Declaration of Independence

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.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Corruption Takes Lives

            Unbelievable Stories keep coming out of Broward County, Florida. We did not want to believe the first story, that of a school shooter killing seventeen people. Sadly, most of us are no longer surprised to hear of a shooting at some school in the nation. However, there are stories that are difficult to believe.

            The first unbelievable story was of the sheriff’s deputy who stood outside the school while the shooting took place. Then we heard of the three other deputies that drew their guns and hid behind their cars. The deputies were apparently ordered to stay out of the school until they turned on their body cameras. Since they had no cameras, they failed to enter the building to stop. They were supposedly good men with guns, but they took no steps to stop the shooter.

            After we got used to the story of the non-protective deputies, we started hearing about collaboration between the school district and the sheriff’s department. Now we hear that the NAACP was involved also. 

Rather than base the school’s disciplinary policies on keeping students safe, Broward County School District adopted an NAACP-advised, social-justice “PROMISE” program. Thanks to then President Barack Obama, politically motivated, race-based school policy wasn’t unusual. As noted by American Thinker, “In Obama era … considerations of race routinely shaped educational policy.”
“(A)cross the country, students of color, students with disabilities, and LGBTQ students are disproportionately impacted by school-based arrests for the same behavior as their peers,” read the agreement between the school and law enforcement.
The solution? Look the other way.
What began as a somewhat innocuous policy of overlooking students’ “minor offenses,” turned into a culture of turning a blind-eye to serious crimes. After all, how could crime and incarceration statistics continue to fall if reports were made by the school and arrests made by the authorities?
            It sounds to me that Broward County School District entered into the agreement in order to obtain more money for higher statistics. It also sounds like Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel was hoping to get some political payback for having a safe county. NAACP naively thought that they were helping minorities. This is what usually happens with liberals doing the thinking and planning. Now their plans and works are being brought out into the open, and they do not look so wise.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Good Men with AR-15s

            The AR-15 rifle seems to be in the news constantly these days. We have been hearing a lot about AR-15s since a mentally-ill young man used one to kill seventeen teachers and students in Florida on Valentine’s Day. He is only one in a long line of killers who have used the AR-15 to do their killing. However, we are getting only half the story. Yes, an AR-15 was used in the Florida killings, but another AR-15 was used just two days ago to save lives.

            Dave Thomas of Oswego, Illinois, witnessed a knife attack in an apartment complex on Monday, February 25, 2018. The attack started when an argument took place between two people – and one of them had a knife. When Thomas saw the attack, he went inside his home to get his rifle and then ordered the suspect to stop. The suspect stopped and got away briefly before being caught by the police. The victim of the stabbing was taken to a hospital and is expected to recover from the attack. A life was saved without a shot being fired!

            Thomas is a firearms instructor and has a valid firearm owner’s identification card and a concealed carry permit. He said that he could have used his handgun, but he grabbed his AR-15 because it is “a bigger gun. I think a little bit more than an intimidation factor definitely played a part in him actually stopping.” Thomas also said, “The AR-15 is my weapon of choice for home protection…. It’s light, it’s maneuverable. If you train and know how to use it properly, it’s not dangerous. And this is just a perfect example of good guy with an AR-15 stopped a bad guy with a knife. And there were no lives taken, so all in all it was a good day.”

            Thomas is not the only good guy with an AR-15 to stop a murder. Three months ago on November 5, 2017, Stephen Willeford, a trained former NRA instructor, heard shots being fired at a nearby church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. He quickly took his AR-15 out of his gun safe and ran over to the church with bare feet. There he “placed a precisely-aimed bullet in a small gap in the perpetrator’s body armor” and caused the shooter to run to his vehicle. Willeford then jumped into the truck of another man, and the two men followed the shooter down the street to make sure he did not shoot anyone else. The shooter had already killed 26 people in the church, but he was stopped by a good man with an AR-15.

