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J. KARL MILLER: Trayvon Martin case has been hijacked for interest group agendas

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 9:48 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, April 11, 2012

*A Baltimore Sun editorial opposed Florida's "stand your ground" law. An earlier version of this column incorrectly stated the city where The Sun is published.

Of the issues raised by the tragic Florida shooting death of Trayvon Martin by "neighborhood watchman" George Zimmerman, at least two are appallingly self-serving consequences of the actions of special interest groups with a particular ax to grind and those who submit to emotion in lieu of rational thought.

The first tragedy is one of an acquiescent media, coupled with the racial demagoguery inflamed by the usual outside agitators, thus enabling yet another controversial case to be tried and decided in the press. The most troubling aspect of this pre-judged guilt is that it has beclouded the issue to the extent that the truth of what transpired will either never be known or rendered largely irrelevant — the initial clamor is etched in public memory.

Sharing commonality with virtually the entire U.S. population in having not been present at the scene, I choose not to offer an opinion of the relative guilt or innocence of either party. That is the responsibility of local law enforcement, subject to review by higher authority. However, on the second issue, that of added and more stringent gun control regulation demanded by the usual supporters in the anti-gun crowd, I do object.

As one might expect, led by the editorial staff of The New York Times and The Baltimore Sun*, the Brady Bill aficionados, Sen. Charles Schumer and even former President Bill Clinton, the left and progressive wings of the Democratic Party are greasing the skids to use this sad event to overturn individual state "Stand Your Ground" (self-defense) and concealed carry statutes. Keep in mind that, as yet, no one has been indicted.

The ageless homilies of the anti-gun lobby never seem to change — from the "you don't need an assault weapon to hunt," to "the hundreds of children killed annually by guns" to bashing the National Rifle Association as a collection of extremist gun nuts.

In reality, no hunter buys an assault weapon to hunt and the number of "children's" deaths by guns includes 19-year-old gang members (more children drown in bathtubs than are accidentally killed by guns). The NRA has long been in the vanguard of promoting safe, responsible firearms use and the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment, which, unlike the implied "right to privacy" and "separation of church and state" is actually spelled out in the Constitution.  

Truth be known, most "assault weapon" ban proponents are not able to distinguish one from a semi-automatic .22-caliber rifle.

The goals of the anti-gun crowd range from the extremist banning of handguns and gun ownership altogether to restrictions on concealed carry, individual self-protection and even to the number and types which may be purchased. That these aims are at odds with the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Second Amendment and the individual states' regulatory powers seems to be of no relevance.

Fortunately, contrary to that which we are led to believe by the left, there is a veritable equal number of Democrats and Republicans who support the right to keep and bear arms. The notion that the majority of American citizens cannot be trusted with firearms borders on the absurd.

As to the purported need for sweeping new statutes regarding gun ownership, the last time I looked, using a firearm to commit murder, robbery, intimidation or in any other manner while in commission of a crime was already unlawful. Moreover, there are laws preventing felons, people with mental disabilities and children from owning guns.

Additionally, and of far more consequence, not one proposed new or present restriction on gun ownership will make one iota of difference to the professional criminal, the gangster-wannabe or the teenage knucklehead who wants to appear "cool" and dangerous.

The only practical solution to the criminal offense of unlawful use or discharge of a weapon is one advocated by the much-maligned NRA. That organization has long supported adding five years to the sentence of an individual who is found in possession of, and 10 years to one who uses, a firearm in commission of a crime.

Finally, there is this quote from Thomas Jefferson, a statesman and former president that progressives and liberals like to claim as one of their own, quoting Cesare Beccaria: "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms ... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes ... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."

What reasonable person can argue with that logic?

J. Karl Miller retired as a colonel in the Marine Corps. He is a Columbia resident and can be reached via email at JKarlUSMC@aol.com.


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Comments

Christopher Foote April 11, 2012 | 10:51 a.m.

