Victim Disarmament

The Constitution Gets a Shot of Adrenaline


The Supreme Court gave us all a break Monday with its ruling in favor of plaintiff Otis McDonald in his lawsuit to overturn Chicago’s ban on owning a handgun to protect his home.

SCOTUS seal

The news and analysis of this historic decision is all over, so what’s left for the author of Stopping Power: Why 70 Million Americans Own Guns to do?

This:

O. McDonald has a gun, eee-yi-eee-yi-oh!
And Mayor Daley had a cow, eee-yi-eee-yi-oh!
With a moo moo here and a moo moo there!
Here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo!
O. McDonald has a gun, eee-yi-eee-yi-oh!

Add your own verses!

Neil


My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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The Diary of Anna Francisco


Arizona’s governor just signed two laws in the past few days.

The first removes the requirement that to carry a concealed handgun legally in the state one needs a government permit.

The second authorizes state, county, and local police to ask for papers from anyone they have “reasonable suspicion” is in the country illegally, and makes harboring an illegal immigrant a crime.

I spent years “harboring” a man who was never legally classified a “permanent” resident of the United States. He was like a brother to me.

That he was from north of the border rather than south of the border should only matter to a bigot.

Nonetheless, he never applied for permanent resident status or a “green card.” He never filed income tax returns in the United States. He may have had a Social Security number issued to him when he was in the country legally as a graduate student; if so, I never saw him use it afterwards.

When he was stopped by police on occasion — for jaywalking, or on one occasion because his common-law wife swore out a complaint against him — he showed the police his Canadian passport, which satisfied them.

He crossed freely and repeatedly between Canada and the United States, and only had problems with American authorities once when his Canadian papers weren’t in order.

And he never worked as an employee for any American person or company; anyone who wanted his services had to pay the Canadian-based corporation he owned, which used a British bank with branches in the United States and Canada.

He died in the U.S. having overstayed his student visa by 29 years.

A United States Congressman spoke at his memorial service. So did businessmen who would have been happy to sponsor him for a green card and legal permanent residency.

My friend didn’t do that because, being an anarchist, he did not recognize the moral authority of the government of the United States to license and tax his residency, any more than citizens of the State of Arizona recognize the moral authority of their state to license and tax carrying arms. In both cases the argument is in favor of natural rights.

Now, the United States and Mexico did fight a war between 1846 and 1848, which the history books usually call the Mexican-American War. It was a territorial dispute. The United States military won the conflict and imposed on the Mexican forces in disarray the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. That treaty gave residents in the disputed territories a year to decide if they wanted to live in Mexico and be Mexicans or live in the United States and be Americans.

The problem is, the United States was a capitalist society with a tradition of English liberty and a Protestant work ethic and Mexico wasn’t. The country to the north thrived and grew a rich upwardly mobile middle class. The country to the south stayed pretty much as it had been, with peasants and aristocrats.

So the terms of the treaty haven’t held up very well.

The political justification of the second Arizona law just signed is that illegal immigrants are bringing with them criminal violence from Mexico to Arizona.

Today Mexico is a country overrun by gangsters who use violence to control monopolies on who gets the profits from the sale of illegal drugs to the United States. The gangsters even pay Mexican police and soldiers to work for them, so we sometimes have Mexican soldiers crossing into the United States on missions for these gangs. That meets the definition of either an invasion or espionage. The United States could put these Mexican gangs — and this invasion — out of business overnight by the simple expedient of legalizing these drugs and pulling the rug out from under these Mexican cartels.

Another political justification for the second law is that illegal immigrants partake of government or government-mandated services in the United States — schools, welfare, medical services — thus overburdening American taxpayers. Moving these services to the private sector, and removing the government mandates, would relieve American taxpayers of these burdens.

There are other political justifications for the second law. Mexicans who work off the books — not abiding by licensing and other bureaucratic requirements, not paying income taxes or FICA, not being unionized — can work cheaper than American workers burdened by these regulations, taxes, and price supports imposed by the lobbying of organized labor. Eliminating these regulations, taxes, and price supports eliminates the market advantage of working off the books.

So, basically, if illegal immigrants work for a living there’s a political objection to them, and if they don’t work for a living there’s a political objection to them.

This is known as “Heads I win; tails you lose.”

Now, the interesting thing is that the only objection any of the Framers of the American system of government would have been concerned about was the invasion by foreign soldiers. The rest was none of the government’s business.

There was no prohibition of drugs.

There was no welfare.

There was no income tax or Social Security.

The practice of medicine was paid for by a patient paying a doctor.

There were no labor unions.

There was no mandatory public schooling.

There was no minimum wage.

And there were no laws regulating immigration, except the importation of slaves.

There was hardly universal freedom, especally if your skin was black or you were a woman. But if you were a white man, you were free. It would take close to two centuries before blacks and women achieved full equality to white men under the law, but by then they achieved equality with white men who were no longer free.

Bummer.

Here’s a real irony. The Governor of Arizona doesn’t have a clue that by signing the first law she pretty much made the second law superfluous, at least as far as the Founding Fathers’ concerns. By allowing Arizonans to carry arms for self-protection, the Mexican invaders stand a good chance of having someone shoot back. They will find they do much better back in their own land, where the government officially disarms their victims. This alone will act to drive them out.

Many of the immigrants who came through Ellis Island decades ago had as little understanding of what made America special as Mexicans who come here today. All the older immigrants knew was that America’s streets were “paved with gold.” They didn’t understand the principles of free-market economics that made America different from the European and Asian sewers they were escaping from.

But they learned the advantages of freedom. If there’s not enough freedom left here for the Mexicans to learn the advantages of it, that’s hardly their fault.

Mexicans know Mexico is broken. They come here because America and Americans have a reputation of being a free and generous people. If we are less free than our reputation — and our government more profligate — whose fault is that?

Let’s fix the problem rather than fix the blame.

Eliminate the bureaucratic laws, market-entry-barriers and taxes that grant undocumented workers market advantage.

