The War on…Bologna?

This is too weird not to comment on:

Cops seize 756 pounds of smuggled bologna

November 25, 2003 (EL PASO, Texas) — Border agents last week landed a meaty bust, seizing 756 pounds of bologna arranged into the shape of a car seat and covered with blankets in a man’s pickup.

Marijuana I can understand. But lunchmeat?

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized 81 rolls of Mexican bologna Friday at the Paso Del Norte bridge as the pickup entered the United States.

“It puts the ultimate consumer at risk,” said customs spokesman Roger Maier. “Who knows how long these products have gone without refrigeration or without proper handling?”

Proper handling? Somebody sculpted them into the shape of a car seat!

Children were sitting on top of the illegal load before it was discovered, Maier said. The rear seat had been removed from the extended-cab pickup and the bologna was put in its place.

Eeewww! Anybody know where those kids had been? Think about it: 500 cases of Hepatitis from green onions…

He said the agency plans to pursue civil penalties against the Mexican man driving the truck. Maier said the agency won’t release the man’s name until the case goes to trial.

Maier said the bologna goes for about $1 a roll in Juarez. When it is sold to a customer in the United States, it can go for between $5 and $10 a roll , he said.

Just wait until cigarette taxes go just a bit too high….

Oh, right.

“That Sumbitch Ain’t Been BORN”

Early last week I received two comments from a reader in Brazil who goes by the handle “tupiniquim.” One was in response to “You’re American if you Think You’re American,” and the other was to the piece “They Keep Making Better Fools.” In “Better Fools” I wrote:

I am an unabashed supporter of America. I truly believe that it’s the best of all possible places to live, and that our form of government is superior to all others ever practiced.

Tupiniquim responded:

You believe that your form of government is superior to all others because you, i’m sure, did never take a look at everything that’s happening out of USA. Take a look at Latin America, or Africa. Read Noam Chomsky. Read Allen Ginsberg. A lot of people out of your country is suffering with this “superior form of government”. Believe me, I really know what I’m talking about.

“You’re American…” was a response to this Steven Den Beste piece where Steven made some sweeping generalizations that I generally agree with. In response to this, Tupiniquim was a bit more verbose:

Well, despite the fact that I am a Brazilian and a Latin American, I don’t hate North Americans. I really think there are great people in USA, alive and dead, like Noam Chomsky, John Steinbeck or Allen Ginsberg. But, in USA, there are George Bush or McCarthy too. Great people live together with some tirans. What would Martin Luther King think about George Bush, the father and the son? Or about Collin Powell? Why do the country where was born the jazz, rock’n roll, beat generation, the “flower power”, the hip hop, is the same country where was born McCarthism, Ku Klux Klan and the crusade of “War against terrorism”? Excuse me, I don’t want to look offense, but I just can’t comprehend what’s the idea you all share. Steven Den Beste needs to write a book, but not compiling his essays. He needs to write a book explaining what is this one idea that all North Americans share.

I promised him a response. This is it.

First I’d like to say that, like most Americans, I’m not a student of our government’s actions in South America. What has gone on between our government and the various governments to our South hasn’t interested me a great deal, and is not in the forefront of the news up here. Perhaps it should be, but one of the failings we Americans are often accused of is that we’re uninterested in what goes on outside our borders. Guilty as charged, for the most part. I’m aware, however, that the U.S. government has supported some pretty vile regimes around the world in the Kissingerian “but they’re our bastards” foreign policy plan. I attribute this to our Cold War policy of “anything’s better than Communism.”

Well, perhaps for us, but certainly not for the people under the governments receiving our support.

Criticism of our behavior both in South America and around the rest of the world is valid – to a point. But the job of our government is to keep us safe, and the people we elect do that as they think best. I was both greatly heartened and somewhat troubled by President Bush’s recent speech to the British people when he said:

As recent history has shown, we cannot turn a blind eye to oppression just because the oppression is not in our own back yard. No longer should we think tyranny is benign because it is temporarily convenient. Tyranny is never benign to its victims and our great democracies should oppose tyranny wherever it is found.

