Thursday, July 24, 2008

Liberal Elitist Arrogant Mayor Vol. 1

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels tells us he's not trying to make life inconvenient for Seattleites...implying it just comes naturally to him.

  • In the midst of "challenging financial times" Nickels is ram-rodding through the City Council a plan to ban foam containers at restaurants and grocery stores, and impose a 20-cent fee for each disposable paper and plastic bag used in the checkout line at all grocery, convenience and drugstores - with plastic containers/implements/etc banned in July of 2010. In a display of solidarity with less well-off residents that use grocery bags as garbage can liners rather than paying for "extra special" designated baggage, Nickels in an interview said "If you use grocery bags to line your trash can, Nickels says, "that's great, 20-cents."
  • Nickels cronies in the Parks Department, in a triumph of symbolism over sanity decided to take down a long time Seattle tradition, in a sop thrown to "global warming" - beach fires at Alki Beach and Golden Gardens city parks while a factory burns tires for fuel a short distance away. At least until public outcry forced a Parks Department climb down...
  • And then there's that loony notion, "car-free" days on local roads - trapping local residents or barring them from their homes if they have the temerity to make an appointment or try to come home during the "forbidden hours".
  • Under Nickels, a group of bicycle riding hooligans once a month magically ride above the law, engaging in random property damage and - most recently - assault.
  • Nickels, frustrated that the rest of the state won't buy into his delusions, suggested on 4/18 that the Seattle/TriCounty (King/Pierce/Snohomish County) area secede from the rest of the state.
God knows, there's more, but I'd like to move on to other topics for now...if I contemplate just how screwed up Nickels is, and the damage he's doing a city I love for too long, it just raises my blood pressure.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

More reasons to boycott or cancel the Beijing/Nuremberg Olympics

From Crusader Rabbit, we find this tidbit which must be shared...

Asia News - For "reasons of safety", bars are forbidden to serve "blacks"" and Mongolians or place tables in the street. Street musicians are being banned, and so is buying medicines containing "stimulants" without a prescription. Prohibitions are on the rise for the Olympic capital, while the first leaks reveal a grandiose fireworks display for the inauguration. Bar owners around the Workers' Stadium in downtown Beijing say that public security officials are telling them not to let in "blacks" and Mongolians, and many of them have even had to sign a pledge. The official reason is the fight against drugs and prostitution, dominated in the past by Mongolians and persons of colour. [snip] In some areas, tables are not permitted outside, because “the presence of too many foreigners gathered outside could create problems”. There is also an attempt to shut down outdoor musical concerts, to prevent disorder.

Once again, the Olympics are being used, ala 1938, to promote image-building for a totalitarian state with no respect for human rights or common decency. 'Twould seem that racism and bigotry are being served up on the Olympic platter as well, to accompany that heaping helping of xenophobia.

Why not only open carry?

Again a response - I'm told it was a good one, so I'll share, preceded by the comment that produced the response (methinks it makes more sense that way).

Dominique Jul 18, 2008 at 11:58 pm

gc - I would totally fight for your right to open carry a gun

GC Jul 19, 2008 at 1:34 am

Why only open carry? While, in a more perfect world, I’d rather that open carry be an individual choice than of local regulation - I’m not terribly enamored of that choice…

Open carry, from my point of view, has a number of severe drawbacks - particularly in our current cultural environment.

First, if the biowaste does hit the rotary oscillator, unless one has unnaturally good luck - open carry (having at that point failed as a deterrent) equates rather nicely with a “shoot me first” t-shirt. Not good.

Second, after a couple of generations of “oooh, guns bad/scary - they will grow itty bitty little legs and arms, foam at their tiny little steel mouths, and kill all the people and ravish the washing machines” - I’m not especially excited about being the target of yet another range of the irrational fears of the little old ladies of both genders, all ages, and many hues in the general populace. One such range of bigotry and foolishness is sufficient to annoy me, I have no need for two.