Stop punishing free-market hiring of labor on terms acceptable to buyer and seller.

Stop blaming Mexicans for wanting to escape from Hell. Let’s recognize them for what they are: not illegal aliens, but refugees from tyranny.

Mexicans are the new Cubans.

Anne Frank or Anna Francisco?

And if the law says it’s illegal to hide them so they won’t be returned to the tyranny they escaped from, consider that some righteous Americans will hide them in an attic, and future school children will read the Diary of Anna Francisco.

#


Winner of the Special Jury Prize for Libertarian Ideals from the 2011 Anthem Film Festival! My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available free on the web linked from the official movie website. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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A Bad Case of Liberty


Reading a transcript of the lawyers’ oral arguments in front of the Supreme Court in the case of McDonald v. City of Chicago actually gives us a more accurate diagnosis on the condition of liberty in the United States today than you could get from watching a thousand hours of cable news and listening to a thousand hours of talk radio.

The specific reason that this case is being heard before the Supreme Court is a legal contrivance — an attempt by those who believe in the individual right to keep and bear arms to establish that right in the federal courts, where it can be enforced.

Specifically, in this case, a ban on handgun ownership in a private home is being challenged on grounds previously established in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, in which the Supreme Court recognized the Second Amendment as enshrining in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights an individual right to keep and bear arms.

But the Bill of Rights was originally intended to restrict and limit only powers granted by the Constitution to the Federal Government. It wasn’t until after the Civil War and the passage of the 14th amendment that rights enshrined in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights were thought to be able to be enforced by federal courts on state and local governments.

And therein lies the primary question: do you want the Government of the United States — federal marshals, FBI agents, the EPA, IRS, even the ATF — coming to your defense when your rights are violated by state and local officials?

It’s not a question that remotely crossed the minds of the Founding Fathers when they carefully crafted the balance of powers between the United States and the states themselves, because they did not contemplate what we have today: a federal government that has taken upon itself vast powers never granted to it by the Constitution that survived a rebellion from the States and the people.

The Founding Fathers — Jefferson and Madison in particular — would have been shocked by nothing so much in subsequent American history as the federal government winning the war against states seceding from the Union.

So when Alan Gura — the attorney for the plaintiff seeking relief in a federal court from the oppression of the City of Chicago — argues to the Supreme Court that the “privileges and immunities” clause of the 14th amendment should be used by federal courts to forbid the City of Chicago from violating Otis McDonald’s Second Amendment-protected right to keep a handgun at home, Mr. Gura is using the arguments of liberal civil-rights lawyers and liberal activist judges to further weaken state and local governments and further empower the federal government.

The conservatives on the court — who want to give no more power to the federal government — are caught on the horns of a dilemma. They believe in the Second Amendment. They believe the right protected by the Second Amendment is no less deserving of protection than other rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights which previous courts have already held can be enforced by federal courts against state and local officials.

But they do not want to unleash a swarm of federal bureaucrats on state and local governments as an unintended consequence of attempting to protect individual rights.

Likewise, the liberals on the court would like nothing better than to expand the power of federal courts to intervene in state and local matters — and what better excuse than protecting rights enshrined in the Constiitution? — but they get sick to their stomach when they contemplate that the right to own and carry guns will be among those protected rights.

It puts every Justice outside of their usual comfort zones.

It gets even more complicated because the authors of the Bill of Rights got even more radical than the idea of the people being well-armed to protect the possibility of future revolutions. In the Ninth and Tenth Amendments they said that just because they missed writing down a specific right didn’t mean the right disappeared. They created a category of “unenumerated rights” — rights held by the people at the time the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution in 1792 — and if you take the Constitution at all seriously, what this means is that every bit of personal freedom that was legal for an individual in 1792 is still legal today — and any legislation to the contrary is null and void.

Taking the idea of unenumerated rights seriously was so threatening to Justice Scalia that when Alan Gura brought it up — in passing — Scalia asked Gura if he was trying to get himself a job as a law professor. After all — let’s get serious. It’s only in an ivory tower that one could possibly take seriously the thought that the Supreme Court is supposed to launch a Second American Revolution by actually enforcing the people’s individual rights against a Leviathan Engine that regards them as fuel!

The problem with Justice Scalia’s panic is that Alan Gura isn’t the problem.

The American people are Justice Scalia’s problem.

Even after over a century of public-schooling and major media working to legitimize a powerful, paternalistic welfare/warfare State, there are still millions of Americans who read the Constitution — which is a fairly short document written in plain English — and regard it as a contract in which certain rights and powers are their own, not any employee receiving a paycheck paid for with their taxes.

It doesn’t matter what the Supreme Court says. They know what the contract says is theirs, and they’re going to get ornery, uncooperative, and possibly even go ballistic when that contract is violated and their lives are disempowered and impoverished thereby.

That, Justice Scalia, is revolution. Madison writing in the Federalist Papers knew that no matter how many weapons systems are in service to protecting the establishment powers, nothing can prevent the people from eventually reaching a point where merely by refusing to cooperate the system collapses in on itself.

It’s not just guns that would come out in the streets when that happens. It would be SUV’s, iPhones, IED’s, and — in general — the indignation and ingenuity of millions of people who have their garages, attics, and basements filled with so much lethal junk that even I — a science-fiction writer — can’t imagine the havoc they could create if the Middle Class American ever really got pissed off.

The Supreme Court of the United States is the mediator between a nation of potential revolutionary maniacs and an establishment that exists — no shit, really — only by their sufferance.

I am not the one making this threat, Justice Scalia. I’m just a reporter. Don’t shoot the messenger.

But pay attention. However you decide the balance of power between the federal government and states and localities, it had better have as its object the maximum preservation and protection of what the American people see as their natural and obvious Constitutional rights.

An earlier Supreme Court made a mistake about this once in a case called Dred Scott v. Sandford. Somewhere between 600,000 and 700,000 Americans died because of that mistake.

