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Constitutionally Incapable [A Gun Hater's Rant Against the 2nd Amendment]
http://www.freezerbox.com/archive/article.asp?id=219 ^ | 8/28/2002 | MICHAEL MANVILLE

Posted on 04/03/2003 10:26:57 PM PST by 2nd_Amendment_Defender

On August 15, in a California courtroom, Charles Andy Williams was convicted of murder and sentenced to fifty years in prison. Williams, for anyone who doesn't recall, was the 15-year old high school student, often tormented by bullies, who opened fire on a California campus last year, killing two people and injuring eleven more. On his arrest at the scene, he told police officers that he had planned to kill himself as well, but when the moment came lacked the nerve. His courtroom apology, given in the moments after his conviction, was wracked with sobs.

Less than two years ago, it seemed, we were on the brink of a serious discussion about the role of guns in America. A string of grisly killings, coupled with a President who saw opportunity in battling the National Rifle Association, had given new momentum to the seemingly endless and often fruitless quest for more gun control. But windows open and windows close, and at the end of that particular bout of self-examination we had no more meaningful legislation than we had before it started.

Proponents of gun control tend to blame the NRA for this, and the NRA, with its hyperactive lobbying campaign and its assiduously well-organized members, certainly owns a lion's share of the blame (or credit, depending on one's perspective.) Other factors played a role, though. The election of President Bush didn't help, partly because Bush himself supports the individual's right to bear arms, but mostly because he chose as his Attorney General John Ashcroft, a notoriously pro-gun official. Ashcroft hadn't been in office long before he quietly reversed the Justice Department's longstanding legal opinion on the Second Amendment, eliminating the idea, set forward by the Supreme Court in United States v. Miller, that the amendment is a guarantee only of "collective rights." The Miller decision says the amendment prevents the federal government from interfering with states' forming militias, but it does not prevent it from regulating individual ownership arms.

I tend to favor that interpretation, but I also don't put too much stock in Miller, largely because by the time the Court got the case Miller himself was dead, and as such couldn't offer a very strong pro-gun argument. I am more troubled by Ashcroft's selective defense of the Constitution. In the aftermath of September 11, when he seemed determined to apply elasticity to the entire the Bill of Rights--when he wanted, it seemed, to know everything about anyone in the US who hailed from a Middle Eastern country--he explicitly refused to find out if they owned guns. How this stood up, to standards of logic or consistency, was hard to fathom. Where the Fifth Amendment could be stretched and shorn, and the already-tattered writ of habeas corpus could be put through new gymnastic contortions, the Second Amendment, apparently, could not be touched.

But for a while now, this has been the case. The Second Amendment enjoys a rather exalted place in American jurisprudence precisely because, it seems, no one can agree on what it means. A few days before Charles Andy Williams sat in the dock awaiting judgment for his crimes, I was given an article, written by the economist Robert Solow, about the proper place for "intellectual ancestors." Solow was talking specifically about the land reformer Henry George, but in the article he took some time to discuss the downfall of Marxist economics. Whatever promise Marxism had, Solow said, fell apart when its original form, which as an innovative and highly learned form of social science inquiry, was replaced by a political movement. When that happened, the ideas of Marx himself stopped being a framework to apply to the still-moving world, and instead became considered incontrovertible truths. Das Kapital, Marx's signature contribution to political economy, stopped being a useful starting point for the analysis of current events, and started being a political Bible. Marxist scholars, as a result, are often stuck making two arguments: that first, what they say is consistent with what is in Das Kapital; and (only secondly), that what they say has a bearing on the real world.

The parallel here is obvious. If Marxism is frozen in 1859, then our debate on gun control may be stalled somewhere around 1790. On both sides of the issue, scholars and advocates constantly stake claim to the Second Amendment, 27 words that--let's face it--would have earned an F from any respectable composition teacher. Advocates of stricter gun laws interpret the amendment as defending the need for state militias, while their adversaries claim it leaves unfettered both militias and an individual's right to carry.

There are points to be made on both sides. A favorite piece of propaganda brandished by gun control opponents is collection of quotations, from the Founding Fathers, on the meaning of the right to bear arms. The quotes almost unequivocally support an individualist interpretation. Alexander Hamilton, for instance, is quoted as saying "The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed." (It is an open question as to whether Hamilton felt the same way after Aaron Burr gunned him down in a duel). And Thomas Jefferson notes that "the gun" should be "the constant companion to your walks." Whether these quotes are in their proper context is something I'll not delve into; for the moment they can be taken at face value. The gun control side, for its part, enjoys trotting out one of James Madison's earlier drafts of the Second Amendment, which leaves little doubt as to its intent:

The right of the people to keep and bear arm shall not be infringed; a well-armed and well-regulated militia being the best security of a free country; but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person. It doesn't get much plainer than that. On the other hand, that isn't what's on the books, and no one can say with certainty that Madison's clear sentence wasn't changed into the muddled one we have today precisely to safeguard the individual rights he left out. Today's Second Amendment, in other words, reflects the deliberate insertion of individual rights. I can't say I find that idea very persuasive, but it is a powerful one, and scholars like Stephen Halbrook have made careers finding evidence for it.

But this brings us back to the original question: how appropriate is it for us to decide the question of weaponry using a two hundred year-old document? One doesn't often compare the problems of Constitutional law with those of Marxist economics, but the parallels are again strong. Marxism failed to accurately predict the impact that technology would have on the industrial world. The Founding Fathers, it could be said, failed to do the same with firearms. They never anticipated the Glock 9mm or the AK-47, so whatever the intended meaning of the Second Amendment, it also fails to account for the forces that shape public safety today.

