Friday, May 20, 2005

A further update on Lt. Pantano

My loyal readers (all three of you) know that I've been following the case of Lt. Ilario Pantano, the Marine who has been accused of shooting two suspected terrorists. Here's the latest on the case.

The Jacksonville, NC Star-News reports that the government prosecutor has taken

...the unusual step Wednesday of questioning findings of the officer hearing the case, who recommends that criminal charges not be pursued.

If I understand their objections correctly, their theory is that Lt. Pantano set up a situation in which he would be forced to defend himself. I just can't figure that one--he was on a search-and-cordon mission, and captured two men who fled his unit's approach to a building . So by carrying out his orders he set this thing up?

The investigator who has recommended dismissal did find fault with Lt. Pantano's actions:

But Lt. Col. Winn was no more charitable in his comments concerning Lt. Pantano, whom he described as having erred from the beginning of the incident by focusing on the car and its two occupants rather than on the cordon-and-search mission itself. Lt. Col. Winn was sharply critical of Lt. Pantano’s admission that he placed as sign reading “no better friend, no worse enemy” on the car above the bodies and recommended disciplining of the officer for having fired as many shots as he did during the incident.

Let me comment on those. Based on what we're told, focus does sound like an issue. However, we don't know if he was focusing on the vehicle because the rest of his force was occupied or what. We need more information on this one.

The sign, on the other hand, I like. Ever heard of psyops? That's what it sounds like to me. Maybe it's over the top, but it's a war. We need to get this thing won, and if a few signs tagged on dead bad guys help, I can work with that.

First time, though, I've ever heard of someone being criticized for firing too much. What, are we short of ammo?

Come on guys, let's stop messing around with this Marine's future. It's the heat of battle--you have to react NOW. You don't have time to consider all the niceties that us armchair quarterbacks get look at. When you consider the situation in toto, I just don't see how you can fault the guy for much of anything.

I'll report any further developments.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Father of Real ID brings you

The Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act of 2005 (HR 1528).

It seems that Rep Sensenbrenner is completely off the deep end in his quest to turn the United States into the United Police States. He got his national identity card the RealID Act by cleverly disguising it as a military spending bill, so now we're going for turning us all into informers in the War on the Bill of Rights Drugs.

"Oh, so you don't want to be an informer, Citizen? That's alright, this way to the jail."

SEC. 425. (a) It shall be unlawful for any person who witnesses or learns of a violation of sections 416(b)(2), 417, 418, 419, 420, 424, or 426 to fail to report the offense to law enforcement officials within 24 hours of witnessing or learning of the violation and thereafter provide full assistance in the investigation, apprehension, and prosecution of the person violating paragraph (a).

`(b) Any person who violates subsection (a) of this section shall be sentenced to not less than two years or more than 10 years. If the person who witnesses or learns of the violation is the parent or guardian, or otherwise responsible for the care or supervision of the person under the age of 18 or the incompetent person, such person shall be sentenced to not less than three years or more than 20 years.

If you haven't been worried yet, you damn well better get worried. The police state isn't here quite yet, but it's well on the way, and if this misbegotten legislation gets on the books, then it is here, like it or not.

I believe they're getting ready to turn the pot up to "boil", Froggy me boy.

(Brought to my attention on The High Road.)

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Endorsement retracted

I'm sorry, but I'm taking back my endorsement of Condoleezza Rice for President in 2008. Via Geek With A .45, the Countertop Chronicles brings us the relevant portion of the Larry King interview where she addresses the Second Amendment.

Here's the part that Yahoo! mentions in their article:

MR. KING: By the way, what do you think about gun control?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, Larry, I come out of a -- my own personal experiences in which in Birmingham, Alabama, my father and his friends defended our community in 1962 and 1963 against white nightriders by going to the head of the community, the head of the cul-de-sac, and sitting there armed. And so I'm very concerned about any abridgement of the Second Amendment. I'll tell you that I know that if Bull Connor had had lists of registered weapons, I don't think my father and his friends would have been sitting at the head of the community defending the community.

MR. KING: So you would not change the Second Amendment? You would not --

SECRETARY RICE: I also don't think we get to pick and choose in the Constitution. The Second Amendment is as important as the First Amendment of the --

We're good so far, and I particularly like the point that the Second is as important as the First. I take this as a direct jab at the media who constantly scream bloody murder when the First Amendment is threatened, but who would cut the Second from the Constitution without a second thought.

But then she loses me:

MR. KING: But doesn't having the guns, while it's protection, also leads to people killing people?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, obviously, the sources of violence are many and we need to get at the sources of violence. Obviously, I'm very much in favor of things like background checks and, you know, and controlling at gun shows. And there are lots of things we can do. But we have to be very careful when we start abridging rights that our Founding Fathers thought very important. And on this one, I think that they understood that there might be circumstances that people like my father experienced in Birmingham, Alabama, when, in fact, the police weren't going to protect you.

