Recent Posts From Tom Knighton
Police state might be a tad bit strong. Police city might be more appropriate. However, it’s still a pretty scary thing to watch.
Paragould, Arkansas Mayor Mike Gaskill and Police Chief Todd Stovall offered up a “solution” for the towns crime problem. That solution? Well, it looks like something out of a dystopian novel:
Stovall told the group of almost 40 residents that beginning in 2013, the department would deploy a new street crimes unit to high crime areas on foot to take back the streets.
“[Police are] going to be in SWAT gear and have AR-15s around their neck,” Stovall said. “If you’re out walking, we’re going to stop you, ask why you’re out walking, check for your ID.”
Stovall said while some people may be offended by the actions of his department, they should not be.
“We’re going to do it to everybody,” he said. “Criminals don’t like being talked to.”
Gaskill backed Stovall’s proposed actions during Thursday’s town hall. “They may not be doing anything but walking their dog,” he said. “But they’re going to have to prove it.”
Stovall said the foot patrols would begin on the east side of town and would eventually snake into the Pecan Grove area.
So citizens engaged in a lawful activing - like walking their dog - have to prove that they’re not up to no good? Will police officers in Paragould phrase their requests as “Papers, please?” Possibly. Here’s more about Stovall’s warped thinking behind this draconian move:
Now that a couple of states have made it clear that pot is legal within their own borders, it looks like the momentum has shifted on drugs. I can’t help but believe that presidents in the future will be elected based on how little they want to pursue the “war on drugs,” meaning we will see the end of it in the future…if I’m right.
Perhaps now is a good time to start directing some attention to another prohibition, and that is prostitution.
I’m going to ask folks to turn off their morality arguments. Those are great for telling someone why they shouldn’t use a prostitute, but it doesn’t have any place in a discussion about why it should be legal or illegal.
Prostitution is nothing more than the act of selling sex for money. One has to be rather specific about the money part though, because without that a lot of people can be considered “prostitutes.” For example, the person who sleeps with their boss for a promotion could be considered a prostitute, despite the act itself not being specifically illegal in most jurisdictions.
They say that prostitution is the “worlds oldest profession”, and it may well be. It is probably one of the earliest examples of entrepreneurship in history as well. After all, it requires minimal startup costs, minimal overhead, and large potential return on investment compared to other potential industries. However, it’s currently illegal.
Let me ask the opponents of prostitution this: who is hurt by a mutally satisfactory exchange of cash for a service?
The answer is no one. If it were, then plumbers or electricians - who take money in exchange for a service - would be classified as committing a crime. They’re not, and for a good reason. We need properly functioning pipes and wiring, and see nothing wrong with exchanging money for the necessary services to keep them in working order.
Senator Dianne Feinstein is no friend of the Second Amendment. After the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, Sen. Feinstein called for a new assault weapon ban. Now, however, she’s claiming that it’s even more important that these so-called “assault weapons” be taken off the streets in light of the tragic events last week at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“Who needs these military-style assault weapons? Who needs an ammunition feeding device capable of holding 100 rounds?” Feinstein wrote on her campaign website. “These weapons are not for hunting deer — they’re for hunting people.”
On Sunday Feinstein laid out details of the bill.
“It will ban the sale, the transfer, the importation and the possession, not retroactively, but prospectively,” and ban the sale of clips of more than ten bullets, Feinstein said. “The purpose of this bill is to get… weapons of war off the streets.”
Ah, the old hunting argument. Before I address that though, I find it disgusting that the senator would choose to talk about her bill in light of what happened, especially since this most recent act had nothing to do with so-called “assault weapons”. Adam Lanza is alleged to have used two semi-automatic pistols to commit his acts of voilence that horrible day, and unless this assault weapon ban proposes to just hit all semi-automatic weapons, it wouldn’t touch the murder weapons.*
I’d also like to take a minute to remind Sen. Feinstein on the exact wording of the Second Amendment:
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.
Okay, so I lied. I have no particular reason why a conservative, especially an evangelical conservative, should support gay marriage. Well, I do, but those arguments have all been rejected time and time again, no matter how much validity I believe them to have.
However, there is a reason why conservatives should support the government at least getting the hell out of way.
