Individual Rights

Anti-gun columnist calls for intervention…in the US

Somehow, I get the feeling that columnist Henry Porter isn’t a fan of the Second Amendment.  As he’s a British subject, it doesn’t really matter a whole lot.  After all, he doesn’t get to vote on American issues.  Porter seems to understand this.  That’s why he’s calling for the international community to intervene here in the United States:

That’s America, we say, as news of the latest massacre breaks – last week it was the slaughter of 12 people by Aaron Alexis at Washington DC’s navy yard – and move on. But what if we no longer thought of this as just a problem for America and, instead, viewed it as an international humanitarian crisis – a quasi civil war, if you like, that calls for outside intervention? As citizens of the world, perhaps we should demand an end to the unimaginable suffering of victims and their families – the maiming and killing of children – just as America does in every new civil conflict around the globe.

Maybe because these deaths aren’t even remotely related to one another except that the implement used is the same?:

The annual toll from firearms in the US is running at 32,000 deaths and climbing, even though the general crime rate is on a downward path (it is 40% lower than in 1980). If this perennial slaughter doesn’t qualify for intercession by the UN and all relevant NGOs, it is hard to know what does.

Republican Opposition of Health Care while Supporting War on Drugs = Irony

Recently, I have been reflecting on the war on drugs and the fight for marijuana legalization and why so many people are opposed to legalization. What is most alarming to me about this situation is the almost across-the-board lack of support from Republicans, and even vocal opposition to legalization efforts. This is incredibly troubling, if not hypocritical.

While Republicans decry the health care bill as an attack on our rights, as unconstitutional, and opposed to our liberties because of a possible mandate, they at the same time argue that the governments complete ban on a substance, even if it used by an adult in their own home. If you believe the government has the right to dictate what an adult does in their own home to their own body, you ultimately believe that the government owns the citizens.

This philosophy that Republicans abide by via their support for the war on drugs makes many of their arguments against health care ironic. It’s not that I disagree with their views on health care, by all means I am opposed to government-run health care, but this “picking and choosing” of when the government can become pervasive and counter to a liberty-oriented philosophy of rights is simply not consistent.

I have never smoked marijuana. My support for marijuana legalization does not come from a desire to use the substance myself, but from a belief that the government’s role is not to make decisions about what we do to ourselves. Think of it this way – drinking alcohol is not a crime; drinking alcohol and then driving and running someone over is. Smoking marijuana should not be a crime; smoking marijuana and then killing someone is. Marijuana in and of itself is not a crime, nor is the consumption of it. The fact that we put people in prison for possessing a plant, while at the same time call ourselves a “free nation,” is extremely ironic.

Rand Paul marks one-year anniversary of filibuster

See Video

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has released a video marking the one-year anniversary of his 13-hour filibuster of CIA nominee John Brennan. Though it didn’t stop Brennan’s confirmation, it did raise awareness to the Obama administration’s drone strikes policy and, almost single-handedly, changed public opinion on the issue. You see our coverage of the filibuster here and here. You can also watch the filibuster, if you have 13 hours to spare, in full via C-SPAN.

LAPD Officers Fire Shots at Innocent People; Taxpayers Punished


Remember the LAPD shooting incident that occurred during their manhunt for Christopher Dorner just over one year ago? The one in which eight LAPD officers fired 103 shots into a vehicle that kinda sorta looked like the one Dorner was believed to be driving but turned out to be two women delivering newspapers without making any threatening moves to justify using deadly force whatsoever?

Though fortunately, both women survived, these eight cops would surely be charged criminally or at the very least never be allowed to work for law enforcement ever again…right? Maybe, maybe not (I have read conflicting reports). Some may be terminated while others may be retrained.

But the very idea that these cops should ever be allowed to have a concealed carry weapons permit (CCW) let alone patrol the streets as police officers is absurd and irresponsible. As outrageous as this determination is, there was actually an effort to clear the officers of any wrongdoing (These cops were dealing with a very stressful situation, after all). Thankfully, Chief Charlie Beck told the Police Commission that the officers should be found in violation of LAPD policy (I should hope this would violate LAPD policy!) at the very least.

The victims of this shooting/attempted murder will be compensated at the tune of $4.2 million plus an additional $40,000 to replace the vehicle at taxpayer expense. Certainly this is the very least the City of Los Angeles could do.

Learn Liberty: Does the NSA Violate Your Constitutional Rights?

See Video

In this new video from Learn Liberty, Professor James Otteson discusses the importance of the Fourth Amendment: “Many people don’t know what their constitutional freedoms are or why they have them in the first place. They’ve gotten so used to the freedoms they’ve enjoyed as Americans that they haven’t noticed just how rare and fragile they really are.”

