Recent news stories

Several recent news stories have been knocking around in the vast open area of my brain (I say vast because lately it doesn’t seem that I have many thoughts filling up that cavity) so if this is jumbled up, please forgive me and try to work though it.

In the debate over Campus Carry, I mean reducing the restrictions on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms; Stan made this statement on his blog

It is true that the demographics of the students matter to some degree–we can expect veterans returning to school to have more firearms skill than the average 21 year old. Still, they would have no training in working as a team, and their greater maturity would only help them manage the tactical situation I describe at the margins. So I still think it likely that arming students on campus would lead to greater bloodshed in the even of a spree shooter.

Mine is not a straw man argument–it turns on the level of training and maturity we can expect of college students carrying weapons on campus. (Emphasis mine – Bob S.)

Think about that, Stan wants to make the exercise of your rights dependent on the level of training and maturity.

Think of the incredibly invasive, demeaning and repressive actions needed to determine the appropriate levels of training, maturity and judging who has enough of them.

Should people have to get certified or licensed before they have children?
Do you think any level of testing or judgment of maturity will prevent sickening situations like this?

Fiddler was arrested Friday, the day after 10-day-old Maggie Trammel was discovered at a Bartlesville residence.

Fiddler’s roommate, Rhonda Coshatt, told authorities she placed Maggie on the sofa after feeding her and changing her diaper. Coshatt said Fiddler picked up Maggie and said she was putting her to bed.

Coshatt says when she checked on Maggie later, she couldn’t locate her. She soon found the child inside the washing machine, which was on the spin cycle.

Fiddler said she put Maggie in a bassinet and didn’t know how she got in the washer.

Should other people’s rights be infringed because the actions of this person?

Yet that is the justification used by the anti rights advocates regarding the Right to Keep and Bear Arms?

How about the privilege of driving? We already test, license, prohibit so many actions it should almost be impossible to not be safe when driving.

Do you think any more testing, training or tests of maturity would prevent situations like what happened last night in Dallas?

A man fled after an overnight crash in Pleasant Grove seriously injured a 5-year-old girl, who was ejected from his vehicle and left on the roadside

Three other children were also in the car: a 1-year-old infant and two boys, ages 6 and 9. The 6-year-old reportedly suffered cuts to his head. It was unclear whether they are the driver’s children.

After the crash, the man drove his silver sport utility vehicle to the nearby park, where he left the boys and fled with the baby girl, who was found unharmed with a relative.

Words nearly fail me, I am so appalled by this. Not only the incredibly callous and irresponsible actions of the driver but read carefully where the child was left — with a relative.

That means at least one person knows who this guy is, that at least one person let this guy walk away from injuring children, seriously injuring children.

What level of testing will change the values and morals of the people involved?

Should other people’s rights be infringed because the actions of this person?

Yet that is the justification used by the anti rights advocates regarding the Right to Keep and Bear Arms?

How exactly do you test the maturity of a person by the way? Is there any reason to doubt that some one in their Fifties has reached a level of maturity that they know right from wrong?

That a mom who lost a child to drug overdose wouldn’t know the dangers of poisoning?

Galens, 52, was convicted of manslaughter in September and faced anywhere from five years to 25 years in state prison.

“I accept the consequences of my actions,” she said. “I am sorry for all the pain I caused everyone. I’m really sorry.”

Galens was charged with murder in January, three months after Stack, a 48-year-old Air Force veteran, died from complications of ethylene glycol poisoning. A grand jury later opted for a first-degree manslaughter charge and Galens turned down an offer to plead guilty in exchange for an 18-year sentence.

State police say Galens insisted she wanted to make Stack sick, not kill him, by mixing the toxic automotive chemical into a store-bought container of margarita mix. She said she placed the cocktail in the refrigerator and went to bed early on Oct. 2, 2009, predicting he would drink it. She said Stack drank most of the 1-gallon jug.

Okay, so she only wanted to make him sick — a violent and predatory action, what test of maturity would spot this situation developing?
Her values and morals were exhibited in her subsequent actions.

She said she first called David Galens, her ex-husband, and when he showed up some 20 minutes later, they agreed to call an ambulance. Galens didn’t tell paramedics about the antifreeze.

The judge said Galens had “many opportunities to undo what she had done” over a 30-hour period.

