Day by Day

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

More proof that taking guns out of the hands of the people does nothing to help them or improve their lives. As usual, all emphasis is mine.

As Rezneck and Walton admit, the D.C. government has done little or nothing to disarm violent criminals. It has, however, done a marvelous job of disarming law-abiding citizens who "work hard and play by the rules," as a certain Southerner used to put it. And as a result, the District is the most dangerous large city in America -- edging out Detroit for the 2003 murder capital of the U.S.

I'd like to see those stats. Chicago had 599 murders in 2003, the most of any other city. Are they going by percentage? Ah well, it doesn't matter. At one point DC had a higher death rate than Iraq.

Having failed in this most basic duty of government -- protecting the citizens -- the District has responded, in characteristic fashion, by defining deviancy down. In 2002 D.C. Police Chief Charles Ramsey lowered his department's goals for solving homicides; where once D.C. aimed at a 65 percent clearance rate, Ramsey decided that solving around half of the city's murders was good enough for government work.

Explaining his decision to lower the homicide clearance goal to 50.9 percent, Chief Ramsey told the Washington Post, "It's more encouraging…. You get these stretch goals, and when you don't even come near it, you get hammered for it."

Heaven forbid we should ask you to DO YOUR DAMN JOB, Chief! This is the result of "political correctness" in America, folks. Can't meet the standard? Lower it! There's no need to improve yourself when you can just lower expectations! And just who is this lowering of standards more encouraging for? The murder victim's families, or the murderers themselves?

That's the police department District residents are supposed to depend on. If you live in the city and someone's breaking your door down, your only legal option is to call 911 and pray that the police arrive on time. And you'd better pray. According to City Council member Phil Mendelson, in 2002 nearly one in five 911 calls was abandoned for failure to get through promptly.

ONE IN FIVE. That's a 20% chance that if some nutcase hopped up on PCP is strangling your child, or beating your head in, that the police won't even get there. Would you accept a mechanic's brake job on your car if there was a 20% chance of it failing? Would you allow someone to fix your furnace if there was a 20% chance of it blowing up in your face? ONE IN FIVE CALLS DO NOT GET ANSWERED! Imaging sitting there while some druggie is raping your daughter and you're screaming for help over the phone.... there is a 20% CHANCE YOU WILL NOT GET ANY HELP!

Many District residents, like the plaintiffs in Seegars, would like to have other options to protect themselves. Standing in their way is a gun control scheme of almost comic rigidity. You can't own a handgun without a registration certificate and you can't get a registration certificate, because the District stopped issuing them to ordinary citizens in 1976. If you do happen to own a pre-1976 handgun that you registered back when disco was king, you cannot lawfully carry it from room to room in your own house without a license. And you can't get a license.

You can register certain rifles and shotguns. You just can't legally use them when your life is threatened. District law requires all guns to be "unloaded and disassembled or bound by a triggerlock" at all times -- and it makes no exception for lawful self defense. If a burglar confronts you in your home, and you load your shotgun to defend yourself, you've just committed a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to a year in jail.

Print that out and nail it to the forehead of anyone who says "Oh, you gun nuts are just paranoid!" It's not paranoia when you see it actually happening.

One might suppose that such a regulatory scheme constitutes an infringement on the right of the people to keep and bear arms, if anything does. But Judge Walton disagrees, declaring in the Seegars opinion that "the Second Amendment does not confer an individual right to possess firearms" but rather grants some vague, unenforceable collective right.

Walton's interpretation is, of course, at odds with the fairly clear text of the Constitution. The Framers were careful enough with language not to confuse the "right of the people" with the rights of a state. Just as in the First and Fourth Amendments, "the right of the people" in the Second Amendment is an individual right.

A growing number of legal scholars, including such unlikely gasbags as Laurence Tribe and Alan Dershowitz, are coming to recognize that the Second Amendment means what it says. So too have the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the Emerson case and the Justice Department. Both have endorsed the view that the "right of the people" is, well, the right of the people. This trend is one more reason Judge Walton's decision came as such a crashing disappointment.

Just another reason to keep your finger next to the "Reset" button. The entire situation disgusts me. And if anything like that ever happened to me, I'd be the first one to barricade the door, load every gun I had, and when nobody was looking make a dash for some place where sanity ruled. It looks like the communist mindset has infected the judged in DC. People aren't even allowed to protect themselves in their own homes, and yet the police can't do anything to help them either.

The first step of making citizens into subjects is disarming them. Don't ever forget that fact.

Hat tip to DANEgerus.

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