Tag Archives: 2nd Amendment

This House seat has been hijacked

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Admittedly, my view of my former haunts up yonder on the West Texas Caprock is a bit jaded.

I arrived in Amarillo in January 1995 to begin a stint as editorial page editor of the Globe-News. The congressman for the region was taking his oath of office that same week. Mac Thornberry rode the Republican wave in the Contract With America election in 1994. He settled in quickly and became a quiet back-bench member of the new congressional majority comprising Republicans.

Thornberry is out of office now. He called it quits at the end of 2020 after a quarter century in Congress. His successor, Ronny Jackson, has assumed quite a different posture than the man he succeeded; I won’t say “replaced” because Jackson’s behavior so far doesn’t warrant that kind of accolade.

What I think we are witnessing in the 13th Congressional District of Texas is a boiled-down version of what has happened to the Republican Party. It has become the Party of Donald Trump. Jackson’s behavior, which includes multiple Twitter sniper shots daily, is indicative of that change.

Whereas the former congressman, Thornberry, would exercise some discretion, would be circumspect, wouldn’t seek to bloody the water, Jackson is an entirely different swamp creature.

It’s kinda like the way Trump acted during the time he served as president. You know?

Jackson has been ranting and railing against the border crisis, which he blames on President Biden’s alleged “open border” policy. He also has been bloviating and blustering about the Second Amendment to the Constitution, blaming Democrats of trying to “take your guns away” while they seek a legislative remedy to the spasm of gun violence that Biden has called — correctly! — an “international embarrassment.”

I sought out one of Thornberry’s closest aides this week, asking this staffer what Thornberry thinks of Jackson’s behavior. This aide responded, “Honestly, he doesn’t betray how he feels,” adding in a personal aside to me that “you know him” Well, I was not surprised to get the answer to that question. Still, I thought it was worth asking.

I am troubled by the representation my former neighbors in the Panhandle are getting from their member of Congress. I wonder if Rep. Jackson is going to settle down long enough to actually craft legislation that deals specifically with issues important to the constituents he now represents.

Oh, let me add that Rep. Jackson only moved into the district in time to run for the seat that Thornberry vacated. The congressman needs to bone up on the issues that matter.

He ought to take a break from his bluster to give thought to how he intends to represent the sprawling Texas congressional district.

Canadian PM acts decisively on guns; no 2nd Amendment to block him

What has just occurred in Canada cannot happen in the United States of America, but I have to tell you that I wish somehow that we could follow the Canadian model on how to stem gun violence.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced an immediate ban on the sale and use of assault-style weapons in the wake of a Nova Scotia shooting that killed 22 victims in April.

That means you can’t own an AR-15, or an M-16 or an AK-47. Period.

As The Associated Press reported: “Canadians need more than thoughts and prayers,” he said, rejecting the reaction of many politicians after mass shootings.

Trudeau cited numerous mass shootings in the country, including the rampage that killed 22 in Nova Scotia April 18 and 19. He announced the ban of over 1,500 models and variants of assault-style firearms, including two guns used by the gunman as well as the AR-15 and other weapons that have been used in a number of mass shootings in the United States.

I am left to say, merely, “Wow!”

The Canadians don’t have a constitution that contains an amendment that guarantees that the “right to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.” That gives the prime minister a clear path to take unilateral action.

Spare me the dogma associated with gun-owner rights. I do not want to move to Canada. I am a proud American patriot who believes in the U.S. Constitution, including the Second Amendment that guarantees gun ownership.

However, I remain baffled, bamboozled and blown away (no pun intended) by our inability to legislate any kind of modest gun reform that could prevent the sort of carnage through which we suffer with alarming frequency.

The AP reports: Trudeau said the weapons were designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time.

“Today we are closing the market for military-grade assault weapons in Canada,” he said.

Owners of these weapons use them for that purpose here, as well, yet our political structure is hamstrung by fealty to the Second Amendment and the inability or unwillingness of politicians to buck the gun lobby.

But here we are with two nations of comparable physical size, but with huge differences in population. They also are governed by vastly different documents and precepts.