I think the "stand your ground" laws should be repealed. The laws allow legally armed cowards to act on their fears and shields them from prosecution for their vigelantism. Mr. Miller has written a fairly reasonable column in defense of the second amendment and the right to bear arms. What he has not done is written a reasonable defense of "stand your ground" laws and why the principle of self-defense is insufficient legal protection, thus requiring the enactment of these laws.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 11, 2012 | 12:40 p.m.

Now you've highjacked his case for your interest too, colonel.

It should be noted that George Zimmerman has broken all contact with his former attorneys, and they have now dumped him as a client. He tried to contact the special prosecutor directly, but she would not communicate with him without him being accompanied by legal representation. He's supposedly isolated, in hiding where "where he won't be found" and possibly suffering a nervous breakdown from the stress.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/arti...

Zimmerman made a series of extremely poor choices to wind up in this situation. Pointing this out is the interest I have in highjacking Treyvon Martin's death.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro April 11, 2012 | 12:57 p.m.

As for conceal and carry permit, I'd rather have the gun openly displayed by the legal permit holder, similar to the present day officer or cowboys of yesteryear.
And as for the neighborhood watchman: Who wouldn't lay low or go into hiding if the "new" Black Panthers were out to lynch 'em.
I just hope that Zimmerman gets the help he needs. The Al Sharptons obviously are not extending any olive branches.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 11, 2012 | 1:10 p.m.

Just announced: Zimmerman will be charged in Treyvon's shooting. We don't know exactly what he will be charged with yet though; I'll guess 2nd degree.

(Report Comment)
J Karl Miller April 11, 2012 | 4:39 p.m.

Mr Fogle--I find both interesting and amusing your "Now you've highjacked his case for your interest too, colonel." I merely used the incident as a lead in to my opinion columnn re gun control. We have one thing in common--as neither of us was present, we don't have a clue as to what went down. I made that clear in my third paragraph whereas you seem to have already determined the guilty party. I favor the old fashioned way of waiting until the facts are determined in a court of law. I recommend you rent an old movie--"The Oxbow Incident"--it teaches the tragedy of jumping to conclusion.

(Report Comment)
mike mentor April 11, 2012 | 5:03 p.m.

Sounds like 2nd degree murder and a giant waste of time and money. He will not be found guilty by a jury if the jury is properly instructed to follow the law as written.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 11, 2012 | 5:59 p.m.

Karl: "I ... USED IT as a lead-in..." 'Nuff said.

As for me seeming to have already determined innocence or guilt, maybe Karl has memory problems. What I actually posted here: "I'm not saying Zimmerman is innocent or guilty, I'm saying he's stupid and aggressive."

http://www.columbiamissourian.com/storie...

That post also contains this: "What's happening now isn't justice." Well, I think that's changed now. Zimmerman's case will be tried in a court of law now, not just a court of public opinion.

My other post on this subject is here: http://www.columbiamissourian.com/storie... ...mostly re-iterating my main point of consequences for one's decisions to escalate situations.

As for gun control, our Constitution says our citizens can keep and bear arms. That seems crystal clear to me. And, I agree that more gun control laws won't make a difference. All that does is keeps honest people honest, at a burden to the honest people. Most guns used in crimes are illegally possessed.

Of course that fact brings up another point: If all the investigative and policing resources, including SWAT teams, that are currently dedicated to pot interdiction, were instead directed at finding illegal weapons, raiding houses to confiscate them, and incarcerating those who have them, maybe we wouldn't have so many random / gang / drug-related shootings. Just a thought.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 12, 2012 | 5:38 a.m.

@ mike mentor:

Don't you know the rules? Once the "dance" has begun it's extremely bad manners to interrupt the "dance." Frankly, Mike, I'm surprised at your lack of sensitivity.

Pageantry is an important form of social expression.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 12, 2012 | 9:26 a.m.

Christopher, I don't know if you lump Missouri's castle law into stand your ground laws, but here's the link to it:

http://www.moga.mo.gov/statutes/c500-599...

What do you see wrong with that? I'm more interested in that discussion than Florida's law.

(Report Comment)
mike mentor April 12, 2012 | 10:15 a.m.

@Ellis
I am interested to know what was going through the prosecutors head when she decided to charge him with 2nd degree murder.