Such fears tend to produce unwanted interviews with local law enforcement, wherein (particularly in more repressive areas) *even if one is wholly in the right, and aside from open carry, engaged in no “threatening” actions* one tends to lose between hours and days while it “all gets’ sorted out”. Tedious, at best.

I don’t mind folks who open carry lawfully, and substantial respect for more than a few of them - ones who are willing to put up with the bigotry and harassment in hopes of abating the irrational fears and bigotries accumulated these last few decades.

However, my path and preference is a bit less noble. I’d much rather live my quiet little life, hedging my bets against the available misfortunes as best I can (yes, I do have fire extinguishers in my home and car; the car also, not surprisingly has road flares, tire chains, a flashlight or two, and a couple of cans of 10w-30 oil and a jug of water), and then getting on with the business of getting on with life.

I’m not, at this point, an activist. Just an advocate of letting the law-abiding make their own choices and, in line with their various ethos and environments, make the best choices they can to ward off the less jolly aspects of fate.

If said law-abiding screw up? There’s a reason we have courts and juries.

Logic, Self-Defense, Guns, Links

SayUncle, over on his blog, proposes a bit of google-fu and trading linky-love to boost rankings on topics such as CCW. I propose to go one better, and actually knock out an article with multiple relevant links.

I've carried, where lawful, for over twenty years now. Where, for one reason or another, I could not lawfully carry - I kept about my person those tools that I lawfully might to either deter or decide in my favor some of the more unfortunate brands of serious social discussions.

The world is notably unfair, and given the disparity in ability to fend off two and four-legged predators of varying degrees of sentience imposed by size/age/gender/health - logic hinted that force equalizers were likely a fine thing, when things fell apart.

On turning 21, I picked up a .45 and a concealed pistol license - and have maintained the license whenever it's been readily available ever since.

I've recently covered the notion of "why" in some detail in other entries, but hopefully this is a happy healthy link-filled contribution to the discussion.

Btw, the cartoon link is shamelessly borrowed from Anarchangel, and is included because it's too good NOT to be shared...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Political Reality

While not precisely a new screed, I'll address it again, perhaps with more vigor.

Any time that a small, minority, or non-mainstream group in a two-party political system marries itself so thoroughly to one political party or another such that the unallied party reasonably views that group as beyond recapture - that group has sold whatever influence they had, and sold it at a heavy discount.

Most politicians are basically whores, and rather nasty ones at that. They are, by the nature of things, out for votes and cash with which to get re-elected. They, like everyone else, have limited amounts of time and resources (thank goodness), and have to prioritize how they spend that time and their resources along the lines of which interest group or demographic pandered to is likely to yield the greatest number of votes and/or dollars come the campaign or election.

Not all politicians start out in this mode, and not all of them take it to the logical extreme, or even admit this to themselves...often rationalizing it as some form of necessary evil "to accomplish the noble goals that I really truly believe in." But politicians that SURVIVE, however, find a way to work with this dynamic whether they like it or not, whether they admit it even to themselves or not, or whether they remain in some form of blissninny denial while their aides get their hands dirty.

Once a group is "sold" beyond a reasonable hope of extracting a statistically significant number of either dollars or voters to either the "other party" or "other candidate"...the motivation for the politician to do anything nice for the group their opposition has purchased, or even keep that group happy (or at least not actively hostile) , dwindles swiftly - in some cases, downright vanishing as it's a short trip from "political black hole" to "handy group to demonize to folks that actually like us".

As an example, no matter how even-handed and pro-gay a GOP candidate may be - unless their opponent with a (D) after their name is a total scumbag with a thing for gerbils (or just plain deceased, and even that may not be enough) - any GOP candidate, no matter how good, has an uphill row to hoe in any area with a significant LGBT population, or in trying to pry either votes or dollars in significant numbers out of the LGBT community.

