Persons who carry a handgun in their daily travels will sometimes be heard to comment on the difficulty of concealing it completely. It’s a formidable problem, for good clothing that fits properly will often suggest the presence of the gun via a “bulge” that’s visible to an onlooker. In several jurisdictions that prohibit open carry, police have been authorized to detain on the basis of such “suspicious bulges” and to arrest the detainee should he prove to be armed, regardless of whether he has a concealed-carry permit. The logic, of course, is that the gun isn’t completely concealed – that the bulge gives it away, thus creating a prima facie violation of the law.
To a Second Amendment absolutist – for the record, that includes your humble blogmeister – that’s quite bad enough. What makes it worse is the presumption involved, which is wrapped up in the doctrine of “reasonable suspicion.” The Fourth Amendment apparently doesn’t protect those of us who’ve had such bulges conferred upon us by diet or genetics.
To permit the police to infer a crime based on a suspicious bulge probably strikes some as reasonable enough. Indeed, it can be a tough thing to argue against...but I don’t take the easy cases. At any rate, today’s tirade isn’t about the infringement of Second Amendment rights because of such bulges. It’s about a bulge in plain sight that ought to have the entire nation locked, loaded, and storming Washington.
For quite some time, I and other commentators have discussed the thresholds for an open revolution against the regime. Some have drawn the line at the destruction of the First Amendment right to freedom of expression. Others have insisted that our Second Amendment rights are the last bastion – that once we’ve been reaved of our guns, our ability to resist tyranny will be gone, so a move in that direction should trigger revolt. A few have focused on the possible abrogation of an electoral outcome, as if vote fraud were irrelevant to the issue, or the outcome of an election has changed anything substantive this century past.
Well, Gentle Reader, in case you’ve been paying insufficient attention to the news, we’ve just had a quinella:
- The Federal Communications Commission has just claimed wholly unConstitutional powers over the Internet, imposing a 300-page-plus book of regulations upon ISPs that no one outside the federal government has yet seen.
- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, another wholly unConstitutional agency, has declared its intention to ban 5.56 NATO / .223 Remington rifle ammunition as “armor piercing,” despite the plain fact that that round does not meet the legal definition of armor-piercing ammunition.
What are the implications of those actions? What further measures against Americans’ rights to free expression and the possession of arms seem likely to follow?
Is that enough of a suspicious bulge for you? Combine it with the nationwide militarization of local police forces, Obama’s open obstruction of the enforcement of the immigration laws, and the vote fraud that was rampant in the 2012 elections. What verdict pops out of the slot?
Are we being reduced to helpless subjugation or not?
I’m growing tired. I’ve been writing op-ed for the Web since 1997, nearly always to the same effect: that America as it was designed – “conceived in liberty,” as the classic phrase goes – is being reduced to tyranny. Hundreds of other commentators have been shouting the same warning. Yet nothing has changed for the better. No effective resistance to our ongoing subjugation has been mounted. The closest we’ve come have been the popular resistance to the seizure of Cliven Bundy’s ranch and the Oath Keepers’ defense of legitimate Ferguson, Missouri businesses against looters and rioters.
Now we’re looking down the barrel of the State’s gun: the removal of the last wholly free means of expression and organization remaining to private citizens, plus the ongoing destruction of our potential means of resistance.
In the name of God, people, when will it be enough?
It’s no longer sufficient to protest. Those who hold the levers of power have decided that they can ignore our voices. Worse, we can’t even mobilize ourselves for effective resistance. There’s no point in standing on a street corner and crying out a warning if those who hear are unwilling to act.
Some say we need a leader that has not yet arisen. Others demur that we’re too comfortable – that the spirit of liberty has been enervated by prosperity. There’s some justice to both assessments, but a third is uppermost on my mind this morning: that we’ve become cowards, none of us willing to risk our own lives and possessions, all of us happy to “let you and him fight.”
Mind you, I don’t exempt myself.
Just yesterday, I wrote about the difference between facts and inferences as categories of knowledge. It might have been too abstruse to capture your interest. All the same, it’s an important subject, directly relevant to the situation we face today.
Abraham Lincoln once spoke thus:
"When we see a lot of framed timbers, different portions of which we know have been gotten out at different times and places, and by different workmen...and when we see those timbers joined together, and see that they exactly make the frame of a house or a mill, all the tenons and mortises exactly fitting, and all the lengths and proportions of the different pieces exactly adapted to their respective places, and not a piece too many or too few...in such a case we find it impossible not to believe that...all understood one another from the beginning, and all worked upon a common plan or draft, drawn up before the first blow was struck."— Abraham Lincoln, deducing from objective evidence the blueprint of a political plot to save the institution of slavery. [Quoted in Garet Garrett's essay "The Revolution Was"]
Lincoln’s concern was the ongoing enslavement of tens of thousands of American Negroes. He was willing to start a war that divided the nation and ultimately claimed 800,000 American lives to put an end to the practice. It hardly matters whether other means to bring an end to slavery were available, for the greater part of the nation deemed the price acceptable.
What about the enslavement of 300,000,000 Americans? What price are we willing to pay to prevent that?
The process has been in train for more than a century. Its completion, as implied by the assaults on the Internet and our firearms rights, looms before us. Could any bulge in the Omnipotent State’s garb be more suspicious?
"Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to treaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves longer. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the Ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne. In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation.
"There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free; if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending; if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon, until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained; we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight!! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!
We, too, have tried argument.
We have also tried electoral measures.
We have tried everything except open revolt.
What, then, must we do?
I await your thoughts.
I’m scheduled for more oral surgery today, so please excuse me if I’m unable to write for a day or two. Of course, if I’m “unable” to write for some other reason, I exhort you to become outraged...if nothing else.