UN-Helping Jamaica

    (Manassas, VA, July 2, 2007)  The United Nations and the Jamaican government have announced plans for UN assistance to restore order and reduce the island nation’s sky-rocketing crime rates.  Violent crime, particularly “gun violence” has been growing steadily since the Jamaican government passed a complete ban on private possession and ownership of firearms in 1973. 

      Often criticized for exporting marijuana that feeds U.S. drug markets, Jamaicans are now criticizing the United States and other gun-producing nations for feeding their crime problems.

      With the UN’s track record for nation building, it is likely that Jamaica

      (Manassas, VA, July 2, 2007)  The United Nations and the Jamaican government have announced plans for UN assistance to restore order and reduce the island nation’s sky-rocketing crime rates.  Violent crime, particularly “gun violence” has been growing steadily since the Jamaican government passed a complete ban on private possession and ownership of firearms in 1973. 

      Often criticized for exporting marijuana that feeds U.S. drug markets, Jamaicans are now criticizing the United States and other gun-producing nations for feeding their crime problems.

      With the UN’s track record for nation building, it is likely that Jamaica is in an unrecoverable death spiral; doomed to degenerate into a drawn out, war-lord style civil war. 

Pennsylvania Problems

      In spite of the fact that the state of Pennsylvania has – along with a broad hunting tradition – some of the most dedicated, well organized, and effective grassroots firearms rights activists in the country, the National Rifle Association seems to prefer working around those activists rather than working with them.  Even the official NRA affiliate in the state is often left out of NRA legislative plans at the State House.

      Recent news reports of NRA holding private meetings with vociferously anti-gun members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus have raised concerns among activists that an unnecessary and potentially harmful deal might be in the works.  Experienced activists understand that NRA can not hold a grassroots conference each time they wish to meet with legislators, but NRA taking unilateral action – undermining the work and effectiveness of local groups and thereby hurting the cause – is a valid and longstanding complaint from activists in the states.

      NRA’s attitude toward local activists is the single most damaging factor in the fight for liberty.  Their top-down approach, consistent disregard for any initiative which was not generated at NRA Headquarters, and penchant for speaking disparagingly about other organizations and individuals working for the cause, guarantees a permanent and widening rift between NRA HQ and the activists in the states who actually do the day-to-day work of keeping their legislature in line. 

      It is natural and expected that strong willed people will approach issues differently and reach different conclusions about strategy and tactics, but a final decision is always better if numerous ideas are offered and argued.  True leadership nurtures this diversity of opinion and uses it to advantage.  It’s not always pretty and is often very difficult, but it can generate astounding results.

      In this day of instant communication, it is inexcusable for NRA to take unilateral action in a legislative body without even touching base with the activists that work that legislature on a daily basis.  For them to make disparaging remarks about those activists in an intentional effort to weaken the activist’s influence and increase their own – as NRA staff is notorious for doing – does nothing but harm.

      The problems in Pennsylvania – and most of the states – can be overcome, but it requires a joint effort and contrary to what NRA has long believed, unity and cooperation are not synonymous with obediently following NRA’s lead.

Arizona Action

      Activists in Arizona are rightfully outraged and disappointed after Democrat Governor Janet Napolitano vetoed two hard-won bills which would have benefited gunowners.

      The first bill was simply an expression of the legislature that it was their intent that a previous bill instituting something like the “Castle Doctrine” or “Stand your Ground”, was intended to go into effect immediately upon passage and apply to all cases of self-defense pending at that time and all future cases. 

      Practically speaking, the bill would have provided Harold Fish, the retired school teacher who shot an attacker on a remote hiking trail a few years ago, a new trial with a better standard of proof.  The self-defense bill was passed just as Fish’s case went to trial and the judge decided to proceed under the old standard – which required Fish to prove he was acting in self-defense – rather than the new standard which would have placed the burden on the prosecution to prove that Fish was not acting in self-defense.

      The distinction may seem subtle, but it likely would mean the difference between freedom and a long prison sentence for Fish.  Under the old rules he was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

      The other bill vetoed by the governor was a bill strengthening and clarifying the requirements for places which ban firearms to provide safe, readily accessible storage for people’s guns.  Napolitano had vetoed a previous version of this bill and this version had specifically addressed her objections to that bill, but she found new excuses to veto this version.  It is beginning to be quite clear that reasons don’t really matter to Governor Napolitano where firearms are concerned.

      It is to be hoped that the people of Arizona will let the governor and her party know how they feel about these unfortunate vetoes.

 

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