• Child Suspended for “Liking” Image of Toy Gun on Instagram.

    The First and Second Amendments are under heavy attack by the radical left. We see this leftist nonsense to squelch free speech and abridge gun rights every day. The following story combines constitutional attacks on the First, Second, Fourth—and probably Fifth Amendments Against a public middle school student.

    Now, I will concede that public school officials can argue that they have no idea what to do anymore—mostly, because of other public school officials who adopt stupid policies. We critics often say, “Just use common sense.” Well, much of the problem these days is that commonsensical school officials are not allowed to apply their common sense. In fact, school districts often mandate ludicrous policies that force officials to act in direct contravention to common sense or risk losing their jobs or worse. Remember the second-grader who got “dispended” because he threw an invisible grenade to rescue the world? Still, that does not mean we should stop fighting to make sure common sense prevails.

    So, in this story on the NRA-ILA website, according to WBRC Fox 19 News in Trenton, Ohio, middle school student Zachary Bowlin got himself suspended for violating the school board’s “zero tolerance” policy. The policy prohibits, “violent, disruptive, harassing, intimidating, bullying, or any other inappropriate behavior by its students.” What heinous act did Zach commit to elicit such wrath from school superintendent Russ Fussnecker? After school one evening, at home, while perusing the Instagram social media website, Zach had the unmitigated audacity to “Like” a picture of an Airsoft gun—a toy. No, really!  

    For those unfamiliar with Airsoft guns, the name implies its function. It uses air to propel a soft projectile (the size of a pea). The guns are plastic and the projectiles (bullets) are designed not to injure participants. I know: my kids used them as toys when they were kids and I used them for training as a police officer.

    According to the article, the photo Zachary “liked” was of a “plastic gun on the table, with the caption, “Ready.” You might wonder if this social media “like” was just one facet of a multifaceted set of nefarious circumstances that created suspicion about the student. Nope. That was it; Zach “liked” a picture of a toy on social media. WBRC reported, “Superintendent Russ Fussnecker essentially admitted that the school’s reaction was based only on the picture.”

    Let’s look at the bright side: Zach is getting a civics lesson, thanks to his overreacting, overreaching school officials: One, his First Amendment rights were violated when the district punished him for expressing his point of view. He let people know he liked a picture (it could be argued that his Fifth Amendment rights were also violated when he was suspended without due process). Two, his Second Amendment rights were, effectively, violated when a toy facsimile of a firearm became the focal point of Zachary’s discipline.

    Now, for constitutional violation number three: The Fourth Amendment prohibition against unlawful searches and seizures. According to the article, “The next morning, Zachary told a WBRC reporter, school officials, ‘called me down… patted me down and checked me for weapons, then they told me I was getting expelled or suspended or whatever.’” Where was the warrant? Where was the probable cause? Where was the reasonable suspicion? (Where is the ACLU?) And, finally, where was the common sense?

  • Seattle’s Anti-Second Amendment City Government: Once again, the ends justify the means and Seattle’s commitment to government transparency is a joke.

    Yet another example of the left’s lack of government transparency and ends-justify-the-means tactics has oozed out of the liberal cauldron of the farcical but hazardous to liberty Seattle city government. An article, “Seattle Gun Tax Fails to Generate Projected Revenue, Succeeds in Burdening Rights,” (NRA-ILA, March 24, 2017), published by the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action provides further evidence that, in 2015, Seattle city government proposed a targeted tax on Seattle’s few remaining gun dealerships. Proposed as a so-called “sin tax” because, as Councilman Tim Burgess put it, “It’s time for the gun industry to help defray” the costs of criminal gun violence. What it was, was a poorly veiled attempt to eradicate gun shops in Seattle.

    At least, if the council members admitted that eliminating gun shops within the city limits was their objective, one could respect the political honesty. However, honesty and the left rarely mix. 

    In 2016, I wrote a blog about Seattle gun shop owner Sergey Solyanik. He implored Seattle’s city council members not to enact a tax that would ruin his livelihood and possibly cause him to move his business out of the city (he did relocate from the city). He said, “the data that has been submitted by the proponents [of the tax] is completely fake.”

