The Asylum Scam

I often find columns by our resident leftists to be entertaining, and even amusing, and Anthony Breznican’s “Debunking Baker’s Latest Column” on 10 July (Link) was no exception.

He starts out with the SOP leftist bleat about being victimized: “(Baker) also decided to make a series of personal attacks against me, but I’ll ignore those insults and distortions. They are beneath our community newspaper.”

What was that “insult”? I said he lied to his kids. But what does he call the things I wrote that he’s “debunking”? “Baker Lie”, in boldface type and all. I guess it’s not “beneath our community newspaper” if he’s doing it. Hypocrisy, anyone?

I’ve been debating leftists for literally decades, and I’m still amazed at their lack of self-awareness.

I think his first “debunking” is instructive of the quality of his material:

BAKER LIE: ‘… they wouldn’t have been separated from their kids, which is exactly the same thing that happens to ANY lawbreaker who’s arrested for any crime.’

“THE TRUTH: Crossing the border is a misdemeanor, seldom prosecuted in cases of asylum seekers. USA Today reports it usually comes with a fine of $10. This is like someone ringing your doorbell to ask for help after a car accident — and you calling the police to have them arrested for trespassing. American law has never mandated seizing the children of people charged with misdemeanors. Ask anyone who has been caught driving without a license, or shoplifting, or engaging in disorderly conduct. In America, the punishment fits the crime, and caging young children over a misdemeanor is cruel and unusual.”

Now, while the majority of what he wrote is actually true, it doesn’t directly respond to, or in any way negate, what I specifically wrote. In fact, it’s pretty much irrelevant. There are a whole lot of misdemeanors for which people are jailed. The definition of a “misdemeanor” is that it is a crime for which the maximum sentence is one year or less in jail. And just as I wrote, if someone is sent to jail – for whatever length of time – their kids don’t accompany them. What Breznican is doing here is indulging in the timeworn leftist tactic of misdirection and obfuscation. That’s pretty much his go-to SOP.

Further, those kids weren’t “caged”. They were placed in facilities which are more accurately likened to daycare facilities. But then, there’s no emotional drama in that, is there?

A bit later he writes:

BAKER LIE: He writes about the Obama administration’s policy of processing the claims of asylum seekers and then releasing them on bond with a court date. In court, their request for asylum will either be accepted or denied. ‘Those illegal aliens for the most part never showed up in court for their hearings,’ he writes.”

But that’s not what I wrote. I didn’t restrict my statement to “asylum seekers”. Yet another attempted bait-and-switch.

Which brings me to what I believe is the underlying, and far more important, reality of this issue. This was clearly illustrated by the now-infamous cover photo of the July 2 edition of Time magazine. That cover juxtaposed a picture of a crying little girl looking up at a seemingly indifferent Trump, symbolizing his – and I assume others’ who aren’t part of the illegal alien lobby – lack of empathy for those seeking “asylum” at our southern border.

But even before publication it became known that the kid’s mother wasn’t actually a legitimate “asylum” seeker, and had in fact taken the kid to be used as the “beard” for the mother’s request for asylum, which itself was phony. It turns out that Mom had taken the little girl without Dad’s knowledge (Link), and that she was never, in fact, separated from her daughter at all.

Yet even though they knew that their cover illustration was a lie, Time decided to go ahead with it anyway. False and misleading or not, it made a political point for them that they wanted to have made. So much for integrity from the left, at least on this issue (and almost any other, in my experience).

Ask yourself this question: if someone from Central America truly wants legitimate asylum, why would they go all the way to the US border when they have to pass through Mexico to get there, a country with very accommodating laws on asylum and immigration? (Mexican asylum) Why wouldn’t they just stay in Mexico?

The reality is that our border has been under invasion for decades, and I think that in many, if not most, cases this “asylum” claim is just a scam. People in Central America can read the news and access the internet just as easily as you and I can. There are hordes of lawyers who specialize in the subject, not to mention those, such as the coyotes, who profit from motivating people to make the trek.