Heartened, because this statement repudiates the “our bastards” policy, troubled because a real commitment to this policy will require the U.S. to intervene, and America has not been really interested in becoming the policemen of the world. It is not something we’ve done well, because, by and large, we really are uninterested in what goes on outside our borders, and we’ve been unwilling to spend the lives of our soldiers in efforts not perceived as directly related to our own safety and security. That may be changing. It remains to be seen.

In response to Tupiniquim’s comment about reading Chomsky and Ginsberg, let me say this: Some criticism of the behavior of America is warranted. Chomsky goes way, way over the line. (I’ll admit right up front that I’ve never read Ginsberg, and have no plans to.) Cox & Forkum recently did a political cartoon (about another professor) that illustrates precisely what I think of Chomsky:

Here’s something for you to think about: Chomsky, in my opinion, isn’t an American in anything but legal citizenship. He belongs in Europe. But if he were there, and said things about those governments as he does here about ours, I doubt his voice would be tolerated, much less celebrated.

This brings us to the thing Tupiniquim doesn’t understand: What is the idea that all Americans share? (Well, he said “North Americans” but we know what he meant.)

So, what is “it”? “It” doesn’t fit on a bumpersticker. The idea we share won’t fit on a protest poster. It doesn’t fit on a T-shirt, and it isn’t a single thing. Let’s see if I can distill the idea down.

Let me start by saying that everybody who holds American citizenship doesn’t share the idea. We’re far too diverse for that. Many people born here never do understand it. Den Beste was making a generalization, and generalizations don’t hold up under a microscope. I’d also like to say that, while I believe the majority of Americans do understand it to a greater or lesser degree, there is a large and growing contingent in this country that not only doesn’t understand it, but rejects the idea outright. Go read if you want to see some prime examples of this.

Our Declaration of Independence says:

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness — That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security.

The first line of the Declaration is one strongly definitive of an American ideal – equality of birth.

There is a story, a joke in some ways, an allegory in others, that dates way back. In it, a British Lord travels to the Frontier West, America in the 1800’s. His horse throws a shoe on the trail, so at the first little frontier town he comes to, he finds a blacksmith’s shop to have the shoe replaced. As he rides up, he sees a large, sweaty, filthy man hammering on a piece of red-hot iron. The Lord sits on his horse, waiting to be served, but the blacksmith doesn’t pay him any attention and continues to work his iron. Finally, the Lord, outraged to have been ignored this way by an obvious servant, dismounts, approaches the ‘smith, and taps the man on the shoulder with his riding crop.

“You, man!” he barks, “Who is your Master! I wish to have a word with him!”

The blacksmith turns, looks at the Englishman, spits a stream of tobacco juice on the point of the Lord’s boot and says,

That sumbitch ain’t been born.”

That’s one idea Americans share.

Another is that government should work for us, not us for it. (But Americans are not one monopolitical block. Just how government should work is something we’ve been fighting about since before the end of the Revolutionary War, so being an American is more than believing that we are not the servants of our government.) That, too, goes back to “That sumbitch ain’t been born” – just because someone draws a government paycheck does not make them our masters.

“Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” That’s another thing Americans believe in, and that’s what draws people to this country – the liberty required to pursue happiness. In very much of the world, for a very long time, what you were allowed to do was constrained by your birth, and in many places today that’s still true. America is that place you could go where what you could do was constrained only by your own capabilities. The ideal is that we are born equal, but that we succeed on our individual merits – equality of opportunity, not outcome. And note, our Founders didn’t promise happiness, only the opportunity to pursue it. That’s also an opportunity to fail – the risk is ours to take. And we’ve been risk takers the likes of which the world has never seen before. Bill Whittle wrote:

Next time you look at the moon, challenge yourself to think of something: there are footprints up there. Footprints, and tire tracks. Also three used cars, and one golf ball.

Why are they there? Because we decided to go to the moon, that’s why. What a typically arrogant, unilateral, American conceit! Damn right it was, and that footprint – you know the picture – will still be there, unchanged, a million years from now. In ten million years, it might begin to soften a little around the edges. But in a billion years – a thousand million summers from this one – it will still be there, next to glistening pyramids of gold and aluminum junk decaying under the steady cosmic drizzle of micrometeorite hits.

That was liberty risking life in the pursuit of happiness. Trust me on this, I grew up during the race to the moon. My father was an engineer for IBM working on the Saturn V Instrument Unit. I know whereof I speak.

