Who the bleep is the NRA?

December 22, 2012

Who the bleep is the NRA?

And other social media DOHs.

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

I find myself unable to express illuminating feelings and thoughts about the evil that has happened at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Or the loss and grief of mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, family, friends and neighbors.

But worse than this, I fear that the evil is not finished. It stretches out from Newtown to all of the world.

The full horror and impact of this evil remains to be seen.

I fear that we cannot yet see how broken our world was broke by those terrible shots.

Evil, too, is difficult to speak about. It does not parse easily – regardless of the abounding interpreters, compilers and commentators. Perhaps, this is why evil always takes us by surprise.

Evil, itself, seems intangible and fictitious. Yet it is real as you. And me.

It has dreadful impact – even if a particular instance of evil has no real or apparent causalities.

And, evil, it ever lurks in all of our hearts, minds and spirit.

Beyond this fact, I do not understand much more about evil.

The National Rifle Association

What does all this have to do with the NRA?

Writes Gary Fields, Stephanie Blanchero and Colleen McCain Nelson in the Wall Street Journal:

WASHINGTON—The nation’s biggest gun-rights lobby called Friday for placing an armed security guard at every school, as it for the first time entered the re-energized public debate over gun laws in the aftermath of last week’s school shooting in Connecticut.

In fact, the NRA has pledged to immediately invest significant resources (money, know how, and people) in support of the creation of a national school safety and security program.

Who else has pledged themselves to today’s task of protecting American children?

CNN?  The Wall Street Journal? The New York Times?

None.

Randi Weingarten, head of the American Federation of Teachers, decried the NRA proposal to be “irresponsible and dangerous.”

Irresponsible and dangerous as a bank, a government building, an airport, an embassy, etc.?

“Schools must be safe sanctuaries, not armed fortresses,” added Weingarten as he clicked his ruby heels.

There’s no place like home.

The NRA (a.k.a. The National Rifle Association) is a non-profit organization that represents the specific and express interests of millions of U.S. citizens. Those interests can be characterized as an interest in preserving a Constitutional right to own and bear arms for the purpose of defense – mostly against (but not limited to) tyranny. In 2008 and 2010, The United States Supreme Court expanded our understanding of the Second Amendment in District of Columbia v. Heller to include the individual’s right to possess and use a firearm in the lawful exercise of personal self-defense.

The NRA, in other words, represents the interests and beliefs of some Americans who especially hold dear the promises and guarantees of the Second Amendment, the Bill of Rights, and the U.S. Constitution.

There are other Americans, however, that want you to think that the NRA is something else – the them. That the NRA does not speak on behalf of Americans who believe (rightly or wrongly) in the wisdom of the Law of the land, of the founding fathers, and the cornerstones of the Republic.

It is this kind of divisive propaganda (the us and them mentality) which we must all resist – a word-craft that reminds me of the past and terrible argument that ignored the imperative of the American Declaration of Independence and set brother against brother.

That all men are created equal in human dignity and providence.

What would Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States, have said of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his Dream?

Americans may be divided in opinion about the relevance of the U.S. Constitution to the 21st Century. Or the relevance of the Bill of Rights and/or specific Amendments. A great and passionate debate may, in fact, be in the stirring. But let us not forget that we are all Americans in this debate – where ever you are.

It’s not about us or them. Or just about crazy Americans. The questions and debate belongs to us (the human species) and we must individually wrestle with them in the face of fear, pain, loss, and wisdom.

It is, yes, all about we. We the people (of the world) must seek good answers and truer questions – together.

Scapegoats, however, speak to none of our intimate questions about the meaning of life, liberty and our happiness. Scapegoats only fuel contempt, misunderstanding, ignorance, brutality, terror, loss, and hate. The Israel and Palestine problem is an illuminating example.

Yes, Virginia. Evil will grow greater – if and only if – you believe or act otherwise.

Stan Faryna
21 December 2012
Fairfax, Virginia

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U.S. Supreme Court Embraces the Second Amendment

June 26, 2008

Thursday, 26 June 2008

In America, the rights of the individual prevail today over the sometimes questionable prerogative of state and government.

The U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed the constitutional right of an American to have a gun and, especially, for the purpose of self-defense in one’s home. This individual right has been clearly acknowledged independent of the necessities of military or militia service, duty and training. The ruling comes out of the Court’s review of District of Columbia v. Heller. Additionally: Washington, D.C.’s many year ban on handguns and a mandatory requirement for gun locks was deemed unconstitutional.

District of Columbia v. Heller is the most important Second Amendment case in American history. Today’s decision is a historical decision that will guide the way courts and States consider questions about the American right of responsible citizens to own a gun for a long time to come. The American right of an individual for self defense is more clearly defined as a Constitutional right.

This historical decision represents the deeply considered and powerful reasoning of Justice Antonin Scalia who led the majority opinion. According to Georgetown University Law Professor Randy Barnett, Justice Scalia’s opinion “is the clearest, most careful interpretation of the meaning of the Constitution ever to be adopted by a majority of the Supreme Court.”

This opinion, writes Barnett in The Wall Street Journal, “is the finest example of what is now called original public meaning jurisprudence ever adopted by the Supreme Court.”

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Romania: Authoritarians Trample On Constitution, Civil Rights

April 6, 2008

Treading fearlessly…

Sounds and images from Kazakhstan (wink) for your reading background music (below)

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In preparation for the NATO summit and during the period of the NATO Summit in Bucharest, the Romanian state and Bucharest city government may have violated all or more than the following Romanian Constitutional articles:

1. Article 21 Access to Justice
2. Article 23 Individual Freedom
3. Article 24 Right to legal counsel
4. Article 25 Freedom of movement
5. Article 29 Freedom of conscience
6. Article 30 Freedom of expression
7. Article 39 Freedom of assembly
8. Article 40 Right of association

In consideration of these abuses of national and local government powers, a Romanian civil liberties group has filed an official complaint with the Romanian Public Ministry – the same institution which may be responsible for said violations. Some Romanians, however, believe that complaints should be taken to the EU Courts for Human Rights in Brussels. They argue that the Romanian Public Ministry is unlikely to condemn itself or those officials within the institution which continuously demonstrates its contempt for the Romanian Constitution.

The most cynical of Romanian critics believe this civil liberties group is conspiring with the Romanian government to take the heat off by allowing such questions to be handled by the foremost guilty party and, as soon as possible, to be swept under the carpet and forgotten. Interestingly, this is no serious story about this in the mainstream Media (Television, Print or Radio).
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United States Supreme Court reviews Dee Cee’s ban on handguns

March 19, 2008

Reaffirming the Second Amendment does not mean we should not discuss the problems of violence in our culture or the tragedies and horrors that we have observed in our schools, streets and low income neighborhoods. As Americans, we are smart enough, creative enough and passionate enough to find compelling solutions that do not infringe upon our obligations and rights as Americans… and as prominent an important members of an international community.

Below, a trailer for a documentary on the Second Amendment:

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