Those people know that if they can pluck the heartstrings of America and get us weeping about little kids there’s one heckuva chance that once they show up at the border and wrap themselves in the mantle of asylum with a couple of cute kids in tow, they’ll wind up getting to stay.

Could this be why there’s been a 1700+ percent (!) increase in asylum claims at our southern border in the last ten years? (Percentage increase) I think we’re being gamed.

What do you think?

 

©Brian Baker 2018

 

(Also published today in my local newspaper, The Signal)

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A Leftist Lies. Shocking, I’m Sure

 

On 20 June The Signal published a column by Anthony Breznican, entitled “Family separation is cruel — but familiar”, which I found to be very interesting and informative.

For those who don’t know who he is, Breznican is a local hard-left activist, and I think his column offered a telling insight into that mentality.

He starts out by telling a story about a conversation he had with his two little kids, aged 9 and 5, while on the way with them to a demonstration in downtown LA about the separation of kids from illegal alien border jumpers. Per Breznican, as he tells it: “I said these are people following the rules. They are asking for help, not sneaking in.”

He goes on to say: “Rather than keeping the families together while we figure out their situation, like we used to, we are separating the children from the parents, and putting them in detention camps.”

And of course, from there he goes on to rant against Trump and Steve Knight, our local congressman who’s running for re-election.

Several things jumped out at me. The first was about the parental wisdom of taking such little kids, especially a 5-year-old, to a political demonstration. I’m a parent and grandparent, and wouldn’t have dreamed of doing such a thing, even though I’m also very politically active. I think it’s a really, really bad idea, regardless of one’s political affiliation.

But more importantly, and illustrative of the mindset of the hard left, is the disconnect from actual facts that we see in the things he told his kids.

Exactly what “rules” have the border jumpers been “following”? In what alternate universe are they “not sneaking in”? They certainly haven’t gone through any legal process to arrive here on our border. If they had, they wouldn’t have been detained in the first place, would they? And they wouldn’t have been separated from their kids… which is exactly the same thing that happens to ANY lawbreaker who’s arrested for any crime, as I wrote in my last column.

Further, this separation policy isn’t anything new at all. The policy was set in place as a result of a consent decree signed in 1997, while Clinton was President, to satisfy the judgment in a law suit filed in federal court, and these separations have been going on since then, under Clinton, Bush, and Obama. So, sorry Breznican, but “we used to” separate families for quite a while, in fact.

There have been periods when the percentage of those caught jumping the border and detained was lower, such as under the “catch and release” doctrine, particularly under Obama, and look at how well that worked. Pretty much not at all, because once released, those illegal aliens for the most part never showed up in court for their hearings, disappearing into the vast sea of the illegal alien underground. It was basically a de facto open border policy, which is exactly what the left really wants, of course.

To summarize, and put it plainly, in order to indoctrinate his young kids into his ideology, Breznican has flat-out lied to them. That’s what I found so illuminating about his column.

Now, it doesn’t exactly come as a surprise, since the American left uses flagrant lies to advance their agenda as a matter of course. That’s just SOP. But it was certainly fun to see it so blatantly illustrated in that column.

Well, I guess Trump’s stolen the left’s thunder now, having changed the policy under executive order so as to not separate kids from their parents. So, instead of being transferred to some form of foster care suitable for young kids, I guess they’ll be accompanying their illegal alien parents to detention.

How ironic. Breznican should be careful what he wishes for. But I have faith in him. I’m confident that with a little… manipulation… of the truth he and his cohort of fellow American socialists will still find some way to carry on with their smear campaign against Trump and, by extension, Knight.

It’s what they do.

 

 

©Brian Baker 2018

 

(Also published today in The Signal)

 

Who’s Responsible for Lawbreakers’ Kids?

 

The latest outrage du jour from the left is the separation of the children of illegal aliens from their parents if those adults are put into detention after being caught sneaking across the border.

Is it sad? Of course it is. No one likes the idea of kids being separated from their parents. But who’s actually responsible for it occurring?