Instead, prosecutor R. Michael Tantillo noted, she chose for Stack “a slow and agonizing and horrific death” by telling doctors she had “no idea what he may have ingested.”

For 30 hours, she allowed a man to suffer, allowed a man to die when she might have been able to save him just by speaking up.
Should we have relationship training and testing to prevent these types of horrific crimes?

Should other people’s rights be infringed because the actions of this person?

Yet that is the justification used by the anti rights advocates regarding the Right to Keep and Bear Arms?

Yet another example — one typical of the violent and predatory culture. This one happened less than 15 miles from my house.

A fight about drug and gang activity in a Polytechnic neighborhood erupted into a gunfight Wednesday afternoon, fatally wounding a 20-year-old man, police reported.

Deshunn Plummer of Fort Worth was pronounced dead at 1:58 p.m. at John Peter Smith Hospital, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office.

The fight began about an hour earlier when four men outside a duplex in the 3100 block of Avenue L were confronted by other people about drug and gang activity, according to a police news release.

At least two fistfights broke out. Then people on both sides pulled handguns and started firing. (emphasis mine – Bob S.)

Would drug dealers and members of gangs be able to pass training requirements and maturity tests? Absolutely.

Would those tests be able to determine who would willingly break the law by dealing drugs?  I doubt it.

More importantly, would we want to live in a world where people’s rights are abridged because of something a test says they might do?

Getting back to the right to keep and bear arms, do you think this guys would have obey any law requiring them to get training, to be tested for maturity?
I don’t think so. The evidence is the very fact they used violence to further their criminal actions.

Should other people’s rights be infringed because the actions of this person?

Yet that is the justification used by the anti rights advocates regarding the Right to Keep and Bear Arms?

On the other hand, we have a story of an honorable man  who wasn’t perfect but acted with violence to protect another person.

Irick was at the Chevron station in the 4600 block of Beechnut at the West Loop just after midnight when a woman at the service window was approached by a man with a pistol. As he grabbed the woman’s purse, Irick tried to help. That’s when the robber shot Irick and fled with the handbag. A station attendant called 911. Police have released surveillance photos of a man wanted in connection with the shooting.

My deepest sympathies and condolences to the friends and family of Mr. Irick.

24 years old and some bad decisions in his past –actions that some antis say should for ever make a person ineligible to exercise their right to keep and bear arms.

Irick was attending Houston Community College, working overtime at a machine shop, hitting the gym to stay in shape and looking forward to a career in architecture.

“He was really heading in the right direction,” his mother said — and still maintaining his reputation as a “Johnny-on-the-spot.”

Do you think this young man showed maturity, wisdom?

An example of the type of person Stan and many others want to deny their Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Would having a firearm kept Irick alive, I don’t know. Would he have carried one if allowed, I don’t know. Would he have been able to effectively use it to protect the other victim, I don’t know.

I do know that the unreasonable restrictions on the Right to Keep and Bear arms means that many people never exercise a right that could have kept them alive.

Would a criminal be more or less likely to commit a crime if he knew that courageous and caring men like Mr. Irick were out there and armed?

I think they would be less likely.

Would fewer or more people be willing to help stop crime if they weren’t restricted to having to fight hand to hand with a violent thug?

I think they would be more likely.

I do see the dangers, the risks in allowing more people to exercise their Right to Keep and Bear Arms — I just think that the risks in doing so are worth it.

Please join the discussion.

11 Responses to this post.

  1. Posted by TXGunGeek on 12.11.10 at 9:11 AM

    These are the same tired arguments that are trotted out any time there is an improvement to concealed carry anywhere. Along with the blood in the streets over parking spots and now the shooting over bad grades. Never mind facts or that this is a right not a privilege or that the arguments against are either entirely emotional or based on one oddity and not the entire population of CHL’s.

    As you said;
    “Should other people’s rights be infringed because the actions of this person?

    Yet that is the justification used by the anti rights advocates regarding the Right to Keep and Bear Arms?”

    That really is the bottom line. I expect a stiff fight this session as well. I know A&M administration is all for abridging students, faculty and staff’s rights to self defense tools and will be fighting against it all the way. Just means we need to push and work all the harder to get this passed without opt out exceptions.

