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Jan 22, 2023Liked by Bill Astore

"We need to change our culture of violence while strengthening communal and family bonds. And we need to talk a lot less about “gun rights,” as if guns are people instead of tools that kill people, and much more about personal responsibility."

I think that this hits the nail on the head in identifying where the root of the problem lies. But how is it possible to "change the American culture of violence" when the governments, the media, the political party (What? You claim that there are two of them?), and even the churches (and synagogues, and mosques) are all devoted to cultivating hate? (Recommend Matt Tiabbi's collection, Hate, Inc. for a look at the depth of the media's hate-mongering for profit.)

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deletedJan 22, 2023·edited Jan 22, 2023
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As you know, Dennis, the NRA rewrote the Second Amendment, leaving out the part about a well-regulated militia to emphasize an unequivocal right to keep and bear arms.

Of course, it made sense to a fledgling country with a dangerous frontier to stress gun ownership (mainly single-fire muskets) as a form of protection. But a lot has changed in nearly 250 years ...

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founding

Heh. When did the NRA re-write the Second Amendment? i must have missed that.

And it made even more sense for that fledgling country [fledgling Empire is a more accurate descriptor] back then to stress gun ownership when it was attempting to create and then preserve and expand that “dangerous frontier” by further invasion, attack, conquest, and occupation of all that Land that somebody was already living quite comfortably on; all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

As You pointed out in Your piece, Bill: America is becoming like a gated community with all kinds of new and dangerous frontiersmen running loose on the inside. And that is just one reason for gun ownership that has not changed in almost 250 years.

In any event, it is important to remember that the State Militias had two functions back then:

~ 1. Because America had no standing army, Militias were the primary force to react and respond to attack/invasion by a foreign nation or insurrection by dissatisfied Citizens. Hence, they needed to be well trained and equipped with the tools of the trade. [Which they apparently weren’t; Washington’s Continental Army was a professional Army, not a gathering of Militiamen.]

~ 2. But State Militias were also intended to be the primary force available to and for individual States to react and respond as appropriate to actions by the Federal government that exceeded its authority under the Constitution, and called for a military response.

As Wikipedia puts it:

“As Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story put it back in 1833: ‘The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since IT OFFERS A STRONG MORAL CHECK AGAINST THE USURPATIONS AND ARBITRARY POWER OF RULERS; AND IT WILL GENERALLY, EVEN IF THESE ARE SUCCESSFUL IN THE FIRST INSTANCE, ENABLE THE PEOPLE TO RESIST AND TRIUMPH OVER THEM. And yet, though this truth would seem so clear, and the importance of a well-regulated militia would seem so undeniable, it cannot be disguised, that among the American people there is a growing indifference to any system of militia discipline, and a strong disposition, from a sense of its burdens, to be rid of all regulations. How it is practicable to keep the people duly armed without some organization, it is difficult to see. There is certainly no small danger, that indifference may lead to disgust, and disgust to contempt; and thus gradually undermine all the protection intended by this clause of our National Bill of Rights.’”

Wiki continued: “STORY DESCRIBES A MILITIA AS THE ‘NATURAL DEFENCE OF A FREE COUNTRY’, BOTH AGAINST FOREIGN FOES, DOMESTIC REVOLTS AND USURPATION BY RULERS. [His] BOOK REGARDS THE MILITIA AS A "MORAL CHECK" AGAINST BOTH USURPATION AND THE ARBITRARY USE OF POWER, while expressing distress at the growing indifference of the American people to maintaining such an organized militia, which could lead to the undermining of the protection of the Second Amendment.