If elected, that candidate is unlikely to view the LGBT community is one that s/he needs to stay on the good side of to ensure his/her next electoral victory, to rush out and push for LGBT civil rights (when that would offend many folks that DID vote for him/her) - we've become, to that candidate who might have either supported our issues or remained largely neutral, a throw-away group to whom s/he owes nothing beyond a swift kick in the collective shins.

The flip side of this vile coin, is that often the Democrats (justifiably) view our community as a gathering of useful idiots, of "gimme's" whom it is utterly safe to take for granted, as we (apparently by our own hand) have no apparent significant other place to go. (The American Green Party, it is to laugh). THEY don't have to do anything nice for us, because they don't have to expend political resources, cash, or dollars on all but the most infrequent of basis to keep us in the fold of the mighty jackass.

We've actively fostered this in our community by actively ostracizing those who dare to favor the Log Cabin Republicans, who are related to GOP politicians, or who express conservative views in support of the community (i.e., pro-gay, pro-gun, fiscally conservative). Libertarians are typically given the some what less respect than the Greens (that given radicals we *don't like*).

But this isn't just a LGBT thing - that is simply the example with which I'm most intimately familiar. Substitute "black" or "evangelical christian" or "nra member" or "bostonian" and apply the necessary linguistic tweaks so that the affected paragraphs continue to make sense - and the same basic principal applies.

As long as a group is seen as being "in play" and statistically signiicant for either major party to gain or lose votes/dollars - that group, whatever it is, wields substantial influence as candidates of both parties pander to that groups issues. The moment that group is even popularly believed to be irretrievably a supporter of one party or another, their influence is vastly diminished.

That's why I'm grateful that the SAF and NRA and other such groups are quite open to supporting candidates of *either* party if that candidate has a history and a platform of supporting those groups agendas. I tend to agree with those agendas, and I believe that "uncertainty factor" makes those groups more effective than they might otherwise be - they set a clear bar that politicians must leap to garner support, and reward those who pass it. They aren't married to either party.

On the flip side, that is why I'm disgusted with some groups and members of my community - they are pissing away, with great enthusiasm, political capital that we need. We've gained a great deal over the years, and the end zone is (at least from my point of view) is well in sight - gay marriage and allowing open LGBT service in the military - and I can't really favor pissing away potential influence we could wield there, or the additional dollars we might garner for HIV/AIDS research with such influence.

Sadly, however tempting it may be, wandering about and swiftly and repeatedly crotch-kicking the various leaders of the sundry sell-out factions...isn't especially constructive, makes the neighbors talk, and is likely to lead to less than ideal relations with local law enforcement.

All news cannot be good...

For verily, in but a brief time, two of the best and brightest in the blogosphere (at least that I've encountered) have gone AWOL, on blog hiatus...

As always, Marko, he of the brilliant pen and incisive analysis, leaves behind a well-reasoned and logical explanation for his hiatus (however much I'll miss his daily contributions to the land of reason and sanity, I can't disagree with him, darn it) and the hope of an eventual return. I'll miss his daily dose of rational thought - even on those occasions I may not completely agree, I've often had to rethink my views in light of the arguments he proposes; and all too often, I've been forced to resort to the fundamentally irrational "because!" argument as I rethink my views...which I'm not prepared to make in a public venue in all but a tiny number of cases - a guy has to have SOME pride - better silence, than that level of foolishness.

At the same time, we have FreeNewHampshire going off the air for an undetermined period, from whence I gathered greatly enjoyable bits of snark, intelligence on the state of affairs in that beknighted state known as Massachusetts (and a bit of schadenfreude regarding the entirety of that state, not unlike watching Mayor Daley of Chicago - no matter how bad Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels may be, it could be worse...), and wee tidbits of hope regarding the Free State experiment in New Hampshire. I'll miss that, as well.

Here's hoping that both of these talented folks make a rapid return to the bloggish world and shower us with their special brands of logic, insight, snark, and wit.

WOOHOO! I've been QUOTED....

It's always surprising as I meander the web and find my words least partly because it's so bloody rare! :) Was meandering down my link list for some late night reading, and there it was...a quote over on View from NW Idaho...


