Archive for March, 2008


March 21, 2008


As a former FEMA MCI drill/planner Instructor I can tell you that this is but a single aspect that will need to be addressed in Denver when the DNC convention comes to town. The Denver region will be a target rich environment for many groups, for many reasons. From gay activist’s to gun haters they will all be here in one place. A single WMD could completely erase the leadership from many groups. These groups could be Islamist terrorist’s, or militia types, or God only knows what …

Not into WMD’s? The area around the Pepsi Center is a snipers dream. A few well placed charges, and perhaps the Platte river might turn into a flash flood. Got a particular target in mind? Routes of egress are quite limited, and EFP weapons are actually simple to construct. Oh yeah, and then there are those rioters, I almost forgot about them…

Denver has all the potential for being a full blown disaster.

Typical White People: Be very, very afraid « Making Waves Around The Reservoir#comment-219

March 21, 2008

Typical White People: Be very, very afraid « Making Waves Around The Reservoir#comment-219

This was a great post! I mean, if you can’t keep a sense of humor when confronted with Obaminations against our country.

Anagram: The Apologist/Agile Hotspot « Mikey the Rhino’s Great American Rantfest

March 20, 2008

Anagram: The Apologist/Agile Hotspot « Mikey the Rhino’s Great American Rantfest

Mikey, like all of us it seems, is angry. However, Mikey is all over the board with his anger. The logic of his anger mystifies me. He is here about this, then there about that, when the root is the same. I am no fan of Obama, as you may well expect if you have been around this blog for any amount of time. Nor, am I a fan of McCain, as far as being President goes. I honor him for his service, and am worried that he truely does have PTSD. Beyond all that? I have posted elsewhere on this blog many times about both of them having to do with suppressing First Amendment and Second Amendment rights.

Niether man is in the least bit qualified to be President. Nor is Hillary…

More Obamination..?

March 20, 2008

“The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man.” —James Madison

“We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.” —C.S. Lewis

“Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure that there is one less scoundrel in the world.” —Thomas Carlyle

“The world is weary of statesmen whom democracy has degraded into politicians.” —Benjamin Disraeli

“Freedom has a thousand charms to show, That slaves, howe’er contented, never know.” —William Cowper

“I profoundly believe it takes a lot of practice to become a moral slob.” —William F. Buckley

“[Barack] Obama says Rev. [Jeremiah] Wright is no longer among his campaign’s ‘spiritual advisers.’ Obama should not be asked which of Rev. Wright’s outrageous statements he disagrees with, but rather which ones he does agree with. That Obama remains a member in good standing of Trinity United Church of Christ indicates that he prefers the company of many people who have demonstrated that they believe what their pastor has said.” —Cal Thomas Break“We don’t need a President of the United States who got to the White House by talking one way, voting a very different way in the Senate, and who for 20 years followed a man whose words and deeds contradict [Barack] Obama’s carefully crafted election year image.” —Thomas Sowell

“All you really need to know about Barack Hussein Obama is this: Louis Farrakhan really, really, really wants him to be president.” —Don Feder

“Barack Obama is, of course, a very talented politician with a first-rate political organization at his back. But it does not detract from his merit to say that his race is also a large part of his prominence. And it is undeniable that something extremely powerful in the body politic, a force quite apart from the man himself, has pulled Obama forward. This force is about race and nothing else.” —Shelby Steele

“It’s equally obvious… that if Hillary was male—and not married to Bill Clinton—she wouldn’t be in her position. Hillary came to national prominence not through her own efforts but through the success of her husband. Virtually all her ‘experience’ prior to being elected Senator is in fact Bill Clinton’s experience. She wouldn’t even have been elected to the Senate without Bill.” —Dinesh D’Souza

“[T]here’s a general right to bear arms quite without reference to the militia either way.” —Justice Anthony Kennedy during Tuesday’s hearings on the Second Amendment

