Western Rifle Shooters Association

Do not give in to Evil, but proceed ever more boldly against it

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Instruments of Tyranny - Part II

An essay from December, 2004 by Congressman Ron Paul:

In 2002 I asked my House colleagues a rhetorical question with regard to the onslaught of government growth in the post-September 11th era: Is America becoming a police state?

The question is no longer rhetorical. We are not yet living in a total police state, but it is fast approaching. The seeds of future tyranny have been sown, and many of our basic protections against government have been undermined. The atmosphere since 2001 has permitted Congress to create whole new departments and agencies that purport to make us safer – always at the expense of our liberty. But security and liberty go hand-in-hand. Members of Congress, like too many Americans, don’t understand that a society with no constraints on its government cannot be secure. History proves that societies crumble when their governments become more powerful than the people and private institutions.

Unfortunately, the new intelligence bill passed by Congress two weeks ago moves us closer to an encroaching police state by imposing the precursor to a full-fledged national ID card. Within two years, every American will need a “conforming” ID to deal with any federal agency – including TSA at the airport.

Undoubtedly many Americans and members of Congress don’t believe America is becoming a police state, which is reasonable enough. They associate the phrase with highly visible symbols of authoritarianism like military patrols, martial law, and summary executions. But we ought to be concerned that we have laid the foundation for tyranny by making the public more docile, more accustomed to government bullying, and more accepting of arbitrary authority – all in the name of security. Our love for liberty above all has been so diminished that we tolerate intrusions into our privacy that would have been abhorred just a few years ago. We tolerate inconveniences and infringements upon our liberties in a manner that reflects poorly on our great national character of rugged individualism. American history, at least in part, is a history of people who don’t like being told what to do. Yet we are increasingly empowering the federal government and its agents to run our lives.

Terror, fear, and crises like 9-11 are used to achieve complacency and obedience, especially when citizens are deluded into believing they are still a free people. The loss of liberty, we are assured, will be minimal, short-lived, and necessary. Many citizens believe that once the war on terror is over, restrictions on their liberties will be reversed. But this war is undeclared and open-ended, with no precise enemy and no expressly stated final goal. Terrorism will never be eradicated completely; does this mean future presidents will assert extraordinary war powers indefinitely?

Washington DC provides a vivid illustration of what our future might look like. Visitors to Capitol Hill encounter police barricades, metal detectors, paramilitary officers carrying fully automatic rifles, police dogs, ID checks, and vehicle stops. The people are totally disarmed; only the police and criminals have guns. Surveillance cameras are everywhere, monitoring street activity, subway travel, parks, and federal buildings. There's not much evidence of an open society in Washington, DC, yet most folks do not complain – anything goes if it's for government-provided safety and security.

After all, proponents argue, the government is doing all this to catch the bad guys. If you don’t have anything to hide, they ask, what are you so afraid of? The answer is that I’m afraid of losing the last vestiges of privacy that a free society should hold dear. I’m afraid of creating a society where the burden is on citizens to prove their innocence, rather than on government to prove wrongdoing. Most of all, I’m afraid of living in a society where a subservient populace surrenders its liberties to an all-powerful government.

It may be true that average Americans do not feel intimidated by the encroachment of the police state. Americans remain tolerant of what they see as mere nuisances because they have been deluded into believing total government supervision is necessary and helpful, and because they still enjoy a high level of material comfort. That tolerance may wane, however, as our standard of living falls due to spiraling debt, endless deficit spending at home and abroad, a declining fiat dollar, inflation, higher interest rates, and failing entitlement programs. At that point attitudes toward omnipotent government may change, but the trend toward authoritarianism will be difficult to reverse.

Those who believe a police state can't happen here are poor students of history. Every government, democratic or not, is capable of tyranny. We must understand this if we hope to remain a free people.

The Instruments of Tyranny - Part I

Here's an excellent essay from John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute:

Two years ago, in an article entitled “It Can’t Happen Here”, Congressman Ron Paul cautioned, “We are not yet living in a total police state, but it is fast approaching.”

A lot can happen in two years.

In fact, a lot has happened over the past two years, most of it aimed at amassing greater power for the government while undermining the rights of American citizens. And I would venture to say that Rep. Paul’s fears may have come to pass.

For example, sometime in the past two years, President Bush quietly claimed the authority to allow government agents to open the private mail of American citizens, proclaimed his right to assume control of the federal government following a “catastrophic emergency,” and assumed the power to declare martial law and use the military as a domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, disease outbreak, terrorist attack or any “other condition.” However, these incidents are just the tip of the iceberg.

Unless you’ve been asleep for the past decade, the increasing militarization of the police has become an inescapable and ominous reality. The role of law enforcement, especially local police officers, has drastically changed from when I was a child in the 1950s. The friendly local sheriff in The Andy Griffith Show has been shelved for the federal gun-toting terrorist killer in the popular television series 24.

Some might insist that the new face of law enforcement is warranted, a sign of the times in which we live. After all, whereas we once feared nuclear attacks by the Russians, we now fear each other and the predators that lurk in our midst—serial killers, drug pushers, home-grown and imported terrorists, perverts who prey on small children, the list goes on.

Thus, in order to better deal with these and other threats, congressional legislation now allows the U.S. military, by way of the Pentagon, to train civilian police and provide them with equipment and funding. As a result, our law enforcement agents are armed to the teeth. For example, in Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America (2006), author Radley Balko points out that in “Wisconsin alone during the 1990s, local police departments were given nearly 100,000 pieces of military equipment valued at more than $18 million.” Columbia County, Wisc., which only has a population of 52,468, was given more than 5,000 military items valued at $1.75 million by the Pentagon. These included “11 M-16s, 21 bayonets, four boats, a periscope, and 41 vehicles, one of which was converted into a mobile command center for the SWAT team”—along with surveillance equipment, chemical suits and flak jackets, among other items.

Debating which came first—increased threats requiring greater fire power or heavily armed law enforcement agents in search of greater threats—might seem too much like the chicken or the egg debate, but the numbers speak for themselves. By the early 1980s, there were 3,000 annual SWAT deployments, by 1996 there were 30,000 and by 2001 there were 40,000. Incredibly, these forces conduct approximately 40,000 “no-knock” raids annually across the U.S., some of which are tracked by the Cato Institute on an interactive map on its website.

One thing is undeniable: armed police officers have become a force to be reckoned with. However, it’s not just local law enforcement that’s loaded for bear. As the federalization of law enforcement continues to grow, more types of federal agents are packing heat. As of September 2004, federal agencies employed about 106,000 full-time personnel authorized to make arrests and carry firearms.

Yet FBI agents are only a small portion of the armed federal personnel. Everyone from postal agents, the Internal Revenue Service, the National Park Service and the Environmental Protection Agency to agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Army Corps of Engineers are now carrying deadly weapons. In Virginia, for example, game wardens were recently renamed “conservation police officers” in an effort to clarify their role as sworn law enforcement officers who are armed and able to make arrests.

Writing for World Net Daily, Joseph Farah declared, “What we’ve witnessed is the biggest arms buildup in the history of the federal government—and it’s not taking place in the Defense Department. The kind of arms that are proliferating in Washington these days are the kind pointed at our own civilian population and carried by a growing number of federal police forces with ever-larger budgets and ever-deadlier arsenals.”

“Good grief,” remarked Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America, “that’s a standing army.” At all levels, federal, local and state, the government and the police have merged. And in the process, they have become a standing army—which is exactly what the Founders feared.

Those who drafted the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights had an enormous distrust of standing armies. They knew that despotic governments have always used standing armies to control the people and impose tyranny. As James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, wrote, “A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home.” These “instruments of tyranny” are now in place.

Thus, it may very well be that we are already living in a police state—and that it’s all over but the shouting.

But still we have to shout.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Submit to My Authoritah - Or Else...

First, the obligatory disclaimers:

Yes, I know that like all other jobs, there are both good cops and bad cops.

Yes, I know that the good peace officers probably still outnumber, at least on a nationwide basis, the bad thugs with power issues garbed in government raiment.

Yes, I know policing can be a hard and dangerous job.

I know all of that. As cliched as it sounds, some of my best friends are or were cops.

But - stories like this one about the "dogslayer" in Idaho, or the Taser-freak in Utah just frost me. Make sure you watch the video of the Utah incident.

And before anyone starts claiming that these incidents are due to just a miniscule number of "rogue" officers, go and spend a few minutes reading David Codrea's The Only Ones files.

Then spend some time reading Radley Balko's collection of articles on police militarization and its consequences.

Still want to claim that there's no big problem?

