It's not about guns...

It's about citizenship


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Assaulting Jim Zumbo

The NRA on Extremists

NRA scams its members

The Lionel Show
AirAm Radio's ignorant, crude, ugly,
air waves barbarian
Dear John Ashcroft
The armed populace doctrine at the DOJ
The Washington Post
cultivating ignorance.
Gun Policy News
news stories compiled daily.
"Sixty Minutes"
Failing its Mission
NPR's Diane Rehm
Civilized without Substance.
A longstanding dereliction.
Violence Policy Center
The public health agenda
falls in line with the NRA.
Militia Act of 1792
To enroll— conscript, register— That is,
a coerced civic obligation.
Return of Militia
Inventory of private weapons in
the early Republic reported to the
President of the US
History
John Kenneth Rowland
Lawrence Cress
John K. Mahon
Others
Pseudohistory
LaPierre's list

The Quotes, the Quotes
Fabricating the armed populace doctrine
Libertarians, Conservatives

Tenn. Law Rev., 1995

Chicago-Kent Symposium, 2000
What does the NRA want?

September 7, 2012

The Honorable Benjamin Cardin
The Honorable Barbara Mikulski
The Honorable Donna Edwards
The Honorable Chris VanHollen
The Honorable Steny Hoyer

Dear Sir/Mesdames:

The political powers got behind civil rights because of three strong pressures. One was that the black community was becoming restive after the Second World War. Another was the negative moral example of European racism and genocide. But, probably the most important factor was the Cold War. The United State could not compete with the Soviet Union's propaganda for the hearts and mind of mostly nonwhite Third World people as long as it maintained its domestic apartheid social system. Something had to change.

Something has to change now, but the political powers are NOT behind addressing gun violence. Millions are spent to promote trigger locks and sue the gun manufacturers. There is none of the substance of the vital and fundamental concepts of political life in these endeavors. Members of Congress are different. Members of Congress are under oath of public office. That oath marks a commitment to the difference between the Constitution as a frame of government and the Constitution as a treaty among sovereign individuals. That oath marks the same difference between Civil Society and the State of Nature, which is the state of anarchy. If at first we don't succeed, read the instructions. The Founding generation understood the difference from John Locke's The Second Treatise of Civil Government,
http://www.potowmack.org/2ndtreat.html#94,
.../emerarg.html#fp33.

Wittingly or not, the courts have settled the difference. Federal judges in the end are also under oath of public office. The Constitution is still a frame of government not a treaty among sovereign individuals. All that is left is public knowledge and political leadership. Without political leadership there is no public knowledge. Without public knowledge there is no political leadership. Political leadership is your business. It starts with your oath of office.

Public knowledge and political leadership will not be easy. I found 332 email addresses for Mayor Bloomberg's 700 Mayors Against Illegal Guns. This is serious business. It demands serious attention. In recent weeks I have sent them in a tedious effort announcements of the publication of my eBOOK, Politics, Rights, Guns: The Great Political Dysfunction, http://www.potowmack.org/index.html#eBOOK. The eBOOK is where the business of gun rights and gun violence are addressed on their proper terms and put into the present political context. There is no cause for optimism. From the mayors, there has not been a single response or a single purchase of the eBOOK for a mere $2.99. These are people also under oath of public office to maintain public order in their communities. Despite the sincere efforts of Mayor Bloomberg, consciousness there is a continent wide and a nanometer deep. That consciousness is representative of whole political culture. That failed consciousness is manifest in the bankrupt, derelict Democratic Party, our shallow, lazy equally derelict news organs, and the failed strategies of the gun controllers. The gun controllers can't much past promoting gun safety. This is not about trigger locks. Vital and fundamental issues are at stake.

The time is getting short in this election season but the time is ripe for genuine political leadership and political change. I make provocative proposals in the eBOOK that change everything the political culture. Just ask the simple question: "Do you accept and support the conclusions of the courts that we can have 'registration ... for militia service if called up'?" Nothing could be more uncontroversial. All policy making flows from there. If not, the next challenge is, Will you launch a campaign for a constitutional amendment that redefines gun rights that is, redefines constitutional government? How will that be handled in the Congress and 38 states? We need to know. It is your business as much as anyone else's to take that issue to the public. Are you up to conducting a national civics lesson?

PLEASE, PLEASE do not send me another insulting response that proclaims your lame?brained support for the latest silly gun control bill. It is less insulting to these serious efforts and your OATH OF OFFICE if you do not respond at all. Your first order of business before you do absolutely anything else is to explain what your OATH OF OFFICE is and does. Until you get that right, after years of dereliction, nothing else you do or have to say is of interest.