“Barack Obama’s story that he never once heard his preacher trash whites and America in hundreds of sermons sounds like Bill Clinton claiming he never inhaled while smoking dope. The mushrooming church scandal has taken the shine off the golden boy of politics, a two-decade regular at ‘unashamedly black’ Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. With his phony defense, the Democrat front-runner has exposed himself as both a typical Beltway spinmeister and a hypocrite. From the start of his presidential campaign, Obama has positioned himself as a straight shooter and a uniter—the very antidote to the sinister Clintonian politics of the past… ‘You know what I’m saying is true,’ he reassured voters. Yet his denial over Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s vitriol does not ring true. He’s suddenly shocked—shocked!—that his black nationalist church would spew anti-American venom. ‘I did not hear such incendiary language myself, personally,’ he insisted, ‘either in conversations with him or when I was in the pew.’ Back in February 2007, however, Obama knew Wright might be a political liability. His chief campaign strategist, David Axelrod, was so worried about his provocative statements that he urged Obama to withdraw a request that Wright deliver an invocation at his presidential campaign kickoff. Reluctantly, Obama ‘uninvited’ his long-time friend and mentor, according to Wright’s own account at the time, telling him ‘it’s best for you not to be out there in public.’… Here’s another whopper Obama tells concerning Wright: ‘He hasn’t been my political adviser, he’s been my pastor.’ Yet it turns out Wright quietly had a formal role in Obama’s campaign, and was only pushed out last week as a member of his spiritual advisory committee when the tapes hit the airwaves. Spinning harder, Obama claimed Wright’s remarks are not ‘reflective of the church.’ Yet the videos clearly show fellow members whooping and thumping in their applause of Wright’s hateful rants. These weren’t just a smattering of amens and hallelujahs. They were standing ovations. Point is, these are the folks with whom the Obamas worship and socialize. Yet we’re expected to believe Obama never heard the same incendiary remarks from them, either? His plea of ignorance doesn’t wash.” —Investor’s Business Daily

The above from the Patriot Post:

Remember folks, you heard it all here first. Dating back well over a year ago, only now, it is big news. When I tell someone posting here to do their own research it is because the information is readily available, and people learn better when they actually work at learning. Barak Obama, bad for America, bad for the world.

Supreme Court Oral Arguments In DC v Heller‏, two approaches

March 20, 2008

Gun Owners of America E-Mail Alert
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151
Phone: 703-321-8585 / FAX: 703-321-8408

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Gun owners had their day in court on Tuesday, when the U.S. Supreme Court
heard oral arguments in the DC v. Heller case, which involves a challenge to
the DC gun ban.

Absent some world-shaking surprise, it is pretty clear that there are five
votes on the Supreme Court to declare that the Second Amendment is an
individual right.

That fact alone should be enough to settle the argument over gun control and
protect gun owners’ rights. But as we all know, that’s where the battle over
the meaning of the Second Amendment begins.

More to the point, Justice John Paul Stevens asked Alan Gura, the attorney
for Dick Heller, if it would be proper to say that the right protected in
the Second Amendment shall not be “unreasonably infringed”?

To our shock and horror, Gura answered “yes.”  He did
qualify his answer
somewhat by saying “we don’t know” exactly what this
“unreasonable standard
looks like.”  But he conceded a significant amount of ground with his
answer, because any ban would be “reasonable” to Chuck
Schumer and Sarah

Truth be told, we do have a proper standard for interpreting the Second
Amendment.  The language doesn’t say anything about
“reasonable” or
“unreasonable;” it simply says the right of the people
“shall not be
infringed.”  It’s a shame that even people on “our
side” don’t fully
understand that.

That’s why when USA Today looked at all the briefs which had been submitted,
the editors decided to use GOA for the opposing voice in today’s editorial.
The editors told our attorneys that GOA had an argument that was

Indeed we do.  GOA’s brief says:

 [T]he argument that “the right of the people” is subject to
 regulation and restriction tramples on the very words of the Second
 Amendment, reading the phrase — “shall not be infringed”
— as if it read
 “shall be subject only to reasonable regulation to achieve
public safety.”