I'll let Mr Grigg have the last words:

As someone clad in a State-issued costume, given a gun and a Taser and expansive discretion in using those implements of violence, Gardner clearly behaves he doesn't have to play any “games” with those who aren't part of his tribe.

"What the hell is wrong with you?" exclaimed Massey as Gardner, his face contorted with primal rage, threatened him with a Taser.

That's a useful question. A better one is this:

What the hell is wrong with the rest of us that we are willing to live under a system of the sort that rules us?

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Must-Read Site re Loading for Optimal Performance

A big hat-tip to AS for the link to Dan Newberry's Optimal Charge Weight Load Development website, which is now added to the "Shooting Resources" collection in the left margin. Take your time to go through and read all of the great information and processes assembled by Mr. Newberry - you won't be sorry!

But before you do that, take a few minutes to read his statement of principles from the site, as I think you will recognize a kindred spirit:

Where I'm coming from...

I'm not, nor will I likely ever be a benchrest shooter. My angle is the practical rifle, and by that I mean a rifle that you're going to be likely to have during the occasions when you may actually need a rifle. The rifle is one of the most integral and vital implements of our freedom in America, and it's a wonderful tool of survival. Toward that end, 1/2 MOA (minute of angle) accuracy is what I strive for.

There are big differences between a benchrest rig which shoots tiny "bugholes" and the practical 1/2 MOA rifle. Rituals and routines which are religiously followed in pursuit of that last (near infinitessimal) group reduction are fine for benchrest, but completely unnecessary for the practical rifle. I don't advocate the use of any shooting aids that you won't be likely to have in the field with you. Shooting jackets, mitts, matts, wind flags, heavy front rests and such are fine for games, but if you cultivate a dependence on these things you'll find yourself at a severe disadvantage in the field.

I do like the Harris bi-pod system, and have found sub MOA accuracy easily achieved out to near 800 yards in some cases when shooting from prone off the Harris bi-pod. A small rear bag (which could be the corner of a pack or even your balled up fist) is all that is needed to make a reasonably precise shot at any practical range. If you choose not to use the Harris bi-pod and opt instead to simply use your field pack as a rest, I won't argue with that. Many excellent riflemen do just that.

Meticulous case preparation is far less a necessary step when using the Optimal Charge Weight load. If you've properly developed your OCW load it will tolerate small pressure differences brought on by slightly odd cases. So unless you see huge burrs obstructing the flash hole, or your case necks are so out of square that it's obvious, you probably do not need to do anything but size, check the case length, prime, charge, seat the bullet, and shoot. I've shot some of my tightest groups at extended ranges with plain old vanilla unprepped Winchester brass which was simply
drawn from the bag, run through the sizer, checked for proper length, and loaded...

The practical rifle and the benchrest rifle are worlds apart. The philosophies behind each are worlds apart. The dispositions of the folks who use these rifles can be (but don't necessarily have to be) worlds apart. Look at the benchrest rig as a "rail dragster," unbeatable at what it is designed for, but of little or no use for anything else. The practical 1/2 MOA rifle is the one you have with you. It's the one you will want to become most profficient with. It is the rifle that may be called upon someday to ensure your or your family's survival. That's a tall order and a solemn role, but a good practical rifle in the hands of a rifleman can deliver just that if need be.

Americans--and others around the world--have turned to the rifle time and time again to ensure their soverignty and survival.

While I enjoy loading for and shooting many different rifles, the .308 Winchester most closely defines the practical rifle. The cartridge is more than capable of doing anything you've got any true need of doing with a rifle, and it's
abundant in supply. Other rifles may be more "fun" but the .308 is a "business cartridge." A hunting rifle in the 7 pound range with a decent 3 to 9 or fixed 4 or 6 power scope chambered in .308 is about as useful a rifle as you may ever own. This said, I don't currently own such a rig! But I submit my model 70 Winchester in .270 win with its 3 to 9 Redfield scope as a reasonable facsimile.

When choosing a practical rifle, stick with the common cartridges. The economic landscape can change overnight. You don't want to find yourself scrounging for ".327 bee-mashburn-ackley-whizz-whopper" at a time when supplies of even the most common cartridges are spent or being rationed. I'm not a "dooms-dayer"--don't get me wrong--I'm just one who likes to be prepared for the worst, while always hoping for
the best.


I'm a firm believer that every able-bodied American man and woman should have some knowledge of how to make long shots with an accurate rifle. The man of the family should have a good rifle and know how to hit what he's shooting at. Training the younger folks when age appropriate is of extreme importance in my opinion.

You need not spend a small fortune on a nice long range rifle to get a good one. Savage produces some wonderfully accurate rifles which are capable of 1/2 MOA right out of the box. These can be had for under 500 dollars in most instances. By "long range" rifle I mean one which can be depended on to hit a 5 gallon pail at 800 yards every time once you know what you're doing. Such a rifle might weigh 11 to 12 pounds with its heavy barrel and 10 power or larger scope. This too can be considered a "practical rifle," by the definition given earlier.

For those with a tighter budget, look at the NEF (Harrington & Richardson) single shot break action rifles. They make these in heavy barrel configuration, and sub-MOA accuracy can be wrung from them with only a bit of prodding.

Another extremely accurate and wonderful rifle is the 1896 Swedish Mauser. With mine, using its iron sights, I can hit that aformentioned five gallon bucket at 800 yards many more times than I miss it. These are chambered in the venerable 6.5 x 55 cartridge, and if you're good enough with the iron sights you'll not even need to scope the rifle. Current (Feb 2004) pricing on these is about 275 dollars for a really nice one; you can get a functional "Swede" for around 200 bucks. Don't overlook them. The only disadvantage is you'll have to keep your own stash of 6.5 x 55 cartridges ever available since this cartridge is not always easily found "over the counter."

It is easy to get lost in the yammer of rhetoric from all of the folks who are trying to be helpful out there. One will tell you one thing, another with seemingly equal credentials will tell you just the opposite. It's hard not to be confused on the issues of what you need and don't need. How much should I spend on a scope? Is the Redfield JR scope mount any good? Do I need to neck turn my brass? Will the NEF single shot rifle do? Should I get a primer pocket uniformer? Is the 30-06 better than the .308? And so on...

All I will tell you is that you must first define what it is that you want to accomplish with your rifle. Once you have a clear vision of your goals (but perhaps more importantly your needs) then you'll have a better idea of the specific
equipment and the necessary things you must do to reach that goal. Find others who share your basic goals and understandings to compare ideas with; those of other stripes will merely obfuscate.

I will close by saying that I encourage you to pursue the 1/2 MOA practical rifle route. That's where I believe we all need to be. Don't avail yourself of equipment and gadgets which you wouldn't be likely to have in the hunting field. I know more than a couple excellent bench shooters who are afraid to take a shot at a deer beyond 150 yards or so; they are without their usual creature comforts. (Don't get me wrong--it's good to know one's limitations. Injuring game by carelessly taking shots is certainly "unsportsman-like conduct").

Practice field position shooting. Practice a lot with a scoped .22 long rifle. Practice prone shooting without the mat, heavy rest, flags, and such.

This is the route to becoming a true rifleman.

My thoughts, my opinions...

Dan Newberry

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Woe (Possibly) Unto Those Who Get What They Want

The Supremes agreed to hear the Heller case today.

My two cents: I don't start a game when I know the location of only one player - in this case, the always-solid Justice Clarence Thomas.

But a decision we shall have - whether we want one or not.

Solid commentary and associated links here, here, and here. Those of a mind to help the pro-2A side financially can go here.

May God protect us all.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Racist Roots of Georgia's Gun Control Laws

An outstanding article from an excellent statewide gun rights organization dedicated to not only halting additional gun control laws in Georgia, but actually rolling back existing prohibitions.

And Georgia is not the only place where outright racial prejudice and discrimination gave rise to gun control laws that oppress us still today, as this 1995 law review article teaches us. New York, for example, passed its Sullivan Law in 1911, allegedly to fight crime in ethnic communities, as noted in this 1905 New York Times editorial:

[The proposed gun control] measure would prove corrective and salutary in a city filled with immigrants and evil communications, floating from the shores of Italy and Austria-Hungary. New York police reports frequently testify to the fact that the Italian and other south Continental gentry here are acquainted with the pocket pistol, and while drunk or merrymaking will use it quite as handily as the stiletto, and with more deadly effect. It is hoped that this treacherous and distinctly outlandish mode of settling disputes may not spread to corrupt the native good manners of the community.

Read both articles, and then think about what lies in store for today's gunowners as a result of the 2008 election, barring a miracle.

