The 2nd amendment is for progressives too

By Peter Hall of Haines, Oregon. In 2006, Peter ran for the Oregon Legislature in HD 60 "as a Democrat although I described myself as a progressive libertarian, someone who used to be welcome in the Republican party."

There has been a run on guns lately in my home county in Eastern Oregon. Some are afraid that a Democratic administration will ban assault weapons and hand guns. this is unlikely with all the more pressing matters, but it is not a paranoid view.

I spent most of the 2008 campaign in Montana, and it is amazing the numbers of people who would have voted for Obama if not for the gun issue. Even the reassurances of the governor and both senators were not enough to dissuade people from this view.

In Oregon, one man, Chuck Butcher, convinced the DPO to embrace the 2nd amendment. He explained to me that if our freedoms are taken away, it will come from the right, not the left, and maybe progressives are the ones who should be a little paranoid. If you look at the history of the labor movement, it is clear the value of being able to effectively defend yourself.

For me, the moment that really hit home was Katrina. It is clear we cannot count on our government to always be there to protect us. Our founding fathers understood this, and I believe the 2nd amendment was designed specifically to allow military style weapons in the hands of the public for those instances when defense of one's community can only be achieved by an ad hoc group because the government is unable or unwilling to come to its defense. The 2nd amendment is not for ordinary circumstances. It is there for the rare occurrences that hopefully never come to your community. This does not preclude some controls, but it is clear to me that our founders were not thinking of hunting rifles when they wrote the amendment.

The Democratic Party has a major opportunity to make the West blue (with the exception of Utah, that religion thing). Truly embrace responsible gun ownership, and we take a big weapon away from the right wingers (lame pun intended).

Comments

  • Betsy O (unverified)
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    Great.

    On a day where the newspaper talks about how we're supposed to make a bunch of noise and wear bright orange clothes when we're out hiking (thereby destroying the solitude and beauty) because hunters are accidentally killing people, a post celebrating guns. Sorry, usually I'm with you but I'm grumpy today about people dying. Try me tomorrow.

  • (Show?)

    What is your definition of responsible gun ownership?

    Leaving a shotgun on the steps of a suburban home, like I had the pleasure of coming up while canvassing for Jim Gilbert out in Silverton?

    One can responsibly use a gun about as easily as one can responsibly drive a tank down a sidewalk.

    The prevelance of guns in New Orleans during Katrina did nothing to make the average citizen there safer. In fact, it could have led to more chaos & disaster on top of the already crisis-level situation.

    Guns were not the answer - disaster aid & help were the answer, from the govt as well as other organizations like the Red Cross, Salvation Army, etc.

    When guns get in the mix, the chances of people really getting hurt goes up exponentially.

    I'm all for the blue movement emerging in the West - but do not believe abandoning sensible gun laws & policy like that promoted by the Clinton Admin in the 90's or the Brady Campaign is at all an obstacle to the progressive trends we are seeing in the Northwest, Southwest, & Rocky Mtn West.

    To abandon the Democrats logical & progressive policies/ principles on gun control would present a larger threat to the health, safety, & well-being of citizens than any limit on the 2nd Amendment would impose on the freedom of those same citizens.

  • Joel H (unverified)
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    if our freedoms are taken away, it will come from the right, not the left

    Perhaps, but what is certain (and more or less tautological) is that it has and will continue to come from authoritarians. Freedoms aren't taken away by ideologies, they're taken away by people seeking power, and if you think the Left is somehow immune from that, you must have been asleep for the whole 20th century.

  • RichW (unverified)
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    I am all for "reasonable" gun ownership. I am also for "reasonable" gun restrictions. I think most people would agree that guns don't belong in certain environments. My employer, a hospital, doesn't allow them on the premises. What is needed then is a set of policies that define "reasonable". The folks at the far right (NRA) and the far-left (ban all firearms) shouldn't be able to capture the definitions.

    As for hiking vs, hunting, the answer is simple. The hikers should learn what areas are open to hunting and avoid them. Also at this time of year in Montana, you had better make a lot of noise and be visible, not because of the right to bear arms, but because the bears' right arms.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    For me, the moment that really hit home was Katrina. It is clear we cannot count on our government to always be there to protect us

    Europeans seem to manage to get by without personal arsenals. Perhaps the difference was explained by Michael Moore in "Sicko." In France the government fears the people. In America the people fear the government. So what will they do with all their guns? There may come a day when some people wake up and realize they are under a fascist dictatorship and call for a charge on the barricades, but if they look over their shoulders they will find precious few following.

  • (Show?)

    Betsy, Elizabeth, and Rich,

    Take a clue from President-elect Obama. Nobody's ordering you to own a gun or to wander around in the woods during hunting season with a target painted on your forehead.

    There are cultural, historical, and psychological reasons that we continue to cling to our guns. What the author is trying to point out is that you need gun owners and you need to see us as few defenders of liberty, not as some sort of whack job stereotype of atavism (though statistically it's a fact that gun ownership has been on the decline since 1977).

    One perhaps small example of the usefulness of progressive gun owners would be during the early 90's when the OCA had elevated gay bashing to a fevered pitch. At least a few of us, myself included, were right there in the workplace demanding zero tolerance for hate speech and the ironclad offer to meet proposed gun violence with the same.

    Not to argue that enacting any of these bellicose scenarios would be useful, but speaking to violent and fearful people on their own cultural terms is absolutely critical in advancing the progressive agenda toward a future where weapons of all sorts become niche anachronisms, and reason rules the day.

    Every single gun owner that we can pry away from NRA propaganda and reassure with our own examples is a small step away from legitimizing violence as a the ultimate debating point.

    Listen to your uncle Peter.

  • joshuawelch (unverified)
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    This is an excellent discussion to have from a strategic standpoint for Dems. I fully support a ban on assault weapons, however the D's need to put some resources into communicating their actual position on deadly-weapon rights. I have spent many years of my life in rural America and there are large numbers of gun people that are misinformed about Democratic positions on the 2nd amendment. While phone-banking this year I had more than one gun-loving Oregonian tell me how the Dems will revoke the 2nd amendment. We could turn a lot of red to blue by simply getting the truth to these people. I think the argument that one might need an assault weapon in case the govt doesn't do it's job in a natural disaster is about as weak as they come. The cost benefit analysis of assault weapons on the streets is not even close.

  • Neal Hawes (unverified)
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    "This does not preclude some controls, but it is clear to me that our founders were not thinking of hunting rifles when they wrote the amendment."

    In 1776, when the Constitution was signed, the only weapons available were flintlocks, used primarly for hunting & secondary for battle. The founding fathers couldn't have been thinking about anything but single shot weapons when writing the amendment, because they didn't exist! I don't have a problem w/ hunting weapons (I own several, pistols too), but I feel that if you need a military style or automatic weapon to ambush an animal, then you shouldn't be hunting! I sure don't want you spraying the woods down w/ lead when I'm hunting. Gun control is hitting what you aim at!

  • mp97303 (unverified)
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    In 2005, the most recent year for which data is available, 55 percent of the gun-related deaths in the United States were suicides. There was nothing special about 2005, as suicides have been the number-one gun death for 20 of the past 25 years.

    In 2005, 40 percent of gun-related deaths were murders; three percent were accidents, and 2 percent were legal killings, including when police shot criminals and those of undetermined intent.