When parents are arrested for other crimes – let’s say embezzlement, for the sake of discussion – what happens to their kids when the parents are locked up? Are the kids sent to jail, too, so that they’re not “taken away” from their parents? Of course not. The idea’s frankly absurd.

Those kids are placed in some form of foster care pending the outcome of the legal proceedings, and any incarceration that might follow. That’s exactly what takes place with the kids of these illegal aliens: the kids are placed in the care of agencies whose function is to take care of them.

This policy and practice isn’t “Trump’s fault”, though the left and the Never Trumpers seem to relish trying to make that argument. It’s the law, plain and simple, and it’s also good practice as far as the welfare of the kids goes, considering the circumstances.

Just like the hypothetical embezzlers I mentioned above, the illegal alien parents made the decision to break the law and cross the border illegally. That’s indisputable. Therefore, if anyone’s at fault for their kids being taken away and put into foster or institutional care, it’s the parents themselves.

What are the alternatives being proposed by those who oppose this practice? As far as I can tell, the silence is pretty deafening, other than some vague idea that Trump must “do something” to change this practice. But do what?

The law requires this practice. So is Trump supposed to ignore the law? We all know that Obama did that all the time, legislating by fiat with his “pen and a phone”, but that certainly doesn’t make it proper or legal. Trump isn’t Obama (thank God).

Is this yet another emotional hook the illegal alien lobby can hang their open borders agenda on? You bet it is. The American left and the cheap labor advocates, along with the Never Trumpers, are tugging the heartstrings of the country, hoping to advance their cause.

The net effect would be to once again turn illegal aliens into even more of a special class that’s immune to the regular order of law, granting them more special privileges that don’t apply to American citizens, such as our embezzlers. Let’s be honest here. The real, though unstated, goal of all this noise is to stop the practice altogether of detaining border jumpers.

Well, then, maybe we should just stop incarcerating all lawbreakers who have kids. Why not? If that separation is unbearably cruel for the kids of illegal aliens, is it any less cruel for the kids of other lawbreakers?

If people want this practice to end, the proper way to do that is to enact some legislation to that effect. Unless and until that happens, current law defines the practice.

 

 

©Brian Baker 2018

(Also published today in  The Signal)

 

“Blue Wave” or Little Ripple?

Well, it’s certainly been an interesting campaign season so far, culminating in the Commiefornia primary election on June 5.

For those unfamiliar with my writings, I’m a conservative who’s not a member of any political party; an “independent”, which in this state means I’m officially “Decline to State” (DTS).

The hottest local race has been for the 25th District seat for the US House of Representatives currently held by Steve Knight. Arrayed against him in the Primary were Katie Hill, Jess Phoenix, Bryan Caforio, and Mary Pallant, all from the “other” party.

This race has been a focus of intense interest even up to the national level because it’s viewed as being one of those critical to the Dem/socialists’ hopes to swing control of the House back to their party. This district went for Clinton in 2016, and even though Knight won re-election that year, easily trouncing opponent Caforio, it’s viewed as “vulnerable”.

The results are in and Knight handily won top spot in this state’s bizarre “jungle primary” with more votes than all of his opponents combined. I wonder how “vulnerable” we’ll be seen to be after that. His opponent in the General Election will be local gal Katie Hill. This time around Caforio couldn’t even win in the Primary. I wonder if he’ll be out house-hunting for a new locale to which he can again carpetbag for the 2020 election after such a humiliating defeat.

During the course of the campaign my mailbox was inundated with campaign literature from absolutely everybody who was running for anything, presumably because I’m a DTS and eligible to vote for anybody in any party, or at least might be interested in doing so. I don’t know why; maybe that’s the case for everybody.

No matter. The point is that I saw it all, and of all the candidates running for everything, Caforio ran the most negative campaign out there. There were days I’d get multiple mailers from his campaign on the same day! And invariably they were attempted hatchet jobs on one or both of his strongest opponents, Knight and Hill. It reeked of desperation and extremism.

It worked out for him as well as it deserved to.