    The Council didn’t care. After all, Solyanik doesn’t think like they do. That doesn’t make him a political opponent; it doesn’t even make him wrong. It makes him evil. So, he should suffer. The Seattle City Council which voted unanimously for the tax had an end to achieve and this illegal tax was their means.

    Poor Mr. Solyanik was in their way—and, he dared to assert his rights. So, it was necessary that he be crushed under the Council’s jackboots—or Birkenstocks. I mean, why not? Even if the courts eventually declare the tax illegal, which, if you read the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment, Washington State Constitution’s Article I § 24, and the state’s preemption statutes, they must, the Council will have achieved its goal: No gun shops in Seattle (I’ll say it again: drug dealers, addicts, and gangsters get more respect in Seattle than law-abiding gun owners and gun dealers do).

    In promoting this anti-gun tax, City Councilman Tim Burgess endorsed ludicrous revenue projections of between $300,000 and $500,000 per year [i.e. “fake data”], which would go to “anti-gun” research at Harborview Medical Center.

    Now, let’s peek at the City’s alleged commitment to government transparency: The City refuses to release the total tax collected. Despite record national and state gun sales, “Burgess confessed, ‘tax payments received by the City were less than $200,000.” Seattle won’t disclose the amount, citing a nonsensical notion of protecting taxpayer confidentiality. By releasing the total amount of tax collected? They must believe Seattleites are stupid. More likely, Seattle’s lefty liberal population doesn’t care when the City Council abridges other people’s rights, provided the government does not violate “their” rights. So, why should the Council worry about government transparency?

    So, revenues fell far short of that projected half-million dollars. In fact, it was less than $200,000. Talk about vague, less than 200K could be anywhere from $199,999 to one cent. I’ll concede it’s probably more than a penny, but how much less than two hundred grand?

    Whatever the results of future court rulings, liberal Seattle government accomplished its goal. It’s unlikely the court decisions will make any injured party (gun dealers) whole. Only by suffering a financial sanction will liberal cities such as Seattle ever cease their destructive drive to turn their citizens and business owners into game pieces on their own social-justice, utopian Monopoly Board. The only way that would occur, and the only way to prevent the City from attempting such nonsense again, is for Solyanik and other victims to sue Seattle’s socialistic ass off. I hope they can. I hope they do! 

  • For Radical Leftists, Anti-racist = Anti-police

    The Left is adept at Orwellian manipulation of language. For example, they’ll tell you they are not “anti-police.” Then they’ll use euphemisms: “anti-police abuse,” “anti-excessive force,” etc.

    Well, in a rare act of honesty and a rage against the adage, “it’s better to be thought a fool and remain silent than to speak (write) and remove all doubt,” the title of this article proclaims a true belief: Defunding Police—How Antiracist Organizers got Seattle to Listen (Unlike leftists, I’m not going to throw a tantrum or a riot in an un-American attempt to keep you from hearing a message with which I disagree. Please, read it—no, really; you have got to read this crap). It’s important to remain aware of their destructive social message and how radical leftist politicians aid in their successes to the detriment of a free society.

    Antiracist? Not anti-police? Using “anti-police” would have been more honest.

    So, in the radical left’s world, Anti-racist = Anti-police.

    The only thing surprising about this equation is the lack of obfuscation—which is almost refreshing. Like Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders, at least this publication, almost, says what it means: being against the police is the same as being against racists because the police are racist. I suppose I could be accused of putting words in their mouths, but how could anyone arrive at contrary conclusion? 

    Police equating to racist, of course, is insulting to cops, but the Left doesn’t like the police. Remember, they aren’t simply opponents who are fed up and have finally gotten up off the couch to protest tyranny; they are the enemies of a civil society. They just hate cops. That seems clear. They fight for policies that put police officers at higher risk because they have no respect for what cops do. They don’t care about police officers most of whom are among the finest citizens of any community. The cop-hater’s warped equation also insults people who think critically rather than ideologically. People who come to conclusions based on empirical facts rather than selecting “facts” that conform to a predetermined, ideological narrative.

