• 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! 

  • 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?

     

     

  • Obama’s Second Amendment Steam-Roller Continues

    Every morning, it seems I awake to more rights violated

    There exists a great deal of angst regarding President Obama’s latest attempt to circumvent Congress. I’m among those. It’s not as if the executive order will be all that far-ranging, but it’s yet another step that affects law-abiding gun owners and not criminals. I’m tired of getting up every morning wondering what other of my rights this progressive government is trampling. Still, some of the “gun violence” measures the President is “invoking” will need congressional approval, as they require funding, in order to take effect.

    Strong support for background checks

    The increased background checks portion is an interesting one. On its face, of course, background checks are important when done within reason. Anti-gun pundits and some pro-gun folks, for that matter, have been citing strong support in the polls for background checks.

    Trends shift with more information

    But, here’s the interesting part: More often than not, after Americans become familiar with the nuances of such a law, policy, or, in this case, executive order, the trend in favor tends to shift toward the other side of the argument.

    Background check before transferring gun to close family member

    For example, once people find out that the background check mandate could apply to a father giving a gun as a birthday gift to his son—with an additional sixty or more dollars plus the time involved, people begin to see how onerous—and useless—such regulations can be. Criminals won’t comply, only the law-abiding will.

    Professor Nicholas Johnson writes it like it is in the WSJ

    Today in the Wall Street Journal, Nicholas Johnson, a law professor at Fordham University, puts the situation into perspective in his column, “A Glittery Gun-Control Distraction.” Essentially, with his executive order, President Obama is expanding the definition of “gun dealer.” Now, a person who sells a few as one gun could be mandated to obtain a federal license (government permission) or wind up in federal prison.

    This has been shown a failure in the past

    Johnson explains this was the original result of progressive gun legislation back in the 1960s–to license more gun-selling Americans. Initially, the progressives praised it as a success. However, in the end, the law was a failure (ineffective for the purpose intended) because, the progressives posited, it resulted in “too many” FFLs issued in America. In the 1990s, under President Clinton, the policy was reversed and FFLs fell by 79% between 1994 and 2007. Humorously, the progressives, now, saw this reversal as a success. What’s that definition of insanity, again?

    Moving furniture…

    Now, here goes President Obama, as Johnson writes, “…moving the furniture around again.” This is a perfect demonstration of the “do-something” disease meant to politically placate the easily placated. People on the left who just want to hear pretty words designed to pacify but that will accomplish nothing in reality except to burden honest American gun owners.

    Finally, the President shows emotion

    The President, now, famously, came to tears over this issue. I won’t question his sincerity. A madman shooting little schoolchildren should make all of us shudder to our cores. However, when I think of his emotionless speeches regarding so many other issues, also highly emotional for Americans, such as about people whose lives have been snatched away by Islamist terrorists, by the most brutal methods imaginable, it just leaves me baffled.

     

     

     

  • Drug Dealers Get More Respect Than Gun Dealers in Seattle.

    First victim of Seattle’s gun tax

    According to Richard D. Oxley, MyNorthwest.com, Seattle government has notched its first victim of the city’s new, draconian gun tax. Precise Shooter has stopped selling firearms and ammunition and will soon move its business out of Seattle and King County to Lynnwood in Snohomish County.

    How can a constitutional right have a sin tax?

    The Seattle City Council compared the guns and ammo tax to the added taxes on cigarettes and alcohol—so-called “sin” taxes. Well, a law-abiding person owning a gun isn’t a sin, and, the last time I checked, the U.S. Constitution did not guarantee an American’s right to keep and bear cigarettes and alcohol.

    City getting exactly what it wants

    City Council Member Tim Burgess argues, “… the gun tax money will go toward research and other means to fight gun violence in the city.” Call me a cynic, but I think, by moving out of the city, Precise Shooter is giving the city exactly what it wants. No gun shops in Seattle.

    Not the gun-shop owner’s fault

    I am not criticizing Precise Shooter. In the article, the owner, Sergey Solyanik, explains how his business cannot remain profitable with the tax because his shop focuses primarily on selling guns and ammo. I assume this is unlike other stores where firearms and ammunition are only a part of the business.

    Seattle has more respect for illegal drug dealers than for legal gun dealers

    Well, another job well done by Seattle’s progressive bullies. Mr. Solyanik may as well have been a drug dealer on a Downtown corner—oh, wait. Even illegal drug dealers get more respect from Seattle government than legal gun dealers do.

  • A Chief of Police or a Chief of Mayor?

    Does a chasm exists between cops and their chiefs?