You don't really think that the statists, transnational socialists, and their civil service lackeys will allow an armed, educated, trained minority who insist on their God-given Constitutional and human rights to go unchallenged, do you?

Are you ready?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Weapons Platform: USAMU Physical Conditioning for Highpower Shooting

An excellent article from the US Army Marksmanship Unit discussing the whys and how-tos of getting in shape for competitive riflery.

One can legitimately question some of the "equipment race" and "game" aspects of NRA Highpower shooting.

But riflery competitions come in many forms, don't they?

Physical fitness will help in every form of competitive shooting endeavor, and its absence will likely degrade or even doom your efforts, regardless of the particulars.

Read the article and then go do.

Hat-tip to the Civilian Marksmanship Program and the CMP's online magazine.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Time to Consider Contributing....

Ron Paul - Tea Party '07

Who else would you consider supporting with any campaign donation money you might have left over after stocking the "four Bs"?



B. Hussein Obama?


Perhaps Thompson, the guy who voted to abridge political speech in supporting the McCain-Feingold legislation?


A gentleman on the Liberty's Price forum summed up the situation brilliantly the other night:

This election will come down to candidates riding along one of three philosophies: you'll have a Hamiltonian, a Jeffersonian, or a Marxist as the next president.

Hamiltonians have done a wonderful job in getting us to the place we are - off the gold standard, police state, extremely intrusive laws dictated without consequence from an oversized centralized government that has no significant limitations, and the practical elimination of states rights.

Who are you going to choose?

Please choose wisely.

We all will have to live with your decision.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Soldier's Manual of Common Tasks - Current Edition

A cornucopia of useful information for which you, as a taxpayer, have already paid is available here. Click on the "download" link and you will be good to go.

It's a 15+ meg .pdf file, so you folks on dial-up might want to pass.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Time for a New Definition of Privacy...

Says the Central Intelligence Agency's principal deputy director of national intelligence in this article over the weekend.

You can read his whole speech here.

Draw your own conclusions as to why a top executive in the CIA would be making comments re privacy, anonymity, and domestic internet services such as YouTube and Google.

And in the old America, wasn't the CIA limited to purely foreign intelligence operations?

Just asking....

Basic Rifle Marksmanship Series: Part I - Safety

In this series on basic rifle marksmanship skills, we will attempt to describe the steps in firing a rifle competently, with the goal of making the process comprehensible to someone who may never have fired a rifle before. Ultimately, you will be judge of our success or failure, so feel free to throw compliments or rocks, as appropriate, in the comments section.

The first step we must take is to learn some basic rifle nomenclature and safety rules. Note that although this particular rifle is an M16 military rifle, most rifles will have some functional equivalent of the parts we will be describing.

1. Starting from the left and moving towards the right, we first encounter the rifle’s muzzle (a/k/a “where the bullet comes out”), which in this case features a flashhider at the end of the barrel.

2. Moving along the barrel from left to right, we next encounter the front sight assembly, which contains the front sight. The corrugated items to the right of the front sight assembly are known as the handguards.

3. Continuing from left to right after the handguards, we find the carrying handle on the upper surface of the rifle. At the rear of the carrying handle (behind the area that appears to be missing), the rear sight assembly is located. Immediately below and slightly to the right of the rear sight assembly is the charging handle, which is used by the shooter to move ammunition from the magazine (that curved object protruding from the bottom of the rifle) into the chamber of the rifle to be fired.

4. Immediately after the charging handle is the upper surface, or “comb”, of the rifle’s rear stock, or “buttstock”. The end of the comb is the top surface of the rifle’s buttplate, which is the surface placed into the shooter’s shoulder area for firing.

5. Now moving from right to left along the underside of the rifle, we move from the lower surface of the buttplate along the lower side of the buttstock. The item protruding from the buttstock is the rear sling swivel, through which an adjustable cloth or leather strap will be threaded.

6. The next stop along our journey is the pistol grip of the rifle, which is placed in the shooter’s firing hand immediately prior to firing. The shooter will then extend his index finger for use as the trigger finger, placing that finger on the trigger, immediately ahead of the pistol grip. Both the M16 and its civilian cousin, the AR15, have the safety selector switch immediately behind the trigger in the wall of the rifle’s receiver.

7. Ahead of the trigger in the receiver’s left wall is the bolt catch, by which the shooter can release the rifle’s bolt assembly forward into position for firing.

8. Moving forward of the receiver now, we travel along the underside of the handguards, coming to the front sling swivel (companion of the rear sling swivel), the bayonet lug (where present), and return to our starting point at the rifle’s muzzle and flashhider.

9. Looking at the right side of the AR15/M16 rifle, you should look closely at the receiver underneath the carrying handle and focus on the button immediately forward of the trigger. That’s the magazine release, which when pushed allows the magazine (which provides ammunition storage) to fall clear of the receiver well into which it fits.

SAFETY NOTE: It is imperative when unloading all magazine-fed firearms (rifles, pistols, and shotguns) to remove the magazine FIRST before clearing any live ammunition from the weapon’s firing chamber. Failure to unload the weapon in this order (remove magazine first, then clear chamber) leads each year to deaths and permanent injuries. Don’t let it happen to you!

Those of you with an interest in the details of the AR15 platform can click here for an excellent graphic for the component parts of the M16A2/AR15 rifle when properly field-stripped. You can also go here and download the Bushmaster manufacturer’s operators’ manual (thanks to the good folks at Bushmaster and AR15.com.

But before I lose you to the wonders of the Bushmaster and AR15 websites, let’s use the shared language that we now possess to learn the basic rules of firearms safety. Folks, these rules are literally a matter of life and death, so I not only want you to read them, but I want you to memorize them and their meaning so that you can, at command, recite them and describe what you mean:

Jeff Cooper's Rules of Gun Safety





There are no exceptions. Do not pretend that this is true. Some people and organizations take this rule and weaken it - e.g., "Treat all guns as if they were loaded." Unfortunately, the "as if" compromises the directness of the statement by implying that they are unloaded, but we will treat them as though they are loaded. No good! Safety rules must be worded forcefully so that they are never treated lightly or reduced to partial compliance.

All guns are always loaded - period!

This must be your mind-set. If someone hands you a firearm and says, "Don't worry, it's not loaded," you do not dare believe him. You need not be impolite, but check it yourself. Remember, there are no accidents, only negligent acts. Check it. Do not let yourself fall prey to a situation where you might feel compelled to squeal, "I didn't know it was loaded!"

Conspicuously and continuously violated, especially with pistols, Rule II applies whether you are involved in range practice, daily carry, or examination. If the weapon is assembled and in someone's hands, it is capable of being discharged. A firearm holstered properly, lying on a table, or placed in a scabbard is of no danger to anyone. Only when handled is there a need for concern. This rule applies to fighting as well as to daily handling. If you are not willing to take a human life, do not cover a person with the muzzle. This rule also applies to your own person. Do not allow the muzzle to cover your extremities, e.g. using both hands to reholster the pistol. This practice is unsound, both procedurally and tactically. You may need a free hand for something important. Proper holster design should provide for one-handed holstering, so avoid holsters which collapse after withdrawing the pistol. (Note: It is dangerous to push the muzzle against the inside edge of the holster nearest the body to "open" it since this results in your pointing the pistol at your midsection.) Dry-practice in the home is a worthwhile habit and it will result in more deeply programmed reflexes. Most of the reflexes involved in the Modern Technique do not require that a shot be fired. Particular procedures for dry-firing in the home will be covered later. Let it suffice for now that you do not dry-fire using a "target" that you wish not to see destroyed. (Recall RULE I as well.)

Rule III is violated most anytime the uneducated person handles a firearm. Whether on TV, in the theaters, or at the range, people seem fascinated with having their finger on the trigger. Never stand or walk around with your finger on the trigger. It is unprofessional, dangerous, and, perhaps most damaging to the psyche, it is klutzy looking. Never fire a shot unless the sights are superimposed on the target and you have made a conscious decision to fire. Firing an unaligned pistol in a fight gains nothing. If you believe that the defensive pistol is only an intimidation tool - not something to be used - carry blanks, or better yet, reevaluate having one around. If you are going to launch a projectile, it had best be directed purposely. Danger abounds if you allow your finger to dawdle inside the trigger guard. As soon as the sights leave the target, the trigger-finger leaves the trigger and straightens alongside the frame. Since the hand normally prefers to work as a unit - as in grasping - separating the function of the trigger-finger from the rest of the hand takes effort. The five-finger grasp is a deeply programmed reflex. Under sufficient stress, and with the finger already placed on the trigger, an unexpected movement, misstep or surprise could result in a negligent discharge. Speed cannot be gained from such a premature placement of the trigger-finger. Bringing the sights to bear on the target, whether from the holster or the Guard Position, takes more time than that required for moving the trigger finger an inch or so to the trigger.