“Public safety” is frequently a canard that tyrants hide
behind to justify
their oppressive policies.  Writing in USA Today, our attorneys Herbert
Titus and William Olson stated:

 No government deprives its citizens of rights without asserting that its
 actions are “reasonable” and “necessary” for
high-sounding reasons such as
 “public safety.”  A right that can be regulated is no
right at all, only a
 temporary privilege dependent upon the good will of the very government
 officials that such right is designed to constrain.

For the rest of the editorial:

For the GOA brief, and other important documents and briefs in DC v. Heller:

And then there are the sell outs;

Fairfax, Va.-Today, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in District of Columbia v. Heller, a case the Court has stated is “limited to the following question: Whether Washington, D.C.’s bans [on handguns, on having guns in operable condition in the home and on carrying guns within the home] violate the Second Amendment rights of individuals who are not affiliated with any state-regulated militia, but who wish to keep handguns and other firearms for private use in their homes.” 

The case came before the Supreme Court on appeal by the District of Columbia, after a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit declared the city’s gun bans unconstitutional. The panel’s decision was upheld by the full Court of Appeals. 

The Court of Appeals decision–consistent with the views of the Framers of the Bill of Rights, respected legal commentators of the 19th century, the Supreme Court’s ruling in U.S. v. Cruikshank (1876), numerous court decisions of the 19th century, the Supreme Court’s ruling in U.S. v. Miller (1939), the position of the U.S. Department of Justice, and the vast majority of Second Amendment scholars today-concluded that “the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. That right existed prior to the formation of the new government under the Constitution and was premised on the private use of arms for activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from abroad).” 

In today’s argument, the Justices aggressively questioned advocates for all sides, including Walter Dellinger for the District, Solicitor General Paul Clement for the Department of Justice, and Alan Gura for the plaintiffs challenging D.C.’s law. 

While it would be a mistake to predict the outcome of a case from questions at oral argument, some justices’ questions clearly suggested where they stand-as when Chief Justice John Roberts, questioning the District’s Dellinger, scoffed at the idea that a citizen awakened by an intruder in the middle of the night could “turn on the lamp . pick up [his] reading glasses,” and disengage a trigger lock.  Dellinger back-pedaled from D.C.’s longstanding position that its laws prohibit self-defense, claiming that D.C. actually supports citizens having functional firearms for defense. 

Justices extensively questioned all three attorneys on the meaning and effect of the Second Amendment’s “militia clause,” with Dellinger taking the extreme position that unless a state “had attributes of [a state] militia contrary to a Federal law,” the Second Amendment would have no effect as a restraint on legislation.  Several justices seemed to disagree strongly with that view, with Justice Antonin Scalia noting that even if the militia clause describes the purpose of the Second Amendment, it’s not unusual for a law to be written more broadly than necessary for its main purpose. 

Justice Anthony Kennedy questioned the attorneys very actively, especially on the importance of self-defense in the Founding era.  Justice Kennedy suggested that even the Supreme Court’s 1939 Miller decision-which gun control advocates have often wrongly cited as protecting only a “collective” right-was “deficient” and may not have addressed the “interests that must have been foremost in the Framers’ minds when they were concerned about guns being taken away from the people who needed them for their defense.” 

Plaintiffs’ attorney Gura-in addition to responding to many hypothetical questions-noted that the Second Amendment was clearly derived from common law rights described by Blackstone and other 18th Century commentators.  Although the militia clause “gives us some guide post as to how we look at the Second Amendment,” Gura said, “it’s not the exclusive purpose of the Second Amendment.”

NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox (who both attended the arguments) commented, “Washington, D.C.’s ban on keeping handguns and functional firearms in the home for self-defense is unreasonable and unconstitutional under any standard. We remain hopeful that the Supreme Court will agree with the overwhelming majority of the American people, more than 300 members of Congress, 31 state attorneys general and the NRA that the Second Amendment protects the fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms, and that Washington, D.C.’s bans on handguns and functional firearms in the home for self-defense should be struck down.” 

