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Gender: Male
Hometown: Atlanta Metro Area, Georgia
Home country: USA
Current location: Atlanta Metro Area
Member since: Wed Nov 30, 2016, 10:33 PM
Number of posts: 779

Journal Archives

This idea of a collective right is so interesting to me.

And by interesting, I admit that I am still trying to understand what it means, or if it is just meaningless words. So I will state in modern plain English what I think proponents of the "collective right" interpretation are saying:

"There is no individual right to own or keep firearms. But there is a right held by the collective, exercised by the states, to have a well regulated militia that is separate from any standing federal army. Well regulated in this context refers to order, discipline and control, and does not mean 'well equipped'. This is how all reputable legal scholars interpreted the 2nd Amendment prior to the late 20th century. Oh, and Scalia was not an originalist."

Did I get that right? Please tell me if I did not. For now I will proceed as if that is the "collective right" interpretation.

My first observation is that if our states are supposed to exercise this right through our well regulated militias, where are those well regulated militias? Today they are called the National Guard. They are nominally controlled by the states, but it is my understanding that they can be federalized at any time, and then they are essentially a reserve component of the standing federal army. This situation has arisen because Congress has passed laws pursuant to their Article 1 powers related to the militia. But since the collective right to bear arms was recognized by amendment, that amendment would seem to place a restraint upon Congress' power to take federal control of a militia. So could a state, pursuant to the 2nd Amendment, refuse to have its militia placed under federal control? Under the "collective right" interpretation, it would seem so.

My second observation is that the well regulated militia is essentially a police force for keeping order, protecting life and property, and augmenting the local civilian police during times of natural disaster and civil disorder. But it is my understanding that the states were always understood to have general police powers to enforce their laws. So if the purpose of the 2nd Amendment was to protect the state power to police itself, I have two points: (a) It is so interesting that in a Bill of Rights, we have found inserted a grant of police power, and (b) this would seem to mean that the repeal of the 2nd Amendment would cause the states to lose some of their police power.

So let us suppose that Heller never happened, and the "collective right" interpretation had gone unchallenged. Suppose under those conditions, we were able to repeal the 2nd Amendment. What would change as to the state collective rights and powers? What would change as to relationships between the federal government and the states? Something would have to change, or else that would mean the 2nd Amendment had been meaningless. And it is absurd to think that a meaningless item would have been inserted in the Bill of Rights. Now, you could argue that the 2nd Amendment is unnecessary in the way that we might think of the 3rd Amendment. The federal government doesn't go around trying to force us to give room and board to soldiers, so who needs the 3rd Amendment? Yet, if it were repealed, it would indeed remove a legal barrier to the quartering of soldiers in homes. Under the "collective right" interpretation, what legal barrier would be removed with the repeal of the 2nd Amendment?

My last point is that the argument that the individual-right interpretation has only prevailed recently in the courts, and is therefore wrong for that reason, is weak and illiberal. Brown v. Board of Education went against Plessy v. Fergeson. Did that make it wrong, in your opinion? Roe v. Wade expanded the traditional interpretation of 4th Amendment privacy, preventing states from interfering in abortions in the way they had been for over a century. Does that mean that Roe v. Wade was wrong, in your opinion?
Posted by MarvinGardens | Mon Aug 12, 2019, 06:06 PM (0 replies)

I think that's debatable.

If the Klan were riding into my town, I'd feel better sitting on my porch with just such a weapon as you mention. My wife's ancestors found themselves in just such a situation, and successfully defended themselves, though I don't know the details of the weapons either side had. In eastern North Carolina where some of my ancestors come from, the Lumbee Indians ran off the Klan with firearms. Unfortunately, we are entering a time where these types of interactions are more likely to occur. The bad people have already armed up, and I would not want to discourage the good people from doing so, nor encourage a good liberal to disarm. To me, it is not about gun collections, or hunting, or target shooting for fun. But everyone has their own individual reasons.

That being said, you do have a point. Governments are established in part to protect the public safety. They do this not only by prosecuting those who have committed crimes, but also through some degree of regulation. Surely we would agree that nuclear weapons, or nerve gas, or fully automatic weapons, should not be in private hands (but neither in police hands). The right to self defense must be balanced against the protection of public safety. So are all of our rights. A person whose home is not subject to random search due to the 4th Amendment could be stockpiling ammonium nitrate, which could be much more lethal than any firearm. But there are regulations on the sale of large amounts of such things, sales are tracked, etc., as they should be. Hopefully you and I could have a discussion on what constitutes reasonable regulation of firearms. When someone (like the OP) says that anyone not in agreement wants for massacres to happen, this is not conducive to a reasonable discussion.