  2. Posted by R. Stanton Scott on 12.11.10 at 9:11 AM

    All “rights” have some restrictions on them, Bob. We do in fact test and license drivers, and keep good records of who owns which cars and where they live. And we regulate parenting as well, though typically only through social pressure to meet standards of fitness before having children, with the State getting involved only after problems arise. Social pressure also restricts speech–try using the “N” word in public–and the State limits speech intended to incite violence or cause needless panic. Even even religious freedom has limits–try using drugs or animal sacrifice in your worship service.

    I understand that some anti-gun activists would like to see a total ban on the private civilian ownership of firearms. Though I do not believe the Constitution prohibits this, I would not support such a ban. I do, however, support much stricter regulation of firearm ownership and use designed to keep weapons out of the hands of people who should not have them, even though I realize no regulatory regime would work perfectly, and that it would at the margins mean that someone who wants a gun would not get one.

    Today’s firearm regulations already include provisions for making sure gun owners and carriers have the maturity and training needed to properly use these tools. The problem is that we use proxies like “never committed a crime” to measure maturity and often assume competence to manage a tool used for killing things. To borrow your analogy, this is a bit like saying we should simply give everyone a driver’s license when they turn a certain age on the grounds that they have never had an accident, without checking to see if they know how to drive a car.

    I think you spend so much time framing this issue in terms of “rights” because you understand the weakness of your policy position: that easy access to firearms and widespread carrying of sidearms would make society safer. Fair enough–but this turns the question in to one about the nature of rights, and how to balance conflicting rights.

    Either way we end up with regulated firearm ownership and use. And this is a good thing.

  3. Posted by Bob S. on 12.11.10 at 9:11 AM

    Stan,

    All rights have some restrictions on them, most of them codified in the criminal code — against the misuse of those rights. People don’t have to prove they aren’t criminals to get a drivers license, do they? People don’t have to have a background check to get a driver’s license, do they?

    People ability to get a driver’s license isn’t subjected to arbitrary and whimsical restrictions but the local law enforcement. Driver’s license requirements don’t vary from county to county within the same state.

    We let “children” drive at 16 — far below the age you say is too immature to carry a firearm at college.
    Can you explain that contradiction?

    We also allow people to vote at a certain age without ever seeing if they’ve had training or have voted wisely.

    As my example show, we let people marry, have relationships, have children without every seeing if they’ve committed a crime or have the requisite maturity.

    By the way, people can drive a car without anyone ever checking to see if they’ve had an accident or have learned how to drive – it is only when they exercise the privilege of driving on a public street that we check to see if they have learned. And that learning is often available at the public schools.

    You have a problem with the right to keep and bear arms being exercised without learning — teach it in school, again.

    You keep coming back to regulated firearm ownership — are you willing to accept the same restrictions on the right of free speech, of religion?

    That is what gets me, you find the right to keep and bear arms different without explaining how that right is different.

  4. Posted by Linoge on 12.11.10 at 9:11 AM

    And we regulate parenting as well, though typically only through social pressure to meet standards of fitness before having children, with the State getting involved only after problems arise.

    Strange, we do exactly the same thing with firearm ownership (except that the State gets significantly more involved at a significantly earlier level), and yet you appear to have no problems with the way parenting is executed here. So, tell me, which is a greater problem: ineffective parenting (or a total lack thereof) or firearms?

    Even even religious freedom has limits–try using drugs or animal sacrifice in your worship service.

    Analogy fail:

    “In 1993, in Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v Hialeah, the Supreme Court took a case which it concluded showed an attempt by government to specifically target an unpopular religious practice, and struck down the laws in question–all designed to deal with animal sacrifice practiced by a large but largely clantestine religion of mostly ex-Cubans. The Court unanimously concluded that the ordinances of Hialeah violated the Free Exercise Clause.”

    Though I do not believe the Constitution prohibits this…

    Said belief runs contrary to two recent Supreme Court cases and the words of the people who wrote the Second Amendment itself. Given that that particular belief appears to have no basis in history or fact, and appears to approach something approximating an article of religious faith for you, why should we care about it, and why should it be used as a basis for increased/additonal legislation?

    The problem is that we use proxies like “never committed a crime” to measure maturity and often assume competence to manage a tool used for killing things.

    So I guess the presumption of innocence should go right out the window, and people should have to prove that they are not criminals before exercising any other rights? You cannot buy that Koran until you prove you have not supported suicide bombers? You cannot vote until you prove you have not trie to overthrow the country? So how far are you willing to take that position, and what are you proposing to implement it?