More laws won’t prevent the next shooting

I get a little sick of having to write this post every time some maniac shoots up a place.  Every single time it happens, the left begins hand wringing and plotting how to take away our Second Amendment rights, and folks like me are left to talk about how new laws wouldn’t have prevented anything.

First, let’s note that it’s still very early so the policy wonks who are screaming at the top of their lungs like teenage girls at a Justin Beiber concert really can’t possibly know what the hell would prevent another tragedy like this even in their Utopian world of all knowing government and unicorns that poop cotton candy.

Now, let’s take a look at some facts.  A shooting happened on Monday that claimed 12 innocent lives.  It took place in a pretty secured building on a military base.  It was, probably, the safest place to be in D.C. short of the White House and the Pentagon, right?

Military bases are great big “gun-free zones.”  It was that way when I served in the mid 90’s, and nothing has changed in that regard.  Neither military personnel, nor the civilians employed there, were permitted to carry a firearm.  People have this view of military bases as bristling with firearms, but that’s false.  There are tons of weapons there, but the rank and file troops have little to no access to them and they can’t carry personal weapons either.

The Washington Navy Yard is no exception.  The laws already forbid weapons on the base, but the shooter (I am not going to use his name as a choice to not encourage the next maniac seeking to make sure he gets a Wikipedia entry) didn’t care.  He made it through security, entered a secured building, and killed a dozen people and wounded more.  Gun free zones clearly do not intimidate the criminal.  It’s time that the left comes to terms with this fact.

Santorum would use government to combat acceptance of gay marriage

It certainly isn’t news that Rick Santorum doesn’t care much for gay people, and he certainly doesn’t lie outside of the mainstream Republican view on gay marriage. What is slightly unorthodox about Santorum’s approach is his view of the government’s role in changing society. Fearful of the “consequence to society of changing this definition” of marriage, the former senator believes that government should have an active role in molding society’s view of gay marriage. Proof of that came when he was asked if he thought he could combat an increasing acceptance of gay marriage:

Christopher Patton, a Gary Johnson supporter, stopped Santorum as he approached his table and asked the candidate if he really felt he could “turn back the clock” on progress for gay marriage, considering that some polls show that a majority of Iowans under 30 years of age support it.

Santorum paused.

“Yeah, I do,” he replied.

It’s one thing to be intolerant of something and even to speak out against it publicly in an effort to persuade others – everyone is entitled to freedom of speech – but to use the power of government to force the masses to adhere to your set of morals is the textbook definition of bigotry.

Support for gun control falls to a record low

With two Supreme Court decisions in the last few years affirming the Founding Fathers view that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to gun ownership, Gallup reports that Americans opposition to gun control laws are at a record low:

A record-low 26% of Americans favor a legal ban on the possession of handguns in the United States other than by police and other authorized people. When Gallup first asked Americans this question in 1959, 60% favored banning handguns. But since 1975, the majority of Americans have opposed such a measure, with opposition around 70% in recent years.

 Do you think there should or should not be a law that would ban the possession of handguns, except by the police and other authorized persons?

The results are based on Gallup’s annual Crime poll, conducted Oct. 6-9. This year’s poll finds support for a variety of gun-control measures at historical lows, including the ban on handguns, which is Gallup’s longest continuing gun-control trend.

For the first time, Gallup finds greater opposition to than support for a ban on semiautomatic guns or assault rifles, 53% to 43%. In the initial asking of this question in 1996, the numbers were nearly reversed, with 57% for and 42% against an assault rifle ban. Congress passed such a ban in 1994, but the law expired when Congress did not act to renew it in 2004. Around the time the law expired, Americans were about evenly divided in their views.

Mike Lee: Patriot Act and the Fourth Amendment

See Video

Say good bye to reasonable doubt?

FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, is a little upset right now.  I don’t blame them either.  You see, for a group that supports individual rights in education, the new directive coming down from Uncle Sam has got to be a slap in the face.  You see, sexual assault and sexual harassment are serious issues.  However, now the federal government believes that the whole “without a reasonable doubt” thing is just to much trouble.

The new standard is called “preponderance of the evidence” standard.  Sounds like the same thing, right?  Not according to FIRE.

In response to new federal regulations announced last month that require colleges and universities to dramatically reduce students’ due process rights, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) today sent an open letter to the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) sharply criticizing the agency’s new requirements. Under the new regulations, announced in an April 4, 2011, letter from Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Russlynn Ali, colleges and universities receiving federal funding must employ a “preponderance of the evidence” standarda 50.01%, “more likely than not” evidentiary burdenwhen adjudicating student complaints concerning sexual harassment or sexual violence. Institutions that do not comply face federal investigation and the loss of federal funding.

[Emphasis mine]

The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.