Christian Heritage and Legislative Authority

Despite all of the memes on Facebook about how your boss’s religion trumps your personal rights, the Hobby Lobby ruling isn’t so much about bosses, employees, or even religion as it is about the legislative authority of Christians and those of Christian heritage pretending to be Christian. To illustrate that fact, Huffington Post ran a farcical article listing different activities, such as public sex and the use of hallucinogens, that could happen now that we abide by laws “a la carte”. But it’s hard to imagine anything on that list coming to pass unless well connected Christian conservatives claim that it must pass lest their Christianity be overburdened. And it can’t be just any Christians. The Huffpo article also mentions unpasteurized milk, the distribution of which the Amish have not been successful in legalizing despite it being against their beliefs to withhold from others food that they consume themselves.

The owners of Hobby Lobby like to present the appearance of towing the right wing Christian line, but their hypocrisy, as reported by Mother Jones, proves that it’s all for show. In addition to investing in companies that violate their fake principals, Hobby Lobby also sells tons of cheap trinkets imported from China, and doing business with China is no way to keep your hands clean of indirectly supporting non-Christian practices.

Based on Hobby Lobby’s non-Christian dealings and the fact that nobody from Hobby Lobby’s owning family would ever be forced to directly purchase the products that they object to, I don’t believe that anybody at Hobby Lobby felt that God would have been angry at them for violating his commandments. I believe that they objected to being told what to do by a president who doesn’t show due reverence to their Christian heritage.

Rallying behind the cross isn’t about religion, except for a few true-believers who have been duped into thinking that Christianity is compatible with the right wing agenda. Rallying behind the cross is about heritage, and what we’ve seen, more than once now, is that sometimes heritage is more important then merit when it comes to being heard by this Supreme Court.

I Clicked to Joe the Plumber’s Website

I had to visit Joe the Plumber’s website because despite the write ups in Raw Story, Huffington Post, Salon, and others, I still had trouble believing that he actually wrote, in an “open letter” to families of Elliot Rogers’s murder victims:

I’m sorry you lost your child. […] But: As harsh as this sounds – your dead kids don’t trump my constitutional rights.

Joe the Plumber's Website

Joe’s words go nicely with these gems from Todd Kincannon:

No idea how my son will die, but I know it won’t be cowering like a bitch at UC Santa Barbara. Any son of mine would have been shooting back.

It’s too bad that the gun rights arguments are so dominated by chimp-brained Right Wing thugs like Joe Wurzelbacher and Todd Kincannon because not every argument for gun rights is wrong.

Technically, what Wurzelbacher wrote is true, but the fact that he doesn’t have enough normal brain cells in his head to realize how wrong it is to publicly berate a crying man less than a week after his son was murdered makes him and others like him an embarrassment to the people and the arguments he should be supporting. In fact, they’re an embarrassment to the nation.

I wouldn’t want the Left to win every gun control argument. Some of my fellow Liberals want to go a lot farther with gun control then I feel comfortable with. The Second Amendment must be interpreted by people who can read at an adult’s level of comprehension (who don’t think “shall not be infringed” means any weapon carried by any person in any location”) but it can’t be interpreted away as if it didn’t exist. If it were, we would effectively nullify the Bill of Rights and perhaps be in more danger than we are now with our heavily armed criminals.

We should have intelligent conversations about gun control, with Lefties admitting that the 2nd Amendment, like it or not, dictates that their will be more guns, more gun violence, and more gun accidents than they’ll comfortably accept and Righties accepting that even in the early days there were gun control laws so the 2nd Amendment doesn’t necessarily mean what they think it means.

To give credit where credit is due, Open Carry Texas asked it’s members and supporters to stop carrying long guns into business where they’re not invited to do so. We Liberals, justifiably, had a field day laughing at their failure, but we should acknowledge that at least somebody in the group had enough sense to eventually realize that acting like stupid, violent thugs isn’t the right way to win support.

I guess Todd and Joe didn’t get the memo.

100% Background Checks: Constitutional and Vital

I’m neither a linguist nor a constitutional scholar, but I have this to offer:

United States Constitution Article 1, Section 2:

The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

“the People” here refers not to every person, nor every citizen. It doesn’t even refer to every White man. In the early days, only White, male property owners could vote. This single fact proves that the Framers of the Constitution allowed exceptions when they used the phrase, “the People”.

I get angry at anyone who sarcastically asks what I “can’t understand”. If those ignoramuses would take their heads out of the darkness they might realize that the Framers did not write the Constitution for children and the words therein don’t necessarily mean what a second grader might understand them to mean.

Thankfully, we corrected Framers’ errors (they were mortals, after all), by issuing amendments declaring men and women of all races and economics statuses full rights under the Constitution. But that doesn’t change the fact that “the People” was a term that included the possibility of exceptions. In fact, our entire criminal justice system depends on the possibility of exceptions.

Exceptions to the People who’s right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed would include Robert Wigg, who murdered his wife Deborah with a 9mm which the state of Virginia, thanks to the strong gun lobby here, allowed him to keep despite the restraining order resulting from the first time he tried to kill her. The Framers would not have objected to such an exception.

Furthermore, the Founding Fathers would not object to the government knowing where the guns are. The armed citizenry was their volunteer army, and our early leaders conducted counts of firearm ownership at various times throughout history.