Amicus briefs filed with the Supreme Court in support of the Court of Appeals’ decision included those by the National Rifle Association and the NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund; Vice-President Dick Cheney (in his capacity as President of the Senate) and Members of Congress; the state attorneys general; and noted Second Amendment scholars. All the briefs in the case are available at

 Listen to the audio recording of the oral arguments (RealPlayer required)

 View the transcript (PDF format)

NRA-ILA Alerts


March 20, 2008

The Colorado Division of Wildlife will hold a public meeting to discuss deer and elk hunting license numbers for the 2008 hunting season for the Gunnison Basin on March 28 at the Holiday Inn Express in Gunnison.  
Two sessions are scheduled: From 10 a.m. to noon wildlife officials will discuss Game Management Units 66 and 67; from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., they’ll discuss GMUs 54, 55 and 551.  
Wildlife managers will present deer and elk population estimates, and discuss license numbers for the upcoming big game season. The information they use to determine these numbers includes the previous season’s harvest numbers, post-hunt aerial survey data and estimated winter mortality.  Each year wildlife managers strive to meet population and sex ratio objectives established in deer and elk management plans.  The harsh winter season and the ongoing feeding operation will be taken into consideration.   
Written comments also are welcome. Please send to: Brandon Diamond, Colorado Division of Wildlife, 300 New York Avenue, Gunnison, CO  81230. Written comments must be received by April 4.  
The Colorado Wildlife Commission will set license numbers on May 1 at its meeting in Grand Junction. Big game limited license applications are due April 1.  

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to:


March 20, 2008

Regional and state directors from the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), U.S. Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) were on-hand at the DOW Headquarters in Denver today to sign the Colorado Greater Sage-grouse Conservation Plan.

The plan is designed to guide and facilitate the conservation of greater sage-grouse and their habitats. It identifies broad measures and strategies for the grouse, addressing threats that contribute to population declines, and recognizes the important conservation role played by local working groups. Local working groups consist of private landowners, public agency representatives and other interested stakeholders.

The plan has been in development for the past 2 ½ years, and is a compendium of information about Colorado populations of greater sage-grouse as well as analysis of threats facing them. A steering committee comprised of the signatory agencies developed the plan in partnership with an advisory committee made up of representatives from local working groups. Collectively, the federal agencies and DOW are responsible for the management of sage-grouse populations and habitat on public land, encouraging sage-grouse conservation on private lands, and conserving the species such that federal listing protection does not become necessary. Colorado’s effort is part of a larger conservation effort by state and federal wildlife agencies across 12 western states.

“The conservation of our sage-grouse requires active collaboration among our public and private partners at both the local and regional level to implement on-the-ground conservation actions.” said Tom Remington, Director of the DOW. “For wide-ranging wildlife species, these multi-state, multi-agency partnerships on public and private lands represent the future of conservation planning.  This plan will ensure that the best possible science and analysis will guide those conservation efforts”

“This state-wide conservation plan signals a strong commitment by all partners to maintain and improve the sagebrush ecosystem for the benefit of all sagebrush-dependent species,” said Steve Guertin, USFWS Director of the Mountain-Prairie Region. “I commend Federal and state agencies as well as the local working groups for their ongoing efforts to develop and implement conservation strategies that will not only benefit the Greater sage-grouse but numerous other species that utilize sagebrush habitats for all or part of their life cycles.”

Greater sage-grouse are designated by the DOW as a state Species of Concern. The species was petitioned for listing under the Endangered Species Act and its status is undergoing review by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to determine whether federal listing is needed.

Greater sage-grouse are the largest grouse in North America. Males are known for two large air-sacks on their chest that are inflated in elaborate courtship displays. Sage-grouse are found in areas where sagebrush is abundant. Sagebrush provides food and cover for the birds. During the winter months, sage provides the entire diet for sage-grouse, so the protection of quality sagebrush habitats is critically important for the species.

For additional information on greater sage-grouse and to view a copy of Colorado’s Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation Plan please visit:

Sheepdogs and wolves

March 19, 2008

This letter was written by Charles Grennel and his comrades,
veterans of the Global War on Terror.

Grennel is an Army Reservist who spent two years in Iraq and
was a principal in putting together the first Iraq elections
in January 2005.

It was written to Jill Edwards, student at the University of
Washington, who did not want to honor, Medal of Honor
winner, USMC Colonel Greg Boyington. Ms. Edwards and other
students and faculty do not think those who serve in the
U.S. Armed Services are good role models.


