Jan 13, 2015
Our current Congresscritter, Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, jumped on board with the “must look squishy” stance after Newtown and decided to sponsor gun control in the House even when it became clear there would be no vote.
It’s not a shock at all. No one actually believes he has a spine on any issue, but that’s part of why some people vote for him. Even our biggest frustration with him isn’t so much that he puts his finger in the air to try and guess the wind direction before taking a position, but that he’s actually not very good at it from a political strategy standpoint. (Of course, he might argue that he wins elections, and that’s a valid argument.) However, in all of that, he didn’t get on board with a gun ban, even though local folks thought he would in the wake of anything controversial. So, that’s at least something positive in the less-than-ideal political reality.
Rep. Fitzpatrick also pledged to term limit himself. He’s not running in 2016, which means it’s an open seat that only very slightly leans Republican in voting habits. It’s up for grabs for either party. The first to start the process of running? A local lawmaker who pushed banning possession of semi-automatic firearms – confiscation. In his statement, State Rep. Steven Santarsiero complained the gun ban legislation proposed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein to be too moderate and pro-gun for his liking. Lovely.
This speculative field of alternative candidates who have grades doesn’t look good for gun rights, either. (Though some on that list haven’t run in an office to have an official grade or put out an official statement on the issue. And one, Jim Cawley, just announced a cushy non-profit CEO job today, so it’s safe to say he’s not interested.) Given the passion with which we oppose the policies of the officially declared candidate, this is a race we will be watching closely.
Sebastian and I have already spent dinner conversations on the subject, and we’d like to see one of the state senators from the area run. For Pennsylvanians who follow politics, we’re thinking Sens. Tommy Tomlinson or Chuck McIlhinney. One advantage to McIlhinney, beyond his previous A rating, is that it would help clear the path to liquor store privatization once Gov. Wolf is out of office. On the other hand, Tomlinson probably has the better demographic appeal. His name recognition is also spread across the most populous parts of the Congressional district. Tomlinson was last rated A-, and he did take a walk from us once on the issue of reciprocity a few years ago. As a consequence, he lost his endorsement and came back around on the major recent votes to earn back an endorsement. Tomlinson also won in 2014 after a big “war on women” attack in a Democratic area, so that’s a plus.
Does anyone else have any known open seat issues where there’s a not unreasonable chance that the seat will flip from (reasonably) pro-gun to an extreme anti-gun fringe candidate? Are you already looking around the political field for candidates to help early in the race?
Jan 8, 2015
The best Attorney General that Mike Bloomberg’s money could buy is facing possible criminal charges at the recommendation of a grand jury. According to sources, they are recommending perjury and contempt of court for her role in leaking confidential grand jury materials to the press in order to embarrass opponents.
I’ll stick by the argument that the frequently GOP-leaning voters in the middle of the state who valued their football program over their gun rights and the rule of law are the ones responsible for sending her in on a wave election.
Dec 31, 2014
Yesterday afternoon, my best friend from college met Sebastian and I at the DAR library since she knows she’s DAR-eligible, but doesn’t really know much about that family history. It was handy that she brought in the insignia from various family members so I could easily look up their numbers, and it was amazing to see the men who she can call 6th great grandfathers. Two of them were part of the Lexington Alarm.
Yup, my best friend from college actually descends from two different men who were part of those shots heard round the world. As Sebastian put it, she can actually say she’s from a family that used firearms to defend their guns and ammunition from being seized by the government. It’s really quite amazing the risks they were taking at the time.
In her family, the son of one man married the daughter of the other, and I don’t find that surprising at all. One of the first tips I see in researching Revolutionary War patriots is to look for more of them in the in-laws. In my research, it’s very common to find that families actually engaged in supporting the cause tended to see their kids marry. I guess when you take such a radical position on something, your family tends to find other families who are just as passionate.
Yesterday, I found notes on a distant cousin’s application that showed one of my ancestors served under his future father-in-law. I’m not sure if the marriage was before or after the shared military service yet. I also found through these notes that a woman I believe to be my 5th great grandmother is considered a patriot in her own service because she defended her house during a British attack over their attempts to get the ammunition that was being stored there.
I know that genealogy of someone else’s family isn’t high on the reading list, but it really does remind me of something Sebastian said a while ago. At some point, a personal family history is your country’s history.
Dec 21, 2014
I guess this is one way to ensure that your descendants will know you were an active member of the pro-gun culture by carrying concealed all of the time. From FindAGrave, this is the inscription on the linked headstone:
Here lies Bill Burch, who never missed a day of church;
He loved his family, friends and fun,
And on his ankle was always a gun.
