Participation in government final project



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GUN CONTROL DEBATE



The Second Amendment

A well-regulated militia being necessary for the security of a free state,



the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”



PARTICIPATION IN GOVERNMENT FINAL PROJECT
DIRECTIONS:

Read all materials provided in this packet. Use these materials for the following:


1. Write a one page essay that argues in favor of increased restrictions on gun ownership.

2. Write a one page essay that argues against increased restrictions on gun ownership.

3. Write an essay explaining your position on this topic.
Use specific examples to explain your position in all three essays.
4. You will take part in a Mock Congress debate and vote, Thursday, January 17, 2013.
WRITTEN ESSAYS DUE: THURSDAY JAN. 17, 2013
This project will be 1/5 of your final grade and will take the place of a final exam.


The Deadly Fantasy of Assault Weapons
New York Times editorial December 28, 2012
Adam Lanza shot 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., using a semiautomatic, military-style assault rifle made by Bushmaster. William Spengler Jr. used the same type of Bushmaster rifle to kill two firefighters last week in Webster, N.Y. The Washington snipers, John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, also used a Bushmaster in a spree that killed 10 people in 2002.

Bushmasters are by no means the only assault weapons of choice among mass killers (the Aurora shooter used a Smith & Wesson), but the brand’s repeated presence in murderous incidents reflects Bushmaster’s enormous popularity in the gun world, the result of a successful marketing campaign aimed at putting military firepower and machismo in the hands of civilians. Gun owners once talked about the need for personal protection and sport hunting, but out-of-control ad campaigns like Bushmaster’s have replaced revolvers and shotguns with highly lethal paramilitary fantasies.

The guns, some of which come in camouflage and desert khaki, bristle with features useful only to an infantry soldier or a special-forces operative. A flash suppressor on the end of a barrel makes it possible to shoot at night without a blinding flare. Quick-change magazines let troops reload easily. Barrel shrouds allow precise control without fear of burns from a muzzle that grows hot after multiple rounds are fired. But now anyone can own these guns, and millions are in civilian hands.

“There is an allure to this weapon that makes it unusually attractive,” Scott Knight, former chairman of the International Chiefs of Police Firearms Committee, told USA Today, speaking of the Bushmaster rifles. “The way it looks, the way it handles — it screams assault weapon.”

The company’s catalog and ads show soldiers moving on patrol through jungles, Bushmasters at the ready. “When you need to perform under pressure, Bushmaster delivers,” says the advertising copy, superimposed over the silhouette of a soldier holding his helmet against the backdrop of an American flag. “Forces of opposition, bow down. You are single-handedly outnumbered,” said a 2010 catalog, peddling an assault rifle billed as “the ultimate military combat weapons system.” (Available to anyone for $2,500.)

In case that message was too subtle, the company appealed directly to the male egos of its most likely customers. “Consider your man card reissued,” said one Bushmaster campaign (pulled off the Web after the Newtown shooting), next to a photo of a carbine. “If it’s good enough for the professional, it’s good enough for you.”

The effect of these marketing campaigns on fragile minds is all too obvious, allowing deadly power in the wrong hands. But given their financial success, gun makers have apparently decided that the risk of an occasional massacre is part of the cost of doing business.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/29/opinion/the-deadly-fantasy-of-assault-weapons.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0

www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/ct-oped1217-durbin-20121217,0,6755900.story






No more silence on gun limits

By Dick Durbin December 17, 2012 chicagotribune.com

What will it take? What will it take for a majority of Americans to speak out for a sensible firearms policy in our nation?

It will take more than a congresswoman being shot point-blank in the face as she gathers for a town meeting in Arizona. It will take more than a deranged gunman with a hundred-round magazine spraying bullets into a crowded movie theater in Colorado. It will take more than the kids who die playing with guns carelessly stored. It will take more than killings on the university campuses in Illinois, Texas and Virginia. It will take more than the shootings on streets in Chicago, East St. Louis and cities across the country. And it will take more than 26 victims, including 20 children, in a Connecticut grade school. What it will take is for the majority of Americans, and the majority of thoughtful gun owners and hunters, to agree that there must be reasonable limits on gun ownership and weapons.