            These are two cases within a three-month period of a murderer being stopped by a man with an AR-15 – with Willeford being trained by the NRA! It seems that an AR-15 is a “perfect weapon to stop a madman” when it is in the hands of a good man. So when you hear or read the cries of the gun control crowd calling for the AR-15 to be banned, just remember that it is the madman holding the rifle, not the rifle itself, that is the problem.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Reverend Billy Graham

            My VIP for this week is William Franklin Graham Jr., otherwise known as the Reverend Billy Graham. He was born on November 7, 1918, in a “downstairs bedroom of a farmhouse near Charlotte, North Carolina. He was the oldest of the four children born to his parents were William Franklin Graham Sr. (1888-1962) and Morrow Coffey Graham (1892-1981). He was also of Scottish-Irish descent. His father was a dairy farmer, and the family lived on the dairy farm, first in a “white frame house” and then in a “newly built red brick home. His family was belonged to the Associate Reformed Presbyterian.

            Graham became an American evangelical Christian evangelist and was an ordained Southern Baptist minister. He was known internationally after 1949 and became “one of the most influential preachers of the 20th century.”

Graham was a spiritual adviser to American presidents and provided spiritual counsel for every president from Harry Truman to Barack Obama [12 presidents]. He was particularly close to Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson (one of Graham’s closest friends), and Richard Nixon.

            Ill health prevented Reverend Graham from public appearances in recent years. Donald Trump speaks highly of him, but he is advised by Graham’s son Franklin.  Reverend Graham passed away at age 99 on February 21, 2018, at his home in Montreat, North Carolina. His body will rest in a closed casket in the home where he was born and then be moved to Washington, D.C. for a couple of days before his funeral.

Evangelist Bill Graham, who died Wednesday, will lie in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda from Wednesday, Feb. 28, to Thursday, March 1, according to an announcement from House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky). Member of the public are invited to pay their respects. Ryan and McConnell will take part in a service upon the arrival of Graham’s casket. 

A private funeral for Graham will be held Friday, March 2, at noon under a tent at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte. Invitations to the funeral were extended to President Trump and former presidents, according to his spokesman Mark DeMoss. The invitation-only service is scheduled to include 2,300 people.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Right to Bear Arms

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the Second Amendment – again. As you most likely know, the Second Amendment states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

            I assume that you are as well versed on the wording of the Second Amendment as I am, and maybe you can quote it better. However, you may be interested in looking at this amendment in a slightly different light. I learned something today that I would like to share with you. It is something that I had never previously considered. I found it in an article published at The American Thinker in which Patrick Jakeway writes the following: 

In speaking with many fellow gun-owners, I have come to realize that most people don’t know that the Second Amendment does not give us the right to bear arms. The Second Amendment states that the right to bear arms “shall not be infringed”; it does not confer that right. The Second Amendment is an admonition to government that it may not take away your right to bear arms, which is inherent….

… It is our inherent, inborn right to protect ourselves and our families, bequeathed to us from our forefather’s blood and sacrifice in the many battles for liberty. It may not be legislated or interpreted away. It is not in the purview of the Supreme Court (or Congress, for that matter) to abolish the right to bear arms.

            Did you see it? Jakeway points out that the right to “keep and bear arms” is that same inherent right as protecting ourselves and our families. It was written in the Bill of Rights to tell the government to leave this right to self-protection alone. By stating that it is an inherent right, the Founders placed it in the same category as the rights outlined in the Declaration of Independence as follows.

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….

            Jakeway used inherent while the Declaration of Independence used unalienable, so I did a quick Google search to discern the meanings of the two words. Inherent means “existing in something as a permanent, essential, or characteristic attribute.” Its synonyms are: intrinsic, innate, immanent, built-in, indwelling, inborn, ingrained, deep-rooted. Unalienable "(or inalienable – they are interchangeable) means “unable to be taken away from or given away by the possessor.” So both definitions state that something that is inherent or unalienable is permanent and unable to be taken away.

            In other words, the government cannot take the right to keep and bear arms away from law-abiding Americans because it did not bestow the right in the first place. The Bill of Rights merely says that the government does not have the power to infringe on this inherent right.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Putting on the Whole Armor of God

            Great teachers are few and far between, but history shows that the Apostle Paul was one of the truly outstanding ones. While studying  for my next religion class, I came across Ephesians 6:14-18 where Paul tells his readers how to defend themselves against wickedness. He uses the image of a soldier’s armor to draw a comparison between fighting actual enemies and fighting spiritual opponents. Paul uses the image of spiritual armor previously, but he goes into more detail in his epistle to the Ephesians. Here are a few of his teachings about putting on the whole armor of God with emphasis added.