There is neither a valid constitutional argument against background checks nor a public safety argument. I am loosing tolerance for the idiotic reasoning that criminals will get firearms anyway. The logical conclusion, (for those capable of drawing such conclusions), would be that no law should ever be made because criminals will disobey it. To give credit where it’s due, there is a difference between that argument as applied to background checks and the same argument as applied to disarmament, such as the D.C. gun law overturned by Heller. Regional disarmament and background checks both impede access to firearms, but disarmament affects the law abiding more greatly than criminals, while background checks does the opposite.

Remember the word’s of the NRA’s Wayne LaPeire, before he proved himself a psychopath and a liar by saying the opposite a few years later:

We think it’s reasonable to provide mandatory instant background checks for every sale at every gun show. No loopholes anywhere, for anyone,”.

Anyone who still holds loyalty to that double-speaking draft dodging monster should be ashamed. It’s one thing to change your mind – in fact the biggest failing of extremists is the inability to change their minds even when proven wrong – but it’s another thing to change your mind and whip up murderous hatred against people who still believe the words you used to say. Wayne LaPierre has no values other than a willingness to say what he’s paid to say by people who profit from violent fantasies and paranoia.

The only people against 100% background checks are gun sellers worried about loosing sales and the Orcs who they’ve whipped into a frenzy with paranoid delusions about national disarmament and uninformed interpretations the Constitution. If you’re one of those Orcs, you’re essentially supporting murder for profit and doing no good whatsoever for the Constitution or for the People of the United States of America.

Update, Mar 24 I’m not changing the text above but I should have avoided words like “idiotic” (as I usually do). Here’s a post proving you can disagree without being an idiot.

Universal Backround Checks

Various surveys indicate that at least 80% of Americans support universal background checks for gun sales. Many surveys, including the Quinnipiac University survey cited by the Obama administration, show support above 90%.

There are plenty of issues about the latest push to reduce gun violence on which the population is divided. Background checks is not one those issues. The only division is in Congress, between those members who represent their constituency and those who represent other interests.

Obstructing this legislation impairs the credibility of other arguments. Congress should pass legislation for background checks, and then move on to debate issues which are actually debatable.

Guns, Politics, and Friends

A friend, who is a gun advocate, shared on Facebook a photo from Uber-American. So I looked at Uber’s page. What I found was a lot of irrelevant and unworkable solutions, and a lot of Obama-bashing.

(abbreviated): Which sign will prevent another tragedy?:  No Guns Allowed or Staff Heavily Armed and Trained

Another friend ‘liked’ a picture suggesting that people like I are a “special kind of stupid” for thinking criminals will obey gun control laws.

You actually think criminals will obey gun control laws?  You're a special kind of stupid, aren't you?

These are my friends.

No, I don’t think criminals will obey gun control laws. It would be especially stupid to think that I do, and I know my friend, despite liking the offensive comment, doesn’t really believe that.

What I do believe is that some of our mass murdering lunatics would have preferred fully automatic weapons but used assault rifles because they couldn’t get their hands on automatics. In most cases you can actually kill more people with a semiautomatic, but the thrill of pulling the trigger and spraying a room with bullets must be something that a suicidal lunatic who plays too many video games dreams about. And in some cases an automatic weapon is better so why not have a weapon that gives you a choice? The answer is banning certain weapons works. And don’t bullshit me with examples of illegal drugs or prohibition. People like their guns but not with the force of chemical addiction, and rifles are harder to manufacture and distribute in little packages.

Maybe you disagree with some of my reasoning. Hell, maybe I’m wrong. But let’s at least agree that calls for banning assault rifles aren’t based on expectations of murderers obeying the law.

“Special kind of stupid” applies to some of the nonsense on Uber-American’s Facebook page, especially the post about Obama’s tears being fake because he wiped the outside corner of his eyes instead of the inside. I’m not saying that Uber is stupid and not everything on his page is stupid. But a lot of it is. One popular stupid comment is

Why don’t we just replace teachers with former military and arm them.

One Answer: because there aren’t enough ex-military members who want to be, or are qualified to be teachers. Many are very qualified, and we already have an active troops-to-teachers program. The program makes sense because military personnel are among the few people who can look at what a teacher gets for his or her sacrifice and think it’s a good deal. But troops to teachers can’t replace all teachers and if we start requiring teachers to be handy with guns then we’re going to loose a lot of good nose-wipers and people who can explain how the Pythagorean theorem applies to lengths of arcs.

We can have intelligent conversations about gun control and gun rights, but we each have to be willing to acknowledge some of the points made by our opponents and stop knee-jerking with idiotic responses and thinking the other side is stupid because they didn’t think of our own idiotic zingers first.

The right-wingers who aren’t railing against existing automatic weapons bans and the left-wingers who generally support gun ownership can have intelligent conversations about the definition of “assault rifle” and what the founding fathers meant by “arms”. But too many of us think we’re only dealing with extremists and idiots on the other side because we’re not willing to tread in uncomfortable territory and hear what the other side is actually saying. Instead we just listen to our favorite pundits and slam artists calling our friends “special kind of stupid” because of things they never even said. And the result is tragic.