Gayle Trotter: A woman’s right to choose self-protection

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What should America do about gun violence? That was the Senate Judiciary Committee’s topic for its first hearing of 2013.

In my testimony during the hearing, I explained that the ability to arm oneself is even more important for women than it is for men, because guns level the playing field between women and the often physically stronger men who might attack them. We preserve meaningful protection for women by safeguarding our Second Amendment rights to lawful self-protection. I urged the senators to eschew self-defeating proposals that would fail to make Americans safer and would harm women most.

Women often use firearms to defend against violent attacks. For women, guns reverse the balance of power in a violent confrontation because more than 90 percent of violent crimes occur without a firearm, according to a federal study.

Concealed-carry laws help reverse that balance of power even before an attack. Criminals cannot tell which potential victims can defend themselves, and armed citizens can better defend against violence. These two effects indirectly benefit unarmed citizens and reduce crime rates.

My testimony included a detailed summary of 21 recent news accounts, each involving a woman using a firearm to protect herself and others against one or more violent men. These examples included a woman who defended herself against five burglars, a woman who thwarted an attempted shooting in a school, a woman who saved her child from a kidnapper and a woman who stopped a gunman in a movie theater.

Few of these news accounts ever gain national attention, despite their prevalence. Private citizens account for more than one-third of all instances where a violent criminal is killed during the commission of a felony, according to a recent federal study. Americans use firearms defensively 2.2 million to 2.5 million times a year, according to criminologist Gary Kleck, based on a sample in which women represented 46 percent of defensive gun use. Abundant research has found that reduced gun ownership results in increased criminal home invasions and lethality of attacks on law-abiding citizens.

During the Senate hearing, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, asked why a semiautomatic rifle such as an AR-15 has value as a weapon of self-defense. I responded that AR-15 rifles are “accurate, they have good handling, they are light, they are easy for women to hold” and, yes, I highlighted their “scary-looking” appearance. Days later, The New York Times cited similar benefits, calling the rifle “fast, modern, ergonomically designed, relatively easy to handle” and highlighting its appearance as “something commandos might carry.”

The Supreme Court held in 2008 that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to possess a firearm for self-defense and indicated that the right covers weapons “typically possessed by law-abiding citizens” — a standard the AR-15 satisfies, considering that Americans own an estimated 2.4 million to 3.3 million of them. Citizens need not use only “adequate” weapons to protect their families, despite the contrary suggestion of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.

Gun-rights opponents cite debatable or discredited studies claiming private gun ownership does more harm than good. For example, one study by Arthur Kellermann, of Emory University, asked homicide victims’ relatives if the deceased owned a gun in the home. The study gave the misleading impression that the homicide involved the same gun. In fact, of the 444 homicides studied in his 1993 paper, only eight deaths involved a gun kept in the home, and Kellerman himself reported that most of the deaths occurred without a firearm. Moreover, Kellermann counted a benefit from defensive gun use only where a criminal had been killed or injured, ignoring the fact that attackers are killed or injured in less than one percent of defensive gun use.

The medical literature on gun control betrays a similar ideological bias. Analyzing research by Kellermann and others, Edgar Suter, a physician, has documented faulty methodologies, false citations, fabricated data, “overt mendacity” and a “failure of peer review.”

Based on a Harvard study finding that physicians’ negligence kills annually three to five times as many Americans as guns, Suter noted the “sad irony” of medical politicians’ claim of a “public health emergency” from “guns, rather than medical negligence.”

Gun-control measures ignore evidence of civilian gun use and fail to reduce violent crime against women, according to Inge Larish’s detailed and scholarly feminist critique of gun control. She found that gun-control measures disproportionately harm women “by restricting or removing the most effective method of self-defense available.”

Those who care about women’s well-being should work to safeguard our right to keep and bear those types of firearms “typically possessed by law-abiding citizens” to protect ourselves and our families, because nearly all violent crimes occur without firearms, making guns the great equalizer for women defending against violent attacks.

Gayle Trotter is an attorney and writer. She will be the featured speaker at The Steamboat Institute’s 1773 Club meeting April 9.

Comments

Brian Kotowski 1 year, 9 months ago

I have a good friend (a very attractive woman) who lives alone & was recently burglarized. She has since acquired a German Shepard. I've pretty much convinced her to add a gun to the regimen. I'll be in her neck of the woods later this month, and we'll be taking her on a test drive of various options. She seems intrigued with the Taurus Judge. So am I - so we'll both be taking it for a spin. Should be fun.

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Steve Lewis 1 year, 9 months ago

Gayle,

You had an opportunity, in your citing of 21 recent news accounts of women using firearms for self-defense, to cite how many of them used assault weapons like the AR-15. That detail would be important given your AR-15 advocacy. No?

I was also struck by the anecdotal nature your poorly documented statements. "… according to a recent federal study", "Abundant research has found…". Why make a pro-gun claim and not give it's source? You create an outspoken, partisan impression.

You write, "Abundant research has found that reduced gun ownership results in increased criminal home invasions and lethality of attacks on law-abiding citizens."

But Gayle, I find, "In the “high gun states,” 21,148 individuals were homicide victims, compared with 7,266 in the “low gun states” (Table 3 ). For every age group of at least 5 years minimum age, people living in the high-gun states were more than 2.5 times more likely than those in the low-gun states to become homicide victims. These results were largely driven by higher rates of gun-related homicide, although rates of non–gun-related homicide were also somewhat higher in high-gun states. For all age groups, people living in high-gun states were 2.9 times more likely to die in a homicide; they were 4.2 times more likely to die in a gun-related homicide and 1.6 times more likely to die in a non–gun-related homicide."

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1447364/

What gives?

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Steve Lewis 1 year, 9 months ago

You quote a gun rights advocate, Dr. Suter, to debunk Dr. Kellerman. Suter probably makes some valid points. But it seems Suter may also grossly overstate and misrepresent.