Friday, July 18, 2008

Jib-Jab '08 Campaign

With their merrily even-handed slapstick, Jib-Jab slam-dunks out yet another humor-laden polemic with well-deserved jabs at every major player in the '08 political landscape. Enjoy!

Responding to Vileness

On running into a link to a rather unpleasant blog from Joe Huffman's space (his piece titled, "bigotry examples"), I left the below in comments over at the blog that annoyed me. Name-calling as a substitute for logic, and personal attacks as a substitute for facts annoy me - and on my better days, I prefer to respond with reason and fact. (Note, severe snark in other settings I actually can appreciate, at least as long as I'm not the target. )

I hope I got it right, and am quite open to any friendly input on how I could've put it better.


I am a gay man with a disability that severely impairs my upper body strength, and asthma that makes "run away, run away" a rather futile safety strategy in the face of any sort of unpleasantry. This combination provides me with an odd new group to be a member of - "Heightened Target Profile".

"Run and fall down gasping for air" rarely improves ones chances of either successful departure from a scene of potential badness, or for faring well once one fails to depart.

Similarly, low upper body strength means that getting physical about it all does NOT really work for me. This is something many women and elders of both genders share with me WITHOUT the benefit of major surgery required to achieve it. Coincidentally, elders also often suffer from limited mobility from a wide range of causes.

We then examine "non-lethal alternatives", as nobody is eager to suffer the legal, moral, and ethical torments involved in utilizing lethal force (or the threat thereof) to defend oneself, ones home, or ones loved ones.

Verbal de-escalation, and/or "give them what they want". Sadly, in many cases assailants and home invaders really aren't up much for a jolly chat and resist being battered with logic quite effectively. Similarly, many of the more thuggish sorts realize that "dead folks tell no tales", and apply this unfortunate philosophy with great vigor.

Whistles, yells, bells, shrieking - it'd be great if they worked. For them to work, you need someone to HEAR the alarm, who then associates the alarm with "bad thing in progress", and finally isn't too scared of the local baddies to either rush out and help out - or at least summon police who may (depending on staffing and pre-existing calls at the time of disaster du jour) show up somewhere between two and forty-five minutes after the call is made.
An awful lot of bad, and very final, things can happen in just one minute...let alone forty-five.

Impact devices (sticks and such, as most private individuals do not have access to exotica such as "bean bag guns") require that *oh my* upper body strength, and in addition, require that one come within potential striking range of the assailant - a bad choice, in anyones books.

Pepper Spray, Tear Gas, and that old reliable, Mace all have substantial downsides if employed as a sole defense without help and more substantial defense tools readily available.
First off, when employed, environmental conditions (Wind is the worst, with "blow-back"; but rain/snow can reduce range and effectiveness as well) often negatively effect, even nullifying, such weapons - they can also be borderline lethal when employed against (or in the mere presence of) persons with impaired breathing function (bystanders, the intended victim, even the assailant). (Editorial addition 7/18 2310: Another little problem with this category - often folks hit with this sort of thing are not amused, and step FORWARD with ill intent towards those who utilized the aerosol against them)

Tasers and stun guns have their own issues. Proper training with them includes taking a hit FROM them, so you may understand their limitations. Most privately owned tasers are "non-projectile", i.e., for best results you need to apply the taser prongs to your uncooperative assailant (ideally at base of skull, or body core, in that order) at arms length...and HOLD it there for 20-30 seconds while you're riding your new friend, the "Assailant Bucking Bronco", as they find the experience unpleasant and try to break away and beat you senseless. As an added bonus, by definition you are within arms length if they break free and the beating commences...AND...that "holding on" thing requires substantial upper body strength. Not a good choice for the physically challenged, elders, or most women.