Per Florida law (according to AP...), second-degree murder involves a killing that results from a "depraved" disregard for human life.

I don't see how they are ever going to get all jury members to think Mr Zimmerman killed with a depraved disregard for human life. Maybe, they might have had a chance with manslaughter where the killing was not forseen or intended.

Manslaughter: The unlawful killing of a human being without any deliberation, which may be involuntary, in the commission of a lawful act without due caution and circumspection.

Could it be that she overcharged the case on purpose to appease the mob knowing in the end he would be found not guilty which would take the heat off of the police and prosecutors for letting the system go through the motions and a jury finding him not guilty ???

Or,

Was she ordered by Holder to go hard which will just result on more egg on Holders face when i didn't think that was possible...

(Report Comment)
John Bliss April 12, 2012 | 5:37 p.m.

Colonel, you hit the nail on the head! Where in the US can there be a fair trail? "Mis trial" is what they say.

(Report Comment)
Errol Allen April 12, 2012 | 8:35 p.m.

It's not about guilt or innocence, It's about skin color. If the shooter was black, Sharpton and Jackson would still be waiting for the next possible white on black crime.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop April 13, 2012 | 8:46 a.m.

Meanwhile in Phoenix, AZ, there is scarcely a mention of unarmed 29 year old Daniel Adkins who was walking his dog in front of a Taco Bell and had words with an unnamed 22 year old male in a car who then shot him. The unnamed man said that Adkins was swinging a pipe or club at his car, but police found no such weapon. Did I mention that Adkins is caucasian/hispanic, and the shooter is black? No charges have been filed as of yesterday. This occured last week on April 3rd. So far Jackson and Sharpton, as well as the media have had virtually no comment.

(Report Comment)
David Rosman April 14, 2012 | 11:05 a.m.

I started to write a short 200-word response to Karl’s column, but… Because the space for comments in the Missourian is limited and as a writer, I tend to say things in 500 to 1250 words, this was too long to publish there. You can continue reading on my blog sight, http://inkandvoice.com/2012/04/open-lett...

Karl ~ As always, a well written opinion column in the April 12 edition. I agree that we, as individuals, are being too quick to prejudge Mr. Zimmerman.

I am also a gun owner and a former member of the NRA, so I do respectfully disagree with parts of your premise and your proofs. Let me start with your statement that, “The NRA has long been in the vanguard of promoting safe, responsible firearms use and the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment…”

Read more: An Open Letter to J. Karl Miller http://inkandvoice.com/2012/04/open-lett...

(Report Comment)
Mark Flakne April 14, 2012 | 12:33 p.m.

Regarding Mr. Rosman's blog post...

‎"The liberalization of concealed weapon laws in most states, including Missouri, has not lead to the reduction of gun related crimes. Today’s news alone featured a shooting in Ohio in a Cracker Barrel Restaurant because a wife told her husband that she is leaving him. Two innocent by-standers were killed as well as the shooter.

We have seen a seemingly increase of gun violence here in mid-Missouri, including the shooting of a seventeen year old by a fifteen year old. Including gunfire close enough to the Chucky Cheese that bullets penetrated the wall. Including another shooting yesterday (April 12, 2012) in which, fortunately, no one was injured."

Mr. Rosman, making claims like this while citing only anecdotal evidence smacks of yellow journalism. The empirical evidence regarding gun violence in relation to CCW laws would likely detract from your thesis, so I can understand why you left it out.

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance April 14, 2012 | 1:23 p.m.

@Don

Did you bother reading the article or did one of your favorite right wing pundits spoon feed you your information.

You are trying equate falsely equate the two. Let me educate you.

1)In the Martin case, it was decided that Zimmerman wasn't going to be prosecuted. In AZ they haven't completed their investigation and were UNSURE if a weapon was found NOT that there was no weapon (you either didn't read or were trying to lie). The AZ has not made a determination whether to charge.

2)The decreased party approached the shooter while in the drive thru, Zimmerman pursued Martin.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro April 14, 2012 | 1:36 p.m.

