Politics of Personal Destruction

MikeB in the comments raises a point about why people bother tracking down information on others, and making efforts to “out” people. He seems to believe this is wrong, and in many contexts I would agree with him. I think it’s a worthwhile discussion to have as to what tactics are out of bounds, and which are in bounds. I think that’s a tricky topic, because the line is pretty fine. But I can discuss my feelings on the matter.

If you read professional agitators like Saul Alinsky, they speak on this topic as well, and Alinsky thought everything was on the table if you didn’t have a more ethical path available forward. That’s actually a high standard, if you think about it, but I think outing Horwitz meets that standard. The other side must have thought that too, which is why they used it against John Lott when he was caught doing it. I agree that was fair game too.

There’s really three levels I think activists are entitled to live their lives on; their political lives, their personal lives, and their private lives. In a political struggles, one’s political life is fair game. Their personal lives can be too, depending on how much of an effort there is to keep it private, which is the part I think we should have an awful prejudice against violating. Let me give some examples.

A few years ago I smeared a Board Member of CeaseFire PA with something in her personal life. But it was something in her personal life she made no real attempt to keep private, as it was on an easy to find public web site, under the same name she practiced her activism with. I thought it was fair game, and wanted to make a point to her about tolerance. This was on the heels of outing another CeaseFire PA board member we had strong evidence was a vile troll, posting racist garbage on web sites pretending to be a gun rights advocate. In this case he did make an attempt to conceal his identity, but his tactic was so vile, disgusting, and destructive to our cause, that he really left no choice other than to expose him once we had all gathered enough evidence.

Outing Josh Horwitz alleged sock puppet is attacking his political existence, not his personal existence, and certainly not his private existence. He’d be using said sock puppet to further his side on this political struggle. His identity is well known within the issue, and he freely associates his name with it in his role as a paid gun control advocate. His sock puppetry is directly related to the issue, only crosses into his personal life in so much as it reveals him to be an angry bastard, so it’s within bounds.

Now if a gun control advocate, even a professional one, had been found having discussions with other consenting adults on, say, an S&M forum, and made a reasonable effort to keep that private, or keep it separated from the issue, exposing that would be out of bounds. Back to the previous example, if I had been forwarded a private e-mail from Ms. Stein about her involvement in MUFON, or seen her at a meetup, I would not have used it. I would also argue someone using an alias (not a sock puppet) in an attempt to keep their personal and political lives separated, and their private life private, is also out of bounds for outing.

But using personal or private information in for a political purpose is completely different from using it purely for harassment or intimidation purposes, which is always wrong, and often unlawful. I think everyone, even gun control advocates, are entitled to a reasonable expectation of privacy and fair play in their personal and private lives. We should proceed on that assumption moving forward.

Sock Puppetry from the Other Side?

Thirdpower has some pretty damning evidence that Josh Horwitz, President of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, is, in fact, the same nasty individual that goes by the alias “GritsJr” over on the HuffPo. What’s interesting is we’re like the second stringers of the gun rights movement, and this is their leadership. Do you think Chris Cox and Wayne LaPierre are spending their time engaging in Internet sock puppetry? I’m pretty sure they are too busy helping to destroy Josh’s livelihood to worry much about what we second stringers are saying. Maybe there’s a lesson in that.

Pennsylvania’s Own Ron Paul

Apparently supporters of Sam Rohrer are starting turn into Ronulans, appearing heavily in the Capitol Ideas post that covered CeaseFire PA’s endorsement policies to promote their favorite candidate. I like Sam Rohrer. Hell, I’ll even vote for him in the primary. But as I mentioned rather facetiously last October, the leap he was trying to make was probably too great. As our A+ rated reps go, I’m going to miss him from the state House, and wish he would have tried to step up to a more modest office before making the big leap for the big chair.

But I’m not worried too much. Tom Corbett, if he wins both races, will be the most pro-gun governor we’ve had in 24 years. On other issues, I don’t find him to be particularly offensive, which likely means Independents won’t find him particularly offensive either, and you need Independents for a Republican to win in Pennsylvania.

Lessons from the Palin Hacker

Remember the story about Palin’s e-mail getting hacked back during the campaign? Instapundit reports the hacker has been convicted for felony destruction of records to hamper a federal investigation and misdemeanor unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer.

Lesson here is don’t commit a felony to get yourself out of a misdemeanor.

Gun Ownership by Pardoned Felons

Dave Hardy points to a story coming out of Tennessee on the topic here. Dave mentions it’s a separation of powers question, as to whether the legislature can interfere with the Governor’s powers to pardon. I notice in the article there’s out-of-state issues too:

The attorney general opinion said that Tennessee does not recognize the pardons from anywhere in the country, including with the state, as grounds for restoring gun rights.

I would imagine that could also implicate the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Federal Constitution as well. There have been a few circuit court decisions on this, one of them in the fifth circuit, which is next door to the 6th, which Tennessee is in. There they ruled that full faith and credit is implicated in pardons, and that the state in which the pardon is issued is controlling:

Next we reach the question whether Louisiana may constitutionally refuse to give the same effect to a pardon granted by another jurisdiction that it would give to its own pardon under the Habitual Criminal Act. We are of the opinion that this would violate no constitutional principles. There is clearly no question here of a violation of the full faith and credit clause, since Louisiana has given the same effect to a Missouri pardon that a Missouri court would give it.

