Venezuelan Despot Maduro is a Modern Day Endorsement of the Second Amendment

The ongoing crisis in Venezuela, for all its horrors, serves two distinct purposes for the world to see.

For starters, socialism does not work.

The people of Venezuela are hungry. Socialism has stripped store shelves bare, even as President Nicolas Maduro and his loyalists sit fat and happy.

Secondly, Americans are so fortunate to have a Second Amendment that protects the rights of the citizens to bear arms, for the purposes of self-protection, sporting endeavors, or just because we want to. We don’t need a reason.

Venezuela is serving as a model in that respect, as well. We are beginning to see the results of letting the government take away the citizens’ right to bear arms, and the subsequent tyranny that follows, when despots know the people are defenseless.

Five years ago, the Maduro regime began disarming citizens, under the guise of “ending violence.”

Sound familiar?

Today, only the police, military, and people with security companies are allowed to have weapons.

“We are going to bring disarmament and peace,” Interior Minister Nestor Reverol told Reuters during one confiscation event.

The Venezuelan government justified the gun bans and confiscations by saying they were needed to combat the country’s violent crime and murder epidemic. However, statistics reported by the nonprofit Venezuelan Violence Observatory show the murder rate in Venezuela increased from 73 murders per 100,000 inhabitants the year the gun ban was instituted to 91.8 murders per 100,000 inhabitants in 2016. Statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation show the United States murder rate in the most recent year available, 2015, was 5 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.

So, take the guns from the people, the murder rate actually climbs. And we’ve seen the truth of that in our own nation, as well. Those American cities with the strictest gun laws tend to have the highest violent crime rates.

Why is that?

One explanation may lie in the phrase, “If you outlaw guns, then only outlaws will have guns.” On the other hand, if criminals are afraid they might get shot back, they tend to be a little more hesitant to approach an armed citizen.

However, there is a new wrinkle to the travesty being played out against the citizens of Venezuela.

As the citizens have risen up, taking to the streets to protest the corruption and misrule of Maduro, he has now deemed that the government will reissue weapons to those citizens who support him, a militia to stand against their own people.

“A gun for every militiaman!” Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro said to uniformed militia members outside the presidential palace, Fox News reported on Tuesday. The Bolivarian militias, created by Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez, already number in the hundreds of thousands and are being used to supplement the regime’s armed forces. Maduro is boosting the number of armed supporters in hopes of keeping control over the country from what he labels “imperialist aggression.”

Or to be more honestly put, those who want to see change for the better in their nation; hose who are hungry, broken, and left desperate by a socialst state that has left them with few options.

Of all the despotic regimes in history, one of the first moves made by those cruel leaders is to disarm their citizens, while speaking of peace and protection.

The part they leave out is that they actually mean protection for themselves, not the citizens.

The United States’ Second Amendment reads:

“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.”

In our case, the militia is made up of the citizens, and not just government loyalists.

Pray for Venezuela.

It’s About Time Veterans Got The Care They Deserve

The House of Representatives passed two sensible veterans bills Thursday.

H.R. 1181 protects veterans who suffer PTSD or other mental incapacitation from being summarily declared mentally defective and prohibited from owning firearms, without a finding by a jury of their peers.

I can tell you from many personal conversations with Soldiers, some very close to me, that the Army (and to some degree, the other branches) is quick to “Med Board” people who exhibit PTSD symptoms. Not everyone–it depends on how many are in a particular MOS (job) and other factors like how much the government invested in training. So an Airborne Ranger might receive more therapy than an 11-Bravo ground-pounder.

Once cut loose, many of these veterans receive the treatment they badly need; many don’t and languish in dark suicidal places. (Parenthetically, if you want to support the best non-government program for treating wounded vets, give freely to the Roever Foundation. I offer no apology for plugging them. They do what others can’t or won’t do.)

Medically retired veterans on disability for mental incapacitation have been ripe for denial of Second Amendment rights. Not every vet is the “Deer Hunter” but they’ve been treated that way. There’s absolutely no reason a veteran who is receiving treatment shouldn’t be able to exercise Second Amendment rights–with an important caveat.

That being said, the caveat is that someone needs to determine whether a veteran should be adjudicated by his peers to be mentally defective. Tragedies like the murder of former SEAL Chris Kyle could have been (potentially) prevented if there were a procedure to identify and classify truly disturbed individuals.