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/1995/11/23/international-00024/

His rebutter writes:

"...check Suter’s Graph 16 “International Homicide Rates Comparisons” against the source he claims for this data (Wold Health Statistics 1989). You will discover that the homicide rates for many countries have been grossly overstated (for example, East Germany is given as 36.7 (over three times the US rate) instead of 0.7 (less than a tenth of the US rate). Other countries where Suter has greatly exaggerated the homicide rate include El Salvador, Mexico, Egypt, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Scotland."

Suter (writes):

“Crime and homicide rates are highest in jurisdictions,
such as Washington, DC, New York City, Chicago, and
California, where the most restrictive gun licensing,
registration, and prohibition schemes exist. Why are homicide
rates lowest in states with loose gun control (North Dakota
1.1, Maine 1.2, South Dakota 1.7, Idaho 1.8, Iowa 2.0,
Montana 2.6) and highest in states and the district with
draconian gun controls and bans (District of Columbia 80.6,
New York 14.2, California 12.7, Illinois 11.3, Maryland 
11.7)? Precisely where victims are unarmed and defenseless is
where predators are most bold.”

The rebuttal writes: "Well, for one thing Suter has… chosen 
to represent “states with loose gun control” by the six such states
 with the lowest homicide rates, and to represent states with 
restrictive gun control by a city and the four such states with the 
highest homicide rates. Why didn’t he choose Alaska 9.0, Tennessee
10.2, Georgia 11.4, Alabama 11.6, or Mississippi 13.5 to represent 
states with loose gun control and Rhode Island 3.9, Hawaii 3.8,
Minnesota 3.4, Utah 3.1, or Iowa 2.3 to represent restrictive gun
control states? His graph 18 
should be entitled “Misrepresentative State Homicide Rates”.”

We are the most violent country on the planet, with the highest gun related homicide rate. Many of the victims are our youth. Gayle, what have you learned, what can you offer, that will help change that?

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Matthew Stoddard 1 year, 9 months ago

A Beretta 9mm is lighter, easier to aim easier to fire, easier to clean, and can fire off more than 7 rounds (not 30) quickly before reloading and is easier to carry and handle. Why the AR-15 push?

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rhys jones 1 year, 9 months ago

If you're firing 75 yards in a defensive situation, you have a problem on your hands. I'd want something with a little more wallop than the .223 AR15, not to mention accuracy and durability. "Massive firepower" does one no good at that range; the M16 was designed for close-in fighting where quantity of lead in the air is often the deciding factor, and aiming becomes secondary. It is a poor long-range weapon at any rate, and not even legal to take big game in Colorado. Gimme a good .308, or even a '94. Y'all just drool over the AR15 because you think it looks cool.

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Matthew Stoddard 1 year, 9 months ago

Yep. I think defensive stops pretty short of 75 yards, let alone 75 feet, which is longer than any one whole side of my house.

And there are restrictions to what constitutes Free Speech, the 1st Amendment. Can't yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater, causing a panic, without repercussions. In fact, I bet people can name other of the Bill of Rights that have a restriction or two on them.

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Steve Lewis 1 year, 9 months ago

To my understanding, the 2nd amendment was originally adopted as insurance against king-like power being wielded again, particularly within the government of the union. The Bill of Rights were at their core an effort to redress a concern about wealth and special interests in the government.

Wikipedia has the following in it's Bill of Rights section: Madison acknowledged a major reason for some of the discontent with the Constitution as written:

"I believe that the great mass of the people who opposed [the Constitution], disliked it because it did not contain effectual provision against encroachments on particular rights, and those safeguards which they have been long accustomed to have interposed between them and the magistrate who exercised the sovereign power: nor ought we to consider them safe, while a great number of our fellow citizens think these securities necessary."

The 2nd Amendment: 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.

So Tom, you do have a valid point. It seems clear the second amendment, with armed people "being necessary to the security of a free State", is an intended hedge against further tyranny.

What I struggle to understand is how that interpretation makes sense to anyone today. There is huge passion about this, which I think precludes any rational consideration of how you will actually use your AR-15 in response to tyranny.

Charlie MacArther, board member of the Steamboat Institute, recently wrote these comments:

"One can have respect for the office of the President or Vice-President and still vehemently disagree with the direction of those who hold that office. The fact that 47% of Americans went about their day peacefully on November 7th is an incredible testament to that respect."

"As Americans, we all have the right and responsibility to take up arms and overthrow our government if we deem conditions require it. ... There is some cause for revolt but I am thankful for every year since 1865 that Americans have not exercised that right."

Charlie is glad the revolt has not yet happened. But he certainly seems to anticipate that it may be needed.

Could someone please explain to me how that would work? It strikes me, in this day and age within the world's greatest superpower, that it is literally and politically impossible to use guns to achieve any political end.

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Charlie MacArthur 1 year, 9 months ago

Steve,

Since you feel inclined to drag my name into another thread, I will respond. The U.S. Federal, State, and Local Government's use guns every single day to achieve a political end. If you doubt this fact, stop paying taxes in protest to whatever cause you don't support and see if the guys who come arrest you are carrying a weapon. They will start with a sternly worded letter, and end with a gun to your head. This is not a partisan issue, both sides use the threat and actuality of force to achieve whatever political ends they deem fit. It is neither literally or politically impossible to use guns to achieve a political end, you just usually have to get yourself elected first.

The reality is that the threat of citizen-led force, which is the precursor and retainer to a citizens power to vote, acts as the balance between citizens and their government. What you advocate is essentially censorship or revocation of the 2nd Amendment because it's enactment makes you uncomfortable. I do not share that problem. I would suggest that your position opens you up to rule by dictator and fiat, something I will not accept.