    95% of gun related deaths have NOTHING to do with law abiding, mentally stable citizens. Correct those problems and you have no gun problem

  • (Show?)

    i have zero fear of the govt taking away guns, instituting martial law, and any of these other nightmares some people are giving in to. which army do these people think will come and take away their guns? jeez, the level of fear & paranoia cuz there's now a black man about to become president is grotesque.

    what i do fear, and with good reason because it's been happening for over a century-and-a-half, is the take over of the country by corporations. what good is your damn gun against a board of directors that meets in various parts of the world? how much use is a closet full of rifles when the banks & walk street melt down? we don't need to protect ourselves with arms; the country has needed that not one bit since we gained independence. what we've needed is an informed, educated, well-paid and properly governed polity. when the hell have we had that? and what frikkin good are guns towards that end? when the NRA starts advocating for public education and living-wage jobs, and stops worrying that the gummit gonna take away their armor-piercing ammo, then we might be getting somewhere. until then, they are gun nuts and doing far more harm than good.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    This essay posted by darrellplant on another thread seems appropriate for this one.

  • Eric (unverified)
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    I don't know what the big deal is about limiting the rights granted in Amendments. The first amendment doesn't allow you to yell "fire" in a crowded theatre or broadcast porn over the air.

    There is not anything fundamentally wrong about abridging the second amendment in some fashion.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    There is not anything fundamentally wrong about abridging the second amendment in some fashion.

    The Second Amendment has been and still is abridged in many ways. Try taking a gun on board an aircraft or in a federal building.

  • Kevin Starrett (unverified)
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    The "fire in a crowded theater" argument, when used to argue that people's rights to own the firearm of their choice should be attacked, just makes no sense.

    If a person abuses the First Amendment, she is punished. (Or should be.) But there is no law that states that before you enter a theater, you must submit to an intrusive background check, ask police permission, and get a permit to enter the theater.

    Similarly, you are not required (yet) to get permission to write a letter to the editor or post to a blog. If you abuse your right, there maybe a consequence, but there is not yet prior restraint, as there is in gun ownership.

    I am continually perplexed by those on the left who regularly scream for "tolerance" for everything except a person's right to own what he damn well pleases as long as he's not hurting someone else. Instead, they constantly demand that their neighbors and countrymen give up something that only the "police and military" should have. But of course, they are all to eager to point out the abuses of the police and military.

    When the police abuse their positions, this is decried (as it should be) but the anti-gun left is still fine with the cops they hate having things they would deny to themselves and anyone else. All authority should be questioned. But the left seems just fine condoning the expansion of government power when it comes to firearms.

    Freedom is freedom. Those calling themselves "right wing" attack it one way, the Lefties attack it another way. But accusing gun owners of everything except kidnapping the Lindberg baby will not win them over. They are all around you every day. And 99.99 % of them never hurt anyone.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    If a person abuses the First Amendment, she is punished. (Or should be.) But there is no law that states that before you enter a theater, you must submit to an intrusive background check, ask police permission, and get a permit to enter the theater.

    But there are many laws that prohibit carrying guns - on commercial passenger aircraft, in federal and state buildings, in schools, etc. - with the agreement of the NRA.

  • Joel H (unverified)
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    The first amendment doesn't allow you to ... broadcast porn over the air.

    Sure it does. No part of the constitution, including the first amendment, prohibits citizens from doing anything. It's the FCC that disallows it. And it depends on the wavelength and protocol you're broadcasting in, really... you can broadcast all the porn you want over, say, 2.4GHz, but you mostly just can't do it between 54 and 746 MHz.

  • Joel H (unverified)
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    And next year, you'll be able to broadcast porn on those frequencies, too.

  • YoungOregonMoonbat (unverified)
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    Responsible gun ownership consists of this:

    1. Prior to buying a gun, you take shooting courses to learn how to use and take care of your gun.

    2. Buy your gun going through the ridiculous amount of paperwork and waiting periods that we currently have.

    3. Store the gun in a case unloaded without any ammo and then store the ammo COMPLETELY SEPARATE FROM THE GUN in another room.

    4. Continue to take classes and go out for target practice on your days off to maintain your ability to use and take care of your gun.

    That is what I see as "responsible" gun ownership.

    Lastly, the whole dispute over the 2nd Amendment was pretty much currently resolved this past summer in that US Supreme Court case involving the DC gun ban.

    However, I am quite certain that a 2008 US Supreme Court ruling on the 2nd Amendment will not stop individuals like Ginny Burdick from trying to ban all guns except the guns already in the hands of criminals.

    Oh well, some have to have their ass handed to them to learn.

    BTW, liberals should drop this issue. The 2nd Amendment is settled at the moment and barking up that tree will cause that tree to fall on you.

  • jrw (unverified)
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    And some of us left sorts who've been raised around guns, own guns, and use them for hunting purposes are fully aware that gun control means that when you pick up your weapon, you're fully aware of where your muzzle is pointed and where your finger is in relation to the trigger.

    And, oh yeah, the frothing fury it's possible to evoke in a right wing sort when you chime up that "I'm a progressive, left-wing Democrat and I just happen to looove my gun."

    Or when you point out to them that their poster girl Sarah Palin hasn't the faintest clue about how to handle a gun correctly and safely.

    The reaction? Priceless.

    I was raised with guns, guns are part of my heritage, and I see no reason to give mine up because people who have not had the appropriate training see them as animate killers. A gun is a tool which is as good as the person wielding it. No more, no less.

  • mp97303 (unverified)
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    @moonbat re: your last post

    <h1>1. Did it</h1> <h1>2. Filled out 1 page form, gave them my thumb print and waited 2 minutes for them to make the phone call.</h1> <h1>3. I will gladly do this if you make it a requirement that all scumbags phone ahead to inform the homeowner they are about to victimize that they are on their way. A 1-hr notice would suffice. Or, if you are unable to do this, when you can provide me with the power to "freeze" time so that I can adequately defend myself, you gotta deal.</h1> <h1>4. Done it and do it weekly(target practice that is)</h1>
  • Young (unverified)
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    mp97303,

    I understand your reply to my "#3." If you live in a neighborhood or city with high crime or feel insecure about your personal safety, then that is why we have "concealed weapons," which go by a different set of rules.

    In my personal opinion, if you ever feel insecure then by all means keep it loaded and on you at all times.

    All that I ask is that you keep one you want loaded and the rest unloaded and separate from the ammo so that the young hoodlum scumbags can't procure a loaded gun when they rob your house.

    Also, be sure to drag his body inside the house after you unload 5 rounds into that cocksucking, stealing lowlife's back. I would suggest bringing him down with a shot to the leg first and then plugging him with a couple more rounds in the chest from the front so that it makes it all that much more harder for the DA to get ya.

    God forbid that the courts put you away for defending your own property.

  • Chuck Butcherc (unverified)
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    Assault weapons?? What are properly called assault weapons are already heavily regulated as machine guns, these are the military varients. What are miscalled assault weapons are "ugly" semi-automatic (one shot per trigger pull) rifles. The AR15 is the civilian version of the M16, it fires a small caliber bullet at fairly high velocity that is self loaded from a magazine.

    As far as deadliness, a 30-06 hunting rifle is considerably more so. A 30-06 will for sure, no kidding, zip right through law enforcement style armor. Most hunting rifles will. What was that again about armor piercing bullets? There is nothing special about the bullets, they are just big enough and moving fast enough to go through.