Posted by MarvinGardens | Sun Aug 4, 2019, 06:06 PM (0 replies)

Man accused of placing Trump stickers on car of local Democrat, trying to follow her.

Lawrenceville resident Sharon Wood is an active member of the Gwinnett Democratic Party, and she doesn’t shy away from showing support for her party — but she said that support led to a harrowing experience with a Trump supporter Monday.
That support made her a target of one avid Trump supporter while she was shopping. The incident began with two “I love Trump” stickers being put on her car, progressed to a man yelling at her and ended with the man following her in his work truck Monday afternoon.
The man accused of confronting Wood could end up facing criminal charges. Solicitor General Brian Whiteside announced Thursday that his office is looking at pursuing charges of simple assault, criminal trespass and misdemeanor stalking against the man.


And the icing on the cake is: The guy did this in his work truck, with the business name and phone # prominently displayed.
Posted by MarvinGardens | Fri Jul 19, 2019, 12:39 PM (10 replies)

Alcohol kills more Americans.

What legitimate use does it have? Recreation is it. And it's lethal for so many. And you haven't directly answered, but I guess I will assume that you would not ban, nor more strictly regulate alcohol. The only reason you have given is that is does have a legitimate use (recreation), which I acknowledge, thus making my point, by illustrating one of the many reasons that it should not be banned.

And allow me to get this out of the way in answer to your question: I don't buy guns, because I already have what I need. I do buy ammo on occasion. I'm no more complicit in American firearm deaths, than I am in alcohol deaths because I bought a case of beer. If I die from alcohol, then I am complicit in my alcohol related death. If I get drunk and kill people behind the wheel, then I am complicit in their deaths, but still not complicit in all 88,000 Americans who die from it every year. That's how that works. Your argument is as absurd as those PSAs during the Bush admin, telling us that if we bought weed, we were supporting terrorism. So if people buy weed on the black market, are they supporting terrorism? Is everyone who smokes weed in a prohibition state a terrible person? Is everone who buys gasoline responsible for terrorism?

I suppose you are calling me obtuse for assuming the police would also be prohibited from carrying these weapons of domestic terror, as you call them. But your replies are so evasive that I am left to either make assumptions about what you are saying, thus risking putting words in your mouth, or otherwise appearing "obtuse" as you call it.

So you would allow the police to carry semi-automatics, yes? You'd allow the police, who in America do not have a stellar track record of treating civilians well, to carry "weapons of domestic terror"? What this reveals is the following:

(1) You are implicitly acknowledging that they are not weapons of domestic terror.

(2) You are implicitly acknowledging that semi-automatic firearms do have a legitimate use in peacetime.

(3) You still want them banned from civilian hands, because you think that civilians using weapons for self-defense is not a legitimate act. You think that a civilian who keeps a firearm for self-defense is committing a wrong, improper, possibly evil act.

And it is especially on that last point that I completely disagree with you. And so do many other Americans, including Democrats and Independents. Just as a majority of us don't want an alcohol ban, we don't want a ban of semi-automatics. Just as a proposed ban of alcohol would never succeed and would be a political disaster for any political party that proposed it, so would a proposed blanket ban of semi-automatics.
Posted by MarvinGardens | Sun Jul 14, 2019, 01:44 PM (1 replies)


Isn't that like saying let's ban alcohol because of drunk driving deaths? There are more gun homicides than drunk driving deaths, but the numbers are the same order of magnitude. And how many homicides are alcohol fueled, I wonder? Quite a few, I'd wager. Stats:



And since you aren't proposing to ban all guns, I'll be fair and say let's not ban all alcohol, let's allow weak 3.2% beer to still be sold. No more IPAs, no wine, and certainly no liquor. Even Bud, Miller, etc. would have to tone it down. You'd probably have to drink 8 or more of those 3.2% beers to get drunk enough to kill someone.

Some might argue that they drink beer, that they like beer (like Brett Kavanaugh), or some other strong drink, and that they don't want to be forced to drink some weak-ass beer just because a few maniac assholes make bad choices after drinking. And further, that we should hold responsible the people who make those bad choices, rather than all adults.

Others might argue that regardless of the merits of the idea, many Americans are responsible alcohol users who do not want to lose their ability to drink their alcoholic beverage of choice. Because of this, Democrats would lose too many voters if they ran on the idea of banning most alcohol. If that happened, then not only would we not get our alcohol ban, but we would not get any of our priorities enacted, priorities that we Democrats all generally agree upon. And we'd have the continuing nightmare of all the bad things that happen when Trump, or someone like him, is in office.