I suggest you err, next time — just for the sake of public safety — on the side of liberty.


My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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Have Your Next Tea Party at Starbucks!


Big business, merely by being successful, is a target of those who hate private enterprise. And even though Dunkin’ Donuts, 7-Eleven, and McDonalds may sell more cups of coffee every day, Starbucks — with over 16,000 locations worldwide, including over 11,000 in the United States — may well be the signature brand of retail coffee today.

Like WalMart, Starbucks is immediately controversial because its employees are not unionized. That’s okay with me. Starbucks is already known for its premium prices. I can’t imagine what a tall Mocha Frappuccino would cost if blended by union members.

There’s a Facebook Group with over a thousand members named “Fuck Starbucks!” based on an old and refuted urban legend that Starbucks once refused to send its coffee to U.S. Marines deployed in Iraq, telling them, “We don’t support the War or anyone in it.” This group urges those who support the military to boycott Starbucks. It would be ironic if right-wing activists were boycotting Starbucks because of an urban legend started by left-wing union organizers as a way to strong-arm Starbucks.

Contrary to common opinion regarding the Starbucks barista, it’s definitely a job for skilled labor. My daughter worked at Starbucks while in high school, and showed me the procedural manual every employee had to master, detailed to the point of what vocabulary to use while describing coffee flavors to inquiring customers. The word smoky is a charmer. But mastering the full manual of these procedures might daunt a NASA astronaut.

In an age when Tea Party is supposed to describe a political movement, I’ve often wondered at how few actual beverages are involved. I mean, the actual Boston Tea Party was a minor bit of terrorism to protest a tax on tea. It was a one-time deal. Nobody was going out every weekend dumping tea in Boston Harbor. It’s no wonder the focus of a movement that started out with Ron Paul supporters looking for something else to do when the 2008 candidacy of Ron Paul ended quickly lost its focus, then becoming targets for hostile takeovers by establishment Republicans and neocons.

But Starbucks — which does actually sell real cups of tea — now finds itself, willy nilly, at the center of a controversy that would be of interest to many real grassroots Tea Party activists.

It started out when advocates of “open carry” — the wearing of handguns either in a visible holster or belt, as opposed to carrying concealed — took a page from the gay activist procedural manual, and started outing themselves in public. Several at a time, as a way of norming the practice, they’d visit high-visibility places of business — like Starbucks — wearing visible sidearms.

Eventually, of course, this news made its way to the Brady Campaign, who decided to try putting pressure on various businesses — like Starbucks — to declare themselves “Gun Free Zones.”

Now, pressure campaigns like this are usually successful. Corporations loathe controversy. Retail chains with sporting goods departments — such as K-mart and WalMart — quickly caved in to demands, years ago, that they stop selling firearms and ammunition in their stores.

So it must have been a shock to the Brady Campaign when Starbucks — not known for being in the slightest right-wing-oriented — declared that private citizens were welcome to openly carry their firearms into any Starbucks location where local law did not restrict it.

This is more supportive of the Second Amendment than an independent hair-styling kiosk renting space in my local WalMart in Pahrump, Nevada, which has a prominent sign declaring that no weapons are allowed.

I have spent more than a few words writing on the topic of firearms, crime, and self-defense. I’m the author of a book titled Stopping Power: Why 70 Million Americans Own Guns, about which Charlton Heston wrote, “Mr. Schulman’s book is the most cogent explanation of the gun issue I have yet read. He presents the assault on the Second Amendment in frighteningly clear terms. Even the extremists who would ban firearms will learn from his lucid prose.”

I’m also webmaster of the World Wide Web Gun Defense Clock, which calculates that “Every 13 seconds an American firearm owner uses a firearm in defense against a criminal.”

Since my birthday in 2007 — the date of the Virginia Tech massacre — I have been giving away free downloads of the PDF edition of Stopping Power, and only the free 30th anniversary edition of my novel Alongside Night has racked up more downloads from my fans. Coming up on three years and Stopping Power is still getting around 500 downloads a month.

G. Gordon Liddy, in his 2002 book When I Was a Kid, This Was a Free Country, quoted extensively from my September 13, 1991 Gun Week article, “The Unabridged Second Amendment,” in which I interviewed English usage expert, Roy Copperud, on the meaning of the Second Amendment. Liddy didn’t bother attributing the material he quoted from my article, but what would you expect from one of the world’s most famous convicted burglars?

Writing about a private citizen carrying a firearm for self defense — and using it successfully — also got me blacklisted.

As recounted by former CNN correspondent Dan Gifford in an email he sent out on March 23, 2006:

Neil Schulman is a talented man who has been screwed by Hollywood liberals. The “LA Law” gang was in love with him until he wrote an “LA Times” piece about the way the media ignores incidents where armed citizens stop crimes in progress. There was a local example he used to make his point. That contradicted the liberal politics of the writers. They dropped him and, according to what I heard, put his name on the whisper blackball grapevine. I first heard about the incident from my fellow ACLU board members during a meeting. He wrote one of the more poignant “Twilight Zone” episodes (JFK is alive and teaching at Harvard) and is an example of the very liberal McCarthyesque bias we are all trying to expose and end.

So I actually do know something about the utility of private citizens carrying guns openly for self-defense.

Which is why I started a Facebook group of my own — RKBA Supporters for Starbucks — and yesterday launched an event encouraging all supporters of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms to make a visit to their local Starbucks this coming week.

I wrote,

Buy a cup of Tea (or Coffee) at Starbucks to thank them for supporting the Right to Keep and Bear Arms!

Starbucks has taken the rare step for a major corporation of refusing to buckle under to pressure from the pro-gun-control Brady Campaign in its decision not to ban open-carry of handguns in those of its locations where it is legal to do so. In refusing to make Starbucks a “Gun Free Zone” Starbucks is recognizing the protective value of private citizens carrying firearms for defense in the event of a terrorist attack or criminal takeover of the store.