Miss Edwards, I read of your student activity regarding the
proposed memorial to Colonel Greg Boyington, USMC and a
Medal of Honor winner. I suspect you will receive many angry
emails from conservative people like me. You may be too
young to appreciate fully the sacrifices of generations of
servicemen and servicewomen, on whose shoulders you and your
fellow students stand.

I forgive you for the untutored ways of youth and your
naivete. It may be that you are simply a sheep. There’s no
dishonor in being a sheep, as long as you know and accept
what you are.

Most of the people in our society are sheep.

They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only
hurt one another by accident. We may well be in the most
violent times in history, but violence is still remarkably
rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent people,
not capable of hurting each other except by accident or
under extreme provocation. They are sheep.

Then there are the wolves who feed on the sheep without

Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on
the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are
evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds.
The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you
become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.

Then there are sheepdogs and I’m a sheepdog.

I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf. If you
have no capacity for violence and you are a healthy
productive citizen, you are a sheep.

If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your
fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive
sociopath, a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for
violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? What do
you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking
the uncharted path. Someone who can walk into the heart of
darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out

We know that the sheep live in denial – that is what makes
them sheep.

They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world.
They can accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why
they want fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms
and fire exits throughout their kid’s schools. But many of
them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police
officer in their kid’s school.

Our children are thousands of times more likely to be killed
or seriously injured by school violence than fire, but the
sheep’s only response to the possibility of violence is
denial. The idea of someone coming to kill or harm their
child is just too hard. So they choose the path of denial.

The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot
like the wolf.

He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference,
though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not
ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog that intentionally harms
the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The
world cannot work any other way, at least not in a
representative democracy or a republic such as ours.

Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant
reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would
prefer that he didn’t tell them where to go, or give them
traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports, in
camouflage fatigues, holding an M-16. The sheep would much
rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint
himself white, and go Baa. That is, until the wolf shows up,
and then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind
one lonely sheepdog.

The students, the victims, at Columbine High School were
big, tough, know-it-all high school students, and under
ordinary circumstances would not have had the time of day
for a police officer. They were not bad kids; they just had
nothing to say to a cop. When the school was under attack,
however, and SWAT teams were clearing the rooms and
hallways, the officers had to physically peel those
clinging, sobbing kids off of them.

This is how the little lambs feel about their sheepdog when
the wolf is at the door. Look at what happened after
September 11, 2001 when the wolf pounded hard on the door.
Remember how America, more than ever before, felt
differently about their law enforcement officers and
military personnel? Understand that there is nothing morally
superior about being a sheepdog; it is just what you choose
to be.

Also understand that a sheepdog is a funny critter. He is
always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the
breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night and
yearning for a righteous battle.

That is, the young sheepdogs yearn for a righteous battle.
The old sheepdogs are a little older and wiser, but they
move to the sound of the guns when needed, right along with
the young ones. Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think

The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog
lives for that day.

After the attacks on September 11, 2001, most of the sheep,
that is, most citizens in America said ‘Thank God I wasn’t
on one of those planes.’ The sheepdogs, the warriors, said,
‘Dear God, I wish I could have been on one of those planes.
Maybe I could have made a difference.’ You want to be able
to make a difference.

There is nothing morally superior about the sheepdog, the
warrior, but he does have one real advantage. Only one. And
that is that he is able to survive and thrive in an
environment that would destroy 98 percent of the population.
Research was conducted a few years ago with individuals
convicted of violent crimes.

These cons were in prison for serious, predatory crimes of
violence: assaults, murders and killing law enforcement
officers. The vast majority said they specifically targeted
victims by body language: Slumped walk, passive behavior and
lack of awareness. They chose their victims like big cats do
in Africa, when they select one out of the herd that is
least able to protect itself.

Some people may be destined to be sheep and others might be
genetically primed to be wolves or sheepdogs. But I believe
that most people can choose which one they want to be, and
I’m proud to say that more and more Americans are choosing
to become sheepdogs.