Most of the soul-searching that has fueled gun control efforts has arisen in the aftermath of ghoulish mass killings, like those at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, or in the Edgewater office complex at Wakefield, Massachusetts. It is not inappropriate to point out that at the time of the Constitution's writing, such occurrences were inconceivable. Colonial pistols and muskets didn't lend themselves well to violent rampages; they were cumbersome to carry, slow and awkward to load, and notoriously inaccurate. The smoke generated by the first shot (which often missed) tended to obscure the target, and ruled out the possibility of a second shot correcting the error. A hothead in a bar could haul out a flintlock and shoot the person next to him, but he'd likely be overpowered immediately afterward. And as for a man with a musket--a person with a rifle being turned on them could probably run away, or tackle their assailant, before a shot was fired. As the historian Garry Wills has pointed out, the shootout at the OK Corral, which involved nine men, two horses, revolvers, a shotgun and a Winchester Rifle, all in an eighteen foot wide lot, resulted in only three deaths, largely due to the inaccuracy of the weapons and the huge cloud of smoke that arose after the shooting began. And this was in 1881, over one hundred years after the Second Amendment was written, and also after men like Samuel Colt had made significant improvements to firearms.

Much has changed in the intervening century. Handguns can pump bullets quickly and accurately, and rifles are likewise lighter, easier to use, and faster to reload. They are also far more prevalent. If in fact the framers of the Constitution intended that the right to bear arms was one not be infringed, at some point it does need to be considered that their conception of arms differs greatly from ours. The Glock 9mm has about as much relationship to the flintlock pistol as a Ford Taurus does to a saddle horse. We have rules regulating cars that differ drastically from those that regulated horses, and there are those who point out that we should have different guidelines for semiautomatic weapons than we did for muskets.

But we don't, for two reasons. The first is that our Constitution is composed primarily of negative rights: it is an enumeration of things the government cannot do, rather than prescriptions of what it must do. For this reason we have in our founding document no right to housing, no right to education, and (famously) no right to health care. We do have a right to "the common safety" but the extent to which it can be enforced is limited by the fact that guns, of all things, are the beneficiaries of a negative right.

There are two lines of defense for this, one utilitarian and the other legal. The utilitarian argument says, simply, that society is safer when it has more guns. The legal argument says it doesn't really matter if society is safer because the Constitution says we can have guns, and if the Constitution says so then it must be okay. In its own way, the legal argument is of a pattern with much public discourse. We regularly look to the Constitution for guidance, and on a host of issues we present our opinions as correct because they correspond how we read the Constitution. Our opponents will then insist that it is their view, not ours, that properly adheres to the document, and we sigh and say that our opponents are interpreting the Constitution wrong. Never, however, do we engage in the rational blasphemy that our opponents might be right and the Constitution wrong, and wrong for a very simple reason: it's old.

Even if the Second Amendment is intended as an individual right, there is a case to be made that the amendment is outdated. And the Second Amendment may not be alone in needing a revamp. Campaign finance reform, according to the ACLU, is unconstitutional. I trust the ACLU on most First Amendment issues, but I still think that finance reform, in a political system hideously polluted by money, is a pretty good idea. The United States is one of the youngest countries in the developed world, but it has by far the oldest Constitution. And so difficult is it to change that Constitution (less than 3 percent of the population can block an amendment) that it has become, in some eyes, a secular Bible, a gospel that has hijacked the science of governance. We live, according to Constitutional scholar Daniel Lazare, in a "Frozen Republic," a stop-time feedback loop that forces crucial issues of the day to be interpreted through a centuries-old lens. The Constitution, in other words, actually deters the evolution of democracy.

I don't strictly adhere to this school of thought, although I think anyone who dismisses it outright is simply courting ignorance. Nothing lasts forever, regardless of nostalgia or patriotic sentiment. But the whole exercise does raise anew the question of why guns should be protected by a Constitutional right. Many of our rights, after all, are not enumerated in the Constitution--why guns? This returns us to the utilitarian argument: guns make the society safer. Criminologist Gary Kleck has shown that only two percent of the guns in circulation will ever be used for a crime, so gun control, he argues, "faces a serious needle in a haystack problem." Kleck also points out that a slightly larger percentage of the guns circulating will probably be used to prevent a crime, thus rendering an armed society, on balance, better off than an unarmed one.

I don't dispute Kleck's work, but I do think he has failed to look at the whole picture. Specifically, he doesn't examine the guns that are used neither to commit nor prevent crimes--those that make up the other 96 percent of America's arms. My central problem with gun control is that it bears too many similarities to the War on Drugs: it attacks a demand-driven problem through assaults on supply. But that doesn't mean the supply isn't a source of concern. If only a miniscule portion of the nation's guns are going to be used in crimes, why do so many people arm themselves?

Guns, like drugs, tend to be a self-justifying phenomenon. If someone buys a gun to feel safe, and the gun does make them feel safe, then it stands to reason that they will feel less safe without that gun, even if they were never in any danger to begin with. In many instances, the gun validates a distrust of society that isn't justified, and for this reason it is a symptom of two deeper problems--crime and fear of crime. Our anxiety about criminals exists in a condition grossly out of proportion to their existence: to give but one example, the number of children kidnapped and killed has been steadily decreasing in recent years, and the numbers so far for 2002 indicate that it will continue to bottom out. The average over the past decade has been between 200 and 300 per year. This is without question an unspeakable tragedy, but it is not an epidemic. And yet our nation is in the grip of kidnapping-hysteria, convinced that monsters lurk behind every jungle-gym. Does anyone doubt that some parents have armed themselves against this phantom menace?

Guns are an anti-social solution to a social problem. If people distrust each other and arm themselves against them, this may in some statistical interpretation reduce crime, but it is not a recipe for social comity. It seems hardly a reason to Constitutionally protect firearms ownership. But there is one more argument for the Second Amendment: it protects us from our own government, and is as such the first defense against encroaching tyranny. In the current atmosphere this is laughable, and I will give it only the bare treatment it deserves.

