Thoughts from the Sage...The purpose of “Thoughts from the Sage” will come into focus if you view it as a political and cultural spotting scope, scanning the Wyoming landscape for those unique thoughts, developments and perspectives that support or threaten our way of life and our values, particularly those relating to the 2nd Amendment and, by extension, the nature of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I hope you find it to be insightful, informative and thought-provoking. Welcome to the conversation...
THE DEMS HAVE ABANDONED ANY PRETENSE OF CONSTITUTIONALITY IN THEIR ATTACKS AGAINST THE SECOND AMENDMENT. NOW, IT'S ALL ABOUT CRASS VIRTUE-SIGNALING AND CONFIRMING THEIR "WOKE" BONA FIDES. The ordinance won't withstand constitutional scrutiny:
So the ordinance violates the First Amendment just because of its disclosure requirement alone. And it also invites First Amendment discrimination lawsuits by individual contractors who are denied contracts after they disclose that they deal with the NRA, just as an employer's asking applicants to disclose their religion would invite religious discrimination lawsuits by applicants who aren't hired (and even in the absence of specific regulations barring such question).
Naturally, the same would be true if a city asked companies whether they do business with or sponsor the NAACP, the ACLU, or any other group because of the group's political advocacy. But note that this principle applies only when the disfavored groups are selected because of what they say or what laws they support; the analysis would be different if an ordinance focuses on nonspeech actions. Asking companies where they have any contracts for building a border wall, for instance, would not violate the First Amendment, because such building isn't protected by the First Amendment. (Some such queries might in some situations violate other rules, such as those related to federal preemption, but that's a separate matter.)
Bad policies make bad laws, and THIS GUN BILL [LINK] proves the point. In an effort to stem the non-existent problem of mass killings attributable to the private sales of firearms, the Left has proposed a bill that would have no deterrent effect on criminals but would ensnare a broad swath of otherwise-innocent citizens as unintentional felons.
"The bill is H.R. 8, the “bipartisan” Background Checks Act of 2019. As introduced, the legislation would mandate background checks even when a gun is temporarily transferred from one person or entity to another.
This would cover transfers of firearms with historical significance to a museum for public display, a suicidal person who asks a friend to take his guns, or an injured car accident victim who alerts an emergency responder that there is a gun in his vehicle and asks the responder to keep the gun from falling into the wrong hands when the vehicle is towed."
As you ponder the absurd consequences of the bill, keep in mind that its underlying purpose has little to do with stopping criminal activity and everything to do with furthering the broad political agenda of the Left: bigger and more invasive government, undermining traditional American culture, disarming the citizenry, and placating the Dem's emerging socialist base.
I wish the sponsor of THIS GEORGIA BILL EXEMPTING THE TAX ON FEMININE HYGIENE PRODUCTS OUT OF FAIRNESS TO WOMEN and the BROWN UNIVERSITY ADMINISTRATOR WHO DECIDED FEMININE HYGIENE PRODUCTS SHOULD BE STOCKED IN THE MEN'S RESTROOMS would get together and decide whether or not both men and women need such products. The answer was self-evident from the beginning of human history until last year, but it now appears that the Left is suddenly divided on the issue. I have no problem exempting those items from taxation (the fewer taxes, the better), but if the reason for doing so is to remove an inequitable burden on women, what do you tell the "men" at Brown who use them as well?
At some point, the edgy concept of intersectionality will, by necessity, collapse under its own weight because, if our woke thought-police continue to slice society into an infinite number of distinct victim groups, eventually everyone becomes both a victim and a perpetrator. This emerging reality is exemplified by the recent REACTION TO MARTINA NAVRATILOVA'S OPPOSITION TO TRANSGENDER ATHLETES. Remarkably, Navratilova, a legendary tennis star and pioneer of women's rights and gay rights, is now cast as an oppressor in the emerging turf war within the LGBT community. When victimhood becomes power, the race becomes one to the bottom, and everyone loses.
