Of two minds

I’ve seen a lot of “who cares?” type of posts on the government “shutdown” from the gun blogosphere and, for the most part, I agree.

Actually, it’s very tempting for me to increase my level of concern from “who cares” to “this is a good thing” since the rate at which we’re destroying our children’s and grandchildren’s future has slowed slightly during this period.

It wouldn’t bother me a bit if food stamp recipients and welfare recipients across the USA all the sudden had their charity…er…”benefits” reduced for a while. Perhaps it would cut down on obesity rates among the “less fortunate”. Heck, some of them may even have to cut back to basic cable rather than the premier package and give up watching HBO on their 60″ plasma HDTVs.

The one thing that makes me a bit leery about it, however, is the impact on the VA and military retirees.

Full disclosure: this has an impact on me. I’m a 40% disabled, military retiree and receive both a retirement check from the DOD and a VA disability check every month.*

With that said, however, I’m still able to work…I simply had to find employment in a field that wasn’t affected by my disabilities. We also live within our means (a concept obviously foreign to our “betters” in Washington DC). If my retirement and VA disability checks stop coming (a real possibility if this “shutdown” drags out for more than a few weeks), we can still pay the bills, keep the lights on and food on the table. Some “discretionary” spending is going to have to be cut or eliminated, but by budgeting properly, We should be OK, if not entirely comfortable.

What I’m worried about, though, are the veterans who are disabled to the point where they can’t work at all. The ones who suffered combat injuries or trauma that makes them dependent on their disability pay to survive. What happens to them if the VA stops sending out checks?

The Democrats won’t even consider negotiating with the Republicans on the issues before them. They simply won’t talk. When the Republicans offered a bill to fund the VA this week, the Democrats dismissed it out of hand. They have demonstrated that they have no problem holding the welfare of our honored combat veterans hostage to use as leverage to achieve their political agenda.

If that doesn’t piss everyone in the country off, regardless of political affiliation, there’s a serious problem here (not that THAT particular observation is news to anyone).

Basically, the very people who’ve sacrificed their physical well being in defense of our nation are potentially being tossed under the bus to gain political leverage.

I would urge everyone to call, e-mail or write to your congresspersons and let them know in no uncertain terms that this government had BETTER fulfill its obligations to our disabled war heros or there will be serious repercussions at the ballot box.

I would also urge people to pay attention to what’s going on and, if the VA does stop making disability payments, to step up, find out if there are any veterans in their area who cannot work due to injuries suffered as a result of their service, and do what they can to help them out.

We cannot let those who have selflessly sacrificed so much be allowed to slip through the cracks.

*Before anyone goes gushing about my honored service or anything…my disabilities are simply the result of the wear and tear on the human body that 21 years in the demanding conditions of the military can do to a person. It’s fairly typical for retirees to be rated between 10 and 40 percent disabled due to nothing more than the long term damage that the military environment causes. I am not a “combat vet” per se, so I don’t deserve to be placed on the pedestal that those who’ve “seen the elephant” do.*

Why I don’t support the Death Penalty

Having been raised as a “law and order” conservative, I used to strongly support the death penalty and would have strongly supported its use being expanded to include all murders and even heinous instances of rape and child abuse.

Things like this are what prompted me to change my mind.

[John Thompson] was wrongly convicted not once, but twice — separately — for a carjacking and a murder. He spent 18 years at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, 14 of them on death row. His death warrant was signed eight times. When his attorneys finally found the evidence that cleared him — evidence his prosecutors had known about for years — he was weeks away from execution.

But what most enrages Thompson — and what drives his activism today — is that in the end, there was no accountability. [bold added]

The particularly striking thing about [the] argument that self-regulation and professional discipline are sufficient to handle prosecutorial misconduct — is that even in the specific Supreme Court cases where it has been made, and where the misconduct is acknowledged, the prosecutors were never disciplined or sanctioned.

It’s a very long piece, that touches on some unrelated topics and raises a few points that I disagree with, but the overall premise is right on the money:

In our legal system, which rewards prosecutors for convictions rather than justice and in which there are absolutely no repercussions for prosecutors who bend, twist and mutilate the law to obtain those convictions, there are no guarantees that the person convicted of a heinous crime is actually the one who did it.

Between 1973 and 2002, Orleans Parish prosecutors sent 36 people to death row. Nine of those convictions were later overturned due to Brady violations. Four of those later resulted in exonerations. In other words, 11 percent of the men Connick’s office attempted to send to their deaths — for which prosecutors suppressed exculpatory evidence in the process — were later found to be factually innocent.

Our system of “innocent until proven guilty” and respect for individual rights is supposed to be engineered to err on the side of caution. Much better, our philosophy opines, that many guilty go free than for one innocent to be unjustly punished for a crime they did not commit.

The current legal system, with its protections against prosecutors (and other government officials) being held accountable for blatant misconduct, turns that philosophy in its head.

I have no problem whatsoever with the speedy, public, and graphic execution of those who commit murder or other horrific crimes, however when, in some locales, a conviction carries with it a 25 percent chance that the conviction was obtained illegally and an 11 percent chance that the convicted is DEMONSTRABLY innocent of the crime, then I’m very glad that our executions are not swift and I would strongly support the halting of them altogether until we can come up with better protections to ensure that only the guilty are convicted.