History is not kind to this argument. The armed citizen has a lamentable record against the armed regiment, and often it is the simple suggestion that citizens have arms that allows for the brutal repression of opposition groups. African-Americans, for example, did not win their civil rights through gunfights with the police. The Nation of Islam was reviled for its violence, and parlayed into propaganda for racists and segregationists. No, the last dictatorships in the United States, which were the police states of Mississippi and Alabama, were taken down through peaceful protest that spurred legislation. The protests came at an admittedly high price, but that price was exacted largely through night-riding and terrorism--by ordinary citizens with guns. Can a citizen's gun be an instrument of liberty? Of course. But it can just as easily, and indeed more often, be an instrument of oppression.

And finally, it is worth remembering that today we have an anti-government government, a President who the NRA called its candidate, and an Attorney General who prizes the Second Amendment. What we have gotten from this Administration, thus far, speaks not well of the defense from tyranny. Individual rights are being rolled back at a rapid pace, and much of what was once open is now secret. Guns, however, remain unfettered, which suggests that they benefit from, rather than protect against, the destruction of other liberties. This does not need to be the case, and gun control is far from an open-and-shut issue. But for now, those who believe in gun rights are burdened by their own champions, who invoke the Constitution even as they busily carve it up.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Free Republic; Government; Miscellaneous; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: banglist
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But this brings us back to the original question: how appropriate is it for us to decide the question of weaponry using a two hundred year-old document?

I am speechless after reading this article. It made me very sick only reading some of it and I almost had to run to the bathroom to puke. I'll save the fun job for the fellow Freepers to hack it to pieces. Be my guest everyone.

1 posted on 04/03/2003 10:26:57 PM PST by 2nd_Amendment_Defender
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To: *bang_list
To the bang list ...
2 posted on 04/03/2003 10:27:48 PM PST by 2nd_Amendment_Defender ("It is when people forget God that tyrants forge their chains." -- Patrick Henry)
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To: 2nd_Amendment_Defender

And so difficult is it to change that Constitution (less than 3 percent of the population can block an amendment) that it has become, in some eyes, a secular Bible, a gospel that has hijacked the science of governance. We live, according to Constitutional scholar Daniel Lazare, in a "Frozen Republic," a stop-time feedback loop that forces crucial issues of the day to be interpreted through a centuries-old lens. The Constitution, in other words, actually deters the evolution of democracy.

As I retch along with you...


3 posted on 04/03/2003 10:49:38 PM PST by AnnaZ
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To: 2nd_Amendment_Defender
What a piece of crap.

"Guns, like drugs, tend to be a self-justifying phenomenon. If someone buys a gun to feel safe, and the gun does make them feel safe, then it stands to reason that they will feel less safe without that gun, even if they were never in any danger to begin with."

An out right fabrication that I challenge the author to prove. If he can succeed I'll join his side of the debate.

Rick

4 posted on 04/03/2003 10:58:30 PM PST by Borderline
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To: 2nd_Amendment_Defender
bttt
5 posted on 04/03/2003 11:07:11 PM PST by spodefly (This is my tag line. There are many like it, but this one is mine.)
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To: Borderline
I cannot resist challenging the below lies:

Most of the soul-searching that has fueled gun control efforts has arisen in the aftermath of ghoulish mass killings, like those at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, or in the Edgewater office complex at Wakefield, Massachusetts.

Our society is kept in order by peaceful citizens with firearms. There are over half a million uses of firearms every year that protect and defend the innocent. It is mostly in the "gun-free zones" where the good are disarmed that the brutal psychos murder. The misuse of firearms in the United States is outnumbered in over a 1 to 700 ratio for people who use guns for good.

Some people would love to see those seven hundred, beaten, raped or murdered to keep the one from ever obtaining a firearm. Americans with guns save lives!

6 posted on 04/03/2003 11:15:05 PM PST by 2nd_Amendment_Defender ("It is when people forget God that tyrants forge their chains." -- Patrick Henry)
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To: 2nd_Amendment_Defender
The author of this article fails to understand that the main issue in the Miller decision was the usefulness of a short-barreled shotgun to the Militia and not whether Miller himself was in the Militia.

The author's reference to Madison's early draft of the Second Amendment also reveals the author's feeble grasp of language. Madison's early draft is virtually identical in meaning to the present Amendment. Unless, of course, one believes that "people" doesn't mean people.

7 posted on 04/03/2003 11:17:26 PM PST by William Tell
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To: Borderline
...that the amendment is a guarantee only of "collective rights."


Freedom of Speech, but only for groups.

Freedom from unreasonable searches, but only for groups.

No quartering of troops, but only for groups.

Speedy trials, but only for groups.

No cruel or unusual punishment, but only for groups.

I guess if your not part of "the collective" in America, you're screwed...
8 posted on 04/03/2003 11:19:19 PM PST by motzman
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To: 2nd_Amendment_Defender
The framers of the Constitution couldn't have predicted the effect of radio, TV, cell phones and high speed presses with respect to the First Amendment.

The framers couldn't have predicted the impact of the internet on interstate commerce and taxation issues.

Technology moves on. The world isn't a static place. The types of communications tools and weapons that will be common place in 100 years from now can not be predicted.

The dunderhead observes that 96% of the firearms are involved in neither crime nor defense, yet he is consumed with the idea of attacking that 96% neutral class of private property. The 2% used in criminal acts becomes his excuse to snatch the other 98% away.

9 posted on 04/03/2003 11:37:25 PM PST by Myrddin
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To: 2nd_Amendment_Defender
Guns are an anti-social solution to a social problem. If people distrust each other and arm themselves against them, this may in some statistical interpretation reduce crime, but it is not a recipe for social comity.

