Another Mass Shooting, More Reminders Of Why The Anti-Gun Left Cannot Be Trusted

When there was a mass- shooting in Virginia Beach last week, I wondered if this time the determined gun-grabbers would pretty much leave it alone. After all, it was carried out with hand-guns, legally purchased. The perpetrator had no criminal record or psychiatric issues. None of the so-called “sensible gun regulations” that we are lectured about constantly would have stopped him.

My curiosity was quickly slaked when the sad, openly partisan shell of Dan Rather, who was once respected when he was able to pretend that he was an ethical, objective  journalist before the mask dropped, appeared  on “CNN Tonight,”  to accuse Second Amendment-respecting members of Congress who do not rush to disarm law-abiding Americans in the wake of every shooting as “bought and paid for by the gun lobby.” This, of course, is the present disgraceful ideological certitude of the Left: no one of good faith and virtuous objectives can possibly disagree with progressive cant, so dissenters must be evil or corrupt. But, to take an example I am extremely familiar with, if the trial lawyers spend millions to support mostly Democratic legislators who refuse to accept “sensible” reforms to the current civil justice system that makes plaintiffs’ attorneys millionaires, the representatives who vote their way have just been persuaded by the innate rightness of their arguments. The same is true of Democratic support of illegal immigration, abortion, climate change policies, legalizing pot, and on and on—but according to Rather, only gun supporting Congress members are “bought and paid for.”

Boy, do I feel like a chump! Here I am, thinking I was a non-gun owning ethicist who has studied our history, the law, the court cases and the statistics, and thought about the issue a great deal over many years.  I’ve concluded, without anyone paying me a cent, that the Second Amendment is the bulwark of the Bill of Rights, and one of an essential and indispensable defense against the desires of power-seeking politicians to reduce individual liberty in the U.S. to advance an agenda of suffocating government control. What’s the matter with me?

Then came another of the Democratic Presidential candidates, this time the slippery Cory Booker, who also addressed my internal curiosity. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “On The Anti-Gun “Weapons Of War” Talking Point”

Second Amendment authority Chipper Jones. He’s an expert because he had a .303 lifetime batting average, and shoots deer….

It was gratifying that the weekend post about the “weapons of war” anti-gun rhetoric attracted a  great deal of thoughtful commentary here. I was thinking about the post again today when, as is increasingly the case, a sportswriter gratuitously injected politics into sports commentary. Baseball season is fast-approaching, and while one of the many reasons I follow the game so passionately is its ethics content, I look forward to the game to get away from politics, and incorrigible social justice warrior agitators like NBC’s Craig Calcaterra, lapsed lawyer, can’t resist misusing their sports platforms as a political soap box. 

Today he gleefully informed readers that Hall of Fame third baseman Chipper Jones had “denounced assault weapons,” telling Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

“I believe in our Constitutional right to bear arms and protect ourselves,” Jones said. “But I do not believe there is any need for civilians to own assault rifles. I just don’t.

“I would like to see something (new legislation) happen. I liken it to drugs – you’re not going to get rid of all the guns. But AR-15s and AK-47s and all this kind of stuff – they belong in the hands of soldiers. Those belong in the hands of people who know how to operate them, and whose lives depend on them operating them. Not with civilians. I have no problem with hunting rifles and shotguns and pistols and what-not. But I’m totally against civilians having those kinds of automatic and semi-automatic weapons.”

Calcaterra makes sure that we knew that the ex-Braves player is an avid hunter and owns a rife, because he apparently wants us to think that owning a gun makes an athlete an expert on the Bill of Rights. (It doesn’t, and I’m pretty sure Calcaterra knows that.)

Concludes Craig,

“While debate, often acrimonious, will no doubt continue about these matters indefinitely, it’s striking to see someone like Chipper Jones come out so strongly on the matter in the particular way that he has. It has to make people at the NRA and those who support it wonder if, when you’ve lost Chipper Jones, you’ve gone too far.”