("In 2009, the Violence Policy Center began an ongoing research project to identify killings from May 2007 to the present involving citizens legally allowed to carry concealed handguns.")
Total people killed: 401
http://www.vpc.org/ccwkillers.htm

Total number killed, per year, by illegal firearms approximate 10,000.
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?...

I would suspect that many of those 401 people killed by ccw handguns would probably have been killed if ccw did not exist.
Illegal handguns seem to be more of a problem then those who choose the legal route.
From what I know about Columbia, the next few months are crucial.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop April 14, 2012 | 5:30 p.m.

Tim, did you just read one article on the deceased (that definitely decreased him) Daniel Adkins? He was walking his dog. He crossed the drive through as the unnamed shooter was exiting the Taco Bell. The driver alleged that the deceased swung a pipe or club at his car - which was not found. Said club or pipe must have run away after the incident. Now Tim, did you bother to use any analytical thought processes on this story, or did you just give a knee jerk liberal reaction?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 14, 2012 | 5:48 p.m.

David, in his blog, says, "...In all cases, every able bodied man was required to take up arms as a member of the state militia..."
____________________

I don't think this has changed much. The requirement may not exist formally, but the obligation, duty, and right for us citizens is still there if needed. That's why your comma and missing word aren't a good argument for your interpretation of the Amendment phrasing. IMO, no matter how you read it, an armed citizenry is allowed and desired.

And SCOTUS came to the same conclusion not too long ago with a well-reasoned and historically-annotated opinion. It's worth reading.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 14, 2012 | 6:10 p.m.

District of Columbia v. Heller

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/07p...

The entire document is a good read, including the dissents, but in particular read: Held I (a), (b) and (e), where Dave's interpretation....complete with commas, missing words, and definition....is DOA.

Historically.

However, if Dave or anyone else wishes to change (or clarify to their own minds) the Amendment, there is a way to do this outlined and defined within the Constitution. I don't know why this approach is untried....well, yeah, I guess I do....not enough states will agree.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt April 14, 2012 | 7:22 p.m.

Karl said: "Mr Fogle--I find both interesting and amusing your "Now you've highjacked his case for your interest too, colonel." I merely used the incident as a lead in to my opinion columnn re gun control."

Uhm, that's precisely what hijacking the case for interest group agendas is. You start with the case, and then you move on to stump for your issue of choice.

Errol said: "It's not about guilt or innocence, It's about skin color. If the shooter was black, Sharpton and Jackson would still be waiting for the next possible white on black crime."

If the shooter's name had been Pedro Gonzalez instead of George Zimmerman, this wouldn't have made the news at all, and anyone who picked up on the story would have brushed it off as just another case of brown people killing each other. Then, of course, the "black community" and "latino community" would be held responsible for all of it, since having the same skin color makes complete strangers accountable to one another.

Yes, race has everything to do with this.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop April 14, 2012 | 7:22 p.m.

20 years ago I undertook a research project to determine if the NRA's stance on the second amendment was accurately portrayed. In doing this I studied both the individual writings of the framers of the Constitution, and also the debates before the state legislatures during the ratification process. I found abundant individual writings from Noah Webster, James Madison, George Mason, Samuel Adams, Richard Henry Lee, and Thomas Jefferson which forcefully put forth that the second amendment was meant as an individual right, and primarily to allow the people to protect itself from the government. Further, I did not find it even debated in the various legislatures during the ratification process. This would indicate that nobody even thought of the amendment in any other light other than an individual right. Further, every right under the Bill of Rights is meant as an individual right. Let their own words speak for us:

RICHARD HENRY LEE: "A MILITIA WHEN PROPERLY FORMED ARE IN FACT THE PEOPLE THEMSELVES, AND INCLUDE ALL MEN CAPABLE OF BEARING ARMS. TO PRESERVE LIBERTY, IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT THE WHOLE BODY OF PEOPLE ALWAYS POSSESS ARMS. THE MIND THAT AIMS AT A SELECT MILITIA, MUST BE INFLUENCED BY A TRULY ANTI-REPUBLICAN PRINCIPLE. SOURCE: LETTERS FROM THE FEDERAL FARMER, 1788.