    Still, I hesitate to bring attention to such ignorance. But, the sad thing is, political leaders, such as the leftist collective running (ruining) Seattle gives racialist groups such as BLM and BTB (Block the Bunker) far more clout than their destructive ideas deserve. The radical left may riot to shut down their opponent’s right speak, but we truly need to listen to what the Left says, so we can oppose their ideas more effectively. Oppose their collectivist, Utopian myth whenever possible.   

  • Liberal Contempt for Others.

    Libertarianism has been a part of me for so long sometimes I forget just how beautiful a political philosophy it is and how good it makes me feel to be a part of the continuing American Revolution. The left likes to lay claim to being the “radicals and revolutionaries” in this modern era. However, it is the original libertarians (classical liberals) such as Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and other founding fathers who remain the true radicals, standing in opposition to tyranny whether from a monarch like King George III or the modern progressive left movement. And so are we also true radicals who accept the gift of being our Founders’ political progeny. Leftists are simply monarchists whose sovereign, rather than a king or queen, is the large, oppressive welfare state. They prefer subjects beholding to a welfare state to free citizens engaged in voluntary cooperation with a limited government conducted under the social contract.  

    Libertarianism is beautiful in its trust in humanity—in ordinary human beings—in others. To the contrary, the ugliness of the left that demonizes its political opponents as “evil” and dismisses others as too “stupid” to manage their own lives. The problem is when the left says others are, “too stupid to run their own lives,” “stupid” means anyone opposing the left’s political view.

    I have Democrat friends and family who argue others simply can’t be trusted to run their own lives and need government to make decisions for them. I’m in jaw-dropping awe of such audacity–such contempt for others is frightening. I reply, “What about you? Should you be able to make your own decisions?” Most of them, of course, answer, “Yes.” But some concede it might be worth losing some liberty so that “stupid” others are protected from themselves. Remarkably, many on the left would rather lose their own liberty than allow others to retain theirs.

    The left abdicates the gift bestowed by nature’s God, fought, bled, and died for by our forebears, and enshrined in our founding documents: Liberty! Think of the beauty of not only being able to live one’s life free from excessive government intrusion–to strive for human flourishing–but also of acknowledging others’ liberty.

    Since the inception of civil society human political progress has been measured by its recognition of individual liberty. The history of the free world venerates the birth of democracy in Greece, the signings of the Magna Carta and the Declaration of Independence, and the framing of the U.S. Constitution (including the Bill of Rights). Personal liberty has been at the core of the history of the evolution of civilized society.

    The miserable history of leftist progressivism is written in the economic and social destruction wrought by socialism and the murders of a hundred million others committed by communism. And where did Marxist-Leninist communism find itself? As Ronald Reagan said, “On the ash heap of history.” And where is American liberty still found? “On a shining city on a hill.” America!

    I side with the beautiful: individual liberty and personal freedom. I like that if my side gets its (political) way, others can live as they choose—pursue their happiness. This view makes my political philosophy morally superior, anathema to the leftist philosophy where others do not live their lives as they choose—are prevented from pursuing their happiness. Like Jack Nicholson’s character in the film As Good as it Gets says, “The fact that I get it makes me feel good, about me.”

    In conclusion, allow me to prove me point: if libertarian concept’s, with its sublime and egalitarian benefits and attendant free (fair) market capitalism, reign politically (even in a Republican-populist administration), leftists may live as they choose. Libertarianism may not be perfect, but it points humanity in the right direction.      

  • If Milo Yiannopoulos was Looking for Freedom of Speech, Why Would he Look for it on America’s College Campuses?

    A lot of folks on the political right, in a sincere but misplaced attempt to understand their political opponents, make excuses for their bad (sometimes criminal) behavior.

    “They just don’t understand.”

    “If they only stopped to think about their position…”

    “They don’t know what they’re doing?”

    Sadly, yes they do.

    Last night at the University of California Berkeley we saw the disgraceful behavior of ant-democratic, anti-free speech, anti-American radicals infringing on conservative/libertarian writer, Milo Yiannopoulos,’ First Amendment rights–destroying property and abridging the rights of those who came to hear him speak.

