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Archive for April 30th, 2013

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Some things I have learned to simply accept, if not with good humor, then at least without comment. As an attorney, I often receive (unsolicited) the glossy “brag books” in which a bunch of Seattle and Bellevue attorneys call themselves “Super Lawyers”, or publications like this one, intended to create confidence that if you have the negligence/personal injury/product liability case in which you don’t have confidence to properly handle yourself, referral to their firm would be a great thing for your client.

These things usually clutter up my mailbox, and I confess to rarely giving them a second look, but in this case, I did…for obvious reasons. And I found myself very angry because of it.

For better or worse, members of my tribe are viewed as authorities on the subjects we speak on. It’s one of the reasons I try to make damn sure I know what I’m talking about before I attempt to “speak with authority” on any matter. In the case of this article, I’m not sure if it was a lapse in judgement, someone else wrote the piece, or if the author was just careless, but the assertion that all of the recent mass shootings all involved automatic weapons is false, largely because of existing infringements that make it very difficult, expensive, and time-consuming for law-abiding citizens to obtain automatic weapons.  (As we all know, criminals don’t care.)

It only took me 15 minutes with a search engine to confirm what I already knew: NONE of the named shootings were perpetrated with automatic weapons. All involved semi-automatic weapons, and some also included other firearms, such as a .38 Smith & Wesson revolver, and a Remington shotgun. (links to news stories below)

Cafe Racer

Sikh Temple

Tucson

Aurora

Newtown

Forza Coffee… (In fact, the shootings at Forza Coffee were done with a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver.  The shooter didn’t have even a semi-automatic until he stole one of his victims’ Glock 17, according to this article)

Advocating to restrict, infringe, or eliminate a right is a serious business. This is more serious when that right is Constitutionally protected, as that protection is in the form of a guarantee of a right, because that guarantee is a recognition of the fact that the right exists independent of any action of government. Explained differently, this means that the right is not a privilege, which government may curtail, limit, or eliminate at its pleasure.

Advocating to infringe or restrict that right becomes all the more egregious when the text of the guarantee contains a prohibition on any infringement by government. This offense is compounded when incorrect “facts” are relied upon in the argument that suggests that “something must be done”.

Also conveniently omitted from the piece is the fact that gun control laws would have done little, if anything, to prevent these shootings.  And considering the relatively low number of deaths due to firearms in this country when compared to other causes, the burden for making the case becomes harder, not easier, when you talk about increasing government’s infringement on the right to keep and bear arms.  Frankly, the only way any such discussion should be entertained is through the only process by which such measures can be legitimately obtained: AMENDMENT.  And if such a proposal should be seriously made, I would welcome the discussion about the distinction between rights and privileges, and would no doubt be entertained and annoyed at the inevitable suggestion that man’s rights should be subject to the approval of government, as I, and others like me would labor ceaselessly to ensure that all who are paying attention are brought face-to-face with the stark realization of what such an idea means to the relationship between government and citizens, and the abandonment of the fundamental ideas that are the basis of this nation and its organic law.

If it was a mistake, it should be admitted as such.  If it was deliberate, then it is dishonest, and not worthy of the man who made the statement or the profession the author and I both share.

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