The Negative Impacts Of Positive Laws

When I took my concealed carry license course here in Dallas, my class was made up of 30-40 mostly well intentioned, attentive folks. Demographically, it ran the gamut from young adult males to elderly women, white, black, hispanic, you name it. Most of the class was interested in what the instructor had to say and seemed to grasp the fact that owning and carrying a gun is a right, not a privilege. Based on the questions they asked, they understood the ramifications of a private citizen carrying a gun and all the assorted baggage that entails.

However, there were two young men who were clearly ignorant of those ramifications. One of them I’ll never forget. He wasted more of the class’ time asking inane questions revolving around when he could shoot someone than I’d like to admit. How the instructor didn’t kick him out of class I’ll never know. I’ve hoped ever since that day that he either failed his shooting test or the instructor refused to grant him a license. One egregious example was in reference to being cut off on the highway while he was riding his motorcycle. He asked if that gave him the right to shoot at the driver of the car. The rest of the class looked around in shock at this idiot who clearly thought getting a CHL meant becoming James Bond on a crotch rocket.

In all populations, the great majority of the citizens will be law-abiding, conscientious human beings with an understanding of right and wrong. But in all populations, there will always be a vocal minority for whom an understanding of anything beyond the realm of their limited mental capacities will be impossible. This kid was one of those. He was a malcontent, hopped up on testosterone, who was looking for a reason to show how tough he was and hoping to do it legally based on a law that dictates what citizens CAN do instead of what they CANNOT do.

In many ways, that’s the crux of the problem. Laws should be restrictive in nature, created to limit the freedoms of people based on the effects contrary actions would have on other people. Laws shouldn’t define freedoms, only remove them. It should not be up to a jury of our peers to specifically say whether we can do something or not, only whether we have done something that violated the rights of another. Passing laws like this is a slippery slope because it creates a question of what is protected under the law.

Which brings us to the case of Trayvon Martin, a unarmed Miami, FL teenager who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman. Under normal circumstances, one would assume a crime has been committed. Unfortunately, these are not normal circumstances. At question is the Florida law that says citizens of the state may use deadly force to protect themselves or their property when they believe they are in grave danger. The law is called Stand Your Ground and says that even if it is prudent for you to escape, you still have the right to defend yourself.

The slippery slope is of course how much territory is covered by the umbrella of a self defense law. This law, surely written by lawmakers who assumed it would only be used in situations involving physical violence, is being used to shield Zimmerman even though it is becoming rapidly apparently that he chased the unarmed teen down and shot him.

The details can be read here but the short version is that Zimmerman was a volunteer community watch patrolman with a record of calling in almost everything. He saw Martin in the neighborhood and called in a suspicious person. Then, instead of letting police do the work, he followed Martin with a licensed 9MM handgun even though the police dispatcher said not to. We can take a little side trip here and note that Zimmerman was an aspiring police officer who once attended a citizen police academy. At the risk of doing some couch psychoanalysis, he seems like the kind of person much like the kid I encountered in my CHL class.

What happened next is up for debate but the evidence seems to point out that Zimmerman followed and/or chased Martin and shot him. Zimmerman claims self-defense. That claim sounds patently false. Given the fact that he had no police authority and was never in danger if he hadn’t gotten out of his car, his claim to self defense resides on the unsubstantiated fact that Martin attacked him. However, if I’m walking along at night and someone is following me, I’m going to protect myself. If anything, Martin was the one who should be protected by the law in Florida. Zimmerman’s self defense claim stands in direct opposition to the fact that had Zimmerman, the aspiring but not yet ordained police officer, stayed in his car until police arrived-the only sane thing a normal person would have done-Martin would still be alive today and none of this would have happened.

The fact that Florida has a law that tells citizens specifically what they can do has opened up a can of worms surely never intended by lawmakers. There is no reason to have a law on the books that says you don’t have to run even if it’s prudent to do so. Without this law, it’s clear that Zimmerman has committed some crime because it’s not prudent to chase down an unarmed black teenager just because you think he looks suspicious in the gated community you are patrolling. Only this law is preventing Zimmerman from being indicted and it seems like a travesty to any casual perusal of the known facts.

In our CHL course, we were taught that once a bullet leaves the gun, we are completely responsible for its path and results. Unfortunately, lawmakers in Florida have passed a law that may transfer the responsibility from the shooter to the victim in a case that it was clearly never intended to cover. Passing a law that says you may stand your ground and shoot someone even if escape is a viable alternative is an example of a law designed to dictate your freedoms instead of limiting them based on the effect they have on others. When the law is used to shield someone who went out of his way to put himself into a situation fraught with danger, we’ve gone too far. George Zimmerman should be arrested and prosecuted for murder. There is no other rational outcome. And yet, he may not be because of this law.

Trayvon Martin would not be dead if George Zimmerman had acted in a rational manner. Zimmerman, clearly an individual with will to power desires, went out of his way to inject himself into a situation where he could play policeman. Without the authority to do so, nothing should stand in the way of a criminal trial. It will be a travesty of the highest order if he is allowed to go free because Florida lawmakers passed a law that shields him contrary to untenable circumstances.