I believe the leftists have misread the tea leaves as they pertain to this district. Yes, it went for Ms. Pant Suit in 2016. Yes, there are more registered Dems than GOPers. But there are also more DTSers like me than GOPers, too, and many of them are also conservatives like me who have left the GOP because they’ve lost all respect for that party and its eternal ineptitude. But that doesn’t mean we’ve magically turned into lefties. I know several fellow DTSers who simply wouldn’t pull the lever for Trump in 2016, but will happily support Knight this year just as they did in 2016.

I congratulate both Steve Knight and Katie Hill on their victories in the Primary. That having been said, I throw my support to Knight without reservation. His policy positions are far more in line with my beliefs than his opponent’s are, and just as importantly it’s essential that the GOP retain control of the House of Representatives. Even putting aside the fact that I disagree with most, if not all, of Hill’s positions, can you see her – a very junior Representative – standing up against the likes of Nancy Pelosi?

For that matter, how does this sound to you: Madame Speaker Nancy Pelosi?

Do you want to go down that road again?

 

 

 

©Brian Baker 2018

 

(Also published today in my local newspaper, The Signal)

More On My City Council Excellent Adventure

How interesting.

Over the last few days, since the City Council’s May 8 open meeting at which they voted to oppose “sanctuary state” status, I’ve read a couple of letters published in The Signal, as well as the staff’s own editorial, characterizing the meeting as being pretty much an out-of-control near-riot.

Having been there myself, and addressed the Council, I have to wonder if those people are talking about the same meeting I attended.

As I discussed in my last column (“Mission Accomplished”, May 10), though emotions ran high I thought Mayor Weste did a pretty good job of keeping things under control and moving forward.

I was in the back of the room and could see pretty much everything that was happening. Contrary to Roselva Ungar’s assertions that it was the “red hats” causing all the commotion (“Shocked at behavior,” May 15), both sides had their adherents periodically misbehaving by waving their signs and placards, and shouting or speaking loudly against speakers who represented the opposing view.

The Signal’s own editorial (“A dark hour for discussion,” May 15) took the position that the deputies should have ejected the boisterous, or the entire meeting should have been cancelled and adjourned. Well, all I can say is, welcome to the modern era.

Maybe ejecting some of the misbehavers would have quieted down those who remained. We’ll never know, but it also could have led to a much nastier scene. Our modern political zeitgeist would encompass either outcome. Mayor Weste clearly decided to play it safe.

But adjourning the meeting would have been the wrong move to make. It would have been a de facto capitulation to “sanctuary state” supporters if the city failed to address the issue one way or the other once it was on the agenda. This is a favored tactic of, primarily, the left, as we see on campuses regularly when they stage raucous “protests’ and effectively shut down scheduled events and prevent conservative speakers from making their speeches and presentations.

Are we to allow our own City Council meetings to be victimized the same way?

There are those who say we shouldn’t have been involved in this issue at all, but why would that be true (unless, of course, you didn’t like the outcome)? This state is a part of the Union yet felt free to declare its own immigration policy. By that same logic we’re a part of this state and are perfectly free to declare our opposition to that policy. In fact, if we had our own police force instead of contracting with the county sheriff, I think it would have been interesting to instruct our cops to disregard the state’s edict altogether.

As to any “expense” incurred, as I mentioned in my last column it will be pretty minimal, since all we’re doing is filing an amicus brief in support of the suit against the state that’s already been filed by the federal Justice Department. The staff attorneys can do that, and they’re on salary.

Ultimately, it boils down to this: Why on earth should we be laying out a “welcome mat” (per Alan Blake in “Legal immigrant’s response”, May 15) for illegal aliens? What part of “illegal” do people not understand?

©Brian Baker 2018

 

(Also published today in my local newspaper, The Signal)

After-Action Report: Mission Accomplished

As promised in my last column, Tuesday night (May 8) I attended our City Council meeting at which the topic of joining the federal law suit against Commiefornia’s “Sanctuary State” legislation was the main item on the agenda.