    These people (term applied loosely) are not mere political opponents the leftist media would have us believe. These are militant malcontents who know exactly what they’re doing: attempting to use violence to disrupt our civilized, democratic republic. One sign read, “Be Ungovernable.”  

    Think about it. Conservatives and libertarians often point out that the left needs the right because without the productivity of the right the left would have nothing to redistribute. Conversely, the constitutionalist right does not need the leftist activists, especially the radical left because they contribute nothing. The radicals don’t produce; they consume. These violent lefties don’t create, they destroy. And yet the national media put them forth as rank-and-file Democrats.

    As a retired police officer my heart went out to those Berkley officers obviously restricted from acting appropriately. They were complying with the incompetent direction of political leaders who cling to some romantic notion of the protest culture a la 1960’s. Tacitly or overtly, they allow left-wing crybabies to crush an invited campus guest’s civil liberties and then blame the guest rather than those who infringe on constitutional rights and destroy property.

    Here’s the leftist equation:

    Free speech does not include Hate speech.

    What is hate speech?

    Whatever the left says it is.

    The left blames Yiannopoulos for the threats, violence, and destruction by referring to him as controversial, radical, and divisive; inflammatory, provocative, and of using “hate-speech.” Isn’t this like blaming the rape victim rather than the rapist for being sexually assaulted?

    All of this occurring at the birthplace of America’s campus Free-Speech Movement made famous at Berkeley half-century ago. Many leaders of America’s college campuses have become despicable in the eyes of liberty. It seems Berkeley is now in contention to be the birthplace of the Restricted Speech Movement.     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • A Seattle Liberal Attacks City’s Protest Culture

    The other day I read something fascinatingly waggish and oh, so very Seattle in its irony. The source of my amusement came from an opinion piece: “Stop protesting Seattle Asian Art Museum renovation” (Seattle Times, January 13, 2017).

     

    First, a preface: I have affection for the SAAM. The museum is in the precinct I patrolled during my over two-decades-long career. I enjoyed the beautiful building and speaking with many wonderful patrons. I also agree with the writer of the piece, Glenn Nelson, that people should stop protesting SAAM renovations, although I acknowledge (and announce) their right to do so. Renovations are overdue, appropriate, and will enhance Seattle’s cultural resources.  

     

    But where exactly does Mr. Nelson, obviously a liberal/progressive, acquire his moral authority to ask others to stop protesting anything? Has Mr. Nelson forgotten in what city he lives? Seattle has planted, cultivated, and harvested its current protest (crop) culture for many years. Oh, before continuing, I should modify my contention for clarity: Its liberal/progressive protest culture.

     

    Years ago, I remember protesters descending on SPD’s East Precinct to protest…wait for it… the U.S. Navy bombing uninhabited islands for training in… again, wait for it… Puerto Rico!!! I can’t count the number of protests I’ve worked: APEC, WTO, and the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade; Critical Mass, anarchists, and Black Lives Matter, and no such list would be complete (though this one is far from complete) without Occupy Wall Street’s 99%ers. During the last years of my career, leftist demonstrations were a monthly and many times weekly occurrence.

     

    Mr. Nelson, who dutifully introduces himself in his first sentence, “as a person of color,” provides his liberal/progressive bona fides and curriculum vitae throughout the article. He cites his Asian American heritage, green space, the ADA, diversity, inclusion, and Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative.

     

    It seems that his fellow Seattleites’ objections are not worthy of protest because, according to Mr. Nelson, he has determined that “The ‘encroachment’ on green space [and impact on neighborhood traffic] is too negligible to be considered a source for opposition.” Just like so many liberals, Mr. Nelson finds no problem dismissing other people’s concerns when they fail to fall in line with his preferred narrative–his desires. Remember, Mr. Nelson did not simply write that he disagrees with the protesters; he declares they, “stop protesting….”

     

    Now, I do not wish to make light of Mr. Nelson’s heart-felt plea on behalf of himself and people he loves and cares about. He obviously believes his perspective is correct. But it seems there’s a lesson here for Seattle’s liberal/progressive activists with their emerald green penchant for protest: opposing points of view are not always, in every way, and every circumstance wrong, and certainly not racist or otherwise evil just because they’re put forth by the “another side” of an argument. Opposing political perspectives, ideologies, and issues are simply that: positions held by people who simply oppose your view. They are due the same respect you feel you deserve, not slander, libel, and demonization.       

