. 

One more gun fetishist, one more clumsy analogy made to some other object with a large capacity or capability of doing harm that we are allowed to own, but the primary purpose for which is not “putting holes in things at breakneck speed”. Gas tanks, fast cars, pencils.  

And what of tyranny? We’ve had plenty of tyranny in this country, but when the Black Panthers agitated for blacks to arm themselves during the civil rights struggles of the 60s, the NRA was happy to support the Mulford Act, which limited the Panthers’ ability to carry arms and inform black citizens of their Constitutional rights. The NRA supports your right to bear arms, so long as you’re of European descent and not too uppity. 

Some have taken to social media to criticize the limit on magazines. I don’t understand why it’s ok for someone to have a semiautomatic pistol that can fire 7 bullets in 7 seconds and extinguish 7 lives in that period of time, but I suppose it’s exponentially better than the 33-round clip that Gabby Giffords’ would-be assassin had in his possession. He was subdued only as he tried to reload; by that time, six people had been killed

I get that violence is an integral part of American society and history. But I also recognize that you don’t get to own an F-15 or a nuclear missile just because it makes you feel safe or helps you ward off “tyranny”. 

I know that the rhetoric on this issue is going to get much worse before it gets any better. After all, we have a Kenyan communist President, against whom any facile lie is routinely thrown. I also think that insane lunatics shouldn’t have access to military weapons and equipment; shouldn’t be able to waltz around your town with enough firepower to put 11 holes in a first grader. Shouldn’t be able to get so many rounds off in so little time that the first grader’s jaw and hand are disappeared. 

If you like guns, good for you. If you’re a Glenn Beck / Alex Jones type, I sincerely hope that you get Galt’s Gulch going – that you divest yourself completely from American society and go off and start your post-hippie, penis envy-laden republic of gunnutistan – a place that is not on American soil and is free from American law and jurisdiction, so you can carry out your secessionist fever dreams away from us normal people. 

Because our easy access to guns and our gun culture make our society a particularly violent one; not video games or TV shows – those are safe avenues of expressing the reality of warfare. We love war and conflict. We can’t get enough of it. Somehow, other societies are able to function without it. 

New York is going to limit your ability to transfer your guns to the angry and insane, and it’s going to make you have to reload more frequently while you’re shooting up your neighborhood or a schoolroom. This isn’t the end of the 2nd Amendment – it’s a first step to protecting those of us who don’t run around living in perpetual fear, armed to the teeth. 

Breaking: Israel Does Not Arm Its Teachers

21 Dec

There’s a meme circulating around Penis-extendville, Gunnutistan where it is averred that there are no school shootings in Israel because this picture exists: 

Click to enlarge

You’ve probably seen it at least once on Facebook. Or in a chain e-mail like the one above. 

So, is it true that Israeli teachers are armed? It would be half of Gunnutistan‘s wet dream – don’t pay the teachers, but give them each a nice, shiny weapon. Because derp. 

Well, the answer is no. Israeli teachers are not armed. In fact, it’s unlikely that the person shown above is a teacher at all

There may be some exceptions in dangerous areas like the West Bank (where five percent of Israelis live), but in general, Israeli teachers are not walking around like it’s the Wild Wild West, strapped with a six shooter. No, our teachers are not focused on shooting, but educating. That doesn’t mean, however, that we don’t protect young students.

In the picture, the students are on an outing. While it appears that the teacher is holding a rifle, I have never seen such a thing in ten years of living here. Rest assured however, they are under armed protection. In most cases it is an armed guard or a soldier that will accompany a class, not the teacher. And my guess is that the woman with the gun is a security guard, not a teacher.

Secondly, they are not armed in the classroom. Is that really the image you want to imprint on the minds of six-year-olds? (That would be Hamas). On the other hand, I have never seen a school in Israel that was not fenced in. You must go through a locked gate that is guarded by an armed shomer, a security guard. He or she, on the other hand, is not concerned with educating, but protecting. He or she will ask you why you are there? What is your child’s name? Show me your I.D. card. And he or she would not let you bring a weapon inside.

These types of massacres don’t seem to happen here for other reasons as well. Despite the stereotype of Israel being a violent nation, it is a million times (slight exaggeration) easier to get a weapon in the U.S. than it is in Israel. Gun control laws are very strict here.