Our Council meetings start at 6 PM, but there was a lot of noise from both sides of the issue (thanks for the heads up, Facebook) that there were going to be activists brought in to flood the meeting, so I decided to get there early, arriving at 4 PM. True enough, by the time I arrived there was already quite a crowd, which continued to grow, representing both sides of the debate.

The doors opened at 5:15 and the mass flooded in. It was definitely SRO (standing room only) in the main chamber, and an overflow room with live video feed was opened across the hall, which was also filled to capacity. In fact, the main chamber where I sat was doubtless in violation of fire safety codes by exceeding legal capacity.

There were a couple of hundred speakers who’d filled out the cards needed to address the Council, according to Mayor Weste’s estimate, and statements went on for several hours. I’ve been to, and spoken at, many Council meetings over the years, and I’ve never seen anything like it before.

Emotions ran high, as was to be expected, but overall the over-capacity crowd behaved itself, and Mayor Weste did a great job of keeping things running in an orderly fashion. My turn to speak came at about 8:30, and if you’re interested, you can see it here:

http://santaclaritacityca.iqm2.com/Citizens/SplitView.aspx?Mode=Video&MeetingID=1921&Format=Agenda

I show up at the 1:58:45 mark.

The Council ended up voting unanimously to join the Federal lawsuit against the state by filing an amicus brief, as well as sending a position paper to other elected representatives at the state and federal levels.

I know there are many – primarily, if not exclusively, on the left – who will denigrate this action as a meaningless gesture and in some respects that’s true. Will last night’s Council vote change one single thing about what takes place in this city? Not even a smidgen.

But its symbolic importance is huge, and symbols have meaning. After all, what is our flag but a symbol that stands for a country and its set of values? Or a crucifix, or Star of David, or Red Cross? They’re all symbols that convey some meaning.

The same holds true for last night’s Council vote. It’s a clear signal that not all of hard-left-blue Los Angeles County is on board the socialist train that is this state. That’s a very strong statement to make at a very nominal cost, a few hours of the legal staff’s time.

For me personally, it was also hugely symbolic. It means that this community, in which I chose to make my home after having spent what’s now the first half of my life as a nomad living quite literally all over the globe, is still the one I fell in love with, and still represents the values I hold dear.

The Council vote was very gratifying. My thanks to all of them.

 

 

©Brian Baker 2018

(Also published today in my local newspaper, The Signal)

“Sanctuary State” Nonsense

On May 8th our City Council is going to be discussing the issue of joining several other California cities and counties in opposing this state’s declaration of “sanctuary state” status for illegal aliens.

I plan to be there, and address them on this issue.

Having spoken before the Council before I know there’s a time limit of three minutes per person, and I don’t think I can say all I want to in that time frame, so I’m going to put some of my thoughts here.

In 2010 Arizona enacted a law authorizing their police to enquire into the immigration status of people with whom the cops were in contact. That law was challenged in the case of Arizona v. United States “…on the theory that Arizona was trying to move in on the federal government’s superior power to enforce federal immigration laws”, and the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) held that several provisions of the Arizona law were unconstitutional because “…they either operated in areas solely controlled by federal policy, or they interfered with federal enforcement efforts.” (Link)

When SCOTUS issued their ruling in 2012, the illegal alien lobby jumped for joy. How come now, all of a sudden, they think it’s okay for this state to do the very same thing that Arizona did, namely “move in on the federal government’s superior power to enforce federal immigration laws” and “interfere with federal enforcement efforts”?

Got hypocrisy much?

I have little doubt the Council will hear a litany of illegal alien sob stories. In anticipation, I’ve got a little sob story of my own.

Kate Steinle was strolling along the pier in San Francisco with her father when she was shot down and killed by an illegal alien named Jose Inez Garcia Zarate. Zarate had already been deported five times; he was on probation in Texas; and had already been convicted of seven felonies. But because of San Fran’s “sanctuary city” policies, Zarate had been released from the San Francisco County Jail to roam free and ultimately kill Steinle.