You need to be concerned that if we have a future, history will judge severely.
Yours truly,
Potowmack
enclosures


December 18, 2012

The Honorable Benjamin Cardin
The Honorable Barbara Mikulski
The Honorable Donna Edwards
The Honorable Chris VanHollen
The Honorable Steny Hoyer

Dear Sir/Mesdames:

It is extremely unlikely that President Obama will ever see the enclosed letter, but YOU SEE IT. You are also under oath of public office. You have influence.

The proposal in the letter is that President Obama go over the heads of the gun lobby leadership and appeal directly to gun owners and members of gun owner organizations on the most vital and fundamental issues of political life. Surveys show that the great majority of gun owners and gun organization members do not support the gun lobby's anarchic doctrine. The National Rifle Association scams its members to achieve a civil right that can never be had under any viable concept of constitutional government. That is the reason the NRA has to attack viciously any threat to its doctrine. The NRA did not win the right the gun rights militants want in the Parker/Heller/McDonald cases. Federal judges are also under oath of public office and the consent to be governed has serious implications for private gun ownership as the courts have recognized. The original militia concept and institution was about civic obligation and military preparedness. Policy making begins with civic obligation not gun safety. Militia duty was conscript duty. There are no libertarian rights to privacy in a conscript military organization.

There is no secret about the doctrine. The right the gun rights militants, led by the NRA, want is a civil right to maintain the "armed populace at large" a collection of sovereign individuals who made a treaty not a government. They give no more than word of honor and promise of good faith. The one point of policy that the "armed populace at large" cannot accommodate is registration of gun ownership that is, accountability to a governing authority, accountability to the very legitimacy of a governing authority. Registration is essential because it is the only way guns can be effectively regulated. Judge Silberman's conclusion in Parker that we can have "registration ... for militia service if called up" is a devastating defeat for the "armed populace" doctrine and opens the path for policy making. The Constitution is still a frame of government. All that is missing is public knowledge and political leadership. The only role for federal policy is to control the illegal traffic between and among jurisdictions. That can only be accomplished by registration and reporting of private sales. I make a simple proposal to that end completely consistent with original design and intent as manifest in the Militia Act of 1792, .../abcnews.html. No response. No knowledge. No leadership.

To have its doctrine, the great, present demagogic appeal is to self-defense. The way we defend ourselves as citizens under law and government is to apply the law against the lawless. At the same time, there is no conflict in principle between gun ownership for self defense and accountability to a governing authority. The only reason we cannot have laws that apply against the lawless is that the same laws would apply against "armed citizen guerrillas" and others with insurrectionist fantasies. If we cannot have laws that apply against the lawless and the mentally ill, reckless, irresponsible, unintelligent, drunk, etc. then we need a gun in every pocket for our self-defense. The armed populace doctrine thrives when we dwell on mental health and not the contours of citizenship. We need armed vigilantes on every street corner, in every shopping mall, in every movie theater and every school house. Armed vigilantes are another part of the same doctrine. The burden of leadership is now and has always been to tell some people they cannot have their childish political fantasy.

Much ignorant attention is given to the opinions of the courts as if these opinions deserve our respect and obedience. The constitutional protection in Heller was for handguns in the home for self-defense. The ruling is reckless and ignorant. The problem with handguns is concealability. A constitutionally protected handgun in the home for self-defense can in an instant become a illegal concealed weapon on the street. The weapon of choice recommended even by gun rights advocates is a small bore shotgun. The highly politicized courts pander to a malignant constituency and take their side in the false polarization of a progun/antigun culture war.

The courts are even more injudicious. In the 1965 Griswold case, Justice Douglas found a right to privacy in the "penumbra" and "emanations" of the Constitution. Those words have been much ridiculed by conservative constitutional scholars and right wing demagogues. The principle has been applied in subsequent cases, but the words, to my knowledge, have never been used again. Judge Silberman and the five member majority on the Supreme Court, contrary to their own "conservative" constitutional principles, have discovered in the "penumbra" and "emanations" of the Constitution a right to privacy in gun ownership.

This is all part of a broad political movement that comes out of the Libertarian Right, which has never accepted the transformations of the United States in the twentieth century. It is motivated by the political cynicism that self-government is suspect at best, impossible at worst. The cynical movement has been at work really since the 1930s to reverse the expansion of federal authority to create the twentieth century social contract and the contours of the United States as a modern state capable of managing an industrial economy, performing on the world stage as a great power, and securing liberty and justice for all. Why they need a gun in every pocket has not been explained. This is all part of the same story. However, the worst examples of reckless, anarchic law are not on the Supreme Court but on the Ninth Circuit, http://www.potowmack.org/silvdiss.pdf. The concern worthy of public outrage but completely missing from public consciousness is where these people come from and how they got on the federal judiciary. That inquiry is for the next stage in expanded political consciousness.