Seven months after the attack on September 11, 2001, Todd
Beamer was honored in his hometown of Cranbury, New Jersey.
Todd, as you recall, was the man on Flight 93 over
Pennsylvania who called on his cell phone to alert an
operator from United Airlines about the hijacking.

When they learned of the other three passenger planes that
had been used as weapons, Todd and the other passengers
confronted the terrorist hijackers. In one hour, a
transformation occurred among the passengers – athletes,
business people and parents – from sheep to sheepdogs and
together they fought the wolves, ultimately saving an
unknown number of lives on the ground.

Edmund Burke said ‘There is no safety for honest men except
by believing all possible evil of evil men.’ Here is the
point I want to emphasize, especially to the thousands of
police officers and soldiers I speak to each year. In nature
the sheep, real sheep, are born as sheep. Sheepdogs are born
that way, and so are wolves.

They don’t have a choice. But you are not a critter. As a
human being, you can be whatever you want to be. It is a
conscious, moral decision. If you want to be a sheep, then
you can be a sheep and that is okay, but you must understand
the price you pay. When the wolf comes, you and your loved
ones are going to die if there is not a sheepdog there to
protect you.

If you want to be a wolf, you can be one, but the sheepdogs
are going to hunt you down and you will never have rest,
safety, trust or love. But if you want to be a sheepdog and
walk the warrior’s path, then you must make a conscious and
moral decision every day to dedicate, equip and prepare
yourself to thrive in that toxic, corrosive moment when the
wolf comes knocking at the door.

This business of being a sheep or a sheepdog is not a yes-no
dichotomy. It is not an all-or-nothing, either-or choice. It
is a matter of degrees, a continuum. On one end is an
abject, head-in-the-sand-sheep and on the other end is the
ultimate warrior.

Few people exist completely on one end or the other. Most of
us live somewhere in between. Since 9-11 almost everyone in
America took a step up that continuum, away from denial. The
sheep took a few steps toward accepting and appreciating
their warriors and the warriors started taking their job
more seriously.

It’s OK to be a sheep, but do not kick the sheepdog. Indeed,
the sheepdog may just run a little harder, strive to protect
a little better and be fully prepared to pay an ultimate
price in battle and spirit with the sheep moving from ‘baa’
to ‘thanks’.

We do not call for gifts or freedoms beyond our lot. Just
like the sheepdog, we in the military just need a small pat
on the head, a smile and a thank you to fill the emotional
tank which is drained protecting the sheep.

And, when our number is called by The Almighty, and day
retreats into night, a small prayer before the heavens just
may be in order to say thanks for letting you continue to be
a sheep.

And be grateful for the millions of American sheepdogs who
permit you the freedom to express even bad ideas.


I told you this was a great letter by Charles Grennel. Was I

So what are you?
If you are a wolf, get off my list now.
If you are a sheep, let me help you become a sheepdog.
If you are a sheepdog, let me sharpen your teeth and claws
and help you become a sheepdog that ALL wolves fear.

I want you to go to this link and take advantage of my
greatest offer ever:

Sac Bee’s Fishing Line « The Fish Whisperer

March 14, 2008

Sac Bee’s Fishing Line « The Fish Whisperer

Looks like things are beginning to heat up all across the west! I love it! No politics on the stream, just structure, and ripples, and figuring out just what the fish will hit on that day, at that particular place along the stream or river.

Here in Colorado, midge larva rule as the number one fish getter this time of the year. Although last weekend, a fellow caught a nice Brownie on a number eighteen hares mask nymph, fished along the bottom of the river.

Wild Turkeys watched as we fished from the nearby hillside. Turkey season is about to start…

Day of reckoning

March 13, 2008

For gun control proponents and opponents a lot is riding on a former security guard for the Supreme Court Annex. Next Tuesday , the Supreme Court will hear arguments over whether the District of Columbia’s ban on handguns and its requirement that any rifles or shotguns remain locked violates the plaintiff, Dick Heller’s, constitutional rights.