Thus we have a lawyer appealing to the authority of a man who played baseball all through highs school, and signed a contract to be a pro baseball player at te age of 18. Call me skeptical, but I question whether he has devoted much research to the history and philosophy underlying the Second Amendment, or has read any of the judicial opinion and scholarship analyzing it. I especially question Jones’ flippant “denouncement”  given the tell-tale signs that he doesn’t understand the right to bear arms at all, beginning with the misnomer “assault rifles” and the assumption that the most popular civilian rifle in the U.S. is a “weapon of war.” He also makes the offensive assumption that he is qualified to decide what kind of fire arms other citizens “need,” a commonly expressed  attitude sharply discredited in this essay by playwright and screenwriter David Mamet.

I find myself increasingly impatient with uninformed opinions on important matters relating to our personal liberty, expressed by celebrities with no more understanding or special expertise than the typical semi-informed citizen, and often less. I am even less tolerant when I am told by journalists that attention must be paid.

Here is the Comment of the Day by Glenn Logan, who is informed on this issue, on the post On The Anti-Gun “Weapons Of War” Talking Point: Continue reading

The D.C. Court Of Appeals Handgun Decision [UPDATED]

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled this week that it is unconstitutional for the District government to restrict handgun licenses only to citizens who can prove a “special need for self-protection distinguishable from the general community as supported by evidence of specific threats or previous attacks that demonstrate a special danger to the applicant’s life.” D.C. now must follow a standard system approved by the Supreme Court as not unduly burdensome to Second Amendment rights: issuing permits to adults who pass a fingerprint-based background check and a safety training class.

You can read the whole opinion here.  Two cases were under scrutiny: Wrenn v. District of Columbia and Matthew Grace and Pink Pistols v. District of Columbia.  Circuit Judge Thomas B. Griffith wrote the opinion and was joined by Senior Judge Stephen F. Williams. Judge Karen LeCraft. Judge Karen Henderson, a Republican appointee, dissented.

This is a liberal court, but it properly upheld the Second Amendment while slapping down anti-gun talking points that I have always found obnoxious and totalitarian in spirit. “Why does anyone need a gun? Why do they need a semi-automatic weapon? Why do they need so much ammunition? I don’t need a gun. Guns are dangerous. If I don’t need one, you don’t need one.”

The government doesn’t have the right to tell me what I need. Strangers don’t get to tell me that my needs are unreasonable based on their beliefs and biases. In 2013, playwright and screenwriter David Mamet wrote an op-ed for Newsweek nicely articulating these principles. (If it is still available in its entirety, I lack the cleverness to find it. [UPDATE: Reader Frank Stephens was clever enough, and the link is here]. Newsweek banished the article to its ally The Daily Beast, where all links, including in my post about it, lead. That link is now dead: it just goes to the website. I searched the Daily Beast for the article: it isn’t there. But, oddly, a rebuttal to the article is. I suppose this is how the news media silences the apostates in its midst. Fortunately, this passage survives: Continue reading

Governor Cuomo’s Selective Anti-Gun Fervor: And This Is Why So Many Americans Have No Respect for Laws Or Lawmakers

Guns are a public menace! We must not permit lawless, reckless gun possession! Unless its a member of my staff, of course, in which case, meh, no biggie.

“Guns are a public menace! We must not permit lawless, reckless gun possession! Unless it’s a member of my staff, of course, in which case, meh, no biggie.”

[UPDATE: Jerome Hauer disputes some of the reported facts in this post. I have yet to find any sources that have different facts, but I will revisit both the story and my conclusions, and make appropriate revisions, retractions, or clarifications if and when warranted. You will find Mr. Hauer’s comment, and my reply to him, below.]

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been the source of some of the most excessive anti-gun rants making up the sorry legacy of the Post Sandy Hook Ethics Train Wreck. It was a year ago that a unveiled a package of strict gun restrictions, saying that with “the senseless massacre in Newtown, Connecticut… New York must say enough is enough to gun violence.” Oh, Gov. Cuomo hates guns, believe you me.