    For that matter, you do know that there is absolutely nothing stopping someone who does not have a driver’s license from purchasing a car, throwing it on a buddy’s trailer, taking it home, and driving it around his own personal property… right? It is only when he puts rubber to public pavement that the state mandates training. Coincidentally, most states still mandate training for carrying firearms in public. Hm.

    I think you spend so much time framing this issue in terms of “rights” because you understand the weakness of your policy position…

    Ahh, and the good old Stan finally rears his ugly head… It is, after all, so much easier to cast baseless aspersions and assumptions rather than actually debate the point at hand, and it has the added benefit of making the people holding to that point look suspect and questionable. Bravo, bravo!

    Or, y’know, it could be that we recognize that the right to defend one’s person is as much a civil right as the right to equal treatment under the law, but, hey, that would just be too… honest for you, right?

    …and how to balance conflicting rights.

    There are no “conflicting rights” involved in my ownership of, or even carrying, firearms. Now, if I were to use that firearm in an unprovoked, aggressive fashion, then we we can go down that road, but for the mind-numbingly majority of firearm owners out there, there is no “there” there.

    Either way we end up with regulated firearm ownership and use. And this is a good thing.

    That all depends on the nature, and limits, of the proposed regulation in question.

  5. Posted by Thirdpower on 12.11.10 at 9:11 AM

    Stan,

    Show me a locality that has banned and/or confiscated cars (note the plural) using registration lists and/or requirements.

    Then we’ll talk.

  6. Posted by R. Stanton Scott on 12.11.10 at 9:11 AM

    Automobiles get impounded (confiscated) all the time for illegal use, and law enforcement officials use automobile registrations and drivers licenses to track people all the time. If your point is that automobile registration and qualifying drivers is not as invasive of privacy as gun registration and requirements, I think the analogy fails.

    No one has to “prove they aren’t criminals” to get a driver’s license or buy a gun. Prospective drivers and gun owners simply show that they are who they say you are–the onus then falls on the State to show that they do not meet statutory criteria.

    Yes, people drive all the time without going through the formal process for obtaining a license, many of them 16 or even younger. Many people this age “own” guns as well, without going through the formal process, as parents teach them proper use and hunting techniques. Explaining the contradiction between the permissive ages for driving or owning a gun would require a comparison of the two legal histories, but let me say that I would favor setting the age for both at 18 with an appropriate testing and registration regime. I would also favor Federal standards for both, if you have a problem with local management of either.

    We understand each “right” differently with respect to meaning and purpose. Some protect participation in political or spiritual life, and others protect individuals against arbitrary government action. The “right” to keep and bear arms originally protected the State militias from Federal neglect. It would have no more meaning today than the Third Amendment–since both protect citizens against obsolete threats–but gun “rights” supporters have successfully constructed a new normative understanding about what it means. Opponents continue to contest this meaning, as abortion opponents continue to contest the meaning of another right the Court has found using a problematic interpretation of the plain language. I wonder if you would support deregulating the exercise of this right, but in any event our normative understandings with regard to the meaning and purpose of the various “rights” differs, so restrictions on who may exercise them and how to sanction misuse will differ as well.

  7. Posted by Thirdpower on 12.11.10 at 9:11 AM

    Yeah. That’s what I thought. You cannot show where CARS have been banned/confiscated so you throw out a strawman.

    On the other hand, I CAN show where firearms have been banned and confiscated using registration and licensing lists. California, Chicago, DC, NY, NJ just to name a few.

    Keep pretending you didn’t know what I was talking about. It’s funny in a pauly shore kind of way.

    Again you bitterly cling to the ‘collective rights’ model which was a blatant distortion of history when it was first imagined.

  8. Posted by Linoge on 12.11.10 at 9:11 AM

    No one has to “prove they aren’t criminals” to get a driver’s license or buy a gun. Prospective drivers and gun owners simply show that they are who they say you are–the onus then falls on the State to show that they do not meet statutory criteria.

    Apparently you have never purchased a firearm. Not only do I not just have to show who I am, I also have to submit to a comprehensive background check at the state and federal level, and pay for the former. Neither state nor federal laws will permit the dealer to hand over the firearm to me without me passing both of those checks – that already puts the presumption of innocence on terribly rocky ground.