    Could a problem in policing today be the gaping chasm that seems to exist between many American police chiefs and their rank and file cops. The position is known as Chief of Police. However, it seems a mayor appointing a person to the office, instead, expects him or her to be the Chief of Mayor. Sheriffs, who are directly elected, may have similar problems depending on the politics of the electorate, but at least they run their own departments.

     

    Alchemy in achievement.

    Police chiefs rise through the ranks either within their departments or are appointed by mayors of other departments to serve as their top cop. These chiefs are usually good people, but many are also, evidently, politically malleable (i.e., the ladder seems to lean to the left as they climb it). Could the philosophical and political separation between cops and their chief come from the alchemy that occurs within some people who rise through the ranks? Sadly, many succumb to the adage: go along to get along. There may be a necessary professional distance that exists between employees and their bosses, generally. However, law enforcement, being a risk-laden, paramilitary organization, poses additional considerations, and trust and loyalty in both directions is crucial.

     

    Conservative cops vs. Liberal leaders.

    It’s no secret that the vast majority of street cops tend to be politically conservative. It is also no mystery that the people running cities such as Seattle are liberal, have oodles of leftist-sanctioned diversity, but scant political diversity. So, what happens when it’s time for the liberal city leadership to choose a chief of police to “lead” its police officers?

     

    The selection process.

    We cops used to parody Seattle’s police chief selection process. We could imagine the mayor meeting the police chief candidates at SeaTac Airport and requesting the candidate hand over his or her ______ (balls for men and, for women, the female equivalent) before then being pre-qualified to be invited to city hall for the formal interview. The city employs a ruse that the rank and file has a “vote” because the Police Officers Guild interviews the candidates and makes recommendations. However, in reality, the guild leadership essentially has to choose among candidates who range from politically left to, far left to, have left the building.

     

    Chief of the cops?

    There hasn’t been Chief of “Police” in Seattle for a long time—probably since Patrick Fitzsimons (the chief who hired me). Coming from the NYPD, many officers may have had legitimate issues with Chief Fitzsimons, but there was no doubt he was the Chief. I often saw Fitzsimons visit the precinct–and pound his knuckles on officer’s chests to make sure they were wearing their ballistic vests. To the contrary, even if I were missing three fingers, I could count on one hand how many times I saw Chiefs Stamper, Kerlikowske or Diaz in a precinct roll call during either of their tenures. How should patrol officers feel knowing they will never work for a chief they can trust—someone they could follow with confidence. The truth is, the mayor and city council will never appoint a chief who the rank and file approves of, because city leaders have never seemed very interested in the cops’ perspective (just shut up and be good little socialists, as a certain officer once put it).

     

    Chief of Police or Chief of Mayor?

    Does this mean the rank and file won’t give a new police chief the benefit of the doubt? Of course not. We gave it to Chief Norm Stamper, R. Gil Kerlikowske, John Diaz (in whom we had the most hope, because he came from us) and most recently, to Kathleen O’Toole. Still, while all of these chiefs, from a patrol officer’s perspective, made good and bad moves, officers were mostly disappointed after these chiefs seem to have been (or are a) puppet(s) of the municipal handlers, more concerned with following political protocols than with truly leading police officers. While a chief, ostensibly, has authority over his or her officers, should we have to wonder who actually runs the police department in Seattle? Shouldn’t it be an apolitical (as much as possible) chief of police? If Seattle weren’t lead by its liberal elite, its police department might not have become the petri dish for liberal, social justice experimentation that it is today. And it would have a Chief of Police, not a Chief of Mayor.

  • Teach Victimhood, gets Victims; Teach Responsibility, get…

    What’s going on today on America’s college campuses? Students are shouting (I’m talking, screaming invective-laden screeds that would make a banshee blush) down professors who dare to express something other than radical, liberal orthodoxy. A professor—of media studies, no less—soliciting “muscle” to help her eject a reporter attempting to cover a race relations gathering on public property (she must have missed the free speech day in grad school). These liberal bastions (did you think I was going to use another word?) are now reaping what they have sown. It would be humorous, if it weren’t so sad. Check out the U.K. Daily Mail article.

    If our colleges and university professors teach young, impressionable students that they are victims of a fundamentally “bad” nation, students will look for what’s wrong with America, and then discover how best to express their victimhood. Hmmmm, who could have ever seen this coming?

    What would happen if, instead, professors taught students that they are not victims and encouraged them to take responsibility for their own success?

    Well, since teaching victimhood creates victims, perhaps, teaching responsibility might create responsible people. Hmmmm, just a thought.

