Monday, January 28, 2013

And recently...

Though I watch the news less and less because I find it increasingly silly, shallow and tendentious, I suppose I should comment on recent developments.

--On the current furor over gun control: I am no partisan of gun ownership (though I do own two shotguns for skeet shooting, which the president, apparently, today endorsed as a wholesome pastime), I am a great respecter of the Constitution and the wisdom of the Founders. There is a reason that the Second Amendment is the SECOND amendment after freedom of speech, assembly, the press and religion,  and that is that the Founders had a great fear of the power, not of guns, but of government. Madison, who wrote the amendment, held that the surest way to oppress a people was to disarm them. The amendment was not about forming a militia; it was about enabling citizens to retain that measure of security against the tyrannical thrust of government into their lives that ownership of guns provides.

Now, it can be argued that today the government possesses F-22s and nuclear weapons, but these are unlikely to be loosed on people in Missouri or Connecticut, even in the direst of circumstances. The fact remains that an unarmed citizenry is entirely vulnerable to a government grown out of all proportion to its necessity in our lives (which it has become). I see the increasing size and intrusiveness and authoritarianism of the central government as precisely that which the Founders feared 250 years ago. To my mind, this militates for, and not against, the right to gun ownership. The Second Amendment is a symbol of the ascendancy of individualism over collectivism, and as such, given the historical potency of symbols, it should not be abridged.

Having said that, I agree that assault weapons and supplemental ammunition magazines should be banned as unnecessary to a civilian populace, and that universal background checks should probably be instituted (depending on how and by whom), if only to keep weapons of mass slaughter out of the hands of the mentally incompetent. But Sandy Hook and Colorado notwithstanding, very  few crimes are committed with such weapons (though they get the most publicity), and the fact remains that our society is so awash in guns that no legislation can prevent such tragedies. If a gang member (and remember, I wrote a book about Compton) wants to get a gun of any kind, he can do so in a matter of hours. Legislation always follows, and does not prevent, crimes.

What can be done to stop another school or mall or movie theater shooting? Nothing, by legislatures. This can be done only by responsible, caring parents. In every case I can think of, the guns used in mass shootings were acquired legally, and then used illegally. (Remember that the weapons on the planes on 9/11 were entirely legal under the regulations of that time.)  Requiring more onerous checks and extensive forms and government scrutiny affects only those who obey the law, when what we are trying to stop is those who do not obey the law. Mass shootings are a mental health problem, not a firearms problem.  And so why are people clamoring for new gun laws? To make themselves feel that SOMETHING has been done, when, in fact, nothing will be accomplished.

This is the reflexive instinct of the modern electorate that must be reversed: If something is done I feel better, even though nothing has been accomplished. This is narcissism -- what matters is not what can be accomplished, but, rather, how good I feel about what the government does. Such is the road to submission to tyranny. The real issue is not about the feelings of the electorate, but, rather, about the safety of the populace. And if that is the true goal, then everyone should be issued a gun and trained in how to use it. For every statistic shows that states and foreign countries where gun ownership is easily achieved and responsibly regulated have the lowest rates of gun violence, whereas in places like New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and the nation's capital, which have the strictest gun laws, the gun violence rate is the highest.

Any rational person would therefore conclude that increased gun ownership actually deters gun violence, while stringent gun restriction encourages it. This is true simply because, as I said earlier, only those who routinely obey the law will comply with gun legislation, while the others will have their guns and use them and disregard the consequences. That is why we call them lunatics and criminals.

--Hillary Clinton, about whom I have made my opinion clear, is finally leaving office as Secretary of State. (Though, given her history, that does not mean she is leaving public life. I fear that, like the ghost of Hamlet's father, she will return to haunt us for years to come.) In her exit interview with 60 Minutes, she was accompanied by no one less than the president, and this was, far from being a signal journalistic event, in effect an endorsement for her future ambitions.

The so-called reporter who conducted the interview may as well have gone down on his knees and either a) worshiped at their feet or b) sexually serviced them both. It was as disgraceful an exhibition of journalistic servitude as I have ever seen, and the man should be ashamed. One question on Benghazi, which was about how Hillary "felt" in the wake of the murder of an American ambassador. No probing, no demands, no examination of the contradictions in the official story, no insistence on truth -- just typical left-wing groveling and slobbering in the presence of progressive celebrity. If there was ever an argument to be made for liberal prejudice in the mainstream media, this was it. "Do you feel guilty about the fact that an ambassador and three other Americans died?" Nothing more. Shameful.

--The proposed reform of illegal immigration is being touted as a milestone in bi-partisanship. To that, all I can say is that the word bi-partisanship contains the letters b and s, as does another word I can think of. The sponsors now admit that there are 11 million illegals in this country (that means that about one out of every 28 people in this country is here illegally), while at the same time a recent study shows that nearly half of them are receiving government benefits. This means over five million illegals are living at the public's expense, when the economy is struggling and we are 16 trillion dollars in debt. This, in a word, is madness.

Yet tonight, MSNBC (that propaganda outlet for the far left), parades pictures of weeping children, and stories of families rent by deportation. Can I make this any clearer: They are here ILLEGALLY! "But they are here," the liberals argue. Well, they should not be here at all! If their families are torn apart, it is because someone in them broke the law and sneaked into the country! Their suffering is their own fault! What is so difficult to understand about that?

"But they are here," the left intones. Well, sorry, but no one invited them here, and they broke our laws to get here and stay here and live off the public dole at a time when we are going bankrupt. To put it simply: They have no legal right to be here, and any sane, rational, well-regulated society would not permit them to remain here, let alone reward them for having come. Charity aside, largesse aside, we simply cannot afford it. "But they are here," the left insists. And I say again that if burglars break into your house and take up residence, and eat your food and use your water and electricity, you do not agree to let them remain because "they are here." They broke in, they violated your space, they are stealing your property. And it does not matter how many weeping children or torn families they represent, they should not be allowed to remain here.

If times were different - if this were the 1780's or even the 1880's - and we needed the surplus population, I might be persuaded. But our economy is on the verge of bankruptcy, and there is not a politician in office today who has the courage or foresight or principle to say: Let them go home, let their own societies care for them, and let us put our fiscal house in order before our children and grandchildren, who were born here and have a legal right to be here, inherit an economic disaster beyond their ability to repair.