The U.S. Supreme Court acknowledged that our Second Amendment rights are not absolute. So can we come together and agree that Americans have a right to own and use firearms for sport and self-defense within certain limits? We must institute reasonable, common-sense limits, such as barring those with a history of mental instability, those with a history of violent crime or adjudged dangerous and subject to restraining orders, and those whose names have been placed on a terrorist watch list from owning weapons.

And those "straw purchasers" who are literally fencing for drug gangs as well as the gun dealers who look the other way must be dealt with firmly. Certain classes of weapons that are strictly military and have no useful purpose in sport, hunting or self-defense should not be legally sold.

Magazine clips with more than 10 rounds should be prohibited from civilian use. No one should be allowed to purchase more than two firearms a month. And those who own firearms that are within the reach of children should have protective locks on their weapons. What holds us back are political organizations that are well-funded, well-organized and determined to resist even reasonable limitations. There is a close political parallel between the gridlock in Washington on dealing with our economy and national debt and the eerie silence in Congress as the list of horrific gun crimes grows by the day.

Too many of my colleagues just shrug their shoulders when gun issues come to the floor for a vote. They have made Grover Norquist-like pledges and feel duty-bound to vote "right" on every score card issue.

My wife and I grew up in families of hunters. We know the rite of passage when a father can take his son or daughter out hunting. I know the fun of watching the sun come up on a duck blind and hearing a seasoned hunter calling them in over the water. The hunters I know are good people who love the sport and hate the people who use firearms to terrorize and kill. We need for these hunters to join with many Americans who have never owned or used a firearm and call for a reasonable standard for gun use and ownership.

Until we do, the number of victims of gun tragedies will continue to grow and the silence of their funerals will be matched by the silence of those who have the power to change it.



Dick Durbin is the senior U.S. senator from Illinois.

Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC


http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/ct-oped1217-durbin-20121217,0,6755900.story

Republicans in need of sensible gun laws

San Franscico Chronicle OPEN FORUM On the Connecticut School Shooting

Brett Joshpe Updated 1:26 pm, Friday, December 28, 2012

As a conservative and a Republican, I can no longer remain silent as many within my ranks offer disingenuous arguments for preserving the status quo on gun policy. Some will consider it heresy, but after the Newtown shooting, it should be more obvious than ever why the petty ideologies of the past cannot be the path forward.

My interest in this issue partially stems from the fact that my brother's family, including three children, moved to Sandy Hook, Conn., last year to escape the kind of horrors that became a reality just days ago. I spent Christmas with them in Sandy Hook and observed firsthand this community in grieving, as people laid flowers and teddy bears on a freezing day in the center of town. Personal circumstances aside, this latest event should shake every American to his or her core. Sensible gun restrictions are not only important for our nation right now, they are important for the future of the Republican Party. If we in the party do not embrace them - if we continue to "cling" to our prior views - then we will pay the price at the ballot box, as polls show an increasing number of Americans support expanded gun restrictions in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre.

Let me be clear: Americans have a constitutional right, which the Supreme Court recently affirmed in the Heller and McDonald cases, to own and possess a gun inside their home for limited reasons, including self-defense. It is more obvious than ever to me why that right is so sacrosanct and why so many Americans want a weapon to protect their families in light of the dangerous world we live in and the fact that police cannot be everywhere at once. And nobody who is interested in having a serious debate about gun policy is suggesting that the Second Amendment no longer applies.

That is why the slippery-slope argument that many on the right are offering - that any restriction on guns will lead to the worst-case fears - is a red herring. Many gun-rights advocates also are asserting that the "bad guys" will obtain guns no matter what, which is why law-abiding citizens need the same access. But most laws and regulations are specifically designed to address abuse by the "bad guys." To paraphrase James Madison, if all men were angels, we wouldn't need laws or government in the first place. And while no law will prevent every tragedy, they can certainly make carrying them out more difficult.

I am not suggesting that the causes of events like Newtown are simple - they might range from a whole host of things from mental illness to the glorification of violence caused by Hollywood movies and video games (they are most certainly not caused by an absence of God from the classroom). Nor am I suggesting that the fix is easy. Reasonable people can even debate and disagree about whether more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens would make us safer and whether armed guards in schools across America is a viable proposal.