    The level of absolute ignorance regarding the things people propose to "abolish" in regard to rights is astonishing. I love it when the authoritarian gun banning mindset goes to work calling people ignorant rednecks while they engage in exactly the same thing. Whose hoops is it you're jumpiing through? You're parroting whom? You have exactly no correct factual information and choose to make proposals based on that? Perhaps it is less difficult to understand the scorn you are held in? Consider that assault weapons figured in 1% of firearm related crimes and your fear is what?

  • YoungOregonMoonbat (unverified)
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    Oh, and for any "redistributive" justice favoring individual who disagrees with me, I fully believe in the "Castle Doctirine," meaning that if you willfully and rationally decide to rob my place of residence, then I believe it is my right to defend my place of residence with deadly force.

    Think about the conscious state of mind and all the steps that one goes through when they decide to rob someone. These steps leading to the robbery ain't light and they are as sure as well illogical enough to force the owner of that residence to defend themself with enough force (be it deadly or not) so that the attacker will never, ever think about robbing them again.

    If defense involves taking the life, then so be it.

    If someone is to the point of robbery, then they are at a point where the cost/benefit analysis of saving them from a life of prison or early death is too high on the cost side.

    Emotional-based appeals from bleeding heart liberals has never worked with me. If you want to convince me then shut up and show the numbers that "redistributive justice" works or otherwise shut your piehole and let honest, hardworking tax payers defend their residence at whatever cost from an individual who would want to willfully and consciously take from them while they are sleeping.

  • YoungOregonMoonbat (unverified)
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    I meant restorative justice and not redistributive justice.

    I apologize for confusing my terminology.

  • The Libertarian Guy (unverified)
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    "Europeans seem to manage to get by without personal arsenals." How many civilians were killed in Europe during WWII? And how many would have died had more of them been armed against the Nazis?

    In the post Civl War American South the 10 guage shotgun was the best friend the former slaves had. It is the one thing that kept the night riders away in many cases.

    TLG

  • (Show?)

    It's always been a bit of a running joke with some of my Dem friends that I'm a member of the DPO's Gun Owners Caucus, yet don't own a gun.

    My husband wants to purchase one, but I have told him that we will not have a gun in the house until I have learned how to use one. As I'm home by myself (or with Abby) more often than not, I'm the one who would be most likely to ever have to use the gun. So it only make sense to not have one until I am no longer afraid of them and know how to use one.

    My husband, an Army vet from the Gulf War period, is very comfortable with guns and knows how to use them. It's taken me a long time to get him to understand why I don't want one in the house until I can use it.

  • mp97303 (unverified)
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    @moonbat

    Actually, both of my guns are secured, loaded and accessible to only me. My handgun is in a gun vault that is opened by a microchip attached to my watchband and my shotgun is in a retractable clamping device attached to my bedframe. Both are as secure as any gun can be.

  • mp97303 (unverified)
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    @Jenni

    You can find an "intro to gun for women" class at just about any gun range or through a gun store. My mother sounded exactly like you but after several of these classes, she is comfortable around guns. Still doesn't like them, but comfortable none the less.

    I assume that you live in the POrtland area, so there just happens to be a really great group that is just what you need. The Portland Firearms Training Team

  • (Show?)

    Yea, I figured doing to a gun range for a training course would be the way to start out. I know once I handle one and am shown how to do everything properly that I'll be fine. It was the same fear I had of the lawnmower and cars before I was taught how to use them.

    Thanks for the link. I'll check them out.

  • George Seldes (unverified)
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    I'll take this opportunity again to recommend that anyone who finds BlueOregon valuable will find "Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from the Class War" by Joe Bageant well worth the time. He has a long chapter on guns and offers some pretty sage advice for Democrats on the subject.

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)
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    The author of this discussion topic makes it sound like the Democrats were reluctant to support the Second Amendment, and Chuck Butcher sort of made us do that. Hmmm, as a witness and participant in the Oregon Democratic Party's endorsement of the Second Amendment without qualification - I guess I see that historic event a little different.

    All resolutions are submitted by County Party members to the State Platform and Resolutions Committee. When Chuck brought in the resolution, it received very strong support from myself and other members. We saw it then in 2005 as a direct attack back on the Republicant (they can't get anything right) theory that all Democrats want to take away everyone's guns. The resolution was passed out of the P & R Committee to the full Central Committee with a do-pass recommendation - unanimously.

    The resolution then went to the State Central Committee meeting that was held in Medford in the summer of 2005. The debate on the floor reflected some of the views found in the responses here, but when it came to a vote, it was about an 85% vote in favor. Those against the resolution were mainly from the Portland and Eugene areas, but it appeared that the rest of the State was solidly behind the resolution.

    If you look in the archives of Blue Oregon, you'll find my post on the passage of this resolution.

  • LB (unverified)
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    As an independent left libertarian, I consistently vote Democrat except when they are cheerleaders for war, restrictions of civil liberties, or restrictions on gun rights.

  • christopher (unverified)
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    Test to drive a car. No problem.

    Test to own a gun. You are a freakin' commie scum trying to subvert America.

  • George Seldes (unverified)
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    Great article in High Country News, with lots of comments:

    "Why We All Need the Democrats to Abandon Gun Control"

    http://is.gd/8EnS

  • Scabbers (unverified)
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    I don't hunt myself, but I grew up in a liberal leaning family who have always gone hunting in the Fall. Some of my relatives liked Obama on most issues, but were worried about gun ownership rights. The recent Supreme Court decision on extreme Washington D.C. anti-gun laws eased some of their fears.

    30 years ago Portland was a good deal less urban, and most of our neighbors either did some hunting or fishing every year. I went to a progressive church retreat this October and when we discussed our backgrounds, I was the only one out of 25 people who was actually raised in Oregon. Most came from urban areas out-of-state, and for some this retreat within a half-hour of portland seemed like wilderness to them. Portlanders should get out more and have conversations with folk in the rest of the state. Most gun owners are normal, responsible people.

  • Ted (unverified)
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    Seemed like fairly productive and polite discussion until T.A. jumped in with his Limbaughesque tirade: "jeez, the level of fear & paranoia cuz there's now a black man about to become president is grotesque."

    Let's play that race card early and often!! By the way, I voted for Cynthia McKinney.

    According to T.A. the NRA... "...they are gun nuts..." Each and every one of you, a gun nut. You're not legitimately concerned about the meaning and interpretation of the Constitution or qualified to speculate on what the Founding Fathers might have meant when they framed the Constitution, because you're just a "nut." That's sort of like Rush Limbaugh saying everyone who is pro-choice likes to kill babies.

    Not only does T.A. call those who disagree with him racistcs and crazies, he makes a totally stupid argument. He's worried about giant corporations and banks taking control of government. Government is sending our troops to some awful war to protect those corporation's (actually, super rich and powerful individuals) interests, where they are drinking unsanitary water compliment's of VP Cheney's Halliburton cronies and being poisoned by depleted uranium. Meanwhile, Blackwater and other private security firms that are equally tied to Bush, Cheney, Pearle, etc IN THE GOVT are taking more and more responsibility for things like policing peaceful gatherings of protest and free speech (the last DNC, for example). FEMA confiscates guns unconstitutionally during the Katrina disaster and Cheney and Bush comment publicly about how well they thought the whole thing went. They couldn't have been talking about their humanitarian efforts.

    What army is going to take away our guns? You have zero fear of the government? After the government lied us into an unconstitutional war (not the first time, either)? After the opposition party did nothing about it, because those big corporations you hate sure weren't complaining? What we need, says T.A., is something he admits we don't have (good government), to protect us against big corporations and banks that control (and are the reason for bad) government.

