Understanding The Second Amendment Correctly

Understanding The Second Amendment Correctly Headerby Benjamin T. Moore, Jr.

“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Of all the Amendments to our Constitution, this Amendment comprised of a single sentence has caused more debate and confusion of late than any other. Understanding the Second Amendment correctly is crucial before we can have any meaningful debate on the subject of firearms in our society.

Understanding The Second Amendment

I am sorry to report, it has become increasingly apparent that literacy has gone down since the Constitution and Bill of Rights were penned. I have simply been stunned by what I’ve heard come out of the mouths of supposedly educated people in their efforts to discount the relevancy of the Second Amendment. I’m sure you’ve probably heard some of these arguments too. I will list generic forms of two of these arguments.

  • The word “regulated” means that the State can regulate what firearms you can have.
  • The Amendment applies to the State militia – or National Guard – not individual citizens.

The insipidness of these puerile arguments is the hallmark of a poor grasp of grammar, a lack of scholarship and often an indication that the person making such statements is merely parroting some other fool who probably knows even less on this subject than he or she does.

Understanding The Second Amendment - House SectionsLets parse the four clauses of the sentence. It is helpful to think of a house. The first clause; “A well regulated militia” could be considered the roof of the house. When the roof is complete the house is protected from the elements. What does the roof rest atop? The upper floor. The upper floor tells us the reason for the roof on the house. “Being necessary to the security of a free State.” Thus, it is the well regulated militia that is necessary to the security of a free State. This is the end product. However, right now, the upper floor and the roof are floating on thin air. Let’s add the ground floor. “The right of the people to keep and bear arms.” Note, it doesn’t say the right of the State to keep and bear arms. It is the right of the people to keep and bear arms. If it were the right of the State, we would have no need to even mention the people. Let’s add the foundation. “Shall not be infringed.”  

Working back up from the bottom, if the people’s right to keep and bear arms is infringed, they can never come together to form a militia. If there is no militia, it cannot be regulated, well or otherwise. The end result is that the the security of the free State is at risk.

Why The Second Amendment Came To Be

You must remember the experiences of the men whom we call the “Founding Fathers.” Most people seem to think that the “Declaration of Independence” and our “United States Constitution” were all put together at the same time. The Declaration of Independence was issued July 4th 1776. the Constitution was adopted September 17, 1787 and went into effect, March 4, 1789. The first 10 Amendments, which we call the “Bill of Rights” was ratified by three-fourths of the States in 1791. Thus between the Declaration of Independence, and our Constitution with its Bill of Rights, was a period of 15 years. That’s a decade and a half.

Understanding The Second Amendment - Minute Man StatueThis wasn’t some slipshod, slapped together process. It was based on reasoned debate with the lessons of a recent history that very nearly ended in disaster. The Revolutionary War was not supported by the majority of Americans. There were only 50% at best who supported becoming independent from England. Around 15 – 20% were “loyalist” and the rest were neutral. We were a colony without an organised army – at the time of the Declaration of Independence – fighting a “Super Power” for our right to exist autonomously. Had it not been for citizens forming militias, fighting and dying, these United States would not exist. We would still be British subjects. The “Founders” realized this and thus they made sure that we would always have an armed citizenry by encoding the right of the people to keep and bear arms within the United States Constitution.

The Difference Between The Militia And The Army

Understanding The Second Amendment - Military HaircutThe Army is an organ of the State. The Army is paid, equipped and totally supported by the State. The focus is on “uniformity.”  This is why you are issued a “uniform” when you’re inducted into the Army. Everybody gets the same buzz cut haircut. You’re issued the same firearms. They all shoot the same ammunition. Everyone receives the same basic training. If your rifle becomes non-functional, you can pick up the rifle of a fallen comrade and you don’t have to figure it out. If you run out of ammunition, a comrade can share his ammunition with you.

The Militia is entirely different. In the Militia, everyone – all able bodied males between the ages of 16 and 45… unless you’ve been “mustered” out you’re still in – brings whatever they’ve got at home. They bring their own rifles, ammunition, clothes and supplies. They’re not paid. They’re donating their services, their resources and often their lives for a cause they believe in. When the Second Amendment speaks of regulating them, it’s talking about organizing and making sure that their weapons are functional. Making sure that everyone brings the needed supplies, ammunition, food, tents and camping equipment. Tactics are taught and practiced. Strengths and weaknesses are noted and squads are organized. Marksmanship is taught and refined. This is what “Well Regulated” means. The establishment of regulations to ensure that everyone shows up with the proper resources.

Dispelling Some Oft Recited Myths

Understanding The Second Amendment - It's Not About Hunting

It’s Not About Hunting!

A lot of sophistry is employed by the “anti-gun” movement. When talking about the Second Amendment. Inevitably you’ll hear someone ask, “who needs an assault rifle with a 30 round magazine to hunt deer?” The person generally sits back smugly as though they’ve nailed some profound point. Clearly they haven’t got a clue that the Second Amendment has absolutely nothing to do with protecting one’s right to hunt. Hunting was a foregone conclusion. At the time the Second Amendment was enacted, everybody hunted, if they expected to eat. If there is any hunting involved with the Second Amendment, it provides the Citizens with the means to hunt enemies of our Constitution both foreign and domestic. I’m sure some find this troubling because some of the people most interested in subverting the Second Amendment are also interested in subverting the rest of the Constitution. Yes we still have tyrants and would be tyrants in our Government today.