This guy needs to be dropped, unarmed, into a gang infested inner city. Preferably around midnight. He would be quickly enlightened and probably sent to his ignorant reward with the worms.

10 posted on 04/03/2003 11:40:40 PM PST by Myrddin
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To: 2nd_Amendment_Defender
A well presented example of circular logic.

Proof that running in a circle tends to bring your head close to your ass. Ask and basset hound.

Sounds like the distinguished dimwit stopped a bit quickly and had a look at his colon.
11 posted on 04/03/2003 11:42:59 PM PST by Rasputin_TheMadMonk (Yes I am a bastard, but I'm a free, white, gun owning bastard. Just ask my exwife.)
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To: motzman
Wonder if a 1 inch group at 300 meters counts ?

Stay Safe

12 posted on 04/03/2003 11:45:16 PM PST by Squantos (Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.)
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To: AnnaZ
There should be a law that allows these idiots to be sued over the use of the Miller Case if they haven't ever read it.
13 posted on 04/03/2003 11:49:54 PM PST by Kadric
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To: 2nd_Amendment_Defender
The Second Amendment enjoys a rather exalted place in American jurisprudence precisely because, it seems, no one can agree on what it means. But this brings us back to the original question: how appropriate is it for us to decide the question of weaponry using a two hundred year-old document?

Ageism, racism, fascism, progressism, regressism.

This so called 200 year old document who has not had a single wrinkle of old age affliction understood that you cannot be superstitious in people and expect them to protect you. People then were like people today, just as black people are no different than white people. Who are these fascist f@gots to tell us to trust such preference or such person for our defense, in complete superstition and evangelization.

14 posted on 04/03/2003 11:51:34 PM PST by lavaroise
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To: Kadric
There should be a law that allows these idiots to be sued over the use of the Miller Case if they haven't ever read it.

You are absolutely right. FREEDOM OF SPEECH ENDS WHEN ONE COPIES OR FAKES PAPER MONEY AND OTHER CURRENCIES. LIBERALS WHO FAKE CURRENCY AND MISCHARACTERIZE WILLINGLY LAWS AND INTERPRETATIONS SHOULD GO TO JAIL LIKE ANY OTHER FRAUD!!!

15 posted on 04/03/2003 11:57:02 PM PST by lavaroise
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To: Kadric
I would like to see a law that made lying in a public forum (public office, news paper, etc.) or intentionally misrepresenting the facts a felony punishable by death. That would cure all of our problems with government officials.

What part of the first amendment covers the right to lie? Free speech should not mean free from responsibility for that speech.

Of course I am a radical.....
16 posted on 04/03/2003 11:58:57 PM PST by Rasputin_TheMadMonk (Yes I am a bastard, but I'm a free, white, gun owning bastard. Just ask my exwife.)
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To: 2nd_Amendment_Defender
I shall add that this is felony and felony confinement to take my rights of self defense away, tying my hands. It is plain and simple government and mob led domestic violence on a mass scale. It is Stalinist and Hitlerian horror to fix a problem of sporadic violence in our schools.

These people will confuse science, which applies on things, and the Bible, which applies on trusting people and determines that man, as a model, cannot be scientificaly modeled, but that it is up to him or her to decide his or her own behavior. The liberal mystifiction and superstition and envangelizing of having other people protect us is ridiculous. You might as well believe the authorities as gods, which they are not. And God's revenge will be terrifying if we put them above Him, for lower gods are inherently imperfect and hence in need of cleansings, ethnical, technical and stereotypical cleansings. Evangelization and superstition in certain categories of people in this country is a pagan religion running rampant in liberal stupid useful idiot wonderland world.
17 posted on 04/04/2003 12:04:08 AM PST by lavaroise
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To: 2nd_Amendment_Defender
Never, however, do we engage in the rational blasphemy that our opponents might be right and the Constitution wrong, and wrong for a very simple reason: it's old.

BARF ALERT!

18 posted on 04/04/2003 12:16:11 AM PST by Fraulein
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To: 2nd_Amendment_Defender
"History is not kind to this argument. The armed citizen has a lamentable record against the armed regiment, and often it is the simple suggestion that citizens have arms that allows for the brutal repression of opposition groups. African-Americans, for example, did not win their civil rights through gunfights with the police. The Nation of Islam was reviled for its violence, and parlayed into propaganda for racists and segregationists. No, the last dictatorships in the United States, which were the police states of Mississippi and Alabama, were taken down through peaceful protest that spurred legislation. The protests came at an admittedly high price, but that price was exacted largely through night-riding and terrorism--by ordinary citizens with guns. Can a citizen's gun be an instrument of liberty? Of course. But it can just as easily, and indeed more often, be an instrument of oppression."

The author fails to look at examples from history in places like Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, where tens of millions of people were murdered by their own government and they had no defense.


19 posted on 04/04/2003 12:27:29 AM PST by shekkian
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To: Myrddin
Right on.

All this is is a long-winded diatribe in support of the so-called "living" (in reality "dead and up-for-grabs") Constitution.

No sale.


20 posted on 04/04/2003 7:22:26 AM PST by Joe Brower (http://www.joebrower.com/)
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To: 2nd_Amendment_Defender
The author obviously neglects to understand that his ability to even consider writing that piece of uneducated, ill thought out trash is a direct result of firearms ownership by the citizens of the country since before it's inception.

He should also think of the logic of his reference to technology in regards to how the First Amendment wouldn't apply to his website, his computer, or any other modern writing or media outlet.

Liberals are so ignorant that I can't even take them seriously anymore.