NOAH WEBSTER, IN A PAMPHLET ADVOCATING PENNSYLVANIA'S RATIFICATION OF THE CONSTITUTION:

BEFORE A STANDING ARMY CAN RULE, THE PEOPLE MUST BE DISARMED; AS THEY ARE IN ALMOST EVERY KINGDOM IN EUROPE. THE SUPREME POWER IN AMERICA CANNOT ENFORCE UNJUST LAWS BY THE SWORD, BECAUSE THE WHOLE BODY OF THE PEOPLE ARE ARMED, AND CONSTITUTE A FORCE SUPERIOR TO ANY BAND OF REGULAR TROOPS THAT CAN BE, ON ANY PRETENSE, RAISED IN THE UNITED STATES.

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance April 14, 2012 | 7:54 p.m.

@ Don

My source.

http://www.chicagonewsreport.com/2012/04...

Read the sentence that says:

"It's unclear if investigators found a weapon at the scene. "

The right wingers are so pathetic sometimes. When the prosecutors finishes investigations, founds no bat or pipe, then doesn't charge the man, THEN you can compare.

You have something different, put up a link.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop April 14, 2012 | 7:57 p.m.

Mr. Rosman, I too need to pipe up. Begun in 1988, The Eddie Eagle GunSafe® Program has reached more than 21 million children -- in all 50 states. This program was developed through the combined efforts of such qualified professionals as clinical psychologists, reading specialists, teachers, curriculum specialists, urban housing safety officials, and law enforcement personnel. The program makes no value judgments about firearms, and no firearms are ever used in the program. Like swimming pools, electrical outlets, matchbooks and household poison, they're treated simply as a fact of everyday life. Eddie Eagle is never shown touching a firearm, and he does not promote firearm ownership or use. The program prohibits the use of Eddie Eagle mascots anywhere that guns are present. The Eddie Eagle Program has no agenda other than accident prevention -- ensuring that children stay safe should they encounter a gun. The program never mentions the NRA. Nor does it encourage children to buy guns or to become NRA members. The NRA does not receive any appropriations from Congress, nor is it a trade organization. However, doctors speaking to people about firearms were coming from a very biased position. This is why it was stopped, including at the CDC.
Doctor kill far more people from errors and over prescribing of drugs by many times the deaths from firearms. They should clean their own house first.
Further, the NRA's 61,000 firearms instructors train more law enforcement officers and hunters than any other group in the nation.
I too dropped out of the NRA. They gave too much support to liberal legislators who voted left wing on every other issue other than firearms. It was akin to having a pile of poop served with a dab of whipped cream and trying to pass it off as fun to eat.

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance April 14, 2012 | 7:57 p.m.

and in 1789, people owned people and woman had very little rights. Time to evolve, stop partying like it's 1799. The US backed then were wary of standing armies and the militia was meant to meet any defense needs. Now with a huge military, the need for citizen militias have waned.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop April 14, 2012 | 7:58 p.m.

As I said Tim, you only used one source. Try reading the others that are clear that no such weapon was found at the scene. Do you always base your opinions on one source?

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop April 14, 2012 | 8:00 p.m.

Tim, which of the other rights under the Bill of Rights do you believe need to be updated so as to restrict the rights of citizens?

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance April 14, 2012 | 8:07 p.m.

@ Don

All the sources I googled came up with the same thing. Please provide a link if you have more.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 14, 2012 | 8:35 p.m.

Why the argument about "hijacking"?

Everyone needs an introductional paragraph in their writings.

Hell, in his post, Jon hijacked Karl who was hijacked by Derrick who hijacked Karl who hijacked Martin according to the rhetorical rules defined here. And I hijacked all of you with this post and because I used the word so many times in a public forum I'm probably now on a list somewhere!

What's all the fuss?

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt April 14, 2012 | 8:47 p.m.

Don:

I'm not making an argument for or against guns here, just pointing out that the 2nd Amendment was written into the Bill of Rights because back then an abusive government was a very real threat. The first settlers showed up in this continent because they got fed up with England and its (in their view) tyrannical government. Of course they would want to make sure that the same didn't happen here.