America is the place where you can dare to dream, and Americans all over the world, regardless of their legal citizenship, understand this too. Is America perfect in this regard? No, but no place is. However, where else but in America can a first-generation immigrant be elected Governor? Where else but in America can a college drop-out become the wealthiest man in the world? Where else but in America can you come get the finest education available? We’re not perfect, but I believe we’re the best that’s available.

And yes, we make mistakes, and those mistakes cause misery and death to some. But America is not the “Great Satan” – our mistakes are simply that, not deliberate efforts. No, we’re not perfect, but ask the people who lived in the former Soviet Union how they would grade their governments. Ask the victims of Nicolae Ceausecsu. Ask the Czechs after the Russian armor rolled in in 1968, and there are uncounted other examples. Ours is a difference in kind not just degree. Sometimes we make an error, and instead of admitting it, we compound it.

We’re human too. That’s something else Americans understand.

One more thing Americans understand (though fewer of us than I’d like) – government is not a panacea, it’s a necessary evil. It is seldom the answer to our problems, and it is often the cause of them. Americans have a love/hate relationship with government. We’re schizophrenic about it. We want it to do what we want, not what we ask it to do. We want it to take care of us, and we want it to leave us alone. We want it to do extravagant things, and we want to not pay for it. And we forget, constantly, that a government that can give us everything we want can also take everything we have. I said in “Better Fools” that I believed that “our form of government is superior to all others ever practiced.” I really do. But I also believe this rather sad comment made by someone:

The Constitution may not be the greatest work ever set to paper,
But it beats whatever it is the government is using these days.

I truly believe that our Constitutional Republic, as established by the Founders, was the best form of government ever conceived. It resulted in the greatest nation this world has yet seen. Not perfect, but unmatched in potential or performance when it comes to the individual and to the society. Its only failing is human nature. How do you make people want to stay free? How do you make them do the work necessary to ensure their freedom, when they can be so easily convinced to give it up in exchange for some promise of security? I don’t know the answer to that, and neither did the Founders. At least I’m in good company.

One last thing I’ll discuss here that Americans understand: “…whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” We believe that, even though we’ve propped up some despots and overthrown some others. Those of us who really believe it are often those who have the least say in what our government does. We’re the ones who want to be left alone by government instead of taken care of by it, and we’re the least likely to be elected officials or employees of the government. We also believe “that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed.” If your government is “destructive of these ends” it’s your job to alter or abolish it – even if it’s our government supporting the bastards. Yes, we’re schizophrenic that way, too. It’s another reason Europeans don’t understand us, and it goes right back to “that sumbitch ain’t been born” – our people often don’t do what our government tells us. Hell, our government often doesn’t bother to tell us because even they know it won’t do any good. When enough of us are pissed off, it listens. As a result we can and do things as a nation that our government has no control over, as the French economy experienced just recently.

In conclusion, let me address the questions of good & bad, King & McCarthy, jazz and the KKK et al. America hasn’t seen any real “tyrants” since we threw the Redcoats off our shores. McCarthy? Arguably crazy, but he wasn’t wrong about the infiltration of communists. Any parallel you draw between Bush (father or son) and McCarthy is one strained to incredulity. What, pray tell, is your problem with Colin Powell? The KKK is a small bunch of losers who feel that somebody has to be inferior to them, and their teeth have been pulled (no pun intended.) But this is America – like Chomsky, they have a constitutionally protected right to spew their venom, and we have a constitutionally protected right to ridicule them. America is a great country because it provides a marketplace where all ideas can be expressed to survive or fail on their merits. The KKK and Chomsky have small followings because their ideas fail in that marketplace. Repressing them would give them legitimacy they don’t deserve. That’s also why we don’t ban Mein Kampf. It deserves to be read, to remind us of what those ideas lead to. America is hardly the only place where bad ideas originate.

America is still the beacon of freedom to the rest of the world. The Land of Opportunity. As such, we are held to a high standard – one we occasionally fail. When we do, those who hate us, those who fear us, and those who simply don’t understand us point to those failures and declare that our leadership is illegitimate, our freedom is false and our promise of opportunity is a trick. They say we are evil.