"The Beretta M9s that stood guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns for more than 11,000 days were relieved of their duties on Oct. 11 during a special ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. SIG Sauer officially presented a set of finely crafted M17 Tomb of the Unknown Pistols to the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment—“The Old Guard.” The fit, finish and honor built into their design makes them a befitting heir at one of our nation’s most-solemn sites."
I've spent decades trying to understand the overarching paradigm that guides and informs the Leftists' policies, seeking that philosophical key that would reveal to me the source of their enlightenment. Alas, I found no such key (or enlightenment), but the theory of MAGICAL THINKING may be the closest we'll ever come to a cogent answer regarding the underpinnings of their agenda. While humorous on its surface, it actually has as much explanatory power as most of the high-brow theories proffered by the pundits.
If there had been any remaining doubt, it's now abundantly clear that the issue of guns is not one being honestly contested in the hopes of reasonable political compromise between the Right and the Left or achievement of the venerated but undefined "common sense gun control". The Left is undertaking an all-out, unbounded assault on those who support the Second Amendment, using McCarthy-like tactics to shame and diminish, including BLACKLISTING FROM PUBLIC PROJECTS CONTRACTORS WITH NRA TIES. Can you imagine the apoplexy we'd see from the Dems if a state or city created a similar list of contractors with ties to Every Town For Gun Safety or some other anti-gun group? The ordinance is likely unenforceable on First Amendment grounds, but whether it stands or not, rest assured that this isn't the last we'll see of this sort of end-run around the courts, Congress and the prevailing will of the people.
Good for them. SHERIFFS IN NEW MEXICO STAND AGAINST PROPOSED GUN LAW. And they acknowledge that they'd be violating their oath to defend the Constitution by enforcing them. "Safe storage" laws are the simplest example of gun laws that will alter the conduct of only the law-abiding.
SOUTH DAKOTA GOVERNOR SIGNS LAW TO ALLOW CONCEALED HANDGUNS WITHOUT A PERMIT. The issue of concealed carry gets a lot more attention than it deserves, but good for South Dakota. Better late than never.
OTHER WEAPONS USED IN CRIME MORE THAN GUNS. Of all the false, deceptive and intentionally-confusing phrases and concepts proffered by the Dems to distort the truth and hijack political conversation, none is more disingenuous - or effective - than the oft-deployed tribe of "gun violence." That phrase, along with its rhetorical sibling "common sense gun control", is used not to inform or guide any honest policy debate, but rather, to distort and obfuscate what is a simple and uncomplicated issue. Guns - like cars, hammers, ladders, alcohol, fighter jets and nuclear power plants - are inanimate objects. They have no moral bearing and no inherent capacity for good or evil, construction or destruction, violence or peace. They are objects, tools, that can be used for the the good - and the bad - of society, depending entirely upon the user. The term "gun violence", however, is used to craftily personify guns and thus gives them agency. And, as agents of violence, they warrant judgment, restraint and punishment. The overwhelming majority of gun owners are good, decent people, however, and that decency presents a real problem for the Left. That is, how do you justify broad, categorical restrictions on people when only a minute fraction of them are bad actors? You don't. Instead of implicating the people, or more accurately the actions of those people, you simply blame their tools, as if the tools were autonomous. In that way, the Dems create a scapegoat, a non-human proxy on which to cast political blame without restraint.
