A “Red Flag” for Your Rights; Yes, They’re Coming for Your Guns

The latest scheme from the gun grabbers is called “red flag” laws and, unlike most their other schemes, even nominally conservative pundits and publications are getting on board with this attempt to disarm certain people. That’s the trick, you see, the classic divide-and-conquer strategy that has worked in so many other cases. They don’t want to take away your guns, oh no, they just want to take away that guy’s guns. He’s kind of weird, anyway, right?

The basic idea is that if someone (anyone, really) feels that someone else seems scary, depressed, or weird (“if you see something, say something”), they should report them to the cops and the cops will seize the person’s firearms for some as-yet-undetermined length of time. Some versions of this proposal include a token nod to due process by requiring a “court order” prior to confiscation, but the accused doesn’t get to defend himself at this point—he has to wait until after his guns are seized before he gets to make a case for why his supposedly dangerous state of mind doesn’t actually pose a threat to anyone.

Are you concerned yet? If you are not, you certainly should be! These “red flag” laws are incredibly problematic for several reasons and they set multiple dangerous precedents.

  1. Even if the original criteria for seizing someone’s firearms are arguably “reasonable,” (and who makes that determination, exactly?), they are just one bill or court decision away from being broadened to a much less reasonable standard. We should not willingly create a mechanism for seizing firearms—especially when we know that the ultimate goal of the gun grabbers is to disarm everyone!
  2. These laws single out firearms as uniquely dangerous. If someone truly poses such an imminent threat to their family, friends, and neighbors that their firearms must be seized, should they really have access to butcher knives, chainsaws, pressure cookers, and pickup trucks? Once again, we see the gun grabbers suggesting that it is the specific tool which must be targeted rather than the individual.
  3. The right to keep and bear arms is simply the practical application of the more fundamental right to self-defense. That right is about as basic as it gets, and even someone who is angry, depressed, or mentally unstable has the right to defend themselves against aggressors. Seizing someone’s firearms because they might commit a crime may seem like it is mitigating risk for others, but it’s also putting the disarmed individual at risk.
  4. There are already involuntary commitment laws on the books. This goes back to my second point. Why would a person be dangerous enough to seize their firearms, but not dangerous enough to lock up? Why would we accept that the tool is a greater danger than the individual who wields it?
  5. The gun grabbers don’t operate in good faith. They don’t want these laws on the books to seize guns only from “dangerous” people because, in their minds, all gun owners are dangerous people! If we let them get another foot in the door with “red flag” laws, it won’t be long until loss of appetite, a breakup, bad grades, or flipping someone off in traffic are all classified as “red flags” and used as excuses to seize people’s firearms.

We the people never win by giving the government more power. Seizing people’s property—especially property as crucial for survival as one’s firearms—on the pretext that they might misuse that property at some point in the future is an attack on our most fundamental freedoms, and conservatives would have to be crazy to go along with this latest scheme from the gun grabbers.

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Lesson from the NBA Playoffs: You Can’t Help Out by Holding Back

This year’s NBA Finals features the Cleveland Cavaliers versus the Golden State Warriors for the fourth consecutive season.

For most NBA fans, this comes as no big surprise.

The Cavaliers have LeBron James.  If you’ve paid even the slightest bit of attention to professional basketball for the past decade, you’ll know that having LeBron on your team has meant an automatic trip to the Finals. For the past eight years, LeBron’s team has made an appearance on the big stage.

Golden State has four all-stars and is frequently referred to as “the greatest team ever assembled.” After winning a historic 73 wins in a single season, they added one of the top 3 players in the entire league to their team.

Before the 2017-2018 season began, the Cavs versus the Warriors was the outcome that most experts predicted and it’s pretty easy to see why. And yet, a case could be made that neither team deserves to be in their current position.

In order to make it to the finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers had to beat the Boston Celtics in a best of seven game series. It took them all seven games. It also took a historically bad shooting performance from the Celtics. But that’s not why the Cavs were fortunate. The Cavs were fortunate because Boston’s two best players were injured for the entire series. In other words, the Cavs barely beat a team that was missing the assistance of two all-stars.

The Golden State Warriors experienced a similar fortune. In order to make it to the finals, they needed to beat the Houston Rockets in a best of seven game series. It took them all seven games. It also took a historically bad shooting performance from the Rockets. But that’s not why the Warriors were fortunate.  At one point, the Warriors were trailing 3-2 in the series. Houston was poised to pull off the upset. Then Houston’s second best player — a guy who most people consider to be the best pure point guard in the NBA — suffered an untimely injury. They were forced to play their next two games without the guy who was having his way against the Warriors. And the Warriors still struggled to beat them.

