Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Welcome to the Slaughterhouse!: Gun Control!

"If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter." George Washington

Welcome to the Slaughterhouse, America!!

By Nicholas Meyeres

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Plain and simple. To the point. No reason for debate, right? We win. You lose. Guns for everyone!

Sadly, it is never that easy when you are talking to people who want to take freedoms away rather than give even more to the people.

One rhetorical argument given by gun control advocates is that outlawing gun ownership will reduce crime. However, enforcing gun control requires criminal behavior on an even more massive scale: in order to disarm gun owners and regulate gun producers, the government themselves must commit crimes against the people by first violating the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution. That is, the government must forcibly expropriate the property of gun owners against their will. Therefore, gun control cannot reduce crime when enforcing gun control is a crime in and of itself. So, the whole idea of gun control for reducing crime is patently absurd in my opinion.

In fact, gun control actually increases crime on other levels, too. Criminals are deterred by armed victims, but gun control disarms law-abiding citizens. After all, a criminal will always find a way to obtain a gun. In essence, unarmed citizens make easy victims- it’s that simple.

Also, an armed populace is a strong check against government gone awry. After all, Thomas Jefferson said, "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves from tyranny in government." Guns simply provide many more designations aside from protecting yourself from home invasion or for the purpose of hunting.

Besides, the gun control debate has long been plagued by systematic bias, emotionalism, and most of all- shocking ignorance. Take the right to self-ownership for example. It entails (in part) a right to own weapons that can be used in a purely defensive manner. Weapons that can be used only aggressively are incompatible with self-ownership. Hence, nuclear weapons (as many gun control rights advocates ridiculously say everyone will want to have if not kept in check) are illegitimate. But weapon ownership of any other kind for one’s own protection (even hypothetical protection from tyranny of Big Government) is perfectly justified here in America.

Another argument often cited by gun control advocates is that “guns kill people” therefore we should endeavor to eradicate every one of them from the hands of any and all Americans. There is so much wrong with that statement, I don’t know where to begin. I suppose the most obvious place to start would be to say, yes, guns indeed do kill people- if they are in the wrong hands. But, you could say the same thing about a hammer, a kitchen knife, a baseball bat, a drinking straw or any other object that could be construed as a weapon. Should we ban all of those items, too? After all, a gun is impotent while it sits on a counter, unloaded. It only gains power when a bullet is added to the chamber and the trigger is pulled. In essence, the statement is misleading at best.

The bottom line is guns don’t kill people, people kill people…. that is to say, when individuals utilize them in an improper manner, of course.

So where does that leave us in the day's end about gun control here in America? In the clearest place imaginable if you ask me. Gun control is simply immoral, unnecessary, violates our rights as American citizens and just plain doesn’t work. Period!

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Welcome to the Slaughterhouse!: The Drug War!

"If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter." George Washington

Welcome to the Slaughterhouse, America!!

By Nicholas Meyeres

First of all, for the sake of complete disclosure, I have never done a recreational drug in my life. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t even consume caffeine and I am a vegan. Therefore, I would be just fine on a personal level if all of these things I don’t engage in ceased to exist altogether. Still, it generally isn’t my right or especially the government’s right to dictate what we choose to do to ourselves no matter how harmful it may be, or what we decide to put into our own bodies.

Having said that, if your bad behaviors impede on my well being and welfare or the wellbeing and welfare of others around you, I feel that the government DOES have the right to at least impose restrictions and mandates to those that engage in drug use of any kind. In other words, you shouldn’t be allowed to drive while drinking because others can and often are injured and even killed. Nor should you be allowed to smoke cigarettes in any public setting around anyone else because second hand smoke is not only proven harmful, but it infringes on a person's right to self ownership when they aren't allowed to breath free away from another person's vices.

You should, however, be allowed to smoke in a private business if that business deems it appropriate, and you should be allowed to smoke in the privacy of your own home as long as children are not present. An adult, after all, can choose to leave such a setting, but a child is at the mercy of the person who has ultimate authority over them, and if that person is a smoker, the child is forced to be a party to that behavior.

Furthermore, reality dictates that for a multitude of scientific reasons and otherwise, alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking are far more addictive and deadlier than marijuana use for instance. Therefore, the hypocrisy and costliness of the drug war needs to be ended immediately; that, or ALL drugs should be banned entirely. And since the latter is highly unlikely given how lucrative the industry is these days, all drugs should be legal within the context of strict (realistic) rules, regulations and punishments put on them all, all the way across the board.

Besides, we have spent nearly five hundred billion dollars on the War on Drugs since the 1970s, and no one in their right mind would say that this was anything short of a complete failure on nearly every single level. Indeed, failures of that magnitude must always be reevaluated gravely in any situation.

HOWEVER, if the sum total of your entire argument is just to end enforcement of all things harmful, that also is a failure of logic in and of itself in my world. After all, nearly 3,000 Americans died as a result of drunk driving in 2009 alone. Meanwhile, around 16,000 Americans are murdered each year, and 1.3 million American women, and 800,000 American men are assaulted by a significant other annually. Most of which are commited while under the influence of some sort of drug or another.

These grim figures have not yet resulted in a chorus of people demanding that drunk driving, murder, and domestic violence be legalized. Indeed, if anything, a spike in the incidence of a certain crime typically leads to demands for a crackdown, and ultimately stiffer penalties for the convicted. So why, then, do Drug War opponents like to point to that aforementioned "failure” of criminalized drug use as an argument for legalization of all drugs?

We simply need a new approach. Legalization on the whole is a poor option, and prohibition is as well. There has to be another way of looking at this issue with fresh eyes.

Perhaps we should start with decriminalizing drugs completely at the FEDERAL LEVEL only. The Feds should have no control over the states in this regard anyway- that’s why the Constitution’s there. In other words, if California wants to legalize medicinal marijuana, that should be allowed. If New York wants to hand out medical crack cocaine, all the power to them. Conversely, if Utah or Kansas want to ban all drugs of any kind- they should have that right as well without the federal government stepping in and stepping on their toes.

It’s not a perfect plan, but it’s a start- and frankly, it has to be better than the current path we’re on.

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