Many states have erred on the side of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. H.R. 1181 gives veterans the same rights as other citizens, regardless of why they separated from the service.

H.R. 1259 is an absolutely awesome bill, if it’s actually implemented. It reads, “To amend title 38, United States Code, to provide for the removal or demotion of employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs based on performance or misconduct, and for other purposes.”

No agency is further under the bus to get rid of the worst employees than the VA. The level of opaqueness, coverups, pencil-whipping, and overall apathy towards those they are specifically employed to serve is shocking and disgusting. This culture has built up over years of neglect and papering over of real problems.

Now is the time to clean house at the VA. Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin has a near-impossible task ahead of him as it is. Without a law allowing him special power to dispense with government employee protections, the VA would languish like it did under Eric Shinseki and Bob McDonald. McDonald was supposed to clean things up after Shinseki disgraced himself, but got absolutely nowhere.

Reading the first part of §719 alone makes me feel like Shulkin has a chance where the others never did.

Ҥ 719. Employees: removal, demotion, or suspension based on performance or misconduct

“(a) In General.—The Secretary may remove, demote, or suspend an individual who is an employee of the Department if the Secretary determines the performance or misconduct of the individual warrants such removal, demotion, or suspension. If the Secretary so removes, demotes, or suspends such an individual, the Secretary may—

“(1) remove the individual from the civil service (as defined in section 2101 of title 5);

“(2) demote the individual by means of a reduction in grade for which the individual is qualified, that the Secretary determines is appropriate, and that reduces the annual rate of pay of the individual; or

“(3) suspend the individual.

(Bold mine.)

If this becomes law, it gives President Trump reason to hold Shulkin’s feet to the fire and demand real reform. Veterans all over the country will applaud.

In fact, were I Shulkin, I’d institute the kind of feedback system that companies use to rate personal-contact employees (like Uber does). Every call, every appointment should be rated by the patient or veteran being served. The first place to get overhauled has to be those who have personal contact. Good ratings means keep your job. Poor ratings means you’re gone.

Then proceed to the management and administrative side. This system takes the burden off supervisors and administrators to determine who is worthy and who isn’t. Then the incompetent administrators will stick out like sore thumbs–I’d let the employees under them rate their bosses. And instead of kicking the jerks upstairs as is done so often in government, they should be kicked out the door.

I hope both of these sensible and no-nonsense bills become law quickly. Kudos to Reps. David Roe (R, TN-1), Conaway, Wenstrup, Dunn, Bilirakis, and Sessions for their sponsorship of H.R. 1181; and again to Roe and his 28 co-sponsors for H.R. 1259.

Fort Lauderdale’s Gun Ban Probably Enabled Santiago’s Shooting

Fort Lauderdale mass shooter Estaban Santiago flew from Anchorage to Minneapolis, then connected to Fort Lauderdale. He flew with a handgun and ammunition in checked luggage, all perfectly legal. Not just legal, but not at all uncommon in well-armed Alaska, where people regularly hunt and take their guns when they travel.

You might read the words “probably enabled” above, and think that headline is a bit bombastic–even a clickbait claim. But it’s true. Gun-free zones are much more probable places for mass shootings. Whether Santiago knew Fort Lauderdale’s airport was gun-free, and whether he chose that location because of it, is yet unknown.

But we do know this. Things might have been different had Santiago flown to, say, Atlanta:

Just before 1 p.m. on Friday, the FBI says Santiago retrieved his checked baggage at the Fort Lauderdale airport after flying from Alaska with a connection in Minneapolis.

He then went into a bathroom and loaded his gun inside a bathroom stall. George Piro, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Miami division, said he appeared to follow the correct protocol established by the Transportation Security Administration to travel with his gun.

Surveillance video shows Santiago calmly walking through the baggage claim area, pulling the handgun out of his waistband and opening fire on nearby passengers. The FBI says he then emptied one clip, reloaded, kept firing, walked outside the terminal for a moment and re-entered the baggage claim area before dropping the gun and lying down spread eagle.

(First of all, let me dispense with a pet peeve: it’s a magazine, not a clip. I wish these major newspapers would take the time to at least get their gun terminology right. But don’t get me started on that or this will be a very long article.)

Notice that Santiago calmly walked through the baggage claim, blam-blam. He wasn’t particularly worried about being tactical. Of course, that could be because he’s a deeply troubled man with mental problems. But he also may have known that Fort Lauderdale’s airport is a gun-free zone.

