THIS IS A GUEST POST BY LAWRENCE LAFERLA, BROTHER OF 1st CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE, DR. JOHN LAFERLA, REPONDING TO CONSERVATIVE EASTERN SHORE BLOGGER, MIKE SWARTZ, WRITING ON “MONOBLOGUE.”
Right-wing blog supports so-called “patriot” groups
Blogger Michael Swartz appears to deny that Andy Harris has in fact endorsed gun extremists who advocate the violent overthrow of the U.S. government. But the second-term, “tea” congressman actually has endorsed gun extremists who do advocate the violent overthrow of our freely elected government. In an open society such as ours, that’s close to treason. It’s simply a fact that Andy Harris supports gun extremists who can be fairly characterized as part of the “Timothy McVeigh wing of the Republican party.” It’s a fact that Andy addressed their right-wing gun rally. They talked of praying with guns in their hands and described our twice-elected president as a “dictator.” Andy gave them his blessing. It’s not unfair to point out that Andy Harris pals around with anti-government extremists.
It’s funny how right-wingers project. Who’s more “despotic,” the president or Congressman Harris? Evidence points toward the latter. Here you see Andy Harris preventing cameras from recording his fracking hearing (as if Andy’s big energy owners actually owned not just the congressman but our entire House of Representatives). Talk about despotism!
Okay, back to the topic of sensible gun policy. I can’t claim to know exactly (as of this writing) what my brother John LaFerla’s position is on gun ownership. (It’s too late in the evening to phone him, and it isn’t stated anywhere on the campaign site.) But we can safely presume that it’s in line with the mainstream. Protect property? Yes. Hunting? Yes. Fight despotic Royal Army? Sure. Overthrow our freely-elected U.S. government? Hell no — are you insane?
That was not in any way part of the intent of the drafters of the Constitution or the Bill of Rights that were adopted in 1789, nor is any right of domestic insurrection to be found in the literal wording of the Amendment. Furthermore, the “militia” that were referred to in the Amendment were supposed to be like juries, with participation from all citizens, not just gun enthusiasts. How do we know? If you have any doubts about this, read the entirety of this excellent exposition on the Second Amendment. And the “well regulated” part means public oversight. You don’t get to proclaim yourself a militia any more than you can proclaim yourself a general or a judge. True citizens militia would have rolling public conscription, like with juries, and would follow state and federal regulations enacted by duly elected public servants. You don’t just form your own little army and make your own rules. When our big army crushes your little army you’re going to cry about “tyranny.” But most Americans won’t call that tyranny. We’ll call it justice.
If you form a right-wing militia, who are you protecting? All of us? Akhil Reed Amar gets it right. Your militia doesn’t necessarily represent my interests as a citizen. You’re just a gun club. Nothing intrinsically patriotic about your gun collection. Nothing at all. And having a gun doesn’t put you in charge of the populace. It doesn’t make you more of an authority than any unarmed citizen. Might doesn’t make right. We have democratic processes in our government of, for and by the people.
Our current President, that thoughtful, decent, moderate, public servant, whom we elected twice with strong national majorities, speaks the truth when he notes that “the government’s us!”
Archive for the ‘NRA’ Category
To those pro-gun advocates who think that more concealed weapons will reduce crime, please stop embarrassing yourselves and do some research. I’m going to help you along, by providing some studies by very prestigious researchers in the US. I found these while debating a gentleman who thought that John Lott, Jr’s book, More Guns, Less Crime, was so correct and unimpeachable. Interestingly, John Lott, Jr. has a PhD in economics, not social science or other research specialty, and was employed by the American Enterprise Institute, a far-right, conservative think-tank.
Mr. Lott and his methodologies have been highly ridiculed and debunked by prestigious researchers around the country, including the following studies:
- Most of these studies contend that there seems to be little or no effect on crime from the passage of license-to-carry laws. Some, such as Donohue’s 2003 study, find a temporary increase in aggravated assaults.
- Rutgers sociology professor Ted Goertzel stated that “Lott’s massive data set was simply unsuitable for his task”, and that he “compar[ed] trends in Idaho and West Virginia and Mississippi with trends in Washington, D.C. and New York City” without proper statistical controls.
- Goertzel also points out that econometric methods (such as the Lott & Mustard RTC study or the Levitt & Donohue abortion study) are susceptible to misuse and can even become junk science.
- Ian Ayres, Yale Law School, and John Donohue, Stanford Law School, “Shooting Down the More Guns, Less Crime Hypothesis,” Stanford Law Review, 2003. This study found a temporary increase in aggravated assaults.
- Jens Ludwig, Georgetown University, “Concealed-Gun-Carrying Laws and Violent Crime: Evidence from State Panel Data”, International Review of Law and Economics, 1998.
- Dan Black and Daniel Nagin, “Do ‘Right-to-Carry’ Laws Deter Violent Crime?” Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 209–213 (January 1998).
- Mark Duggan, University of Chicago, “More Guns, More Crime,” National Bureau of Economic Research, NBER Working Paper No. W7967, October 2000, later published in Journal of Political Economy.
- Tomislav V. Kovandzic and Thomas B. Marvell, “Right-To-Carry Concealed Firearms and Violent Crime: Crime Control Through Gun Decontrol?” Criminology and Public Policy 2, (2003) pp. 363–396.