  • Workers Need the Rich to Buy Limos, Yachts and Mansions

    Anti-capitalism seems all the rage. Malcontents in many cities throughout the world recently held demonstrations, including here in Seattle. Amusingly, in the Jet City, the police tasked with escorting the protesters outnumbered them, as they attempted to express their First Amendment “rights” by blocking Seattleites pursuits of happiness. For the left it was business as usual; it seems nothing is more important than what they believe.

    It’s nearly impossible to imagine what, besides time and experience, could get through those granite noggins. The fact—yes, fact—that free market capitalism has made the world a much better place than the one it found on its arrival in the arsenal of American Exceptionalism, is undeniable. However, it’s also no mystery that these perennial protesters deny the undeniable. Logic seems to play a small role, if any, in their thinking and actions.

    The anarchists, the socialists, the communists and the ignorant whine about the so-called “One Percent.” They ask derisively, how many jets, houses or yachts a rich person should have? I have two answers to that. One: as many as they want and can afford—it’s their money! Two: Hopefully, as many as possible. The second answer comes from all the aviation, marine and housing laborers who are responsible for putting food on their tables and keeping roofs over their heads.

    The white-collar one-percent don’t physically build the cars; their blue-collar employees do. For every limousine, private jet or mansion built, companies need skilled and unskilled laborers to build them. Try making a list tracking all the hands involved in the manufacture of these products. General contractors, subcontractors, and designers; mechanics, carpenters, and bricklayers; stone masons, electricians, and plumbers; painters, landscapers, and gardeners; pilots, drivers, captains and crews; architects, accountants, and insurance agents and on and on. And this is just off the top of my head and not nearly a complete list. It doesn’t include the myriad ancillary businesses supported by the dollars these companies spend on materials, hardware, and parts, not to mention what their laborers pour into the economy.

    No issue is as black and white as the social justice agitators would like to have us believe. Then again, critical thinking has never been one of the left’s strong suits.

     

  • Liberals Give Their Own–IRS–a Pass

    I’ve been thinking about Watergate. Why? Because Democrats give their own a pass no matter how egregious the offense. I wonder what today’s Dems would have thought if Nixon and company had gotten a pass on their corruption and crimes. Or, is it always worse if a Republican does it? What would the Dems have said about and thought of a government that would ignore wrongdoing and protect a high official simply because he or she was on “their” side?

    I think we all know what that would have looked like. They would have been incensed and outraged by such a travesty that would let someone get away with such offenses because of who they are or who they know. Isn’t that a significant part of what is supposed to make our country different from others. Are we a nation of laws or not? Shouldn’t Democrats be concerned about such corruption?

    Of course, they should, but they’re not–unless a Republican does it. It seems liberals are willing to overlook all sorts of corruption as long as their ideology advances. The ends justify the means. We have two preeminent cases (out of many other examples of corruption that have been overlooked—can you say fast and furious?), Benghazi and the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups. Anyone have any doubt whatsoever that had the secretary of state or head of the IRS been Republican in these cases that the media and Department of Justice would have been all over them like stink on… well, you know.

    What are those of us who hold justice in high esteem supposed to do with a government where, if you’re a high official and your timing is right, you can avoid liability and sanctions for policy and law violations just as long as those responsible for investigating you are also Democrats? And these Democrats constantly scream that the police do not enforce the law equitably.

    When this involves non-violent “white collar” violations, that’s bad enough. But the Benghazi catastrophe involved the horrible deaths of four human beings.

    Lois Lerner spat in Americans’ faces and has gotten away with her corruption. However, as repugnant as her violations were, they didn’t involve anyone’s death. Now we have to ask, will Hillary Clinton also get a similar pass on Benghazi and the email scandal?

    The scary thing is we know four Americans died. We know there were some six hundred requests for increased security at the embassy. We know the video cited by Clinton and others in the Obama administration well after they had known the truth did not cause the attack on Benghazi. How do we know? Secretary Clinton’s congressional hearing testimony confirmed it.

    We know the above items occurred for certain. To continue to support Clinton, you have to “accept” that these things happened and decide that it is somehow okay that she did them. Would these Democrats be okay with the government had it given Nixon a pass? Is it okay with them that Nixon’s supporters chose to overlook his corruption–his crimes? Again, I think we know the answer.   

  • Reasons for Poor Police-Community Relations

    As I see it, there are three primary reasons for the current anti-police sentiment felt across America. (Officers who actually commit crimes also contribute to this, but I feel that is another discussion–not to mention, obvious). Lately, this acrimony has been expressed by some restaurant employees refusing to serve police officers or writing disparaging messages on their coffee cups such as, “FTP” (F**k the Police).

