Monday, June 28, 2010

Conservative Views on Supreme Court Ruling on 2nd Amendment

The mainstream media won't provide readers with all the conservative viewpoints that will be issued today regarding the Supreme Court's ruling on the 2nd Amendment.

So in the interest of offering Travis Monitor readers with additional viewpoints, we'll find and post various reactions in their unedited versions:

Ted Cruz says "McDonald v. Chicago Decision “Major Victory” for Gun Rights"

HOUSTON—Former Texas Solicitor Ted Cruz, a leading Second Amendment advocate, made the following statement Monday regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in McDonald v. Chicago. Cruz’s efforts in defense of gun rights played a significant role in laying the groundwork for the decision:

“Today’s ruling is a major victory for our constitutional right to keep and bear arms. It is yet another important step toward protecting the Second Amendment across the nation. With fidelity to the intent of the Framers, the Supreme Court rightly held that the Second Amendment -- just like the rest of the Bill of Rights -- protects each and every American.”

Background on Ted’s Second Amendment expertise:

• Ted is best known for his work with the NRA in DC v. Heller, assembling an impressive and diverse coalition of 31 States behind an amicus brief in which he explicitly argued that the Second Amendment should be incorporated against every State in the Union.

• In addition, Ted also drafted amicus briefs in both Parker (known as Heller when it reached the Supreme Court) and in Seegers (a companion case brought by the NRA) and presented oral argument before the D.C. Circuit for the amici States in Seegers.

• Before defending the Second Amendment as Texas Solicitor General, Ted was responsible for all issues concerning gun rights as Domestic Policy Advisor to President George W. Bush during the 2000 campaign.

• Ted’s work extends beyond our highest tribunals into the court of public opinion as well. He fought for the Second Amendment on the Newshour with Jim Lehrer and has debated the leading anti-rights scholars before the New York Bar Association and the National Association of Appellate Court Attorneys. He has been published in the Wall Street Journal arguing for an individual right to keep and bear arms (republished by NRA in America’s 1st Freedom) and spoke at the NRA Annual Firearms Seminar in May 2009.

Supporting links:
Cruz interview on Newshour:
Cruz-led brief on DC v Heller
This from the NRA:

National Rifle Association Hails Historic Victory on Second Amendment Freedom in McDonald v. City of Chicago

Fairfax, Va. -- The National Rifle Association of America today praised the U.S. Supreme Court's historic decision in another landmark Second Amendment case. In a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that the Second Amendment applies not just to Washington, D.C. and other federal enclaves, but protects the rights of all Americans throughout the country. The opinion in McDonald v. City of Chicago brings an end to the nearly 30 year-long handgun ban that the city has imposed on its law-abiding citizens.

“This is a landmark decision,” said NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. “The Second Amendment -- as every citizen's constitutional right -- is now a real part of American constitutional law. The NRA will work to ensure this constitutional victory is not transformed into a practical defeat by activist judges defiant city councils or cynical politicians who seek to pervert, reverse or nullify the Supreme Court's McDonald decision through Byzantine labyrinths of restrictions and regulations that render the Second Amendment inaccessible, unaffordable or otherwise impossible to experience in a practical, reasonable way.”

As a party to the case, the NRA participated in oral arguments before the Court in March. The NRA persuasively argued that the Second Amendment applies to state and local governments through the Fourteenth Amendment and that handgun bans, like those in the City of Chicago and the Village of Oak Park, are unconstitutional under any standard of judicial review. This same view was shared in friend of the court briefs by a bipartisan group of 309 members of Congress from both chambers, 38 state attorneys general, and hundreds of state legislators. Public opinion polls show that it is also shared by the overwhelming majority of the American people.

“This decision makes absolutely clear that the Second Amendment protects the God-given right of self-defense for all law-abiding Americans, period,” said Chris W. Cox, NRA chief lobbyist. “Ironically, while crime in Chicago runs rampant and lawmakers there call on the National Guard for help, Mayor Daley has insisted on leaving the residents of his city defenseless. Today's opinion puts the law back on the side of the law-abiding. We will be watching closely to make sure that Chicago abides by both the letter and the spirit of the Supreme Court's decision.”

Friday, June 4, 2010

SBOE Textbook Review - Letter to the Editor sent but not published

I commend the Austin American-Statesman for publishing “Two takes on textbook strife,” (5/18/10).