Know what it is, what is in line with it, and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything you have not positively identified. Be aware of your surroundings, whether on the range or in a fight. Do not assume anything. Know what you are doing.

Make these rules a part of your character. Never compromise them. Improper gunhandling results from ignorance and improper role modeling, such as handling your gun like your favorite actor does. Education can cure this. You can make a difference by following these gunhandling rules and insisting that those around you do the same. Set the example. Who knows what tragedies you, or someone you influence, may prevent?

I hope Colonel Cooper, who died last year after a long life unlike many others, would forgive me if I added one more rule, derived from his summary:


It will do you and those around you very little good to be completely observant of all gun safety rules if the knucklehead two positions down fires a rifle bullet into your spine while trying to clear a malfunction. You simply must make sure that everyone around you observes these four rules, all of the time. Remember - it will very likely be their bullet that kills or maims you.

A stern “MUZZLE!” or “TRIGGER!” command will advise those in the know that they have erred by failing to control their muzzle or keep their trigger finger indexed along the side of the receiver unless the sights are on target. If the person does not understand your attempted correction, make it clear to him. If he violates the rule again, leave the area. Someone is going to die or be permanently injured because of that person, and you don’t want that for you or your people.

Before we end today’s lesson, let’s make sure that our rifles are unloaded:

1. Always keep the muzzle under control and pointed in a safe direction:
a. downrange if safe,
b. straight down at the ground, or
c. if nothing else is available, straight up in the air.

2. While making sure to keep our fingers off and away from the trigger, remove all of the stored ammunition from the rifle – whether it is in a box magazine as shown in the illustrations above, a tubular magazine running parallel to and underneath the barrel, an internal magazine as part of the receiver assembly, or even a tubular magazine contained in the rifle’s buttstock.

3. When you are sure that ALL ammunition has been removed from the rifle, operate the rifle’s action to eject the chambered round, if any. If possible, lock the action open and visually inspect the rifle’s chamber (located in the receiver end of the barrel) to make sure that there is not a live round present. It is also a good habit to make a tactile check of the chamber using your finger. Doing so does two things:
a. it doubly confirms that the chamber is indeed empty, and
b. it allows you to get familiar with how the empty chamber feels, so that if you ever have to check a rifle’s chamber for safety in the dark, you will know the difference between the feel of an empty chamber and that of a full chamber.

Notice that I did not refer to the rifle’s mechanical safety during the unloading process. The lesser reason is that on some rifles, an engaged mechanical safety prevents the shooter from unloading the rifle by locking the action closed. The greater reason is that you should never, ever rely on a mechanical safety; it is a mechanical device and they are known to fail when stressed. Instead, by faithfully executing Colonel Cooper’s Rules I, II, and III every single moment that you are holding any firearm, your mind and mental discipline become the true safety device.

Simply put, the safety on any firearm is located between the ears of the person using the weapon. As long as that safety is fully operational, any other problem will be avoided, or at least rendered harmless.

For next time, please memorize the safety rules and be able to explain what they mean, on command and out of sequence. We’ll cover sights and sighting in our next session.

Thanks for coming by.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veterans Day Fundraiser for Ron Paul - Please Give if You Can

There is another big fundraiser for the Ron Paul campaign today. Please go here and give what you can. Results are being tracked here - note that the red line depicting the average daliy donation is skewed positively due to the success of last week's Novermber 5th "money bomb".

This campaign could not be more important. Please back your conscience with your wallet, if you can.

UPDATE: If money is too tight today for you to give, please consider going to Tea Party '07 to pledge your contribution on December 16th, 2007, the next Ron Paul money bomb and the 234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party.

Video here.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Some Things Should Have Been Obvious...

And one of those things is the need to assume the worst from government and their corporate minions:

His first inkling that something was amiss came in summer 2002 when he opened the door to admit a visitor from the National Security Agency to an office of AT&T in San Francisco.

"What the heck is the NSA doing here?" Mark Klein, a former AT&T technician, said he asked himself.

A year or so later, he stumbled upon documents that, he said, nearly caused him to fall out of his chair. The documents, he said, show that the NSA gained access to massive amounts of e-mail and search and other Internet records of more than a dozen global and regional telecommunications providers. AT&T allowed the agency to hook into its network at a facility in San Francisco and, according to Klein, many of the other telecom companies probably knew nothing about it...


...In an interview yesterday, he alleged that the NSA set up a system that vacuumed up Internet and phone-call data from ordinary Americans with the cooperation of AT&T . Contrary to the government's depiction of its surveillance program as aimed at overseas terrorists, Klein said, much of the data sent through AT&T to the NSA was purely domestic. Klein said he believes that the NSA was analyzing the records for usage patterns as well as for content.

He said the NSA built a special room to receive data streamed through an AT&T Internet room containing "peering links," or major connections to other telecom providers. The largest of the links delivered 2.5 gigabits of data -- the equivalent of one-quarter of the Encyclopedia Britannica's text -- per second, said Klein, whose documents and eyewitness account form the basis of one of the first lawsuits filed against the telecom giants after the government's warrantless-surveillance program was reported in the New York Times in December 2005...

Assume all voice and 'net traffic is compromised, and act accordingly.

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Speech - A Time for Choosing

Please take the time to watch this video of the speech, titled "A Time for Choosing", given by Ronald Reagan in support of Barry Goldwater, the Republican candidate for President in 1964.

Then think about what has changed in the 43 years since "The Speech" was given.

After that contemplation, ask yourself why you haven't sent your donation to the Ron Paul 2008 campaign yet.

With their emphasis on accountability, Constitutional limitations on governmental power, political liberty, personal freedom, and fiscal prudence, the messages of The Speech and Congressman Paul resonate in the same key:

Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you and good evening. The sponsor has been identified, but unlike most television programs, the performer hasn't been provided with a script. As a matter of fact, I have been permitted to choose my own words and discuss my own ideas regarding the choice that we face in the next few weeks.

I have spent most of my life as a Democrat. I recently have seen fit to follow another course. I believe that the issues confronting us cross party lines. Now, one side in this campaign has been telling us that the issues of this election are the maintenance of peace and prosperity. The line has been used, "We've never had it so good."

But I have an uncomfortable feeling that this prosperity isn't something on which we can base our hopes for the future. No nation in history has ever survived a tax burden that reached a third of its national income. Today, 37 cents out of every dollar earned in this country is the tax collector's share, and yet our government continues to spend 17 million dollars a day more than the government takes in. We haven't balanced our budget 28 out of the last 34 years. We've raised our debt limit three times in the last twelve months, and now our national debt is one and a half times bigger than all the combined debts of all the nations of the world. We have 15 billion dollars in gold in our treasury; we don't own an ounce. Foreign dollar claims are 27.3 billion dollars. And we've just had announced that the dollar of 1939 will now purchase 45 cents in its total value.

As for the peace that we would preserve, I wonder who among us would like to approach the wife or mother whose husband or son has died in South Vietnam and ask them if they think this is a peace that should be maintained indefinitely. Do they mean peace, or do they mean we just want to be left in peace? There can be no real peace while one American is dying some place in the world for the rest of us. We're at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars, and it's been said if we lose that war, and in so doing lose this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening. Well I think it's time we ask ourselves if we still know the freedoms that were intended for us by the Founding Fathers.

Not too long ago, two friends of mine were talking to a Cuban refugee, a businessman who had escaped from Castro, and in the midst of his story one of my friends turned to the other and said, "We don't know how lucky we are." And the Cuban stopped and said, "How lucky you are? I had someplace to escape to." And in that sentence he told us the entire story. If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.

And this idea that government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except the sovereign people, is still the newest and the most unique idea in all the long history of man's relation to man.

This is the issue of this election: whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.

You and I are told increasingly we have to choose between a left or right. Well I'd like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There's only an up or down: [up] man's old -- old-aged dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. And regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.

In this vote-harvesting time, they use terms like the "Great Society," or as we were told a few days ago by the President, we must accept a greater government activity in the affairs of the people. But they've been a little more explicit in the past and among themselves; and all of the things I now will quote have appeared in print. These are not Republican accusations. For example, they have voices that say, "The cold war will end through our acceptance of a not undemocratic socialism." Another voice says, "The profit motive has become outmoded. It must be replaced by the incentives of the welfare state." Or, "Our traditional system of individual freedom is incapable of solving the complex problems of the 20th century." Senator Fulbright has said at Stanford University that the Constitution is outmoded. He referred to the President as "our moral teacher and our leader," and he says he is "hobbled in his task by the restrictions of power imposed on him by this antiquated document." He must "be freed," so that he "can do for us" what he knows "is best." And Senator Clark of Pennsylvania, another articulate spokesman, defines liberalism as "meeting the material needs of the masses through the full power of centralized government."