However, gun advocates will be hard-pressed to explain why the average American citizen needs an assault weapon with a high-capacity magazine other than for recreational purposes. That was a weak argument before Sandy Hook. Now it is simply untenable.

Sensible limitations will not take away our constitutional rights, nor will they prevent us from protecting our families in our homes. If conservatives suggest anything else, we are not being honest and we remain part of the problem. That is bad for our nation, and it will be bad for us come election time as well.

Brett Joshpe is co-author of "Why You're Wrong About the Right" (Threshold Editions, 2008) and is an attorney in New York City.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/openforum/article/Republicans-in-need-of-sensible-gun-laws-4147638.php#ixzz2HuFbjaxC

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/openforum/article/Republicans-in-need-of-sensible-gun-laws-4147638.php#ixzz2HuFUIyhn

Shoot down the NRA

Outrage over the Newtown massacre has gun nuts playing defense

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Editorial Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gun control supporters march to the National Rifle Association office in Washington on Monday.

Global outrage over the Newtown massacre, including at the role played by a gun that no civilian should possess, has forced the National Rifle Association to speak publicly, instead of privately in the halls of Congress.

America’s mighty proponent of deadly weaponry here, there and everywhere, including in bars and kindergartens, announced that on Friday, “The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.”

Don’t get your hopes up. The only “meaningful contributions” the NRA has ever made to public safety have been malignant ones — most notably, the millions of dollars by which the organization buys influence in the House, Senate and state capitals.

In the most recent election cycle, the NRA’s disbursements to candidates totaled more than $18.6 million, and its lobbying expenses in Washington ran to more than $2 million. The group got its money’s worth and wants to keep it, you can rest assured.

Barring the possibility that pigs start flying, look for the NRA to engage in evasions about everything other than guns that may have come into play in murdering 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School — everything from mental health to violent video games.

On Friday, in the immediate aftermath of the killings, the host of an NRA video news program preposterously attributed the deaths to a shortage of love, saying: “I don’t think the issue is an issue; I don’t think the issue is parenting, or Hollywood, or guns, or rap music, or young men. . . . It is the foundational stuff . . . whether it’s a lack of love, a lack of empathy for others, an apathy.” Lunacy like that has left the NRA in increasing isolation.

To escape disgrace, Cerberus Capital Management, a private equity firm whose officers include former Vice President Dan Quayle, is selling its interest in the company that makes the Bushmaster AR-15, Adam Lanza’s weapon of choice.

Dick’s Sporting Goods pulled semiautomatic rifles from its shelves in 511 stores nationwide. Walmart removed the AR-15 from its website. And the movie industry has canceled the premieres of violent films for fear of revolting audiences.

With President Obama signaling that he will back a renewal of an assault weapons ban, a bar on high-capacity ammunition magazine, the institution of more rigorous background checks for gun purchasers and closure of the so-called gun show loophole, the NRA is fighting a rearguard action for the first time in memory.

Now is the time to think even bigger, to get all that and more, in an epic battle to stop mass murders in the U.S.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/shoot-nra-article-1.1223165#ixzz2HuX1KWXW



5 Facts About Guns, Schools, And Violence

What every legislator - and citizen - needs to know.

Nick Gillespie & Amanda Winkler | January 10, 2013 www.reason.com

In the wake of December’s horrific mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Vice President Joe Biden is chairing a panel of experts that will make gun-control recommendations to President Barack Obama by the end of the month. The president has said that enacting new restrictions on guns will be one of his highest priorities. No one wants to ever again see anything like the senseless slaughter of 26 people – including 20 children - at a school. But as legislators turn toward creating new gun laws, here are five facts they need to know.



1. Violent crime – including violent crime using guns – has dropped massively over the past 20 years.

The violent crime rate - which includes murder, rape, and beatings - is half of what it was in the early 1990s. And the violent crime rate involving the use of weapons has also declined at a similar pace.



2. Mass shootings have not increased in recent years.

Despite terrifying events like Sandy Hook or last summer’s theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, mass shootings are not becoming more frequent. “There is no pattern, there is no increase,” says criminologist James Allen Fox of Northeastern University, who studies the issue. Other data shows that mass killings peaked in 1929.



