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24 July 2015


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Richard Armstrong

Note #2 - if he's not an "activist judge" I don't know what one is.

Tom Parker

It doesn't of course, but if you spend much time wandering around the south like I do you'd know that there is a special kind of confederate loving wingnut down here that loves to wave weapons around, especially if there any southern liberals around. Deer camp is always a good time to pick on them.

Since I'm not backing down from God I like to ask the cowards to shoot if they dare. I love the look on their face when I do that :)

Tom Parker

I would not argue with a word of that Adam. But when we talk about the 2nd amendment, politics and guns we should also discuss the future of weapons, what about general purpose computing, dna sequencing and 3D printing.

What laws or rules will we need to keep some script kiddie from downloading the recipe for all kinds of nasty chemical or biological weapons and using them on us? My wife's favorite example is "Poison Ivy" from the Batman movie. Damn, I sure hope she doesn't learn nextgen technologies.

Imagine the draconian system needed to constantly scan every object on the internet for murderous intent?

Fred's setting up straw men to distract us from right wing gun nuts murdering us or trying to intimidate us versus desperate, poor children and men fighting over street corners in our messed up cities.

Adam L. Silverman


I don't disagree. We can't get anything through the House and Senate that isn't a piece of must pass to resolve the faux crisis that our elected officials created legislation. But one of the major complaints of firearms owners, and if not a complaint then a concern, is lack of uniform standards from place to place across the US. The 2nd Amendment maximalists are usually framing this as shall not be infringed means I should be able to do what I want with my firearms where I want anywhere in the US with no questions asked by the government though I have to be respectful of others private property rights - though there have been some grumblings that those shouldn't apply either.. So basically what they call constitutional carry everywhere. But the reason I referenced Chief Wright's post is what it tells us about how sclerotic and dysfunctional our institutions of self government have become when it wouldn't even be possible to enshrine the NRA's own rules into applicable law in the US.

Adam L. Silverman

Richard Armstrong,

Well regulated has a very specific meaning in this case. I'm paraphrasing from memory here, but the list of it is: under official government control (usually state unless Federal emergency), turns out in appropriate and official attire/uniforms at set times for drill and training, officers/leaders/NCOs are set through a formal system regularized at the state or Federal level, not by the determination of the personnel in the unit (the term major is a leftover of this. One was elected by one's fellow soldiers to the majority in the battalion or brigade and hence the rank of major is one elected to said majority), weapons are maintained according to a set protocol, as is ammunition and other equipment.

I'm not one who thinks that Constitution is a dead document and that its meaning can never change from what we think the authors meant or understood or intended based on late 18th Century understanding of language, society, politics, the economy, etc. So having our understanding of the Constitution, its meaning, and how to apply adapt and adjust to the realities that Americans face at different time periods doesn't freak me out. And some of the changes in understanding I agree with, some I'm nonplussed by, and some I don't agree with, but that's all the price of being a citizen. I'm not going to agree with everything that every other American agrees with or that our elected or appointed officials do. That said, Associate Justice Scalia is an originalist who believes the Constitution is a dead document and that its meaning can never change from what we think the authors meant or understood or intended based on late 18th Century understanding of language, society, politics, the economy, etc. Consistency, hobgoblins, little minds...

Adam L. Silverman


The best explanation for the flamethrower from George Carlin:

Remember to pick up a spare industrial fire extinguisher too so you're a responsible owner...

Tom Parker

To follow up and hopefully sound sane, I've only had enough wild turkey in me to try that stunt twice, eventually I'm sure it would get me hurt or dead.


Have you ever been to the post office? Compare that to a UPS Store and tell me which works and which doesn't. Two shootings in a row that the government bureaucrats have failed.

Somalia, hell with executive action we have functioning government here.

Can't wait for President Walker...



If it wasn't a grand I'd be tempted. It reminds me of the stuff my brothers and I cobbled together as teenagers.


I thought of my little house on the edge of the Rivanna as a treehouse, the place where "god's glory dwelt."

I hope the Rivanna --and SST -- relax you back to good health very quickly
Jim Lehrer said he could read, think, write better after heart surgery.

Adam L. Silverman


Sure, show me a UPS business model that allows them to deliver mail 354 days a year across the continental US for under 50 cents for a first class letter and it gets there within 3-4 days and a day or two longer for Alaska and/or Hawaii? Or that UPS would even want to try? Or that they deliver packages on SUN, which UPS won't do or on SAT, which FedEx won't do. Or show me how UPS is able to function when Congress requires it to pre-fund its health insurance program for employees 75 years in advance, but won't let the Postmaster General of the US raise the price of stamps without their approval? If UPS or FedEx had to operate under the same wacky conditions that Congress has placed on the US Postal Service, they wouldn't even try. And why, you might ask, did the GOP majority in Congress and President Bush (43) make a mess of the US Postal Service? Same reason I articulated above: the US Postal Service is an identifiable, effective US Government - or in this case quasi-US government - agency that everyone interacts with on a regular basis. It is, overall, effective at what it does. By creating rules and requirements that no one private sector organization could ever, let alone would ever, try to meet, the GOP majority in Congress who dreamed up with this scheme hoped to destroy the US Postal Service by making it unworkable. This would then allow them to do a huge favor for their wealthy backers involved with UPS and FedEx and the other delivery companies: privatization of the US Postal Service's function going to those companies, who would not have the onerous requirements on them that the Postal Service does because the free market. The price of sending mail would go through the roof. The decent paying with decent benefit US Postal Service jobs would go away, but that's also a feature not a bug. Why? Because the majority belong to a union and that's communism or some other equally bad conjuring word. And ultimately they'd get another example to hold up of how government simply doesn't work, which is part and parcel of the ideology behind the politics. And we don't have functioning government with executive action here. We have bandaids, at best, and workarounds to try to simply keep the thing going. Scott Walker? Yeah because the Wisconsin miracle is what the US really needs writ large... Here's a couple of links to the Post Office pre-funding stuff:

And here's a couple on the Wisconsin (not a) miracle:


Peter Deer

Best of luck with your surgery. It's amazing what doctors can do these days. Am looking forward to hearing about your recovery.