    If I can cast a net as big as T.A., and I'm not going to make accusations of racism or fanaticism, I would say that the anti-gun and anti Second Amendment movement can broadly be labeled the "it can't happen here" crowd. No matter how bad it gets and how fascist our government behaves, the USA is somehow impervious to the lessons of history. Nobody will ever be kicking down your door and unchained enough from unaccountability to loot your house, kick the shit out of you, and rape your wife. Americans can be conditioned and propagandized to do that in Iraq or Vietnam, suspending all moral sensibility, but never could that happen here you seem to believe.

    I disagree. I think the Founding Fathers would disagree (especially in the context of what's been going on the last 10-20 years), too. ...And I voted for a black woman.

  • Christopher Hoffman (unverified)
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    Why does anyone NEED an AR15?

    There is no practical or functional difference between an AR15 and any other semi-automatic rifle. These rifles are simply targeted for their appearance because it's an easy sell to an uninformed populace, who then believe that the politician sponsoring the measure has actually accomplished something.

    Common arguments are that these semi-automatic rifles are designed only one purpose, to kill people. Tell that to the hundreds of thousands of target shooters, hunters (yes, can hunt with them) and competitive shooters whose entire sport depends on this configuration of rifle.

    But the Second Amendment isn't about duck hunting. It's about defending ourselves, our families, and if need be our communities and country. There is rich, incontrovertible history articulating that a fundamental reason for the Second Amendment was to function as safeguard against future tyranny, both foreign and domestic. Surely we aren't expected to fight terrorists or tyranny with a five shot revolver.

    Now we may be a long way from the need to exercise that capability at this time, but can anyone say with absolute certainty, that we will either never be attacked on the ground by a foreign enemy? And can anyone say with any certainty that our government will never cross the line in the future and turn hostile or violent against her own people?

    Of course not. That's why the Second Amendment was number two in the Bill Of Rights, to stand as a bulwark against a government, should it go berserk. It's there to help ensure that the rest of the Bill Of Rights will survive the whim of ambitious, but narrow-minded politicians and ideologues who would damage it in the name of "improvement".

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    "Europeans seem to manage to get by without personal arsenals." How many civilians were killed in Europe during WWII? And how many would have died had more of them been armed against the Nazis?

    TLG: First of all there was a lot of violent resistance - Socialists, Communists and Social Democrats - in Germany to Hitler but they were beaten by the National Socialist thugs. Both sides were more or less equally armed with guns playing a relatively minor role to clubs and similar weapons. The leadership of opposing groups were neutralized and the opposition eventually collapsed. If the opposing groups had increased their arsenals to include more guns, then Hitler's thugs would have done the same and there would have been a civil war with a possibly worse outcome. In Eastern Europe there were a few brave souls with guns who attempted some sort of insurgency, but they went nowhere with Nazi retribution of 10, 50 or 100 executions for each German soldier killed. And, of course, there was the problem of their armies being overrun.

    There have been recent events, notably in France, where opposition to the government succeeded without the use of guns. Farmers used a simple tactic of blocking roads with their tractors bringing traffic to a standstill in many locations. American farmers have held parades with their equipment in D.C., but they were ignored because they were too law-abiding to not block the highways. Civil disobedience is a card rarely played in America.

    Afghanistan is a good example where an armed populace can be effective, but Afghanistan and America are two different places and Afghanis and Americans are two different types of people.

    The Bush Administration with the complicity of half of the Democratic Party started an illegal war that has cost this nation hundreds of billions of dollars and contributed to the current economic crisis, but, except for a small minority, Americans have accepted this abuse. So what purpose would an armed populace serve if the vast majority is opposed to rocking their sinking boat?

  • (Show?)

    Ted wrote (for some unknowable reason): "And I voted for a black woman."

    oh goody. she's no doubt still weeping with gratitude.

    i have no idea what you were writing, dude. perhaps some editing before you hit the "post" button would give you a tiny chance of making sense, but it's unlikely.

  • Terry (unverified)
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    You know I have lived in Oregon for about 38 years now and the one thing I love about this place is being able to have the guns I have. One responder, Elizabeth wrote {One can responsibly use a gun about as easily as one can responsibly drive a tank down a sidewalk.} Well that might be her and some people she knows, but most the people I know do. The Government has slowly been chipping away at our rights, and now with this president, they will be after our guns. And if you think they’re going to protect you, well just look at who they helped with this bail out.

  • Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings of Sussex (unverified)
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    I was there in 1978 with a group organized by President Carter and locals were positively proud of the fact that they were not going to prepare. We were trying to solicit for levee improvements and where told repeatedly "that's only a concern for white trash and nigroes". Katrina was not a natural disaster that the government couldn't deal with, it was the government using a natural disaster, with malice of forethought, to assault a community.

    We need guns alright, but why wait until after the disaster? Seriously, the main contradiction your argument hits if you go deep enough is that if a self-defense militia is OK, then we need that militia to defend us right now from the daily, physical, emotional and financial abuses it is inflicting.

    Let's get real. Like real on the ground reality today. Oregon has legal medical marijuana. Feds come and violate our laws by breaking in peoples' doors in the middle of the night, assaulting them, and the rendering them to a locale where they are in violation of the law for trial. Just why should I care more about looting after an earthquake than that?!?

    If you worry about a Katrina style aftermath, then get your boot off the neck of the "other". The lesson from Katrina is that you can't force fit society every day, then expect it to function naturally and on its own when you remove the constraints.

    We need guns for defense is just a gussied up version of "white flight". When you talk about urban sprawl and the environment, how many times do you talk about how "white flight" was the main cause. Yeah, it was the auto and post-WWII prosperity. Pseudo-progressives advance "progressive" ideas when the more obvious solution is fixing the problem.

    Personally, I read the second amendment as the codification of that bit in the Declaration about when a government ceases to serve the needs of the citizenry it is their right to replace it. That requires arms. It says arms, not guns. Personally, I'm all for a citizen militia. With nukes. You won't fight Washington with guns!

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    Betsy, Elizabeth, and Rich,

    Take a clue from President-elect Obama. Nobody's ordering you to own a gun or to wander around in the woods during hunting season with a target painted on your forehead.

    So, basically, they're your wild places. I'm all for sharing. When can we go nude?

  • SCB (unverified)
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    Why does anyone NEED an AR15?

    When my son recently purchased a house, we advised him he needed a few things, including a toilet plunger. He couldn't figure why he'd need such a thing - until he needed it.

    While I don't own an AR15, and I'm not sure what it is, for the sake of discussion I will think that it is an automatic weapon with a high rate of fire. In my lifetime, our government has gone crazy and killed civilians. Not counting the Waco incident, not even counting Ruby Ridge - but only counting Kent State - to me there is enough proof that our govenment can go crazy that I need to consider a future potential where I might have to take up arms against my government in the defense of my liberty and freedoms. I'd probably be on the losing side, but on principle I will oppose any government that turns into a tyranny.

    I have no fears that the Democrats will take my guns away. I own a couple, hardly ever use them, and then only to do a little target practice. They are always locked up and put away. I have them because you just really never know what the future will hold. Who knows, the way the current administration has wrecked the economy, I might need a rifle to go get me some food (e.g. hunt).

    But I do fear Republican administrations. It wasn't the Democrats that took peoples guns away in New Orleans. The Democrats didn't build those empty prison camps that can hold way over 100,000 people. Brady (as in the Brady bill) wasn't a Democrat was he?