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Steve Lewis 1 year, 9 months ago

Charlie, Thanks for responding. I thought it appropriate to repeat your text below your gun rights speaker’s letter to our editor.

Assume for a moment that we both believe an armed revolt could stand. In my view that revolt creates, by far, my greatest chance of seeing my liberties replaced by a dictator or fiat.

I disagree that we are talking about theory, and not about the actual revolt. The conversations are one and the same. If there is no plausible description of how an armed revolt succeeds, then there is no theory armed revolt could succeed.

Again, using armed force to make political change is impossible, in my view. You have a poor understanding of the EPA’s and IRA’s restraints, but regardless, even there you are describing armed government, not armed citizens.

If no one is able to describe how civilian arms can accomplish political ends in this country, then it is time to interpret the 2nd amendment in terms of what it CAN do. I would agree with self-defense and hunting. In these regards, certainly we can interpret it in a way that better protects our kids.

It seems you may be frustrated with the election and with those other citizens. In my view, when both our state and our country are evenly split politically, we are not remotely close to tyranny. If, as you say, there are some causes for revolt, could you please list a couple?

Thanks for the conversation.

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 9 months ago

Charlie,

Your example confuses legal with political. Using guns to enforce the laws is different from using guns to alter the laws.

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Charlie MacArthur 1 year, 9 months ago

Scott, We'll have to agree to disagree there. When a department (like the EPA) which is largely political can act as the legislative, executive, and judicial branches all under one czar, than I consider that political will enforced by gun. Political and legal are inexplicably intertwined. Besides, I believe the conversation here is NOT about CHANGING laws at the point of a citizen-held gun, but of PROTECTING the 2nd Amendment right which allows such a thing to theoretically happen. A necessary right for balance between citizens and their government. Again, I have yet to advocate for anyone to actually fulfill this right, but for the need for it to remain intact.

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 9 months ago

Charlie,

The context of people taking up arms after losing an election is explicitly regarding using arms to affect the political.

As for the EPA, they do not have an internal armed police force. If anyone affected by EPA enforcement is looking at a gun it is because the EPA went to the Justice Dept and went to the courts.

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rhys jones 1 year, 9 months ago

I enclose the following link for the third time, for the benefit of those who may have missed the previous two. It documents how the original impetus for the 2nd Amendment was to suppress possible slave uprisings and monitor said slaves -- certainly not to oppose the government.

http://truth-out.org/news/item/13890-the-second-amendment-was-ratified-to-preserve-slavery

I'm trying hard to imagine the scenario where your AR15 would be most effective, in today's society... maybe if a gang of ten toughs is threatening in the front yard... and even then I'd rather have an 870 with 00 buck.

The M16 (military AR15) was only ever designed as a compromise weapon -- the smaller caliber, so soldiers could carry more rounds, since volume was, after all, the goal. Not accuracy, or power, or even reliability. For all of those, there are better choices. That gun is a JOKE. A toy.

Your AR15 would be most effective against a U.S. (or Chinese) platoon -- and good luck with that!!

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 9 months ago

Steve,

A few months ago, a historian with a good reputation for research wrote an article using letters to and from Madison and others to argue that the Second Amendment was primarily written to respond to concerns of slave states. The slave states were concerned that a federal government could decline to enforce slave laws or put down slave revolutions. So the slave states wanted a constitutional guarantee that their state and local militias would continue to exist. There was a stated concern that the Federal government could follow an anti-slavery policy by putting state militias under federal authority and thus stopping the enforcement of slave laws.

Note that the 2nd Amendment using the term "free State" since it was to allow a state and its residents to enforce it's laws even if the federal government opposes those state laws.

It was not expected that a militia would stand against the federal government. It simply makes no sense to form a federal government that allows armed groups to defy federal authority. That was the sort of chaos that led to the failure of the Articles of Confederation.

The US Constitution originally only guaranteed constitutional rights in regards to federal legislation. It was the 14th Amendment that changed the legal situation to what we are familiar with today that extends Constitutional protections to citizens against excesses of state and local governments.

There is ample evidence that the Founding Fathers expected future constitutional conventions to deal with governance issues. They would be shocked to learn that the Constitution remains unchanged except for a modest number of amendments.

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 9 months ago

As for open carry, laws, I love how history is ignored. Most states had open carry laws until the Black Panthers started holding protest meetings holding guns. So then many states, in particular conservative states, made sure to outlaw opening carrying guns.

If some young adults wanted to change the laws then get a group of 50 or 100 people young adults dressed as stereotypical hoodlums and carrying assault rifles to walk around Colorado Springs or Aspen or go to some town in Kansas. And then see who supports open carry laws.

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rhys jones 1 year, 9 months ago

Right. Like all the little farmers are gonna rise up and crush the Feds with their pea-shooters.

Sounds logical to me. Until they send a smart bomb down your chimney. POOF goes the fantasy.

At any rate, quite a stretch from the self-defense premise of this article. You folks should really settle on an agenda. Not that it matters. The powers that be have us by the short hairs, and there's nothing anybody can do about it. It's not a pretty picture, and you are not going to fix it for us.

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mark hartless 1 year, 9 months ago

"It's not a pretty picture, and you're not going to fix it for us."

I totally agree. If anything, they will probably make it a lot worse by shooting people.

This nations fate is all but sealed. And all the kings horses and all the patriots guns will not keep humpty dumpty together much longer.

The American people have squandered their inheritance, eaten their seed-corn, and shackled their posterity with insurmountable debt.

Planning to fix that problem with a gun is like planning to fix a computer with a jack-hammer.

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Steve Lewis 1 year, 9 months ago

Another study also directly contradicts Gayle's message: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20571454

Methods: A cross-sectional analysis of the World Health Organization Mortality Database analyzes homicides and suicides (both disaggregated as firearm related and non-firearm related) and unintentional and undetermined firearm deaths from 23 populous high-income countries that provided data to the World Health Organization for 2003.