Another popular argument which I’m sure you’ve heard bandied about by people you would think would have the education to know better is, “at the time the Second Amendment was written, they had muskets.” The gist of their point is, the Founders never could have conceived of the fire power available today. Again a specious argument. The facts are at the time the Second Amendment was written, all the armies of the world – those using firearms – also only had muskets. Thus, the Founders intended that the citizens be armed equivalent to whatever military force they were likely to face.

I’m sure you’ve heard this argument as well. “What about people owning tanks, grenades, or missiles?” The simple facts are, there are people who do own fully functional tanks, live grenades and missiles. To own a grenade requires a federal background check and a $200 tax stamp per grenade. As far as missiles are concerned, there are hobbyist who build and launch their own rockets. If you can build a rocket that will carry 3 people into space – it’s already been done – you sure as Hell can build an explosive payload and fire that rocket along a ballistic trajectory.

Understanding The Second Amendment - Revolutionary War Plantation Cannon

Revolutionary War era, Plantation cannon.

Moreover, private citizens owned cannons before and after the Second Amendment was enacted. These were not little celebratory salute cannons. These were fully functional war cannons, equivalent to anything the military had at that time and they were used to protect plantations. My neighbors notwithstanding, I’m sure that I would be discussed on CNN, MSNBC and several other national news shows if I set up a brace of fully functional Revolutionary War period cannons on either side of my front door. The fact that they too function like the muskets they’re so fond of would make no never mind. They would be beating the drum beat of panic for all they’re worth.

 Is The Second Amendment Still Relevant?

Another popular argument, usually made by those who do not understand  the Second Amendment correctly is, that it has been rendered irrelevant. Their reasoning is, our military has become so technologically advanced that a citizenry equipped with small arms would be quickly put down by the likes of “Predator Drones,” super sonic jets dropping smart bombs, attack helicopters firing “mini-guns,” basically all the high-tech toys of today’s modern warfare.

Understanding The Second Amendment - Wounded WarriorThat does sound daunting to be sure. Probably as daunting as a ragtag group of colonist going up against the most powerful army at that time back in 1776. However, we do have some “real world” experiences to look at. We’ve been in Afghanistan for over 12 years now. Afghanistan doesn’t have any organized army. They don’t have a navy or an air force, yet the most powerful military known to man has been fighting and dying there for over 12 years. During our adventures in Vietnam, we lost over 57,000 soldiers. Fortunately our medical science has advanced to the point that wounds which would have meant certain death during the Vietnam era, are now survivable. A last count, we’ve got over 32,000 casualties of the Afghan and Iraq wars. Most of them are in hospitals overseas in places like Germany. The actual death toll is around 3,000.

Not all the Afghans are fighting us. Much like our own Revolutionary War, there is only a percentage of Afghans who are hostile. Yet, that percentage, equipped only with “small arms” and improvised explosives are giving us one helluva time. Now consider the fact that there are more armed Americans with better weapons than the Afghans have. Further, factor into your thinking that a percentage of these are combat veterans. They’ve been trained in our strategies, tactics and techniques. Yes, I think the Founders set in place a very effective system to prevent tyranny.

We’ve Evolved Beyond The Need For The Second Amendment

“Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” _George Santayana (The Life of Reason) 1905

If only that were true! Human evolution is a long, slow, laborious process. We often believe that because our technology has evolved, we have evolved. The truth is, we are the same human beings who produced “Alexander the Great,” Genghis Khan, Pol Pot, Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve also produced Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Clara Barton, Abraham Lincoln and many other great and good people as well.

Understanding The Second Amendment - You Were WarnedTo believe that we’ve come so far that our citizenry now has nothing to fear from our Government is like deluding one’s self into believing that you’ve managed to tame a rattlesnake. You can let it sleep on your bed, but it’s going to end poorly. I’m told that when President Richard Nixon met with Chairman Mao of Red China, he asked him what he thought of American democracy. Chairman Mao is supposed to have replied, “it’s an interesting experiment. Let’s see how it turns out.”

We forget that there are buildings in Europe, still in use today, that are older than our nation. We really haven’t been around all that long. There are Japanese Americans living today and some who’s parents were rounded up and put into internment camps during WWII. They were born here and were American citizens in the fullest sense of the word. Yet, they received none of the protections they were guaranteed under our Constitution.

Understanding The Second Amendment - Guantanamo Bay Prison Camp

Prisoners In A Permanent State Of Limbo at Guantanamo Bay.

To those who seem eager to operate on our Constitution and strip out the Second Amendment, beware there are Republicans who are equally eager to do away with “due process.” They are quite comfortable with people being designated an “Enemy Combatant,” tortured and held indefinitely without ever seeing a judge. They have no problem with the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay remaining open indefinitely. They have no problem with the Government invading your privacy or inserting itself between you and your doctor. The only thing putting the breaks on these people is the Constitution. Any time a person is ushered into a surgical suite to be cut open, there is a chance the patient will die. While those who object to the Second Amendment are making their cuts, these Republicans will get to make their cuts as well.

Understanding The Second Amendment - Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg – Mr. 64oz.

Yes, we do have tyrants in government today. Mayor Michael Bloomberg outlawed 64oz soft drinks. Think about that for a moment. With all the other things that were certainly on his plate, he threw his weight behind telling the citizens of New York City, what size drinks they could have. Personally? I find that terrifying! Why? Because it proves to me that he is interested in micro-managing peoples individual choices at a level heretofore unseen. The question is, what all wouldn’t he do if he thought he could get away with it. Now consider that he only accepts $1.00 in salary for the year. Thus, it’s not about the money, it’s about power and control. It has been my experience that those who crave power desperately are usually the last ones you want to have it.

