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Comment Re:We need gas control! (Score 4, Insightful) 1591

The shooter never used body armor. The media just doesn't know anything about guns and thought his load bearing vest was body armor. Besides the point, body armor isn't magical, you still feel the hits. It also only covers your chest, there are plenty of other places someone fighting back could hit you and debilitate you.

There's also a pattern to these shootings. Typically as soon as armed resistance shows up, be that the police or a citizen with a carry permit, the shooters either give up or commit suicide.

Finally, I'd rather take my chances with "untrained civilians" than with NYPD.

Comment Re:Imhotep (Score 1) 542

...people could volunteer to pull some blocks for a huge monument in exchange for a wage, this guy pretty much invented welfare.

You just described free (not as in beer) labor, not welfare. Welfare isn't a wage earned in exchange for some sort of work, its a dole handed out in exchange for nothing.

Comment Re:An Ode to Zune (Score 1) 262

I had a Zune HD for a while and really liked it. When I got a smartphone it became redundant and I sold it, but it was the nicest mp3 player I ever owned. I still use the Zune software today, I think its better than WMP or iTunes by far!

I, too, am sad Microsoft is abandoning the Zune platform, it was a great product.

Comment Re:How many Amendments are left ? (Score 1) 1009

You say you support the right to bear arms, yet you suggest that civilians do not need military style weapons. This betrays a misunderstanding of the purpose of the second amendment. Unfortunately this is entirely too common, its probably not even your fault and I'm glad you are asking this question. I hope that I can answer it adequately.

Let's start with the text of the second amendment shall we? It is:

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.

The amendment consists of two parts, the introduction which states the reasoning for the amendment and the actual right to be protected. "To keep and bear arms" is relatively straight forward, it means people have the right to own and carry weapons. Note that it doesn't say "The people shall have the right to keep and bear arms." That would imply the government is granting the right to the people. Rather it says "shall not be infringed," implying that the right to arms is a preexisting right that no government can legitimately take away.

That aside, typically people get hung up on the "well regulated militia" part. They argue that this means the army should have the right to arms, but not the people. The amendment clearly states that it is the people whom have the right to keep and bear arms though and the SCOTUS acknowledged this in DC vs Heller and again in Chicago vs McDonald. The second argument that is typically made is that the word "regulated" implies that the government has the right to restrict how people may exercise their second amendment right. However, there is two problems with this argument. The fist is that this statement takes place in the introduction of the amendment. The legal aspects of the second amendment can be completely understood by everything after the comma. "The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." That's all we need, but the framers decided to include the WHY not just the WHAT.

The second problem is that "regulated" doesn't mean the same thing today as it did in 1787 when the Constitution was adopted. In that time, "well regulated" in regards to a militia or a military unit would have meant "properly disciplined." It also helps to remember the context. The revolutionaries had just fought a war against a regular army, the most powerful army in the world at the time, with "untrained civilians." They had no idea what would happen with the new government they were creating, but they knew that most often governments used their armies against the people. Ensuring that the people were able to keep and train in the use of arms was another check on the power of the government. Consider Jefferson:

And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.

Which brings us to the conclusion of the matter. The purpose of the second amendment is not to protect the rights of hunters, target shooters, or the right to self-defense. It is to protect the people from the government. Consider Madison:

Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of.

So if the purpose of the second amendment is to defend the people from the government, and the government controls the military, then military arms are necessarily what the second amendment is referring to. Every person has a right to life, yes, but remember that governments have killed more of their own people in the 20th century than all wars in this century combined. Gun control almost always comes before genocide (see the Death by Gun Control chart)

All in all, any gun is dangerous, but remember that more people die in car accidents than from shootings every year. Should we ban cars? Or maybe just restrict everyone to compact cars so they can't do as much damage? Guns are tools, if someone hurts someone else with a tool they should be severely punished, but banning the tool takes the blame from bad people and places it on tools, which are neither good or bad.

I hope this at least partially answers your question and that you'll continue to search for answers on your own. Unfortunately the mainstream media has painted guns and gun owners in an incredibly dismal, and inaccurate, light. You won't find truth there. I'll give you one more resource, Penn and Teller's take on gun control (not academic I know but entertaining and gets some good points across!) and then I'll stop pontificating. Good luck and thanks for reading.