I noticed that it’s for a cemetery in Maryland and then realized that the partially concealed emblem must have been the representation of a police badge. Suddenly, that made sense given the location.
Still, you have to give the guy and his family some credit for highlighting role of lawful concealed carry in Bill’s life. Also, they provide the full name at the top of the stone, along with a nickname and full dates. Bill’s 3rd and 4th great grandkids will love them for it.
Dec 19, 2014
I admit that I had to do a double take when I saw the Facebook image and news flash across my screen that NSSF has invited Bill Engvall to be the new headliner at SHOT this year. I mean, they bill him as a target-shooting hunter, what would possibly be bad about that?
Well, except Engvall is on the record promoting the idea that no civilian should be allowed to own an AK-47. He also said in that video that he’ll compromise with people calling for an outright repeal of the Second Amendment and ban guns that shoot too many rounds that would ruin meat while hunting.
When fans challenged him on Twitter at the time, he dismissed the concerns of his “redneck” fans: “My Twitter account blew up. All these country fans of mine, and redneck fans were like, ‘Are you a Communist? You can’t take away our guns!'” I even remember challenging him on the issue at the time, and he stood by his statements that civilians shouldn’t be allowed to own them. I was rather shocked that he was responding at all, but he did.
I find it interesting that Engvall is now more than happy to run and deposit the check issued by a group that gets their donations from companies that make and sell the very guns he wants to ban.
I get that Jay Leno’s cancellation put NSSF in a bad spot, but it seems there had to have been better options. To the best of my knowledge, other than mocking his fans who disagreed with him a few months after the incident, I’ve never heard Engvall try to make the situation right by educating himself on the issue. Even Jim Zumbo made the effort after his anti-“modern sporting rifle” remarks.
Dec 5, 2014
Simply because she doesn’t like it, Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced she’s refusing to defend the preemption law that passed the Pennsylvania General Assembly earlier this year. The law is being challenged with a lawsuit by a senator who didn’t support it.
While Kane’s office pretends that it’s no big deal to kick it over the Governor’s office to defend, she does so knowing that the legal team will change next year. Governor-elect Tom Wolf isn’t willing to say he’ll defend it, merely that his team will review it only after they take office. In other words, don’t expect anything from him.
In regards to both offices, these elections were largely lost because many voters value Penn State football over their gun rights. I guess those voters didn’t learn the first time that elections have consequences, and now we’re all going to suffer for it.
The only possible good news is that it may take a while for this to get any kind of court date. Until it is actually thrown out, it’s still the law. Because of that, as the article notes, attorneys representing municipalities with gun control ordinances on the books are still encouraging them to repeal quickly. Since Pennsylvania doesn’t seem to be much of a priority for the big bucks of gun control these days, maybe the cities won’t bring them back.
Nov 24, 2014
If you live in Washington, you probably should stop loaning out certain tools since you might be violating gun laws, according to a letter that Joe Huffman linked. The letter notes that the definition of firearm is so broad that it includes flare guns and nail guns. That means that outfits like Home Depot and Lowe’s need to start running background checks pronto. It also means that loaning certain equipment to your buddy without a check is now illegal.
Of course, regardless of poorly written gun laws, there are many people who would advise against loaning out tools anyway since sometimes they don’t come home.
Nov 24, 2014
This weekend, Sebastian and I had the chance to tour Christ Church in Philadelphia. I had never been before at all, and he had never really been on a real tour of it.
The history there is just amazing. It’s quite humbling to realize that the baptismal font still in use today has been around since before most people have paper records of their family’s baptisms – over 600 years old and it was used to baptize William Penn in 1644. As the tour guide pointed out, the chandelier they planned to light that afternoon for a wedding is the same chandelier that was in place (and likely lit) for Benjamin Franklin’s daughter’s wedding.
Another bit of history that I did not know stuck out to me after seeing incredible artwork in the form of stained glass. One of the scenes featured in the glass is the prayer given before the Continental Congress on September 7, 1774. The delegates asked the local Anglican minister open the session with a prayer. Following tradition of the time, the 36-year-old opened with the scripture that happened to be designated for that day, Psalm 35.
1 Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.
2 Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help.
3 Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.
4 Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt.
5 Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of the Lord chase them.
6 Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the Lord persecute them.
7 For without cause have they hid for me their net in a pit, which without cause they have digged for my soul.
8 Let destruction come upon him at unawares; and let his net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall.
9 And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord: it shall rejoice in his salvation.
10 All my bones shall say, Lord, who is like unto thee, which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and the needy from him that spoileth him?