- John J. Donahue III, Stanford Law School, ‘The Final Bullet in the Body of the More Guns, Less Crime Hypothesis’, Criminology and Public Policy, 2003.
- John Donohue and Ian Ayres. “More Guns, Less Crime Fails Again: The Latest Evidence from 1977–2006″ Econ Journal Watch 6.2 (2009): 218-238.
These are just a few of the many studies that oppose the Lott junk science approach to research.
In response to the dispute surrounding missing data that Lott referred to, in regard to a study he said he had performed in 1996, Lott created and used “Mary Rosh” as a sock puppet, to defend his own works on Usenet and elsewhere. After investigative work by blogger Julian Sanchez, Lott admitted to use of the “Mary Rosh” persona. Sanchez also pointed out that Lott, posing as “Mary Rosh”, not only praised his own academic writing, but also called himself “the best professor I ever had”.
Many commentators and academics accused Lott of violating academic integrity, noting that he praised himself while posing as one of his former students, and that “Mary Rosh” was used to post a favorable review of More Guns, Less Crime on Amazon.com. Lott has claimed that the “Mary Rosh” review was written by his son and wife. ”I probably shouldn’t have done it—I know I shouldn’t have done it—but it’s hard to think of any big advantage I got except to be able to comment fictitiously,” Lott told the Washington Post in 2003.
I am not an anti-gun advocate, however, I do believe that the government, whether State or Federal, has the right, and the duty, to regulate and control guns in our society. Regarding a statement that I recently came across by in a LTE, “If that were true then the First Amendment would have been disassembled a very long time ago.” This person seems to be saying that there are no limits or controls on the 1st Amendment! If so, then he is wrong! I know the following may be long, but it is essential in understanding our Constitution and how it works!
As everyone knows, free speech rights can be controlled and regulated, especially when such speech is clearly seen as a danger to the physical safety of individuals. That’s why no one may yell “Fire” in a crowded theater, when there is no fire. The threat of injury supersedes the person’s right to speak.
Also, the Supreme Court has further defined certain speech, also known as “at-risk speech,” as being unprotected by the First Amendment, such as:
1) Burning draft cards to protest draft — prohibited because of superior governmental interest.
2) Words likely to incite imminent violence, termed “fighting words.”
3) Words immediately jeopardizing national security.
4) Newspaper publishing false and defamatory material — libel.
And, the 1st Amendment has other rights that are regulated, as well, including the taxation of religious organizations…if they want to keep their tax-free status, they may not be active in political activities. The “right of the people to peacefully assemble” is also regulated, where the safety, and even the convenience of the public, is jeopardized. Hence, Occupy Wall Street protestors were removed from certain locations, and protestors, anywhere, may not block streets and thoroughfares or may even be required to obtain permits before being allowed to assemble.
The government, Federal and State, has the right to regulate commerce, land use, the protection of our air and water, and so many other areas of our society. How were any of these actions allowed? Simply put, because the PEOPLE wanted these things. And, the PEOPLE are what allow these policies to continue.
I hear over and over again, how the “Founding Fathers wanted this and the Founding Fathers wanted that!” The fact is that the Founding Fathers knew that their wants and desires were limited by their deaths; that the world is ever evolving and changing, as they, themselves, were witness to. (see the diary of James Madison, from the 1787 Const Convention) They realized that the only way to have a government and country that would endure, was to give the PEOPLE the power and authority to make changes (even if it was just the white, male landowners)! Hence, one of the most important parts of the 1st Amendment: “…the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” If the Founding Fathers didn’t want changes to happen, they would never have allowed that right to be included!
Further, the Founding Fathers also realized that they were not infallible. They knew that they were part of a “great experiment” and that, even great experiments fail if their rules and hypotheses are inflexible and not subject to change. Hence, they wanted the Judicial Branch (on par with the Executive and Legislative Branches) to be able to interpret the law and adjudicate disputes. One of the first major cases decided by the Supreme Court of the United States, under the great Chief Justice, John Marshall, was Marbury v. Madison (1803). It is a landmark decision on this important question: “Does the Supreme Court have the authority to review acts of Congress and determine whether they are unconstitutional and therefore void?” The answer: “Yes! The SCOTUS has the duty and responsibility to review acts of Congress to determine their Constitutionality. What this means is that the Court must be able to interpret the Constitutional intent.
Through 200+ years of interpretation, we are at a point where gun-advocates want the right to own any “military-grade” weapon they want to put into their arsenal. These “strict Constitutionalists” are wrong, not only in their Constitutional approach, but also in their thinking that we would all be safer in our beds at night, if well-armed citizens, capable of fighting against the US military, were camped across the street from us. I’m sorry, but I, for one, would not (and don’t) feel safer in that scenario. It seems to me that the lunatics are trying to take over the asylum…and they want to be allowed to be armed to the teeth! The result is not knowing who the “good guys” and the “bad guys” are…and they all want the right to walk down the street with their AR-15, or .44 Magnum! Maybe, we should all get some popcorn and sit along the Washington or Baltimore Beltways at rush hour, and see how that turns out!!