Well, I, for one, resent it when a representative of the people refers to you and me, the free men and women of this country, as "the masses." This is a term we haven't applied to ourselves in America. But beyond that, "the full power of centralized government" -- this was the very thing the Founding Fathers sought to minimize. They knew that governments don't control things. A government can't control the economy without controlling people. And they know when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. They also knew, those Founding Fathers, that outside of its legitimate functions, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector of the economy.

Now, we have no better example of this than government's involvement in the farm economy over the last 30 years. Since 1955, the cost of this program has nearly doubled. One-fourth of farming in America is responsible for 85% of the farm surplus. Three-fourths of farming is out on the free market and has known a 21% increase in the per capita consumption of all its produce. You see, that one-fourth of farming -- that's regulated and controlled by the federal government. In the last three years we've spent 43 dollars in the feed grain program for every dollar bushel of corn we don't grow.

Senator Humphrey last week charged that Barry Goldwater, as President, would seek to eliminate farmers. He should do his homework a little better, because he'll find out that we've had a decline of 5 million in the farm population under these government programs. He'll also find that the Democratic administration has sought to get from Congress [an] extension of the farm program to include that three-fourths that is now free. He'll find that they've also asked for the right to imprison farmers who wouldn't keep books as prescribed by the federal government. The Secretary of Agriculture asked for the right to seize farms through condemnation and resell them to other individuals. And contained in that same program was a provision that would have allowed the federal government to remove 2 million farmers from the soil.

At the same time, there's been an increase in the Department of Agriculture employees. There's now one for every 30 farms in the United States, and still they can't tell us how 66 shiploads of grain headed for Austria disappeared without a trace and Billie Sol Estes never left shore.

Every responsible farmer and farm organization has repeatedly asked the government to free the farm economy, but how -- who are farmers to know what's best for them? The wheat farmers voted against a wheat program. The government passed it anyway. Now the price of bread goes up; the price of wheat to the farmer goes down.

Meanwhile, back in the city, under urban renewal the assault on freedom carries on. Private property rights [are] so diluted that public interest is almost anything a few government planners decide it should be. In a program that takes from the needy and gives to the greedy, we see such spectacles as in Cleveland, Ohio, a million-and-a-half-dollar building completed only three years ago must be destroyed to make way for what government officials call a "more compatible use of the land." The President tells us he's now going to start building public housing units in the thousands, where heretofore we've only built them in the hundreds. But FHA [Federal Housing Authority] and the Veterans Administration tell us they have 120,000 housing units they've taken back through mortgage foreclosure. For three decades, we've sought to solve the problems of unemployment through government planning, and the more the plans fail, the more the planners plan. The latest is the Area Redevelopment Agency.

They've just declared Rice County, Kansas, a depressed area. Rice County, Kansas, has two hundred oil wells, and the 14,000 people there have over 30 million dollars on deposit in personal savings in their banks. And when the government tells you you're depressed, lie down and be depressed.

We have so many people who can't see a fat man standing beside a thin one without coming to the conclusion the fat man got that way by taking advantage of the thin one. So they're going to solve all the problems of human misery through government and government planning. Well, now, if government planning and welfare had the answer -- and they've had almost 30 years of it -- shouldn't we expect government to read the score to us once in a while? Shouldn't they be telling us about the decline each year in the number of people needing help? The reduction in the need for public housing?

But the reverse is true. Each year the need grows greater; the program grows greater. We were told four years ago that 17 million people went to bed hungry each night. Well that was probably true. They were all on a diet. But now we're told that 9.3 million families in this country are poverty-stricken on the basis of earning less than 3,000 dollars a year. Welfare spending [is] 10 times greater than in the dark depths of the Depression. We're spending 45 billion dollars on welfare. Now do a little arithmetic, and you'll find that if we divided the 45 billion dollars up equally among those 9 million poor families, we'd be able to give each family 4,600 dollars a year. And this added to their present income should eliminate poverty. Direct aid to the poor, however, is only running only about 600 dollars per family. It would seem that someplace there must be some overhead.

Now -- so now we declare "war on poverty," or "You, too, can be a Bobby Baker." Now do they honestly expect us to believe that if we add 1 billion dollars to the 45 billion we're spending, one more program to the 30-odd we have -- and remember, this new program doesn't replace any, it just duplicates existing programs -- do they believe that poverty is suddenly going to disappear by magic? Well, in all fairness I should explain there is one part of the new program that isn't duplicated. This is the youth feature. We're now going to solve the dropout problem, juvenile delinquency, by reinstituting something like the old CCC camps [Civilian Conservation Corps], and we're going to put our young people in these camps. But again we do some arithmetic, and we find that we're going to spend each year just on room and board for each young person we help 4,700 dollars a year. We can send them to Harvard for 2,700! Course, don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting Harvard is the answer to juvenile delinquency.

But seriously, what are we doing to those we seek to help? Not too long ago, a judge called me here in Los Angeles. He told me of a young woman who'd come before him for a divorce. She had six children, was pregnant with her seventh. Under his questioning, she revealed her husband was a laborer earning 250 dollars a month. She wanted a divorce to get an 80 dollar raise. She's eligible for 330 dollars a month in the Aid to Dependent Children Program. She got the idea from two women in her neighborhood who'd already done that very thing.

Yet anytime you and I question the schemes of the do-gooders, we're denounced as being against their humanitarian goals. They say we're always "against" things -- we're never "for" anything.

Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so.

Now -- we're for a provision that destitution should not follow unemployment by reason of old age, and to that end we've accepted Social Security as a step toward meeting the problem.

But we're against those entrusted with this program when they practice deception regarding its fiscal shortcomings, when they charge that any criticism of the program means that we want to end payments to those people who depend on them for a livelihood. They've called it "insurance" to us in a hundred million pieces of literature. But then they appeared before the Supreme Court and they testified it was a welfare program. They only use the term "insurance" to sell it to the people. And they said Social Security dues are a tax for the general use of the government, and the government has used that tax. There is no fund, because Robert Byers, the actuarial head, appeared before a congressional committee and admitted that Social Security as of this moment is 298 billion dollars in the hole. But he said there should be no cause for worry because as long as they have the power to tax, they could always take away from the people whatever they needed to bail them out of trouble. And they're doing just that.

A young man, 21 years of age, working at an average salary -- his Social Security contribution would, in the open market, buy him an insurance policy that would guarantee 220 dollars a month at age 65. The government promises 127. He could live it up until he's 31 and then take out a policy that would pay more than Social Security. Now are we so lacking in business sense that we can't put this program on a sound basis, so that people who do require those payments will find they can get them when they're due -- that the cupboard isn't bare?

Barry Goldwater thinks we can.

At the same time, can't we introduce voluntary features that would permit a citizen who can do better on his own to be excused upon presentation of evidence that he had made provision for the non-earning years? Should we not allow a widow with children to work, and not lose the benefits supposedly paid for by her deceased husband? Shouldn't you and I be allowed to declare who our beneficiaries will be under this program, which we cannot do? I think we're for telling our senior citizens that no one in this country should be denied medical care because of a lack of funds. But I think we're against forcing all citizens, regardless of need, into a compulsory government program, especially when we have such examples, as was announced last week, when France admitted that their Medicare program is now bankrupt. They've come to the end of the road.

In addition, was Barry Goldwater so irresponsible when he suggested that our government give up its program of deliberate, planned inflation, so that when you do get your Social Security pension, a dollar will buy a dollar's worth, and not 45 cents worth?

I think we're for an international organization, where the nations of the world can seek peace. But I think we're against subordinating American interests to an organization that has become so structurally unsound that today you can muster a two-thirds vote on the floor of the General Assembly among nations that represent less than 10 percent of the world's population. I think we're against the hypocrisy of assailing our allies because here and there they cling to a colony, while we engage in a conspiracy of silence and never open our mouths about the millions of people enslaved in the Soviet colonies in the satellite nations.