3. Schools are getting safer.

Across the board, schools are less dangerous than they used be. Over the past 20 years, the rate of theft per 1,000 students dropped from 101 to 18. For violent crime, the victimization rate per 1,000 students dropped from 53 to 14.



4. There Are More Guns in Circulation Than Ever Before.

Over the past 20 years, virtually every state in the country has liberalized gun ownership rules and many states have expanded concealed carry laws that allow more people to carry weapons in more places. There around 300 million guns in the United States and at least one gun in about 45 percent of all households. Yet the rate of gun-related crime continues to drop.



5. “Assault Weapons Bans” Are Generally Ineffective.

While many people are calling for reinstating the federal ban on assault weapons – an arbitrary category of guns that has no clear definition – research shows it would have no effect on crime and violence. “Should it be renewed,” concludes a definitive study, “the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”

The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting is as horrifying a crime as can be imagined. It rips at the country’s heart and the call to action is strong and righteous. But as Joe Biden and his panel of experts consider changes to gun laws and school-safety policies, they need to lead with their heads and not just their hearts. Over the past dozen years, too many policies – the Patriot Act, the war in Iraq, the TARP bailouts – have been ruled by emotion and ideology. Passing sweeping new restrictions on Second Amendment rights won’t heal the pain and loss we all feel but just may create many more problems in our future.

Written by Nick Gillespie. Produced by Amanda C. Winkler. Additional camera work by Joshua Swain.

http://reason.com/reasontv/2013/01/10/reasons-5-facts-on-guns-and-gun-violence

The case for gun rights is stronger than you think
By William J. Bennett, CNN Contributor Wed. December 19, 2012
(CNN) -- On NBC's "Meet the Press" this past Sunday, I was asked how we can make our schools safer and prevent another massacre like Sandy Hook from happening again. I suggested that if one person in the school had been armed and trained to handle a firearm, it might have prevented or minimized the massacre.

"And I'm not so sure -- and I'm sure I'll get mail for this -- I'm not so sure I wouldn't want one person in a school armed, ready for this kind of thing," I said. "The principal lunged at this guy. The school psychologist lunged at the guy. Has to be someone who's trained. Has to be someone who's responsible."


Well, I sure did get mail. Many people agreed with me and sent me examples of their son or daughter's school that had armed security guards, police officers or school employees on the premises. Many others vehemently disagreed with me, and one dissenter even wrote that the blood of the Connecticut victims was ultimately on the hands of pro-gun rights advocates.
To that person I would ask: Suppose the principal at Sandy Hook Elementary who was killed lunging at the gunman was instead holding a firearm and was well trained to use it. Would the result have been different? Or suppose you had been in that school when the killer entered, would you have preferred to be armed?

Evidence and common sense suggest yes.


In 2007, a gunman entered New Life Church in Colorado Springs and shot and killed two girls. Jeanne Assam, a former police officer stationed as a volunteer security guard at the church, drew her firearm, shot and wounded the gunman before he could kill anyone else. The gunman then killed himself.
In 1997, high school student Luke Woodham stabbed his mother to death and then drove to Pearl High School in Pearl, Mississippi, and shot and killed two people. He then got back in his car to drive to Pearl Junior High to continue his killings, but Joel Myrick, the assistant principal, ran to his truck and grabbed his pistol, aimed it at Woodham and made him surrender.
These are but a few of many examples that the best deterrent of crime when it is occurring is effective self-defense. And the best self-defense against a gunman has proved to be a firearm. And yet, there is a near impenetrable belief among anti-gun activists that guns are the cause of violence and crime. Like Frodo's ring in "The Lord of The Rings," they believe that guns are agencies of corruption and corrupt the souls of whoever touches them. Therefore, more guns must lead to more crime.
But the evidence simply doesn't support that. Take the controversial concealed-carry permit issue, for example.

In a recent article for The Atlantic magazine, Jeffrey Goldberg, by no means an avowed gun-rights advocate, declared, "There is no proof to support the idea that concealed-carry permit holders create more violence in society than would otherwise occur; they may, in fact, reduce it."