Simply by refusing to be more restrictive in its locations than local law permits, Starbucks is recognizing that “Gun control increases violent crime by shifting the balance of power to favor criminals while it disarms helpless victims.”

If Starbucks policy had been in effect in locations ranging from Luby’s Cafeteria in Waco, Texas, to Virginia Tech, to Fort Hood, mass-victim massacres by unopposed illegally-armed criminals, crazies, and terrorists might have been stopped on the spot.

Supporters of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms need to show their support of Starbucks for their sensible and caring approach to the safety of their customers by frequenting Starbucks, displaying Starbucks logos and merchandise in their cars, homes, and workplaces, and thanking Starbucks employees and managers for their continuing support of the Bill of Rights which protects us all.

As soon as I created this group and posted my event, I got a message from my Facebook friend, Bruce Sommer, who wrote me, “While I applaud Starbuck’s respect for open carry on its premises, I can’t respect their opposition of the entire concept if self-ownership as reflected in their view of the war on the American people that is the war on some drugs.”

I replied to Bruce, “If we don’t reward corporations with extra business when they do something right, they won’t give a damn about us when we decline doing business with them when they do something wrong. A carrot and stick approach requires occasional carrots.”

Apparently I wasn’t the only guy who thought Starbucks needed carrots.

Dr. Ignatius Piazza, Founder and Director of Front Sight Firearms Training Institute headquartered in Aptos, California, wrote on their website today,

To thank the Starbuck’s organization for setting a stellar example of proper corporate policy, I will provide a $2,000 bonus to every Starbucks’ employee in the form of a Front Sight Four Day Defensive Handgun Course. All a Starbuck’s employee has to do is select a Four Day Defensive Handgun Course date in 2010 from our website course schedule at www.frontsight.com and complete the Course Application. (We run the courses almost every weekend except during July and August.) After completing the Course Application, attach a copy of a current Starbucks paystub to the application instead of the $2,000 course fee and mail the completed application so we receive it at least two weeks before the course date. We will then place you in the course and e-mail your course confirmation materials. I look forward to training the entire Starbucks organization to a level of skill with a handgun that exceeds law enforcement and military standards. (Then Starbucks really could change their logo to an armed Mermaid!)”

So, please, do something this coming week to drive up Starbucks’ sales, and politely let them know that these extra sales are coming from gun owners and supporters of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

This could turn out to be the most powerful cup of coffee in the world, and would blow your cappuccino head clean off.

#


My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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A Five-Point Plan to Save America, Haiti, and the World


I’m not an economist, but I have studied economics.

I’ve been described as a science-fiction writer and a futurist.

More than a couple of times I’ve made projections about the future — not only in fiction, but also in business plans — that have turned out close to the mark.

I’ve come up with one or two billion-dollar market cap ideas that made billions of dollars … for someone else.

These are the credentials I’m standing on when I offer a solution to the political and economic crisis that has weakened the economy of that geo-political entity called the United States, but which in reality is comprised of people, what they do, what they have access to, what they count on, and what is expected of them.

The United States of America as a geo-political entity is doomed.

That sector of the American economy tied to the entitlements and obligations of its federal and state governments — and whose capital and obligations are calculated in terms of a dollar issued by its secretive central bank — is “upside down.” Its debt and obligations far exceed the capital owned by and current productive capacity of its people.

The two alternatives, when reduced to essentials, come down to either a bankruptcy involving a repudiation of debts and entitlements — which means some people are going to be thrown to the wolves, and many will actually die — or a bankruptcy involving a reorganization that can lead to a real recovery.

This second plan involves risk and courage. But if it’s put into action, economic salvation lies this way because it relies on the one proven cure for any sort of poverty: the creation of new wealth.

Discussing only currently existing debts, obligations, and entitlements — which are the limits of all mainstream political, economic, and financial debates — is moving around the deck chairs on the Titanic. It’s playing zero-sum or negative-sum games in which the outcomes are already known: chaotic collapse.

Until now the collapse has been put off by a Ponzi scheme in which new marks were found to pay dividends to the older marks.

But the mathematics of all Ponzi schemes reach a point where the number of new victims needed to keep the scam going exceeds the number of new victims available.

We’re there.

The only benevolent solution is to close out the game — so no more new victims are added — and simultaneously to prevent the pyramid collapsing in on itself so rapidly that the victims are thrown to the wolves, to live or die.

I propose here not the anarchistic solution of allowing a full-on rapid collapse with the chaos that would follow starving millions of victims but a minarchistic Five-Point Plan to capitalize the creation of new real wealth with the slow retirement of current debts, obligations, and entitlements.

Here are the essentials of the Five-Point Plan.

1. The free sector of the economy must be immediately capitalized with new real wealth. Much of this wealth exists in exploitable resources currently under the control of the federal and state governments. This includes mineral and energy exploitables that can be developed on land currently claimed by the federal and state governments. This land and these resources need to be devolved to the private sector, but kept out of the hands of economic oligarchs who will continue to keep them unexploited. I propose a national lottery for private ownership of these resources in which only real American citizens — not corporations, foundations, or other fictitious entities — may participate. Then the new, private owners must be given the freedom to develop and exploit these resources.

2. An economy grows when new products are brought to market, but capital is required to invent, develop, and market these new products. Economic action free from the tax of bureaucratic paperwork and entry barriers, burdens of taxes and fees, and the hidden tax of monetary inflation can enable much of this. But much capital is currently tied up in the operation of government, itself. Merely eliminating government jobs creates more unemployed people — and repudiating their pensions creates a counter-revolutionary class that would poison-pill any possibility of economic freedom. I therefore propose that instead of continuing to pay bureaucrats to interfere with progressive capitalization of new products they be given the opportunity to become wealthy themselves by converting the budgets of government departments into prize monies available to current government employees when they entrepreneur new businesses that successfully find customers willing to pay for them.