Nowadays, however, the situation is very different. For one, something very messed up needs to happen for people to ever need guns to defend themselves against the government. Secondly, guns or no guns, US citizens would have no chance against the US military--which makes it really strange that 2nd-Amendment supporters also tend to want a huge military, the very entity the government would use to keep the population in check if it ever got to that point.

These days, the usual "we need guns to defend ourselves againt government" pro-2nd Amendment line is a complete non-argument. There are certainly decent arguments one could make in favor of gun ownership, but that one isn't one of 'em. Anyone who would say otherwise is simply being disingenuous.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt April 14, 2012 | 9:04 p.m.

Michael:

Obviously we're talking about using the Trayvon Martin case as a launch pad for one's own agenda, which may or may not have anything to do with the actual case--in other words, using the Trayvon Martin case merely as bait to reel the audiences in.

Hijacking in my situation would've been pointing out Karl's hypocritical argument and then going off on a rant about hypocrisy in general, then maybe segueing into some other issue I care about regardless whether or not it has anything to do with Trayvon Martin, or hypocrisy for that matter. (Perhaps free will? Or maybe our bad schools? ;) )

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 14, 2012 | 9:07 p.m.

Jon outlines the reasons back then (so did SCOTUS), and says the situation has now changed.

Ok.

Then amend it.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt April 14, 2012 | 9:11 p.m.

And because I'm a straight shooter, yes, I did indeed do partake in the hijacking in my response to Errol's comment. As in, I was heading toward an argument about race issues in general using the story as my starting point.

That's hijacking.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt April 14, 2012 | 9:16 p.m.

Argh, this forum is in desperate need of an edit button. That last post of mine was a disaster.

Onto what Michael said: "Jon outlines the reasons back then (so did SCOTUS), and says the situation has now changed.

Ok.

Then amend it."

I didn't say it needs amending. As I said at the beginning, I wasn't speaking for or against guns. I also said that there are other good arguments in favor of gun ownership. Guns to me are a non-issue, so I have no reason to want to remove/revise the 2nd Amendment.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 14, 2012 | 9:19 p.m.

Jon: Mainly I think everyone needs a good intro on which to hang their hat and this was as good as any. In this case, you and I both know the ultimate discussion about the Martin case will revolve around "stand your ground" and guns in general; I view Karl as just getting a rhetorical jump on things....the REAL argument down the road. So, I don't follow your "hijacking" argument; after all, how many folks will use the Martin case as a first-paragraph intro to their own anti- "stand your ground" and anti-gun laws?

Will you and others chime in with a claim of "hijacking" for their own agenda?
_________________

Even if Karl did meet someone's "hijack" definitions, how does that impact his main argument, positively or negatively?

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop April 14, 2012 | 9:52 p.m.

Tim, you really do need to work on your research techniques. Here are three for you from ABC, CBS, and FOX:

http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/region_wes...

” He told police that Adkins had a bat or some type of weapon that he swung at them, but detectives found nothing of the sort. A witness told police that Adkins did swing his fist in the driver's direction several times.”

http://www.kpho.com/story/17347547/famil...

“Police are still investigating if this was self-defense. So far, all they can say is that they did not find a weapon on Adkins.”

http://www.myfoxphoenix.com/dpp/news/cri...

“At first, the couple claimed that Adkins had a metal pipe that he swung at them -- but it turns out he was holding a dog leash with his yellow lab on the other end.”

Now please Tim, stop taking your info from a single source. It makes you look like you're NBC trying to edit what Zimmerman said.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 14, 2012 | 9:53 p.m.

Good point, Don - "I too dropped out of the NRA. They gave too much support to liberal legislators who voted left wing on every other issue other than firearms."

My membership in NRA was parallel to yours. Our District, though having elected an R' candidate to Congress, had D' Congressman H. Volkmer, foisted upon us by gerrymandering. Though as "big" a spender (backed Maxine Waters stall of 1993 flood funds until she could get her $100 per week for jobless program in L.A. attached.) he remained in our hair with NRA money while firmly backing the 2nd Amendment Rights and proclaiming a life membership in NRA. I knew several D's, disgusted, with our Congress, that voted for him because "he is against gun control", while every
R' candidate he ever faced, I believe, had better 2nd Amendment credentials than Volkmer.