And we ignore them, and go on.

We’re not perfect, but is there a nation superior to America in this world?

That sumbitch ain’t been born.

Thank You.

At 10:24 this evening, a visitor from became my 40,000th hit, as recorded by Sitemeter, in just over six months of blogging.

Hell, I’m impressed if no one else is.

It’s Small of Me, I Know…

But I can’t wait to listen to the Democrats – especially the Deep Space Nine – froth at the mouth about this:

Bush Makes Surprise Visit to Troops in Baghdad

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Turkey with the commander in chief was a surprise Thanksgiving treat for American troops in Baghdad Thursday.

President Bush flew in under the cover of darkness to dine with U.S. forces at a Baghdad International Airport mess hall. It was the first trip ever by an American president to Iraq — a mission tense with concern about his safety.

With the president out of sight, L. Paul Bremer, the chief U.S. civilian administrator, told the soldiers it was time to read the president’s Thanksgiving proclamation and that it was a task for the most senior official present.

“Is there anybody back there more senior than us?” he asked. That was the cue for Bush, who promptly stepped forward from behind a curtain, setting off pandemonium among the troops.

“I was just looking for a warm meal somewhere,” Bush joked to some 600 soldiers from the 1st Armored Division and the 82nd Airborne Division, who were stunned by the appearance and applauded wildly while giving Bush a standing ovation.

“Thanks for inviting me. I can’t think of finer folks to have Thanksgiving dinner with than you all.”

“We thank you for your service, we’re proud of you, and America stands solidly behind you,” Bush said. And he urged the people of Iraq to “seize the moment and rebuild your great country based on human dignity and freedom.”

Soldiers at the dinner spoke enthusiastically about Bush.

“He’s got to win in ’04. No one else can prosecute this war like he can,” said Army Capt. John Morrison from Butler County, Pa. Said PFC1 Kyle Crittenden of Humboldt County, Calif.: “I’m proud to serve in his Army.”

I imagine that Hillary is a bit peeved about being upstaged.

And they keep calling Bush an idiot.

Blogroll Addition

I’ve added Francis W. Porretto’s Curmudgeon’s Corner to my blogroll. Somehow, Francis manages to crank out an excellent essay on a daily basis, and since I’ve started reading him every day, I thought my six readers might also enjoy his work. Keep it up, Francis.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sorry about the lack of posting (and thanks to everybody who linked to the last couple of posts) but I’ve been extremely busy with work (which pays the bills) and haven’t had time. That’s unfortunate, because there’s been a lot I’ve wanted to comment on, but oh well.

I have the next four days off, like most of you, so hopefully I’ll get a few posts in before Monday. Thank you for your patronage.

New Jersey Considers This to be an Assault Weapon

That’s a Marlin Model 60.

It’s a .22 caliber rimfire semi-auto.

It has a fixed tubular magazine.

It sells for in the neighborhood of $100.

That magazine holds 17 .22 Long Rifle cartridges. Or at least older models used to.

And if you possess one in New Jersey, it can get you five years in the slammer on a felony charge.

Commenting on “Two Rounds = “Assault Weapon” below, reader Pete linked to a heartwarming New Jersey Superior Court decision regarding the case of New Jersey v. Pelleteri (broken link updated 1/16/14). I’d never heard of this, even though it occurred in 1996 and I was really getting into the issue of gun rights starting in 1995. Here’s the basis of the case:

On May 30, 1990, our Legislature proscribed the “knowing” possession of “assault firearms.” N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5f. Persons legally in possession of such firearms prior to the effective date of the statute could retain these weapons by obtaining the appropriate registration. N.J.S.A. 2C:58-12. Included in the definition of “assault firearm” is “[a] semi-automatic rifle with a fixed magazine capacity exceeding [fifteen] rounds.” N.J.S.R 2C:39-1w(4). Defendant was convicted of “knowingly” having in his possession an assault firearm, a semi-automatic rifle with a magazine capacity of seventeen cartridges.