No, no, no, no, NO! This isn't the position a Second Amendment Absolutist (and that's what I've seen her called in various forums) takes.

First, background checks do violence to the Second and our civil liberties without a commeasurate benefit. Career felons do not buy guns anywhere they're subject to a background check. Those who suffer from mental illness or alcoholism, abuse drugs or renounce their US citizenship aren't listed in some central registry. (Yet. Real ID is coming.)

As to "controlling at gun shows", I'm just going to scream. LAW ABIDING GUN OWNERS ARE NOT THE PROBLEM! How often does that need to be pointed out? I have never seen anyone do anything illegal at a gun show, save for a few feloniously stupid questions about converting guns to full auto asked by idiots (or ATF plants). Gun show attendees tend to be well-behaved and very concerned with obeying firearms laws. So what do we mean by "controlling at gun shows" Ms. Rice? Please don't tell me you're one of those that believe we must close down the Illegal Arms Bazaars before we arm every terrorist in the world with a .50 BMG rifle so they can shoot down planes and blow up refineries.

I'm tired of voting for the lesser of two evils. Long time readers of my blog know I was a vociferous supporter of President Bush in the 2004 election. However, that was only because John Kerry-Edwards was so much worse that I felt I had no choice but to support him. Face it, Bush is no conservative (small "c", please). If you think he is, please review his social, fiscal and foreign policy positions.

(And before anyone wants to start with a "how great the War on Terror is" rant, let me say this: A conservative may well have went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq. But the goals would have been better defined, and the troops would have been home by now. There would have been none of this "nation building" business. In, whack the pee-pees of the people who attacked us, and home again, lesson taught. Repeat as necessary.)

I may well vote for a Condi Rice or someone of similar positions, but I will not be an enthusiastic supporter. Where's that viable third party when you need it?


Methuselah's Daughter has a unique point of view on the subject of packing. I've heard similar thoughts before, but have never seen them as well expressed.

(Those of you who don't read Zsallia's blog ought to do yourselves a favor and do so. The story line is fascinating (a 3500ish year old apparently immortal woman's experiences and views on our modern world) and it's some of the best writing in the land of blogs. Pity she doesn't write more....)

Monday, May 16, 2005

Newsweek Lied; People Died

It would seem that Newsweek has had an attack of Dan Ratherism:

Newsweek Retracts Koran-Desecration Story

Protesters took to the streets in several Afghan cities last week after Newsweek published its report. American flags were burned, relief organizations were attacked and at least 16 people were killed and scores injured in clashes with police.

This is a major crock of feces. I'm all for the First Amendment, but this is pushing freedom of the press too far. Freedoms come with some built-in responsibilities. The oldest example I can recall is the saying that "Your freedom to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose."

In this case, Newsweek's negligence (and I'm going to assume negligence rather than something more sinister) in swinging their editorial fist has given the US a bloody nose in much of the Moslem world.

The excuse of negligence is only going to go so far, however, and I already see something that bothers me greatly:

In the apology, Whitaker said that its lone source for a story accusing U.S. interrogators of flushing the Koran down the toilet to rattle a detainee later said he could not recall where information about the alleged incident came from.

This starts sounding more like Rathergate when information like this comes out. But rather than jump to conclusions (much as I'm tempted to), I'm going to wait and see what further information develops. I hope it includes the news that some people loose their jobs (if not some body parts), but I'm not holding my breath.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Doin' that catchup thang

Back and somewhat refreshed from the weekend at Camp Freehold, we're doing a quickie catchup post.

As promised, I did some writing this weekend. The first piece that will see the light of day is called A Survivalist's Battery, in which I briefly discuss the topic of guns from a survivalist viewpoint.

My post on attending the Dixie Gun and Knife Show in Raleigh has made the Carnival of Cordite #13, hosted this week by Gullyborg at Resistance is futile! If you're visiting from there, greetings.

In a great big "Oopsie!", Newsweek says it was wrong about it's report on US military personnel desecrating the Koran at Gitmo. You know, for some funny reason I never bought into the story in the first place--how the bleeding hell do you flush a book down a toilet? (If you happen to invent a toilet that can actually do that, you're gonna get rich.) I hope their apology helps all the killed and injured in Afghanistan feel better. Yet another case of the Legacy Media penchant for making up the news they want to publish.

In a related story, New Survey Finds Huge Gap Between Press and Public on Many Issues. Say it aint so!

(Credit to Herr Drudge for the links.)

El Presidente Vicente Fox is so angry about the passage of the Real ID Act (cleverly disguised as a military spending bill) that he sticks his foot in his mouth when he states Mexicans were willing to take jobs "that not even blacks want to do in the United States." Could you use some salt, President Fox?

Kim du Toit's Nation of Riflemen t-shirts are now available. Sorry, the model is married.

Matt Rustler posting at Publicola has an excellent "Guns 'n' RKBA Round-up".

Armor Geddon is posting again--and he's posting video, as well. Cool.

That does it for this catchup.