My Facebook feed is routinely peppered with people who claim that the idea of seperation of church and state (which they note has no specific mention in the Constitution) had absolutely nothing to do with keeping the church out of government, but existed solely to keep government from having any sway over what churches do or say. Now, I personally adhere to the belief that it’s really a two way street, but that’s neither here nor there.
So, Christian conservatives do not want Uncle Sam telling the First Baptist Church of Podunk, Mississippi what they can and can’t do, correct? Well, guess what? I agree with that completely. I can’t think of a single contributor to this site that doesn’t feel the same way. So, we’re all on the same page, right?
Now that we’re at least looking in the same basic direction, I’m forced to ask why conservatives are comfortable letting the government determine which ceremonies performed by a church are valid, and which aren’t?
You see, there are churches in this country that don’t seem to have any issue with performing marriage ceremonies for gay or lesbian couples. However, the government of the United States refuses to accept those ceremonies as valid, even in states where the law allows them. In is insinuating itself into the internal actions of a church by declaring its sacraments less valid in some circumstances than others.
Libertarianism seems like an idea that the vast majority of people can get behind. More and more people are approaching me, describing themselves as mostly libertarian. The problem, as they describe it, is a matter of libertarians not really grasping the reality of the world we live in.
I’m going to concede that they make a fair point. It’s not that libertarian ideals can’t be applicable to the real world. Instead it’s that so many libertarians don’t bother to look at things in the real world before opening their trap.
A case in point is Reason.com’s J.D. Tuccille. Yesterday, he arguing that right to work laws were actually not libertarian because they violated the power of the contract, telling employers and unions what they can’t do in a contract.
Needless to say, he was met with a great deal of resistance. Later yesterday evening, he posted this at Reason:
However, there is a group that benefits from responding to laws with more laws, and that group consists of politicians and government officials. Note that the long-standing positions of the major political parties are represented both in the federal legislation mentioned above and the current battle over right-to-work laws. With the NLRA, Democrats positioned themselves as advocates for labor, while Republicans responded to business concerns with Taft-Hartley. Republicans now champion right-to-work on behalf of beleaguered businesses, while Democrats tout their opposition to such laws to their union-member constituents. By intruding the state into labor-business relations, politicians elevated their own importance and power in a way that simply staying out of the matter, or repealing laws, never could,
Michigan’s “Right to Work” debate has drawn attention to the whole idea of unions and where they fit in. Unsurprisingly, I’m a supporter of right to work laws. I’m also not a fan of unions as they are currently structured. However, whether you are a fan or not doesn’t matter. Anyone who values ideas like freedom should support right to work laws.
For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, “right to work” laws do not outlaw unions. What they do is prevent a union from structuring things in such a way that workers have no choice but to join a union. Unions claim these laws undermine their ability to collectively bargain. I am certainly sympathetic to that, but not nearly enough to trump my reservations about what happens without these laws.
You see, union membership is never free. Unions have employees who have to be paid, so they charge dues. Dues aren’t unusual. Most groups have some form of dues. However, unions in non right to work states are basically telling people if they want to be employed, they must give over a portion of their paycheck to the unions. There’s no choice in the matter. If you want to work in those businesses, you have to pay.
Now, if someone told me that I had to pay to be employed, I’d consider that a crime. They’re blocking my ability to earn a wage and support my family. If it was a criminal organization, the FBI would be all over it with an investigation and probably very public arrests. However, unions have been sacrosanct for quite some time. As fellow United Liberty contributor Jeremy Kolassa put it:
One of the biggest struggles between conservatives and libertarians isn’t over gay marriage, abortion, or even the War on Drugs. No, its whether libertarians should be faithful to the Republican Party. This discussion has gotten even louder in recent weeks after Mitt Romney’s defeat at the hands of President Obama.
However, the question I personally have is whether or not libertarians would be even welcome within the party. My fellow United Liberty contributor, Kevin Boyd, wrote this regarding his thoughts on what libertarians should do:
The solution is simple, we must launch a hostile takeover of the Republican Party. We need encourage our libertarian friends to abandon the Libertarian Party, which has accomplished a grand total of nothing in its 40 years of existence. Conservatives and libertarians need to get involved in the Republican party, especially on the local level. Work your way up the party ranks and eventually become the establishment.