We need not be held hostage in this country by gun lobbyists. I continue to believe there exists a legislative solution to gun violence that keeps faith with what the founders wrote when they drafted the Second Amendment to our beloved Constitution.

‘I want gun control!’

I am going to stand with the mother of a young man who died this week at the hands of a gunman who opened fire at a Thousand Oaks, Calif., nightclub.

Susan Schmidt-Orafanos says she doesn’t want “thoughts and prayers. I want gun control!”

Then she said “no more guns!”

Her son, Telemachus, had survived the Las Vegas massacre a year ago. He didn’t survive the Thousand Oaks tragedy.

As the victim’s father noted, according to BBC: “It’s particularly ironic that after surviving the worst mass shooting in modern history, he went on to be killed in his hometown,” his father told the Ventura County Star.

Mrs. Orafanos’ plea for “no more guns” isn’t likely to gain much traction in the halls of Congress or perhaps in the state capital in Sacramento.

However, she spoke for many Americans who also have grown tired of expressions of “thoughts and prayers” from public officials, whose declarations are sounding more like platitudes in the wake of every such tragic event.

Does reasonable “gun control” mean dismembering or repealing the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment? Of course not! It means, for instance, that universal background checks of anyone seeking to purchase a gun can weed out those who might be predisposed to commit the kinds of acts that erupted in Thousand Oaks.

“Law-abiding” citizens need not worry about their “right to keep and bear Arms” being abridged in any form.

‘We are not anti-gun!’

Of all the public pronouncements I heard today at the start of the March For Our Lives, one of them stands out foursquare in front of the rest of them.

“We are not anti-gun!” came the proclamation from an elevated stage calling the crowd to order as the march was about to commence.

It came from one of the student organizers who had rallied hundreds of Texas Panhandle residents, summoned them to Ellwood Park, where they would take their march through downtown Amarillo, Texas, to the Potter County Courthouse grounds.

The March For Our Lives took places in communities throughout the United States. It was spawned by the Parkland, Fla., high school slaughter of 14 students and three staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The “We are not anti-gun!” proclamation reveals a certain sophistication among the students who organized this march. The Texas Panhandle students clearly know the audience to whom they are preaching. They want an end to gun violence. They do not intend to argue for the confiscation of firearms. They know better than that.

They know they live in a community that supports the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It’s always fascinated me that the nation’s founders sought to codify certain civil liberties; they started with guaranteeing the right to worship, protest the government and a free press in the First Amendment; then came the Second Amendment, which establishes the right to “keep and bear arms.”

Texas Panhandle residents take their Second Amendment rights seriously. Well, at least a lot of them do.

Thus, the March For Our Lives organizers sought to tell the marchers — and some onlookers who had come to Ellwood Park — about their intentions in staging this march.

They want “common sense” legislative remedies that assure that the Second Amendment remains viable. They say they have no intention of lobbying for repeal of the amendment. They want to assure the right to own firearms remains written in our nation’s government framework.

I haven’t yet heard of any proposed solutions that deny Americans the right to possess firearms. I also applaud the organizers of our local event for making clear that they intend to retain that right.

They simply have seen too many young people — just like themselves — gunned down while they are studying in school, a place where one can presume they would be safe.

They aren’t. The students who marched today want our politicians to do what they to ensure safety and to end the national scourge of gun violence.

Motor City Madman doesn’t belong in ‘our house’

Donald J. Trump’s recent guests at the White House have drawn some chatter around the country.

Sarah Palin, Kid Rock and Ted Nugent came calling on the president.

I won’t discuss the former half-term Alaska governor (and 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee) or Kid Rock in this post. Nugent’s presence in the White House, though, is worthy of a brief — and unkind — comment from yours truly.

The Motor City Madman disgusts me at many levels. The idea that he would darken the White House door — the house that belongs to you and me — is revolting.