Result: The US homicide rates were 6.9 times higher than rates in the other high-income countries, driven by firearm homicide rates that were 19.5 times higher. For 15-year olds to 24-year olds, firearm homicide rates in the United States were 42.7 times higher than in the other countries. For US males, firearm homicide rates were 22.0 times higher, and for US females, firearm homicide rates were 11.4 times higher. The US firearm suicide rates were 5.8 times higher than in the other countries, though overall suicide rates were 30% lower. The US unintentional firearm deaths were 5.2 times higher than in the other countries. Among these 23 countries, 80% of all firearm deaths occurred in the United States, 86% of women killed by firearms were US women, and 87% of all children aged 0 to 14 killed by firearms were US children.

Conclusions: The United States has far higher rates of firearm deaths-firearm homicides, firearm suicides, and unintentional firearm deaths compared with other high-income countries. The US overall suicide rate is not out of line with these countries, but the United States is an outlier in terms of our overall homicide rate.

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 9 months ago

Tom,

Facts cease to be facts if you don't like the source of the facts? It is factually true that a household with a gun is much more likely to experience gun violence.

Just say that guns are fun, make you feel better and so on. If pro gun just stuck to that them most people would have no problem accepting that because it doesn't mean that guns are claimed to be the solution. Overall, guns are way too popular to ever be outlawed.

It would seem that some people such as NRA's Wayne LaPierre do think the country can be fixed with guns. If you follow their logic then if everyone was carrying then there would be no gun violence. But it is clear from gangs whom are heavily armed that being armed just increases the need for an attacker to fire without warning and fire many shots. Being armed does not stop attackers, it just makes them increase the violence so that there is not returning fire.

In comparison, marijuana is used weekly by about 5% of the population. But they can get over 50% of the vote for legalization because most people don't see potheads as a serious threat. Virtually no one cares that you have guns on your property. That is not scary to the public. But it does scare the public that criminals and mentally ill can so easily purchase and own guns and they can own guns designed for military operations of being able to kill many people quickly.

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JC Williams 1 year, 9 months ago

Mr. Lewis,

"I can prove anything by statistics except the truth." George Canning

The study you quote does not take into account many variables that should be considered before accepting their conclusion as relevant.

The author of the article you are assailing is stating her conclusions based on common sense not statistics. But you like to use statistics as a sludge hammer to kill a mosquito.

I believe laws can and should be improved and enforced to make violent crime more costly to the criminal.

This week three people in Denver are in critical condition when after a confrontation at a bar a perpetrator came back and ran over them with his car in the parking lot. No gun involved.

Violent crime exists. It will always exist. The criminal and mentally unstable will always find a way to shock us with the next unthinkable act.

What really is at play here is the simple question of freedom.

The current side in power is attempting to use its beliefs to restrict the freedom of the other side all while trying to gain political capital on the back of a horrible tragic crime. Truly despicable. Believe me both political factions are guilty of this attempted power grab at one time or another.

Freedom is important.

Passing laws to prevent law-abiding citizens from having the same capability to protect themselves as employed by the police, secret service and private bodyguards protecting the elite (including Michael Moore) is elitism at its very worst. It’s ok for me but not you.

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Matthew Stoddard 1 year, 9 months ago

So where are the stats showing that owning an AR-15 or something with a 30+ round clip is more safe for the home than a pistol?

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Matthew Stoddard 1 year, 9 months ago

Tom, I'm an Army Brat and served in the Army as a tanker, myself. I know exactly which is easier and better suited to protect my family and home. I can get a pistol out & loaded quicker than any assault rifle and aim it better to avoid gunspray toward any innocents, especially if I would have young children in the home. 15 rounds is more than enough unless more than a squad is breaking in.

Otherwise, 2nd Amendment should cover my having an M-2 50cal. from my old Army tank, correct? Or maybe to cover just tossing a grenade at them. Don't even have to aim as much.

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Mike Isaac 1 year, 9 months ago

A womens right to choose her firearm should be her choice, not the gun control Nazi"s in Washington DC. And California"s crazy US senator Dianne Fienstien of San Francisco or the State Rep from Aurora, CO should not be taken seriously, these are fools that don't live in the real world. I often hear some of these people say " you don"t need a AR-15 for hunting, You don"t need a 30 round clip for target practice or a AK-47 for home defense. One's choice should never be based on a need or before you know it we will all be forced to drive tiny little economy cars, live in tiny 250 sq ft apartments, and forget about skiing, sled riding or playing golf, and a trip to Costa Rica would be a waste of time and your Carbon footprint would exceed your allotted amount for the year. the Nanny State will say that you do not need these activities to survive. And yes it can get worse than that. The Government could say you only need $1200 a month to survive and take the rest of your income because they need it more than you. Pro Choice should be just that. So pick up that AR 15 and pop in that 30 round clip and make that fools day that just kicked in your door. Or you can do it the Chicago way and dial 911 and hide under the bed and hope for the best. After all its your choice.

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Bob Smith 1 year, 9 months ago

Observation: some folks are actually possessed by magical thinking which suggests that they are contemporary "minutemen" who are going to fight "tyranny" and State power with their guns is both absurd and laughable.

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Bob Smith 1 year, 9 months ago

"At the UN, President Obama called on other countries to help us track down and eliminate radicals and extremists. But they told Obama, 'Hey, the tea party is your problem, buddy.'" –Jay Leno

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Steve Lewis 1 year, 9 months ago

Mike, You describe freedom well. Tom takes your post one step further with "Never give an inch". But neither of you describe the whole. The above statistics do matter! Even more so when they are women and children.

We have a larger issue than freedom. Do you hear that?