There must be no single issue votes or "stay at homes" next Nov. Democrats must be removed from control in our governments!

I will happily discuss any contrary opinions.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt April 14, 2012 | 10:11 p.m.

Michael:

I agree that a strong title and intro are a good thing, but when your argument intends to criticize those who would hijack the case to suit their own agendas, it's in your best interest not to do the same.

In this article, both the title and intro are misleading:
-The title suggests he's gonna talk about all the people out there "profiting" from this case using its popularity as a means to draw the people in.
-The intro kinda follows the same path, but the message gets blurrier as he starts peppering his paragraphs with the usual jabs against liberals and "progressives," only sparingly glossing over the actual case.
-Finally, it turns that all this was was a pro-gun article.

He could (and should) have come up with a title that better reflected his argument, and the intro could've been way more to the point. For example:

"It seems that the Trayvon Martin case has brought out the usual flock of liberal anti-gun loonies, who are now redoubling their efforts to strip us all of our ability to defend ourselves. Let me remind you all of why the 2nd Amendment is important:

Yadda yadda yadda."

An intro of that sort acknowledges the fact that the Trayvon Martin case has everyone talking about gun rights and self-defense, but it still sticks to the point (aka "guns are good/important"). Karl's article doesn't do that.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt April 14, 2012 | 10:24 p.m.

And, in my view, the ultimate discussion on the Martin case is race. Whatever evidence is uncovered will lead to some kind of verdict, which may or may not be the right call, and may or may not result in changes to our self-defense laws, but this case is still only a manifestation of the larger problem.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 14, 2012 | 10:34 p.m.

Jon: First, if memory serves from prior staff posts, authors do NOT pick the titles.

The editorial staff or somesuch does. Missourian: Please chime in.

So, in conclusion, this is just a gripe session about JKarl's writing style as if the style negates his main points. It's about the road traveled...how he got there....as if that changes the veracity of his final destination. INO, it's an ad hominum attack that has nothing to do with his thesis.

(Report Comment)
Brian Trenhaile April 14, 2012 | 10:39 p.m.

@ Frank Christian

Please, Oh knowledgeable being: Convince me why I should vote Republican in 2012. Note: I don't make over $1 million, so the millionaire benefits don't apply to me.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 14, 2012 | 10:40 p.m.

Jon: Ultimately about race?

Only because some folks want it to be.

How do I know?

Because no one is talking about the events outlined in this particular article:

http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/wew/articles/...

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 14, 2012 | 10:50 p.m.

Brian: I may be wrong, but I think Frank has little inclination to convince you.

He's probably content with canceling your vote. After that, I'll prolly cast the deciding vote.

(PS: See, Jon hijacked the JKarl and injected race, Brian wants to be convinced to be a Republican, and I'm just highjacking the highjacking.

Lol. We ALL do it. But, it has not much to do with our main points.)

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 14, 2012 | 11:14 p.m.

From my link: "Editors for the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune admitted to deliberately censoring information about black crime for political reasons, in an effort to “guard against subjecting an entire group of people to suspicion.”
____________________

I do wish Walter had provided documentation.

(Report Comment)
Joy Mayer April 14, 2012 | 11:37 p.m.

@Michael, you're correct. Columnists, as with staff reporters, submit the text of their articles. They can suggest headlines, but most often headlines are actually written by our Interactive Copy Desk.

Joy Mayer
Columbia Missourian

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt April 14, 2012 | 11:42 p.m.

Michael said:

"INO, it's an ad hominum attack that has nothing to do with his thesis."

It has everything to do with his thesis, because it's hypocritical do accuse others of something, only to turn right around and do the same yourself. In this particular situation, it completely defeats the whole purpose of his argument, since that IS his argument (or so the intro would suggest).

p.s. The term is "ad hominem," just for future reference. (No, I'm not using a spelling error to downplay your argument. I mention this really just for future reference. Like, really.)