But if you made either of those arguments, I'd reply that you sound like an alcohol humper, an alcohol fetishist, or maybe just a plain old alcoholic. You want to let 10,000 Americans die per year in drunk driving crashes alone, and let countless others die from alcohol fueled homicides, and alcohol related diseases, just so you can drink your tasty intoxicating beverages instead of the weak-ass swill that I think you should be allowed to drink. And furthermore, every time you buy a drink, you are contributing to an alcohol industry that is responsible for 10,000 dead Americans per year.

And don't reply with statistics about the last time America tried Prohibition, because it might weaken my argument, and besides, I'm not proposing to ban all alcohol.

So, are you on board with my argument to ban most alcohol? If not, why not?
Posted by MarvinGardens | Fri Jul 5, 2019, 02:20 PM (2 replies)

Sounds like Blue Cross.

I've had them at various times, and they always pulled that crap. It superficially looks like sloppy incompetence, but it always goes in their favor. In the computer age, how could you possibly process a claim as if I am in lower tier coverage, when I am in the higher tier coverage? Luckily, where I work now, I had a choice. So I dropped them and went with more expensive insurance offered by a union. More expensive on paper, but you know what? They actually pay claims, exactly as they are supposed to, every time. So there is no more wasted time on the phone, writing angry letters and filling out forms. I get that time back, and it's worth every penny.

If more people just had choices, like I do, it would be an improvement. Before we try single payer, I'd like to see a system where we buy our health insurance the way we buy car insurance, with some ground rules of course. They have to cover preexisting conditions, there is a minimum level of coverage that all plans must provide, and everyone has to carry it. Like the ACA exchanges, but for everyone. It's ridiculous that so many Americans are locked into a single insurance company because of where they work. For many, the status quo vs single payer argument is monopoly vs monopoly. Many workers are stuck in a local monopoly with their employer based coverage, and single payer will replace it with a national monopoly. So people think, "my current coverage is the devil I know. And I could always go work somewhere else, or convince my HR department to offer something else. But if we get single-payer and it sucks, what recourse do I have?"
Posted by MarvinGardens | Thu Jul 4, 2019, 10:45 AM (0 replies)

'Help': Photos show hundreds of migrants, children crammed in overflowing border facilities

I have read numerous descriptions, but seen few pictures, of the terrible conditions in the camps. This article contains a few pictures, and they are worse than I had imagined based on the descriptions. Apparently these photos were taken by Homeland Security inspectors, and it isn't clear if they were released or leaked.


WASHINGTON — Government investigators have identified poor conditions in another sector of the southern border, publishing graphic photos showing extreme overcrowding in Rio Grande Valley migrant facilities and finding that children there did not have access to showers and had to sleep on concrete floors.

Investigators for the Department of Homeland Security who visited border stations in the El Paso, Texas, sector in May found similar conditions: migrants being held in temporary facilities for weeks rather than days, single adults living in standing room-only cells with no space to lie down, and concerns about serious health risks.

More at link above.
Posted by MarvinGardens | Tue Jul 2, 2019, 06:18 PM (2 replies)

Man killed after an alleged argument and attack on an off-duty officer in Costco was nonverbal...

Another police officer with an itchy trigger finger.

The cousin of a man shot and killed by an off-duty police officer in a California Costco says his relative was nonverbal and couldn't have started the argument that allegedly led to the shooting, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times.
The officer, who was reportedly holding a young child while shopping with his family when French allegedly attacked him, shot and killed French and also shot two members of French's family, police said.

More at link.


Dear police: You can't just go around killing people. You work for us.

I'm renewing my call that before *any* restrictions go into effect on the ability of civilians to carry or possess guns, such restrictions go into effect *first* on police officers.

Independent of that, we really should consider ending the routine carrying of firearms by police. Perhaps they should keep them locked in their cars, and only permitted to take them out in certain defined circumstances. Perhaps only a subset of officers, a special squad to be called only when needed, should have them. Such a policy change would save lives.
Posted by MarvinGardens | Mon Jun 17, 2019, 09:23 AM (5 replies)

For those who want to disarm civilians, can we disarm the police too?

Parents say police pulled guns on them after 4-year-old daughter took a doll from a store in Phoenix

A Phoenix couple is seeking $10 million from the city after a video showed police officers drawing a gun on them after their 4-year-old daughter allegedly stole a doll from a Family Dollar store.
Soon after they left the store, Ames said the couple pulled into an apartment complex to drop their daughter off at a babysitter. Then an officer began banging against their window, yelling and threatening to kill them.