Why Senate Background Check Bill Failed

Why Senate Background Check Bill Failed Headerby Benjamin T. Moore, Jr.

The Simple Answer Is Not Always Correct

Why Senate Background Check Bill Failed - Senate Voting ChartIf the why makes no difference to you, we could simply say, they didn’t have the votes, blame it on the all powerful NRA lobbyist and be done with it. However, reality is rarely as simple as it seems.

Ever since the events at the Sandy Hook Elementary School on 14 December 2012, there has been a constant drum beat in the “Liberal Media” for more “gun control” legislation. It has been like having “Kentucky Fried Chicken” for dinner night after night after night. Though it is probably not very healthy, I do enjoy a bucket of KFC on occasion. I like cake and ice cream too. However, if I knew that each night, I was going to have KFC followed by ice cream and cake, I’d begin dreading coming to dinner.

We all – those of us with hearts – bleed whenever innocent children are victims of senseless violence. Those of us who are parents – indeed I’ve personally lost a child to murder – marvel at the fortitude of the parents who lost their children to this senseless tragedy. I can tell you right now, I would never be able to stand before a camera and speak intelligently had my child been a victim. I just could not do it.

Why Senate Background Check Bill Failed - Emilie Parker

Poster Child for a tragedy or the marketing of an agenda?

In fact, I am a little offended by the news media as well as political interests, using these parents at a time when they are still wrapped in the fog of their grief, to advance a political agenda. Although there were 26 victims, the media has pretty much settled on the image of little Emilie Parker to be their “poster child” for this tragedy. Blond hair, blue eyes and an infectious smile, I can certainly see why from an advertising and marketing perspective, why they would make such a choice. However, that is the problem isn’t it? Advertising and Marketing. What are they using her to sell us? What about the other victims? Unless you’ve been to a web site or seen a program where they show all their faces, you probably have no idea what they look like. Yet, they died too. Their families are shattered too.

Brady Law Provisions

If we are going to talk about background checks, it might be nice to know what the current law is. Most people who have never purchased or who do not own a firearm, might be surprised to know that all firearms purchases through licensed dealers – gun stores – are automatically subjected to a federal background check. This includes sells made by licensed dealers at gun shows! I’m sure you’ve seen the news stories of people purchasing firearms at what you’re told is a gun show, apparently without a background check. The angle of the camera is such that you’re given the impression that the transaction is being taped by a hidden camera. Remember the admonition to “believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see.”

March 30, 1981 there was an assassination attempt on then President Ronald Reagan. His press secretary, James Brady was shot in the head but thankfully survived. Considering the extent of inter-cranial damage he sustained, his recovery has been truly remarkable. As a result of this tragedy, his wife and he – not unlike the Gabby Gifford and her husband – formed a gun control PAC and lobbied the United States Congress successfully to pass stringent gun control laws. The “Brady Laws” were the result of their efforts. A national instant background check system was put in place, run by the FBI. Here are some of the provisions that already exist today. The Federally prohibiting criteria are as follows:

  • A person who has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year or any state offense classified by the state as a misdemeanor and is punishable by a term of imprisonment of more than two years.
  • Persons who are fugitives of justice—for example, the subject of an active felony or misdemeanor warrant.
  • An unlawful user and/or an addict of any controlled substance; for example, a person convicted for the use or possession of a controlled substance within the past year; or a person with multiple arrests for the use or possession of a controlled substance within the past five years with the most recent arrest occurring within the past year; or a person found through a drug test to use a controlled substance unlawfully, provided the test was administered within the past year.
  • A person adjudicated mental defective or involuntarily committed to a mental institution or incompetent to handle own affairs, including dispositions to criminal charges of found not guilty by reason of insanity or found incompetent to stand trial.
  • A person who, being an alien, is illegally or unlawfully in the United States.
  • A person who, being an alien except as provided in subsection (y) (2), has been admitted to the United States under a non-immigrant visa.
  • A person dishonorably discharged from the United States Armed Forces
  • A person who has renounced his/her United States citizenship
  • The subject of a protective order issued after a hearing in which the respondent had notice that restrains them from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of such partner. This does not include ex parte orders.
  • A person convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime which includes the use or attempted use of physical force or threatened use of a deadly weapon and the defendant was the spouse, former spouse, parent, guardian of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabiting with or has cohabited in the past with the victim as a spouse, parent, guardian or similar situation to a spouse, parent or guardian of the victim.
  • A person who is under indictment or information for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.

This information is already contained in the FBI’s database and is available usually within 30 seconds. Remember, by law every firearms sell through a licensed dealer is submitted to the FBI’s instant background check database. This law was passed by the 103rd Congress, it was signed into law by Bill Clinton November 30, 1993 and went into effect February 28, 1994. It is the current law of the land.

What Is The “Gun Show Loophole?”

No doubt you’ve heard this phrase bandied about quite a bit of late. The anti-gun movement would have you believe that all anyone has to do is wait for a gun show in their area and walk in and purchase whatever type of firearm they want. I even heard someone claim on a national news show, that you can go into a gun show and purchase a full auto machine gun without even having to show any identification. Not only was this just plain ignorant, it was deplorable journalism. This claim could have been put to the lie by simply making a phone call to any gun dealer in the phone book. It certainly sounded sensational though!

What they’re calling the “gun show loophole” is in essence an individual sale between two persons neither of whom is a licensed gun dealer. You might just as correctly call it the “McDonald’s loophole” or perhaps the “Facebook loophole.” Two people can meet virtually anywhere, get to talking about firearms when one of them mentions they have a firearm for sell and the other agrees to purchase it. This doesn’t have to occur at a gun show.

What most people do not realize – take the Indy 1500 gun show for instance – not every person sitting behind a table selling their products is selling guns or is a licensed firearms dealer. The “Indy 1500 gun show boasts it has 1500 tables. Some people are selling knives, camping gear, books, military memorabilia such as medals and patches. There are even people selling fishing equipment. Depending on the rules of the show in question, if one of these persons had a personal firearm they were interested in selling, you could see it sitting on their table. As a private individual, they are not bound by the laws a licensed firearms dealer is. They are a private individual just like you and I. So if when you see a video clip of someone purchasing a firearm at a gun show without a background check – assuming you’re not viewing a staged re-creation – this is what you’re seeing. The same transaction could have occurred at the McDonald’s across the street.

Should Personal Firearms Sells Be Subject To Background Checks?

Why Senate Background Check Bill Failed - Background Check Tax

A Tax by any other name.

Good question! How exactly would you enforce that? I have a .22 caliber single shot rifle that was my grandfather’s. It was passed down to me by my father. I will probably pass it down to my son. There is no paperwork on it and as far as I know, there never has been any paperwork on it. As far as the ATF is concerned, this firearm does not exist. It is a family heirloom. Yes it fires and is in good working order. When I decide to gift one of my sons with this rifle, what are the odds we will go into a licensed dealer and pay the tax – that’s what it is – to have it entered into the system and federal background check run? I’ll tell you. The odds are slim to none and Slim left town.

Trying to enforce such a provision in the law would be nearly impossible. The expense would make enforcing such a law prohibitive. We simply do not have the manpower required in local, State or Federal law enforcement for such an undertaking. So whom are we kidding? Did I mention “Sequestration?”

Why Senate Background Check Bill Failed

After reading through the provisions of the Brady Law which is current law, what exactly would you like to see added to that? Remember, we’re not talking about an “assault weapons ban” or an “extended magazine ban,” we’re only talking about background checks. Most reasonable people would conclude, the problem is not that we need a new law. If there is a problem, the problem is with enforcement. Any additional laws passed would face the exact same problem. Laws are meaningless if they’re not enforced or impossible to enforce. We call it “The Honor System.”

Why Senate Background Check Bill Failed - Masturbation KitSenators generally like their jobs. They want to keep them. People feel strongly on both sides of the gun issue. I would give the edge to the pro-gun side. They tend to have longer memories and they do vote. When you’re asking a Senator to put their careers on the line and make a principled vote, it must be meaningful. Simply engaging in what amounts to political masturbation won’t fly. Ultimately, it is an insult to the victims of gun violence. It is passing a law that actually does nothing, and is designed to shut them up and make them go away.

It is worse than most people know. Mother Jones has an excellent expose` on this fact. Senators Joe Manchin (D) and Pat Toomey (R) put their heads together to come up with an amended Bill that they thought would have a chance of passing. The problem is, if anything it weakened current Brady laws. Here are some of their amended provisions from the Mother Jones website:

  • Exempts many sales from background checks: The bill doesn’t alter current laws exempting background checks for gun transfers between friends and families. It also wouldn’t require checks for other private sales if the guns weren’t “advertised.” That weakens the effectiveness of background check reform in a big way.
  • Leaves open a gun-show loophole: Because of the private sales exemption, the bill doesn’t entirely close the so-called gun-show loophole, as UCLA law professor Adam Winkler notes. Someone looking to buy a gun could find a private seller and “agree to meet after the show at a convenient location and make the sale, with no background check.”
  • May exempt background checks in some rural areas: As part of their effort to woo rural senators, Manchin and Toomey may add a measure allowing dealers who live more than 100 miles away from a licensee to skip background checks.
  • Exempts background checks for concealed-carry permit holders: Gun buyers who got a concealed-carry permit within the past five years wouldn’t have to undergo background checks for commercial sales.
  • Reduces the time the FBI has to block a sale: Current law gives the FBI 72 business hours to block a sale by a licensed dealer at a gun show if the buyer’s background check is flagged. The bill would reduce that to 48 hours and, after four years, reduce it again to 24 hours. The FBI would still have to destroy information about the buyer’s identity within 24 hours after a sale.
  • Allows the interstate sale of handguns: Currently, licensed dealers can only sell rifles and shotguns across state lines. The bill would expand that to include handguns. Licensed dealers would also be allowed to sell guns to other dealers at gun shows outside of their home state.
  • Weakens laws that restrict transporting guns across state lines: The bill would establish a federal regulation protecting lawful gun owners from arrest when they cross state lines with their firearm, which would weaken laws in states with tighter state and local regulations.
  • Expands legal immunity to private sellers: In 2005, Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which prevents victims of gun violence from suing gun manufacturers and dealers for negligence. The Manchin-Toomey bill would expand that immunity to private gun sellers who don’t have a commercial license.
  • Makes a national gun registry even less likely than before: Senators like Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) are still warning that the bill is a step toward a national gun registry—even though it would punish people who try to create one with up to 15 years in prison.
  • Expands gun rights for veterans in questionable condition: Current law prohibits veterans from buying guns if the Department of Veterans Affairs considers them “‘mentally incompetent’ to manage their own funds,” after which they are put into the national background check database. The Manchin-Toomey bill would allow veterans unfit to manage their funds to continue buying guns while they appealed the VA’s decision, and expand the ability of veterans already in the system to file appeals to have their name removed. It would also overturn a law that bans members of the military from buying guns sold by dealers in their home state. (These Points are directly from the Mother Jones website)

Thus, if you were a Senator, willing to put your career on the line to cast a principled vote, this is not the hill you’d want to die on. Why did the Senate Background Check Bill Fail? It added absolutely nothing to the existing Brady Laws, if anything it weakened them. If the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, all your problems seem to look like nails. When you’re a legislator, your first response is to pass a new law. Really? How many laws do we need? Murdering people is already illegal. Even with the threat of the death penalty, it hasn’t seemed to stop murders from occurring.