3. Calculation of wealth must begin to be based on actual market value rather than the bookeeping fictions of the Federal Reserve Banking system, which builds in the hidden theft of having increasing amounts of ledger balances chasing a relatively smaller amount of real goods. A date certain must be set on which only actual commodities such as precious metals may be used as money.

4. The size of government and its operations must be regressive rather than progressive. A two-percent reduction per annum in the real budgets of all government entities — and a devolution of services from the public to the free and competitive private sector — should work. This will require closing foreign military bases and retiring the current policy of foreign wars, world policing, and foreign military entanglements — in other words, a return to the United States operating within the confines of its constitution. National defense must be defensive rather than preemptive. Defense against terrorism must rely on a well-armed and well-regulated militia — that means American civilians like those who stopped al-Qaeda terrorist attacks on United Flight 93 on September 11, 2001 and on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on December 25, 2009. And, yes, American military personnel must be armed at all times. No more Fort Hoods.

5. It’s necessary to look beyond the earth’s atmosphere to produce sources of new wealth. Some of the current real capital — land and mineralogical wealth currently under the control of the federal government — must be allocated to prize-money for achievements in the fields of lowering the cost to lift payloads into orbit and beyond, produce goods in space that can be sold on earth, and create industrial and colonial habitats in space.

For anyone looking at this Five-Point Plan who thinks it’s undesirable, impractical, or otherwise unachievable, consider the alternative:

Collapse, chaos and violent revolution.

Not just in the United States, but everywhere dependent on the health of the United States economy.

Haiti. Ethiopia. Russia. Saudi Arabia. Japan. China. Malaysia.

Choose your future.


My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon Video. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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Fort Hood soldier currently deployed in Iraq calls for giving guns to American soldiers and families on base

One of the readers of this column, even before I began writing about the November 5th Fort Hood massacre the day after it occurred, is Sgt. Brian Singer, a U.S. army soldier currently deployed to Iraq, but whose home station is Fort Hood.

A few days after the Fort Hood shootings Sgt. Singer wrote a letter-to-the-editor to Stars and Stripes. An edited version of that letter was published in Stars and Stripes on Thursday, November 19th. You can read Sgt. Singer’s letter as published in Stars and Stripes here.

Sgt. Singer was kind enough to grant me permission to publish the full text of his letter as a guest column.

One sentence in particular was left out of the edited version published by Stars and Stripes, and this missing sentence — a question Sgt. Singer asks — highlights the contradiction between the propaganda we are fed regarding our military services and the stark reality.

Sgt. Singer asks in his letter, “Why is it that as military members we have to disarm ourselves every time we go to work?”

I don’t often succumb to the popular temptation to call our servicemen and women heroes, but in this case it’s indisputable. Publicly taking on an established policy held by your superiors in the chain of command while deployed — out of love for your fellow soldiers and their families — is nothing short of heroic.

–J. Neil Schulman

The tragic results of victim disarmament were made real to the military community with Thursday’s shooting at Fort Hood. If this were a moral and proper world, as soon as Maj. Nidal Hasan drew his weapon, every single person in the building would have had their front sights leveled on him. Fort Hood’s (and all other U.S. military installations’) immoral and unjust anti-self-defense policy effectively disarmed only the victims of this crime. How many more events like this is it going to take before DOD officials wake up and realize that victim disarmament costs lives? How many more events like this will have to take place before Congress amends the UCMJ to require all personnel, civilian and military, to be properly armed — meaning not simply carrying an unloaded weapon like we do over here — at all times while on US military installations?

In the State of Texas, and many other states throughout our great country, citizens from all walks of life voluntarily choose every day to be responsible for protecting their own lives and property by arming themselves. This is not just an act of responsibility; it is the ultimate expression of patriotism and good citizenship. Why is it that as military members we have to disarm ourselves every time we go to work?

Fort Hood is my home station. That’s where my wife and kids are. It further sickens me that when my wife needs to go on post in order to take care of some kind of business, whether it’s a doctor appointment, an FRG meeting or renewing the kids’ ID cards, she, too, has to surrender her fundamental human right to defend herself, by going unarmed. And the military tells us it cares about the welfare of our families.

It is incomprehensible to me that in the days of the Global War on Terrorism Stateside military installations have become the country’s largest Gun Free Zones — you can interpret this as playgrounds for criminals. We have unfortunately seen a variety of mass shootings in recent years, at schools, universities, houses of worship and other public gathering places. There are no steps to take, no rules to pass, to prevent the occasional sick, twisted mind from completely losing its grip on reality, driving a criminal to commit such a heinous act. Yet as citizens — as free Americans responsible for ourselves, our families, and our property — we have the ability to stop these kinds of crimes from happening. How many lives would have been saved on 9/11 if people weren’t stripped of their human right to self defense simply because they wanted to fly? How many lives would have been saved at Virginia Tech, Columbine High School, and now Fort Hood?

Those who continue to advocate policies that guarantee the criminal class has unfettered access to an endless supply of defenseless potential victims need to change their tune. Maj. Nidal Hasan bears sole responsibility for his crime. Lawmakers and DOD policy makers need to respond by ensuring that those of us who took the oath to defend the Constitution have the means available for us to live up to that oath. Modifying installation policies and the UCMJ to remove all restrictions on the carrying of firearms would be a small step in the right direction.

SGT Brian Singer
Camp Taji, Iraq



Note for November 24, 2009:

J. Neil Schulman thanks Dean Daily for his generous support of this column.

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Who Has Rights?

You’d think that a writer like me who regularly dives into controversy — everything from O.J. Simpson to Roman Polanski, guns to God, PETA to petroleum — would get a wide range of hate mail. But I’ve probably received more email on one subject — two articles I wrote years ago in opposition to animal rights — than any other subject I’ve tackled.

The American Revolution was fought over rights. The Declaration of Independence says “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.”

Rights were so important to Americans who fought the Revolutionary War that when a strong federal government was proposed to be created by the new constitution, the necessary support required a promise that a Bill of Rights would soon be added.