Not surprisingly, that tortured, scapegoat logic is not applied to objects other than guns. Consider other common objects in our society that are used by people to perpetrate violence on a scale similar to or exceeding that of guns. Cars and alcohol are the easy examples. Using round figures, approximately 35,000 people are killed and 2.5 million people are injured each year in the United States as a result of vehicles crashes. Alcohol is a cause in 60% of the 400,000+ instances of domestic violence each year (guns, by contrast, were used in only 2% of such cases). Alcohol is also a contributing factor in a significant percentage of robberies, assaults, murders and rapes. Cars and alcohol are exponentially more likely than guns to cause violence. If stemming violence was truly the goal of the Left, the voices condemning "vehicle violence" and "alcohol violence" would be deafening. Yet, when violence is related to anything other than guns, the narratives are invariably focused on the perpetrators: the wife-beaters, the drunk drivers, etc. If you think back to the tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia where a white supremacist rammed his car into a group of liberal protesters and killed one person, the subsequent adjudication from the talking heads on the Left (and the Right) focused exclusively on the perpetrator, not the vehicle. Blaming the driver was entirely appropriate. And the response from the government - criminal charges against the individual - was similarly appropriate. To no one's surprise, the incident spurred no political outcry to impose "common sense vehicle control" (maybe crowd-triggered shutoff switches, or a ban on vehicles without padded bumpers?). That such restrictions should strike us as ludicrous is informative. Why would a rational society force an entire nation, an entire industry, and an entire category of products to be restricted simply to account for the statistically-aberrant behavior of the irresponsible few? The answer is that a rational society wouldn't.
The Left recognizes that, while all of these other objects that occasionally are used for violence, they have countervailing benefits and that any misuse resulting in violence against others is a function of the individual using them, not the innate nature or characteristics of the item. Guns are no different. They offer "good" to society through hunting, self-defense, defense of others, fighting wars, policing, etc. They also serve society by acting as a civilian counterweight to the threat of unconstitutional and tyrannical actions by the government. It is that last attribute that is hated by the Left and is the genesis of their unscrupulous arguments against guns, including their insistence on the term "gun violence". Individual liberty - which is the greatest threat to an all-powerful government (which, by the way, is a tyrannical government) - is inextricably intertwined with the right to defend oneself against the usurpation of that liberty. So, rather than attack liberty or the people who support it (which is bad political strategy), the Dems vilify the tool of that liberty, guns, and thus seek to contaminate morally those who would choose to use them.
Unfortunately, most political debates these days seem to be won or lost not on the merits of the arguments, but rather on the acceptance or rejection of the false premises which frame the issue. If society accepts "gun violence" as a meaningful and valid description of the problem, the argument has already been lost as to the range of acceptable solutions. Words matter.
While the Supreme Court's decision to hear a pivotal gun-rights case was a popular topic of conversation at this week's Shot Show in Las Vegas, the most significant takeaway was the overwhelming number of exhibitors offering the type of firearms that keep the gun-grabbers up at night. The display of NFA-compliant, AR-styled "pistols" (calibered from .22 to .308), high-capacity tactical shotguns, and .50 caliber sniper rifles was remarkable. If the Dems' criterion for banning guns is, in essence, whether or not a gun is "scary looking" (which seems to be pretty much the case), the Shot Show was a veritable fright fest. The most amazing statistic, however, is that 67,000 (yes, 67,000) people attended the Shot Show and - despite the presence of tens of thousands of firearms and the absence of any security-screening for backpacks or weapons - there was not a single incident of "gun violence". All of the guns behaved themselves admirably.
IF WE DIDN'T HAVE TOXIC MASCULINITY, I GUESS WE'D HAVE NO MASCULINITY AT ALL (link). Most disturbing about this article (and VIDEO) is not its third-wave-feminist disdain for men but, rather, the students' willingness to condemn something - in this instance, the nature of an entire gender - based on a politically-contrived buzzword that they clearly don't understand. The result is opinions and worldviews devoid of substance, merit or nuance. And, this anti-intellectual display is not coming from a group of Trump's "low-information voters', but rather, from students at one of America's most exclusive universities located, coincidentally, in the nation's capital. You'll find the same sort of mindless sycophancy arising out of similarly-vacuous but powerful political terms, such as "common sense gun control", "fair share of taxes", "social justice", "climate change", "environmental responsibility", "offensive", "hate speech" and the ever-growing list of "-isms", including of course, "sexism" and "racism". Like "toxic masculinity", these terms are - by design - too amorphous to either attack or defend logically. In the Dems' playbook, that's not a bug; it's a feature, as the undefined and ethereal nature of these terms is entirely consistent with, and necessary to, their end-game of affecting emotions and feelings rather than substance.