Like movie theaters in Colorado, and many malls where shooters simply walk around picking targets until they run out of ammunition, mass shootings are way more likely to occur in gun-free zones than places where gun carry is allowed. In fact, a leading study from the Crime Prevention Research Center shows that 98.4 percent of mass shootings have occurred where guns are banned.

Let that sink in. The very safety that liberals promise by making laws to keep guns out of places is really an illusion. In 2013, when Georgia expanded weapons carry into public places like Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, liberals wrung their hands worrying that there could be a “LAX-style shooting” because guns are allowed.

But since the gun ban at Hartsfield was lifted, there have been no mass shootings at the country’s busiest airport. (That’s zero.) That being said, the TSA, which could not be bothered to simply send people who unintentionally legally carry to the security checkpoint back to their vehicles to safely store the handgun, now summarily arrests those people under some federal regulations. But those regulations don’t apply to baggage claim and other public “land side” areas of the terminal.

If Santiago had flown into Atlanta, he very well may have (and if I were there, would have) faced armed citizens. And armed citizens tend to stop mass shootings because the police can’t be everywhere all the time, even in a busy airport terminal.

A couple of Florida legislators have realized this, and want their state to be more like Georgia, and extend carry rights into public areas of airports.

Florida state Sen. Greg Steube and state Rep. Jake Raburn have introduced separate bills that would allow licensed gun owners with concealed carry permits to bring their firearms to the unsecured areas of their state’s airports.

Though their bills were introduced weeks before last week’s tragedy, Steube said the gunman might not have been able to kill five people and injure six others at the airport baggage claim if their laws were in effect.

“Shooters know they’re gun-free zones, and they know that law-abiding citizens aren’t present to defend themselves and that they [can] go in there and start shooting,” he told Yahoo News on Monday. Stopping such attacks, he added, is “reliant upon how quick law enforcement can get there.”

It’s a smart move. Law-abiding citizens carrying guns for their own protection also has the effect of protecting others from bad guys with guns. It’s a force-multiplier for the police, who are not scared of guns like liberal lawmakers are. Police don’t care as much about the gun in someone’s waistband, they care more about the behavior of the person they’re facing.

Banning gun carry on campuses, and in other public places simply makes a more target-rich environment for terrorists, criminals and mental cases who ignore the law and come armed anyway.

States United to Prevent Gun Violence Shows Us Accidental Shootings by Toddlers is Not an Epidemic

States United to Prevent Gun Violence is an anti-gun group that really wants more restrictions, if not an outright ban, on the right to keep and bear arms. One of the data points they are using to show why new laws and regulations are needed is this one.

Notice they have to use “every week for two straight years.” It sounds like an epidemic till you think about it. There are 52 weeks in year. So there’ve only been 52 accidental shootings by toddlers who’ve gotten their hands on loaded guns?

I actually thought it was more than that. This isn’t really a high number and certainly not a number that justifies new gun control measures.

It is also worth pointing out that the toddlers who got access to firearms had irresponsible parents or were around other irresponsible people. You can’t legislate away stupidity. By the way, for perspective, there were 43 shooting victims in Chicago between midnight on January 1, 2017, and right now. There’s your epidemic, but nobody is really addressing that one because it’d inconveniently rub against how stringent gun laws are in Chicago already and yet this happens.

Thomas Massie - Second Amendment Caucus

Rep. Massie to Chair Resurrected 2nd Amendment Caucus

Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie announced Thursday that he will chair the recently revived second amendment caucus. Recent election results have given members an opportunity and desire to push back against many erosions of liberty we’ve seen over the last decades.

“The recent election results present us with a new opportunity to advance pro-gun legislation and reverse the erosion of the Second Amendment that’s occurred over the last few decades. I look forward to working with the new President and this determined group of conservatives to promote a pro-gun agenda,” Massie stated.
“Preserving the right to keep and bear arms is essential to maintaining freedom and liberty in our country,” said former Congressman Paul Broun (R-GA), who chaired the caucus from 2009 through 2013. “I’m honored that Representative Massie will build on the foundation that I established with this caucus.”
“With so many laws disarming the poorest and most vulnerable people in our society and others who face real threats to their and their family’s safety, it is reassuring to know that the Second Amendment Caucus is there to ensure people’s safety,” said John Lott, economist and author of The War on Guns: Arming Yourself Against Gun Control Lies.
Eligibility for Caucus membership will be based on a Representatives voting record. In theory, this should limit the use of the caucus as a beard for 2A squishes.
The only legislation that has been specifically mentioned as a Caucus priority is the “Hearing Protection Act,” focused on making firearm suppressors more accessible to firearm owners. This is great news for gun owners and a good first step for the caucus reboot!