Whatever the court decides, no one expects them to end gun control any more than the First Amendment’s “congress shall make no laws” has prevented the passage of campaign finance regulations. The decision is likely to be limited to just whether a ban “infringed” on “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”

If the D.C. ban is accepted by the court, it is hard to believe that any gun regulation will ever be struck down. If the court strikes it down, where the courts draw the line on what laws are considered “reasonable” regulations will take years to sort out .

Thus far the District of Columbia has spent a lot of time making a public policy case. Their argument in their brief to the court is pretty simple : “banning handguns saves lives.”

Yet, while it may seem obvious to many people that banning guns will save lives, that has not been D.C.’s experience.

The ban went into effect in early 1977, but since it started there is only one year (1985) when D.C.’s murder rate fell below what it was in 1976. But the murder rate also rose dramatically relative to other cities. In the 29 years we have data after the ban, D.C.’s murder rate ranked first or second among the largest 50 cities for 15 years. In another four years, it ranked fourth.

For Instance, D.C.’s murder rate fell from 3.5 to 3 times more than Maryland and Virginia’s during the five years before the handgun ban went into effect in 1977, but rose to 3.8 times more in the five years after it.

Was there something special about D.C. that kept the ban from working? Probably not, since bans have been causing crime to increase in other cities as well. D.C. cites the Chicago ban to support its own. Yet, before Chicago’s ban in 1982, its murder rate, which was falling from 27 to 22 per 100,000 in the five years, suddenly stopped falling and rose slightly to 23 per 100,000 in the five years afterwards.

Neither have bans worked in other countries. Gun crime in England and Wales increased 340 percent in the seven years since their 1998 ban. Ireland banned handguns and center fire rifles in 1972 and murder rates soared — the post-ban murder rate average has been 144 percent higher than pre-ban.

How could this be? D.C. officials say that the ban will disarm criminals. But who follows a ban and turns their guns in? Criminals who would be facing long prison sentences anyway if they were caught in a crime, or typically law-abiding citizens? By disarming normal people, a gun ban actually makes crime easier to commit.

Unfortunately, the Department of Justice has actually sided with D.C. in important parts of the case, and the court has granted Solicitor General Paul Clement 15 minutes to make his argument. While largely paying lip service to the Second Amendment being an “individual right,” the Department of Justice brief argues that an “unquestionable threat to public safety” from unregulated guns requires a lower standard must be adopted in defending it than is used to defend the rest of the Bill of Rights. But if they really believed that their evidence showed this, just as with the classic exception for the First Amendment of “falsely shouting fire in a theater,” it wouldn’t be necessary to treat the Second Amendment differently .

But what has not gotten much attention is that for the first time in U.S. history an administration has provided conflicting briefs to the Supreme Court. Vice President Dick Cheney has put forward his own brief arguing that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right that is no different than freedom of speech.

The DOJ constitutional argument is similar to that of D.C. It argues that since the government bans machine guns, it should also be able to ban handguns. And they claim that D.C. residents still retain a right to self-defense because the city doesn’t ban locked shotguns and rifles. Locks, they claim , “can properly be interpreted” as not interfering with using guns for self-protection.

Factual errors underlie the rest of the argument — for in D.C., rifles and shotguns become illegal as soon as they are unlocked. That means the city can prosecute anyone who uses one in self-defense, even if it was locked before the incident. Is that a “reasonable” restriction on self-defense? Gunlock requirements are also associated with more deaths and more violent crime as they make defensive gun uses more difficult. Machine guns are also not banned .

It makes sense that the DOJ is backing the ban, given that it would lose regulatory power if it were struck down. As the DOJ lawyers note in the brief, striking down this ban could “cast doubt on the constitutionality of existing federal legislation.”

The Department of Justice and D.C. politicians can talk all they want about how necessary handgun bans are to ensure public safety and the “reasonableness” of the restrictions. But hopefully the Supreme Court will see past that. At some point, hard facts must matter. This is one point where public safety and individual rights coincide.

*John Lott is the author of “Freedomnomics” and a senior research scientist at the University of Maryland. Lott recently consulted with the Independence Institute on changes in D.C. crime rates. Maxim Lott is a junior at the College of William & Mary.


%d bloggers like this: