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No Empty Words, Please

Talking with a gun-owning Democrat friend and then a gun-owning Republican friend on Friday, the subject in both phone calls centered on just how far this anti-Second Amendment effort is aimed.

My Democrat friend said that the Democrats don’t really want all of our guns and that they are already backing away from many of their toughest positions staked out two to three weeks ago. My Republican friend said not to count on the many non-voting gun owners for political support or actual resistance. Why, he asked, would a guy who has never voted in his life, freeloaded off the NRA and his local gun club to stand up for his interests, and rarely does anything for his community suddenly get politically active now? And just how far will that same guy go to resist unconstitutional gun bans and door-to-door confiscation?

Interesting stuff. A year ago this was the purview of the far right and conspiracy theorists. Now it is as real as the air that greets your lungs when you awaken in bed in the morning. And these two guys are both wrong.

First, I am convinced that most Democrats want every single gun taken away from private citizens. For example, a few years ago a local congressman, Joe Hoeffel (SP?), wrote legislation to aggressively control muzzleloading guns. You know, the kinds of guns your great-great-grandfather used in the Civil War and which pose their greatest threat to toes when these heavy art pieces are dropped from the unsuspecting hands that have foolishly removed them from their ancient mountings above the fireplace. Not exactly a public threat. But lots of people react against that greatest symbol of American freedom, and in fact, Congressman Hoeffel had plenty of support.

Second, I am convinced that my Republican friend is wrong, because I grew up in an extremely rural place, where everyone had guns, few people were politically active, and where a healthy suspicion of the government was endemic (and thus, not much time was invested in anything government). A lot of my neighbors, the closest being about half a mile away in any direction, were descended from those Scots-Irish tribesmen who had fled imperial Britain to find enough room to run a still and live unhampered in the 1700s New World. Their anti-government attitudes have always resulted in the toughest fighters, even if that isn’t evident at first or second glance.

Pushed hard enough, they too will be shooting out of their second story windows at government goon squads coming to confiscate their guns. Yes, yes, I know, I sound like a ‘fringe lunatic’ here.

Which brings me back to my Democrat friend. My response to him and to other Democrats who have perhaps foolishly engaged me in discussion about this topic in the past few weeks, including an avowedly liberal reporter from New York City, is this: You are not taking our guns. You’re just not. Anti gun laws have zero to do with crime control, and everything to do with government control.

Most people know me as a passionate conservationist, a birds-n-bunnies guy, a hunter who cares for the green woods, and that’s all true. I am a peaceful guy who just cannot shake certain aspects of my Quaker upbringing, no matter how hard I try. And if I am pushed hard enough, I will meet gun confiscation with armed resistance. Because to do anything else is an abdication of my Constitutional duties.

See, the Second Amendment guarantees the individual right to belong to an armed militia. Necessary to a free state, those local, grass roots, citizen-led militias were intended from the founding of our nation to be an active counterbalance to a centralized, national, federal army. Because political rights are only as good as the citizens’ ability to force change or resist tyranny, the Second Amendment is the one right that guarantees all the other rights in the Bill of Rights.

So go ahead, call me a radical, a nut, a whacko, an alarmist. I wear such appellations with pride in times like these. Someone once said something cute, like, extremism in the pursuit of liberty is no vice; by backing up the Second Amendment, we are backing up the entire Constitution, and if that is a vice in the eyes of a particular political party, then so be it.

I am standing my ground, proud, unwavering, no matter what illegal law is passed in America. I will not abide by it. I will dissent and I will resist. This love of liberty is a so-called vice that many otherwise quiet Americans will join. Trust me. I am an American, and I know.


By Josh First
January 3, 2013


Along with other beautiful stained glass windows dedicated to free speech and religion, “Militia” is just another large, elaborate stained glass window in the Pennsylvania State Capitol building (photo above).

This window’s prominent place in the Capitol is no accident, as the free citizen militia were fundamental to being an American citizen, and formative in founding the nation. After all, it was a free citizen militia (photos below) that was so determined to hold on to their liberties (now yours) that they literally faced down the world’s greatest super power, shooting only when they saw the whites of their hardened enemy’s eyes.

Like the other rights in the Bill of Rights, belonging to the militia is an individual right. No central or national army can supplant it. It is the exact purpose of the citizen militia to act as a counterweight to a centralized army or National Guard. As the Second Amendment so clearly states, you can’t belong to a militia unless you are armed with a military-quality arm, that you own and keep in your possession, as the original militia did.

Militia is not the heavily regulated, structured, centralized Army or National Guard of today; well-regulated meant muster rolls were kept. Militia was always a grass roots, citizen-led counterbalance to national governments, whether of Britain or the new United States. Unless the National Guard reports only to the local citizens or state governors, then it is not the heir to or the modern representation of the founding militia. The militia were and must remain separate from the central (national) government and its standing army.

The Bill of Rights does not describe governmental rights. All ten of its amendments describe and reserve citizens’ individual rights and liberties, and set limits on government power. Who creates a “Bill of Rights” that grants the central government the “right” to make an army and disarm the citizens? The fact that Americans have owned firearms since the beginning demonstrates the clear intent of the Bill of Rights. Whether or not some of today’s Americans are aware of, or comfortable with some Constitutional rights and obligations, they exist nonetheless. This is who we are. It’ll take a Constitutional amendment to change the Second Amendment, if you don’t like it. And changing it could lead to a second civil war, because the Second Amendment guarantees all the other amendments, and, like the Revolutionary War militia, free citizens are still willing to fight for their liberties.