The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light (Romans 13:12).

But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:8).

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. [Was he discussing places like the U.S. Congress?]
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness.
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:11-17).

            Paul lists the pieces of gear in the same order that a soldier would put it on his body or pick it up. This is true spiritually because the spiritual armor provides divine protection to our thoughts, intellect, feelings, and moral purity. A chart in the New Testament Student Manual, Religion 211-212, 411, gives the following information. 

            The belt or girt, which is tied around the waist, protects the loins. This piece of armor represents truth about the proper use of our reproductive organs, our chastity, and moral purity.

            The breastplate is made of bronze or chain, and it protects the heart. This piece of armor represents righteousness and uprightness with God, which protect our affections, emotions, and loyalty.

            The boots or rugged shoes are studded with nails for traction and made to protect the feet. This important piece of armor represents preparation of the gospel of peace. It protects our way in life, our actions, the places we go, and the goals we make.

            The shield is a large oval made of two layers of wood that are held together with iron and leather. It protects the entire body. This essential piece of armor represents faith, and it protects our entire soul.

            The helmet is made of bronze with leather straps and protects the head. This critical piece of armor represents salvation, and it protects our thoughts and our intellect.

            The sword is made of steel and is the only weapon in the list. It protects the entire body. It represents the Spirit, which is the word of God, and it protects our whole soul.

            As we can clearly see from the description above, this armor with the lone weapon is used in the battle for our very souls. Elder Robert C. Oaks of the Seventy explains the situation we face daily.

The weapons of eternal worth reflecting the whole armor of God are truth, righteousness, faith, prayer, and the word of God (see Eph. 6:13-18). These weapons are wielded in our minds, mouths, and movements. Every righteous thought, word, and deed is a victory for the Lord….

The stakes are extremely high. The prizes are the very souls of the sons and daughters of God, their eternal salvation. And these souls will be won or lost on the basis of virtue and cleanliness, on the basis of charity and service, and on the basis of faith and hope” (“Who’s on the Lord’s Side? Who?Ensign, May 2005, 49-50). 

            Elder Oaks says that the armor of truth, righteousness, faith, prayer, and the word of God will protect our souls. He says that our souls will be won with virtue, cleanliness, charity, service, faith, and hope. Prophets and apostles counsel us frequently to keep our armor bright and to wear it diligently. They understand that we are in a spiritual battle for our souls. They know that Satan started this war in our premortal life and continues it here on earth. President Gordon B. Hinckley writes:

 We are involved in an intense battle. It is a battle between right and wrong, between truth and error, between the design of the Almighty on the one hand and that of Lucifer on the other. For that reason, we desperately need moral men and women who stand on principle, to be involved in the political process. Otherwise, we abdicate power to those whose designs are almost entirely selfish. (See Stand A Little Taller, 15.)

            We must believe President Hinckley in that there is right and wrong, truth and error in our world. We will be blessed as we stand for truth and righteousness at all times, in all places, and in all things. We must remember to wear our armor properly and consistently. President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles says that the home and family is the best place to forge a shield of faith that will “quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (Eph. 6:16).

The shield of faith is to be made and fitted in the family. No two can be exactly alike. Each must be handcrafted to individual specifications.

The plan designed by the Father contemplates that man and woman, husband and wife, working together, fit each child individually with a shield of faith made to buckle on so firmly that it can neither be pulled off nor penetrated by those fiery darts.

It takes the steady strength of a father to hammer out the metal of it and the tender hands of a mother to polish and fit it on. Sometimes one parent is left to do it alone. It is difficult, but it can be done.

In the Church we can teach about the materials from which a shield of faith is made: reverence, courage, chastity, repentance, forgiveness, compassion. In church we can learn how to assemble and fit them together. But the actual making of and fitting on of the shield of faith belongs in the family circle” (“The Shield of Faith,” Ensign, May 1995, 8). 