First among those protections should be prosecutors that are held accountable, are arrested and tried for misconduct and, if convicted, are as swiftly and harshly punished for such crimes as those that they prosecute.

“These people tried to eliminate me from the face of the earth,” Thompson says of his own prosecutors. “Do you get that? They tried to murder me. And goddamnit, there have to be some kind of consequences.”

But for the Grace of God go you or I.

Does the media WANT riots?

Based on their reporting of the Zimmerman trial, I have to think that they do.

I don’t generally watch the news except when I’m on the road…which I am right now. I turn on the news in the morning while I’m preparing for work.

Every time they report on the Zimmerman trial, they do so in a way that makes the prosecution case look good and the defense case look weak.

If you read any of the many blogs that are covering the trial (see Legal Insurrection for live streaming, daily analysis and witness videos) the story is exactly the opposite.

Watching the videos of witness testimony, I have to agree. The prosecution case is very weak, many of their witnesses do more for the defense than the prosecution, the defense cross-examinations have been devastating to the state’s case and the state has been forced to treat their own witnesses in a hostile manner and try to undermine their testimony after cross.

The state is grasping at straws in a desperate effort to get a couple of questionable incidents in Zimmerman’s distant past introduced to try to impugn his character.

If things keep going the way they have been, I can’t possibly see any conscientious jury convicting.

At which point, anyone who’s been relying on the media for their information is going to be very confused about what happened, they’re going to assume that “the fix was in” or that it was racial (no blacks on the jury) because, according to the media they’ve been watching, there would be no apparent reason for the innocent verdict.

I can’t decide if the media is reporting it the way they are because they are simply incapable of reporting something truthfully rather than according to the way they WANT the world to be, or because they are actively hoping for riots after the verdict (perhaps to have something exciting to report to increase their ratings???).

Making it illegaler

What does a “lawmaker” do when he’s afraid someone may break the law?

Why…introduce a law making it illegal to break the law of course.

With the exception of any person who lawfully possesses a handgun, no person shall possess any weapon set forth in subsection A of § 18.2-308 while in the Capitol of Virginia or in any other building owned by the Commonwealth and used predominantly for the conduct of the business of the General Assembly.

So if you are unlawfully in possession of a weapon, you can no longer unlawfully enter a a state government building…because it would be unlawful. Again.

Or something.

Hat tip to VSSA Blog

Further Evidence…

…that it’s all over but the crying.

The once important Sarah Brady is now reduced to personally leaving comments on gun blogs (about the 15th comment down).

Granted, Sebastian and Bitter are a couple of the higher profile gun bloggers out there, but still…

Also note that she doesn’t even bother trying to address the substantive issues raised and takes the opportunity only to point out that she actually used to be a Republican but has since “seen the light”.

However she seems to have missed the fact that, at least for her agenda of strict gun control, the light she saw was apparently the headlight of the oncoming train.

That is, of course, not to say that we can rest on our laurels. These are control freaks we’re talking about here. Their behavior is not rational and does not follow rational patterns. They will never stop, regardless of how little support they get or how foolhardy it looks to people not afflicted with their disorder. So, even though the truth appears to be winning over the falsehoods that they spread, we have to continue to remain vigilant. If we relax our guard and one of their false premises is allowed to stand unchallenged, it could plant a seed of doubt, which could spread like weeds in the minds of the uninformed and a future generation may have to fight the battle all over again as we have for the past 20 years or so.

It would be a grave disservice to our children and grandchildren were we to allow that to happen.

Regarding the Playoffs

I’ve never been a “fan” of the 49er’s, but I had nothing against them either.  Up until a few minutes before game time yesterday, I was rooting for them because it’s been awhile since they’ve been to the big show and I thought they were due.

Right up until the utter disrespect and despicable actions shown by the crowd during the singing of the National Anthem.   I realize they weren’t booing the anthem, but were rather booing something going on on the field, or on the big screens, but the fact that we could barely hear the rendition of our anthem for the cheers and boos absolutely infuriated me.

When I attended the two NFL games I’ve been to, there were, admittedly, some people not showing proper respect during the anthem, but for the most part, the crowd stood, and paid their respects, so I’m pretty sure that egregious behavior is not endemic to the NFL.

The 49ers can bite my keister.  They’ll never get my support again.  If their fans can’t control themselves for two minutes during the national anthem to show their respects to the nation and the service members who were on the field, I have no respect for them. At All.

BTW:  The rendition of the national anthem…at least what I heard of it over the boos and catcalls, was beautiful.

Custody Case

Indianapolis, IN – A seven year old boy was at the center of a Marion County courtroom drama yesterday when he challenged a court ruling over who should have custody of him. The boy has a history of being beaten by his parents and the judge initially awarded custody to his aunt, in keeping with child custody law and regulation requiring that family unity be maintained to the highest degree possible.

The boy surprised the court when he proclaimed that his aunt beat him more than his parents and he adamantly refused to live with her. When the judge then suggested that he live with his grandparents, the boy cried and said that they also beat him.

After considering the remainder of the immediate family and learning that domestic violence was apparently a way of life among them, the judge took the unprecedented step of allowing the boy to propose who should have custody of him.

After two recesses to check legal references and confer with the child welfare officials, the judge granted temporary custody to the Indianapolis Colts Football Team, whom the boy firmly believes are not capable of beating anyone.

Contributed via e-mail by CB