The World Is A Safer Place Today

The City of Dallas conducted a gun buyback and 147 hardened criminals turned in their guns. Hardened criminals like Gary Reed who exchanged his guns because he was tired of killing people “of his Christian faith.” His church had been asking him to do more so he turned his guns in. Though it looks to me like he really did it to get $150 worth of grocery cards that he could give away to strangers. Which is admirable. If he doesn’t need the guns, might as well get the taxpayers of Dallas to give him $150 he can donate.

Of course, the real reason for things this stupid is for self-serving politicians to make it seem like they are doing something.

Although many of the guns turned in were generations-old rifles and shotguns, a few of the guns more typically used in crimes — handguns, specifically — were among those collected.

“This shows that people will be behind a positive activity,” said Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway, who spearheaded the event at Reunion Arena. “Some of those guns are ones our officers are up against.”

Certainly, this was a positive activity but not the one Mr. Caraway thinks it was. Giving away money in exchange for items people don’t need is positive. Thinking a gun buyback is going to target the types of guns in the hands of people who use them for crime is dumb. None of the guns “are ones our officers are up against.” Images of guns marching down the street to attack officers notwithstanding, these may have been guns of a certain category that get used in crimes but they certainly weren’t turned in by people looking to commit crimes.

Of course, Caraway knows that and throws up the usual tripe about guns getting stolen and/or the terror of kids being around guns:

Caraway said that although the guns collected might not have been used in crimes, that wasn’t the point of the buyback. Some of the weapons could have been stolen later and used in crimes, he said. Others might have laid around homes, where children could have played with them.

“Some of these guns are very dangerous,” Caraway said. “It takes only one gun, one shot to destroy a family.”

All guns are dangerous when handled by idiots. So are knives and rat poison and cars. But we’d never do a car buyback.

All this in a time when cities are in financial trouble. The city of Dallas spent $7350 worth of taxpayer money on a misguided attempt to get some politicians name in the paper. Glad it wasn’t any of my money.

Definition Of Cache

Look, Plaxico Burress is a bloody idiot. Let’s get that out of the way right now. If you don’t know who he is, no worries, just know that he’s a football player who shot himself in the leg. Further proof of his below-average IQ is that he makes somewhere between a zillion and an assload of money and yet he didn’t pay his auto insurance premiums and thus had his policy canceled. Dumb, right?

OK, glad we got that out of the way. My problem is the idiotic media reporting of any incident that involves celebrities/athletes and guns. To wit, this ESPN story about Plax getting his house raided by the New Jersey police detailing the seizure of a “small cache of weapons and ammunition”. That sounds like he was hoarding guns getting ready for the apocalypse. Read a little farther into the story and you find out that they found 1 rifle, 1 pistol and ammunition that didn’t fit either weapon. Ahem. 2 guns and some ammo that don’t fit any guns in the house is not a cache. I have more guns than that in the spare bedroom, much less the house and I don’t have a cache. The media has to sensationalize anything related to celebrities/athletes and they make any story involving guns even worse.

Being stupid doesn’t relieve you of your 2nd Amendment rights. Of course, living in New Jersey does though that is pretty much voluntary. I find it hard to believe that owning unregistered guns even in New Jersey is illegal but then I suppose nothing should be surprising about New Jersey which has to be the armpit of America.

Let’s not forget that Sean Taylor was murdered last year in his home by thugs who knew where he lived and had broken in to steal from him. Professional athletes have good reason to be afraid for their safety. I have no problem with any of them carrying or owning guns. I just wish they weren’t represented so poorly by an idiot who shoots him self in the leg with his Glock and then gets his home searched 3 weeks later and still has guns around. Moron.

When You Shoot Your Children

You’re a nut case no how many times your disbelieving brother says you weren’t.  I guess it’s the shock of finding these things out but in never ceases to amaze me how people will go on record saying someone who just killed people was a good person.  Clearly, that’s not the case.

I’m guessing they’ll find someone who will say the same thing about the sicko who just killed 32 people at Virginia Tech.  And they’ll be wrong, too.  Of course, they’ll also find people who say guns are the problem.  Funny, VT was a gun-free zone until some nut job decided the rules only applied to people who followed them.  Events like this push me one step closer to getting my CCL.

Gov. Perry Signs No Retreat Law

Great news for Texas citizens.  Gov. Perry signed the law that allows Texas citizens to defend themselves without first trying to retreat in their homes, cars or jobs.  In theory, this law was already in place as no grand juries in Texas would ever choose to indict a homeowner who defended himself but it’s nice to see it in writing.

National Gun Database Has Troubles in Britain

Apparently, Great Britain is having trouble implementing their national gun database of all people who have a license in the country. Apparently, Tony Blair promised the parents of the children killed at the Dunblane massacre 10 years ago that a register would be put in place. Of course, if the offender had been registered, how would that have stopped him from flipping out and killing a bunch of children?

The only thing a register is good for is eventual government confiscation. It can do no more good than the registration of automobiles does when someone gets drunk and plows into a family of 15. Why the British don’t get this, I’ll never understand.

For other more local gun news, Jeff has his weekly check on the media bias regarding firearms and the 2nd Amendment up.