I think we're for aiding our allies by sharing of our material blessings with those nations which share in our fundamental beliefs, but we're against doling out money government to government, creating bureaucracy, if not socialism, all over the world. We set out to help 19 countries. We're helping 107. We've spent 146 billion dollars. With that money, we bought a 2 million dollar yacht for Haile Selassie. We bought dress suits for Greek undertakers, extra wives for Kenya[n] government officials. We bought a thousand TV sets for a place where they have no electricity. In the last six years, 52 nations have bought 7 billion dollars worth of our gold, and all 52 are receiving foreign aid from this country.

No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. So, governments' programs, once launched, never disappear.

Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth.

Federal employees -- federal employees number two and a half million; and federal, state, and local, one out of six of the nation's work force employed by government. These proliferating bureaus with their thousands of regulations have cost us many of our constitutional safeguards. How many of us realize that today federal agents can invade a man's property without a warrant? They can impose a fine without a formal hearing, let alone a trial by jury? And they can seize and sell his property at auction to enforce the payment of that fine. In Chico County, Arkansas, James Wier over-planted his rice allotment. The government obtained a 17,000 dollar judgment. And a U.S. marshal sold his 960-acre farm at auction. The government said it was necessary as a warning to others to make the system work.

Last February 19th at the University of Minnesota, Norman Thomas, six-times candidate for President on the Socialist Party ticket, said, "If Barry Goldwater became President, he would stop the advance of socialism in the United States." I think that's exactly what he will do.

But as a former Democrat, I can tell you Norman Thomas isn't the only man who has drawn this parallel to socialism with the present administration, because back in 1936, Mr. Democrat himself, Al Smith, the great American, came before the American people and charged that the leadership of his Party was taking the Party of Jefferson, Jackson, and Cleveland down the road under the banners of Marx, Lenin, and Stalin. And he walked away from his Party, and he never returned til the day he died -- because to this day, the leadership of that Party has been taking that Party, that honorable Party, down the road in the image of the labor Socialist Party of England.

Now it doesn't require expropriation or confiscation of private property or business to impose socialism on a people. What does it mean whether you hold the deed to the -- or the title to your business or property if the government holds the power of life and death over that business or property? And such machinery already exists. The government can find some charge to bring against any concern it chooses to prosecute. Every businessman has his own tale of harassment. Somewhere a perversion has taken place. Our natural, unalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation of government, and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment.

Our Democratic opponents seem unwilling to debate these issues. They want to make you and I believe that this is a contest between two men -- that we're to choose just between two personalities.

Well what of this man that they would destroy -- and in destroying, they would destroy that which he represents, the ideas that you and I hold dear? Is he the brash and shallow and trigger-happy man they say he is? Well I've been privileged to know him "when." I knew him long before he ever dreamed of trying for high office, and I can tell you personally I've never known a man in my life I believed so incapable of doing a dishonest or dishonorable thing.

This is a man who, in his own business before he entered politics, instituted a profit-sharing plan before unions had ever thought of it. He put in health and medical insurance for all his employees. He took 50 percent of the profits before taxes and set up a retirement program, a pension plan for all his employees. He sent monthly checks for life to an employee who was ill and couldn't work. He provides nursing care for the children of mothers who work in the stores. When Mexico was ravaged by the floods in the Rio Grande, he climbed in his airplane and flew medicine and supplies down there.

An ex-GI told me how he met him. It was the week before Christmas during the Korean War, and he was at the Los Angeles airport trying to get a ride home to Arizona for Christmas. And he said that [there were] a lot of servicemen there and no seats available on the planes. And then a voice came over the loudspeaker and said, "Any men in uniform wanting a ride to Arizona, go to runway such-and-such," and they went down there, and there was a fellow named Barry Goldwater sitting in his plane. Every day in those weeks before Christmas, all day long, he'd load up the plane, fly it to Arizona, fly them to their homes, fly back over to get another load.

During the hectic split-second timing of a campaign, this is a man who took time out to sit beside an old friend who was dying of cancer. His campaign managers were understandably impatient, but he said, "There aren't many left who care what happens to her. I'd like her to know I care." This is a man who said to his 19-year-old son, "There is no foundation like the rock of honesty and fairness, and when you begin to build your life on that rock, with the cement of the faith in God that you have, then you have a real start." This is not a man who could carelessly send other people's sons to war. And that is the issue of this campaign that makes all the other problems I've discussed academic, unless we realize we're in a war that must be won.

Those who would trade our freedom for the soup kitchen of the welfare state have told us they have a utopian solution of peace without victory. They call their policy "accommodation." And they say if we'll only avoid any direct confrontation with the enemy, he'll forget his evil ways and learn to love us. All who oppose them are indicted as warmongers. They say we offer simple answers to complex problems. Well, perhaps there is a simple answer -- not an easy answer -- but simple: If you and I have the courage to tell our elected officials that we want our national policy based on what we know in our hearts is morally right.

We cannot buy our security, our freedom from the threat of the bomb by committing an immorality so great as saying to a billion human beings now enslaved behind the Iron Curtain, "Give up your dreams of freedom because to save our own skins, we're willing to make a deal with your slave masters." Alexander Hamilton said, "A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one." Now let's set the record straight. There's no argument over the choice between peace and war, but there's only one guaranteed way you can have peace -- and you can have it in the next second -- surrender.

Admittedly, there's a risk in any course we follow other than this, but every lesson of history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement, and this is the specter our well-meaning liberal friends refuse to face -- that their policy of accommodation is appeasement, and it gives no choice between peace and war, only between fight or surrender. If we continue to accommodate, continue to back and retreat, eventually we have to face the final demand -- the ultimatum. And what then -- when Nikita Khrushchev has told his people he knows what our answer will be? He has told them that we're retreating under the pressure of the Cold War, and someday when the time comes to deliver the final ultimatum, our surrender will be voluntary, because by that time we will have been weakened from within spiritually, morally, and economically. He believes this because from our side he's heard voices pleading for "peace at any price" or "better Red than dead," or as one commentator put it, he'd rather "live on his knees than die on his feet." And therein lies the road to war, because those voices don't speak for the rest of us.

You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. If nothing in life is worth dying for, when did this begin -- just in the face of this enemy? Or should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under the pharaohs? Should Christ have refused the cross? Should the patriots at Concord Bridge have thrown down their guns and refused to fire the shot heard 'round the world? The martyrs of history were not fools, and our honored dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis didn't die in vain. Where, then, is the road to peace? Well it's a simple answer after all.

You and I have the courage to say to our enemies, "There is a price we will not pay." "There is a point beyond which they must not advance." And this -- this is the meaning in the phrase of Barry Goldwater's "peace through strength." Winston Churchill said, "The destiny of man is not measured by material computations. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we're spirits -- not animals." And he said, "There's something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty."

You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.

We'll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we'll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.

We will keep in mind and remember that Barry Goldwater has faith in us. He has faith that you and I have the ability and the dignity and the right to make our own decisions and determine our own destiny.

Thank you very much.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Domestic Standing Army

For anyone interested in the problem of police militarization and its effects, Radley Balko of The Agitator blog has a handy-dandy running collection of news stories re police excess.

Read these true tales together with his Cato Institute article on the topic and David Codrea's priceless The Only Ones collection. You'll then have a pretty good idea of who is charged with defending the bureaucrats, politicians, and other statist swine from their subjects, the Great Unwashed.

Just for your information and education, of course.

It's Time to Part Company

As you read this column from 2000 by economist Walter Williams, ask yourself if any of the issues cited by Dr. Williams have improved over the past seven years.

Then ask yourself, with a mere 363 days until the 2008 election, if you can rationally expect any of these same issues to improve over the next seven years of Demoblican rule.

One political question we have to answer is whether George W. Bush or Albert Gore shall be president, and just which party will control the House of Representatives and the Senate.

But I'd suggest that there's a far more important long-run question we must answer: If one group of people prefers government control and management of people's lives, and another prefers liberty and a desire to be left alone, should they be required to fight, antagonize one another, and risk bloodshed and loss of life in order to impose their preferences, or should they be able to peaceably part company and go their separate ways?

Like a marriage that has gone bad, I believe there are enough irreconcilable differences between those who want to control and those want to be left alone that divorce is the only peaceable alternative. Just as in a marriage, where vows are broken, our human rights protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution have been grossly violated by a government instituted to protect them. Americans who are responsible for and support constitutional abrogation have no intention of mending their ways.

Let's look at just some of the magnitude of the violations. Article 1, Section 8 of our Constitution enumerates the activities for which Congress is authorized to tax and spend. James Madison, the acknowledged father of the Constitution, explained it in The Federalist Papers: "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation and foreign commerce. ... The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives and liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement and prosperity of the State."