Gun violence is a symptom of a problem within our society. 24 hours a day we are bombarded by the media with stories designed and tailor made to instil fear in society. From global warming to an asteroid potentially ending life on Earth at any moment, to Yellowstone erupting, North Korea starting a nuclear war, to a fertilizer factory exploding and wiping out a neighborhood. We are being fed a steady diet designed to create fear and panic. In this atmosphere, you’re telling people that they don’t need firearms to keep them safe? That is a heavy lift and a tough sell. Did I mention terrorist running and gunning through your neighborhood, shooting it out with the Police?

Rachel Maddow’s Problem

Rachel Maddow's Problem Headerby Benjamin T. Moore, Jr.

Rachel Maddow's Problem - Commencement Address

Dr. Maddow gives a commencement address

I first became aware of Dr. Maddow – yes, she is a bona fide Doctor, she received her Ph.D in politics from Oxford University in 2001 – during the days of the now defunct “Air America” radio network.  Air America was an attempt to offer a counter voice to “Right Wing” Talk Radio that was and still is, permeating what is offered all through the day, mostly on your AM dials.

It was a good idea. However, as is often the case, high expectations, combined with a limited investment and a limited amount of time to build an audience with an advertising base, put the success of the venture out of reach. It is difficult to match, in a matter of months or a few years, what your opponents have had decades to put in place. Most investors want a rapid return on their investments. It requires real commitment to take the long view. Evidently, not enough of their venture capitalist could afford that type of commitment.

The Early Days – Air America Radio

Rachel Maddow's Problem - Rachel In Seattle

Rachel in Seattle

Air America did have a remarkable array of talent. In addition to Rachel Maddow, there were Al Franken, Randi Rhodes, Ron Reagan, Mike Malloy and Thom Hartmann to name but a few. The problem wasn’t the on-air talent. The problem was with a management that didn’t know how to compete in the marketplace they were fighting in. It is easy to say, “radio is radio is radio,” however the reality is, “Progressive Talk Radio” appeals to an entirely different demographic. Different educational levels, different income levels and of course, different lifestyles. Running a “buy gold, because the world is about to end” commercial on a progressive station is not going to meet with the same success as running the same commercial on say, “The Glenn Beck Show.” It takes time and research to find your market and the advertisers to fill that market niche.

Rachel Maddow's Problem - Keith Olbermann

Keith Olbermann

Following the demise of Air America Radio, most of the talent landed on their feet and have gone on to continue the “Progressive Fight.” Al Franken ran for Congress and got elected to the United States Senate. Others continued in the radio broadcasting venue and Rachel was brought to MSNBC by Keith Olbermann. As Keith’s understudy, Rachel was great. Keith’s hard hitting, Edward R. Murrow style laced with satire and humor was nicely counter balanced by Rachel’s highly detailed, almost forensic examination of the days events. Keith gave the overview and Rachel connected the minute threads. Keith’s presence kept the news presented on MSNBC fresh, moving and varied. In Keith’s absence, the network turned to Rachel in hopes that she could shoulder the mantle of leadership.

MSNBC Gives Rachel A Home

Rachel Maddow's Problem - Rachel and her Mate, Susan Mikula

Rachel with her Partner? Mate? Spouse? Susan Mikula

For awhile, it appeared that Rachel was up to the task and would be able to continue as Keith’s legacy. Overtime it became apparent that Rachel Maddow desperately needed the rudder that Keith provided. The first intimations of this began surfacing when I noticed that number of stories that Rachel reported on that had to do with “Gay Rights.” Anyone who knows anything about Rachel Maddow, knows that she is unabashedly a lesbian. She makes no pretense of her sexual orientation. Indeed when Rachel first appeared on MSNBC, she wore almost no make-up, no jewellery and in essence approached television as she approached radio. You can pretty much wear whatever you want in radio broadcasting.

Rachel Maddow's Problem - Yearbook Photo

Rachel’s yearbook photo from her “Pre-Butch” years.

Under Keith’s tutelage, she began softening her image. The faintest hints of eye-shadow, foundation, and lip gloss began appearing. On occasion I’ve even seen her sport modest earrings. Rachel is not a bad looking woman. However, the whole “Butch” thing she had in radio, just doesn’t sell when you’re dealing with a highly diverse television audience that can actually see you delivering the news. Nevertheless, without the mentoring of Keith Olbermann, Rachel has slowly degenerated into a “two issue” broadcaster. Like a horn player who only knows how to blow two notes, no matter how impassioned her performance, no matter how much dancing around, it’s still only two notes.

You can count on Rachel to reliably cover Gay rights or Gun control. Show after show after show. Only when something really big intrudes and simply must be covered, will Rachel deviate. Even then, she has been known to frame those events in the context of either Gay rights or Gun control. The recent bombing of the Boston Marathon is an excellent example. The following is a clip from her on-site coverage of the events wherein she works in the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting. Okay, so there was a delegation there. If you polled the crowd, you could find people who lost loved ones during the 9/11 attacks too.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

What happened at the Boston Marathon was an act of terror. The cost in life and lost limbs was high enough without trying to piggyback Sandy Hook to support a personal and political agenda. It amounts to pimping the victims – of both tragedies – to support your own personal agenda. It’s repugnant, crass and just plain wrong.

