Monday, October 31, 2011

Update to "Missing the Point"

It appears that some people still  "do not get the point". 

My response:

However, it is still the law of the land. When gun owners decide to do stupid things like convert a semi-auto into full auto (not as easy as it sounds but roll with me here), or carry a gun across a security checkpoint in an airport (Oh, I didn’t know doesn’t work), these people give gun owners a black eye in the public relations war that’s being fought against us. It makes ALL of us look bad when a member of the gun owner culture A) Commits a violation of federal law as brazenly as this guy is doing and B) Basically says that Otis McDonald cannot be trained by him (poor form).

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Missing the Point

At the blog Shall Not Be Questioned, two posts were made there in regards to Crockett Keller, the Texas-certified firearms instructor who in a radio advertisement stated he would not train "Obama-voters" and "Muslims".  Youtube Video to see it for yourself.

The first post "Help We Don't Need" some pretty interesting comments are there.  Sebastian seems to be cleaning them up good because it breaks his rules, but some of them included suggestions that "This is America, if the person offended by this wants it, they can go down the street to an instructor that will teach the enemy".  This is disgusting behavior that shouldn't be allowed by any gun owner blog, which I will get into later.

A second post, More on Instructor Certification Non-Discrimination, seems to inordinately focus on the fact that Texas has a mandatory training platform, done by state certified instructors, and that one must go through the gateway of state certified instructors.  Sebastian and others suggest that going to a non-specific training regiment (private instructor via the NRA Personal Protection Course or something similar), or going the Pennsylvania route (where Sebastian resides) where no training is required at all.

However, neither of these suggestions to alleviate or address the underlying problem: What the instructor did was unlawful under federal public accommodations law, and gun owners supporting law breaking members of our community, especially law breaking with bigoted overtones and exclusionary tactics, is a major black eye to all of us firearms owners, instructors, and so on.

Even if there was no state requirement for state certified instructors teaching a state certified course to get a state issued license, it still does not change the fact that what he did was unlawful, and it would certainly be unlawful by a firearms instructor in Pennsylvania.  

Under federal law:

(D) an auditorium, convention center, lecture hall, or other place of public gathering;

Trying to be cute with definitions of "interstate commerce" and "place of public gathering" doesn't change the fact that it's a form of business transaction and therefor a public accommodation  under Heart of Atlanta Hotel and McClung.

Firearms used during the instruction, for example, crossed a state line (unless there's a huge amount of Texas handgun manufacturers, which I don't think there would be).  Let's also consider the fact that non-residents can and have flown into Texas to get a Texas CHL.  That makes it interstate.  Of course, any students from out of state to an lecture hall style instruction, say, an NRA Basic Pistol course, makes it interstate commerce as well.

Some of you folks have a lot of real problems with the commerce clause uses against business entities like instructors.  The way it's being dealt on the purely gun front issue is MSSA v. Holder.  Even if MSSA somehow succeeds at the Supreme Court, the court will narrowly address the issue of firearms purely intrastate.  It will not address public accommodations at all.

Unfortunately, the skepticism and defense of this instructor on forums and blog comment rolls feeds into the PR slander campaign that gun owners, especially gun owners who identify themselves in some form or fashion on the internet as gun owners, are misogynists, racists, and bigots (oh, and bloodthirsty murderers too, but that's on a separate issue).

Simply put, this instructor is not obeying the laws of our country, and arguing that the law is unconstitutional, despite clear rulings from 50 years ago that is in fact constitutional, is neither helpful nor correct. Remember that the Brown plaintiffs did not achieve their victory by refusing to leave the school in Topeka and getting cited/arrested in order to challenge Plessy. They applied for admission and were denied, then they sued in federal court.  They didn't break the law.

I leave you with three points:

1) If you think that the federal public accommodations law will be struck down by this instructor's action, you have another thing coming.  Federal courts, even SCOTUS, are not going to light the fuse on the powder keg by annihilating the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, when they can cite the doctrine of stare decisis to keep the status quo.  The only time they have departed from that doctrine is to increased perceived civil liberty (especially that of a historically oppressed population), not decrease it.