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Kevin Nerney 1 year, 9 months ago

You want statistics: here are a few old ones. People don't change and in the big picture neither do the weapons really. 1986 the Miami Shootout. FBI and a couple of bad guys. Lasts under 5 minutes. 145 rounds fired from various and sundry weapons only approx. 25 hits. 4 dead and one bad guy was shot 12 times. When I was on the PD in the big city back in the 80''s we only had 6 shot revolvers..The average gun battle lasted 4 1/2 seconds at a distance of 7 yards(21 feet). After the shooting they would run ballistic tests on the gun and ammo and invariable the same question would be asked of the Officer---"Why did you shot that guy 8 or 9 times". The answer of course was that's what it took to stop him from doing whatever it was that he was doing. The tests would show the hammer of the gun would strike the cartridge several times.. Now these are supposedly "trained" officers and agents and they can't hit the side of a barn or control their nerves in the heat of the moment what makes anyone think that a regular citizen who's house if being burglarized can utilize only a small amount of ammo effectively and if he needs more calmly reload. Not gonna happen. As Dana Carvey use to say impersonating Bush "Wouldn't be prudent". Give me as many rounds as I can lift

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mark hartless 1 year, 9 months ago

I think that Steve just hit upon the bedrock difference between statists and libertarians.

As a statist, he is to be pitied, for he does not understand that THERE IS NO LARGER ISSUE THAN FREEDOM.

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Dan Kuechenmeister 1 year, 9 months ago

  “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”

quote from George Santayana - results of "gun control" laws Russia 1929 - 1945 - 20 million killed Germany and occupied Europe 1933 - 1945 - 20 million killed Nationalist China 1927 - 1949 - 10 million killed Red China various periods 1949 - 1976 - 20 million killed source http://jpfo.org/filegen-a-m/deathgc.htm I am not saying this will happen in US so please don't any body go there. I am saying there is precedent to suggest it is a slippery slope once the government starts to attempt to take guns away from the good guys. I doubt the bad guys will turn in their 15+ round weapons in Colorado. speaking of Colorado here is a little of what is transpiring in our Colorado legislature http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2013/03/democrat-to-rape-victim-you-were-screwed-anyway.php

Less government is better

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 9 months ago

Well, guns are clearly insufficient to deter government nowadays. People fighting governments with just guns are easily defeated. To fight an oppressive government requires at least rocket propelled grenades. That sort of weapon threatens government vehicles and causes troubles for a modern military.

So forget worrying about assault rifles. The issue should be how we can get RPGs into the hands of Americans preserving freedom from the oppressive government. Imagine the EPA's surprise when investigating water pollutions complaints that they are all killed when their vehicle is blown up with a RPG! That would sure teach to government to impinge upon your freedom.

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 9 months ago

Well, I think that goes straight to state of mind.

There are people that believe there is a real potential for blockading American cities to turn them into giant concentration camps? There are people worried about foreign troops on US soil being used against the American people?

Seems to me that they left off protecting their right to wear aluminum foil hats.

Not that I disagree with the list, but the idea of having a list of crazy, mostly illegal, stuff that you will not do seems pretty silly.

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Matthew Stoddard 1 year, 9 months ago

Actually, Tom- it's "Are we not Men? We are DEVO."

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 9 months ago

Tom,

It will all look pretty silly when martial law is not declared.

So, I'm curious. Any projected dates for when martial law will be declared?

And what is illegal is, by definition, dependent upon the government remaining. If there is no government then there are no laws and nothing is illegal.

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Dan Kuechenmeister 1 year, 9 months ago

Hey Scott, Still waiting to hear from you, Steve, Ken et all on your feeling on current administration's use of drones. Maybe that is why you are OK with curtailing gun ownership. Drones will take care of the problem. Looks like Rand Paul has an opinion. thanks as always for your communications. Cheers, Dan

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 9 months ago

Drones overseas to kill people plotting to attack the USA or our soldiers in countries where there are no local police to arrest them? Sure, same as using cruise missiles or bombing from an airplane. Obviously, can only do it in countries that cannot claim to be able to arrest the person because it is a blatant violation of their territory.

The controversy about drones in the USA is because the administration gave a stupid lawyerish hypothetical answer instead of a simple real answer. Simple real answer is that drones could be used in the USA under the same situations that fighter jets could be used. If law enforcement has been wiped out and are unable to respond to someone in the process of carrying out a terrorist attack then that person could be attacked by a fighter jet or a drone.

The political fallout from using a drone or jet fighter to attack an US citizen would be extreme if there was any question that the police, FBI or national guard could have acted. I don't understand why it has been so hard to state that drones are allowed in the same situation which we could use fighter jets.

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Dan Kuechenmeister 1 year, 9 months ago

thanks for your clarification. It helps me get to understand better where you are coming from cheers, Dan

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 9 months ago

I think it does make sense to worry about drones being used in domestic surveillance. The newer drones have wide angle high resolution cameras so it is possible for a handful of drones to have complete video coverage of a large city. Run that video through recognition software and you can get a database of where everyone was at any time. And the database can be asked questions of whom did you meet at what times.

They claim that the video is not saved which lacks credibility since if there was a terrorist attack then at the very least they would want to be able to review the video for suspects.

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Bob Smith 1 year, 9 months ago

well boys, sounds like we've got ourselves a real live "prepper" here now!

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Bob Smith 1 year, 9 months ago

"The mother of Adam Lanza, the gunman who killed 20 children and six adults in one of America’s worst ever school massacres, was a “survivalist” preparing for economic and social collapse. According to reports, Nancy Lanza was a so-called 'prepper', a part of the survivalist movement which urges individuals to prepare for the breakdown of society by training with weapons and hoarding food and other supplies."