Rachel Maddow’s Problem

“But here’s the thing about rights – they’re not actually supposed to be voted on. That’s why they’re called rights.” __Rachel Maddow

What I find fascinating is that on almost any given night, you can listen to Dr. Maddow make logical and impassioned arguments for the recognition of the Rights of all people regardless of their sexual orientation. Of course it then follows that Gay people should be allowed to openly serve in our military. They should be accorded the right to marry, and have that marriage recognized by the State. They should be allowed to adopt and raise children. The list goes on.

Rights Are Rights!

Rachel Maddow's Problem - Rachel With Her First Car

Rachel exercising here Right to be who she is.

In principle, I personally support equal rights and equal access for all people regardless of their race, gender or sexual orientation. If you’re a human being, you’re entitled to human Rights. Period. Whether I agree or disagree with your lifestyle or not. What borders on the surreal is in her very next segment, Rachel will shift gears and argue against people’s Constitutionally protected, 2nd Amendment Rights to keep and bear Arms. Yes, those are also a part of the same Constitution that Rachel often points to when she’s arguing that it’s language and interpretation be applied to the Rights of Gay people.

Why am I picking on Rachel? Unlike most of the talking – air – heads reading a Teleprompter, Rachel is a bonafide Ph.D. I’ve noticed she never mentions this and if anything takes pains to de-emphasize her educational credentials. I have and can wink at ignorance. However, Rachel is anything but. Thus, her arguments must be seen as disingenuous sophistry. If the 2nd Amendment can be voted on or misinterpreted, then the Rights of Gay people may also be voted on. Rachel has made it abundantly clear that she is anti-gun and pretty much everything people who are “pro-gun” stand for.

I do not agree with all the various positions of the “Pro-Gun” movement. However, I do understand the clause in the 2nd Amendment which says and was upheld in the “Heller Case,” “…The People’s Right To Keep And Bear Arms Shall Not Be Infringed.”  Both the President – Barack Obama – and the United States Supreme Court have upheld that the 2nd Amendment outlines an individual Right. It does not apply to a State – National Guard – Militia.

This is Rachel we’re talking about. Doctor Maddow. We’re not talking about someone hired for their photogenic, eye-candy appeal. Rachel was hired because of her intellect, insight and her ability to break complex events down to their simplest components and explain them in a way that common people can understand. Thus, when I hear Dr. Maddow point to the inviolate authority of the United States Constitution and interpret it’s provisions broadly such that not recognizing same sex marriage is discrimination and not equal protection under the law, then try and suggest that the 2nd Amendment from the very same Constitution is up for review, I am forced to question her honesty and suspect her commitment to principle. Rachel Maddow’s problem is, she’s entirely too smart to convincingly play dumb.

Rule By Fear – Boston Marathon Bombing

Rule By Fear Headerby Benjamin T. Moore, Jr.

First let me say that our hearts go out to all the victims and families of the victims of the terrorist bombing that occurred yesterday. No words will help to ease the pain, the loss or the discomfort of those who experienced this tragedy. We all came together in solidarity to stand with you. In the days, weeks and months to come, let us not forget that out of many, we are one.

Have You Ever Noticed?

As I look back over recent history, I cannot recall a period of time, when we as a nation have not been given a bogeyman to fear. I was born in 1957, the beginning of the “Atomic Age.” I remember the old “duck and cover” drills in elementary school. Looking back, it seems laughably silly to think that hiding under a wooden desk will in anyway help one survive a nuclear war, but that was all we had.

Fear has been used to stampede the American people like a herd of cattle in whatever direction those in power wished us to go. The following political ad is a classic example of this. It was aired only once, but it worked and we still talk about it to this day.

Growing up on the west coast – Seattle Washington – we were told that the entire west coast could drop off into the Pacific Ocean if we had a big quake along the notorious San Andreas Fault. Never mind the fact that what causes earthquakes along that fault is that the tectonic plate is pushing east, up onto our western coast. It was something for us to fear.

I’m not going to go down the entire list of the terror Du Jour we were served up on an almost daily basis. I’ll hit a few highlights. Remember the “Ozone Hole?” They were telling us that this huge hole had opened in our Ozone layer. The ramifications were severe! Millions dying from skin cancer caused by the unfiltered ultraviolet light from our Sun. Crops being burned causing massive famine. We all had to upgrade the air conditioning systems in our cars and in our homes to be able to take the much more expensive and eco-friendly versions of Freon.

Rule by Fear - GeneratorYou don’t hear anything about that “Ozone Hole” now. However, every few years your air conditioning system becomes obsolete. The bottom line? Pay more money! Remember the “Y2K” scare? Our computers were going to crash worldwide sending us back to the “Stone Age.” People bought generators – yeah, myself included – stocked up on food and waited the stroke of midnight heralding the turn of the new century. Nothing happened. We spent a lot of money though.

The Attacks On 9/11

Whether or not you believe our Government’s account of the events of that day or you’ve actually done some research, one thing that is beyond dispute is, as a nation we made some very bad decisions based on fear. It is not at all clear that we have survived the consequences of those bad decisions. We attacked Iraq for no reason running up trillions of dollars in debt. Don’t think! Be afraid! We’ll point you in the direction we want you to go!

Rule by fear Surveillance_cameras

The Camera Never Blinks

Because of our irrational fear, we allowed the Government to rip up our “Bill Of Rights.” Remember the color coded days compliments of our slapped together department of Homeland Security? Patriot Act? Without a peep we have given up our presumption of privacy. Phone calls, emails, even what books you check out at your local library are now monitored. Speaking of monitoring, We’ve allowed surveillance cameras to be put up on almost every street corner and all along our Interstate highways. If the game were Chess, somebody has carefully been maneuvering their pieces into position and checkmate may now be inevitable.