I see what Kevin is saying, and he’s right about the Libertarian Party’s lack of accomplishment. As a member of that party, I’m extremely frustrated with the poor showing during the last election by Gary Johnson, who I felt was a very solid candidate.
However, Johnson’s appearance on the LP ticket ties into my concerns about whether libertarians would be welcomed within the GOP. Johnson was a two term governor of New Mexico, a clear fiscal conservative, and a man with solid “small government” credentials. He was shut out.
Ron Paul made some waves this time around, and much of the derision he faced within the GOP could be argued to be the result of his fanatical supporters and their actions. However, four years ago, he was right where Johnson was this time around.
Illinois has the distinction of being the only state that has no form of concealed carry law on the books. In short, they figure you have no right to take a gun outside of your house (though I’m assuming there’s some way to transport it to a gun range or hunting grounds or something). However, it looks like their take on it has been ruled unconstitutional by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
In today’s decision, Judge Richard Posner ruled that Illinois’ ban on carriage is unconstitutional. The Judge went on to say, “One doesn’t have to be a historian to realize that a right to keep and bear arms for personal self-defense in the eighteenth century could not rationally have been limited to the home… . Twenty-first century Illinois has no hostile Indians. But a Chicagoan is a good deal more likely to be attacked on a sidewalk than in his apartment on the 35th floor.”
Judge Posner is 100 percent correct about when a Chicagoan is likely to need his firearm. However, it appears that the ruling includes instructions for the state legislature to enact some form of concealed carry rather than pusing through a “constitutional carry” situation where all are free to carry in any manner they choose.
Still, gun rights advocates are celebrating this as a triumph.
Rep. Steve Israel is apparently pretty scared. You see, he’s calling for a ban on 3-D printer made guns. Apparently, just days after a gun was fired using parts from such a printer, Israel is terrified that someone might build a gun using the technology:
Israel (D-Huntington) said a group of young men recently built and fired six shots from a “Wiki Weapon” — an AR-15 assault rifle partially assembled with parts from a 3-D printer, Israel said.
“It is just a matter of time before these three-dimensional printers will be able to replicate an entire gun,” Israel said at a news conference at the security checkpoint at Long Island MacArthur Airport. “And that firearm will be able to be brought through this security line, through the metal detector, and because there will be no metal to be detected, firearms will be brought on planes without anyone’s knowledge.”
Of course, there is still the argument that if there were more guns on planes, terrorists would actually be less likely to try and hijack planes. Of course, silly things like “logic” don’t have a place in legislation.
Another aspect of this “logic” that’s getting missed? So far, there are no 100 percent 3-D printed guns so far as anyone knows. That’s right. Israel is freaking out about a gun that doesn’t exist. He’s not the first though, since there have been laws against this off and on for over 20 years.
Author and Boing Boing partner Cory Doctorow had this to say about the reality involved in such a law:
Thanks to Bob Costas firing off his mouth Sunday night, guns are in the limelight again. I’ve written a fair amount this week all on my lonesome, and I’m not the only writer who has devoted some ink (digital or otherwise) to Costas and his comments.
Now, however, Charles Barkley has reportedly come out in favor of the right to keep and bear arms according to a report at Cincinnati.com:
On the show, Barkley says he’s “carried a gun in my car, every day of my life since I was 21 or 22 — never had to use it.”
On Costas Tonight, Barkley addresses broader issues. He says, “Especially in the black culture, it’s a crime culture. We, as black people, and I always say ‘we’, we won’t have respect, we don’t have respect for each other. We have more black men in prison than we do in college, and crime in our neighborhoods is running rampant. I know everybody reacts when something like the Belcher thing happens. But being black, this is something you deal with all the time, and it’s just sad. I’m a guy and I carry a gun.”
Would he use it? Says Barkley: “I feel a sense of peace when I have it with me, but it would take extreme circumstances for me to even touch it.”
Barkley believes that discussions about Javon Belcher and what he did should instead focus on domestic violence. Honestly, I can’t argue with that in the least.
The comments came as Barkley joined Costas and tennis great John McEnroe on the set of Costas Tonight which was already recorded prior to the comments and set to air on NBC Sports tonight.