Comment Re:You really think we are safe from our own? (Score 1) 1009

And do I have to remind you of May 4, 1970, Kent State? Those weren't even highly trained elite forces. They were just National Guardsmen. And it wasn't just a handful of bullets fired; after a Sergeant opened fire with his .45, 29 of 77 guardsmen fired a total of 67 rounds, killing 4 and wounding 9.

So less than half fired about 2 shots out of confusion in the heat of the moment before stopping? And these were the Ohio National Guard, which is clearly less experienced in dealing with stressful situation than the US military, not to mention probably less trained? Kent state was tragic, but it wasn't as if the Guard went in with orders to shoot civilians. They were there to "keep the peace", heard a gunshot, and reacted as if they were under attack until they realized they were not.

Comment Re:Dying from lack of surprise... (Score 1) 765

"What no one seemed to notice... was the ever widening gap... between the government and the people. The dictatorship, and the whole process of its coming into being, was above all diverting. It provided an excuse not to think for people who did not want to think anyway... and kept us so busy with continuous changes and 'crises' and so fascinated, yes, fascinated, by the machinations of the 'national enemies,' without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, 'regretted,' that... one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head. Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow. But the one great shocking occasion... never comes. That's the difficulty."

- Milton Mayer (1908-1986) journalist and educator, writing about the Nazi takeover of Germany from the point of view of the average citizen, They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1938-45

It will never "get bad enough" for people to wake up. You can't wait for an external event to cause people to join you. You need to evangelize, you need to get out and spread your message. You need to be the one forcibly waking people up by shaking them out of their nice comfortable ignorance. Its hard work, its frustrating work, but its also the only way we'll ever "take our America back."

Comment Re:This device empowers criminals. (Score 1) 575

If you're getting frisked, we're no longer talking about "law abiding citizens".

So everyone who opts out of TSA body scanners is no longer a law abiding citizen?

I understand the point you are trying to make, but what you fail to recognize is that often times people are arrested without breaking any laws. Or breaking a law that is being violently abused by the police in order to have a reason to arrest a person. Reporters arrested for breaking wiretapping laws while trying to film OWS protests come to mind.

Yes, this is only a tool. However, tools affect the people who use them. Look at SWAT teams. They use military tools and tactics and they end up adopting a military mindset. Ruby Ridge, Waco, the Elián González incident, they didn't go in to arrest people so that they could stand trial, they went in with military force and military objectives to neutralize an enemy.

Comment Re:Here's a fix. (Score 1) 295

I wish I had the option of not flying, but my family is in Ohio and I moved to Texas after graduating college to take a job. I get 2 weeks of vacation a year and don't want to waste half of it driving back and forth between Ohio and Texas, so I fly. I opt out of the scanners and when they ask me why I'm very vocal about how I consider it a violation of my fourth amendment rights.

This is also one reason I'm a fan of Ron Paul. He's the only presidential candidate who's explicitly stated his desire to do away with TSA completely, at least as far as I'm aware. That, in and of itself, is worth a Paul presidency, in my opinion anyway.

Comment Re:How do you determine healthy food? (Score 1) 455

I know people on Food stamps (a large percentage of the U.S.population now, btw) -- and they can't AFFORD to eat healthy. There's a reason poor people are fat -- bad diet, because good food is too expensive.

I'm going to call BS on that claim. When I worked in a food store while going through college I saw people come in and buy basics with their wic food stamps and then buy energy drinks and other crap with their PA food stamp card. This wasn't a rare occurrence, it tended to happen several times every night I worked.

Perhaps that is a PA specific problem, but I doubt it. Human nature is such that if you are being given other people's money with no restrictions on how you spend it you'll make poor decisions. The wic food stamps I didn't have a problem with, they specified things like "2 jars peanut butter" or "2 loaves of bread" but those debit cards were abused like nothing else. In the case of these people, they could have used those cards to eat healthy, instead they bought energy drinks.

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