That implies there could be a FFAC issue, I think, but it would depend in the state in which he was pardoned, and whether they had a similar provision to Tennessee. The Circuit Court of Appeals implies in this case that no more credit need be given than is given in the pardoning state. In another neighboring Circuit, the 7th, they ruled differently. This case actually involves firearms law, but it’s a bit different, because it involves the federal consequences of a conviction versus a state pardon. Not state consequences of a conviction versus a pardon from another state:

In his complaint, plaintiff characterizes the refusal to license him as a failure to give full faith and credit to the Montana pardon. Article IV, 1 of the Constitution, concerning ‘public acts, records, and judicial proceedings,’ speaks only to the states. By statute federal courts must also accord full faith and credit to state legislative acts and judicial records and proceedings. 28 U.S.C. 1738. However, it is open to question whether the full faith and credit clause extends to requiring a state court to treat a sister state’s pardons as eradicating guilt for the purpose here involved, even if the issuing state gives them that effect.

This seems to me to be very much an open issue, and it would be interesting to see a case like this go forward. In the case of someone who was convicted and pardoned in Tennessee courts, that would be solely a state issue, but in the case of someone moving to Tennessee who was pardoned by the Governor of another state, you bring federal issues into play under FFAC.

UPDATE: Dave Hardy has more thoughts here.

Open Carry in the Wall Street Journal

By Nancy DeWolf Smith. In my opinion, really condescending, especially toward women, even though it’s written by a woman.

Surveys suggest that serious shooters are not particularly drawn to girlie colors. But what about the rest of the female population? The same forces that compel women to change pocketbooks and fingernail colors may add a vexing new list of daily dressing decisions, like “What color pistol grip goes with this outfit?” Next thing you know, women could be trading tips on the Web about the best way to attract men in a world where every girl can have a gun. Should she try to stand out from the crowd with a piece of rustic exotica that reminds him of the safari dolls in 1953’s “Mogambo,” like a .416 Rigby? Or go with something more crudely flashy, like one of the pretend AK-47s?

Even though she correctly points out this is a contentious issue even within our own community, and an issue where I generally favor concealment, Ms. Smith hopefully does not assume that means any of us advocate making open carry unlawful. This is an argument between gun owners, not between gun owners and the government.

Gun Control Working, As Murder And Shootings Rise

I think the claims in this article contradict themselves all over:

“City is winning the war on street guns”

“Cops recovered 5,129 firearms from suspects last year, compared to 5,537 in 2008 — an 8 percent decline”

“An ATF spokesman said the weapons recovered were not recently manufactured, which meant the flow of newly minted weapons was also continuing to decline.”

“[M]urders are up 20 percent, from 119 last year at this time to 143 through last Sunday. And shootings are up 14.8 percent so far this year, to 373 from 325 for the same period last year”

And naturally, it’s everyone else’s fault other than Bloomberg’s. He’s winning the war against guns! Unfortunately for him, he’s losing the war against criminals. Has it ever occurred to him that he’s fighting the wrong enemy? Nah.

ACLU Sells out Free Speech

Looks like they are caving on campaign finance reform, something they’ve long opposed:

The organization will now accept “reasonable” government limitations on contributions to candidates. The ACLU doesn’t say what “reasonable” means, so the government will doubtless supply the definition. This will inevitably benefit those who are already elected and disadvantage challengers. Indeed, for 35 years “reasonable” limits on contributions have demonstrably helped incumbents and suppressed insurgent candidates.

So ACLU gets on board with helping further entrench the Democratic Party. What a sad things they’ve become. I used to respect the ACLU even when I didn’t agree with them, but that’s passing.

Bryan Miller Now Using Open Carry Fundraising

Found by Cemetery at New Jersey Hunter forum. Some gems from Bryan:

“These single-minded and fearful people care so little about public safety that they seek to make our state and country an armed camp. And, it is no coincidence that many follow the harsh anti-democratic rhetoric that attracted such as Tim McVeigh.”

“We have all heard of the volatile blend of racism and anti-government hostility emanating from so-called ‘tea parties.’ Mixed in is a rebellious strain of pro-gun extremism that led to yesterday’s events. In many state, ‘open carry’ activists eagerly wear their guns to Starbucks and other retail establishments, caring not a whit about the intimidation of and danger to others. It’s all about them and their petty fears and anti-social ideas.”

We’re the ones that use fears and anti-social ideas? Pot — meet kettle. This is classic fundraising through fear mongering. Both sides do it, but they like to pretend they don’t. And it doesn’t hurt, I guess in Bryan’s world, to throw in a side of arsehole with your big plate of hysteria.

Georgia Carry Fixes

Looks like we’re getting a lot closer to passage. It looks like it’ll be a done deal to me. I’m glad to see the 1000 foot from a school nonsense eliminated. How is one supposed to know when one is within 1000 feet of a school? I live that close to one too, but you’d never know it. If PA had such a law, I couldn’t carry or transport guns. In fact, without an LTC, you’re technically in violation carrying a gun on the street outside my house, due to the Federal Gun Free School Zones Act. You can’t see the school, but it’s there.

I also understand this allows restaurant carry, and fixes the airport issue that cropped up after the last ease on restrictions.