How The GOP Sweep Is Bad News For Some Gun Manufacturers

Long term, it’s absolutely great to have a president who will support Americans’ Second Amendment rights. But short term, it’s bad news for some gun manufacturers who have experienced a boom while liberals have repeatedly tried to ban guns.

One such company is Smith & Wesson, which has taken the extraordinary move of changing its iconic name to the banal and vanilla “American Outdoor Brands.” S&W’s stock has absolutely tanked since the election.

Smith & Wesson has lost about 20 percent of its market value since the Republican won the election. As the threat of gun-control measures subsides, there’s less of a need for stockpiling.

sw

In the last year, S&W has diversified into other areas besides firearms, acquiring knife manufacturer Taylor Brands and camping equipment maker Ultimate Survival Technologies. This was in preparation for the long winter of a Democratic White House led by Hillary Clinton. They were preparing to have their main product line defenestrated.

Now all of that has changed. The NRA was one of Trump’s first and most ardent endorsers.

But calm among the NRA crowd is a problem for firearm makers, who profit significantly from surges in weapon stockpiling that take place every time a politician tries to address gun control. Without that kind of fear-driven buying, it’s unclear what gunmakers’ growth profile will look like because, quite frankly, the people who tend to buy guns probably already have enough of them.

Some gun manufacturers like Daniel Defense, are likely happier than S&W–er, American Outdoor Brands. The smaller, boutique manufacturers no longer have an existential threat hanging over their heads. But Christmas gun sales may still fall below expectations. People who have guns may want to get something else this year. The urgency is gone.

Sometimes good news isn’t always good in the short term, especially if you own stock in S&W.

American Experiment Is Ending As It Began

Absent from the faux-news, feigned outrage and brain-eating filth of Election 2016, lurks the only certain and unavoidable tragedy for mankind. It’s not Donald Trump with the nuclear football. That’s shocking, I know. And ironically enough, it also isn’t the most-corrupt candidate to ever become the nominee of a major American political party. It’s not the greedy banks or those cold-hearted millionaires and billionaires. Can’t blame climate change, or the looming threat of a major foreign war. It isn’t even the absurdity of pretending we are all an androgynous clump of cells until we (fully!) exit the birth canal, and thus deemed worthy of a soul with the ability to choose our ‘true’ gender.

No, perhaps the most tragic, shameful part of it all is that you won’t even hear the real cause for concern on any cable news channel, or discussed on any mainstream website. That’s because the real tragedy of 2016 is much too sophisticated for the mollified, self-obsessed masses to comprehend. And so, while America tears herself apart over the unsavory reflection of our decrepit civilization, our fundamental liberties are silently embezzled by far lesser beings than the force which endows such powers.

“Virtually every aspect of our lives is to some extent or entirely controlled or regulated by the state. At birth our children are forced into the Social Security system and subjugated to a variety of mandatory tests and vaccines. They start out life owing about $55,000, representing their per capita share of the federal debt imposed on them to pay for the campaign promises of dead politicians. Our children are kidnapped from their homes and placed into daytime juvenile detention and propaganda centers (government schools) at age 6.”– James Ostrowski, November 11, 2014 in article titled ‘State of the Progressive America’

And, like all profound tragedies found in libraries of past empires, there is no way we can politically address the problem. Neither Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump can recognize the encroaching threat of tyranny from the balcony of their heavily fortified castle. Therefore, they will only contribute to the vast suffering it will cause. So yes, please, whine about Trump’s insensitive rhetoric. Go ahead and decry the delusional media crusade to assure Hillary is elected, and their complacency in the Soros-funded leftist effort to manipulate U.S. Elections. None of that, or nearly anything else we choose to debate in this country, will rescue even a single child from starvation or spare one moment of pain for those forced into hard labor. That’s what it’s like to live in a country where you do not have the right to liberty– and the world that emerges after the inward collapse of the freest, most powerful and prosperous nation mankind has ever known.pew-poll-candidates

While society caters to the fat, spoiled brats it has created, the dark army of serfdom draws evermore near. There is no escaping the battlefield, we will be made to fight the enemy. With the reemergence of such harsh realities, the divisions once misguidedly obsessed over like party, race, creed or social status will seem petty and infantile. The only ‘privileges’ which exist where America is going will be a roof over your head and food in your belly. We will pay the full price for our reckless stewardship over that which was fair and just in this world. Now the only decision is how great of a price that will be.