The Cavs and the Warriors greatly benefited from the untimely misfortune of others. There’s no way around that observation. If you’re a Boston fan or a Houston fan, you’re probably nodding your head enthusiastically as you read this. If Boston and Houston had not lost their stars, NBA history might have been forever altered.

But here’s an equally important observation: The Cavs are not responsible for the untimely misfortune of the Celtics and the Warriors are not responsible for the untimely misfortune of the Rockets.

Both finals teams are responsible for playing the hand they’re dealt and both teams have done that in a way that puts them in a position to win it all. But in order to win it all, both teams have to make a decision to focus on the opportunity in front of them and tune out the thousands of fans, celebrities, and sports commentators  who are saying things like “they got lucky” or “they don’t deserve to be there” or “the other team was better” and so forth. Those criticisms and complaints may be true in some sense, but they don’t change a thing. There’s nothing anyone can do about them. And this is where we can learn a valuable lesson from this year’s NBA playoffs:

In order to win at life, you sometimes have to be unapologetic about the opportunities you have to create wealth or chase after your dreams.

Should you be grateful for the good fortune you’ve had along the way? Absolutely.

Should you try to help out those whose fortune has been less than yours? In whatever way you can empower them, make it happen.

Should you rub it in people’s faces when they experience bad luck? I can’t think of a good reason why you would.

Should you pretend that your success is solely the result of your brilliance and nothing else? Of course not. Life is filled with variables and you’re better off being honest with yourself about that.

If it’s not clear, I am taking the time to eliminate any excuse anyone might have for twisting this into a heartless message about being an arrogant and apathetic “achiever” who refuses to acknowledge or alleviate the suffering of others. If you have the power to change someone else’s life for the better, then do it.

But…

Don’t confuse “giving back” with “holding back” and don’t equate “helping out” with “sitting out.” You can’t truly be generous if you suppress your talents and stifle your potential because of misdirected pity towards those who have bad luck. Helping people who are losing the game isn’t the same thing as mentally checking yourself out of the game.

Sometimes you’ll find yourself in a position to do something special, something that will bring great joy or wealth or opportunity to the people rooting for you and the people working with you. And when those opportunities emerge, you have to turn your attention away from all the noise generated by people who think you don’t deserve to be there because of a bunch of stuff that you can’t or shouldn’t change.

You can’t undo all the world’s misfortunes nor can you can save everyone, but you can make the most of your own life and you have a responsibility to do so.

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“Reasonable” Statists

It amazes me how reasonable some people can make slavery sound.

They can play the part of the “adult in the room” while advocating mass murder conducted “constitutionally”. All they have to do is to mention that it’s the law, or that we are obligated to follow the “social contract” or “pay our fair share” and gullible people will nod in agreement and praise them for being so reasonable and responsible.

It is frustrating to me because they aren’t being reasonable at all.

No matter how sensible statism sounds, no matter how many people accept it without question as “how the world really works”, no matter how “adult” they pretend it is, it is the opposite of reasonable.

Statism is insane. Statists who seem reasonable are like the serial killer who seems rational and calm when they befriend you– but then makes a stew from your skin and eyeballs.

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My Inner 10 Year-Old and Personalities of Other Ages

It’s a fun thought experiment to break down your personality and likes/dislikes into “ages”. I often find myself acting with the priorities and characteristics I might normally associate to a young boy, or to a grandfather.

Humans are complicated. But why not enjoy the different “personalities” that make up our lives? I have a few, at least:

My inner 10 year-old loves knights, explorers, and other heroes (and he’s a big fan of Game of Thrones fan). He looks up to cool older dudes and wants to be a man’s man. He is full of boundless energy, naive enthusiasm, and trust in the general goodness of others. He is down for any adventure. He is playful and unafraid. He likes the idea of being a superhero.

My inner 18 year-old is still looking up and out into the world. He is full of curiosity and potential and big plans. He enjoys going on solo adventures, listening to mix playlists with the windows down, and being goofy and light-hearted with friends. He trolls the world with positivity. He is radical, liberal, and skeptical, questioning everything and ready to embrace crazy alternatives to the norm. He likes the idea of starting a company and changing the world.

My inner 40 year-old is mature and serious but full of affection and dad humor. He enjoys making breakfast for people, taking responsibility, and being a caring and encouraging leader. He is motivated by duty. He is more conservative, more traditional, and more spiritually rooted. He likes the idea of buying a farm somewhere and raising his kids away from the city

My inner 75 year-old is ready for grandkids. He likes talking and listening to old people, and he waxes philosophical about the circle of life and stuff like that. He likes mentoring and encouraging younger people. He likes the idea of leaving a legacy. He looks to the future after he is gone.

Understanding all these different and seemingly contradictory parts of my self help me to prioritize and navigate my choices better. Paradox does not require contradiction, and I can find ways to balance the good and shun the bad in all of these ages of James.

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