Two types of people have guns in Israel: Soldiers and those with licenses. Mentally unstable people don’t have guns—and thus, don’t shoot people. And it is not as easy to steal a gun as it is in the U.S. When you are drafted you go through mental tests to see if there are any red flags. If so, you will be discharged or placed in an area where you would never see a rifle.

 HAH! Can you imagine? Show me your ID card?  The black helicopter set would blame n0bama and Kenya and socialism. 

So, given that firearms are often seen within the Jewish State – a country literally surrounded by enemies – who’s got the guns? 

…guns are ubiquitous in Israel, where most 18-year-olds are drafted into the army after high school.

However, once those soldiers finish their service two or three years later, they are subject to civilian gun control regulations that are much stricter than American laws.

In fact, it’s pretty much impossible for civilians who live in Israel to acquire an arsenal of weaponry of the sort used by the alleged shooter in last week’s massacre in Aurora, Colo. James E. Holmes, who is accused of killing 12 people and wounding 58 in the Aurora movie theater, legally bought the firearms he used, according to reports, including a semiautomatic rifle, a semiautomatic pistol and a 12-gauge shotgun. Leading up to the shooting, Holmes had bought thousands of bullets online.

In Israel, assault rifles are banned except for special circumstances, such as communal self-defense in areas deemed to be a security risk. And while political violence in Israel is all too common and gun violence is a growing problem, random shootings of strangers – like the Aurora massacre — are virtually unheard-of here.

Unlike in the United States, where the right to bear arms is guaranteed in the Constitution’s Second Amendment, Israel’s department of public security considers gun ownership a privilege, not a right. Gun owners in Israel are limited to owning one pistol, and must undergo extensive mental and physical tests before they can receive a weapon, and gun owners are limited to 50 rounds of ammunition per year.

Not all Israelis, however, may own guns. In order to own a pistol, an Israeli must for two years have been either a captain in the army or a former lieutenant colonel. Israelis with an equivalent rank in other security organizations may also own a pistol. 

In addition, residents of West Bank settlements, and those who work there, may own pistols for self-defense.

Other groups of Israelis, such as professional hunters and sharpshooters, or people transporting dangerous goods, may also own firearms. And Israelis may keep unloaded guns they inherited or received as a gift.

Lior Nedivi, a former police officer, said that despite Israel’s militarized society, neither soldiers nor veterans engage in extensive gun violence because 18-year-olds are tested for mental and physical fitness before being drafted.

In 2008, 143 people in Israel died from firearms, according to the website gunpolicy.org. 

“They don’t recruit everyone,” said Nedivi, who runs a company called Advanced Forensic Science Services. “If you are a person with a record of violence, you will be discharged.”

Screening, licensing, a limit on ammunition, and self-defense only. Nothing there about overthrowing the tyranny of the state. 

For his part, Mr. Paladino claims in his email that the Newtown shooter, 

We don’t need more gun control.  Lanza could have killed all those people with a screwdriver.  Are we going to ban screwdrivers next?   We need armed and trained teachers.  A policeman in a school can be identified and neutralized first. Armed teachers in various numbers can’t be identified. That will keep the loonies away. We have made our schools perfect targets for lunatics by making them gun free zones. When Lanza heard the sirens he killed himself. The loonies, much like Obama and his liberal devotees, are cowards.

Lanza could have killed 20 people in a matter of a few minutes with a screwdriver? Considering he shot some of the victims up to 11 times, he could have stabbed them each multiple times with a screwdriver? And a teacher would have been defenseless against a screwdriver? Did the screwdriver the author envisions have a mechanism with which to semi-automatically fire bullets at people, one after another? 

And perish the thought that we would have police or security guards in school. A wily kid-murderer could “identify” and “neutralize” them first. Because the right wing always, incessantly, relentlessly operates from a viewpoint of fear, it is therefore assumed that we must turn our schools into Supermax prison-style fortresses with armed teachers and kids in body armor. These kids are then rushed in motorcades from their secure gated, walled communities to their Supermax security schools, and thus can we complete the descent from rational first-world superpower into a plutocratic mirror image of Zimbabwe or Mauritania. 

Of all the stupid ideas that Gunnutistan has come up with as a “response” to Newtown, arming the teachers is the most dangerous and idiotic. 

Maybe take the money you’d otherwise spend on a firearm and give those teachers a fucking raise.