A couple of centuries and some decades down the road, and rights are still the main event of American politics. Do unborn babies have rights? What about animals and trees? Is there a right to health care? To education? Is there a right to get married? Do minorities have rights that majorities don’t have?

When one word is used so many different ways, it gives you a sense that people are using the word without having a common understanding of what a “right” is.

I’ve spent years reading various different theories of what rights are, in the moral sense, the legal sense, the political sense, and the common sense.

I’ve read all sorts of theories about where rights come from. Jefferson, in the Declaration of Independence, takes a faith-based position: that rights come from God.

Utilitarians such as John Locke suggested rights are a useful idea needed to secure the greatest good for the greatest number.

Ayn Rand, who believed in morality but not God, worked hard to use Aristotelian axioms and deductive logic to come up with a God-free metaphysics in which rights can be derived from the Law of Identity.

Politicians often regard rights like the kings of old did — handing them out as favors to their supporters.

In my articles on animal rights I probably used the word in a sense not often understood anymore, since I was using the word in the context not of legalities or politics, but as part of a theory of moral accountability.

I suggested a new definition of rights: that a right is the moral authority to act without prior permission of another, and that as a consequence, rights could only be held by moral actors who could be held singly responsible for the consequences of their actions. If any legal concept was to be applied it was that of mens rea. Only a being capable of criminal culpability could be regarded as having rights — and in my view, vice versa.

So, of course, the challenges began. Are you saying that babies don’t have human rights, so it’s not murder to kill them? What about the mentally deficient and those suffering from dementia? If they don’t have rights can we also kill them? Then of course — ironically enough — those right-wingers who argue that unborn babies have rights use pretty much the same logic as left-wingers who argue that animals and trees have rights.

And of course the questions about marginal cases come up that reminded me of an old George Carlin routine about Catholic kids questioning their parish priest, “Fadda, fadda, if I’m supposed to come to church on Sunday but we was on the International Dateline …”

You get the idea.

Look. All I’m looking for is a use of the word “right” that makes sense and has some logical balance to it.

It doesn’t make sense to me that a thirteen-year-old girl can be subject to a law which forbids her from consenting to sex, deprived of the legal ability to enter into binding contracts, own or rent property in her own name, buy a pack of cigarettes, and decide whether or not to attend school — with no possibility of legal emancipation — but the second she’s suspected of a heinous crime she can be tried as an adult at the whim of the same judge that would never consider granting her any rights accruing to adults.

It’s hypocritical. Such double standards make a mockery of justice — which is based on equity under the law — and a law which regards someone so capriciously is not law at all but established tyranny.

So my solution is simple. If you can’t be held fully accountable for your actions, you need a keeper.

Or to put it another way: if you’re not grown-up enough to be trusted with a gun, you need a keeper.

And the keeper — of the fetus, or the animal, or the tree, or the mental incompetent — is the one who is held responsible for the well-being of his charge, and for any liabilities resulting from its doings.

It’s one of the reasons I’m so absolutely enraged that officers and enlisted personnel of the United States Army were disarmed at Fort Hood, left defenseless when attacked, just as if they were infants. If you can’t trust your own army to be armed — and in the name of the English language please notice that the word arm starts the word army — why even have one?

Before I’ll debate the question of whether a gorilla, parrot, fetus, or even idiot should have rights, I’d like to debate the question of whether those we trust to defend our country have any.

That is not a marginal case.


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The American Humiliation Buried at Fort Hood

It’s now been seven full days following Thursday November 5, 2009, when U.S. Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan, using only unremarkable handguns, murdered 12 fellow American soldiers and a civilian, and wounding 30-odd others, including combat veterans. Hasan — an American-born-and-bred Muslim who initiated his attack by jumping on a table and in Arabic shouting the Muslim affirmation “God is Great!” — continued to shoot unarmed soldiers and civilians unopposed by any armed military personnel, and was finally stopped only when — after ten-minutes — two civilian police officers with no previous combat experience arrived on the scene to return his fire.

These days have allowed the commanding officers at Fort Hood — America’s largest army base with a population the size of a small city, and their superiors at the Pentagon and the Department of Defense — to make official statements and answer reporters’ questions.

These seven days allowed the current President and Vice President of the United States, Barack Obama and Joe Biden — and the White House press secretary and communications office — plus former living U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, the most recent U.S. presidential and vice presidential candidates, John McCain and Sarah Palin, past and present United States Senators and Members of Congress too numerous to mention, and all other official voices who have debated and shaped our national life, all to go on the record with both their immediate gut-reactions and, later, more considered reactions.

These seven days have been filled with coverage on the twenty-four-hour-news-cycle cable news networks, on network and syndicated talk radio, on newspaper editorial and Op-Ed pages, and in web-based forums such as this one.

These seven days included both Veterans Day — a day for honoring those who have defended the United States wearing its military uniforms — and a memorial service, attended by the President and First Lady of the United States, held for the fallen at Fort Hood.

These seven days have resulted in thirteen counts of murder, to be tried in a military court martial, against Major Hasan, with debate over whether his murder of a pregnant woman might result in a 14th murder count. There has been no charge of treason.

So I have been watching, listening, and reading my prominent countrymen for a week, now, waiting for a reaction I have never found.

I have found sorrow for the dead and wounded victims.

I have found praise for the military at Fort Hood as caregivers and rescuers.

I have found bewilderment, apologetics, and even pity for the minority attacker, on the one hand, and frustration at his not being regarded by the political establishment as part of a more widespread ideologically-driven enemy on the other.

I have heard angry questioning of why neither the FBI nor Army intelligence — both of which were aware of Hasan’s conflicted loyalties for over a year before his attack — left him in a position of military authority, and unwatched.