“Abolitionist Lysander Spooner, commenting on bills of rights, stated that THE OBJECT OF ALL BILLS OF RIGHTS IS TO ASSERT THE RIGHTS OF INDIVIDUALS AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT AND THAT THE SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS WAS IN SUPPORT OF THE RIGHT TO RESIST GOVERNMENT OPPRESSION, AS THE ONLY SECURITY AGAINST THE TYRANNY OF GOVERNMENT LIES IN FORCIBLE RESISTANCE TO INJUSTICE, FOR INJUSTICE WILL CERTAINLY BE EXECUTED, UNLESS FORCIBLY RESISTED. Spooner's theory provided the intellectual foundation for John Brown and other radical abolitionists who believed that arming slaves was not only morally justified, but entirely consistent with the Second Amendment. An express connection between this right and the Second Amendment was drawn by Lysander Spooner who commented that a ‘right of resistance’ is protected by both the right to trial by jury and the Second Amendment.” [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution ; EMPHASES added.]

[Note: It is also important to remember that, without the Second Amendment, those States owning Slaves would have never ratified the Constitution ~ for fear of arming Free Blacks].

That was then; and this is now. And now, State Militias [ie, the National Guard] are totally integrated into the Department of Defense as part of America’s Standing Army and Air Force. So there is no need for Citizens to be prepared to come to the defense of America against foreign invaders.

But the danger is still Very real that the Federal government can and will exceed its Constitutional authority in ways that ultimately call for a military response, even if it is only by isolated individuals or groups. But that is how every Resistance to Tyranny has ever gotten started.

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deletedJan 24, 2023·edited Jan 24, 2023
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founding

i didn't "stop short" on anything, Dennis. The Wiki article i referenced contains all that information and more.

And i believe that the federal [along with state and local] government] can and will exceed its Constitutional authority in the times that loom ahead with a new Pandemic, an inflationary recession if not depression, and a hot Cold War II war or two. To say nothing of a possible default on the National Debt.

Just like it has exceeded its Constitutional authority since 9/11 thru the Patriot Act and its Forever War, then the 2008 Bailout, and then The COVID Event.

And finally, i said nothing about citizens armed with AR-15s overthrowing the government. When it gets to that point, the government will overthrow itself and devolve into a fully totalitarian police state dictatorship, ala 1984, only worse.

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deletedJan 23, 2023·edited Jan 23, 2023
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That "gun violence forever stat" is just another reason why asking "Will the United States survive to celebrate its 250th birthday on July 4, 2026?" is a question Americans need to start asking themselves and each other.

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Check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution for a complete history of the Second Amendment from when it was first proposed, thru and to ratification [along with the other Nine of the Bill of Rights], to how it has been interpreted by legal scholars, judged in the Courts, and implemented since ratification.

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Jan 23, 2023·edited Jan 23, 2023

The federal government lost me when they argued that selling chickens in your backyard affects interstate commerce and therefore the federal government is allowed to regulate it. I believe that was in the FDR administration. Now of course the feds argue that if it rains and it forms a puddle in your backyard then that is a navigable waterway and so the federal government is allowed to regulate it. Especially if there are chickens nearby. OK, maybe that last part isn't quite true. Yet. The point is that the federal government will typically rule that the government has the rights and the people have the right to submit. Because, of course, it's all about who signs your paycheck. As someone once said, where your paycheck is there your heart will be also. Or words to that effect. OK, Matthew 6:21.

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And another.... . In California, which has among the strictest gun control laws in the nation.

And apparently it's not just young White guys who have this problem with guns; old Yellow and Brown guys seem to be equally affected.

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CORRECTION: The Half Moon Bay mass shooter is not Latino, but Oriental, just like the Lunar New Year shooter. The victims were both Latino and Chinese.

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i am prepared to argue that the bottom-line, bullet-hits-the-bone conclusion from all this is that the Human Right to Bear Arms and to own guns is directly related to the ultimate Human Right to Life and, when and as necessary, to Self-Defense and the protection of another Human Right: Property.

And that is the individual's Self-Defense of Person and Property against criminals who work either for themselves or for a crime syndicate owned and operated either privately or by the government.

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“What can we do?”, indeed, Bill.