Robert Reich, the former secretary of labor in the Clinton administration, noted this on a social media post:

“Nugent once referred to former President Barack Obama as a ‘mongrel.’ He has said he wanted to shoot former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and called for Obama and Hillary Clinton to be assassinated. In 2012, after making a threatening remark about Obama, Nugent was the subject of a Secret Service investigation.

“As Trump’s dinner guest, Nugent was asked if he regretted his comments about Obama and Clinton. He responded, ‘No! I will never apologize for calling out evil people.’”

It’s not Nugent’s politics that should disqualify him from entering the White House. I get that he’s a political conservative; he’s an avid Second Amendment activist. That’s all fine as far as it goes. We’re all entitled to our points of view and political opinion.

However, this washed-up rock guitarist has a lengthy record of uttering profoundly hideous diatribes against people with whom he disagrees. The “mongrel” comment about the former president is just one of them.

The notion that the current president of the United States would welcome someone who has spoken so disgracefully about a former president demonstrates why so many millions of Americans believe he is unfit for the office he occupies.

How many more instances of Trump ignorance are there?

2d-amendment

This graphic showed up on my Facebook news feed, so I thought I’d share it here … and offer a quick comment.

The item here illustrates a fundamental failure of the Republican Party nominee for president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

He has said at various times that Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton wants to abolish the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. What that blanket comment made on the campaign stump reveals is the candidate’s utter ignorance of the power invested in the presidency.

The president cannot abolish a constitutional amendment.

Congress has to have a say. So do the states. As the graphic illustrates, it takes a super-majority in both cases for an amendment to be added — or rescinded.

None of that stops Trump from fomenting fear.

The man has no clue about the limits of presidential power.

Shooting shatters 'profile'

When news broke of the shooting at the Marysville, Wash., high school, and it was known that the shooter was a student, one of my first thoughts became: What kind of loner/outcast would do such a horrible thing?

Then the second shock arrived. The shooter was a freshman at Pilchuck High School who was popular with his peers, an athlete and a young man who’d just been named homecoming prince.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/washington-school-gunman-was-homecoming-prince/ar-BBaYo33

Then I watched a former FBI profiler, Clint Van Zandt, tell MSNBC that this case arguably is the most “baffling” he had seen, given that Jaylen Fryberg was the quintessential non-stereotype we’ve attached to individuals who do these kinds of horrifying deeds. Van Zandt essentially said you could throw the profile book out the window.

Fryberg killed himself after shooting another student to death and injuring four others, three of them critically.

The argument will rage once again over how this young man obtain possession of the weapon he used to bring such destruction to the school just north of Seattle.

***

We’re going to hear from gun-owner advocates that no laws could have prevented this from happening. Gun-safety advocates will argue the opposite.

And look and listen for the National Rifle Association — among others — to proclaim that the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment is so sacrosanct that to touch any part of it would render it utterly meaningless.

Interestingly, Washington state voters are going to decide a referendum on the state’s ballot that expands background checks to include all gun purchases.

It’s fair to ask: Would such a provision have kept the weapon out of Jaylen Fryberg’s hands? Probably not.

It also is fair to ask: Do such laws make it just a little harder for nuts to obtain guns … and do they infringe on legitimate gun ownership?

“Yes” to the first part. Absolutely “no!” to the second.

Yes, guns do kill people

A 9-year-old Arizona girl has become the poster child for gun-safety reform.

This isn’t a pretty story and it speaks to adult stupidity and carelessness as much as it does to anything else.

The girl was firing an Uzi automatic assault rifle on a firing range when it the instructor told her to pull the trigger  to fire a several-round burst. The recoil of the Uzi pulled the weapon upward and the instructor was shot in the head. He later died.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/27/opinion/robbins-why-was-child-firing-uzi/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

And so here we are debating whether the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is so damn sacred that it prevents government from enacting laws that keep these weapons out of the hands of little children.

What on God’s planet Earth have we come to?

The debate is going rage on. Should we make such laws? Absolutely, we should.

Mel Robbins, a firearms expert, writes for CNN.com about the tragedy. She notes that the incident isn’t really the little girl’s fault. The instructor was standing in the wrong place. What’s more, the instructor told the girl to put the weapon in fully automatic mode.