Goldberg cites evidence from Adam Winkler, a law professor at UCLA, that concealed-carry permit holders actually commit crimes at a lower rate than the general population. The General Accountability Office recently found that the number of concealed weapon permits in America has surged to approximately 8 million.
According to anti-gun advocates, such an increase in guns would cause a cause a corresponding increase in gun-related violence or crime. In fact, the opposite is true. The FBI reported this year that violent crime rates in the U.S. are reaching historic lows. This comes in spite of the fact that the federal assault weapons ban expired in 2004. Supporters of the ban (not including anti-gun groups who thought it didn't go far enough in the first place) claimed that gun crime would skyrocket when the ban was lifted. That wasn't true at all.
In fact, after the expiration of the ban, The New York Times, whose editorial pages are now awash with calls for more gun restrictions, wrote in early 2005, "Despite dire predictions that America's streets would be awash in military-style guns, the expiration of the decade-long assault weapons ban in September has not set off a sustained surge in the weapons' sales, gun makers and sellers say. It also has not caused any noticeable increase in gun crime in the past seven months, according to several city police departments."
But let's take the issue one step further and examine places where all guns, regardless of make or type, are outlawed: gun-free zones. Are gun-free zones truly safe from guns? John Lott, economist and gun-rights advocate, has extensively studied mass shootings and reports that, with just one exception, the attack on U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Arizona, in 2011, every public shooting since 1950 in the U.S. in which more than three people have been killed has taken place where citizens are not allowed to carry guns. The massacres at Sandy Hook Elementary, Columbine, Virginia Tech and the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, all took place in gun-free zones.
These murderers, while deranged and deeply disturbed, are not dumb. They shoot up schools, universities, malls and public places where their victims cannot shoot back. Perhaps "gun-free zones" would be better named "defenseless victim zones." To illustrate the absurdity of gun-free zones, Goldberg dug up the advice that gun-free universities offer to its students should a gunman open fire on campus. West Virginia University tells students to "act with physical aggression and throw items at the active shooter." These items could include "student desks, keys, shoes, belts, books, cell phones, iPods, book bags, laptops, pens, pencils, etc." Such "higher education" would be laughable if it weren't true and funded by taxpayer dollars.
Eliminating or restricting firearms for public self-defense doesn't make our citizens safer; it makes them targets. If we're going to have a national debate about guns, it should be acknowledged that guns, in the hands of qualified and trained individuals subject to background checks, prevent crime and improve public safety.
Editor's note: William J. Bennett, a CNN contributor, is the author of "The Book of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood." He was U.S. secretary of education from 1985 to 1988 and director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under President George H.W. Bush.
http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/19/opinion/bennett-gun-rights/index.html?hpt=op_t1
Regulating the Militia

By Kevin D. Williamson National Review online December 28, 2012

My friend Brett Joshpe has published an uncharacteristically soft-headed piece in the San Francisco Chronicle arguing that in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook, conservatives and Republicans should support what he calls “sensible” gun-control laws. It begins with a subtext of self-congratulation (“As a conservative and a Republican, I can no longer remain silent . . . Some will consider it heresy,” etc.), casts aspersions of intellectual dishonesty (arguments for preserving our traditional rights are “disingenuous”), advances into ex homine (noting he has family in Sandy Hook, as though that confers special status on his preferences), fundamentally misunderstands the argument for the right to keep and bear arms, deputizes the electorate, and cites the presence of teddy bears as evidence for his case.

Brett, like practically every other person seeking to diminish our constitutional rights, either does not understand the purpose of the Second Amendment or refuses to address it, writing, “Gun advocates will be hard-pressed to explain why the average American citizen needs an assault weapon with a high-capacity magazine other than for recreational purposes.” The answer to this question is straightforward: The purpose of having citizens armed with paramilitary weapons is to allow them to engage in paramilitary actions. The Second Amendment is not about Bambi and burglars — whatever a well-regulated militia is, it is not a hunting party or a sport-clays club. It is remarkable to me that any educated person — let alone a Harvard Law graduate — believes that the second item on the Bill of Rights is a constitutional guarantee of enjoying a recreational activity.

There is no legitimate exception to the Second Amendment for military-style weapons, because military-style weapons are precisely what the Second Amendment guarantees our right to keep and bear. The purpose of the Second Amendment is to secure our ability to oppose enemies foreign and domestic, a guarantee against disorder and tyranny. Consider the words of Supreme Court justice Joseph Story — who was, it bears noting, appointed to the Court by the guy who wrote the Constitution:



The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.

