But the problem might be less with Obama and more with democracy itself. To be a citizen in a mass democracy is to live in a permanent state of political frustration. There are so many people in the country with so many different views, and the institutions of a mass democracy are inevitably so clunky, that the political process isn’t going to give you what you want very much of the time.
Like the people who founded this country, I’ve never been convinced that more democracy in government is always a good thing. The old saying that democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner is cliche, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Our system was supposed to be a Constitutional Republic, with some democratic features, but with enough restraints placed on government that we could govern a large, diverse country without constantly being at each other’s throats. Unfortunately, the more democracy you add to the mix, the more it seems like those restrains don’t matter.
I don’t think being wary of civil liberties violating tactics makes one anti-cop. I’m willing to give the police pretty wide berth to apprehend (or kill) violent subjects, but I don’t think it’s too much to ask to at least pretend to respect the civil liberties of the people you’re sworn to protect, and to actually be able to hit what you’re aiming at.
We are supposed to be a nation of laws, and it seems more and more apparent we’re a nation of bureaucrats and enforcers, who believe the law to be optional, or at least pliable. Perhaps what’s even more disturbing is a population who seems to have no issue with this state of affairs, as long as it’s not their goose being cooked, and there’s some vague and comforting idea of being made safe.
UPDATE: On the opposite side of the coin, a lot of College Professors don’t live in the real world (not any real surprise, I suppose). If the cops in and around Boston had turned the bombers into swiss cheese in the shootout, I would want to give them a high five. It’s what was done to everyone else who wasn’t the bombers I have a hard time with.
Definitely bigger than previous years, but not overwhelming. I’ve seen the crowd at that rally as large in previous years. A big reason for that, I think, is that PA currently isn’t under threat, given that the GOP controls all three branches of the PA state government, and statements by House leadership and the Governor made it clear early on there wasn’t going to be any of that crap here we’ve seen in neighboring states. Not having to deal with a state fight in the middle of a federal right was hugely beneficial, and we owe Governor Corbett and House leadership a debt of gratitude for holding the line and allowing us to focus federally.
It looks like the big legislation in Pennsylvania now will be preemption enhancements, to actually give it some teeth. It’ll be starting in the Senate, having been introduced by Senator Richard Alloway. While I think preemption enhancement is important, I’d also like to see the state come to a deal on the “Florida Loophole” issue by removing the remaining discretion from LTC issuing authorities, including Philadelphia, granting universal reciprocity to out-of-state licenses, and clarifying that the Attorney General may not alter, modify, or rescind reciprocity agreements except at the behest of the reciprocal state. I’d be willing to trade that for a requirement that PA residents need a PA LTC in order to lawfully carry concealed, rather than a foreign license or permit.
Another, and better alternative to liberalizing the LTC regime, would be to push constitutional carry. But despite the shout out by Rep. Saccone for his bill at the rally today, I’m not going to hold my breath that the votes will be there for quite some time. At least we’ve gotten to the point where we’re getting a bill introduced. That, at the least, means there’s enough interest in it among the gun rights community that we’ve become a constituency to be pleased, and that’s a start. But in the mean time we have a city that does not fairly issue and Attorney General who thinks dinkering with longstanding reciprocity agreements is a fun pastime.
The DOJ could then ask a judge to prohibit the person from owning or possessing a gun. The judge also could order the seizure of any guns that the person owns. In the case of a troubled child, authorities could seize any guns owned by a parent or guardian with whom the child is living.
It needs to be adversarial. If my rights are going to be removed, I ought to be able to contest that. If it’s just a judge issuing orders based on the word of government officials, that does not amount to due process in my book, and ought to be unconstitutional.
Also, we have a long tradition in this country of eschewing corruption of blood. It’s interesting that the left, newly emboldened after the late election victory, is slowly trying to do away with limits on governmental power that have served civilized society for hundreds of years. Taking my guns away because my kid is troubled?
With the exception of being a may-issue, but mostly does issue state, Delaware’s gun laws haven’t been too bad for a state that’s been pretty deep blue for a while now. It’s a shame to see that changing so quickly, but it was probably inevitable. The Democrats were afraid to be seen as the Party of Gun Control for the better part of two decades, and so in many of these states there has been an uneasy stalemate. But with Obama declaring the Democrats the Party of Gun Control again, and the Democrats believing the Republicans are finished in states like Delaware, the stalemate is over, and now they are doing to us what they can. Part of this is demographic, especially in states like Delaware. But part of it is the utter failure of the Republican Party in the Northeast, which is now spreading into the Mid-Atlantic states as well.