Separately, the "projectile" Taser type device (if you are in an area where they are legal for you and you planned ahead) suffer their own limitations. First, they are mostly "one-shot wonders" - if you don't get a "good hit" on your assailant, your Taser is now out of service until it can again be primed (depending on make/model, a lengthy process. Even better, assuming that under stress you hit your assailant from 15-25 feet away, it had best be summertime or in a mild climate - the flechettes (think of a pair of tiny little barbed arrows dragging wires behind them using the body of the assailant, ideally, to complete an electronic circuit) are notorious for failure to penetrate heavy clothing (winter wear, leather jackets, etc) which means no circuit, and in turn, no zap, and finally one very cranky assailant. In yet another bonus, bystander and assailant safety are placed at risk as the flechettes are simply exceptionally vicious small caliber projectiles that have a good marketing campaign. They can easily take out an eye, an exposed artery, or sundry other fun things - and as with any electricity based weapon, have serious cardiac implications for those with that set of issues.

Moving right along to more lethal weapons, we visit that most traditional category, the House of the Sharp & Pointy. The primary concern, where such implements are legal in the first place, is that effective use for defense requires substantial training and practice. Valid secondary concerns include both a need for upper body strength (again disadvantaging the differently abled), and the ever present concern that to utilize these tools in all but the most exotic fashions, one must come within grasping range of the assailant - enhancing ones vulnerability.

I think we can agree that there are *no* truly non-lethal self-defense measures, any more than there is *truly* safe sex. With any self-defense utensil, things can go suddenly and horribly wrong, and either you or your assailant(s) can end up suddenly and painfully dead or seriously injured.

Finally, and after much examination of other options (and yes, there remain a wide range we've not yet examined, that I suggest are best described as exotica - improvised weapons, muscle-driven projectile weapons, blow-guns, lethal or non-lethal chemical and biological exotica both airborne and injected, etc.) we approach examining a final category, firearms.

Firearms (and pistols, specifically), today, are the most effective means of preserving ones personal safety once things have gone so wholly awry that the preferred strategies ("run away, run away", or, "be someplace the trouble isn't") are no longer valid options.

Specifically, the point where the bat-wielding bashers have lurched from the darkness; where the rapist or burglar has entered the home; when a small business owner is at threat from an armed robber; or finally, when the random elder is assaulted by a mugger - all are points when less confrontational tactics have either failed or soon will, and with flight barred, the choices are either to fight - as effectively as possible - or die a cowards death, with head bowed and neck exposed.

A firearm, cliche as it is, ultimately is the equalizer of force between the aged and the youthful, the sprightly and the disabled, the hale and the infirm, and the law-abiding citizen and violent social predators.

Having analyzed the personal safety options, the recent Heller decision (and the pending cases likely to rather thoroughly clarify the Second Amendment as an even broader individual right, in those states without even more explicit provisions in their State Constitutions protecting individual firearms ownership and carry), the "individual vs. group right" debate is now over.

The new debate is what level of restriction will pass constitutional muster at both the state and federal levels.

I would suggest that, for rational persons, that many restrictions (such as ammunition restrictions) are at best counter-productive red herrings, the legal equivalent of a temper tantrum.

That lawful firearms owners posses the means, the facilities, the supplies, and the equipment to hone their skills only ensures that should the dreadful day come that they should need to utilize their firearms as self-defense tools - that they will be much safer in their efforts.

An awful lot of similar proposed restrictions are similarly counterproductive to public safety, or, alternatively, are mis-designed to punish the law-abiding while having little or no effect upon the criminal class.

An individual about to rush out and do "bad felonious things", to be rather more blunt, is unlikely to be deterred by a gun control law - they've already made their decision to disregard the law.