What happened to the man is tragic beyond measure.

But what in the world are we doing allowing little children to handle these kinds of deadly weapons in the first place, even in what’s supposed to be a “controlled environment”?

As Robbins notes in her CNN.com essay: “Kids can’t drive until they’re 16, vote, chew tobacco or smoke until they’re 18, or drink until they’re 21. No child should have access to firing a fully automatic weapon until the age of 18. And gun ranges should know better than to hand one to a novice shooter passing through on vacation, let alone one as young as 9.”

The National Rifle Association so far has been quiet on this incident. Don’t expect the nation’s premier gun-owner rights group to remain silent. The NRA brass can be expected to come up with some kind of rationale for preventing the enactment of laws that keep guns out of little children’s hands.

In the process, the NRA very well could demonstrate — yet again — how out of touch with American public opinion it has become.

 

 

No booze at gun shows

Texas is known as a place that loves gun ownership.

It shouldn’t be known as a place that allows gun buyers to get sauced up on booze before purchasing a firearm at a gun show.

Yet that’s an idea the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is considering.

Say it ain’t so, TABC.

http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/opinions/editorials/article/EDITORIAL-Alcohol-at-gun-shows-is-simply-a-bad-5682196.php

The newspaper where I used to work has it exactly right. Say “no” to this nutty idea.

It comes from a Dallas-Fort Worth gun club that wants the TABC to end its ban on alcohol at gun shows. The request is for the club to sell alcoholic beverages to those attending gun shows.

There’s something just inherently wrong with this idea. I cannot quite put my finger on the precise reason why it’s so wrong. It must have something to do with the idea of allowing someone who perhaps has had too much to drink to purchase a firearm, then buy ammunition, then load the ammo into the firearm and then, well …

You get the idea, yes?

I have no problem with gun ownership. I own a couple of firearms myself. They’re hidden. I rarely ever touch them. I honor and support the constitutional right to “keep and bear arms.”

I do not, however, believe the Constitution prohibits reasonable rules that guard against foolish or tragic behavior involving firearms.

That’s why the TABC should nix the gun club’s request to allow the uncomfortable mixing of alcohol and gun shows.

The idea should give all Texans the creeps.

George Zimmerman should have gone away quietly

I’ve been thinking for the past little while about George Zimmerman, the guy who was acquitted of murdering Florida teenager Trayvon Martin in that terrible case, which drew international attention.

My thoughts have been this: If I had been found not guilty of a crime that had drawn such intense scrutiny, I just might find a way to go quietly into the night, never to be heard from again.

Zimmerman has chosen quite a different path since his acquittal.

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/11/26/21627985-george-zimmerman-had-five-guns-when-arrested-police?lite

He and his wife have separated and are headed for divorce.

And now we have this case involving his alleged threatening of his girlfriend with some kind of firearm, a shotgun, a high-powered rifle, a pistol … something.

The latest involving Zimmerman reveals that he possesses a number of weapons, including an AR-15 assault rifle. If you’ve never seen an AR-15, they look and operate very much like an M-16 — the kind of rifle soldiers were issued when they went to Vietnam way back when.

AR-15s, as well as M-16s, are extremely deadly weapons. They fire a bullet that is barely bigger than a .22-caliber round, but they inflict maximum damage with these high-velocity projectiles.

I guess it’s not illegal to own these kinds of weapons in Florida. A judge ordered him to surrender them after Zimmerman pleaded not guilty to the charges of endangerment leveled against him.

This matters to me only because of Zimmerman’s standing as someone who was in the news — a lot — because he was accused of killing that teenager in a confrontation that occurred on a dark street one night in Sanford, Fla. He became the poster boy for — depending on your point of view — for vigilante justice or for citizens’ rights to self-protection.

I would have thought Zimmerman had gone through enough public scrutiny. He avoided punishment for a high-profile crime. He should have left town, sneaking away without being detected.

Oh, but no. He’s back in the news once again.

And he’s still packing heat.

Hasn’t this guy had enough of the limelight? Apparently not.