Mike

21 posted on 04/04/2003 7:31:18 AM PST by BCR #226
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To: shekkian
Can a citizen's gun be an instrument of liberty? Of course. But it can just as easily, and indeed more often, be an instrument of oppression."

that's because the oppressed didn't have 'em, and the oppressors did. The oppressed were prohibited by Jim Crow legislation, against their natural right. Seems to be an argument FOR armed citizens. ALL citizens.

22 posted on 04/04/2003 8:02:57 AM PST by packrat01
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To: AnnaZ
The Constitution, in other words, actually deters the evolution of democracy.

good thing, that. I'm glad we have a Constitutional Republic, and not a democracy.

23 posted on 04/04/2003 8:05:15 AM PST by packrat01 (democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what's to be had for supper)
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To: Myrddin
While The framers of the Constitution couldn't have predicted the effect of radio, TV, cell phones and high speed presses with respect to the First Amendment, the concept of the Glock 9mm or the AK-47 was within their possible understanding.

records of the Royal Society March 2, 1663, Sir Robert Moray FRS "There had come to Prince Rupert a rare mechanician who pretended to make a pistol shooting as fast as could be presented and yet could be stopped at pleasure; and wherein the motion of the fire and bullet within was made to charge the piece with powder and bullet, to prime it and bend the cock."

24 posted on 04/04/2003 8:09:22 AM PST by Oztrich Boy ("From now on, every Christmas, we will remember a brave man called Jesus")
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To: 2nd_Amendment_Defender
Williams, for anyone who doesn't recall, was the 15-year old high school student, often tormented by bullies,

Less than two years ago, it seemed, we were on the brink of a serious discussion about the role of guns in America.

Perhaps we should be having a serious discussion on the role of 'bullies' in America.

25 posted on 04/04/2003 8:14:00 AM PST by asformeandformyhouse
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To: 2nd_Amendment_Defender
The Founding Fathers, it could be said, failed to do the same with firearms. They never anticipated the Glock 9mm or the AK-47, so whatever the intended meaning of the Second Amendment, it also fails to account for the forces that shape public safety today.

This is stupid. The founders never envisioned the internet, so do we need to examine more closely whether the first amendment applies to all internet "speech?"

26 posted on 04/04/2003 8:16:18 AM PST by 1L
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To: 2nd_Amendment_Defender
"The Miller decision says the amendment prevents the federal government from interfering with states' forming militias, but it does not prevent it from regulating individual ownership arms." - article

This statement is completely false, and notably fails to cite the actual ruling in support, because there is no such support in the ruling.
- none.

This sentence alone is enough to demonstrate that the author is intentionally lying to bolster his anti-constitutional agenda.

Regards,

27 posted on 04/04/2003 8:16:29 AM PST by Triple (All forms of socialism deny individuals the right to the fruits of their labor)
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To: 2nd_Amendment_Defender
....how appropriate is it for us to decide the question of weaponry using a two hundred year-old document?

Wow, if age is the criteria for appropriateness I guess we better chuck the rest of the Constitution and the Bible out the window too.

28 posted on 04/04/2003 8:17:57 AM PST by ladtx ("...the very obsession of your public service must be Duty, Honor, Country." D. MacArthur)
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To: 2nd_Amendment_Defender
I like the old way of thinking. I respect the era we're "frozen" in. To hell with this guy and his amorality.
29 posted on 04/04/2003 8:25:17 AM PST by CaptainJustice (Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad!)
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To: 2nd_Amendment_Defender
no kidding. As long as we are changing things to fit the times, might as well change the 10 commandments to the 10 suggestions.
30 posted on 04/04/2003 9:07:29 AM PST by stylin19a (oh to die peacefully in my sleep like my uncle-not screaming in terror like his taxi passengers)
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To: 2nd_Amendment_Defender
... The first is that our Constitution is composed primarily of negative rights: it is an enumeration of things the government cannot do, rather than prescriptions of what it must do. For this reason we have in our founding document no right to housing, no right to education, and (famously) no right to health care. ...

Is this whack-job implying that there IS a right to housing, education, and health care?

31 posted on 04/04/2003 9:19:39 AM PST by packrat01
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To: 2nd_Amendment_Defender
What do you expect from this bunch:

"Freezerbox is dedicated to the belief that an active, informed citizenry is crucial to the stabilization of spaceship Earth, which right now--judging from the state of the environment and extreme global inequality--is not on a sustainable, just path. Not even close."

Freezerbox: Mission

32 posted on 04/04/2003 9:24:45 AM PST by facedown (Armed in the Heartland)
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To: packrat01
Actually I prefer to think he has it backwards. The Constitution enumerates things you already have...w/o the government. Ie, positive rights. Housing/healthcare/etc would be negative rights because government would have to TAKE from someone to give them to you.
33 posted on 04/04/2003 9:34:57 AM PST by Black Agnes
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To: Oztrich Boy
Good find. On a parallel note, I was visiting the Museum of Welsh Family Life in Cardiff in 1996. I saw a pair of inline skates with 4 wheels. The wheel profile was similar to what is sold today, but the material appeared to be an inflated leather tube. Some ideas just have to wait for materials technology to catch up.
34 posted on 04/04/2003 10:02:42 AM PST by Myrddin
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To: Black Agnes
Actually I prefer to think he has it backwards.

yup. got his head on backwards, is what he's got...

35 posted on 04/04/2003 10:30:31 AM PST by packrat01
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To: William Tell
The easiest way to rebut these arguments (that the Second Amendment is a collective right and not an individual right) is to point out the simple FACT that no court EVER subscribed to the collectivist theory until FDR became president, and the courts began to be stuffed with socialists and "progressives." And that was some 150 years AFTER the Bill of Rights was ratified. If the intent of the Second Amendment was a collective right, then one would necessarily have expected a big hulabaloo from law enforcement and the courts about armed citizens walking around in broad daylight for 150 years. The simple fact that there never were any such complaints just reinforces the FACT that the Founders ratified the Second Amendment as an individual right, and everyone in America for 150 years knew and understood and accepted that fact!
36 posted on 04/04/2003 10:39:38 AM PST by ought-six
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To: packrat01
pr1 ...

good thing, that. I'm glad we have a Constitutional Republic, and not a democracy.