So once again, please ask yourself, ‘What kind of a people would choose Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump as their president?’ People like us. All of us. We are all in some way to blame for the state of our lives, our communities, our cities, our states, our country, and this miracle of a planet. The last hope for America can only be seized if individually and collectively, we admit we caused this mess, then accept responsibility for ourselves and our actions going forward. We must return to embracing the very truth on which this nation was conceived: If you do not take ownership over yourself, somebody else will.

 

Forget 2016… America is in Danger NOW.

As Americans anxiously watch the 2016 election unfold, it is easy to see how perhaps the greatest long-term threat to our Republic is being upstaged by the outlandish allegations and hateful propaganda spewed by both sides. Yet, if you look back over the 200 years of American politics, back to the inception of this great nation, you’ll find our founders quite brilliantly recognized that, in order to have Liberty, certain rights must be irrevocable by Government. Therefore, it was essential for America’s founding doctrine to arise from the premise that all rights are endowed upon us by a power much greater than any man-made ruling, or government— a right bestowed up on all by the Creator.

Among those rights, it is notable the first was the amendment ensuring freedom of speech; freedom of the press; the right to peaceable assembly; the right to petition government for redress of grievances; and freedom of religion. Then, most-ingeniously, the second amendment was written to guarantee each one of us the God-given right to bear arms as means of protecting the first (and later) amendments.

Yet maybe now more than ever before, our rights to free speech and free press are under siege. If lost, so too is our Liberty. It may not happen overnight, and it may seem benign now to those who politically support those currently possessing the bulk of power. But please understand, sooner or later, there will come a time when that is no longer the case.

Here are just a few of the most recent examples:

  • CNN erroneously edited a Donald Trump tweet presented to audience as graphic to then be discussed by panel of guests. In this case, the word “crooked” was removed before Hillary Clinton’s name.
  • CNN deceptively edited video showing the sister of an armed black man shot and killed by a black police officers to make it appear that she was calling for peace and reporting it as such. However, the young lady was merely asking the rioters to burn the suburbs, where largely non-minorities reside.
  • For the bulk of media outlets, questioning the health/vitality of Hillary Clinton is offensive and strictly off-limits; despite it being pushed by same sources against McCain in 2008,
  • A long-time contributor for the Huffington Post claims he was fired after one of his articles was removed from site and wiped clean from the internet for mentioning worries over Hillary Clinton’s health.
  • Media outlets across the country have removed all footage of Colin Kaepernick’s scathing indictment of Hillary Clinton, suggesting any other American would be in prison, during his now infamous locker-room interview taken after his refusal to stand for the national anthem. Many continue to omit Hillary all-together, while including Kaepernick calling Trump a bigot.
  • ABC, CBS Blackout FBI Warning of Election System Hacks.
  • Networks around the country censor U.S. Navy ship forced to fire warning shots.
  • News outlets around the country fully omit Clinton’s 2008 campaign as original source of Obama “Birtherism” claim while attacking Donald Trump for repeating it.

There are many, many more examples like those listed above. Please note these are not examples of media ‘appearing’ to favor one party over another, commonly called “Media Bias” by many—but instead the outright censorship, omission and/or literally altering facts to help or harm one party over the other.

For anyone being intellectually honest, it is easy to understand how this trend could easily progress into de-facto state-run, or government-controlled media seen in countries like Russia, China and now Turkey. As such, Americans across the political spectrum should be unabashedly outraged and, God-willing, motivated to demand change.

But, in the event you find yourself justifying or downplaying the effects this will have on our nation’s future, I IMPLORE YOU to watch this video of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff speaking at an event organized by American Freedom Alliance in Los Angeles, regarding the deteriorating state of speech laws for citizens of European Union: https://youtu.be/CnhWd9OrJoo.

Thank you, Ms. Sabaditsch-Wolff, for your courageous commitment to restoring free speech rights in Europe as well as this insightful warning to America!