Similarly, as has recently been raised, those intent on suicide (as opposed to "pleas for help") have such a wide range of other approaches that attempting to bar any one implement is of such low effectiveness (particularly with any implement or device that has even the vaguest possibility of worthwhile social or individual use) is beyond the ridiculous. If someone is bound and determined to depart this veil of tears, there is *nothing* that any of us can do - short of incarcerating said person in a so-called "safe room", to ultimately frustrate them in their goal in the long term. It is sad, it is unfortunate, it is tragic - it is also so inevitable that beyond attempts to provide counseling/medication/diversion, there is nothing that can be effectively done to prevent its ultimate completion. Life is neither fair, nor uniformly nice, nor even full of really ideal solutions.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Things could have gone so differently

Surfing the blogs, one occasionally stumbles across links that after 2-3 clickthroughs...lead to an actual interesting tale. Such is the tale of Spyrit & B, and their Sunday night adventures with an over-frisky drunk.

Seems they live in a relatively tranquil area of a Massachusetts college town, opened the door on a drunk knocking, who rapidly proceeded to become a home intruder that required high velocity ejection with impact therapy enthusiastically applied.

Methinks the first error is opening the door on an unknown at 0230 (particularly when unknown is obviously hammered); my second observation is, in the wide range of available defensive tools in even in the Cesspool of Nanny-hood that is Massachusetts, a rubber mallet is substantially less than ideal.

My final observations is that this blog really exposes the mindset of a lot of people, folks that those of us with a more pro-active bent seldom hang out with, that simply don't even have personal safety or self-defense contained anywhere in their world view - until things have gone thoroughly to pot, and often not even then.

Doesn't make them bad folk, but I'd suggest that world view is worth examining, if only so we may better understand where many of our opponents are coming from - not so much a place of malice, as a place of complete and absolute ignorance on a specific range of topics.

Take a look, leave a comment if you like - I'm not planning on giving them a place in my linky-love column, but in's an illuminating read if you've not run into that before, and a worthwhile trip down memory lane on how innocence and obliviousness can do every bit as much damage as malice and scheming.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Power Tools = Good

As I've been job-hunting this last little bit, I've drifted into a cycle of "job-hunt at night, home repair during the day".

Presently I have a stairwell under repair (repaint, strip out layers of carpet from the '70's and the '80's, pull carpet staples, replace some treads, sand, paint), a couple of trunks my father made to renovate for the nieces, a giant cat scratching post (when the cat, curled up, is 34" long and near 30lbs, the average scratching post is...inadequate), a bathroom threatening to need to be gutted and rebuilt, and sundry other projects waiting in the wings.

Spent yesterday and the day before having quality moments with the power washer - what with my illness in '06 and Dad's in '07, the whole home maintenance bit had fallen a bit behind, so much yard waste has been hauled away, and this project involved blasting mud/moss/crud off the deck & house - and then peeling maybe a 30yr accumulation of oily crud off a concrete driveway as we try and drive the house towards at least conceptual sellability.

With that much crud, took an age and a half, but managed to discover a previously unknown patio under 2" of moss (and gee, the gate DOES swing easier with clearance), that the driveway was maybe a foot wider than we thought, and various items formerly hiding under debris - as well as a dead exterior faucet that's now on the list.

I'm continuing the process of helping Mom go through Dad's things and hauling things off to various exciting new destinations and sorting through the volume of stuff that fit a 2-story 40x80 rambler just fine...but fit a WWII warbox house of perhaps half the size and w/o the outbuildings rather less well.

And knocking out about 15 job apps a week. WHEEE!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

DumbAss of the Year Competition

In exciting news from the National DumbAss Competition, the heated competition between Boston Mayor "Mumbles" Menino (Health Care, Creative Hiring, Foolishness, Technology & Free Speech), Chicago Mayor Richard Daley (Meigs Airport, Heller, Corruption), and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels (General Doofery, Plastic Bags, Anti-Gun) saw a surprise new joint entry today in the competition with the publication of the recent overwrought comments of Commissioner John Wiley Price and Justice of the Peace Thomas Jones of Dallas.