2) The instructor broke the law.  Gun owners should not in ANY way shape or form support law breaking, especially in this fashion.  A private conversation over instant messenger with someone else questioning purely constitutionality is one thing, but when you post on the internet stupid things that you know nothing about in regards to interstate commerce, or even worse, make stupid comments about along the lines of "all terrorists are Muslims" that I saw in the previous thread, these gun owners are especially giving Ladd Everitt/CSGV, the VPC, the Brady Campaign, and MAIG all of the ammunition they need to attack all of us, and us protesting of "not all of us are like this" doesn't work.  That leads to the third point.

3) "This is the face of the gun owner: Bigoted, racist, wife beating murderers" is what the anti-gunners will drum beat.   They'll ignore the fact that more gay people are arming themselves, more African-Americans are embracing responsible gun ownership (thank you, Otis McDonald!).  We are winning the battle in the courts, which is helping us win the battle of public opinion as well.  However, that doesn't mean that certain segments of gun owners have the ability now to screw it all up for us by making racist and/or bigoted statements.   The commentary you make could make it onto the front page of New York Times or LA Times, which is the rule I generally prescribe to when making public commentary about issues such as this.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Twin Victories of Liberty Today

Today was a good day for freedom and liberty. Two different United States Circuit Courts of Appeal made excellent rulings which increased the individual liberty of all people in the United States.

The first ruling which occurred today was Ezell v. City of Chicago by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. The opinion, written by Judge Diane Sykes, literally skewers both the district court judge and the City of Chicago:

The judge was evidently concerned about the novelty of Second Amendment litigation and proceeded from a default position in favor of the City. The concern is understandable, but the default position cannot be reconciled with Heller.

This decision by far calls out district court judges who continue to represent the 2A right as being default something the government can infringe without true questioning.

The second was the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit, ruling today in Log Cabin Republicans et al v. United States to lift the stay on a district court injunction which had prohibited the DOD and the US government from enforcing the so called “Don't Ask Don't Tell” Statutes and Regulations:

This occurred due to the US Department of Justice making representations during the numerous DOMA defenses occurring throughout the country. The writer of the decision, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, took note of the fact that USDOJ was making representations to federal courts about sexual orientation being a quasi-suspect class. Funny thing is, the Golinski case was originally a Kozinski case, as he's the head of the Employee Dispute Resolution Program. 

Today is measured by the signs of great individual liberty and freedom. Anti-gay animus and anti-gun owner animus suffered major blows today.

Friday, June 3, 2011

LGBT and Marriage Equality Roundup...(sans links)

  1.  New York Senate still under pressure to pass marriage equality Bill

It appears that the New York State Senate will soon be considering a marriage equality bill.   In the last 3 years, marriage equality bills have passed the Assembly repeatedly only to be stalled out in the Senate.   This year, however, a multi-vectored attack has been going on against the New York State Senate from not only the Governor, but also many in the NYC business community.  Surprising supporting is coming from many large scale GOP donors who are putting their money where their mouths are.  It goes to show that Marriage is and should never be a partisan issue.  

    2.  Nevada governor signs gender identity anti-discrimination bills.

In a surprising turnabout, Governor Brian Sandoval signed into law three anti-discrimination laws based on gender identity.  It covers employment, public accommodations, and housing. 

Governor Sandoval signed the bills due to pressure from the gaming industry, who viewed it as bad business for the state's image to discriminate.   The same pressure was made in 1999 to cover sexual orientation, in which Governor Kenny Guinn signed such a bill into law.

The same allowances are made in housing law that are already made for race, gender, and religion (room-rental in your own home, etc).

   3. Rhode Island House Passes Civil Unions

Though originally pushing for marriage equality, the RI equality movement went for Civil Unions.  Though Civil Unions cannot compare to marriage in name from the state, it is a critical method of protection while everything is sorted out.

More to come later when I'm not dead tired.

A Blast from the Past, and Why CSGV's "Insurrectionist, Treasonous" Language is not actually new and therefor should be ignored.

Funny things happen when you decide to do a little bit of research into people's mentality.