    You, on the other hand, seem wiling to throw the entire concept out the window, and somehow go beyond “never committed any crimes before” as a requirement to pass before purchasing a firearm – what, exactly, are you proposing? And why are you unwilling to apply the same standard to any of the other Constitutionally-protected rights we Americans enjoy?

    The “right” to keep and bear arms originally protected the State militias from Federal neglect.

    This statement, presented as fact, yet again contradicts the recent Supreme Court rulings and the words of the people who wrote the Amendment. Are you attempting to prove this is naught more than an article of religious faith for you? If so, it is working.

    …but gun “rights” supporters have successfully constructed a new normative understanding about what it means.

    Unsurprisingly, your timeline and understanding of the situation are both somewhat flawed. There is scant little, if any, mention of the “collective/civil” interpretation of the Second Amendment before United States v. Miller in 1939, while, as I quoted in the previous comment thread, even the Founding Fathers themselves considered the private ownership, and carrying, of arms to be so inviolate a right, that it need not be codified to be recognized. But, hey, if you keep repeating the same, tired, disproven talking point, someone might eventually believe you, right? It should probably concern you that even the Brady Bunch has abandoned the collectivist interpretation…

  9. Posted by Bob S. on 12.11.10 at 9:11 AM

    Stan,

    Automobiles get impounded (confiscated) all the time for illegal use, and law enforcement officials use automobile registrations and drivers licenses to track people all the time.

    But people aren’t denied a driver’s license because the sheriff or police chief doesn’t think they can show good cause or have a reputable character.

    If your point is that automobile registration and qualifying drivers is not as invasive of privacy as gun registration and requirements, I think the analogy fails.

    Of course, you don’t bother to explain how the analogy fails, you don’t bother to provide evidence do you?

    No one has to “prove they aren’t criminals” to get a driver’s license or buy a gun. Prospective drivers and gun owners simply show that they are who they say you are–the onus then falls on the State to show that they do not meet statutory criteria.

    Obviously , as Linoge says, you haven’t bought a firearm or applied for a concealed carry license lately have you?

    Automobiles get impounded (confiscated) all the time for illegal use, and law enforcement officials use automobile registrations and drivers licenses to track people all the time

    The focus is on the illegal use – name a state that has greatly restrict the use vehicles for everyone because a few people misuse them. Name a city that peremptorily bans vehicles like Washington D.C. and Chicago banned firearms?

    but let me say that I would favor setting the age for both at 18 with an appropriate testing and registration regime. I would also favor Federal standards for both, if you have a problem with local management of either.

    Now we see the real difference between us. You want an invasive, intrusive, nanny state, over reaching, overbearing and domineering government system.

    For decades teens have been allowed to drive; now you want to run their lives in the name of keeping them safe.

    For hundreds of years teen have been allowed to own firearms and hunt, now you want to run their lives in the name of keeping them safe.

    Apparently, you feel your opinion is sufficient reason to vote control of other people’s lives out of their hands. Isn’t it a little egotistical and arrogant of you to think that you or others should run people’s lives?

    I wonder if you would support deregulating the exercise of this right,

    Absolutely. I support changing the regulations on this right and many others. Isn’t amazing that support the right of women to choose to do with their bodies as they would but don’t want them to be able to easily and effectively exercise their right to defend their body?

    I want the government out of my life unless there is a clear direct Constitutional mandate to do so. No more using the ‘commerce clause covers everything’ approach to tell me how to live my life.

    You and all the other busy bodies butt out.

  10. Posted by mike w. on 12.11.10 at 9:11 AM

    designed to keep weapons out of the hands of people who should not have them.

    Define “people who should not have them” Stan. Perhaps you’re one of them.

    Personally I think you shouldn’t be trusted with a blog, or a computer, or pen & paper……. Oh wait, keeping those things “out of the hands of people who should not have them” would be an infringement of the 1st Amendment, would it not?

    Would you support applying your principles to the 1st Amendment, or do you just consider the 2nd Amendment to be a “2nd class” part of the Bill of Rights?

  11. [...] murder victim’s brother is shot to death in a fight involving gangs and drugs. I talked about his brother here. For many people, a death in the family would be a wake up call to change behavior. Not so with [...]

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