23 posted on 04/04/2003 8:05 AM PST by packrat01



fC ...

The constitution is amendable by a 2/3rds majority ...

democracy trumps the law // constitution ---

' mob ' rule --- liberalism // EVOLUTION !

more ...

Originally the word liberal meant social conservatives(no govt religion--none) who advocated growth and progress---mostly technological(knowledge being absolute/unchanging)based on law--reality... UNDER GOD---the nature of GOD/man/govt. does not change.

LC...

Now I follow, thank you. Actually, I don't disagree with this at all since I see the left as abandoning the uncertianty of democracy and majority rule (( constitutional // law ))* * for the assurance technocracy and expert rule (( dictatorship // tyranny ))* * .

152 posted on 9/10/02 12:17 PM Pacific by Liberal Classic

... * * ... my additions !


37 posted on 04/04/2003 11:07:47 AM PST by f.Christian (( who you gonna call ... 1 800 orc // evo bstr ))
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things that make you go 'rofl'.
38 posted on 04/04/2003 11:18:53 AM PST by toothless (I AM A MAN)
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To: 2nd_Amendment_Defender
To: f.Christian

Dakmar...

I took a few minutes to decipher that post, and I must say I agree with a lot of what you said.

fC...

These were the Classical liberals...founding fathers-PRINCIPLES---stable/SANE scientific reality/society---industrial progress...moral/social character-values(private/personal) GROWTH(limited NON-intrusive PC Govt/religion---schools)!

Dakmar...

Where you and I diverge is on the Evolution/Communism thing. You seem to view Darwin and evolution as the beginning of the end for enlighted, moral civilization, while I think Marx, class struggle, and the "dictatorship of the proletariat" are the true dangers.

God bless you, I think we both have a common enemy in the BRAVE-NWO.

452 posted on 9/7/02 8:54 PM Pacific by Dakmar

39 posted on 04/04/2003 11:19:56 AM PST by f.Christian (( who you gonna call ... 1 800 orc // evo bstr ))
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To: 2nd_Amendment_Defender
What a well-thought-out, well-written, piece of disingenuous crap!

The first is that our Constitution is composed primarily of negative rights: it is an enumeration of things the government cannot do, rather than prescriptions of what it must do. For this reason we have in our founding document no right to housing, no right to education, and (famously) no right to health care.

The US Constitution and Bill of Rights enumerate what the Federal Gubmint may do; all other rights are retained by the indiviudal states should the citizens of that state allow such, or are retained by individual citizens.

Is this guy ignorant of this, or was he lying?

40 posted on 04/04/2003 11:23:16 AM PST by Ignatz (Scribe of the Unwritten Law)
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To: 2nd_Amendment_Defender
This erudite loon is an historical ignoramus.

The Bill of Rights was developed by the Founding Fathers in part because it GUAREENTED, not GRANTED, certain God-given rights. One of these is the right to self defense, one of the reasons for the Second Amendment. Believing in God, I believe these rights are as constant and unchanging as He is.

No the Second Amendment is not "old", because basic human nature does NOT change, and as long as their are people and governments run by them, there will also be other people who will try to use those governments to oppress the majority of the population. Only the checks and balances built in our constitution (continually eroded by leftist "activist" Courts), our Rights in the Bill of Rights, and ever vigliant and active responses by us will prevent the U.S.A. from turning into a Country with an Imperial Presidency with a rubber stamp Congress, and Courts which distort the law to please the activist liberal elites.

The examples this fool gives are truly ludicrous.

For instance, a disenfranchised slave population, consisting very often of people who don't even speak the same languages, have absolutely no knowledge of geography or location, no organization, stand out among the general population, are outnumbered in general, and reduced to a servile stage, are obviously incapable of benefitting from owning arms - John Brown proved that.


The liberal anti-gunners will never give up.

As long as they control the mass media, as long as the NEA maintains its Bolshevik monopoly on public education, and as long as we support churches, actors and other organizations who try to subvert our God-given, governmentally guarenteed rights, we will lose by gradual attrition.

Each child who is denied the right to own a gun and hunt or target shoot, is a future anti-gunner. Each new immigrant we fail to convert to our view of the Constitution, is a future anti-gunner. We must take strong action on the propaganda front to sieze the initiative from these anti-Constitutionalist, left-wing wacko revisionists.
41 posted on 04/04/2003 11:34:13 AM PST by ZULU
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To: 2nd_Amendment_Defender
The Constitution, in other words, actually deters the evolution of democracy.

Darn straight it was. The Founders definitely did NOT want a democracy -- and for good reasons. I guess the guy can be right but still get it all wrong...

42 posted on 04/04/2003 12:13:20 PM PST by RogueIsland
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To: RogueIsland
These 'liberals' have the run of America ... FR --- what is going on ...

protected species (( evolution )) ? ?
43 posted on 04/04/2003 12:40:07 PM PST by f.Christian (( who you gonna call ... 1 800 orc // evo bstr ))
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To: 2nd_Amendment_Defender; Travis McGee; Squantos; 45Auto
This whole article is full of the lies, faulty reasoning, half-truths and the selective historical memory typical of liberals (especially the anti-gun variety thereof). Here's a short list of Manville's spew, and my comments:

I am more troubled by Ashcroft's selective defense of the Constitution. In the aftermath of September 11, when he seemed determined to apply elasticity to the entire the Bill of Rights--when he wanted, it seemed, to know everything about anyone in the US who hailed from a Middle Eastern country--he explicitly refused to find out if they owned guns. How this stood up, to standards of logic or consistency, was hard to fathom.