Gun Control: A Realistic Assessment by Don B. Kates

An interesting quote given that some people seem to think that @csgv "insurrectionist" tirades are something new.  It isn't.  This is from 1990:

In sum, murderers comprise only a small, highly aberrant (and malignant and irresponsible) subset of all gun owners. Why, then, is it enlightened and liberal: to vilify the 50% of American householders who have guns as barbaric and/or deranged ("Gun Lunatics Silence [the] Sounds of Civilization"{24}), "gun nuts", "gun fetishists", "anti-citizens" and "traitors, enemies of their own patriae"{25}, as sexually warped{26} "bulletbrains"{27} who engage in "simply beastly behavior"{28} and represent "the worst instincts in the human character"{29}; or to traduce pro-gun groups as the "pusher's best friend"{30} and their entire membership as "psychotics", "hunters who drink beer, don't vote and lie to their wives about where they were all weekend"{31}; to characterize the murder of children as "another slaughter co-sponsored by the National Rifle Association"{32} and assert that "The assassination of John Lennon has been brought to you by the National Rifle Association"{33}; and to cartoon gun owners as thugs and/or vigilantes, intellectually retarded, educationally backward and morally obtuse, or as Klansmen?{34}
The NIJ Evaluation accurately describes how the anti-gun advocates sees gun owners: as "demented and blood-thirsty psychopaths whose concept of fun is to rain death upon innocent creatures both human and otherwise." It is really quite remarkable for such calumnies to issue from people who, rightly, regard it as egregious bigotry when other bigots: seek to blame AIDS deaths on gays whom they revile as sexually warped, moral degenerates who engage in simply bestial behavior; or blame gay rights activists for AIDS because they lobby against ordinances that would close bath houses; describe abortion rights activists as murderers, "baby butchers" and abortion clinics as "merchants of death"; dismiss all homeless people and welfare recipients as slackers, drug addicted, alcoholic or retarded; or traduce the ACLU as the "best friend" of criminals and drug pushers.
The fact that anti-gun crusaders are commendably eager to oppose racism, gay bashing and other evils they recognize as bigotry does not excuse their inability to recognize their own bigotry. On the contrary, it compounds that bigotry with myopia, if not hypocrisy.

Boy, doesn't this sound familiar?  This whole "gun owners are insurrectionist traitors" has been going on for DECADES.  It is not a recent thing that Ladd Everitt and the CSGV recently started doing in some form of desperation tactic against Heller and McDonald.  These is purely the latest chapter in a decades long academic attacks on gun owners, as Mr. Kates can show from his research in 1990 on the subject.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Introductions and Salutations..

Hello all.  My name is Gray, and welcome to my new blog.

First question: Why "Beyond the Snake?"  Well, beyond the snickering comments of double entendre, it came from a confirmation from another blogger on twitter during what I would call the "@csgv wars".  On twitter, numerous bloggers, such as John Richardson, Linoge, Thirdpower, among others, were tangling with @csgv, who is specifically Ladd Everitt, their communications director.

When I stepped into the fight, one of the first things Ladd noticed was the rainbow gadsen flag.    Right off the bat, I was smeared as a "Tea Partier".  The Rainbow Gadsen was specifically used to stop anti-gay politicians in New Hampshire from removing the marriage equality law that was passed in 2009.   It is a powerful symbol that people on both political persuasions understand.

Ladd's crappy attitude triggered this comment from a twitter follower (don't remember who or what, you folks can refresh my memory in comments): "They don't see beyond the snake".   Thus the name of the blog.    Throughout the years, the Gadsen has been used for various contemporary ways..  The most important to me was the TV series Jericho, which the town's mayor took down the "Allied States of America" flag (which in that show was tyrannical, warlike, and corporate-driven government).

Like the folks fighting for marriage equality in New Hampshire, I am co-opting the Gadsen flag for our purposes here.  The "rainbow Gadsen" is a symbol of freedom against the state criminalizing adult consensual relationships (as numerous states did pre-Lawrence v. Texas), asking stupid questions like "what sex or gender are you" before granting of a marriage certificate, and general discriminatory actions against me and my "tribe".

The Tea Party using the Gadsen flag as their primary symbol does not negate it's value with other groups.   It is not owned solely by the Tea Party movement.

It is truly unfortunate that Ladd got zapped off of the most popular social platform in our country before seeing the results of this blog.  When one breaks the rules, you should expect consequences.

The next posts will feature some thoughts that are slightly old and stale given it's a few days or weeks old, but I have some catching up to do.