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Bob Smith 1 year, 9 months ago

The architecture of a conspiracy theory, according to Shermer (2011), consists of four components:

patternicity -- a tendency to find meaningful patterns in random noise agenticity -- a bent to believe the world is controlled by invisible intentional agent(s) confirmation bias -- the seeking and/or finding of confirmatory evidence for what one already believes hindsight bias -- tailored, after-the-fact, explanations for what we already know happened

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Bob Smith 1 year, 9 months ago

A survivalist is someone who takes prepping to an extreme because they are worried about the collapse of civilization. Survivalists are much more focused on self-defense and "bug-out" locations. Survivalists are the wingnuts among preppers. They are doomsday-oriented, very paranoid, anti-government, and dangerous to most of their neighbors. They fear change, fear difference, fear you and me, and fear that everything is falling apart. Their unhealthy skepticism promulgates fear and suspicion among a populace, destroys the trust and love it takes to sustain communities, reinforces crazy beliefs which make the more crazy seem less crazy, and adds to a collective malaise which sees the world as an awful place to be in.

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Bob Smith 1 year, 9 months ago

What's probably most dangerous is the extreme attitude of class or socio-economic warfare envisioned by the anarcho-capitalist wing of "hard money" advocates among the survivalists. Interchangeably called anarcho-capitalism, Austrian economics, or Randian libertarianism (named after Ayn Rand), the viewpoint represents "rugged individualism" to the extreme -- a kind of selfish egoism that is anything but enlightened. No mercy or charity is to be shown to any survivors (of a collapsed society) except for a small circle of the survivalist's loved ones. Greed, selfishness, and neglect of the poor, handicapped, and vulnerable characterize these radical free market advocates. Just mention two words, "gold confiscation," to the hard money advocates and see how riled up they get. And, let's not forget the hidden racial hatred inside the fear of looters coming from the inner cities. It is class warfare -- pure and simple -- pitting the hard-working middle class against the "lazy and unproductive" lower class.

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Mike Isaac 1 year, 9 months ago

Let me get this straight, someone who prepares ( or plans for the future ) is crazy because they plan ahead ? Someone who stores food in a area like Steamboat with its 59 day growing season is crazy and you compare them to the kid that ( might have shot up that school back east or might have been the patsy used to advance Obama's gun control wet dreams ). What ever the case someone who plans for the future is just being smart regardless of their reasons. Anyone who has spent a few winters here knows to keep their gas tanks close to full, keeps their propane tanks full and a lot of us will stock up on fire wood during the summer and have big freezers full of elk or other meat. And yes it is good to know other like minded people, here in Steamboat those people are called friends. You seem like someone that does not live here or just moved here. Because you just put down a lot of people that Prep as you call it or plan for the future. I could really care less how you live your life or if you even have a savings account but if Argentina's economy could cave in it can happen anywhere. We are being ruled by a full blown Fascist that is using terror attacks caused by the former fascist to take away our liberties. Economic warfare was declared on this nation when VP Al Gore pushed through NAFTA under Clinton. Under George Dubya Bush more "free trade " treaty's were set up to further de industrialize this country, then at the end of Dubya's 8 year assault on the US he and the DEMS bailed out the Banks and signed on to their debt. With the current Fascist spending 40% more that he is taking in we are in uncharted territory. If you knew a little history you might at least plan for hard times to come.

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Charlie MacArthur 1 year, 9 months ago

Bob, I will not debate the merits of Ayn Rand with you online, but would encourage anyone interested to pick up a copy of Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, or any of her other works and decide for themselves. I do, however, take great offence to your suggestion that her writings encourage racism. In this area, her own words can do much greater justice than I can. From her book; The Virtue of Selfishness;

"Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic lineage—the notion that a man’s intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors. Racism claims that the content of a man’s mind (not his cognitive apparatus, but its content) is inherited; that a man’s convictions, values and character are determined before he is born, by physical factors beyond his control. This is the caveman’s version of the doctrine of innate ideas—or of inherited knowledge—which has been thoroughly refuted by philosophy and science. Racism is a doctrine of, by and for brutes. It is a barnyard or stock-farm version of collectivism, appropriate to a mentality that differentiates between various breeds of animals, but not between animals and men. Like every form of determinism, racism invalidates the specific attribute which distinguishes man from all other living species: his rational faculty. Racism negates two aspects of man’s life: reason and choice, or mind and morality, replacing them with chemical predestination."

A final excerpt I especially enjoy...

"A genius is a genius, regardless of the number of morons who belong to the same race—and a moron is a moron, regardless of the number of geniuses who share his racial origin."

One can take those words and apply them to your other claim, that "It is class warfare -- pure and simple -- pitting the hard-working middle class against the "lazy and unproductive" lower class." Ayn Rand's philosophy is about individualism and 100% intolerant of any type of collective discrimination, including that of income class, ancestry, or skin color.

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Bob Smith 1 year, 9 months ago

The Nazi's used "Fluoride" to "control" the population of the Concentration Camps...? really? i missed that one...

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Dan Kuechenmeister 1 year, 9 months ago

Bob - Wow - a brief diatribe on Ayn Rand. Out of curiosity have you read Atlas Shrugged or any other Ayn Rand work. Quite interesting - but long. Atlas Shrugged almost 1100 pages and small print. Not a one night read i can promise you that, but a book meant for the cold winter nights with a little Kentucky Bourbon on the rocks. While it is difficult to provide a synopsis of 1100 pages, my simple take away is that as government takes over and regulates business to their growing advantage and to the detriment of the business owners (who did build that by the way), they decide they have had enough. They are convinced to start a new community and their entrance fee as it were is that each provide a benefit to the new community utilized the skills/products they developed as business owners. Now that sounds to me like a darn fine idea and one we could certainly use these days. As a matter of fact is it not likely that as the USA was explored and settlers expanded west, they may have done the same thing as it helped their chance of survival (OOPS - there is that word survival) to utilize each others individual skills to develop a community. As the Nanny State aka US Government slowly envelops its arms around the sleepy American public (hey 47% want free stuff), those of us that believe in independence from the nanny state may want to develop those community relationships and offer our particular skills (of which I have none) in support of those we live near. Great nations have risen to power and then faded. Rome, Greece, Spain, Portugal, England. It is not happenstance, it is inevitable. Life is all about cycles. After you have had a chance to read Atlas Shrugged - and i apologize as I am being presumptuous to think you haven't - I would highly recommend you read 'The Fourth Turning" an excellent read. Cheers. Dan

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Bob Smith 1 year, 9 months ago

again, ....possessed by magical thinking which suggests that they are contemporary "minutemen" who are going to fight "tyranny" and State power with their guns is both absurd and laughable.