NEW OREGON BILL WOULD LIMIT MAGAZINE CAPACITY TO 5 ROUNDS AND LIMIT AMMO PURCHASES TO 20 ROUNDS PER MONTH. It almost certainly won't pass, but don't think for a minute that this bill isn't the gold standard for Anti's everywhere. In their lust for control, banning bump-stocks and AR's is just foreplay. In sum, the Oregon proposal:
"Requires person to secure permit before purchasing or otherwise receiving firearm. Specifies qualifications for permit and manner of applying for permit. Creates procedures for appealing denial of permit. Punishes receipt of firearm without valid permit by maximum of 364 days’ imprisonment, $6,250 fine, or both. Requires person who owns or possesses firearm to secure firearm with trigger or cable lock or in locked container. Punishes failure to secure firearm by maximum of 30 days’ imprisonment, $1,250 fine, or both. Requires person who owns or possesses firearm to report to law enforcement agency loss or theft of firearm within 24 hours. Punishes failure to report loss or theft by maximum of 30 days’ imprisonment, $1,250 fine, or both. Prohibits possession of magazine with capacity to hold more than five rounds of ammunition. Provides that person in possession of such magazine must sell or otherwise dispose of magazine within 180 days of effective date of Act. Punishes unlawful possession of magazine capable of holding more than five rounds by maximum of 364 days’ imprisonment, $6,250 fine, or both. Requires criminal background check before transfer of ammunition. Restricts ammunition receipt to 20 rounds within 30-day period. Prohibits transfer of firearm by gun dealer or private party until latter of 14 days or Department of State Police has determined that recipient is qualified to receive firearm."
We can only hope so. There is no doubt that the federal bureaucracy - including the workforce - is both bloated and, as an institution, working at odds with any effort to reign in governmental power (or even slow down the seemingly exponential growth of same). No one but Trump would even consider USING THE FEDERAL "SHUTDOWN" AS A TROJAN HORSE TO RIGHT-SIZE THE BUREAUCRACY, but even by Trumpian standards that would be an incredibly ballsy move.
If only this were satire....... PITTSBURGH CITY COUNCIL SEEKS BAN ON AR-15S, BB GUNS, STARTER PISTOLS .
"The ban also references 'facsimile firearms,' which the City Council describes as 'any toy, antique, starter pistol, or other object that bears a reasonable resemblance to an operable firearm, or any object that impels a projectile by means of a spinning action, compression, or CO2 cartridge.'"
The proposal speaks for itself - and for the Council members who thought it was a good idea (so, no need to pile on) - but I can't help but wonder about the range of devices that may fall within the gambit of an "object that impels a projectile by means of a spinning motion". Just ponder that idea for a minute. Absolutely amazing. If you ever question whether you are too skeptical or cynical about the nature and capacity of Regressive politicians - don't.
Dems' worst fear? You better believe it. YOUNGEST BLACK LEGISLATOR IN AMERICA WON ON A PLATFORM OF "GOD, GUNS AND BABIES". Today's acerbic political environment is described by the liberal elite as largely a function of racism. Nothing undermines that false narrative more quickly or completely than Trump 'deplorables' falling in line to support a young black man in the heart of rural America.
High-end, custom firearms is not the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Ruger. I've bought Rugers over the years based on value and unsurpassed practicality, but I bet their custom shop is a success. Hope so. RUGER JOINS HIGH-END PISTOL MARKET WITH KOENIG 1911.