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop April 15, 2012 | 1:56 a.m.

Jonathan, the veterans can tell you this. Without the assistance of the military, the government could never hope to repress the people because the people are armed. The military would not assist the government in doing such because they hold those ideals of liberty just as we do. Most of law enforcement is the same. However, when President Obama or any other president suggests a civilian law enforcement agency as strong as the military, that should be sufficient reason to scare the be jabbers out of you and realize why the 2nd Amendment is important.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tt2yGzHfy...

"We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded."

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 15, 2012 | 5:19 a.m.

"We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded."

May I suggest a fitting, historic name for such a force? "Schutzstaffeln" (aka "SS"). They'll be so well- funded that we can deck them out in spiffy black uniforms and give them swastika armbands. The SS even had a military force that fought in various extra-territorial campaigns: Waffen-SS.

Apparently Harvard University has stopped teaching 20th Century history, or someone didn't take the course.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop April 15, 2012 | 5:31 a.m.

Ellis, that would be too obvious. How about Obama Corpse?

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 15, 2012 | 5:50 a.m.

Don:

It would be too obvious to you. We have citizens in this country so poorly educated that they probably think the Third Reich is the name of a German soccer team.

"Obama Corpse" might get you a visit from Homeland Security. They'll take it as an assassination threat. :)

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 15, 2012 | 10:21 a.m.

Jon:

Bull.

Go back and read the intro. Look at the structure. In his first paragraph, he notes two "self-serving consequences" by special interest groups "with a...ax to grind" responding to the Martin case. He then identifies the two consequences: (1) media complicity in pre-assigning guilt, and (2) a listing of those people/organizations already attacking stand-your-ground laws and CCW.

It is the second of these that is his topic. He actually says (quote), "However, on the second issue, that of added and more stringent gun control regulation demanded by the usual supporters in the anti-gun crowd, I do object."

He objects, then gets to the meat of the matter and tells us why.

What more do you want from the man? Payment for enrollment in "Writing Lessons by Jon 101?"

I think your analysis of his paragraph-development skills is so much malarkey, and your conclusion that his chosen technique demolishes his stated objection is utterly vacuous. You're not beating a dead horse....you're beating a horse that does not even exist.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 15, 2012 | 10:55 a.m.

Brian Trenhaile - "I don't make over $1 million, so the millionaire benefits don't apply to me."

You clearly belong to the "soak it to the rich" is the only way to go, crowd. If R's replace D's as our "governmental saviors" and if you work and earn money, you will be allowed to keep more of it for yourself, whether you are a millionaire or not.

The deficit stealing of over 1T$ annually will stop. The U.S. dollar will strengthen and among other "benefits", fewer dollars will be required to buy a barrel of oil. You may be against this reduction in gasoline prices, because it will benefit millionaires disproportionately to our poor. Right? This is why I vote for Republicans. There's more, if you want it.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop April 15, 2012 | 8:47 p.m.

I was hoping for at least an acknowledgement by Tim Dance that the Phoenix shooting appears much more cut and dried than the Sanford, Florida incident. I guess if he can't admit he was in error, it will ultimately become George Bush's fault.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop April 17, 2012 | 8:15 p.m.

Michael, I hardly think Jonathan needs writing lessons. He sentences are easily understood, the spelling is excellent, and the punctuation is properly done. Perhaps though, you could recommend he take a few courses in reader comprehension and basic logic. It might help.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt April 19, 2012 | 3:06 a.m.

Eh, I'm a couple of days late on this one, but given that last jab by Don, perhaps I should point out that I have an excellent grasp of logic. At least the Watson Glaser test I took for a job interview a few years ago seems to think that my critical thinking skills are in the 99th percentile of the population (95th percentile amongst the college-educated). As in, according to that test result, chances are I have a better grasp of logic than almost everyone else in here.

(And to be clear, I don't put much stock in standardized test scores, but regardless, evidence trumps opinion. However weak the evidence might be in this case, it's still something, and definitely more than your mere opinion.)

And yeah, my reading comprehension is just fine too.

(Report Comment)

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