    In fact, I won't be able to sleep well until Bush is out of office. I don't know that he doesn't plan on more than 8 years. I don't know that the current administration will follow the law - especially given the way they have broken it in so many ways - and leave office peacefully.

    Yep - not only do I want to have guns, but I feel that to keep our democracy honest - I need to have a gun or two.
    I don't see where the Democrats in fact are the threat here.

  • mp97303 (unverified)
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    @scb:While I don't own an AR15, and I'm not sure what it is, for the sake of discussion I will think that it is an automatic weapon with a high rate of fire.

    Just the opposite. It looks all "mean and nasty" but it is no different than any other semi-auto rifle.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    I agree with t.a. and Ted. There's plenty of reason to fear both big government and big corporatism. Arms are one tool that we can use for self-defense when necessary.

    This argument over the Second Amendment is going nowhere. It needs to be re-written in some coherent form if it's going to be a guide for anything. And while we're at it, let's hold a Constitutional Convention to re-instate democracy, which has been devastated by the duopoly.

    I didn't vote for a white man either.

  • The Libertarian Guy (unverified)
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    The history of the U.S. is not a history without it's blemishes. What was done to the African-Americans has been called our original sin and we have plenty of similar marks in our history, although not quite as disturbing. A long the way there have even been a talk of a coup once or twice in our history. One I know happened during FDR's time in office. I have read that there was also talk of one during the sixties and I believe that during Nixon's reign of terror the Pentagon moved troops away from Washington so that Nixon could not call them out if he was so inclined. Things got pretty tense during Nixon's day to say the least. Just maybe that is why we have the second amendment. Some day we might just need it.

    TLG

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    The Government has slowly been chipping away at our rights, ...

    And the people have behaved like a bunch of sheep letting the government get away with it. If the people don't have enough initiative to squawk about this what makes you think they will pick up a gun and risk getting shot at? AT&T and Verizon were caught illegally going along with the government snooping on them. Congress didn't give a damn what they people thought and gave these corporations retroactive immunity - which is what they were paid to do. How many "citizens" do you think canceled their AT&T and Verizon contracts? How many of you people wanting guns to defend the nation against tyranny have contracts with corporations that own the government and have been screwing the people left and right for decades?

  • Anonymous (unverified)
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    The Left cannot embrace gun ownership. Gun ownership for normal people is based on trusting average people, and being willing for them to have power. That includes the power to defend themselves.

    The Left is devoted to creating an infantilized public. The Left cannot trust average people, because their world view is based on the stupidity of average people, who must be nobly lied to by an elite who will make the public's choices for them.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Libertarian Guy: "What was done to African Americans" was terrible, but our "original sin" was the genocide committed against indigenous peoples, a form of which continues even today. There are many sins of the state, and our failure to stop them is sinful also.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    The Left cannot trust average people, because their world view is based on the stupidity of average people, who must be nobly lied to by an elite who will make the public's choices for them.

    Have you ever watched O'Reilly, Kristol and their ilk on television or listened to the Limpbags on radio? It seems they have sized up the "people" and concluded they are willing to be lied to. The Bush administration did a good job selling the war on Iraq to the gullible. None of these people are from the left. What was it Mencken said about not losing money underestimating the intelligence of the American public?

  • RW (unverified)
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    Harry: thank you for saying that. I'm sick of being the only person to introduce that where it is germane, which, on a lefty blog, is frequently.

    I heard NO words during this campaign about righting any wrongs done to those folks... and I'm waiting to hear if anything will be done to address the administration of BIA (under the department of interior and war? hmmm), which some fifteen years ago was supposed to have been stripped of its role of managing tribal lands and resources for having egregiously mismanaged. They still do manage. The Supreme COurt apparently has no genuine juice where the righting of these particular wrongs is concerned.

    Native people are still under attack. Read up on Big Mountain. Educate yourself about the developments and leases being granted bars right up onto the very feet of the sacred Vision Quest site, Bear Butte. Learn more about the fact that urban tribals do not have funded healthcare even if "IHS clinics" are here. They function ONLY on pro-bono services from medical providers here and IF any funds are left over after all OTHER services in the entire U.S. in tribal lands is funded.

    Free healthcare? Not by a long shot. Free vaccinations and heatlh screenings yes. Actual responsive healthcare? Time to stop being jealous of the tribals and find out what "they" really get, which differs radically from tribe to tribe as well as changing in honesty from council to council.

    ....... anyway, thank you Harry. It is emotionally gratifying when ANYONE spends ten words on natives alongside everyone else. I never hear them quoted in epidemiological reports or studies.... like that.

  • rw (unverified)
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    ... and, I'm NOT posting stories of being held at broad daylight by the Zen Center in SF as a young woman doing that "trying to have a life" thing. Nor the rest of the interesting big city tales. I also will not post the stories of when I lived on acreage I kept alone and how great it was to deal with scads of varmints after my rabbits, chickens, horse and livestock feed.... not to mention the occasional VERY big snake my little one did not need to fetch up against.

    Been on both sides of it. Don't really have an opinion I guess. More regulation does not seem like an evil to me: I've been held up as well as usefully served by said items in my time.

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    I'm not sure the Supreme Court did really settle the 2nd Amendment this year. It did clearly interpret the 2nd Amendment as embodying an individual right to bear arms, not just a communal militia one currently embodied by the National Guard as some have argued. But after the decision there was grumbling not just from holders of that view, but from many gun-rights advocates who noted that the Court left open an undefined field in which the government(s) can regulate. They ruled out total bans like D.C.'s. Didn't touch things like background checks or various forms of permitting / licensing (& thereby power to deny) enacted in many jurisdictions around the country.

    On the historical point, btw, I'm kind of inclined to a both/and position. Militias at the time relied on firearms owned and kept by individuals in their homes -- but also on communally stored larger weapons such as cannons. It was exactly a cache of such larger weapons (possibly including personal level firearms too) that the British army was marching out of Boston to seize when stopped by massed militia at Concord bridge and then harried by guerrilla fire all through their retreat by men armed primarily with personal firearms in 1775.

    Also, some of the ambiguities in the 2nd Amendment represent political compromises reflecting two things: fear by wealthier property owners of popular collective armed action exemplified by Shay's rebellion in Massachusetts in 1786, and the role of the militia in high proportion enslaved population states in policing the slaves. Non-slave-owning white men were legally bound to be armed and to participate in the recapture of runaways and preparation to repress potential rebellions. Doubtless many non-slave-owning whites feared such rebellions, just as many had ambitions to own slaves.

    But what constitutes the upper end of personal firearms these days? I don't think the Court overturned their last decision, in 1932 I think, that outlawed individual possession of fully automatic machine guns, more or less. How about shoulder launched anti-aircraft missiles? The history of guerrilla warfare after World War II does suggest that "asymmetrical" strategies can work against regular high-tech armed forces, provided those who conduct it operate amidst a population sufficiently supportive or cowed, and are willing to endure great hardships and large-scale casualties to said populations imposed by massive bombing etc. But it also suggests that certain arms above guns are more or less necessary to fend off the personnel moving abilities of helicopters in particular. Most successful guerrilla armies have had outside sponsors funding systematic arms acquisitions from arms merchants (if not directly supplied by patron-sponsor governments in proxy wars); they have not, except perhaps in very early phases, relied primarily on the personal armaments of citizens / civilians.