So what do you think happened when it was revealed that Jerome Hauer, Cuomo’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner appointed in 2011, had not only been carrying a handgun to work ever since, but also, incredibly, took out the gun and used the laser sighting device attached to the barrel as a pointer in a presentation to a Swedish delegation on Oct. 24? Hauer was not only breaking the Cuomo-backed law barring state employees from packing a weapon at their workplace, but also was modeling the kind of ignorant and dangerous firearm misuse that undermines any claim that he was a safe, responsible, well-trained gun owner.

What happened appears to be this: as soon as the Governor got word that Hauer’s illegal and reckless conduct was about to be revealed in the press, the Homeland Security chief received a quick waiver from New York’s Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito. The waiver, of course, could not make his prior conduct legal. Continue reading

Sandy Hook Ethics Train Wreck Update: Integrity Check For Liberal Media Bias Deniers

This is really pretty simple, or ought to be.

That's some watchdog you got there...

That’s some watchdog you got there…

On Tuesday, CNN released a press announcement unequivocally stating its support for the background check provisions of proposed gun control legislation. It declared that it would devote two days to the issue, and on Wednesday, Democratic Senator Joe Manshin (WV) thanked CNN news anchors for their support in the gun debate, saying to John Berman and Christine Roman, who had just presented, as promised, a completely one-sided view of the issue, “We appreciate your support.”

This, from the self-proclaimed “Most Trusted Name in News,” is the canary dying in the mine of honest, objective, ethical national journalism. It shouldn’t matter if you approve of background checks, though that is CNN’s disgraceful gambit: a large majority of the public does, and a large majority of the public approves of unethical journalism when it supports their preference. Not to be indelicate, but they are fools. A news organization that only presents one side of an issue or that slants its coverage to influence policy isn’t a news organization at all, but an ideological shill, and a tool of political manipulation. Continue reading

Playwright David Mamet on Abuse of Power, Government and Gun Control


I have wrestled over whether to feature Pulitzer Prize winning playwright ( author, screenwriter, director, teacher) David Mamet’s recent essay in what is left of Newsweek on Ethics Alarms. The essay is at least 50% political/ideological, maybe more, and I try, often unsuccessfully, to keep the ethical analysis of political events as separate as possible from the political analysis—some would argue not hard enough, and not well. I also don’t agree with a lot of his piece, but that’s the least important factor. I decided that the essay, titled “Gun Laws and the Fools of Chelm” belongs here because I know, from his plays, his screenplays and his essays, that Mamet is driven by a pursuit of ethical thought and action, and it is a theme underlying most of what he writes. He is also a vivid and expressive writer, one of the very best alive, in my view. Mamet is blisteringly smart as well. That doesn’t mean he is always right—he is, after all, a conservative, and in the prevailing view that puts his presumed  brain capacity somewhere between Hulk Hogan and Todd Akin—but he is always thoughtful, and to those few with open minds and good reading comprehension, potentially persuasive and necessarily enlightening.

Mamet’s essay is relevant to current events, of course, due to the sweeping gun ownership restrictions being proposed by Sen. Diane Feinstein, and the hysterical over-reaction to the Newtown tragedy, fanned by a shameless media and demagogues of all stripes that cleared the way for it. I’ve written plenty about all that already, alas not as well as David Mamet could. I am less alarmed at the prospect of Feinstein’s effort succeeding (because it won’t) than I am at what its sudden leap to the fore of Obama Administration priorities indicates beyond question: these people really have no intention of taking any serious, responsible and courageous efforts to address the debt and deficit. To only slightly paraphrase the excitable Matt Hooper in “Jaws” speaking to the pusillanimous mayor of Amity,  I think that I am now familiar with the fact that our current leaders  are going to ignore this particular problem until it swims up and bites us on the ass. This is unconscionable, incompetent, weak and despicable…but I digress.

The money quote in Mamet’s essay, I think, is this:

“Disarmament rests on the assumption that all people are good, and, basically, want the same things. But if all people were basically good, why would we, increasingly, pass more and more elaborate laws? The individual is not only best qualified to provide his own personal defense, he is the only one qualified to do so: and his right to do so is guaranteed by the Constitution.”

What ever your thoughts are regarding gun control policies, you should read Mr. Mamet’s essay, and you can, here.


Graphic: All Music