Some others: Edwin Jackson killed by Manuel Orrego-Savala; Jamiel Shaw Jr. murdered by Pedro Espinoza; Sheriff’s Deputy Danny Oliver murdered by Luis Enrique Monroy Bracamontes: our own Sheriff’s Deputy David March was murdered by Armando Jose Arroyo Garcia; and there are a host of others, not only those murdered, but victims of other crimes, too.

We hear politician/cops (who shouldn’t be confused with actual street cops who work for a living) talking about “sanctuary” – meaning the refusal to enforce the law – allowing people to “come out of the shadows” and somehow help them enforce other, more palatable (I suppose) laws.

Maybe we should consider letting drug dealers “come out of the shadows”, too. Or embezzlers. Maybe thieves and shoplifters. In fact, we can refuse to enforce all kinds of laws and let the offenders all “come out of the shadows” if we want. Why limit it to just illegal aliens?

One other thing. The illegal alien apologists try to obfuscate this issue by conflating legal immigrants and illegal aliens. It’s intellectually dishonest. The vast majority of those of us who oppose “sanctuary” or regularization of illegal aliens is perfectly clear about the distinction between the two, and view legal immigrants as an entirely separate and distinct group. This issue is unrelated to them.

They also talk about this country being a “nation of immigrants”, as if American Indians are the only people “native” to this continent. But that’s also specious. The term “native Americans” is generally, and incorrectly, applied to American Indians, who are the aboriginal – the original inhabitants of any region – people of this continent, but even they were “immigrants” in that they got here from Asia. So just like those Indians, anybody born here is a “native” of this country, simply having arrived later. Any person born here is a “native American”, by definition.

So there we have it. I’m certainly urging the City Council to move forward in opposing this “sanctuary state” nonsense. We’ll see what happens at the meeting.

 

 

©Brian Baker 2018

 

(Also published today in my local newspaper, The Signal)

 

 

Evil Termites

 

Because our gasoline is so very expensive (due to gross over-taxation) I usually gas up at the independent station at the intersection of Magic Mountain Parkway and Bouquet. While I was there the other day filling the tank on my happily un-PC gas-guzzling SUV, I noticed a billboard – a sign – on the south side of the intersection. It read:

“CHOOSE CHILDREN OVER GUNS

Our Congressman Steve Knight Has an A from the NRA

Call Him and Ask Why”

Below that was a line naming the sponsors of the sign, a local Dem/socialist activist group.

When I moved here in 1984, like many people one of my main motivations was to escape the leftist swamp of LA city. The Santa Clarita Valley was an oasis of conservatism. Pickup trucks abounded. My wife’s BMW was a rarity. Cows grazed on the grounds next to College of the Canyons, a common sight when one took the Valencia Boulevard off ramp from I-5. Where the mall is now was nothing but vast onion fields from which hot air balloons launched on Sunday mornings if the wind was calm.

If you’ve ever wondered where Cinema Drive got its name, there was a small multiplex theater located on the intersection with Valencia Boulevard, with a little Sutter’s Mill restaurant on the other side of the street, one of the very few eateries in the area.

We were regularly mocked and ridiculed by the nabobs in LA, particularly those in tony enclaves like the Westside and Beverly Hills. “Redneck cowboys” and “hicks” was a pretty common theme.

Meantime, we “hicks” were enjoying a “small town” quality of life that attracted other like-minded people, and so our valley grew in population, which drew further development in the form of businesses relocating to the area, and amenities – such as the mall and restaurants – opening, further enhancing the area’s desirability, and drawing evermore people eager to enjoy the area’s ambience.

Of course, some of those people happened to be some of the same folks who previously scorned and mocked us, and recently included a Westside lawyer who carpetbagged his way here just in time to qualify himself to run for Congress as our local Representative. But I’m sure that was all a big coincidence… right?

It’s always been interesting to me how leftists move to conservative areas to enjoy a better lifestyle than the place they’re leaving behind, but then try to impose the same political agenda that turned their prior home into the very swamp they’re trying to escape.

They’re like evil termites. They wreck the home they live in, then fly off to find some new home to wreck.