Nowhere among the enumerated powers of Congress is there authority to tax and spend for: Social Security, public education, farm subsidies, bank bailouts, food stamps and other activities that represent roughly two-thirds of the federal budget. Neither is there authority for Congress' mandates to the states and people about how they may use their land, the speed at which they can drive, whether a library has wheelchair ramps and the gallons of water used per toilet flush. A list of congressional violations of the letter and spirit of the Constitution is virtually without end.

Americans who wish to live free have two options: We can resist, fight and risk bloodshed to force America's tyrants to respect our liberties and human rights, or we can seek a peaceful resolution of our irreconcilable differences by separating. That can be done by peopling several states, say Texas and Louisiana, controlling their legislatures and then issuing a unilateral declaration of independence just as the Founders did in 1776.

You say, "Williams, nobody has to go that far, just get involved in the political process and vote for the right person."

That's nonsense. Liberty shouldn't require a vote. It's a God-given or natural right. Some independence or secessionists movements, such as our 1776 war with England and our 1861 War Between the States, have been violent, but they need not be. In 1905, Norway seceded from Sweden, Panama seceded from Columbia (1903), and West Virginia from Virginia (1863). Nonetheless, violent secession can lead to great friendships. England is probably our greatest ally and we have fought three major wars together. There is no reason why Texiana (Texas and Louisiana) couldn't peaceably secede, be an ally and have strong economic ties with United States.

The bottom line question for all of us is should we part company or continue trying to forcibly impose our wills on one another?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Two Views on the Human Right of Self-Defense

The first is a draft of an upcoming law review article by Second Amendment advocates David Kopel, Paul Gallant, and Joanne Eisen which refutes the United Nations' position that there is no human right of self-defense.

The second is a brief Ted Nugent YouTube video in which the Nuge lays it out in a more visceral way.


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Let It Not Be Said That We Did Nothing

Original link here, as delivered by Congressman Paul before the US House of Representatives on May 22, 2007. If you like what you read here, there is another fundraising "money bomb" day scheduled for November 11th:

Madam Speaker, for some, patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. For others, it means dissent against a government's abuse of the people's rights.

I have never met a politician in Washington or any American, for that matter, who chose to be called unpatriotic. Nor have I met anyone who did not believe he wholeheartedly supported our troops, wherever they may be.

What I have heard all too frequently from various individuals are sharp accusations that, because their political opponents disagree with them on the need for foreign military entanglements, they were unpatriotic, un-American evildoers deserving contempt.

The original American patriots were those individuals brave enough to resist with force the oppressive power of King George. I accept the definition of patriotism as that effort to resist oppressive state power.

The true patriot is motivated by a sense of responsibility and out of self-interest for himself, his family, and the future of his country to resist government abuse of power. He rejects the notion that patriotism means obedience to the state. Resistance need not be violent, but the civil disobedience that might be required involves confrontation with the state and invites possible imprisonment.

Peaceful, nonviolent revolutions against tyranny have been every bit as successful as those involving military confrontation. Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., achieved great political successes by practicing nonviolence, and yet they suffered physically at the hands of the state. But whether the resistance against government tyrants is nonviolent or physically violent, the effort to overthrow state oppression qualifies as true patriotism.

True patriotism today has gotten a bad name, at least from the government and the press. Those who now challenge the unconstitutional methods of imposing an income tax on us, or force us to use a monetary system designed to serve the rich at the expense of the poor are routinely condemned. These American patriots are sadly looked down upon by many. They are never praised as champions of liberty as Gandhi and Martin Luther King have been.

Liberals, who withhold their taxes as a protest against war, are vilified as well, especially by conservatives. Unquestioned loyalty to the state is especially demanded in times of war. Lack of support for a war policy is said to be unpatriotic. Arguments against a particular policy that endorses a war, once it is started, are always said to be endangering the troops in the field. This, they blatantly claim, is unpatriotic, and all dissent must stop. Yet, it is dissent from government policies that defines the true patriot and champion of liberty.

It is conveniently ignored that the only authentic way to best support the troops is to keep them out of dangerous undeclared no-win wars that are politically inspired. Sending troops off to war for reasons that are not truly related to national security and, for that matter, may even damage our security, is hardly a way to patriotically support the troops.

Who are the true patriots, those who conform or those who protest against wars without purpose? How can it be said that blind support for a war, no matter how misdirected the policy, is the duty of a patriot?

Randolph Bourne said that, "War is the health of the state.'' With war, he argued, the state thrives. Those who believe in the powerful state see war as an opportunity. Those who mistrust the people and the market for solving problems have no trouble promoting a "war psychology'' to justify the expansive role of the state. This includes the role the Federal Government plays in our lives, as well as in our economic transactions.

Certainly, the neoconservative belief that we have a moral obligation to spread American values worldwide through force justifies the conditions of war in order to rally support at home for the heavy hand of government. It is through this policy, it should surprise no one, that our liberties are undermined. The economy becomes overextended, and our involvement worldwide becomes prohibited. Out of fear of being labeled unpatriotic, most of the citizens become compliant and accept the argument that some loss of liberty is required to fight the war in order to remain safe.

This is a bad trade-off, in my estimation, especially when done in the name of patriotism. Loyalty to the state and to autocratic leaders is substituted for true patriotism; that is, a willingness to challenge the state and defend the country, the people and the culture. The more difficult the times, the stronger the admonition comes that the leaders be not criticized.

Because the crisis atmosphere of war supports the growth of the state, any problem invites an answer by declaring war, even on social and economic issues. This elicits patriotism in support of various government solutions, while enhancing the power of the state. Faith in government coercion and a lack of understanding of how free societies operate encourages big-government liberals and big-government conservatives to manufacture a war psychology to demand political loyalty for domestic policy just as is required in foreign affairs.

The long-term cost in dollars spent and liberties lost is neglected as immediate needs are emphasized. It is for this reason that we have multiple perpetual wars going on simultaneously. Thus, the war on drugs, the war against gun ownership, the war against poverty, the war against illiteracy, the war against terrorism, as well as our foreign military entanglements are endless.

All this effort promotes the growth of statism at the expense of liberty. A government designed for a free society should do the opposite, prevent the growth of statism and preserve liberty.

Once a war of any sort is declared, the message is sent out not to object or you will be declared unpatriotic. Yet, we must not forget that the true patriot is the one who protests in spite of the consequences. Condemnation or ostracism or even imprisonment may result.

Nonviolent protesters of the Tax Code are frequently imprisoned, whether they are protesting the code's unconstitutionality or the war that the tax revenues are funding. Resisters to the military draft or even to Selective Service registration are threatened and imprisoned for challenging this threat to liberty.

Statism depends on the idea that the government owns us and citizens must obey. Confiscating the fruits of our labor through the income tax is crucial to the health of the state. The draft, or even the mere existence of the Selective Service, emphasizes that we will march off to war at the state's pleasure.

A free society rejects all notions of involuntary servitude, whether by draft or the confiscation of the fruits of our labor through the personal income tax. A more sophisticated and less well-known technique for enhancing the state is the manipulation and transfer of wealth through the fiat monetary system operated by the secretive Federal Reserve.

Protesters against this unconstitutional system of paper money are considered unpatriotic criminals and at times are imprisoned for their beliefs. The fact that, according to the Constitution, only gold and silver are legal tender and paper money outlawed matters little. The principle of patriotism is turned on its head. Whether it's with regard to the defense of welfare spending at home, confiscatory income tax, or an immoral monetary system or support for a war fought under false pretense without a legal declaration, the defenders of liberty and the Constitution are portrayed as unpatriotic, while those who support these programs are seen as the patriots.

If there is a war going on, supporting the state's effort to win the war is expected at all costs, no dissent. The real problem is that those who love the state too often advocate policies that lead to military action. At home, they are quite willing to produce a crisis atmosphere and claim a war is needed to solve the problem. Under these conditions, the people are more willing to bear the burden of paying for the war and to carelessly sacrifice liberties, which they are told is necessary.

The last 6 years have been quite beneficial to the health of the state, which comes at the expense of personal liberty. Every enhanced unconstitutional power of the state can only be achieved at the expense of individual liberty. Even though in every war in which we have been engaged civil liberties have suffered, some have been restored after the war ended, but never completely. That has resulted in a steady erosion of our liberties over the past 200 years. Our government was originally designed to protect our liberties, but it has now, instead, become the usurper of those liberties.

We currently live in the most difficult of times for guarding against an expanding central government with a steady erosion of our freedoms. We are continually being reminded that 9/11 has changed everything.