“Usurpation and arbitrary power of the rulers” — not Bambi, not burglars. While your granddad’s .30-06 is a good deal more powerful than the .223 rifles that give blue-state types the howling fantods, that is not what we have a constitutional provision to protect. Liberals are forever asking: “Why would anybody need a gun like that?” And the answer is: because we are not serfs. We are a free people living under a republic of our own construction. We may consent to be governed, but we will not be ruled.

The right to keep and bear arms is a civil right. If you doubt that, consider the history of arms control in England, where members of the Catholic minority (and non-Protestants generally) were prohibited from bearing arms as part of the campaign of general political oppression against them. The Act of Disenfranchisement was still in effect when our Constitution was being written, a fact that surely was on the mind of such Founding Fathers as Daniel Carroll, to say nothing of his brother, Archbishop John Carroll.

The Second Amendment speaks to the nature of the relationship between citizen and state. Brett may think that such a notion is an antiquated relic of the 18th century, but then he should be arguing for wholesale repeal of the Second Amendment rather than presenting — what’s the word? — disingenuous arguments about what it means and the purpose behind it.

If we want to reduce the level of criminal violence in our society, we should start by demanding that the police and criminal-justice bureaucracies do their job. Massacres such as Sandy Hook catch our attention because they are so unusual. But a great deal of the commonplace violence in our society is preventable. Brett here might look to his hometown: There were 1,662 murders in New York City from 2003 to 2005, and a New York Times analysis of the data found that in 90 percent of the cases, the killer had a prior criminal record. (About half the victims did, too.) Events such as Sandy Hook may come out of nowhere, but the great majority of murders do not. The police function in essence as a janitorial service, cleaning up the mess created in part by our dysfunctional criminal-justice system.

We probably would get more out of our criminal-justice system if it were not so heavily populated by criminals. As I note in my upcoming book, The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome, it can be hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys:

For more than twenty years, NYPD detectives worked as enforcers and assassins for the Gambino crime family; in 2006 two detectives were convicted not only of murder and conspiracy to commit murder but also on charges related to such traditional mob activity as labor racketeering, running illegal gambling rings, extortion, narcotics trafficking, obstruction of justice, and the like. This was hardly an isolated incident; only a few years prior to the NYPD convictions more than 70 LAPD officers associated with the city’s anti-gang unit were found to have been deeply involved in gang-affiliated criminal enterprises connected to the Bloods street gang. Their crimes ranged from the familiar police transgressions of falsifying evidence, obstructing justice, and selling drugs seized in arrests to such traditional outlaw fare as bank robbery — they were cops and robbers. More than 100 criminal convictions were overturned because of evidence planted or falsified by officers of the LAPD. One scholarly account of the scandal concluded that such activity is not atypical but rather systemic — and largely immune to attempts at reform: “The current institution of law enforcement in America does appear to reproduce itself according [to] counter-legal norms . . . attempts to counteract this reproduction via the training one receives in police academies, the imposition of citizen review boards, departments of Internal Affairs, etc. do not appear to mitigate against this structural continuity between law enforcement and crime.”

The Department of Homeland Security has existed for only a few years but it already has been partly transformed into an organized-crime syndicate. According to a federal report, in 2011 alone more than 300 DHS employees and contractors were charged with crimes ranging from smuggling drugs and child pornography to selling sensitive intelligence to drug cartels. That’s not a few bad apples — that’s an arrest every weekday and many weekends. Given the usual low ratio of arrests to crimes committed, it is probable that DHS employees are responsible for not hundreds but thousands of crimes. And these are not minor infractions: Agents in the department’s immigration division were caught selling forged immigrant documents, and DHS vehicles have been used to transport hundreds (and possibly thousands) of pounds of illegal drugs. A “standover” crew — that is, a criminal enterprise that specializes in robbing other criminals — was found being run by a DHS agent in Arizona, who was apprehended while hijacking a truckload of cocaine.

Power corrupts. Madison knew that, and the other Founders did, too, which is why we have a Second Amendment.

— Kevin D. Williamson is roving correspondent for National Review.



http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/336529/regulating-militia-kevin-d-williamson#


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