    The first reason is simple: a combination of ignorance and antipathy. There are people who simply do not want to know the truth about police cases where officers are cleared of wrongdoing. They prefer to remain ignorant and angry. They do not like the police, they do not want to like the police, and they do not want anyone else to like the police.

    They buy into myths such as, “Hands Up Don’t Shoot,” which, according to former Attorney General Eric Holder, who had contributed to trying to paint the officer guilty, never happened. While some police critics may come around as they mature and gain life experience, as a group these people are simply cop-haters—enemies of the police.

    The second reason is when governments pass unnecessary and redundant laws, which are often politically motivated. Most of these types of laws do not address legitimate public safety issues. Whenever government passes a law that doesn’t protect Peter from Paul but protects Peter from his own decisions, a collision course between cops and ordinary citizens has been assured.

    The third reason is caused by police officers themselves. Many, perhaps even most, people can recall a negative contact with a police officer at some time in their lives. Just like most folks can cite a negative experience with an employee at the post office, a restaurant or movie theater. However, negative experiences with police officers tend to remain long after the contact than with other “service providers.” The petty tyrants among police officers can cause a lot of problems for people but also for their fellow cops.

    When dealing with people, I always tried to keep in mind that our interaction set them up for their next meeting with a police officer. If I were rude or unprofessional, people might expect that behavior from the next officer as well.

    I’m not saying that professionally acting officers ignore when people disrespect them. People should be treated in a manner befitting what their behavior has earned them. This third reason results from when officers are rude or unprofessional with people who are being cooperative. Think about it. Do you have a negative story about interacting with the police? I do—a couple of them.

    Of course, having been a cop for so long, I have many more positive contacts that mitigate the few petty tyrants. Unfortunately, the average citizen does not have this advantage. They might have one, two or a handful, at most, contacts with the police, and probably for something relatively minor. This can affect how they think about cops, generally.

    In these instances, the contact can have a significant impact on people’s views on law enforcement. Cops should not join the cop-haters and politicians by helping to create this negative environment. The first two groups do it out of ignorance, hate or for political gain. Let’s not add insult to injury by aiding our own destruction.

  • DOJ: Lets its Friends Drive Home Drunk.

    This morning I heard Dave Bose, on his KTTH AM 770 radio program, describe our present reality in America, in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obamacare rewrite rescue, as having walked through the “Looking Glass.” How perfect! Living in Bizarro World, as I’ve put it, provides a similar context, but Alice’ looking glass lends the entire mess a poetic patina. Seems, somehow, to soften the blow—or blows—that keep coming, it appears, day-after-day.

    On the other side of the “reality” mirror, one of the warped elements we find is Obama’s DOJ and what substitutes for impartiality in America today. As we all know, the DOJ has refused, time after time, to prosecute people with whom it agrees while it has earned a reputation for zealously prosecuting political opponents.

    Having just retired from the police department last year, I have to ask: How is that any different from me, as a police officer letting someone “off” after catching him or her committing a felony because he or she is a conservative or libertarian . Or, letting someone drive home drunk, after giving them a break on a DUI, because he or she is on my side of the political aisle. Or, to the contrary, actively seeking to “catch” and cite or arrest someone because I disagree with him or her politically? I think I may have sprained my brain attempting to resolve the difference.

    The context may be different, but the socio-legal argument is the same—playing favorites—special treatment—inequity. This goes way beyond prosecutorial discretion. And I’m not talking about a cop letting a family member or friend slide for a simple infraction, for which some officers have been sanctioned to the delight of many on the left, but about serious transgressions such as Lois Lerner, allegedly, committed while heading the Exempt Organizations Unit at the IRS in actively targeting the current administration’s political opponents. In a free democratic republic such as ours, isn’t that among the most egregious crimes against not only the Americans targeted but against the entire idea of American liberty?

    Lately, I’ve been advising my friends who have concluded the American sky is falling, and we have no recourse, to put things in perspective. For example, it’s not as bad as the civil war era, which threatened to destroy the American experiment of a government of the people. Nevertheless, I understand, and commiserate with, their perspective. With a senate that initially ran on Harry Reid’s wormy rules changes to pass major, single-party legislation and now is run in large part by presidential edict, including altering laws at will and on whim, it’s getting much more difficult to shed a positive light on America’s present sociopolitical condition. Still, I am maintaining hope for our nation—at least until I wake up one day in November, 2016 and discover, to my abject horror, that our new president has a D next to her name.