  • It’s Coming Undone–Hopefully.

    This is an essential premise of conservatism (and libertarianism): If liberals get their way, conservatives must live their way. If conservatives get their way, people can live peacefully as they choose. Conservatives are much more live and let live than liberals, and libertarians certainly reflect this idiom. This philosophical dichotomy sounds simple—it is, but it also marks a huge difference between America’s two current major political philosophies. Conservatives tend toward an America that espouse the individual liberty, limited government virtues expressed in the U.S. Constitution. Liberals want a different America. An America unrecognizable to our Founders.

    Think about it. Liberals (progressives, democratic-socialists) have spent the last eight years “doing” stuff to America. The Democrat’s leftist administration has forced Americans to follow ever-increasing, intrusive, success-crushing government rules and regulations (IRS, EPA, OSHA, EEOC, FCC, FTC, FDA, ICC, NLRB, SEC, and so on). This includes, for the first time in history, the government forcing Americans to purchase a commercial product—healthcare. Liberals tend to suffer from the “do-something” disease more than do conservatives. To feel accomplished in our lives, the left says we need government. As Col. Potter used to say on M*A*S*H, “Horse Hockey!”

    Consider this: Today, First Lady Michelle Obama, in response to Trump’s election, told Oprah, “See now we are feeling what not having hope feels like, you know. Hope is necessary. It is a necessary concept.” So, people only have hope if it comes from the federal government? When her husband was elected, the right felt little hope—especially in government, but they went on with their lives as best they could despite the increased government interference. Then when their chance came to change things–really change things, they did. Mrs. Obama added, “What do you give your kids if you can’t give them hope?” Again, she conflates government with hope. How sad is that?

    Now, I don’t dislike the First Lady. She seems nice, intelligent, is obviously a good mother, and genuinely appears to care about her issues. Still, the enormous chip she seems to carry on her shoulder bothers me. She has had one of the most privileged lives any American can hope to have, yet she never seems to acknowledge this as an American blessing. America always falls short: “For the first time in my adult life, I’m proud of my country.” Really? It’s like something almost biological is blocking her ability to experience any heartfelt appreciation for her country. I mean, give me a freakin’ break: America elected her African-American husband president of the United States of America—TWICE! 

    Lately, I’ve heard folks reminding people about this equation: Free-market capitalists (conservatives, libertarians, and Republicans) don’t need big government—they don’t need socialism. On the other hand, big government leftists (progressives, socialists, and Democrats) need capitalism. The left needs wealth producers or else there is nothing to redistribute. Remember, government can either hinder your access to success—your pursuit of happiness, or it can get out of your way.

    The conservatives and libertarians primary message this presidential election was not for the government to “do” anything. The hue and cry from the right (and the middle) was to undo the damage the left has done. Undo Obamacare, undo unnecessary rules and regulations, undo an overbearing IRS, undo radical EPA “global warming” policy, undo harmful immigration policy, undo America’s unsuccessful foreign policy—undo, undo, and undo.

    Initially, Americans will not judge the new administration in Washington D.C. by what it does but by what it undoes.

  • Supreme Court Selections Matter

    Been busy with a manuscript lately but not too busy to respond to the importance of the Supreme Court nomination(s), riding on this election. Seems the split in the Court between conservative and liberal has never been clearer.

    There is a California case involving teachers’ union dues being collected from members which is then used to support political “speech” with which some members disagree. The Court, absent Justice Scalia, split on the case, sending it back to the 9th Circuit, which had ruled in the union’s favor.

    Sitting on a bar stool, around a picnic table, or at supper with family, how many people do you think would support the government taking money from people and using it to promote political positions they don’t agree with?

    With ordinary citizens, Republicans, Democrats, indeed libertarians, nearly no one would agree with this notion.

    Nevertheless, the Court is currently split on the issue. At this august, judicial supper table, 50% of the eight people see nothing wrong with the government using a person’s hard-earned income to pay for political “speech” they oppose—in this case, left wing speech.