JACKSON HUNTER SEEKS MORE REGULATION IN EFFORT TO PROMOTE FAIR CHASE AND ETHICAL KILLS. I wonder it it's ever dawned on him that "fair chase" (i.e., giving the animal a sporting chance) and "ethical harvests" (i.e., quick, clean kills) are, at some point, internally-inconsistent objectives. When it comes to advocacy, sometimes staying on the sideline is the best way to help.
Regressives try to resurrect Clinton's AR ban (which will fail.....for now), but the more important issue is John Cornyn's bill that would require all states to honor concealed-carry permits of other states. DEMS INTRODUCE GUN-BAN BILL AS GOP SEEKS TO EXPAND GUN-CARRY PROTECTIONS.
With Heller firmly in place and the Dems' hopes of recasting the Supreme Court quickly fading, mounting pressure - social and political - is being applied to choke out the firearms industry. These maneuvers to subvert the Second Amendment may be constitutional (in the same way that a newspaper is not violating the First Amendment by declining to publish certain content) and, as such, may pose a more existential threat to the right to keep and bear arms than do the more notorious assaults through legislation and regulation.
All virtue-signalling, no substance. But, again, that seems to be a recurring theme on the Left. MAN SELLS SCRAP TO STATE TO RAISE MONEY FOR GUN PURCHASE.
If you want to make an enduring difference in our political landscape, work to MAKE LIBERTY POLITICALLY PROFITABLE for all candidates.
"As Milton Friedman put it, the way we change things is not by electing the right people. It’s good to elect the right people, but that’s not the way we change things. No, the way we change things is by creating a climate of opinion such that it becomes politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right things. That means that you need to worry less about the candidates running and more about convincing the electorate of the principles and values you want to further."
OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE: NO RIGHTS, JUST RULES. Uniformed law enforcement officer told to leave restaurant because “There was another customer who was ‘scared for her life’… because ‘police are shooting people.’” Unfortunately, hysteria has become the most consistent criterion for decision-making on the Left.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS. If you think the Dems’ goal is a return to the political center post-Trump, think again. They are hurtling left and embracing a radical dismemberment of U.S. (and traditional Western) values. While discomforting to watch, it bodes well for 2020. More of these soundbites, please. Trump’s next series of campaign ads are writing themselves.
DONALD TRUMP IS COMPLETELY TRANSFORMING THE DEMOCRATS. Just think of him as political chemotherapy, and the reactions from both sides suddenly to make sense.
FIREARMS-RELATED ACCIDENT DEATHS PLUNGE MORE THAN 40% SINCE 1999 – MEDIA FAILS TO REPORT TRUTH. Yes, too many people are killed or injured by guns each year. But the same is true of cars (40,100 U.S. deaths per year), ladders (300+ deaths and 500,000 injuries in the U.S. each year), and French fries (300,000 U.S. deaths per year due to obesity). So, why do guns – the only constitutionally-protected item – induce such hysteria and vilification? Well…… Regressives have a basic, working understanding of cars. French fries don’t restrain tyrants. And the NRA hasn’t yet endorsed ladder ownership.
TRUE: Those who are mentally unstable and pose an imminent threat shouldn’t have guns. ALSO TRUE: Existing “red flag” laws have already proved ineffective, and you’re a fool if you don’t believe that, in deciding how these laws should be enforced, our Betters on the left start with the baseline supposition that gun owners are categorically unstable and threatening. America’s Red Flag Warning: Understanding the Developing Narrative
As Regressives seek to undermine liberty in the political sphere, they unwittingly cannibalize their own illiberal insurgence into politicized Christianity:
"Practitioners of the progressive dogma of “intersectionality”, notes atheist philosopher James Lindsay, resemble the old
churchmen in anathematizing those who disagree with their dogma. These practitioners, he suggests, “tend to focus on moral
purity for the in-group. They tend to demonize the out-group. They especially demonize heretics or blasphemers or anyone who goes
too far outside that dogmatic structure of belief and threatens it. Those people are often excommunicated.”