            Why is it important that we wear the whole armor of God? Let’s imagine a group of soldiers who decide that there are no enemies around? One takes off his helmet to let his head cool a little bit. Another lays down his sword and takes off his shield in order to rest for a few minutes. Still others decide to cool their feet in the stream of water. Suddenly, the enemy comes out of the surrounding woods and attacks. The soldiers are unable to repel the attackers because they are without some parts of their armor. The first soldier’s head is unprotected. The second one has to grab his sword and shield before he can join the battle. The soldiers who have taken off their boots have hopefully kept their swords handy.

            Spiritually, the soldier without his helmet would not have control of his thoughts, which might have wandered far from the Lord. The soldier without his sword and shield would be questioning his faith because he stopped studying the scriptures. The group of soldiers with bare feet would not have firm goals in mind for their lives and could be led in the wrong paths.

            I am sure that you can understand that we need all parts of the armor. We must keep our boots on our feet and ready to charge full speed ahead in our righteous goals. We must keep our helmet securely on our head in order to keep our thoughts pure. We must keep our loins protected in order to live chaste lives. We must keep our shield of faith firmly in place in order to protect us from the fiery darts of the adversary. We must keep the sword of truth sharp in order to teach the word of God with power and authority.

            The Apostle Paul understood that we must stay strong in all the areas of the gospel, so he likened the doctrines and covenants to armor. This is a fitting symbol that helps us to remember to work on all areas in our lives. This is the only way that we can come through the battles of this life with our soul intact and ready to meet our Savior.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Teach History to the Rising Generation

            Families, communities, and nations are stronger when individuals know basic history. There are many benefits to knowing history. One of the best reasons is to be able to make connections between something in the past and something in our current life. Another very good reason for studying history is to be able to learn from it. George Santayana is credited with saying, “Those that cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” History helps us to know how our current society came to be. The events of history caused the situations of today, and the events of our time will cause the situations of tomorrow.

            I have in the second half of a humanities class. The first half of the class studied the period of time from Adam and Eve through the Middle Ages. This class did a review of what we learned in the first half and then moved forward in time. Last week we studied the romantic period, the industrial revolution, and neo-imperialism. For years I have wondered why the United States and other Western nations are hated so much. The answer to my question goes back decades and even centuries to the 19th Century when colonization took place. Much of the terrorism of today can be traced back to this time period. It was an eye-opener to me to learn that so many of today’s problems were caused by bad decisions in previous decades.

            We should study history for our own benefit, and we should teach history to our children. This site lists five reasons why we should teach history to the rising generation. Here are the five motives. 

1. Character Study. … As you study history you cover the great men and women of the past. You and your children read about men like Churchill, women such as Susan B. Anthony. The men and women are discussed. You chat about their characters, their likes, their dislikes, their strengths and weaknesses.

At the same time you’re studying the atrocious men and women of the past as well. This gives you the opportunity to dig into the biographies of these people. What caused them to become villains of history? What were their characters like?

… compare Napoleon Bonaparte with George Washington. It is a fascinating comparison. Both countries experienced revolutions and the two men came to power shortly after the revolutions. But the differences are extraordinary. Why did France and the United States go in two separate directions? What were the differences between these two men which shaped the future of the two countries?

2. Discuss morals, ethics, right/wrong. History gives you the opportunity to discuss morals and ethics. Often discussing moral ethics using current events is heated. Everyone has a strong opinion. However when you remove the discussion slightly to the past, everyone can discuss right and wrong. The emotions are removed.
It’s also a prime opportunity to teach your children your world view. Why do you believe the way you do? Why is it right? What is it wrong?

3. Understand the World Today. Our world today was created by events and people in the past. How can you understand current events if you don’t know history? For instance why is there such conflict around Israel and the countries around it? You may know, but do your children?

And what about American history? While 9/11 is current event for me, it’s not a current event for my children any more than Vietnam was a current event for me.
Half of my children weren’t even born. The other half were small children running around the house. At best they remember the day the planes flew into buildings.

If we don’t discuss what happened and why, kids don’t understand what’s going on in the world today. But to understand what’s happening in the here and now, we have to look into the past. Which leads us to World War 2, the medieval times, the Romans, and back into the Old Testament of the Bible.