One take was written by the Texas Freedom Network (TFN), an organization that lost my trust.

Eight years ago, I volunteered to review textbooks for the Texas Board of Education. I was astounded by the number of factual errors I found. I conveyed these to the publishers, as well as some dangling concepts.

One textbook states “John Locke believed that all people are born with certain rights (‘inalienable rights’).” Locke’s reasoning was not explained. This was corrected by the publisher to read: “Locke believed that God created people who all, equally, had certain rights. To deny people these rights would be going against God ….Thomas Jefferson added these ideas to the Declaration of Independence.”

Notwithstanding the truth, the TFN cast me into their bucket of stereotypes as a far right promoter of Christianity!

Austin Becoming California with Gun Buybacks

There's no doubt that Californians have flocked to Austin over the last five years or so. California's once mighty economic engine has broken under the weight of the social-political philosophy of liberalism and its heavy burdens on business and enterprising individuals. Its crime and gangs are other reasons they've fled big cities like Los Angeles, Oakland, etc.

That is why  it breaks my heart when I see California-ism creeping into the social fabric of Texas, which is evident with the gun buyback program touted in yesterday's Statesman.

As the lead paragraph says, "For the first time in Central Texas, a law enforcement agency will take a gun off your hands, ask no questions and give you money for groceries." Ahhhh, doesn't that feel nice, warm and fuzzy? Sort of like a California Teddy bear?

Then later in the story, the reporter, to his credit, finds some examples of how well California programs have worked:

Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Oakland., Calif., also have gun buyback programs.

According to Los Angeles police, a buyback program in May accumulated more than 2,000 guns.

Oakland police officer Jeff Thomason said that officials there held a successful gun buyback program a few years ago but that it was very expensive. He said many people came from outside the city and sold older guns they had in storage, defeating the purpose of getting guns off the street.
I see the problem. Californians like feel-good programs over anything that really works.  The City of Austin is in tow.

In my view the Oakland police officer who is quoted lives in liberal la-la land in terms of how he defines results. He called their gun buyback program 'successful' and then 'expensive' and then admits that the actual functioning of the program served only to get old guns out of storage, defeating the purpose of the program. That's success? Expensive programs that defeat the purpose of the program. I guess so, in Oakland, California.

Note also how either the cop or the reporter trot out the liberal cliche "guns on the street." To the liberal mind it's a big bad world out there with millions upon billions upon trillions of guns that are on the verge of going off simultaneously on their own on the street that need to be confiscated somehow, in this case through incentive programs. The problem of course is that criminals keep their guns. That's their means of being, their tools of trade, their power. Why would they give them up for $100 or $200 in food vouchers? Get real.

Of course, to the liberal, law abiding citizens should give up their guns too. But those folks are turning in worthless pieces of steel and wood for money.

It's instructive to note here also that Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo is himself a California native and so I would bet that he's very knowledgeable and comfortable with the ineffective feel-good programs for which California is now famous.

Maybe that's why the Austin City Council hired him -- they love California and all the things that have steered the state and many of its cities toward bankruptcy.

Sadly, I'm sure there's more of this kind of baloney to come, which is a shame. As Austin becomes more Californian and less Texan in its attitude toward crime, guns, energy, healthcare, abortion, etc., it becomes a more dangerous place.

As I've written previously here and here, more "guns on the street" in Texas has really meant more guns in the hands of law abiding citizens and increasingly lower crime rates. Texans are increasingly qualifying for their concealed handgun licenses and crime continues to drop despite ever larger influxes of people into Texas.

Instead of ineffectual and expense gun buyback programs, Chief Acevedo and the City of Austin should be working with its law abiding citizens to give them the weapons training they need to protect themselves in a responsible manner with the guns they legally possess. An old timer around my neighbor remembers the day when his county's Sheriff office would conduct a summer time gun training for the teenagers of his town. Makes sense to me. Take the mystery out of guns for teens. Show teens how to respect the power and danger of the weapon and how to handle them responsibly. Make them responsible citizens, empowered with the 2nd amendment protections the founders intended against intrusive tyrants. Oh the good ole days of Texas!

But that would make too much sense and it flies in the face of the liberal illogic, especially that which is now coming to Austin from California.