I have even seen echoes of my discovery of a Clinton-era Army regulation which I disclosed in the article I published here this past Monday — and which the magnificent John R. Lott, Jr., put on his own web page — reverberate to the editorial page of the Washington Times — without, of course, any credit to my copyrighted article, because doing so would have foiled the Washington Times‘ editorial redaction of that part of my article where I pointed out that the Bush administration had left this Clinton administration policy untouched for its eight years.

After the unannounced December 7, 1941 Imperial Japanese attack on American naval and army bases at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, which resulted in 2,402 killed and 1,282 wounded, the American commanding officers of the bases at Pearl Harbor, Admiral Husband Kimmel and Army Lieutenant General Walter Short, quickly saw their long and distinguished military careers ended. They spent the rest of their lives defending their reputations to a generation of angry Americans who held them accountable for their unpreparedness to defend their bases against attack. To the World War II generation, Pearl Harbor wasn’t just a military defeat; it was a humiliating defeat.

The Japanese knew what they were doing. Little, despised Japan — the Yellow Peril on American radio shows, in dime novels, in Hollywood movies, and in comic books — had taken their revenge by making the mighty United States of America lose face.

What I have been looking for this week and have not found — except in private telephone conversations with my friend, fellow libertarian author Brad Linaweaver and several of our friends — is a seething anger that a lone man armed only with a couple of smuggled-in handguns was able to engage in an unopposed ten-minute attack of murder and mayhem on the largest Army base of the United States of America, and even combat veterans were unarmed and unable to fight back because their superiors had deemed that regular carrying of handguns was too dangerous to be trusted to officers and enlisted personnel of the United States Army.

That the snake-oil security of gun control has become so dominant that our own army can’t ordinarily be trusted with a gun — that soldiers on an American army base need to dial 911 to call civilian cops for rescue from a lone gunman on an unabated rampage — is the single-most humiliating, despicable, evil, dishonorable, and disheartening loss of face in the entire history of the United States military … and nobody but Brad and myself seem to have felt it.

That’s far, far worse than the insanity of continuing a broken policy … that none of the people who speak from the American heart even notice that it’s broken.

Bill Clinton apparently doesn’t feel the shame that imposing gun control on the Army got them killed. If George W. Bush feels awful about leaving that policy in place after 9/11 so that our soldiers were sitting ducks for an attack by a lone gunman on American soil we have not heard his apology. I heard no indication of humiliation about making American soldiers scamper away for the lives in the voice of President Barack Obama. I have no sense from those who have beaten the drums of the War on Terror since September 11, 2001, that they feel ashamed.

Here was Sarah Palin’s only public reaction, posted to Facebook at 4:05 PM on the day of the attack: “Todd and I would like to offer our condolences to the families of the victims of the tragic shooting today at Fort Hood. Our thoughts and prayers will be with them.”

Where was the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments we would have been led to expect from the rugged Alaskan moose-hunter many Republicans still hope will become a future Commander-in-Chief of the United States Army?

Where were tough guys Dick Cheney or Rudy Giuliani’s lamentations about how far we have fallen that a single pistol-toting turncoat can run rampant on a U.S. army base?

Where is anyone calling for a charge of treason against the son-of-a-bitch army officer with the gun … and court martials and Congressional investigations for Defense Department and Pentagon post-9/11 dereliction of duty that let this happen?

Why is it that it takes two American science-fiction writers — J. Neil Schulman, whose only quasi-military experience was as a teenager wearing a U.S. Air Force uniform in the Massachusetts Civil Air Patrol, and Brad Linaweaver who did a year of Air Force ROTC — neither of us military veterans — to feel this disgrace?

Is there a science-fictional explanation behind this emotional non-reaction? Has my country been taken over by Jack Finney’s pod people or Heinlein’s puppet masters or the Invaders from Mars and we just haven’t noticed? Are reptilian invaders from V running things, or has the United States turned into Stepford? Have our leaders and pundits had their memories wiped like everyone except Julianne Moore in 2004′s The Forgotten?

If Senate and House Democratic Party leaders want to haul post-9/11 Bush administration officials into hearings to explain why they never contemplated the need to arm American soldiers against a possible terrorist attack on their own bases, they have my full support.

You can be sure that Osama bin Laden, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Fidel Castro, and Hugo Chavez feel America’s humiliation, and they are laughing their asses off about it.

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Clinton-Bush Gun Control Enabled Fort Hood Massacre

Note: I became aware today that the Army has taken the PDF file of Army Regulation 190-14, dated 12 March 1993, off the web — or at least moved it to a location where a search of the new website can’t locate it. Therefore, I have uploaded my file copy of the document I originally downloaded from http://www.usapa.army.mil/pdffiles/r190_14.pdf — referred to in my article below — and replaced the dead link in the text of the article with my new one so that it will continue to be available for reference.
–J. Neil Schulman, March 23, 2010


A Clinton Administration revision to Department of Defense Directive 5210.56 — Army Regulation 190-14, dated 12 March 1993 — permits the Secretary of the Army to authorize military personnel to carry firearms “on a case by case basis” for personal protection within the continental United States, but forbids military personnel to carry their own personal firearms and both requires “a credible and specific threat” before firearms be issued for military personnel to protect themselves. It further directs that firearms “not be issued indiscriminately for that purpose.”

Thus did President Bill Clinton — Commander-in-Chief of the United States Army — apply to American military personnel under his command the same anti-gun policies his administration and a Democratic-controlled Congress applied to American civilians in the Brady Bill and Assault Weapons ban of 1994.

This Clinton policy of restricting military personnel from routinely carrying arms for protection was left in effect for the eight years of the administration of President George W. Bush — even after the 9/11 terror attacks — and even though Republicans held both the White House and majority control of both houses of Congress from January 2003 to January 2007.

John McHugh became the 21st Secretary of the U.S. Army on September 21, 2009, seven weeks prior to U.S. Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Malik Hasan’s November 5, 2009 shooting spree that murdered 13 and wounded another 38. Secretary McHugh — not reported as having the psychic power of precognition — issued no authorization for Fort Hood military personnel to be issued arms for personal protection against the specific threat of attack by Major Hasan.