4. Understand References. People reference time, people, places, and events. Your kids can’t understand the setting if they don’t know history. Who are Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Plato, or Socrates?

But kids aren’t born knowing who these people [such as Karl Marx] are or why they’re important. Kids need to learn about the World Wars, the Cold War, and the Crusades. They must be introduced to mummies, the Wall of China, and Timbuktu. You must teach your children about the wars, events, and people for kids to understand the references.

5. Gain Perspective. Kids get upset over the silliest things. They wail over spilt milk. They don’t have perspective. Studying history gives children perspective. The problems we face today are not that different from problems faced in the past. After all there have even been divisive elections before in American history.

People have faced despair over what appears to be a lost cause. They’ve overcome famines, plagues, and flooding. Even politics have always been a murky affair, just look at the Byzantines!

By studying history, kids learn the problems they face these days are similar to problems people have faced through the centuries. In fact you can even research how people responded to the problems they overcame to figure out the best ways to respond today without making the mistakes of the past.

            These are wonderful reasons for teaching your children about history. It does not have to be an all-consuming topic. It is possible to teach a lot of history by discussing it over the dinner table once or twice each week. Just be sure to share the stories of history rather than expecting children to remember lots of dates and figures. You can capture their attention with a story as well as give them a “hook” to hang under information in their memory. You might want to study the people of a certain period or a certain area for a while and then move elsewhere.

            You might want to include more than just stories in your teachings. My class has studied history, art, music, literature, drama, and all areas as we have moved through the centuries. As a non-artist, non-musician, I have learned a great deal about these areas, and I have read literature that has widened my thinking immensely. I have no doubt that we can strengthen our families, communities, and nation by learning and teaching history.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Economic Freedom

            The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is that something must be done in order to change the economic freedom of any nation. The 2018 Index of Economic Freedom was recently published by The Heritage Foundation. The Index is an annual study that compares economic freedom in 180 countries with 6 nations not ranked at all. The top ten nations this year include the following: (1) Hong Kong, (2) Singapore, (3) New Zealand, (4) Switzerland, (5) Australia, (6) Ireland, (7) Estonia, (8) United Kingdom, (9) Canada, and (10) United Arab Emirates. The United States ranked 18th.

            Hong Kong, Singapore, and New Zealand are considered economically “free” nations. The next seven nations listed are “mostly free” and are joined by the following nations:
(11) Iceland, (12) Denmark, (13) Taiwan, (14) Luxembourg, (15) Sweden, (16) Georgia,
(17) Netherlands, (18) United States, (19) Lithuania, and (20) Chile.

            The United States has steadily dropped in the index over the past decade. The good news is that it might have stopped dropping. Patrick Tyrrell and Anthony B. Kim posted an article at The Daily Signal titled “5 Takeaways from the 2018 Index of Economic Freedom.” They note that the index “compares countries’ entrepreneurial environments.” Their statement continues with the following explanation.

Since 1995, the index has measured a nation’s commitment to limited government and free enterprise on a scale of 9 to 100 by evaluating four critical policy pillars, including rule of law and regulatory efficiency.

These commitments are powerful forces that help societies grow in economic freedom. Countries that achieve higher levels of economic freedom consistently outperform others in economic growth, long-term prosperity, and social progress. Those with lower economic freedom, on the other hand, risk economic stagnation, high unemployment, and deteriorating social conditions.

            After reading their explanation for ranking, we can better understand why the United States kept dropping in the index. Apparently, our national leaders took the necessary steps to stop the free fall. The Daily Signal article lists the five points that we need to understand.

1. The world economy overall is rated “moderately free….”

2. Six economies … have achieved very high scores of 80 or more, putting them in the category of economically “free.” [I see only three with that score.] …

3. Economies rated “free” or “mostly free” in the 2018 index enjoy incomes that are more than twice the average levels in all other countries….

4. Economically freer countries that open their societies to new ideas, products, and innovations have largely achieved high levels of social progress….