    Episodes from the AIM at Wounded Knee to the SLA house in L.A. (I think?) to MOVE in Philadelphia to Ruby Ridge to the Branch Davidians in Waco show that while individuals and groups with personal firearms can extract a price when resisting organized state paramilitary police power, state capacity to overcome them using quite limited deployments of overall state coercive power is high.

    Probably the most successful armed resistance to state power in the 20th century has been by organized criminals, including "gangs." As the sometimes success of non-violent movements shows, whether armed or not the key in such struggles is organization -- along with the ruthlessness of the state power. Maybe shotguns did a little for some freedpeople after the Civil War, but at the end of the day it took the Anti-Klan laws ca. 1870 and the armed force of the federal government to suppress the personal armed force of the first Klan, and after the end of Reconstruction, white southerners pursuing "Redemption" launched into the most violent period of lynchings (several thousands in the 1880s & 1890s) as well as the era of urban racial pogroms, not restricted to the Old South (1890s to 1920s, with some outliers as late as WWII e.g. Detroit & NYC).

    Now one of the purposes of that violence was to disarm black people, which goes to show that violent reactionary repression does indeed want to disarm people. But the success of that effort also goes to show that the idea that mere personal gun ownership will forestall or defeat such efforts, if they are determined, is a romantic illusion.

    Likewise armed citizenry played an important role in some of the most explicitly genocidal episodes of anti-Indian violence, going back to quite early in the British colonial era in New England and extending to the destruction of the Native population of California and their nations in the mid-19th century.

    Likewise much of the anti-labor violence of the late 19th c. (from the great railroad strike of 1877 to repression against western miners e.g. in Montana to the Homestead Rebellion) pitted different sections of armed citizens against one another. Something similar appears in the "militia movement" of the 1990s, which was partly anti-government, but also proto-fascist with strong potential to be directed against demonized "leftists" by people who believe that liberalism is tantamount to socialism is tantamount to communism.

    None of this is an argument about having gun control policies or not; it is an argument against romanticizing guns and their private ownership in relationship to liberty and repression. Implicitly it contains the seeds of an argument that ultimately it's not about guns, it's about willingness to use violence within our society and willingness to repress fellow citizens and community members -- and resistance to those tendencies. Guns don't cause repression, repressers do; guns don't stop repression, anti-repressers do.

  • (Show?)

    YO Moonbat, I find your "cost-benefit" justification for deadly violence against burglars chilling. A self-defense justification, that it isn't possible to discern the armed or not status and the violent or not intentions of intruders is more defensible IMO. But the reasoning you advance about "costs" could be used to justify the death penalty for burglary. I believe Oregon is at the extreme permissive end of the range of state positions about use of deadly force in defense or perceived defense on one's home.

    I don't think the debate (or mostly lack of it) here actually engages the state of play of politics that the Supreme Court decision about D.C. has created. In a sense it has made the politics of regulation of guns and their use somewhat like the politics of regulating abortion under Roe v. Wade. I've been persuaded by various people here that "assault weapon" bans probably don't get to the kinds of weapons that really are involved in the kind of organized criminal violence and increased levels of deadly force faced by police around drug trafficking that provoked and justified the bans. Probably most of those weapons are illegal anyway.

    But it seems to me that the areas probably of greatest potential contention relate to commerce in guns, including background checks, and gun trafficking that feeds into organized crime, including "gangs," and also to issues of required licensing related to training (similar to driver's license, applied to human beings) and registration permits (applied to specific guns, similar to cars). And maybe also to at what point categorical limits to arms ownership should apply. Should fully automatic machine guns be illegal -- is the decision making them so rightly ruled under the 2nd Amendment? What is the principle involved, either way? What about anti-tank or anti-aircraft weapons that actually would pose more restraint on state power, if we are to take those arguments seriously? Or does such "restraint on state power" romanticize what really would be loss of control over public order and potential subjection to violence by neighbors or political enemies, the rise of death squads and other forms of civil conflict?

  • clabber_grrl (unverified)
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    Who cares about the gun people? We didn't need them to get elected. Nor did we need the anti-gay bigots and the anti-science idiots. To hell with all of them.

    Memo: They LOST.

  • Betsy O (unverified)
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    Obama ran to the middle on gun issues, and the NRA still went after him with millions of dollars wildly misleading ads.

    The Democrats can TRY to be reasonable, but the NRA is still the National Republican Association and will use its political clout to push their agenda.

  • Terry (unverified)
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    As I read some of the articles written here, I can tell that most the people are very educated, and maybe that is where the problem is. You have studied under professors, most of which I have found to hate this country. They have taught you that this country is wrong all the time. Even the teacher here in Oregon that is telling all her students that we are the aggressors in this war, and the school does nothing. So maybe just maybe, all of you will wake up one day before it is too late, and take your country back. As for my guns, I will keep them as long as the bad guys and the police keep there’s.

  • (Show?)

    So, basically, they're your wild places. I'm all for sharing. When can we go nude?

    Anytime you feel particularly blessed Zarathustra.

    I've owned guns since I was 12 years old (the point in time that I was promoted from a Daisy BB gun to a single shot .22), and I haven't hunted since 1973. That was the last year that I needed to hunt for fresh meat.

    I have lots of friends that hunt, but I personally stay out of the woods from the start of bow season to the end of elk season, as a safety precaution for me, my wife, and my dogs.

    Who cares about the gun people? We didn't need them to get elected. Nor did we need the anti-gay bigots and the anti-science idiots. To hell with all of them.

    Fortunately your abysmal ignorance is not shared by mainstream Democrats. If it were, you'd be gearing up to welcome the McCain/Palin ticket into the White House on January 20th, with no personal benefit beyond that excluslive warm feeling that has helped to keep progressives in the wilderness for the past 40 years.

  • Roy McAvoy (unverified)
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    Great topic and good posts. I do hope it opened some eyes to how important personal gun ownership is to folks. I don't hunt and I never have. I carry a gun on me most of the time, and not to hunt with. I have several other guns that I own, and don't pretend they are for practical hunting purposes. I have them for protection.

    I also have them because I am prepared to step forward if someone starts killing innocents in a mall or in a school. I am ready to step in if a group of Nazi racists are beating someone because of race or sexual preference. I wish an armed citizen was on Belmont St last year to help protect store owner Chester Yeom before that scumbag killer/robber could shoot him.

    That does not mean that I would shoot some kid who reached inside my screen door to steal my Ipod, or a car thief driving away with my Toyota. I do not want to be an executioner. I don't want to play policeman and never have. I value life more then anything else. It just means that I believe personal gun ownership is very necessary, as unfortunate as that is. It should remain a high priority for Dems and liberals.

  • (Show?)

    Are progressives going to insist on squandering their political capital on nonsense like a so-called "assault weapons" bans when there is so much else to be done?

    The hypocrisy from long-term opponents of the Bush administration in suggesting we should just pick and choose which parts of the Constitution to honor and which to ignore is stunning. If you don't like the 2nd amendment, then work to amend it; but don't pretend it doesn't exist or decide on novel interpretations.

    Despite what you might have seen on TV, semi-automatic rifles are used in a minuscule number of crimes--you just can't wander around looking for mugging victims with a rifle in your pants. Most people who own this class of weapon are collectors or serious target shooters, typically with military background.