If gun owners don’t start thinking of ways to turn around some of these states, I expect the divide between the Two Americas I have spoken about here will continue to deepen, with blue states not having gun rights to speak of, and the rest of the country continuing to liberalize their gun control laws. What truly worries me is where Pennsylvania will fall on that divide.
Bloomberg thinks we’re going to have to change what we think of the Constitution after Boston. I think right now the Constitution is more important than ever.
“The people who are worried about privacy have a legitimate worry,” Mr. Bloomberg said during a press conference in Midtown. “But we live in a complex word where you’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will. And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change.”
Our greater level of security that we had back in the “olden days,” is due to the fact that it was a society where people looked out after each other and their own. Today, especially in places like Boston and New York, citizens expect the government to do everything for them, and the more government does, the less it does anything particularly well. Even Boston is illustrative of the utter failure of government. It wasn’t until the lockdown was lifted that an observant citizen decided to take a look in his boat, and sure enough… terrorist in his boat. Again, just like 9/11, it was citizens that caught him, even with all the Forth Amendment violations the police were using. Police work better with an engaged citizenry than a bunch of passive sheep.
What if instead of doing house to house searches they asked everyone to go and inspect their yards, sheds, and yes, boats (as I think most of us would have wanted to do if this had been going on in our neighborhood)? Well, we can’t have that. Someone might get hurt. But having the King’s men spraying bullets all over a suburban neighborhood and pointing guns at the good citizenry while they go door to door searching? Well, you can trust us, we’re professionals, from the government, and here to help.
Today is the annual 2nd Amendment Rally. I had actually planned to go this year, even up until a few days ago, because I thought it would be important to make this a big year. But other circumstances have intervened, and to tell the truth, I’m a bit burnt out on gun rights events, and didn’t relish the idea of driving to Harrisburg at 6 in the morning only to have to come back in the afternoon and work until I can’t stay awake anymore. If anyone’s there who can get a good crowd shot, let me know and I’ll post it.
If this video represents how the Watertown “voluntary” searches were conducted at all, then I seriously wonder how the officers would have reacted to this doormat.
Now this may be the nutty libertarian in me, but being met at the door by SWAT teams with guns pointed at you and orders barked to keep your hands up no matter what isn’t what I call a “request” to search your home on a “voluntary” basis. Nor is it just checking the premises to have multiple officers patting down innocent people as they exit said house to screams for them to keep their hands up and to run down the street for further body searches.
I sincerely hope that some government official somewhere is so ashamed of this video that they end up releasing some kind of evidence that there was specific probable cause for this house to be searched in this manner. However, the pessimist in me doubts that will be the case. The video makes it appear as though the only cause for such a response was the delayed answer to non-stop door knocks.
If there was no reasonable suspicion that the suspect had specifically entered this property, I sincerely hope that those people find themselves a damn good lawyer quickly.
You’d think after so much public derision over their terrible job reporting on the Boston bombing situation, the media would think it wise to step back and consider how they report on breaking events and whether they are contributing to a sense of panic by printing and announcing every rumor they hear. I think it is safe to say that the Philly media definitely didn’t learn anything.
Here’s what I can tell you about a story that has apparently been unfolding since 9:00am today at the Independence Visitor Center in downtown Philly.
The local paper says that the Center was closed down because of a bomb threat in their headline. When you read the article, you find out that there was no actual threat just a perception that a guy who looked funny because he wore a camo coat on a cold day had some clothes and junk in his car may have possibly been a threat that involved a bomb.
A local tv station reports nothing about concerns about a bomb, but that SWAT teams were on the scene because the guy in the camo coat may have also had his face painted. There’s no mention of clothes or junk in his car, just that police shut down the main parking garage in the area in order to search every corner for anything suspicious before giving an all clear.
So the only clear facts that appear to be consistent are that a guy was wearing a coat on a cold day, the coat was apparently in a camouflage pattern, he had a car parked in a parking garage, and that the Philly police felt the best response was to shut down a major landmark and the parking garage because of this man wearing a coat on a cold day. Oh, and they also agree that he was hauled off in handcuffs, but officials are unwilling to say why he was detained.
At this point, even if there is a reasonable explanation for the police response, the reporting by at least one of these outlets–if not both–is irresponsible and clearly geared toward promoting fear in order to draw eyeballs. That’s why neither story is getting a link at the moment. Neither one deserves to be rewarded for reporting that appears to be, under the most generous descriptions, sloppy at best.