Perhaps no one interested in stopping terrorists was much interested in whether Middle Easterners or anyone else owned guns because 9/11 occurred without the use of a single firearm! In fact, had the pilots or some passengers had guns on board (the latter was allowed up to about 1970), perhaps these mass murders would never have occurred.

...our Constitution is composed primarily of negative rights: it is an enumeration of things the government cannot do, rather than prescriptions of what it must do. For this reason we have in our founding document no right to housing, no right to education, and (famously) no right to health care. We do have a right to "the common safety" but the extent to which it can be enforced is limited by the fact that guns, of all things, are the beneficiaries of a negative right.

Government has no rights, only powers. Individual people are the only legal entities that have rights. There is no such thing as a "negative right," even for people. The Constitution was set up by people who were interested in a government more efficient than that whicb existed under the Articles of Confederation, but not too much more so. These same men and those of their generation won a revolution against a powerful central government less than 10 years before, and they were deathly afraid of the power of a central government. Those who wrote the Constitution weren't about to purposely create a home-grown version of what they had just defeated at a great cost in blood and treasure.

The parallel here is obvious. If Marxism is frozen in 1859, then our debate on gun control may be stalled somewhere around 1790.

Since human nature has been frozen since about 35,000 BCE (and maybe long before that), I'll stick with the 1791 reading of the 2nd Amendment for a while. When human nature changes for the better, then I'll reconsider.

The Second Amendment enjoys a rather exalted place in American jurisprudence precisely because, it seems, no one can agree on what it means.

Everyone knows what it really means; it is just that elitist, big government liberals don't like it.

The Constitution, in other words, actually deters the evolution of democracy

Since we live in a representative republic, I think that this is a good thing. If you want a pure democracy, you're welcome to it, but excuse me if I pass. You see, in a pure democracy the mob (or the poll) rules. There is no purpose in writing down any law, as the next POS article by some no-name, brain-dead jack@$$ will sway enough people to change the law on a whim. By the way, the Founding Fathers recoiled at the very idea of democracy. Given their extensive knowledge of government and human nature, I'll continue to follow their lead.

...eliminating the idea, set forward by the Supreme Court in United States v. Miller, that the amendment is a guarantee only of "collective rights." The Miller decision says the amendment prevents the federal government from interfering with states' forming militias, but it does not prevent it from regulating individual ownership arms.

Here we go, yet again...like his fellow brain-addled libs, Manville just can't understand simple English - if, that is, he actually read the Miller case. Miller stands ONLY for the very narrow proposition that a short-barreled shotgun is not a "militia arm," and is, therefore, not protected by the 2nd Amendment. This (frankly erroneous) ruling was handed down only because the Supreme Court had no "judicial notice" that such a weapon would be useful for militia purposes, simply because of the strange facts of the case, to wit: Miller was dead when the case was heard, and had no attorney arguing against the government. Implied VERY strongly by this lousy case is that any weapon that IS suitable for militia use (such as semi-auto versions of real assault weapons, the actual assault weapons themselves, machine guns, etc.) would be explicitly protected by the 2nd. Yet, somehow, morons like this drool like hungry wolves at the mere thought of banning exactly those weapons. While such a stance defies logic, I am not surprised, as most liberals have a severe learning disability, not to mention a near total lack of morality.

But this brings us back to the original question: how appropriate is it for us to decide the question of weaponry using a two hundred year-old document? One doesn't often compare the problems of Constitutional law with those of Marxist economics, but the parallels are again strong. Marxism failed to accurately predict the impact that technology would have on the industrial world. The Founding Fathers, it could be said, failed to do the same with firearms. They never anticipated the Glock 9mm or the AK-47, so whatever the intended meaning of the Second Amendment, it also fails to account for the forces that shape public safety today.

Just as appropriate as is it for us to decide the question of free speech using a two hundred year-old document. No one 200 years ago could have forseen the invention or widespread use of the Internet, TV or radio, yet the 1st Amendment has (properly) acted as a check on government censorship of these forms of communication. In addition, public safety from criminals had nothing to do with the passage of the 2nd. It isn't about criminals, deer hunting, skeet shooting or anything else EXCEPT providing a final backstop against the imposition of a tyranny. It is about deterring would-be tyrants, and preserving the means by which actual tyrannies can be overthrown in the future, as the generation which came up with the 2nd itself did.

But the whole exercise does raise anew the question of why guns should be protected by a Constitutional right. Many of our rights, after all, are not enumerated in the Constitution--why guns? This returns us to the utilitarian argument: guns make the society safer.

Again, it ain't about protection from criminals. That benefit is mere icing on the cake, an after-dinner mint. The main course is the preservation of the means by which the individual citizens of the nation can prevent a tyranny or, if necessary, overthrow it.

But there is one more argument for the Second Amendment: it protects us from our own government, and is as such the first defense against encroaching tyranny. In the current atmosphere this is laughable, and I will give it only the bare treatment it deserves.

History is not kind to this argument. The armed citizen has a lamentable record against the armed regiment, and often it is the simple suggestion that citizens have arms that allows for the brutal repression of opposition groups. African-Americans, for example, did not win their civil rights through gunfights with the police.