What is the current legal standard on involuntary commitment?

Is the standard of evidence comparable to the burden of proof required in a criminal case?

Additionally, who generally makes the ultimate decision and whose opinion or opinions have the most bearing on the decision makers' call?

SAC Brat

Amen Brother."The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name." Someday I'd like to see you write about the good part of capitalism, Wealth Creation, versus the bad parts, Wealth Extraction and Wealth Preservation.

Adam L. Silverman


It varies state by state. Florida's statute is called the Baker Act. Details on it can be found here:
As for who's opinions matter - again it depends place to place. The most egregious (Kafkaesque?) misuse I've heard of recently was of an African American bank official named Kam Brock. Her BMW was impounded on a suspicion that she was driving under the influence of marijuana. She, as one would imagine, became emotional. Based on her statements that she was a bank official, it was, in fact, her BMW, and that she is even followed by the official Presidential twitter account, the cops decided she needed a psych eval. So off to Harlem Hospital they went where she was involuntarily committed for eight days for having bipolar disorder. This little time away from home included being involuntarily medicated. Turns out she is a bank official, it is her BMW, she is followed by the official Presidential twitter account. I hope she takes the City of NY and several psychiatrists for everything they are worth.

Richard Armstrong

Mr. Silverman. We are in complete agreement regarding the Constitution as a living document. The best case that I can think of is The Bill of Rights, the first changes made to the original document. However I do disagree with you regarding Justice Scalia. He is an originalist when it is convenient and when he can use that position to bolster his arguments.

I can think of no other sitting justice who has more frequently contradicts himself in his opinions other than Scalia.

In Heller v D.C. quite a number of PhDs testified as to what the meaning of the 2nd amendment was. They concurred with the interpretation of the 2nd amendment that stats until 2008.

However Scalia disregarded the experts and wrote "The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause." Of course a statement of purpose defines and limits an operative clause.

Just an example of Scalia being a "sunshine" originalist and a "summertime" legal scholars.

On every other of your points we are in complete agreement.

With regards.


Raskolnikov, feverish in bed, dreamed everybody became a murder to protect their individual idea they considered the truth from the people with different ideas that threatened their known truths. This latest theatre shooter thought America was evil and he decided to defend the world from its influence. He probably picked an Amy Schumer movie to feed his outrage at a decadent culture. The patrons of the movie, fans of sex comedy, in his mind deserved to die. Travis Bickle. The Charleston church shooter was defending Whites from Black dominance. The military recruitment shooter was defending Muslims from American agression.
America killed the the bad guys over there to defend us over here, but now kills to make the world safe for democracy. Consciousness trickles down and not up as the Founders had hoped.

Hank Foresman

Adam, regarding the 2nd Amendment, I for many years held the same view as you do; however several years ago I cam across Mr. Madison's original wording for what we know as the 2nd Amendment which states, "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person." Based on the wording and the readings I have done from the period Mr. Madison intent was to prevent the government from preventing individuals from owning weapons. In part this was because all able bodied men of age were part of the militias; and in part was the influence of the Country Whig theory of governance that sprang forth from the English Revolution. Having said that when you consider the crisis we face that in order to provide from both Liberty and Order we need to do something unfortunately common sense gun owners (like myself and many I know) are powerless against the fanatics that control the NRA and radical organizations like Gun Owners of America.
The inconsistent wording of the Bill of Rights is a result of Congress being Congress even in the 1st Congress dumbing down the very precise wording of Mr. Madison.
FYI here is a link to Madison's originial Bill of Rights.


Richard Armstrong

Most people who say the constitution is a "living document" do not want it to be too lively when some favorite ox of theirs is being gored. pl


I think the best way to think about this, is that Georgia and Alabama are sanctuary states for gun owners. They pretty much do what they want and don't report anything they don't want to report. That said, I agree with those who said we don't really have a good way to change things. Guns are so embedded in our culture that it is difficult to make even minor changes, except for those which liberalize gun laws, which has been the trend for years now.



"with all that free time I can harass Pat mercilessly."

Am looking forward to that!!!!


hadn't gotten to this post when I posted the same thing (in case you think I was plagiarizing).



You're crying about the 2A interpretation when the SCOTUS insisted with a straight face that the 14th Amendment meant homos get to marry?

LMBO. How do you keep your head from exploding with all that cognitive dissonance?


I don't think cops should be the authority on involuntary commitment.

In fact, there are some really dumb cops out there.

At the end of the day, the process of involuntary commitment doesn't strike me as being in line with the burden of proof required to convict someone of more serious offenses.

Adam L. Silverman


I'm tracking - I was aware of the language change between drafts. As you and many others here on SST well know there were successive drafts, not all of them - or the suggested revisions to them, survived. Moreover, the Founders and Framers often wrote contradictory things about what they were doing with the Constitution, or did do with it, depending on who the audience was. This is one of the problems I have with the strict originalism concept - it is almost always possible to find two competing interpretations of a portion of the Constitution written by Jefferson or Adams or Madison or Franklin or Washington, etc. And this reality is why each of them can usually be quoted accurately by each side to any specific constitutional or political disagreement.

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