I guess the religion of tolerance goes only so far…..
Interesting D.C. case, supported by amicus brief from noted 2A scholars, seeks Supreme Court review to clarify that “interest-balancing” is not the proper test for judicial review of Second Amendment cases under Heller:
"Some major lower court cases have used the Two-Part Test to treat the Second Amendment as a second-class right. They defy Heller by using a rational basis test for laws against law-abiding firearms owners and gun stores. They allow the government to prevail on thin or conclusory evidence. They apply a feeble version of heightened scrutiny that does not consider less burdensome alternatives."
If SCOTUS grants certiorari, the case would likely be heard in the fall of this year.
COMMON SENSE ISN’T COMMON ENOUGH. For those of us who live, hike or hunt in heavily-timbered areas of Wyoming, it is self-evident that the immense volume of latent fuel clogging the forests is a driving force behind the recent ferocity of wildfires in our state and throughout the West. The good news is that President Trump signed an executive order late last year increasing the permitted annual volume of timbering to 3.8 billion board-feet on U.S. Forest Service lands and 600 million board-feet on Bureau of Land Management lands. The bad news is that those harvest targets (while a significant increase from 2017 levels) represent only 25% or so of the 1974 harvest.
“Guns would have served as a vital pillar to remaining a free people, or at least able to put up a fight,” Javier Vanegas, 28, a
Venezuelan teacher of English now exiled in Ecuador, told Fox News. 'The government security forces, at the beginning of this debacle, knew they had no real opposition to their force. Once things were this bad, it was a clear declaration of war against an unarmed population.'"
For many today, the word “liberty” conjures images of outdated white guys in the American colonies standing up against a since-diminished empire in protest of long-forgotten political issues, none of which has any practical bearing on the realities of our “progressive”, modern society. Last month was the 145th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. Lest we fail to learn the lessons of history, that rebellion was not about tea or taxes, at least not at its core; it was about individual liberty and the never-ending struggle to define the proper role of government and the conviction to keep it in its proper place. The Boston Tea Party and the war that followed represented a bipartisan mandate against the unyielding expansion of tyrannical government. Left or right, Democrat or Republican, we would all be wise to remember that government cannot create liberty; it can only take it away.
), but the vast majority of people on the right earnestly want to stop viewing people through a racial lens. In fact, we’re sick and tired of not being allowed to do so. The Regressives, however, are hell-bent to make sure that never happens. Sad, but when viewed in context of the socialism-is-good-movement, certainly not surprising or likely to change any time soon. (Suggestion: if you want quick litmus test to evaluate any political issue or controversy, ask yourself whether it favors individuals and individual rights or, conversely, groups and group rights (which, in truth, don’t exist). Most of our current disputes ultimately boil down to that basic ideological distinction.)
All-women’s college begins accepting transgendered women.That development is neither surprising nor, as a practical matter, troubling, but I continue to be amazed that supposedly liberated, strong, and intelligent women insist that womanhood is now defined (primarily, if not exclusively) by one’s capitulation to the shallow, female/feminine stereotypes that, until just a few years ago, feminists were valiantlyfighting to debunk.
Gun Owners Are Being Othered, And We’re Letting It Happen. The public’s perception of guns and gun ownership is up to us. Make a statement - not a scene – in how you carry yourself (and your gun).
BUMP-STOCK RULE BUMPS UP AGAINST THE CONSTITUTION: Some of you own "bump-stocks" (and for those of you who don't, bump-stocks are plastic attachments to semi-auto rifles that utilize the recoil of a single gunshot to repeatedly "rebound" the trigger against the shooter's finger, resulting in rapid fire that mimics the fire of a machine gun).....
The anti-gun, social media bullies don’t run the world; they just think they do. Pro-gun platforms arise in the void left by Twitter and its mob brethren. Firearm-Friendly Alternatives to Anti-Gun Websites.