Anyway, I decided to check further, and confirmed that the dreaded NRA did, indeed, give Knight a 93% back in 2016, which sounds like an “A” to me. Great! Even more reason to vote for him (as if there was any doubt to begin with)!

I have no idea why our local lefties think this is somehow a negative. Do they think the NRA is some faceless, shadowy, monolithic conspiracy of evil villains scheming to somehow subvert the will of the people while sacrificing little kids to their nefarious agenda? A bunch of solitary old childless misanthropes sitting around in their bathrobes plotting to cache an armory in the dream of overthrowing the government? Illicit gunrunners and covert international weapons dealers swindling their way to vast riches?

What nonsense. Time for a reality check. It’s an organization of millions of like-minded everyday people, some of whom are probably your neighbors, who think that the Second Amendment literally means they have a right to own guns; who have families – including kids – of their own; who actually believe they have the right to have the tools necessary to protect their kids and family; and who want to share the shooting sport experience with those family members, as hard as that might be for leftists to grasp.

And as far as I know, not one single NRA member has ever been involved in any mass shootings anywhere.

The whole meme of “CHOOSE CHILDREN OVER GUNS” creates a false dichotomy that should more believably and accurately be stated as “CHOOSE CHILDREN AND GUNS”.

These election-year anti-gun jihads usually don’t work out too well for the left outside of urban metro areas. Just ask Al Gore and John Kerry. If there’s anything that can motivate those gun owners who are usually pretty lazy about voting, this is it.

As Napoleon Bonaparte reportedly said, “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake”. I hope that sign stays right there through November.

 

 

©Brian Baker 2018

(Also published today in my local newspaper, The Signal)

 

The Kabuki of Gun Control

 

Kabuki… Kabuki theatre is known for the stylization of its drama and for the elaborate make-up worn by some of its performers… Kabuki is a term used by American political pundits as a synonym for political posturing” – Wikipedia

Another day, another anti-gun screed. Or – as was the case on 29 March – two, when The Signal published a letter by Richard Myers entitled “No fear of guns” and a column by Anthony Breznican entitled “Stop saying that Parkland students are fakes, actors”.

Myers’s letter was a reaction to my column of March 15 (“The Second Amendment and the Militia”) in which I outlined the legal and historical context of gun rights. He didn’t even try to dispute any of the facts in my column, he simply indulged in an emotional outburst echoing the standard anti-gun talking points.

“As for your claim that we need a present day unorganized militia in the event our government becomes tyrannical, I can only say—baloney”, he rants. Well, okay. I’m probably not going to get a flat tire, either, but I still keep a spare in my trunk. Better to have a spare tire – or a gun – and not need it, than to need one and not have it.

Breznican’s column is allegedly a rebuttal of one by Ron Bischof that was published on 22 March as “Talking about school safety”. Breznican writes: “…writer Ron Bischof suggests a conspiracy theory…”.

But in reality Ron does no such thing. What he actually says is: “Isn’t it rational to conclude they’re being orchestrated by media producers and other organizations with political objectives?”

After all, if the news media is truly objective, as Breznican suggests when he writes: “When those individuals don’t wish to be interviewed, it’s important and ethical to respect that. When they actually do want to talk, it’s vital to listen”, then why haven’t the major news media been giving any attention at all to the many Parkland survivors who hold views opposing those being expressed by the kids whose faces are plastered all over the place while screeching for gun confiscation?

That’s not a “conspiracy”. It’s political Kabuki. The fact is that according to a USA TODAY/Ipsos poll taken after the shooting (Link) fewer than half of teens between the ages of 13 and 17 think more gun laws would prevent mass shootings. But we don’t hear much of anything about them.

That’s because the worker bees of the major media are, by a very large margin, living their lives in the left-wing echo chamber. Antipathy to gun rights is in their nature and their culture, so their natural inclination is to seek out and publicize those who agree with, and validate, their own prejudices and agenda. It’s so ingrained that it doesn’t need a “conspiracy”; the script is already well-rehearsed.

Political Kabuki.