"Our hands are up, we're just trying not to get shot, trying to stay calm," Ames said. "He had a gun drawn."

More at link.

Given recent history, they are lucky to be alive. I wonder if we'd save more lives disarming the police rather than civilians.

For those who do favor disarming civilians as a solution to gun violence, how about this for a compromise? Now I'm just putting this out as a trial balloon, and am not sure I'm totally in favor, but here it is: You can disarm all of us civilians, but the police will be disarmed too.
Posted by MarvinGardens | Sat Jun 15, 2019, 02:48 PM (14 replies)

Of rights and straw men.

(Please, unless you have several eminent constitutional scholars (not mediocre conservative judges) to quote, please do not post your amateur or NRA or GOP arguments disagreeing with Burger and Waldman.

First of all, this is a democracy, and I have every bit as much right to my opinion on law and government as the most educated attorney or historian. I am not defending rampant ignorance or stupidity, but not all of us have time in our lives to become Supreme Court justices. And this is a discussion board where individuals can anonymously (or not) present their views. If you are of the opinion that only the views of legal scholars matter, then consider that this reply isn't really for you, but for others who may benefit from hearing a counterpoint to your views.

Not that I really need to disagree with the author of this piece much, nor with Burger or Waldman. So the 2nd Amendment was not interpreted (i.e. by judges, attorneys, and politicians) to protect an individual right to own a gun until recently. For the sake of this argument here, I'll just say, OK, I accept that. But it is now, right? Right? By the Supreme Court, no less. Oh, but you might say, this was a bullshit political decision, informed by a bullshit revisionist historical analysis. Do I read you right?

Well, just because an article of our Constitution was not interpreted in the past to protect an individual right, does not mean that it is illegitimate to interpret it that way now. The Sixth Amendment was not always interpreted to provide for a public defender. The Fourteenth Amendment was not always interpreted to outlaw segregation in public accomodations, protect the rights of whites and blacks to marry, or recognize a right to same sex marriage. Various types of speech were once prosecuted as obscenity, sedition, or desecration, but are now protected by the First Amendment. The Fourth Amendment did not always provide a "penumbra of privacy" that protected the right to an abortion, but it does now. Do you think that these modern interpretations are also wrong because they deviate from previous historical interpretations? It is my un-scholarly opinion that Plessy v. Ferguson was wrong and Brown v. Board of Education was correct. Do you think that Brown versus Board was wrong because it went against established precedent? I doubt it.

Anyway, sometimes rights are recognized when public opinion shifts. This is true of many of the above examples. From your cited article:

In the meantime, the “individual right” argument was starting to win in another forum: public opinion. In 1959, according to a Gallup poll, 60 percent of Americans favored banning handguns; that dropped to 41 percent by 1975 and 24 percent in 2012. By early 2008, according to Gallup, 73 percent of Americans believed the Second Amendment “guaranteed the rights of Americans to own guns” outside the militia.

Is this changing interpretation of rights political? Yes, yes it is. The Constitution is ultimately a political document

My arguments above notwithstanding, you could still argue that the Heller decision was poorly reasoned and incorrect, irrespective of it being a modern versus an older interpretation. Even if you successfully argued this and I agreed with your argument, it would not change my position on the right to keep a firearm being an individual right. Irrespective of the Second Amendment, I believe the right to keep a reasonable weapon for defense of one's home and family is a basic human right, an unenumerated right protected by the Ninth Amendment. Furthermore, I believe that the Fourth Amendment penumbra of privacy forbids the government from coming into my home to seize an inanimate possession of mine (guns, sex toys, drugs, etc.), if I am not using that object to harm anyone else, unless they have an extremely compelling reason to do so. Not only is this latter interpretation of the Fourth Amendment un-scholarly, but I recognize that it does not have mainstream acceptance. Nonetheless, it is my opinion, and I have a very expansive view of civil liberties.

For the sake of argument, let's say that you successfully defeated all of my rights arguments above, in the courts of law and public opinion. I would still argue for statute law to grant the privilege of owning a weapon for home defense to the vast majority of non-criminal citizens, because it is good public policy. The police can't be everywhere all the time.

Lastly, "The Founders never intended to create unregulated guns" is a bit of a straw man. I've never read anyone on DU arguing in favor of unregulated guns.
Posted by MarvinGardens | Sat Jun 1, 2019, 01:21 PM (2 replies)
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