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mark hartless 1 year, 9 months ago

Seems like it never occurs to the average statist to ponder how the power they so willingly forfeit to one of their own (Obama) might be used against them just a few years hence by another "monster" or "war criminal" like Dick Cheney or GW Bush.

Such short memories they have... like a child really.

How they squirmed and panted, protested and lamented just 6 short years ago when it was GW running rough-shod over their precious civil liberties. Now... not a peep... Hypocrites all.

Matthew,

How many Abrams main battle tanks, SWAT teams, Predator drones and Lon Horriuchi's did the government have back in Noah's day, nit-wit?

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mark hartless 1 year, 9 months ago

And even YOU are not so foolish as to assume or assert that Noah, or the people of his day, were un-armed, are you?

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Matthew Stoddard 1 year, 9 months ago

I don't remember reading about 30 round slings or bows.

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mark hartless 1 year, 9 months ago

Noah had the exact same form of protection that his government had. Cave men found in the ice repeatedly have one thing frozen in their cold, dead hands... A WEAPON. Go to any museum (that hasn't succomed to political corectnerss) and look at the display. They are ALWAYS portrayed fully ARMED... as fully armed as the technology of their time will permit. Self protection is a natural, and logical human right. Perhaps thats what confounds many leftists... the logical part.

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Matthew Stoddard 1 year, 9 months ago

Still not the point. I don't expect you to understand.

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Mike Isaac 1 year, 9 months ago

Steve Lewis, Liberty can not be measured unlike a body count in a FBI blotter. No one likes dead women and children but a whole lot more of them die in auto crashes. And what about knives and blunt objects ? Far more are killed in that manner than with a firearm. And what about a baby that has been in the womb for more that 3 months? It has a heart beat and a developing brain yet it has no right to live in places like California and a few states on the east coast. And a little history will tell you that banning Alcohol in the 20"s did not work And the mistake was repeated when drugs were banned and use even went up a little during the "just say no" campaign in the latter 20th century. Colorado and Washington just woke up on the Pot issue and im sure the other 48 state will follow. But the gun issue that we are dealing with today is so phony. Once you step back and look at all that has gone on with logic and reason and not emotion Aurora and Sandy Hook scream false flag just as the whole 9-11 and war on terror never did add up. With reports of more that one shooter in both Aurora and Sandy Hook that were quickly covered up by the government assets in the media. The same thing happened after 9-11 with people reporting synchronized explosions before the towers came down Those reports were covered up by the State Run Media. Days latter the Patriot Act was signed into law yet Congress was not allowed to even read it let alone write it. This set a new tone in DC and logic was forever replaced by fear. Obama got the NDAA ( a far more draconian version of the Patriot Act ) passed this way along with a bill that allows the United Nations to shut down the Internet, Congress was not allowed to read that either. In less that 48 hrs after Sandy Hook Mr Obama presented 23 executive orders that made Hitler's Gun Control Act of 1933 look like it was written by the NRA. However both Hitler and Obama used dead children a staple of the "gun laws". However with the DHS buying up to 2 Billion rounds of ammo including hollow points enough ammo to fight a 35 year ground war plus all these drones that are now being used to kill 1 suspect and alot more women and children than died in Aurora and Sandy Hook combined with just one drone bombing. So to me and many other this whole thing has nothing to do with saving women and children but it is just another assault on our liberties and freedoms. Once they take the 2nd amendment away the rest will be that much easier to take away. If it can happen in Germany, China and Russia just to name a few what makes anyone think it can not happen here?

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Steve Lewis 1 year, 9 months ago

Mike, Thanks for the reply. In this and other posts, you write about the message and not much about the messenger. That is much appreciated by many on either side, and certainly by me. I'll get back to you.

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Bob Smith 1 year, 9 months ago

Looking back to when I read Ayn Rand in high school, I have to admit I remember Atlas Shrugged as “mediocre” – at best. Dull writing style, and she’s not really a philosopher - in spite of her best efforts, ultimately fails to say anything new or worthwhile. Anyway, I found this commentary on Ayn, and thought it did a good job of pulling the curtain back.. “The whole Rand idea is based on her complete disregard of the reality that successful individuals cannot be successful without a strong society around them. A great inventor, for example, can't make any money if there isn't an already existing educated work force for him/her to employ (both at the production and sales/development/management levels), a strong government to protect his/her patent rights and to allow--through the rule of law--for market conditions to flourish (not to mention provide defense against invasion), to protect against other "entrepreneurs" who might undercut his/her business through underhanded means, provide a health care system (again, by educating doctors, etc.) to take care of him/her & family if they get sick, and on and on. Even her fictional hero John Galt couldn't have accomplished much without the people who taught him--educated by a society--and without the scientific developments--created by individuals who also accomplished great things with the help of a society that nurtured them--that came before him and upon which he built. Rand is essentially delusional. Or, like most ideologues, so in love with her grand central idea that she ignores any reality with which it conflicts.