Price, on hearing a county department described as a "black hole" (an astronomical phenomena simply described as something that sucks in everything in the area, and nothing ever comes out) went off on an "I wanna be offended so I can toss a hissy" binge, declaring the office had become a white hole (a different astronomical event where a point in space vomits forth a vast amount of matter and energy - the polar opposite of a black hole). He was then joined by Jones, in an open public meeting, demanding an apology from the "offender". Together, they demonstrated their collective DumbAss'ry with such verve and elan that they made the DrudgeReport and Lawdog's blog all in one day. LawDog tells it far better than this humble reporter.

In other news, in the Junior Snark Competition, a late entry from an unidentified 11yo in a gentle missive to Best Buy found via Digg shows hope for the next generation of Special Snark Operators.

Finally, we end our days commentary with recognition of the recent entry in the International Rounds of the competition, from the Formerly Great Britain where the ninnies and the nannies appear to be running things - as evidenced in this screed against racist toddlers (what, they don't like foreign/unfamiliar food? BABY RACISTS!).

That concludes todays report.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Two hundred thirty-two years later

Today, in the summer of 1776, assembled in the Second Continental Congress, the representatives of 13 British Colonies took action, voting unanimously for the Declaration of Independence we know today, 39 alterations from Jefferson's original text.

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

As we celebrate this anniversary of our nations founding events, re-read the Declaration - and ask how many of what the founders considered unforgivable wrongs our representatives have inflicted on us - then take notes, and remember come the election.

The dreaded scourge - "Knife Crime"

Now and again, I can't quite resist a letter to the editor, even in a publication from a land so mired in PC that its' leading jurist proposes to introduce sharia law...this was to the Times of London, so seems unlikely to be published - yet, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

To the Editor:

Criminalizing objects and their possession is merely a futile feel-good ploy, a bloody sop thrown by the excessively PC to those dismayed by ever-increasing violence in over-regulated cities. It does naught to deter the actual criminal (already not noted for obedience to laws), creates a violent black market for whatever object is currently demonized, and in the case of potential tools of self-defense - removes an important and sadly final tool from the hands of law-abiding under assault from societies predators.

Prohibition - whether of guns, alcohol, knives, or marijuana - is naught but a vastly counterproductive feel-good measure at best, and at worst, the instrument of elitist bigotry against the peons based in the assumption that the common soul is too ill-informed, immoral, or inhabiting a body of the wrong gender, color, orientation, or faith to be capable of exercising good judgment.

Between those two extremes lays the all-to-frequent "look, voters, we're DOING SOMETHING" endemic to hack politicians in democracies and democratic republics across the world - it doesn't matter whether the "something" is worthwhile, constructive, or actively damaging to the nation and its' people - to these floaters in the cesspool of public life, all that matters is that they *look busy* to their less than adoring public. Just as looking busy only when the boss turns up seldom works to the best interest of the company, looking busy only when the public is paying attention or likely to dis-serves a nation.

Whatever our nation, we are far better served by legislators wise enough to regard prohibition as a likely useless tool of last resort, and set about the business of rebuilding, creating, and preserving productive nations. When it comes to matters of violence, rather than looking at the tool du jour, let them look at the perpetrator - and let them realize that not all violence is unjustified nor does all violence do a disservice to society.

The shopkeeper fending off a robber with a stick, saber, or shotgun; the father defending his family, the elder fending off a home invader by means fair or foul - none of these serve as a burden on society, nor do they need punishment. Each of them, even should they fail in their defense, shores up the notion that a nation is not composed of sheep that merely need to be lined up and butchered with the eager assent of their culturally and socially sensitive shepherds.

They spread and renew the notion that not only can every person fight back, unworried by legal repercussions, against violent assault or criminal attack - but that just perhaps, mugging/murdering/raping/robbing/home invading/kidnapping/etc. are not safe or low-risk occupations.

Nothing can prevent all crimes, nor can any policy miraculously "make it all better in a day". However, by focusing on what many of us consider "real crime" where someone other than the perpetrator is injured, killed, or economically damaged against their will - one can gain far more traction against the two-legged hyenas than by focusing on inanimate objects and attempting to assign them human characteristics such as "good or evil".

Best Wishes,