Skip to comments.WARRIORS, WEAPONS, & CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS (VANITY Cont...)
Posted on 12/06/2012 6:48:39 PM PST by Bill Russell
An article in Mondays Washington Times, highlighted the Democratic efforts in the Senate to block Senator Tom Cobuns amendment to require a court order before denying a veteran under Veterans Administration care the right to own a gun.
Until four years ago, I would not have been so concerned about the VA making a medical mental competency call on an individual veteran being treated for mental health issues. Certainly, no one in their right mind would argue that the mentally incompetent should own guns. Also, the vast majority of the people who work for the bureaucratic organization known as the VA are professionals and are concerned for the veterans they care for. But the issue of competency becomes an issue because the VA is a bureaucracy, and a political one at that.
Every man and woman who enlists in our military services raises their right hand and swears to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. When they become citizen-guardians of the Constitution, they sign blank checks with their lives and subordinate some of their Constitutional rights to the good order and disciple of the military, which is necessary to complete that mission. Specifically, they give up their rights to free political speech, submit to random search and seizure of their personal property (especially when living in the barracks or on board a ship), and relinquish their right to posses and control their personally owned weapons when living on military installations. While most will leave military service after their initial enlistment, they continue to up hold their oaths as life-long commitments as they continue their lives as civilians with the full rights to free speech and gun ownership that all citizens enjoy.
There are well meaning efforts to highlight the challenges of those veterans who suffer because of the wounds or stresses they endured when they went into harms way on our nations behalf. But all too often it becomes a political stiletto that is used to back-stab veterans in the political arena while professing to promote their causes. There is an underlying political narrative being used by the Democrats and the Administration which serves undermine the political credibility of veterans. It is a narrative in which most veterans simple desire for a bit of gratitude, is answered with condescending pity from those whom they have protected. It is one which highlights traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and post traumatic stress (PTSD). It visualizes all veterans as having been traumatized to the point that any expression of passion for the oath they took and the causes they served as due to post traumatic stress; one that portrays veterans as loved but unstable. This is a narrative which seeks to marginalize veterans politically, and disarm them literally.
Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein has led this narrative. Ever since she took to the airwaves and blamed the murders of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and City Supervisor Harvey Milk on their murders service in Vietnam in 1978, she has continued her crusade against gun ownership, especially semiautomatic weapons.
Fortunately and despite all the political and media attention given to TBI and PTSD rates among service members and veterans, the crime and suicide rates among combat veterans are much lower than the rates for the same age, sex, and social demographics of the general population. Yet, veterans who have sacrificed for this nation, have the bar lowered for the infringement of their rights after they leave military service, and are portrayed as somehow being less grounded and stable for political viewpoints and gun ownership than their civilian counterparts who have not served.
An article in the Wall Street Journal following the Gabby Giffords mass shooting, reports that all other citizens require court adjudication to be declared mentally incompetent, with a total of 1.1 million people currently on the NICS mentally unfit list. This means that the 100,000 people currently banned from gun ownership by VA injunction mentioned by the Brady Center in the Washington Times article, account for a large portion of those banned in the NICS. This demonstrates that veterans are much more likely to be reported in NICS and banned from gun ownership for mental incapacity than those who have not served. The problem is not that mentally unfit veterans are on the list, but that they are placed there by bureaucrats against whom they have no independent appeal.
This is very worrisome because President Obama and his administration cannot be depended upon to defend the Constitutional rights of Veterans any more than they could be to defend the voting rights of our Active Duty personnel who are deployed. The Department of Defense under the leadership of Defense Secretary Panetta, paid minimal lip service to ensuring the voting rights of our deployed Service Members in the last election. Many absentee ballots for those in Afghanistan were destroyed in a plane crash. There was also a very lack-luster effort on the part of the Defense Department to get deployed Soldiers to register for their absentee ballots and to get those ballots to them, in spite of the legal requirements to do so. Then, the President went beyond simply failing in defending the rights of Service Members to vote, and engaged in active suppression of those rights. President Obamas re-election campaign sued to eliminate the three day extension on absentee and early voting for members of military in Ohio. Is the VA any less subject to political manipulation by the Administration than the Defense Department?
What is to prevent Obamas Veterans Administration from implementing a rule requiring every Purple Heart recipient to pass a mental competency test before being allowed to own weapons? What is to prevent the VA from extending that competency test to any Veteran who has served in a combat zone, because they might have PTSD? What is to prevent this Administration and the political bureaucracy of the VA from cross-referencing that competency test with a list of known Oath Keepers or other political test?
There is a very telling scene in the movie The Last Emperor. The young Emperor of China returns to Manchuria in 1935 to find his palace guards disarmed and Japanese appointed ministers in control of his government. Most Americans are not used to thinking such a scene could have relevance to the United States because we are a Constitutional Republic whose citizens have an active role in governing and protecting our form of government. But there seems to be an active Democratic effort to marginalize and disarm the sworn guardians of our Republic.
This is why it is so important for the Congress to prevent the Veterans Administration (VA) from unilaterally ruling individual veterans mentally incompetent to own guns. This is where Senator Coburn, Congressional leaders, and the American people must continue the fight to protect the Constitutional rights of our veterans, so that they will always remain the sworn citizen-guardians of our Constitution.
William T Russell is a former Republican Congressional Candidate in the 12th Congressional District of Pennsylvania. He is an internationally published columnist and has been a featured guest on a number of national television and radio news shows. He is a retired Lieutenant Colonel from the US Army and has served in Desert Storm, the Iraq War, and the Balkans. He and his wife, Kasia, were both in the Pentagon on 9/11. Email him at Bill_Russell@hotmail.com.
Can’t ask a person for ID at the voting booth, because that interferes with a person right ot vote, but we will interefere with your right to bear arms anytime we want to, subject.
What price service to one’s country?
lest we ever forget the real meaning of America`s warriors bearing arms
Frank A. Stevens has received
numerous souvenirs from his son,
Durand, who is a Sergeant attached to the Signal Corps in the South-
west Pacific. They consist of shell
and wooden money; a flame thrower;
a flag; a telephone, and many other
items of interest.”
Essex County Republican Mar 3, 1944, p1