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Bob Smith 1 year, 9 months ago

Her novels are really nothing more than a call to return to the laissez-faire policies of the late 19th century when wages and working conditions were not regulated. People of all stripes, men, women, and even children worked, on average 60 hours a week for an average wage of twenty-four cents an hour, $14 a week, oftentimes risking their lives for that low wage. OSHA did not exist, if you got hurt on the job you were out of luck as there was no worker’s comp. Retirement meant you were no longer able to work so you lived your golden years out with your children or you made due with whatever scraps were thrown your way. We know how well that era worked out for the working men and women of the United States. Yet we have the group of people who want to return to that era because of this myth that no regulations are good for us. An era where even an eighth grade education was not a given. What is even more bizarre about this is that they are basing the idea of returning to laissez-faire policies on a crappy novel with more plot holes than the latest summer blockbuster. If you are going to base your life on a novel at least make it something cool like an old Louis L'Amour dime store novel where the heroes are bigger than life and aren't assholes all the time. Yeah!! Andin spite of >extreme< gerrymandering, the people in this country are starting to wake up when it comes to the tea party. 2014 will be a big year, and it couldn’t come soon enough!

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Bob Smith 1 year, 9 months ago

What I meant to say was that in spite of the unprecedented level of gerrymandering by the GOP, in 2014 it looks like we'll be saying "Adios" to the tea party!

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Mike Isaac 1 year, 9 months ago

I think it is time for a little comedy on this Friday Night I found this story that is so funny but true. A kid in Baltimore MD was eating a pop tart and the teacher thought it was shaped like a gun after he took a few bites. The kid was suspended for 2 days but get this. The school offered counseling to any kids that were "traumatized" by the incident involving a gun shaped pop tart. That teacher would get his ass kicked in Steamboat or fired http://www.infowars.com/school-now-offering-counseling-to-kids-upset-by-strawberry-tart-gun/

Also here is a link to a Chris Mathews clip from MSNBC. Where his talks about " those people live in the Rocky Mountains " yea it is more simple minded divide and conquer BS that is so easy to see through. I understand that a lot of you hate him but lighten up and laugh a little. http://www.infowars.com/splc-letter-to-holder-and-napolitano-patriot-hate-groups-pose-domestic-terror-threat/ Enjoy;)

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Mike Isaac 1 year, 9 months ago

Tom Williams that was awsome what Rand Paul did yesterday on the floor of the Senate and Ted Cruz is another Pro Liberty Senator. It is so good to see that these 2 will not be Neo Con boot lickers or assimilate into the McCain / Romney borg collective. The Neo Con wing of the GOP never did Ron Paul any favors.

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Kevin Nerney 1 year, 9 months ago

Bob, what is so wrong with wanting to return to what amounts to the "Good Old Days" ? Archie and Edith (if you remember All in the Family) longed to return to a time when hard work and dedication meant something. I'm not talking about going back to the days of tenements and overcrowded cities and guys selling apples and pencils on the corner. But how about going back to the days when a guy with a high school education could get a job, buy a house, raise a family and look forward to retirement. Just like my dad did. Sure he worked two jobs and we didn't have anything lavish but we went on vacation once in awhile waved the flag and had BBQ's in the backyard. Life was good mainly because of the promise it held (delusional perhaps). At that time more than 50 % of the Fortune 500 CEO 's didn't have a college degree and no one was looking to steal the pension funds out from under the employees just so they could merge with another company and improve the bottom line. Things were made in America and there was pride in what could be produced, not like today where billionaires on Shark Tank tell entrepenaurs "Make it in China and save 30 cents per widget." Unfortunately the influx of citizens coming to this country have changed the dynamic of what the American Dream is and many of those that have always been here are tired of beating their heads against the wall so the new attitude is if you can't beat 'em join 'em.

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john bailey 1 year, 9 months ago

oh, been away awhile. so whats all this fuss about? anybody ready to get to fishing? and not thru a hole.........

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jerry carlton 1 year, 9 months ago

Kevin Nerney Well written and I agree completely.

I could not join a "Hate Group" but does any one know of an Intensely Dislikes Politicians Of All Parties Group?

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 9 months ago

Of course, Archie Bunker was a all around bigot. Edith rarely confronted Archie, but she rarely paid much attention to his opinions. Archie hated pretty much all of her friends and her friends became more and more liberal.

A consistent theme of All in the Family was adapting to the modern world. Edith figuring out what was fair Archie fighting unsuccessfully against the modern world, but often having to bend in small ways to cope.


Ayn Rand had a relevant point when criticizing communist societies or utopian collectives like suggested in Walden II. But she was also deeply anti-religious and opposed a central idea of virtually all religions and spiritual experiences - that there is a spiritual power greater than the individual.

It is also a bit ridiculous to compare modern US society with relatively minimum social safety net with millions of working poor without healthcare to some Ayn Rand world where the rich and talented give up work. Zuckenberg to grow Facebook moved to high tax California because that is where the expertise is located and the taxes still leave enough room to make lots of money.

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mark hartless 1 year, 9 months ago

The mistake you make, Scott, as do so many, is to presume that because Americe is not the Ayn Rand world, that we are therefore just fine.

The reality is that the divergence between those two worlds is gradual, and along the way there is a "falling away" of productiveness and productive people. Not everyone reaches tha "shrugging" point at the same time. However, there can be little doubt that more and more Americans are taking their work, their projects, their companies, their"ball" and going away; or just coasting instead of doing innovative and dynamic things with their life.

I am a good example. I used to employ a dozen or so people, but for the last 10 years I have opted to basically sit on my ass and live off the income I have produced in the past. That's because I can't stand dealing with all the BS and red tape of the world I once operated in. I am an able-bodied 45 year-old who could work another 20 years but I'll be damned if I'm going to do so while the rest of the world sits on it's ass and skimms off me... I joined them rather than trying to beat them. I shrugged. Other people have a bit more tolerance for confiscatort taxation, but NOBODY, not even Atlas himself, has infinite tolerance.

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