11 False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not.
12 They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul.
13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.
14 I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother.
15 But in mine adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together: yea, the abjects gathered themselves together against me, and I knew it not; they did tear me, and ceased not:
16 With hypocritical mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon me with their teeth.
17 Lord, how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions.
18 I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.
19 Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause.
20 For they speak not peace: but they devise deceitful matters against them that are quiet in the land.
21 Yea, they opened their mouth wide against me, and said, Aha, aha, our eye hath seen it.
22 This thou hast seen, O Lord: keep not silence: O Lord, be not far from me.
23 Stir up thyself, and awake to my judgment, even unto my cause, my God and my Lord.
24 Judge me, O Lord my God, according to thy righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me.
25 Let them not say in their hearts, Ah, so would we have it: let them not say, We have swallowed him up.
26 Let them be ashamed and brought to confusion together that rejoice at mine hurt: let them be clothed with shame and dishonour that magnify themselves against me.
27 Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the Lord be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.
28 And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.
It’s rather amazing how that so perfectly fit the circumstances of that very day. However, the real highlight of our visit was getting to see the actual book of church meeting notes from July 4, 1776.
Nov 24, 2014
I’m really quite stunned at how Bloomberg’s money can buy at least some traction in elections when his groups encourage people to engage in behavior that makes them the family member whose invitation you hope gets lost in the mail.
Bloomberg and the moms are once again asking people to bring their Thanksgiving meal to a grinding halt by starting up a fight gun control and politics.
I’m almost afraid to give them any ideas, but I’m pretty sure their Christmas promotion will be instructions on how to tell your gun owning family members that Jesus hates them and Santa will burn all of their children’s toys. For the wedding season next year, they are probably working hard on a guide on how to insert politics into the bridal party toasts. Think your family reunion events are safe and limited to debates on how close that horseshoe really landed? Think again. Look for the Everytown Guide to Using Family History Stories to Lecture Current Descendants on Contentious Topics coming out this spring.
Even though we’re labeled the gun nuts, our holidays are filled with conversations about family, friends, and maybe that really good baked cranberry recipe I got from Michael Bane years ago (that my mom still makes every holiday).
Nov 11, 2014
Getting into genealogy has inspired me to ask many more questions about the veterans in my family. I never expected to learn even a fraction of what I have lately.
My paternal grandfather got a bug for flying as a child when he was walking home from work in the late 1920s and he went by the local airport in Ardmore, Oklahoma. A guy with a plane offered him a chance to fly. That man turned out to be Wylie Post. In college, my grandfather joined the ROTC and was called up in June 1941 shortly before he could finish his degree in Petroleum Engineering. He served in the Army Air Corps and was stationed in Burma for his longest stint. He was trained to fly the B-25 and C-46, but after a while they told him to get into an unarmed P-38 and go take pictures of the Japanese. After the war, he went back to school to finish his degree and met a freshman girl who caught his eye – my grandmother. My grandfather survived a plane crash during the war and having a boat sink out from under him, but not skin cancer. He passed when I was 11 months old, so I never knew him.
My dad’s story isn’t nearly so eventful as his father’s story, but he did serve in the Navy during the later years of Vietnam. However, he was never sent over there and his job was primarily making sure people got paid and taking care of the accounting. I’m sure the men who served with him appreciated his ability to do his job. :)
(He’s the second from the right.)
The final picture I have to share was just recently obtained. It’s a picture of CASU-44, my maternal grandfather’s unit in WWII. He enlisted in the Navy, and they put him to work fixing planes because that man can fix absolutely anything. He went to Tinian behind some Marines and, from his stories, was basically working with them most of the time. He was punished for striking an officer after the fresh officer showed up and insulted my grandfather after trying to tell him that the manual said to fix the plane a certain way that my grandfather knew from experience didn’t work. He also told us about getting shot at by the Japanese while delivering ammunition to the other side of the island when he took a wrong turn in the sugar cane. Fortunately, some Marines nearby heard the shooting and pulled him out. My grandfather was put in the hospital when a storm caused the loss of most of their food supplies and they were put on different rations. He couldn’t keep any of it down at all and was no longer able to do as much as the Navy needed him to do. Eventually, he was shipped back to Hawaii and then back home.
(He’s second from the left in the fourth row from the top.)
To relate this a bit back to guns, my maternal grandfather could also shoot a squirrel out of a tree from damn near anywhere, even when other people couldn’t even spot the damn thing. His favorite squirrel gun is still kept loaded by his chair, and it was ordered from the Sears catalog.