    Conversely, thankfully, the other four justices, like most fair-minded people, know the idea of subverting free speech rights through the confiscation of Americans’ money is just what it sounds like—at best corrupt, at worst, theft! 

  • Why Does it Have to be Because You’re a Minority?

    Boycott the Academy Awards? I do it every year.

    Generally, I don’t comment on cultural issues unless they run tangent to my law enforcement or libertarian topics. Since libertarianism involves individualism and not group-think, I believe the Oscars boycott initiated by Jada Pinkett Smith, of whom I am a fan, and Spike Lee, of whom I am, not so much, trips the wire.

    Upset a good movie didn’t get nominated. Join the club.

    Apparently, they are upset that there aren’t more black artists nominated for Academy Awards. I don’t think it’s a stretch to infer that Mrs. Smith feels a personal affront that her husband, Will Smith (one of my favorite actors) was not nominated for his performance in the movie Concussion. I haven’t seen it, yet, but, because Will Smith is in it, I will see it.

    White out!

    At first glance, it appears they might have a point. From what I understand, the vast majority of the “Academy” is white and male. Now, does this automatically make them racist? Of course not. In fact, the accusation is quite insulting. However, it can make one wonder, legitimately, about certain types of “diversity” in Hollywood. However, another category the white-male “Academy” fits into, based on its voting track record, is liberal, progressive—essentially—politically left. If Smith and Lee don’t think blacks get a fair shake in Hollywood, try being politically conservative. It’s rare for conservative people to be nominated for, never mind win, Academy Awards they should have been considered for.

    Maybe you just suck.

    The problem I see is the dominant liberal media and educational culture that teaches minorities to presume that whenever they fail, it is, ALWAYS, because of their minority status. Someone gives you bad service, it’s because you’re gay, you don’t get that job, it’s because you’re Hispanic, you don’t get that promotion, it’s because you’re a woman, or you don’t get that Academy Award—well, it must be because you’re black.

    Did they really deserve it?

    So, what happens if the boycotters get their way, and the Academy becomes more diverse—racially, anyway? Will we look at future black winners and wonder how or why they were chosen? All of the nominees will be good actors, but were the winners the best or did their race push them over the finish line? It is likely that, from now on, minority winners will be looked upon as if there is an asterisk after their names–even by other minorities or themselves.

     

  • Gun Buyer Background Checks and Gun Registration Are Not the Same–Not At All!

    Police and libertarian issues

    With the increase in news reports, I’ve been writing a lot about gun issues, lately. When I write about firearms/gun rights it’s under two headings: one, as a police issue. The cops will not be there to protect you. If you are ever in a position to need a gun, you will have seconds to act while the cops won’t be there for minutes. This is also a libertarian issue. Put succinctly, the Second Amendment.

    Does Bill O’Reilly support gun registration?

    Last night on FOX News’, The O’Reilly Factor, I heard Bill say people should use “common sense” when it comes to “gun registration” while he was delivering “Talking Points” about background checks. He mentioned people drive and have to register their cars, as if cars and guns are similar. Americans aren’t under the threat of liberals wishing to confiscate their cars (well, maybe SUVs).

    Registration and background check are not the same thing

    I hope Bill isn’t conflating firearms purchaser background checks with gun registration—they are very different issues. I hope he understands that, if gun dealer checks my background, I check out okay, and then I purchase my firearm, that should be the end of the transaction. That weapon then belongs to me to do with, legally, what I will. If that means giving the gun as a gift to a family member or friend, that is my business as a law-abiding American.

    Gun registration provides government the tools for confiscation

    However, if I am made to register my gun, to let the government know what guns I have, how many I have, and where I live, in the unlikely (but, still far too likely for comfort, these days) event that our government descends into further liberal lunacy, this would allow the government to have everything it needs to try to take my guns or to prosecute me if I no longer have them.

    A guard against government tyranny

    Our Founding Fathers included the Second Amendment to guard against government tyranny. If this is the case, and we know it is, who could think that registering guns with the very government guns are kept to defend against makes any sense?