The first question Your piece raised in my mind was: “How do we change our ‘culture of violence’ NON-VIOLENTLY?” Because America’s culture of violence is not going to be changed by more violence from private individuals, groups, and organizations, and/or, particularly, from government military and law enforcement institutions. All that will happen is that the current culture of violence will become even and ever more violent.

The second question raised was “How do we go about teaching young men ~ and women [it being only a matter of time before the mass shooter is a female] ~ that ‘killing isn’t cool’?” Especially when there is so much money to be made by our techno-infotainment-mind control Matrix showing, telling, and selling that killing IS cool, indeed.

The third question was “How do we go about strengthening those ‘communal and family bonds,’ and whose responsibility is it to see that that happens”? And whose example of communal and family bonds is to be used as the model for that strengthening?

And the fourth question was: “How big a business is the individual firearms industry in America?” How many people are making how much money keeping Americans [and others] with access to all the small arms weaponry they want? Is there anything like a Guns and Accessories Cartel at work here, much like there is an MICC driving American foreign policy? So it would seem… :

30+ STRIKING U.S. FIREARM INDUSTRY STATISTICS [2023]: HOW BIG IS THE US GUN INDUSTRY by Jack Flynn 112922

RESEARCH SUMMARY. Some people love them, some people hate them, but you can’t deny that legal firearm ownership sets the U.S. apart from any other country. From supplying the military to Walmart hunting shelves, the prevalence of firearms has created a huge industry. Knowing that, we’ve gathered some of the most compelling U.S. Firearm industry statistics:

Across the United States, 18.8 million firearms were sold in 2021.

The U.S. Firearm industry contributes $51.3 billion to the economy.

The firearms industry employs 169,523 people across the U.S.

42% of American households own at least one firearm.

The U.S. firearm industry is worth approximately $28 billion.

For further analysis, we broke down the data in the following ways: Types | Trends and Projections | Location | Gun Owners | Gun Safety. Continued at https://www.zippia.com/advice/firearm-industry-statistics/ .

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deletedJan 23, 2023·edited Jan 23, 2023
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And the big difference is the number of guns per capita owned by Americans vs New Zealanders: https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/gun-ownership-by-country .

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Jan 23, 2023·edited Jan 23, 2023

Mass shootings make the headlines but it's the day to day shootings in cities that are responsible for piling up the bodies. The mass media doesn't talk about that because there's a decidedly racial angle to it.

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Jan 23, 2023·edited Jan 23, 2023

Dennis with due respect I think your daughter misunderstands. I'm guessing what those people are saying is that the victims were probably SHOT by "criminals/drug addicts/blacks(!)/gang members" (statistically that almost certainly turns out to be the case). Unfortunately many (leftist) politicians try to sell us on the idea that rather than deal with such people we should instead forcibly register/seize guns from more suburban/rural areas where the only uses people have for their guns is to shoot at paper targets or for hunting deer. How can you deal with a problem if it's politically forbidden to say what it really is?

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Well if we get involved in a direct shooting war with the Russians I may be wishing I lived in New Zealand. Although I think I'm too old for the draft. This time around anyway. Hopefully. Although with this "leadership" you never know.

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You always tell it like it is, Bill. I don't have to say or write any more than this; I just pass on your well written and clearly reasoned statements to the people I know.

There's nothing you or anyone can "do" about this tragic state of affairs but tell the truth, say it's disgusting, unnatural, inhuman, cruel, inexcusable, and overdue for radical change.

Good luck! And keep up the good work!

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This tells me that changing our “culture of violence” is not going to be an easy sell to today’s teenagers, those who were born after 9/11 and endured The COVID Event… :

JUVENILE CRIME SURGES, REVERSING LONG DECLINE. ‘IT’S JUST KIDS KILLING KIDS.’ [Extracts] by Dan Frosch and Zusha Elinson 012323

Violence among children has soared across the country since 2020. One consequence: a mounting toll of young victims.