Meanwhile, there is no subject of public concern where there is more ignorance and utter absurdity. The ignorance and absurdity is only exceeded by the hostility to any public enlightenment. I speak from twenty-five years of experience. What James Madison was really describing in the Federalist Paper No. 46 was not a civil right of private individuals. Try to get the real meaning published in the gun lobby's most reliable asset, the one the NRA calls the "rabidly antigun Washington Post". I submitted for publication to a succession of major national circulation periodicals starting in November, 2011, a manuscript that would have enlightened this subject on its proper terms. Not one responded. Not one opened the file to the manuscript. We have not just a failed political culture. We have a failed intellectual culture. Out of frustration I expanded the manuscript from 6000 words to 33,000 words and published it as an eBOOK, http://www.potowmack.org/index.html (If the software and hardware requirements are more than you can manage the manuscript is at http://www.potowmack.org/eBOOK2.pdf I don't need to continue repeating myself endlessly. You and a great many others have had this story on its proper terms for years. There is blood on many sickly hands. It is the blood of political cowardice. It is the blood of abject intellectual dereliction. I have to believe that you know better. If political leadership is more than you can handle, you need to find a line of work where the consequences are not so deadly and tragic. Otherwise, the political cynicism wins and no thinking person can take seriously living in a political culture that is this dysfunctional and where the political leadership fails so miserably.
Yours truly,
Potowmack
enclosures


December 26, 2012

The Honorable Benjamin Cardin United States Senate 509 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Sir:

Your email response of December 19, 2012, to my letter of December 18, 2012, was not a hopeful response. It was too soon for me to believe that you read and studied the message. You did not respond to my letter of September 7. Did something change since September 7? What has changed is that the whole world is watching. I will send you vital pages again since my December 18 letter is likely already lost in your mailbag of discards. This is serious business. It demands serious attention. Anything less than serious attention is insulting to the life of the Republic, your oath of office and my purposeful efforts. You are on record. History will judge severely.

Vice President Biden will head a task force of gun violence. I don’t know how to communicate with the Vice President’s task force. If I receive any response at all, it would be the same lame-brained, evasive run around I get from you. You can convey the message. His task force has the opportunity to define a new direction for the life of the Republic. That is where your “serious national discussion” can begin. It does not end there. The new direction is much broader than simply gun rights and the gun vote. Gun rights and the gun vote are not about guns. They are about very fundamental values and concepts. My greater hope is that we can eventually get to the broader discussion.

For the immediate issue I make two proposals. One is that the task force recommend to President Obama that he go public over the heads of the gun lobby leadership and take vital and fundamental values and concept directly to gun owners and the members of gun rights organizations. Please see enclosures. Getting their responses and convictions will change the whole context of public consciousness.

In the midst of much protest against the gun lobby in recent days, there has been no increase in traffic at the Potowmack Institute website. The website is the only place that collects sources documents and makes credible arguments. There has been no purchase of the eBOOK. Where there is so much ignorance, absurdity, and failed consciousness, leadership has to start at the top. You have influence. Make that your business. Enough is enough.

The other proposal is the next step which follows from Vice President Biden’s task force. It is the recommendation that a congressional committee, that means you, undertake wide ranging and penetrating hearings on gun rights and gun violence with a larger and more thorough inquiry than is possible with Vice President Biden’s task force. This is not a new proposal, A major concern for where the task force starts needs to be what the gun lobby, led by the NRA, wants. If you and Vice President Biden do not know what the opponent wants, you and he are dealing in your own illusions. What the NRA wants is to maintain “the armed populace at large,” a collection of sovereign individuals who made a treaty not a government. Please see enclosures. They give no more than word of honor and promise of good faith. The instant gun check system, the NRA’s Eddie Eagle program, regardless of their merits, ultimately serve the purpose to protect and maintain the “armed populace at large.” The NRA’s proposal on December 21 for armed guards in schools is more of the same. The enormous expense of these policies and the frightful tragedies we suffer are the price we pay for the “armed populace at large”.

What is most interesting is that the courts have settled the issue and delivered the “armed populace at large” doctrine a devastating defeat. After many pages in which Judge Silberman in I have made a long standing proposal for a national firearms policy that is completely consistent with original design and intent as manifest not just in the militia clauses of the Constitution, the Second Amendment, and the The original antagonistic relationship between the conscript state militias and the mercenary US Army was combined in the twentieth century selective service acts. The US Army became in a sense a national militia. This comment was attached to p. 54 of the Parker opinion: History doesn't repeat itself and the comparison may be considered farfetched, but there is a historical precedent. In March 1933, when Adolph Hitler wanted a constitutional amendment that would empower him to rule by decree, he brought his "armed citizen guerrillas," called Stormtroopers, into the legislative chambers with him to enforce the vote. The Weimar Republic was a government that did not have to political will to maintain its internal sovereignty. Is this where we are headed? Attached to Sue Wimmershoff-Caplan article, Wash, Post, July 6, 1989, Attached to p. 7 of LaPierre's Gun, Crime and Freedom: [PotowmackForum] interactive posting


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