Rule By Fear

Rule by Fear - Newtown Gun Removed From Trunk

Police caught on tape removing the AR-15 from Adam Lanza’s car

It is time to wake up! Remember the “Sandy Hook Shooting?” The very first day, we were told that the shooter was one Ryan Lanza. Later that same day, we learned that no, it was Adam Lanza who for some mysterious reason was carrying his brother’s identification. We were told by the officers on the scene that the shooter – Adam Lanza – used two handguns. We were even given the make of those pistols. One was a Glock and the other was a Sig Sauer. Both were 9mm in caliber. Day one, we were told that an AR-15 Bushmaster had been discovered in the trunk of the car Adam Lanza presumably drove.

For those unfamiliar with firearms, there is a huge difference between 9mm brass and the .223 brass that would have littered the floor had the Bushmaster been used. Without even seeing the guns, anyone, certainly a law enforcement officer would immediately have known that a .223 caliber rifle was involved merely by looking at all the brass lying about. My point is, that is not a mistake anyone even remotely competent enough to respond to that crisis would have made.

Rule by Fear - Time Line of News Reporting

Time line of News reporting

By “Day Three” that AR-15 Bushmaster had miraculously floated out of the back of the car and of its own volition, shot magazine after magazine into those children. Why of “its own volition?” Adam Lanza had already committed suicide – so they say – and was long dead. It seems that someone with an agenda needed the weapon used, to be a so called “assault rifle.”  We have seen the steady and constant drum beat for gun control. Be afraid, be very afraid… Rule by fear raises its ugly head again.

Sandy Hook And The Boston Marathon Bombing

This proves my point. There is absolutely no connection between these two tragedies. God forbid that the enthralled public have their attention turned away from the ineffective “Gun Control Debate.” Notice how MSNBC host Rachel Maddow deftly links the two together.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

If you lose someone to a tragedy, the circumstances of that tragedy don’t really matter to you. A mother who loses her child in an accident caused by an impaired driver doesn’t hurt any less than a mother who’s child died in Sandy Hook Elementary or someone who’s family member was a victim of one of the bombs that went off in Boston yesterday.

Rule by Fear - Victim of Bombing

A victim of the Boston Marathon bombing

I have been to the funeral home to say good bye to a loved one far too many times of late. If someone walked up to me at that moment and began to rehearse their own loss I would be deeply offended and if they weren’t careful, they’d be nursing a blackened eye… at the very least! You don’t pimp grief for political gain. Of course, if you have an agenda, you just might do this.

Naivety Is Not A Virtue

“Trust ye not a living soul… and walk even carefully amongst the dead.” __My mother

I have never forgotten this advice and it has served me well. Unfortunately we now live in a world such that when I watch the news, I constantly remind myself that I really have no idea what is actually going on. Why? Because the fool filling dead air has no idea what is actually going on. It will take at least two or three days for them to get the official story together. Will it be the truth? Most likely not. Truth is not necessary when the objective is to rule by fear. You would do well to bear this in mind. Was the bombing of the Boston Marathon an act of international terror, or was it the act of a home grown anarchist? That will largely depend on the results of meetings which are occurring behind closed doors right now.

If there is some political or economic gain to be obtained by naming some foreign based group responsible, that is what the determination will be. If on the other hand, it benefits the powers that be to call this the act of a home grown anarchist, they will no doubt accuse some poor soul and make them disappear under one or more of those laws we let them pass because of our fear.

Black In America – Mark Kelly Finds His Blackness?

Black in America - Mark Kelly Finds His Blackness Headerby Benjamin T. Moore, Jr.

On 8 January 2011, in Tucson AZ, Congresswoman Gabrielle – Gabby – Giffords was shot along with 18 other people during a “meet your Congresswoman” constituent meeting, held in the parking lot of a supermarket. Jared Loughner drew his handgun, shot Congresswoman Giffords in the head before turning his gun on the crowd. Miraculously, Congresswoman Giffords survived and against all odds has made a remarkable recovery.

Black in America - Gabby Gifford's WeddingGabby’s recovery has doubtlessly been aided by the selfless devotion of her husband, Captain Mark Kelly whom has been steadfast, devoted and constantly by her side. Love has miraculous healing properties. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that they both not only love one another, but are in love with one another. I could not imagine a trauma of this magnitude happening to my wife, but I do know that I would be devastated. I have joked that if anything ever happens to her, they’re going to have to put my hospital bed next to hers.

I not only fully understand Captain Kelly’s new found activism for “gun control,” I would expect no less. You cannot expect anyone to be completely rational and pragmatic about an issue that so nearly resulted in the death of a person they love. Because of this tragedy, Mark Kelly has started a political action committee – PAC – to fight for gun control. Last I heard, they had a budget of over $10 million dollars.

A Crusader Is Born

Mark Kelly presents himself as a gun owner, staunch 2nd Amendment advocate that believes in sensible gun laws. He makes no bones about his owning guns. Evidently he is a fan of the “Government Model .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol. We’ll ignore the fact that had his wife been shot in the head with a .45, she wouldn’t be here today, because I’m sure he would argue that was beside the point. Nevertheless, she was the first person shot and was hit by the first bullet in Loughner’s magazine.

Black in America - Colt 45

Government Model 45

It is not that the .45 caliber is a more lethal round, it just happens to be larger, heavier and has more kinetic energy. It would not only have penetrated her skull, it would have smashed it and sent bone fragments as secondary projectiles all throughout her brain. The resulting trauma would have resulted in instantaneous death.