Defendant, an expert marksman who at one point was employed as a firearms instructor, won a Marlin semi-automatic rifle in the late 1980’s by placing first in a police combat match. An avid gun collector, defendant placed the weapon in his safe. Defendant claimed that he neither inspected nor used the firearm. When the police recovered the gun from defendant’s residence in December 1993, it still had the manufacturer’s tags and the owner’s manual attached to the trigger guard. The owner’s manual indicated that the rifle could hold at least seventeen cartridges. Defendant claimed that he never read the manual. While conceding that he knew the rifle was a semi-automatic weapon, defendant contended that he was unaware that the firearm had a magazine capacity exceeding fifteen rounds.

Here’s the kicker:

When dealing with guns, the citizen acts at his peril. In short, we view the statute as a regulatory measure in the interests of the public safety, premised on the thesis that one would hardly be surprised to learn that possession of such a highly dangerous offensive weapon is proscribed absent the requisite license.

I have not found the sentence Mr. Pelleteri received, but he could have gotten five years. He certainly lost his right to arms, as he was convicted of a felony. He was an expert marksman, a firearms instructor, and a collector. Now he cannot (legally) touch a firearm.

I. Am. Aghast.

A “highly dangerous offensive weapon”? It’s a .22 FOR CHRISSAKES! TWO WHOLE ROUNDS OVER THE LIMIT!

A fourteen round magazine capacity (that Marlin now makes) = perfectly safe, harmless little plinker.

But SIXTEEN rounds makes it “a highly dangerous offensive weapon.”

If it isn’t licensed.

Stick a fork in New Jersey, it’s done.

Will the last gun owner leaving New Jersey please turn off the lights?

I think Claire Wolfe’s admonition that it’s too early to shoot the bastards doesn’t hold for Jersey.

“You’re American if You Think You’re American”

Steven Den Beste writes another excellent essay on the difference between America and Europe. Money quotes:

I’m afraid that one of the reasons there are problems of communication and diplomacy right now across the Atlantic is the incorrect European assumption that “the US is essentially a European country”.

Someone pointed out a critical difference: European “nations” are based on ethnicity, language or geography. The American nation is based on an idea, and those who voluntarily came here to join the American experiment were dedicated to that idea.

You’re French if you’re born in France, of French parents. You’re English if you’re born to English parents (and Welsh if your parents were Welsh). But you’re American if you think you’re American, and are willing to give up what you used to be in order to be one of us. That’s all it takes. But that’s a lot, because “thinking you’re American” requires you to comprehend that idea we all share. But even the French can do it, and a lot of them have.

We are Americans. We are not Europeans living in America. If you don’t understand the difference, then you do not understand us at all, and as long as you persist in thinking of us as Europeans living in America, you’ll continue to be mystified and frustrated by what we do.

And be sure to read the last two paragraphs.

Oooh! Ouch!

I think Steven needs to compile his essays into a book, too.

England Slides Further Toward Bondage

Remember the Tytler quote?

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship.

The average age of the world’s great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage.

Well, it looks like they’ve taken another step along the path.

Britain OKs Jeopardy Law Reform

The British Parliament on Thursday approved legislation to overturn “double jeopardy” protection for offenses such as murder, rape and armed robbery.

The centuries-old legal rule prevents suspects from being tried twice for a crime, and it is enshrined in the legal codes of many of Britain’s former colonies, including the United States.

Under the Criminal Justice Bill, introduced by Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government last year, a person acquitted of certain serious offenses, including rape and murder, would face a second trial if compelling new details, such as DNA evidence, come to light.

The legislation, hailed by the government as the biggest reform of Britain’s criminal justice system in a generation, now needs only royal assent, which is virtually automatic, before it becomes law.

And why are they doing this? Because England has the highest rate of violent crime in the Western world. Because you are far more likely to be a victim of crime in England than anywhere else in Europe. And why is that? Because Britain’s liberal courts don’t see the judicial system as a tool for punishing criminals, but treating them. Because the police are overwhelmed and the citizenry is powerless. Because nobody wants to be a witness. It’s so bad that the police are not reporting crime in an effort to make things look better than they are. Video surveillance cameras, in an eerie 1984 parallel, are going up all over England – to make the subjects safer, you see. Now they’re trying to introduce a national ID card. Individual privacy is becoming a thing of the past – if you’re a law-abiding subject.