Let’s talk more about that supposed potential change to the Constitution.

Gun prohibitionists are now pursuing an orgy of unconstitutional laws that exponentially grow government intrusion and end citizenship as defined since the birth of America. Do gun prohibitionists and anti-gun politicians really believe that freedom-loving Americans will just roll over and “turn them all in,” as US Senator Dianne Feinstein so casually says? I guarantee you a massive, defiant, and probably violent dissenting reaction across the nation in response to such an effort, if not an outright armed rebellion. Political elites like Feinstein and their fellow urbanites have little contact with “fly-over country,” so they do not know, care, understand, or respect the views of their fellow citizens there.

Statists, like Feinstein, whose greatest goal is a big government involved in citizens’ lives from cradle to grave, are deaf and blind to the kind of vehement resistance now brewing among tens of millions of citizens. Many, many Americans feel and see the America they knew and loved being transformed into an unrecognizable juggernaut aimed at controlling citizens’ lives and erasing their liberties. Seething beneath the surface of daily life is an increasing, simmering frustration and mistrust. It’s one thing to beat them at the ballot box. It’s another thing altogether to aim to disarm them.

These citizens know that the bigger the government, the smaller the citizen. The more the government does, the less the citizen can do. To them, government is a direct threat, not a solution.

Gun control already exists in overbearing quantity; new laws that would take away guns from law-abiding Americans are exactly the kinds of unconstitutional assaults on individual liberty that the Second Amendment was designed to repel and that the citizen militia was created to address. Using democracy to achieve undemocratic results has been the method of extremists from both Left and Right; with the latest wave of proposals, gun prohibitionists reveal their own extremism.

Draft resistors, anti-government dissenters, and assorted protests have been historic hallmarks of one part of the electorate. Will Second Amendment-rights activists have to carry their God-given guns on a Million Man March to Washington, DC, carrying today’s equivalent of the 1776-era military-grade musket, the AR-15, to get their point across?

Pro-abortion activists have long stated matter-of-factly that legally prohibiting abortion won’t end abortion, and that those who want one will seek it out, legal or not, safe or not. Well, folks, tens of millions of Americans are about to have that equivalent experience with their guns, taking them into the back alleys, yards, and woods, where they will have them, despite whatever the government may say. Such defiance is what created America. Let’s hope it doesn’t end up re-creating it.

Adam Lanza’s insane massacre of school children in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, is so painful, so emotionally scarring that I will never be the same person I was the day before it occurred. My three children are as gentle, innocent, defenseless, and precious to me as those children were to their parents, and the thought of losing mine or theirs in such a cruelly violent way is too much to contemplate. My heart aches for the Sandy Hook parents. My fury rises at the incompetent parole board that unleashed murderer William Spengler to murder again, this time the brave firefighters who rushed to douse his arsonist blaze in Webster, NY. Blame enough to go around, but the actual problem-solving is hard.

Let me try: Does Hollywood really have an unfettered, unaccountable right to use its power of suggestion to continually encourage cruel, unchecked violence across America? During the recent Benghazi debacle, weren’t we told that the First Amendment doesn’t necessarily confer a right to make a movie that might incite violence? Thus, if Hollywood wants to continue marketing sadistically happy murder carnage from Django Unchained and the equally moronic Gangster Squad, why don’t all movies and video games with a modern gun in them have to pay a 50% ‘violence mitigation fee’ on each ticket sold? Use that money to put armed guards in schools, gratis Quentin Tarantino and Sean Penn.

In sum, disarming innocent citizens will not succeed, at least not without forcing millions into long-neglected, perhaps forgotten, well-regulated militias to defend their rights. Using emotional crises to immediately demand sweeping new laws is irresponsible. Can cooler heads prevail? Let us hope and pray so.

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The Militia:

You, the citizen, are still the militia. America is yours.

NCAA takes a shot to the gut

Good for Tom Corbett.

Pennsylvania’s governor has filed a lawsuit against the NCAA for its unfounded collective punishment of Penn State University, its students, its football players, and associated businesses and communities that depend on PSU’s reputation.

The indication that the NCAA has nothing to stand on is their spokesman’s response: The victims of Sandusky are “affronted.”

Say what? The NCAA is speaking for the kids now? What did anyone at PSU have to do with Sandusky? Two officials, maybe three, covered it up for a few years, and they will hopefully all rot in jail. But no one else out of the millions of people associated with the school had anything to do with it. Collective punishment is the domain of dictators, meant to instill terror. Invoking deep emotions instead of intellectual honesty shows the NCAA’s cowardice. A cowardly dictator? So much for the NCAA standing for much.

It’s my hope that the bizarre punishment levied against PSU will be tossed aside. Justice must be done, and done right. Here’s one step in that direction out of several steps that should include a public hanging of Jerry Sandusky and long jail sentences and huge fines for Shultz, Curley, and Spanier, none of whom should receive a public pension.