Since Captain Kelly is not an uneducated man, one must presume that he knows this. Thus one must question his true motives and commitment to the expressed agenda of his PAC. Firearms are not safe. They’re not designed to be. They are designed to deliver destructive force to whatever target is in front of them. If you believe that guns are the problem, it is intellectually disingenuous to attempt to pick and choose which guns, in which configurations are acceptable. Any firearm can take a human life.

Trading In Fear

One of the main arguments has been the supposed ease with which these so called, “military style” weapons can be obtained. To hear the proponents of total gun confiscation say it, these weapons can be obtained without a background check and absolutely no oversight whatsoever. They’re sold on every street corner across America, right? Most often these suppositions are expressed by people who have never been anywhere near one of these street corners where a transaction of this nature might occur. Imagine Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow or Lawrence O’Donnell down in Harlem, Compton, Watts or the South side of Chicago. They must be clairvoyant because they certainly seem expert in what goes on in these neighborhoods.

Of course, isn’t that sort of the whole problem? This entire debate has come about – ironically – not because a sitting congresswoman was shot in the head. Not because a movie theater was turned into a killing zone. I might point out that none of these mass shootings occurred in depressed, inner city, minority communities. This entire debate came about because some young – mostly white – school children were gunned down in an up scale suburban community where, damnit, these things just are not supposed to happen!

Black in America - Zombie Apocalypse?

Zombie Apocalypse? Or Inner city people coming to get your stuff?

What is the fear? The fear is that our protected – mostly white – suburban communities could become as dangerous as our inner cities. We cannot have that now can we? After all, people move away from the inner cities, pay higher tax rates, pay higher mortgages for the illusion of safety. Though often unsaid, the flip side of this logic is that armed minorities are coming to get you. I’ve put into words what far too many white people feel on a visceral level. It manifests in seemingly one of two ways. On the one hand you have those – many whom have very little of value to anyone but themselves – who are arming to protect their homesteads from the “Zombie Apocalypse.” Of course the Zombies are colorful stand-ins for inner city people who did not prepare for the collapse they’re so looking forward to. On the other hand, you have those who believe we can pass enough laws to totally disarm everyone and thus prevent the whole scenario in its entirety. Of course, both sides are deluded.

Black In America – Mark Kelly Finds His Blackness

Black in America - Mark Kelly buys a gun

Mark Kelly’s trip to a gun store.

In a stunt to generate some publicity, Captain Kelly set out to show on video tape, how easy it is to acquire a military style rifle. With cameras in tow he went into a Tucson, AZ gun store to purchase an AR-15 style rifle. He also purchased a “Government Model” .45 semi-automatic pistol. After filling out the paper work, he was told there was a waiting period on the rifle. It had been taken in as a sell and there is a 20 day waiting period for law enforcement to run the gun to make certain it had not been used in a crime. Uh oh! What’s this? It seems Captain Kelly succeeded in proving that there are laws, regulations and oversight involved in purchasing a firearm.

In subsequent interviews Captain Kelly stated that his intentions were to prove how easy it is for anyone to acquire these types of weapons. Evidently, the owner of the gun store was listening. He contacted Captain Kelly, returned his money and told him that the sell was being cancelled. His reasons? It was clear that Captain Kelly was not purchasing the firearm for his own personal use. Why is this important? Most people are unaware that if you go into a gun store and say that you are purchasing a firearm for someone else – they could be standing right beside you – the store owner is obligated not to sell you that firearm. Why? Because the presumption is that the person you’re buying the firearm for, is not legally able to purchase the firearm for him or herself. Yes, that’s the law… believe it or not.

Reality Check

Black in America - James Holmes

Colorado Shooter – James Holmes

We often take so much for granted. If I as a Black man, had ordered all the ammunition, firearms, and tactical gear that James Holmes purchased, it would have been delivered by an ATF SWAT team. This is a reality in America that minorities know all too well.

I was out on a shooting range one day when a white guy walked up to me and asked me if I was Benjamin Moore. I had never met him and was surprised he knew my name. Come to find out, we had participated in some on-line forums. He saw me, figured, Black guy, with guns, must be Ben Moore.

We exchanged pleasantries for awhile, then he got around to the question he was dying to ask. “Have you heard about the upcoming race war?” He asked. “What?” I replied. “The race war?” “What race war?” Then he explained that he had been hearing that the Black people were planning to rise up and kill all white people. I nearly busted a gut laughing. When I had finally gulped enough air to speak again. I gave him the facts on what it means to be Black in America.

The first thing I pointed out was that Black people are only 12% of the population of these United States. We do not own any firearms manufacturing plants, nor do we own any munitions plants. Thus, we would have to buy are weapons and ammunition from white people.

Further I pointed out, if Black people were going to start such a war, we would have to start it on a Friday after 5pm and it would have to be over by Monday morning at 9am. Why? Because we’ve got to be back at work, working for “whitey.” We’ve got mortgages, rent, cable bills, car notes the usual. I walked off and left him standing there like a penny waiting on change.

Being Black in America is far different than most white people assume. The entire gun control issue left reason and rationality behind long ago. Now both camps have become fear merchants. The NRA is pushing the coming “Zombie Apocalypse.” The anti-gun side is pushing the same thing with just a minor twist. They pretend they’re rational because they don’t believe in Zombies… yet, they are attempting to convince everyone that they’re in danger from guns. For them, firearms are the Zombies. Both sides are deluded. We need rationality.