Veterans Day is this Wednesday. How many times will “thank you for your service” pass the lips of talk-radio gurus who since 9/11 have sported American flag lapel pins, play-listed War-on-Terror country music, and made the Wounded Warrior Project a centerpiece of their swaggering patriotism?

It all rings so hollow now when their punditry following the Fort Hood Massacre makes it clear the bastions of American conservatism hate Jihadis far more than they love G.I.’s.

If George Washington had learned that soldiers under his command had died from a turncoat attack within an American Fort — not because arms weren’t available for his men to defend themselves but because an American officer didn’t trust American soldiers to bear arms — I’m fairly certain that American officer would have been summarily executed by the same firing squad as the turncoat.

Yet radio talkers debate only whether the shooter was driven by ideology or madness, and have no anger — or even questions — about a sixteen-year-old Department of Defense policy that five days ago left both G.I.’s and civilians on an army base in Texas as defenseless as toddlers in a preschool.

Ideology colors emotional responses, and even long-term activists who have worked to advance the right of self-protection have lost their sight-picture in the fog of the War on Terror. The man I’ve often called my Yoda on gun-self-defense issues — Randall N. Herrst, JD, of the Center for the Study of Crime — wrote in a Sunday morning posting to the Individual Sovereignty/Libertarian Yahoo Group his security concerns with Hassan’s anti-Americanism not being acted upon by the Army, President Obama’s not using the term “war on terror,” left-wing media, and civilian police being used to protect a military base post-9/11, but this Lion of the Second Amendment wasn’t even aware of the Department of Defense policy which bans soldiers from routinely carrying arms for protection … much less express seething anger at American soldiers not being trusted to bear arms.

The lack of even a committed Second Amendment activist’s’ concern with the systematic disarmament of American soldiers on base — leaving them defenseless for murder by a single illegally-armed attacker with time to repeatedly reload — bewilders me. The explanation can have nothing to do with Posse Comitatus Act restrictions on the Army being deployed for civilian law enforcement when we’re considering individual soldiers defending their own lives from attack.

Contrast this with libertarian author Brad Linaweaver, who told me he considers American soldiers being armed for protection even more important than the arming of police.

Those directly affected by the vulnerability of American soldiers see the matter even more poignantly.

Brian Singer, an American soldier currently deployed to Iraq but whose home station is Fort Hood, commented on a previous article of mine about the massacre that “It’s not just the military affected by this heinous policy. Our spouses and children suffer under victim disarmament as well. Second, not only are civilian CCWs not recognized, military members are required to register their firearms as well. Can you believe this insanity?”

Chor Xiong, father of 23-year-old Fort Hood Massacre victim Kham Xiong, spoke of his son’s love of hunting, and told KSTP-TV, “The sad part is that he had been taught and been trained to protect and to fight. Yet it’s such a tragedy that he did not have the opportunity to protect himself and the base.”

Where is the shock and outrage for American conservatives to learn that even the Army is made toothless by politically-correct gun control?

Talk radio listeners as angry as I am about the lack of time their favorite talk hosts have spent on the victim disarmament of even American servicemen and women should use this Veterans Day as the opportunity to call in and express their feelings. Arming men and women who take seriously the idea of defending their country from bad guys can be nothing but a gift that keeps on giving.

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Gun Free Zones in the Hood

What do Fort Hood in Texas and the Hood in South Central Los Angeles have in common?

Concealed carry of firearms is legally prohibited in both Hoods.

California theoretically has a law to issue CCW licenses to civilians living in Los Angeles; in practice only court officers get them.

Under federal law, state-issued CCW licenses don’t apply on military bases, and concealed-carry of firearms is otherwise forbidden.

So, as hard as it is to believe, Fort Hood — a post-9/11 United States Army Base with the population of a small city — was almost as much of a gun-free zone as George Hennard’s October 16, 1991 free-fire zone in Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, or Gang Lu’s on the campus of the University of Iowa a couple of weeks later, or Colin Ferguson’s February 17, 1995 killing spree on the Long Island Railroad, or at Dunblane, Scotland March 13, 1996, or April 20, 1999 at Columbine High School, or April 16, 2007 at Virginia Tech.

In all these locations guns were legally prohibited for self-defense by decent, law-abiding people. The indecent criminals who ignored the law were granted a monopoly on firepower. Disarmed victims died while awaiting the arrival of “first responders.”

It would be sweet for conservatives to blame the Obama or Clinton administrations for the absolute idiocy of disarming soldiers in the United States Army, but this policy was in effect during the eight years of the Bush-Cheney Administration — all but the first few months of that administration following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The most cutting wounds are always by the treachery of supposed friends.

Et tu, Dubya?

In my 1996 article on Dunblane, “A Rude Awakening” — included as a chapter in the 1999 second edition of my book Stopping Power: Why 70 Million Americans Own Guns — I wrote, “There are wild people among us who will not exercise self-restraint, and we must live with the expectation that at a time and place of their choosing, not of ours, they will explode upon us.”

Nothing has changed in the decade since I wrote those words except that by forbidding guns to everyone on four commercial jetliners on 9/11/2001 gangs armed only with box-cutters were easily able to commandeer those jets and convert them into high-explosive-laden cruise missiles which destroyed both the World Trade Center and a section of the Pentagon, with a body count that day of about 3,000, many more in two retaliatory wars that followed, and with hundreds of financial experts lost that day possibly the loss of the brains who could have prevented the economic meltdown of the United States.

For want of a handgun the United States might have been lost.

Now al-Qaeda has just been given yet another commercial for a Blue Light Special on terrorism: America is so opposed to reasonable self-defense — its rulers so afraid of their own taxpayers that they won’t even trust their own soldiers with guns — that even America’s homeland army bases are easy targets.

Excellent work, Nidal Malik Hasan. Allah will reward you for exposing the Great Satan’s unprotected underbelly to your compatriots.

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