    As far as "needing" any weapon, aside from the right to ownership that is in the Constitution (which does not include the right to drive a car, btw), everyone who lives in our armed society benefits from our society being armed. This is not just because you are safer from home invasions because robbers don't know which house has a gun owner in it; this is not just because muggers don't know which citizens have concealed carry permits that allow them to legally and responsibly go about armed in public. The real long-term benefit of the 2nd amendment is that our armed society helps prevent the leading killer of people in the 20th century: government.

    Those of you who look to Europe as a great example of a gun control model to emulate might consider the whole Holocaust thing and ask yourself if that would have happened if Jews had not been disarmed. The virulently pro-gun rights group Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO) has asked that question and reached the same conclusion that the Hutu militias in Rwanda have reached: that "never again" starts with you and your ability to protect yourself. American Indians could discourse on this subject as well.

    But when you talk about having a different standard for gun ownership in urban than in rural areas, what you're actually talking about is disarming minorities. How progressive is THAT??? The long-term consequences of unarmed populations--and especially of minority populations--have been made clear time and time again. If you want to live in a Democracy, you need to support the ultimate right of citizens to defend their liberties, with force, on their own. Otherwise, it's just a matter of time until they lose them. That is really what the 2nd Amendment is about.

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    Terry wrote... You have studied under professors, most of which I have found to hate this country. They have taught you that this country is wrong all the time.

    Really? That's hilarious. I never met a professor that felt that way - and between college, grad school, and work, I've spent over 10 years being on a college campus daily.

    What university did you attend, Terry? And would you mind naming some names? Please, do tell us one or two professors that you personally studied under that "hate this country" and think that "this country is wrong all the time".

  • (Show?)

    clabber_grrl says: Who cares about the gun people? We didn't need them to get elected. Nor did we need the anti-gay bigots and the anti-science idiots. To hell with all of them.

    Memo: They LOST.

    Actually, the Oregon Democratic delegations to Congress and to Salem both include outspoken pro-2nd Amendment legislators.

    Peter DeFazio, for example, was one who signed the amicus brief in support of Heller in the recent Supreme Court decision of that name. David Wu hunts. Locally, Jeff Barker has an A+ rating from the NRA, and Brian Clem has been honored nationally for his Youth Hunter Mentoring Bill. In the last legislature, the Democrats voted unanimously pass a bill banning law enforcement from seizing guns during times of emergency. There are many additional examples.

    Your idea of "we" doesn't seem to acknowledge that the left is a coalition entertaining many ideas. Many on the left in fact do support broad gun rights.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Are progressives going to insist on squandering their political capital on nonsense like a so-called "assault weapons" bans when there is so much else to be done?

    That progressives have political capital will come as news to many people. Can you explain this assessment? After his announced and putative appointments you surely don't consider Obama a progressive, do you?

  • John Cahill (unverified)
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    We should make every effort to reduce violence in our communities. But guns cause violence like cameras cause child pornography - which is to say NOT AT ALL. It is the misuse of guns, the illegal use of guns, that is the problem.

    It's already illegal to shoot people. Making some guns illegal won't have any effect on individuals that use them illegally. Gun control is not crime control.

    If MADD had focused on equipment we all would have to blow in a tube to start our car. They focused on the offender and that made a difference.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Terry: what rock did you crawl out from under. We ARE the aggressors in this war. WE STARTED THE IRAQ WAR!

    Unless you are referring to the war in Afghanistan which started in a wild scrum of effort to get the guy who has repeatedly gotten us. Now, even I who could be said to maverically bleed from my ears now and again do agree to that.

    HE started it and then went into his neighbor's backyard to hide out. It's HIS fault we are over there burning the cars and cutting down clotheslines. And those were mean neighbors anyway. We will find out what he really was doing to his wife when we finally are done, right?

    Anyway, in a more serious tone: we did start that war. You astound me with your wierdness to say a teacher needs firing for saying that? Mr. Bush has enshrined this fact via the explication of warmaking labeled as PREEMPTIVE...

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    The scenario of an armed populace rising up in resistance against a dictatorship is obviously persuasive and inspiring to many; however, it does deserve some scrutiny. We can say that the insurgency that became the American War of Revolution proves the case, but it is not always that simple. In the next century an armed citizenry led to a very expensive and disastrous civil war.

    There are other examples in other countries where armed citizens have fought and resisted occupying forces. The results have been mixed with Afghanistan remaining in the undecided column. A characteristic of the likes of Iraq and Afghanistan is the tribal structure that plays an important role in making their resistance feasible. In Afghanistan and some other countries an abundance of weapons spread throughout the population essentially means anarchy or near anarchy with the power in the hands of the established warlords.

    What are the chances of another successful rebellion or revolution in the United States? Given that so many Americans are essentially so individualistic - or, as some might put it, self-centered or egocentric - then it appears unlikely at the present time that a mass of people could be organized to make such an adventure a success. However, with a really good financial depression on the horizon circumstances could change.

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)
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    clabber_grrl says: Who cares about the gun people? We didn't need them to get elected. Nor did we need the anti-gay bigots and the anti-science idiots. To hell with all of them.

    Actually, Democrats do need gun people to get elected. I'm a gun person and an avid, active Democrat. One of the reasons I'm a Democrat is because Democrats (unlike the Repubicans) support the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights -- including the 2nd Amendment.

    In fact, most people support the second amendment and oppose draconian restrictions on gun ownership. There are lots of polls about this issue. Here's a sample of what one of the polls found:

    "Would you support or oppose amending the United States Constitution to ban individual gun ownership?"

    Support % 17 Oppose % 78 Unsure % 6

    As you can see, Democrats do need people like me in order to win. I agree about the anti-gay bigots and the anti-science idiots, though.

  • (Show?)

    And it's worth reminding yourself that the anti-science idiots are a regular sub-group here on the Very Rational Blue Oregon, starting with the group that imagines that it's only the other guys that are prone to irrationality.

    The difference between irrational Lefties and irrational Righties seems to be that some of the Lefties have the good sense to just ignore the stuff that they wish not to believe, while the Righties tend to make the mistake of attemping to bolster their positions by repeating their chosen dogma very loudly, which in turn, draws our attention.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    And it's worth reminding yourself that the anti-science idiots are a regular sub-group here on the Very Rational Blue Oregon, starting with the group that imagines that it's only the other guys that are prone to irrationality.

    Amen to that! I think the near impossibility of getting rational debate on an issue that has become the darling of social progressives- GMOs come to mind- is the #1 factor keeping people from joining them in grass roots action. And it's even beyond "science". Sometimes simple, competent reality-testing goes out the window too. Usually replaced by a lot of passion. Not something we iNTjs care to deal with. Probably why I feel most comfortable with big L libertarians.

  • Terry (unverified)
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    Well RW I didn’t, but you are wrong about the war in Iraq, I don’t agree on how we got there, but we are so we need to finish it. So pull your head out and back our troops, the Middle East is never going to think like us and they will always hate us. So the sooner we get our heads out of our butts the better (they are not our friends). Some people think that we can buy our friends and things are going to be sweet and dandy, that is not going to be the case. Mark my words you are going to lose more rights with this president than with any other

  • RW (unverified)
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    Terry, you have no clue who you are talking to. I agree "they" have no love lost nor will "they" view the world as we do. However, "we" DID make the war on Iraq under false pretenses and abandoned the only "just" war that was going on at the time - to get Bin Laden et. al. The war that he indeed did provocate.