Here’s the image of England today:

Make the People powerless. Make them dependent. Pass more and more and more laws, each stripping the law abiding of more of their rights, all in the name of “public safety.” Allow government to acquire more and more power – also in the name of “public safety” – all the while not providing public safety. As Mencken put it:

All government, of course, is against liberty.


The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

Except in this case, the hobgoblins aren’t imaginary, which I think makes it worse.

In my humble opinion, this dates back (at least) to the end of World War I. In 1900 the government of England still trusted the people to be their own guardians. Prime Minister Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, the Marquess of Salisbury, said in 1900 that he would “laud the day when there is a rifle in every cottage in England.” But in 1903 England passed its first gun control law. A minor one, simply requiring an easily acquired permit to purchase a handgun, and restricting the age of purchasers, but it was the first toe over the slippery slope. In 1919, in fear of anarchists and communists, England passed its first sweeping gun law – as a crime control measure – even though crime involving firearms was rare as hen’s teeth. You could only have a handgun or a rifle if you showed “good reason” to have one. (Sound familiar?) So much for “a rifle in every cottage” being a laudable goal. The descent had begun in earnest.

In 1936 short-barreled shotguns and fully-automatic weapons were outlawed – not regulated as they are here, outlawed. The reasoning? Civilians had no “legitimate reason” for owning them. Another slide down the slope. The reasoning had changed from the government needing to show reason for the restrictions to the people needing to show reason to exercise the right, to government telling them that there was no acceptable reason.

The English Bill of Rights stated “That the subjects which are protestants, may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions, and as allowed by law.” Sir William Blackstone, commenting on this in his Commentaries on the Laws of England said:

“THE fifth and last auxiliary right of the subject, that I shall at present mention, is that of having arms for their defence, suitable to their condition and degree, and such as are allowed by law. Which is also declared by the same statute 1 W. & M. ft. 2. c. 2. and is indeed a public allowance, under due restrictions, of the natural right of resistance and self-preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression.”

Whatever happened to the “natural right of resistance and self-preservation”? Have not the “sanctions of society and laws” been proven “insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression”? And I’m just talking about the criminals, not the government.

In 1936 the British added a “safe storage” requirement for all handguns and rifles. (Sound familiar?)

As a result of the 1920 restrictions, not only didn’t England have “a rifle in every cottage,” they didn’t have many rifles period. In 1940 England was in danger of being invaded and begged America to send it rifles with which to defend its shores. And we, American private citizens, sent them. Rifles, shotguns, and pistols.

But at the end of the war the English didn’t get to keep them, and we didn’t get them back.

In 1946 self-defense was no longer a “good reason” to have a firearm. The slope got steeper.

In 1953, carrying a weapon for self-defense was made illegal. Any kind of weapon.

In 1967 the law was amended to require a license to own a shotgun, and jury trials no longer required a unanimous decision.

In 1982 reloaders and blackpowder enthusiasts were made subject to police inspection without a warrant to ensure “safe storage” of the reloading materials. In other words, agents of the government, without a warrant, could come into ones home at any time, without warning.

In 1988 all semi-auto and pump-action rifles were banned. By this time there weren’t many rifle owners anyway, but that didn’t matter. The personal property of law-abiding subjects was, once again, made illegal. And they were all registered – that is, the ones belonging to the law-abiding.

In 1996 all handguns were banned. And they were all registered… Well, you get the point.

Also in 1996, carrying any kind of knife was made illegal – unless you could prove you had a good reason for having it. The presumption of innocence was gone.

Defending yourself in England has become progressively more and more risky, as you stand a very good chance of being prosecuted for use of excessive force. You cannot carry a weapon when out in public, and you cannot use a firearm in self-defense in your home. The law has made crime safe for the criminals. It’s no wonder that crime in Britain has been on the climb since the 1950’s.

Am I suggesting that this has been some nefarious plan all along to strip the British of their rights and bind them into slavery? No I am not. I’m suggesting that this is a cycle of human behavior – long recognized – that we should be paying attention to and trying to break. We know what government does: it acquires power at the expense of the governed, for good reason or bad. And it does it slowly, almost imperceptibly, because we never believe that each “next step” is leading where we’ve been told it always leads. “Not this time,” we think. “We know better.”


Ask the English.

How long before we follow them?