Unfortunately, the policy that needed most to be changed, that is, our policy of foreign interventionism, has only been expanded. There is no pretense any longer that a policy of humility in foreign affairs, without being the world's policemen and engaging in nation building, is worthy of consideration.

We now live in a post-9/11 America where our government is going to make us safe no matter what it takes. We are expected to grin and bear it and adjust to every loss of our liberties in the name of patriotism and security.

Though the majority of Americans initially welcomed the declared effort to make us safe, and we are willing to sacrifice for the cause, more and more Americans are now becoming concerned about civil liberties being needlessly and dangerously sacrificed.

The problem is that the Iraq war continues to drag on, and a real danger of it spreading exists. There is no evidence that a truce will soon be signed in Iraq or in the war on terror or the war on drugs. Victory is not even definable. If Congress is incapable of declaring an official war, it is impossible to know when it will end. We have been fully forewarned that the world conflict in which we are now engaged will last a long, long time.

The war mentality and the pervasive fear of an unidentified enemy allows for a steady erosion of our liberties, and, with this, our respect for self-reliance and confidence is lost. Just think of the self-sacrifice and the humiliation we go through at the airport screening process on a routine basis. Though there is no scientific evidence of any likelihood of liquids and gels being mixed on an airplane to make a bomb, billions of dollars are wasted throwing away toothpaste and hair spray, and searching old women in wheelchairs.

Our enemies say boo, and we jump, we panic, and then we punish ourselves. We are worse than a child being afraid of the dark. But in a way, the fear of indefinable terrorism is based on our inability to admit the truth about why there is a desire by a small number of angry radical Islamists to kill Americans. It is certainly not because they are jealous of our wealth and freedoms.

We fail to realize that the extremists, willing to sacrifice their own lives to kill their enemies, do so out of a sense of weakness and desperation over real and perceived attacks on their way of life, their religion, their country, and their natural resources. Without the conventional diplomatic or military means to retaliate against these attacks, and an unwillingness of their own government to address the issue, they resort to the desperation tactic of suicide terrorism. Their anger toward their own governments, which they believe are coconspirators with the American Government, is equal to or greater than that directed toward us.

These errors in judgment in understanding the motive of the enemy and the constant fear that is generated have brought us to this crisis where our civil liberties and privacy are being steadily eroded in the name of preserving national security.

We may be the economic and the military giant of the world, but the effort to stop this war on our liberties here at home in the name of patriotism is being lost.

The erosion of our personal liberties started long before 9/11, but 9/11 accelerated the process. There are many things that motivate those who pursue this course, both well-intentioned and malevolent, but it would not happen if the people remained vigilant, understood the importance of individual rights, and were unpersuaded that a need for security justifies the sacrifice for liberty, even if it is just now and then.

The true patriot challenges the state when the state embarks on enhancing its power at the expense of the individual. Without a better understanding and a greater determination to rein in the state, the rights of Americans that resulted from the revolutionary break from the British and the writing of the Constitution will disappear.

The record since September 11th is dismal. Respect for liberty has rapidly deteriorated. Many of the new laws passed after 9/11 had, in fact, been proposed long before that attack. The political atmosphere after that attack simply made it more possible to pass such legislation. The fear generated by 9/11 became an opportunity for those seeking to promote the power of the state domestically, just as it served to falsely justify the long-planned invasion of Iraq.

The war mentality was generated by the Iraq war in combination with the constant drumbeat of fear at home. Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, who is now likely residing in Pakistan, our supposed ally, are ignored, as our troops fight and die in Iraq and are made easier targets for the terrorists in their backyard. While our leaders constantly use the mess we created to further justify the erosion of our constitutional rights here at home, we forget about our own borders and support the inexorable move toward global government, hardly a good plan for America.

The accelerated attacks on liberty started quickly after 9/11. Within weeks, the PATRIOT Act was overwhelmingly passed by Congress. Though the final version was unavailable up to a few hours before the vote, no Member had sufficient time to study it. Political fear of not doing something, even something harmful, drove the Members of Congress to not question the contents, and just voted for it. A little less freedom for a little more perceived safety was considered a fair trade-off, and the majority of Americans applauded.

The PATRIOT Act, though, severely eroded the system of checks and balances by giving the government the power to spy on law-abiding citizens without judicial supervision. The several provisions that undermine the liberties of all Americans include sneak-and-peek searches, a broadened and more vague definition of domestic terrorism, allowing the FBI access to library and bookstore records without search warrants or probable cause, easier FBI initiation of wiretaps and searches, as well as roving wiretaps, easier access to information on American citizens' use of the Internet, and easier access to e-mail and financial records of all American citizens.

The attack on privacy has not relented over the past 6 years. The Military Commissions Act is a particularly egregious piece of legislation and, if not repealed, will change America for the worse as the powers unconstitutionally granted to the executive branch are used and abused. This act grants excessive authority to use secretive military commissions outside of places where active hostilities are going on. The Military Commissions Act permits torture, arbitrary detention of American citizens as unlawful enemy combatants at the full discretion of the President and without the right of habeas corpus, and warrantless searches by the NSA. It also gives to the President the power to imprison individuals based on secret testimony.

Since 9/11, Presidential signing statements designating portions of legislation that the President does not intend to follow, though not legal under the Constitution, have enormously multiplied. Unconstitutional Executive Orders are numerous and mischievous and need to be curtailed.

Extraordinary rendition to secret prisons around the world have been widely engaged in, though obviously extralegal.

A growing concern in the post-9/11 environment is the Federal Government's list of potential terrorists based on secret evidence. Mistakes are made, and sometimes it is virtually impossible to get one's name removed even though the accused is totally innocent of any wrongdoing.

A national ID card is now in the process of being implemented. It is called the REAL ID card, and it is tied to our Social Security numbers and our State driver's license. If REAL ID is not stopped, it will become a national driver's license ID for all Americans. We will be required to carry our papers.

Some of the least-noticed and least-discussed changes in the law were the changes made to the Insurrection Act of 1807 and to posse comitatus by the Defense Authorization Act of 2007. These changes pose a threat to the survival of our Republic by giving the President the power to declare martial law for as little reason as to restore public order. The 1807 act severely restricted the President in his use of the military within the United States borders, and the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 strengthened these restrictions with strict oversight by Congress. The new law allows the President to circumvent the restrictions of both laws. The Insurrection Act has now become the "Enforcement of the Laws to Restore Public Order Act.'' This is hardly a title that suggests that the authors cared about or understood the nature of a constitutional Republic.

Now, martial law can be declared not just for insurrection, but also for natural disasters, public health reasons, terrorist attacks or incidents, or for the vague reason called "other conditions.'' The President can call up the National Guard without congressional approval or the Governors' approval, and even send these State Guard troops into other States.

The American Republic is in remnant status. The stage is set for our country eventually devolving into a military dictatorship, and few seem to care. These precedent-setting changes in the law are extremely dangerous and will change American jurisprudence forever if not revised. The beneficial results of our revolt against the King's abuses are about to be eliminated, and few Members of Congress and few Americans are aware of the seriousness of the situation. Complacency and fear drive our legislation without any serious objection by our elected leaders. Sadly, though, those few who do object to this self-evident trend away from personal liberty and empire-building overseas are portrayed as unpatriotic and uncaring.

Though welfare and socialism always fails, opponents of them are said to lack compassion. Though opposition to totally unnecessary war should be the only moral position, the rhetoric is twisted to claim that patriots who oppose the war are not supporting the troops. The cliché "Support the Troops'' is incessantly used as a substitute for the unacceptable notion of supporting the policy, no matter how flawed it may be.

Unsound policy can never help the troops. Keeping the troops out of harm's way and out of wars unrelated to our national security is the only real way of protecting the troops. With this understanding, just who can claim the title of "patriot''?

Before the war in the Middle East spreads and becomes a world conflict for which we will be held responsible, or the liberties of all Americans become so suppressed we can no longer resist, much has to be done. Time is short, but our course of action should be clear. Resistance to illegal and unconstitutional usurpation of our rights is required. Each of us must choose which course of action we should take: education, conventional political action, or even peaceful civil disobedience to bring about necessary changes.

But let it not be said that we did nothing. Let not those who love the power of the welfare/warfare state label the dissenters of authoritarianism as unpatriotic or uncaring. Patriotism is more closely linked to dissent than it is to conformity and a blind desire for safety and security. Understanding the magnificent rewards of a free society makes us unbashful in its promotion, fully realizing that maximum wealth is created and the greatest chance for peace comes from a society respectful of individual liberty.

Ron Paul 2008 campaign donations can be made here; his views on the Second Amendment are here.

Now is the time to give more than you have ever thought of giving to any other candidate.