    Now, Terry, what you don't apparently know of me is that I do not bleed from the ears with sympathy for wishful emigrees. I've been exposed to too many from many different lands who are not passionate about their citizenship here, but, rather, see it as a personal means to a personal end. And just as many with no intentions of becoming citizens, but only migrating workers who take advantage of opportunity and send that home.

    I've also met many folks who were grateful, hard working, visionary for themselves and not crass opportunists on the land. But I've been exposed to enough of the rest from middle to upper SES technocrats and such that I do not have unqualified sympathy for those who want their economic opportunities here.

    I try to control for any bias or xenophobia that may be sneaking in there. But I do not disavow the unfortunate evidence of some of my experiences over time.

    I find it odd that you should imagine that the complete loss of our status, ANY status among our allies is not a huge loss for all Americans. I find it amazing that you do not believe that our troops are harmed deeply by the probability of tortures being used upon them wholesale and without fear now that we have joined the torturers and had our rendition sites opened to the light of day, exposing our nation for the pathetic lying cheat we have been in the world of Geneva Conventions. We have no moral ascendency over anyone. Perhaps barely did in times before.

    Does this make me a hater of my own nation? NO. It makes me a broken hearted and betrayed lover. A believing mother willing to take her child back again. A citizen tired of being managed via mythologies.

    Time to go do some life-stuff. But I felt I needed to respond to you. Your concerns are not in a vaccuum. But yoou seem to relish fighting and bitching over communicating. I supposed I kind of started it, but I was astounded at the odd shape of all you had to say. It just did not make sense or seem to be responsive to reality.

    Perhaps it is only that you are awash in personal fear, pain and confusion. Welcome to humanity, and check it out: so are many of us all.

  • Terry (unverified)
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    Well RW I didn’t, but you are wrong about the war in Iraq, I don’t agree on how we got there, but we are so we need to finish it. So pull your head out and back our troops, the Middle East is never going to think like us and they will always hate us. So the sooner we get our heads out of our butts the better (they are not our friends). Some people think that we can buy our friends and things are going to be sweet and dandy, that is not going to be the case. Mark my words you are going to lose more rights with this president than with any other

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    So pull your head out and back our troops, the Middle East is never going to think like us and they will always hate us.

    To say that the people of the Middle East will always hate us is a careless and broad statement. The Middle East is made up of many people with different viewpoints - as is the United States. Some see the good in the other side while others see only the bad.

    But, if you know your history you will see that the people of the Middle East have more reason to hate people from the West than vice versa. During the Crusades it was people from Western Europe who attacked the Middle East and behaved as barbarians. More recently, in 1953 the United States and Britain overthrew the democratically-elected prime minister of Iran and installed the Shah who proceeded to be a brutal dictator. Then there were the sanctions on Iraq that cost millions of Iraqis their lives. Add to that support for the Likud and other right-wing parties in Israel that have occupied Palestinian lands and committed serious abuses of human rights. Michael Scheuer in his book "Imperial Hubris" considered these last two items as motivational factors for al-Qa'eda's attack on 9/11.

    If you want to support the troops, get them out of Iraq and Afghanistan. More than enough of them have been sacrificed on altars built on lies.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    Mark my words you are going to lose more rights with this president than with any other

    That's one tough row to hoe! In April/May this administration signed HSPD40 and three other executive orders, allowing the direct control by the White House of every level of government, right down to the state and tribal level, without the authorization of Congress. KBR is building 40 concentration camps in this country with homeland defense monies. And on the left, Bill Clinton doubled the non-violent federal prison population.

    Specifically, which of those do you think Obama will surpass? Or is it that you value your gun (which you won't lose) more than your neighbor's liberty? That's what you really meant, right? I'm going to lose more of my liberties than under any other President. Sounds like conscience. Wouldn't be into sales/venture capital/real estate, perchance?

  • rw (unverified)
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    we have lost tremendous face on the entire planet, and, in particular, won nothing in the middle east. Yes, you can claim populous nations with diversity, but I do not find blithering patriotic idiocy among my confederates who are from those regions from all sides of all fractures and states. THey have qualified appreciation for what the nation CAN be and is and some actually think we are whining around and are not experiencing true jeapardy and hardship right now. I don't answer those ones - they are dispassionate about my life, but somehow still like my mind.

    SO it's very complex - just b/c folks don't think like us does not mean they are our enemies; nor does it mean they are sympathetic friends either. It's way more chilly and more complex than this at the lower echelons (not diplomats, in other words) of human societies as they mix.

  • Peter Hall (unverified)
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    Well, looks like I stirred up something. Nice to see comments on both sides. I just wanted to add something which some may find irrelevant. I was as a child, as others were, the victim of bullies. When in a fight I know I would lose, I made sure I got in at least one good shot. The bully would win, but never bothered me after that.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Bill B - Bush was pretty explicit about the Crusades aspect of what he is doing. It was "God on our side", "Allah on ours" all the way.

    Horrified real Christians and real Muslims. Lots of truly human religious struck incapable of speech and wondering what they could tell their children.

    Yes, our Adventurousness has brought us to a bad spot in hx now.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Wildly personal thread-hijack warning:

    Anybody watching the news? Any links OUTSIDE the UK and US to substantiate ostensible Islamist links to the current rash of piracy? Any interesting thoughts on the timing of the bloodbath, targeted at Jews and Westerners, in Mumbai (in relation to the sudden rise in boldest pirate attacks)? And, note, please, the sudden announcement of a raised terror alert level, after quite some time of not a peep from the guv'mint in that regard.

    No doubt, we have serious trouble on our hands, and extremists are NOT going away. However, refusing to acknowledge our own history whilst suffering the false linkages in the minds of extremists as well as the unfortunate and inevitable fallout from our own behaviours worldwide... well, where do we start, folks?

    Please initiate a foreign policy thread. We sound positively isolationist here! Parochial! Let's get a thread or two going amongst all the local and domestic talk, just so one need not hijack a topic or thread to speak to what is on one's mind.

    It's pissing me off that Merkel, from the world's most notorious fucking arms dealers on the planet, and surely a beneficiary of the "cheap money" she now rants the US about... well, she's got a french horn up her ass, in my estimation. She's a fine one to point, ehhhhh. I've not heard any protestations from the direction of Germany in a decade, unless I've just not been listening.

    Feh. Am I transmogrifying into a drooling Patriot before your very eyes? Maybe I am just sick of the games and psychodynamics. The falsities mixed in amongst those things that are critical to see.

    Islamic extremists are not wrong about "us" in so many ways. AND they lay a bunch of other extraneous crap in there on top of their actions that have nothing to do with the US and are ONLY about them as sad sack manipulable followers of Heaven's Ecstacy. If only they would target only those counterparts of theirs here in the US, let them duke it out under a hanging tree, for pete's sake, and let them all, on both sides, cause their blind and wreck to wink out of its' own destructive intensity.

    Ah, ah... I am so grateful this day. A new job in a well-managed workplace, competent coworkers. A rig that really hauls wood and thousands of pounds of sweat rocks sweetly. A son who is on track in his own way, his own course. A good community of networks. A warm and kind place to live this day. A chance to help someone else who is coming in from the cold with a child. Able to cry, learning to laugh. So much gratitude: and then this news, this news, it makes me cry. What in the world can we do about it? Am I to shrug at it as far beyond me?

    <h2>In this new administration I reside hope. Not great hope. But the hope I must so as to go on, truly. We cannot continue as we have been. NOT as Reagan/Bush have, not as Clinton did, either. We must find our way to something different.</h2>
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