5. The United States, ranked “mostly free,” had not been performing well in the index over the last decade. That precipitous slide has now fortunately come to a halt, with signs of renewed economic growth reinforced by major regulatory and tax reforms that elevate business confidence and investment….

            So, the figures show that our economy is doing better. The people feel that the economy is doing better. The Trump policies must be doing some good!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Ranking Greatness of Presidents

            Where would you rank Donald Trump on a list of the greatest Presidents of the United States? Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said, “Trump could be the greatest President in history,” but the context of his statement is not known. Senator Orrin Hatch said, “Trump can be Abraham Lincoln great.” 

            However, the respondents to a recent New York Times survey of “presidential politics experts” ranked Trump last on the list. These same “experts” ranked Barack Obama at #8, Bill Clinton at #13, and Jimmy Carter at #26. They also ranked #10 Lyndon Johnson six spaces above #16 John F. Kennedy. Some of these so-called experts believe that Lincoln, Washington, and Theodore Roosevelt should have their likenesses carved into Mount Rushmore – apparently not knowing that they are already there.

            Richard Lim posted an interesting article at The Daily Signal encouraging us not to judge Trump so early in his presidency. He shares some interesting information about two presidents who were judged harshly during their administrations, but whom history has proven their critics to be wrong. Those two presidents are Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan.

            Lim says that Eisenhower “was dismissed by critics as passive and disengaged” throughout his administration. His critics did not think that he had the “intellectual heft to be president.” He was ranked as a “below-average president” (21 out of 31) a year after he left office. Lim then states Eisenhower’s accomplishments.

Of course, presumptions about Eisenhower’s intellect ignored the fact that he was one of the most accomplished military figures in American history, leading the successful invasion of Normandy in 1944 and serving as the first supreme commander of NATO.
Since then, historians have discovered that Eisenhower’s supposed passivity was a misperception that resulted from his preference for working behind the scenes, and that in actuality, he was fully in charge of his presidency.

They also note that Eisenhower deftly handled several Cold War crises in the nuclear age (in the Taiwan Strait, the Suez Canal, and in Lebanon, to name a few), all the while keeping the peace.

In some ways, Eisenhower’s genial persona was a valuable political asset that he exploited to maximum political benefit. It allowed him to remain above the fray, immune to petty politics.

In 2017, a C-Span survey of academics ranked Eisenhower as the fifth-greatest president, even ahead of Founding Father Thomas Jefferson.

            The so-called experts were wrong about Eisenhower, but their errors did not stop them from judging Reagan severely. Lim says that they dismissed him as “an intellectual lightweight, and `amiable dunce.’” They believed that he was “a right-wing war monger whose defense budget increases and tough rhetoric against the Soviet Union (or, as he called it, the `evil empire’) could lead to nuclear war.” Later in his presidency they accused him of not being aware of what was happening. Reagan said in 1980 that he was willing to work with the Russians to reduce nuclear weapons, but his critics did not believe he was serious. Lim shares what happened when Reagan had his chance.

But when Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev took power in Moscow in 1985, Reagan found a willing partner. The rapport they built up in their summits in Geneva in 1985 and Reykjavik in 1986 helped to end the Cold War.

Reagan’s critics no longer could question his sincerity when he and Gorbachev signed a treaty in 1987 that eliminated all intermediate-range nuclear and conventional missiles – far beyond what any previous Democrat or Republican president had achieved in nuclear arms control.

While Eisenhower’s critics misjudged his capabilities, Reagan’s misjudged both his capabilities and his intentions. When he said he was willing to talk with the Soviets and reduce the threat of nuclear weapons, he really meant it, and proved it by his actions.

            I was a child when Eisenhower was in office and do not remember much about what he did. However, I had the understanding that he was well loved and well respected. In fact, my brother-in-law loved him so much that he named his dog Ike in honor of the late president. I remember the administration of Reagan and had great love and respect for him. Lim did not mention it, but Reagan was responsible for calling out Gorbachev to “tear down this [Berlin] wall.” He was instrumental in tearing down the Iron Curtain that had been in place since the end of World War II.