As to Breznican’s various other claims about the Supreme Court Heller decision and how Congress should act and all of that, it’s interesting to note that retired (thankfully) Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens wrote an op-ed column published in the 27 March edition of the New York Times in which he calls for the repeal of the Second Amendment.

Though I vehemently oppose such a repeal, and think it has absolutely zero chance of actually happening – just look at any map and tell me where enough states would approve such a thing – I do think his column does something important.

It’s one of the very rare instances when an anti-gunner proposes substantive changes to gun laws in a way that actually conforms to the Constitution. And it puts the lie to the constant refrain of “We support your right to own a gun, BUT…”.

Stevens’s column was Kabuki-free.

 

 

©Brian Baker 2018

 

(Also published today in my local newspaper, The Signal)

The Second Amendment and the Militia

 

 

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” – Second Amendment to the United States Constitution

 

When it was written in the late 18th Century the Second Amendment was contemporaneous, clear, and concise; easy to understand by all who read it. It was very short, because it was meant to be all-encompassing in its application.

But language usage evolves with time, and in the intervening two+ centuries the language of that amendment has become archaic, making it vulnerable to misinterpretation. Unfortunately, every time gun control becomes a hot political issue, such as now in light of the recent Parkland school tragedy, we see the hoplophobes (anti-gun faction) attempt to exploit that vulnerability by trying – either through ignorance or cynical manipulation – to advance the claim that the gun rights protected by the Second Amendment only apply to uniformed militia organizations such as the National Guard.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The United States Code is the body of the permanent general federal statutes of the country. According to “10 U.S. Code § 246 – Militia: composition and classes” the militia is defined as:

“(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in Section 313 of Title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.

(b) The classes of the militia are—

(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and

(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.”

In other words, all law-abiding citizens, and those who have applied for citizenship, are members of either the organized (uniformed, such as the National Guard) or unorganized militia if they’re of military age.

Further, the right isn’t limited just to those of military age. The reference to the “militia” is simply recognition of the fact that a militia might at times be necessary and it would be drawn from the at-large citizenry. That is why the amendment protects “the right of the people”, and not just “the right of militia members”. The right isn’t restricted to only those in one of the militias.

For those extremist hoplophobes who make the absurd claim that the word “militia” refers to the active-duty military: why would the Founders need the Second Amendment at all when the Constitution itself, in Section 8, gives the federal government the power to “raise and support Armies” and “maintain a Navy”. In fact, that same section also states that the government may “provide for calling forth the Militia”, clearly distinguishing the Militia as being a separate entity from the regular armed forces.

I believe that if the exact same amendment were to be written today in modern language, it would go something like this:

“Recognizing that the protection of a free State may require the activation of a civilian militia in addition to the standing military, and that the militia is composed of the citizenry at large, the right of those citizens to keep and carry arms in order to be proficient with their use shall not be infringed.”

The words “free State” are also crucial to understand. The Founders were engaged in a revolution against what was the legitimate government of which they were citizens. As described in the Declaration of Independence, their grievances justified that revolt, and they were very aware that any government has the potential to become tyrannical.

That potential included the government they were forming. They wanted to make sure that the citizenry had the ability to remove that government should it become another tyranny, no longer a “free state”, and the way to do that was to ensure that the citizenry had the means to do so: arms. Guns. The same guns as the rest of the military, which they are expected to provide at their own expense.

Many people today scoff at the idea of average Americans rising up and overthrowing the government, saying that the idea of civilians standing up against American military might is ridiculous. I guess the Taliban haven’t yet gotten that memo.

The ragtag Minutemen started such a revolution against the single most powerful military on the planet… and won.

And what was it that caused that “Shot Heard ‘Round the World”? The Redcoats were marching on Lexington and Concord to confiscate the colonists’ guns.

That’s right. The precipitating event of the American Revolution was an attempt at gun control.

So, as we can see, the real purpose of the Second Amendment is to protect the right of law-abiding civilians to possess and use the same personal weapons as the rest of the military in order to assure a defense against enemies both foreign and domestic.

 

 

©Brian Baker 2018

 

(Also published today in my local newspaper, The Signal)