I suggest that this ignoramous take out his history books and learn something that he was probably never exposed to in a public indoctrination center. The British at Lexington and Concord in 1775 would surely have disagreed with him, as would the British at the Battle of Saratoga. In 1943, a few dozen starving, untrained Jews armed with rusty and obsolete handguns and little ammunition managed to kill hundreds of well-trained, well-fed, well-equipped and battle-hardened German "supermen" who were trying to haul them off to the gas chambers. No, they didn't win, but their example shows that a little cunning and guts, combined with an operable weapon, allow for stunning results. Had a few million people in occupied Europe done the same, Hitler's Reich would have disappeared in a lot less than 12 years. I would suggest that the American experience in Vietnam and the Russian experience in Afghanistan also point to the effectiveness of armed individuals against organized armed forces. In contrast, the genocides perpetrated by the governments of Soviet Russia, Communist China, Communist Cambodia, Idi Amin's Uganda, Rwanda and Serbia against unarmed minorities (and the fact that no such genocide happened to an armed minority) strongly suggests that widespread ownership of firearms by the populace is a check on a goverment's power. Perhaps the reason that guns haven't already been banned in this country is the certain knowledge, on the part of those inclined to attempt such a thing, that their children would soon be orphaned by someone who can shoot straight and who has guts. Let's hope that this fear continues to be passed on to all would-be tyrants.

44 posted on 04/04/2003 12:40:29 PM PST by Ancesthntr
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To: 2nd_Amendment_Defender; wardaddy; Jeff Head; Squantos; harpseal; Mulder; ConservativeLawyer
What a load of crap.

This guy hauls out the old "guns were less dangerous in 1790" arguement, which is pure BS.

In 1790, before surgery and long before antibiotics, ANY bullet wound usually led to death, often after several days of screaming agony. The "best" one could hope for was a wounded limb and an amputation, with a 50-50 survival rate. Any torso wound was fatal.

Today, soldiers and criminals are routinely shot multiple times and are patched up at the local MASH unit or trauma hospital. So much for "guns are too lethal today" arguement.

As far as the repeating firearm compared to muzzle loaders, nothing prevented anyone in 1790 from loading a goose gun or blunderbuss or 2 or 3 and sending a hail of lead and iron at the church social or schoolyard, wounding dozens, most of whom would, as stated above, die in screaming agony.

45 posted on 04/04/2003 1:36:47 PM PST by Travis McGee (----- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com -----)
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To: Ancesthntr
BTTT!
46 posted on 04/04/2003 1:38:53 PM PST by Travis McGee (----- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com -----)
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To: 2nd_Amendment_Defender
This whole article is nothing more than opinion based on NO facts whatsoever. The premise is that "society would be safer if only government had guns." Tell that to those who survived the Third Reich extermination camps; or to the too numerous to name societies that suffered near extermination at the hands of petty dictators around the world during the last two centuries.

Mr. Manville suffers from the typical symptoms of the insanity known as "liberalism" - there has never been an experiment in Utopianism that didn't end badly - and there has never been a society based on socialism that didn't end up as a living nightmare, usually with mass death carried out by armed agents of tyranny against unarmed citizens. The essence of the 2nd is based on just such historical occurrences, and the guys who wrote it knew this only too well.

Mr. Manville would not long survive in a dictatorship run by, say, a guy like Saddam; his "usefull idiot" status would make him a prime candidate for the "re-education camps". He has little appreciation for the fact that his well-being and his freedom to write gibberish is assured by the well-armed citizenry of the US!.

47 posted on 04/04/2003 1:40:01 PM PST by 45Auto (Big holes are (almost) always better.)
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To: Ancesthntr
Ten to one he won't show up here to defend his article.
48 posted on 04/04/2003 2:01:11 PM PST by Travis McGee (----- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com -----)
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To: 2nd_Amendment_Defender
Guns, like drugs, tend to be a self-justifying phenomenon. If someone buys a gun to feel safe, and the gun does make them feel safe, then it stands to reason that they will feel less safe without that gun, even if they were never in any danger to begin with. In many instances, the gun validates a distrust of society that isn't justified, and for this reason it is a symptom of two deeper problems--crime and fear of crime. Our anxiety about criminals exists in a condition grossly out of proportion to their existence: to give but one example, the number of children kidnapped and killed has been steadily decreasing in recent years, and the numbers so far for 2002 indicate that it will continue to bottom out. The average over the past decade has been between 200 and 300 per year. This is without question an unspeakable tragedy, but it is not an epidemic. And yet our nation is in the grip of kidnapping-hysteria, convinced that monsters lurk behind every jungle-gym. Does anyone doubt that some parents have armed themselves against this phantom menace?

This may be one of the dumbest items in a long list of dumb statements... The simple fact is that there is NO substitute for a gun when you need it. It may or may not make you feel more secure if you happen to have one. But this is much like an argument about seat belts or motorcycle helmets. In my personal case, I feel more secure when I wear my seat belt in the car, and my helmet on my motorcycle. I've never been in a motorcycle accident. Does that mean that I'm succuming to the fear of a motorcycle accident by wearing the helmet? If someone who opposed mandatory helmet laws were to say something like that, they'd be a laughing stock. But this ninny manages to use the same argument, and he's seen as being "respectable."

Mark

49 posted on 04/04/2003 2:01:46 PM PST by MarkL
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To: Ancesthntr
Your words are like a "symphony of liberty". Guys like Manville like to play with words just to see how befuddled they can make the average reader. Historical revisionism has become a passion to those who would see the Constitution and the Republic dashed to pieces at the hands of the "democracy mob."

They have not really thought their own arguments out to the logical conclusion: what they propose is nothing less than a total dictatorship and the reduction of an entire citizenry to slavery. One wonders if guys like Manville really think they would be immune from the horrors of such a world, or somehow, that they would forever be part of the "ruling elite". Sadly, its up to us, the "sane" people, the strident RKBA advocates, to save these clowns from themselves. I doubt that they will ever thank us.

50 posted on 04/04/2003 2:08:19 PM PST by 45Auto (Big holes are (almost) always better.)
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