            As long as the people who take surveys are biased in their opinions, the wrong presidents will be counted as “great.” Nevertheless, history gives a more honest picture of how well a president does. I agree with Lim that we should not be too tough on Trump now. He inherited a bigger mess from Obama than Reagan inherited from Carter and has much to accomplish to put the US in good condition. Trump could very well be ranked among the greatest presidents after all is said and done – and history always has its say.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Control or Confiscation of Guns

            I keep seeing a post on Facebook titled “A Little Gun History” and ignored it while at the same time wondering if there was any truth to it. The post lists several countries that confiscated firearms from citizens and then murdered millions of them during the 20th century. I decided to see if I could find the truth of the information.

            I found a report by Snopes that listed the claim as follows: “Internet list accurately cites historical facts and figures proving that the worst mass exterminations of civilian populations in the twentieth century were the result of gun control laws.”

            Snopes says this is true: “Mass killings of civilians by military dictatorships in the 1900s were more often than not preceded by the confiscation of firearms from targeted populations, a task made easier by laws requiring the registration and/or licensing of privately-owned weapons.” Since Snopes acknowledges that the claim is true, I will share the information.

In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.

China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million educated people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million.

            Further in the article, Snopes gives more information on the above notes. There appears to be some question as to the exact number of people who were killed, but there is no doubt that the number is in the millions and that the murders came after gun confiscation.

            The only problem that Snopes seems to have with the information is the claim that “gun control” equals “gun confiscation.” “`Gun control’ isn’t synonymous with gun confiscation; in some cases where genocides took place, the gun laws in force had existed for years, even decades; evidence does not demonstrate a causal link between gun control and mass exterminations.”

            The Snopes argument seems to me to be a parsing of the words “gun control” and the length of time between the passing of the gun laws and the actual confiscation. Sometimes it did take years or decades, but other times it was only months. Snopes admits that the “confiscation of firearms” was preceded by “laws requiring the registration and/or licensing of privately-owned weapons” – which is part of “gun control” but further down the road. We all must recognize that it is easier for government agents to go from house to house collecting firearms if they have already been registered. Here is Snopes conclusion to their article.

Based on the actual evidence at hand, we find it reasonable to conclude that gun confiscations, facilitated by laws requiring the registration and/or licensing of firearms, played a crucial role in the carrying out of twentieth-century genocides. However, gun control per se – properly defined as a set of laws regulating gun ownership that can range from minimally restrictive to outright prohibitive – is neither a cause nor even a reliable predictor of mass exterminations, whereas the presence of a repressive military dictatorship most certainly is.

            Snopes agrees that gun registration and/or licensing can lead to gun confiscation, but he is not concerned about laws that merely restrict ownership. Despite the fact that mass murders followed gun confiscation in numerous countries, Snopes does not seem to fear gun control in the United States. Even though there are no laws requiring gun owners to register their guns or to have licenses to use them, I believe that there is cause for concern. I believe that the United States Government is far down the road toward having a list of all firearm owners because of required background checks for potential purchasers. A list of gun owners is the first step toward confiscating them. The information at this site about background checks should concern all gun owners.

Background checks identify individuals who are ineligible to purchase firearms and prevent those persons from obtaining them [apparently there is a list of these ineligible individuals], making them a key element in preventing tragic and unnecessary gun deaths in the United States.

Enacted in 1993, the Brady Act is a federal law that requires federally licensed firearms dealers (FFLs) to conduct background checks on potential firearm purchasers. In order to comply with the Brady Act, the FBI created the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), a centralized catalog of records comprising three separate national databases. Among other things, NICS contains information about individuals’ criminal and mental health histories and any civil orders entered against them that might affect their eligibility to purchase or possess a gun, such as domestic violence restraining orders.

            I want to believe that background checks protect us from criminals and violent people without infringing on our Second Amendment rights. I want to have faith in my government and believe that all of our laws are there to protect us. However, I do not have that faith because of events that have taken place in past years. The attack on Waco is just one example of times when the government was in the wrong. I am concerned that a government that knows the locations of all the guns might start confiscating them in an effort to control the populace. Under a law-abiding administration, there would be no problem. Under an administration that wants total control of the citizenry, there would be a huge problem. This site voices some of my fears.