UPDATE: Another report actually relies on on-the-record statements from the police. Can you imagine the insanity behind such caution and restraint?
So far, the facts appear to be that a man was wearing camo (no mention of face paint) and that he had a car that was dirty. This alone was enough for police to determine that he should be taken into custody even though they admit that the K9 unit and bomb squad found absolutely nothing in his car but junk. Now this might be my crazy libertarian side coming out, but last time I checked, possession of shitty fashion sense and dirty cars isn’t actually a crime.
Is there no one else disturbed by the apparent extreme police state on display here? Are urban dwellers that content to give up their civil liberties?
If you guessed it was the Brady Campaign turning into a campaign operation, give yourself a pat on the back and maybe a Snickers bar for good measure.
On the senators who voted against the bill, Brady Campaign President Dan Gross told PI: “We’re watching them and we’re holding them accountable.” He added, “We’re flooding calls from the American public into their offices.” Brady said the group would look at using its PAC against members of Congress who voted against yesterday’s pro-gun-control amendment. “We are definitely going to be looking at what we can do on an electoral level,” Gross said.
Well, Dan, let’s help you look at what you can do on an electoral level based on the most recent data you filed with the .gov.
Even after Newtown and knowing they would likely need to launch an electoral fight, the Brady Campaign raised a big fat nothing for their PAC in all of 2012. Either Dan Gross is lying to the media about his intentions or he’s grossly incompetent in understanding that their current cash on hand in the PAC isn’t even enough to make one maxed out donation and pay all of the fees they appear to have in maintaining the account annually.
Now, I realize that they may be able to raise money for the PAC this year, so we’ll keep an eye on it. Regardless, I feel like Politico left out key context to the story of their potential involvement by deliberately ignoring the fact that they have raised less than $37k since 2006 (when Paul Helmke took over) and raised absolutely no PAC dollars under the current leadership.
OFA sponsored a broadcast conference call to supporters of gun control today, and they focused on trying to rally the troops into not admitting defeat. Their strategy really is best summed up as a never-ending campaign for office instead of policy campaigns.
Whereas there was quite a bit of commentary yesterday about the tone of Obama’s speech perhaps being a bit too over-the-top emotionally, OFA was damn proud of the speech that they bragged was “anger and frustration” of a community organizer who will organize us all into doing what he wants. The message was very much framed as action is a personal challenge from Obama and that activists are doing this to serve Obama. It makes me wonder if that is partially in response to the negative feedback OFA initially got when they started using the campaign lists to push for policy & ask for constant donations.*
As for the actual action part, right now their focus is on thanking those who voted for Toomey-Manchin and to start chastising those who did not. They made absolutely no mention whatsoever about any of the other amendment votes, including those that Obama has repeatedly said were on his agenda (the gun ban & magazine ban). They suggested the supporters focus their praise & chastisement on Twitter (mentioned most often), via phone calls (second most frequently mentioned), and through Facebook messages (mentioned only a couple of times).
OFA also said that supporters in states with pro-gun senators “will be given tools” to help them fight for more gun control immediately, but no real mention was made about what those tools will look like. They also indicated that supporters in states where both senators voted for gun control will be asked to shift their focus to those other states. That may work in a campaign strategy when it’s about knocking on doors and making phone calls to show up on one key day, but every time I have contacted a lawmaker’s office, they have asked for at least my zip code before indicating they are remotely concerned about comments.
A key message of the call was to attack NRA for “outright lies” and the supposedly mistaken perception that the gun vote will hold lawmakers accountable while the anti-gun vote will have moved on to different issues. They swear it won’t be like that, and OFA is going to prove the NRA wrong. Well, just to be clear, I’m not getting emails from NRA trying to shift my focus onto immigration reform. I am from OFA. Just sayin’…
They are also promoting some kind of National Day(s) of Action on Friday and Saturday, but they gave no indication what those days of action will look like. There was mention of the importance of the “tone” of these events, but then they promptly followed that with an expectation that messages “scream” over the recent votes. OFA is seeking “swift” and “aggressive” action for the supposed round 2 of this fight. It’s rather funny since they are being warned by their own party not to do this right now.
*For those who complain about NRA requests for donations, you haven’t seen anything compared to OFA. Seriously, imagine if every single call to action to call your lawmakers had a call for money. Every. single. alert. Plus, the standard fundraising pitches that are stand-alone pitches. You think that Obama trying to shame the American people for not voting his way is annoying? Try reading his blatant attempts to shame those who don’t give his favorite policy group more money.