A 13-year-old boy ran through the Bronx streets one May afternoon last year, chased by two teens on a scooter. Surveillance video showed him frantically trying to open the doors of an assisted-living facility. The scooter peeled onto the sidewalk and sped toward him. A 15-year-old boy riding on the back pointed a handgun and fired multiple times, police say.

Nearby, 11-year-old Kyhara Tay stood outside a beauty salon after school, eating chicken wings and waiting for her friends to finish getting their nails done. A stray bullet struck the pavement in front of her, authorities say. Another pierced her stomach. She was rushed in critical condition to Lincoln Hospital 2 miles away, where she died that night.

Violence among children has soared across the country since 2020, a stark reversal of a decades long decline in juvenile crime.

In the U.S., homicides committed by juveniles acting alone rose 30% in 2020 from a year earlier, while those committed by multiple juveniles increased 66%. THE NUMBER OF KILLINGS COMMITTED BY CHILDREN UNDER 14 WAS THE HIGHEST IN TWO DECADES, ACCORDING TO THE MOST RECENT FEDERAL DATA.

One consequence is a mounting toll of young victims. THE NUMBER OF JUVENILES KILLING OTHER JUVENILES WAS THE HIGHEST IT HAS BEEN IN MORE THAN TWO DECADES, THE 2020 FEDERAL DATA SHOW.

Kyhara was one of 153 victims in New York City under the age of 18 shot in 2022, the most in at least six years and more than the 127 total minors shot in 2018 and 2019 combined, according to police data. The 13-year-old boy being pursued was unharmed, authorities say.

In New York City, police said 124 juveniles committed shootings during 2022, up from 62 in 2020 and 48 in 2019.

“THE TRAGEDY HERE IS THAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT A GUNMAN WHO IS TOO YOUNG TO BE CALLED A GUNMAN BECAUSE HE’S 15 YEARS OLD,” said Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark after Kyhara’s death. “These ages make you weep.”

The jump comes amid an overall wave of violent crime in the first two years of the pandemic—particularly homicides and shootings—that swept through urban and rural areas alike.

Police, prosecutors and community groups ATTRIBUTE MUCH OF THE YOUTH VIOLENCE TO BROAD DISRUPTIONS THAT STARTED WITH THE PANDEMIC AND LOCKDOWNS. SCHOOLS SHUT DOWN, DEPRIVING STUDENTS OF STRUCTURE IN DAILY LIFE, AS DID SERVICES FOR TROUBLED CHILDREN. INCREASED STRESS COMPOUNDED A SWELLING MENTAL-HEALTH CRISIS. SOCIAL-MEDIA CONFLICTS INCREASINGLY TURNED DEADLY.

Dora Villarreal, the top prosecutor in Rock Island County, Ill., said she has never seen such young teens so frequently involved in shootings and firearms cases in her county of about 143,000. “During Covid, without school being a constant kind of stabilizing structure for many of our kids, that has helped lead unfortunately to this rise in violent crime,” she said… .

… Fourteen-year-old K’Mya Marshall could see the changes among the young people she knew in her West Philadelphia neighborhood over the past two years.

After months of isolation, teens became less able to cope with conflict and more frequently lashed out over small disputes, she said. With less to do, many also drifted deeper into social-media circles where guns and crime were glamorized.

Firearms were seemingly everywhere, as gun sales skyrocketed during the pandemic. Kids got them from family members, purchased them on Instagram for a few hundred dollars, or bought homemade ghost guns from other teens.

“They think it’s cool,” said K’Mya, a team leader at the Young Chances Foundation, a community organization that seeks to prevent violence. “They want that gun to define themselves and for people to be scared of them.”

Full article at https://www.wsj.com/articles/violent-crime-rate-juvenile-11674485556 [EMPHASES added.]

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Feral kids and lots of guns ... what could possibly go wrong?

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deletedJan 23, 2023·edited Jan 23, 2023
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Everybody that age lives in this environment, Dennis. And that environment is not going to change any time soon, except to get worse.

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