Certainly however the biggest reason gun rights advocates oppose the idea of Universal Background checks is because Firearm Registration takes us one step closer to firearm confiscation. It would be nearly impossible for the government to confiscate guns without knowing who owns what guns. The easiest way to create that database is by making all transfers of firearms require a background check both because it creates the SYSTEM by which the database can be built and it creates the NEED for Firearm Registration in order to enforce the law.

While you may have been told that the Federal government doesn’t keep a database of gun buyers you have been misled. Yes, the FBI does destroy the paperwork and evidence of a background check shortly after it is performed, but the ATF requires that FFLs keep detailed paper records of every background check performed. These records must be made available to the government without notice; and should a FFL decide to close up shop the records must be turned over to the ATF. So, yes, there is a paper record of every background check performed and the government has access to it. That record includes the date, the name and address of the buyer, the make/model of the firearm, the serial number, the type of firearm, and the caliber/gauge of the firearm….

            This information tells us that the government does have ways to track the firearms that have been purchased legally since background checks have been required. If there is ever an administration in place that wants to have total control over America, the stage is set for confiscation of firearms. This is a time for Americans to be very careful. If we give up our freedoms for security, we deserve neither of them. Maybe there are other solutions.

            Kevin McCullough and his staff looked at the issue and suggested seven steps that can be taken to protect the children without touching the rights of gun owners. Their suggestions are: (1) Put metal detectors in every school. (2) Enforce every existing law. (3) Perform active shooter drills just like some schools do earthquake drills and teach the students to fight for survival.
(4) Reinforce doors, windows, buses, and locks to make them as bullet proof as possible.
(5) Recruit retired military and law enforcement personnel who already have the expertise to do the job. (6) Arm and train all appropriate personnel. (7) Publicize the consequences by every way possible, including big signs stating that armed personnel are on the campus.

            As we can see from the above list, there are several precautions that can be taken without calling for new gun laws or banning certain firearms. We must remember that it is the evil person behind the gun and not the gun itself that poses the danger. If someone wants to commit mass murder, they will find a way no matter what law is on the books. By finding common-sense solutions, we can better protect the rising generation without infringing on anyone’s rights.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Presidents Day

            Today is Presidents Day, a day set apart to honor all Presidents of the United States. Once upon a time, long, long ago, in a nation long forgotten, we celebrated Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on February 12 and George Washington’s birthday on February 22. Then some deep thinker thought that we should lump all the presidents into one holiday. I do not agree with whoever it was for several reasons, one of which is that some presidents deserve honor and others do not.

            Obviously, I am not the only person with this opinion because I found an article titled “George Washington Deserves His Own Day, Not Presidents Day” by David Azerrad at The Daily Signal. Here are just a few paragraphs, but please the article.

Washington, the “indispensable man” of the revolution who was rightly extolled for being “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen,” has not been lumped together with the likes of James Buchanan, Jimmy Carter, Franklin Pierce, and John Tyler.

It gets worse. Washington’s good name and great legacy are now shamelessly invoked to justify positions that he would never have envisaged.

In a Time Magazine special edition on Washington, historian Joseph Ellis matter-of-factly remarks: “He began the political tradition that produced a Union victory in the Civil War, the Federal Reserve Board, Social Security, Medicare and, more recently, Obamacare.”

Washington, who called on Americans to display “pious gratitude” for their Constitution and warned against any “change by usurpation,” is now a partisan of the sprawling welfare state and the unprecedented individual mandate.

Ellis even has the gall to hail Washington – the man who gracefully and voluntarily relinquished power after two terms when he could have stayed on for life – as the father of “strong executive leadership” and the precursor to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who stayed in office for an unprecedented 12 years.

            Obviously, Ellis is another deep thinker! Do you think that he really believes what he wrote? I hope that you see from those paragraphs why we need to have an annual day to remember our first President, even George Washington. He must be turning over in his grave for being linked to FDR and Obamacare! Be sure to read the entire article here.


            I believe that George Washington deserves to be honored annually because he was a great man. I also believe that we should celebrate his birthday every year in order to teach the rising generation about this great man. None of us has seen a President that could measure up to George Washington! We need to honor him for being the first as well as to teach others why he was so great.