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Month: August 2019 (page 2 of 2)

There Should Be No Secret Police (But there were, there are, and there may still be.)


Written by Art Kunkin, it was a Statement of a High Ideal, but one that any American should have felt sure of. His was a concern that, in practice, it just wasn’t so and, particularly, that it was impacting many of those in our community. So he took, as he said he would, that step beyond The Statement and did publish that List of Narcotic Agents (Narcs, as we knew them in ‘our’ community)- the Secret Police.
And – in less than a week – it was as if an earthquake of a terribly large magnitude struck the LA Free Press, opening fissures that went deep, their damage devastating.

‘Today’, though, is August 8th, 1969 and, as this paper sits before you, neither you nor Art know what’s coming. At best, you might suspect a mere repercussion, and so you would just read on.
But next week? It’s the beginning of the end.

Till then, here are some of the more important, more unusual items in ‘today’s’ Issue – items that offer insights to a future in which we now sit:
*A “Cheery Leary” talks about pardons and – here your ears should perk up – how he might be running for Governor as a Republican. Think about that for a moment (in present time)… Would a progressive Republican split the Independent vote, and also pull the vote of Republicans embarrassed by political stagnation and anti-American actions?  And this…

*Beyond our usual reports on anti-war demonstrations, here’s why they don’t – and can’t – stop. This article is a reminder that when you hear the word ‘war’ (today) it’s as bad as it ever was. (Sadly, we’ve not out grown it, likely we are gearing up, once again, for it.)

*But, you say, we war to ensure that American principles prevail. Here, though, in a war on our very own shores (at Chicago’s Democratic Convention) is a reminder that there, and in this trial, those principles are not always paramount. Will they be even more suppressed 50 years hence, in 2019?  (Are they?)
And do those 3 Amendments (RIGHT THERE in the very middle of this article) still hold sway – CAN ALL fights for our Rights put us – as in ‘us’ Americans – in the pokey?

[Ed.’s Note: Long story made short – from personal experience – YES, They Can put us in the pokey!  And that’s no matter what you believe the Federal Constitution guarantees.  So… best to take a moment to read this one if you are, or were thinking of becoming, an Activist.]

*Now, finally, to that LA FP 50 year-old story that always shows up… the one that seems to have been written just yesterday as it’s addressing an issue we are dealing with today. And what would that be… what’s in the news right now? Here in California , it’s the new bill that the Governor just signed into law –
Assembly Bill 392:  use of deadly force must be a policeperson’s last resort. Specifically, Officers may pull their trigger only when “necessary,” meaning when NO alternatives are available to prevent serious injury or death to themselves or others.

While a step up from the current standard of being able to pull that trigger  when such use of deadly force is “reasonable”, the distinction in making the decision to shoot is still the officer’s call.

Ideally, Officers will stay safe and, now, the number of ‘suspects’ shot will be less.  Very simply, this is a needed change in the law as (we all know) too many people are killed by them, seemingly without adequate reason.

HOWEVER – the devil remains in the details… when that shot was fired was it absolutely necessary?  This is, usually, sorted out in court, the decision based on testimony by officers (who surely have a biased view) and other experts.

This brings us all the way around and back to our very first article, the one regarding secret police.  Why, exactly, is it that we are calling them ‘secret police’?   Afterall, we all knew of them. So was it, instead, that they didn’t self identify (especially by not showing either a badge nor uniform) before they began their ‘investigation’ (or, sometimes, their encouraged incorporation) of our behavior into our pending arrest?   Yes, of course… but that’s only the most obvious aspect of the secret police – their ‘masked’ identity as just another among us.

And it’s the easiest to rectify.  All that’s needed is to ‘un-mask’ them – Put a name to their face.  But the consequences are dire.  In fact, by doing the first, Art Kunkin found out all too much about the second… as the Front Page headline of next week’s Issue screams out.

So… what to do? Clearly and fully understand what actually makes the Secret Police secret. And nip it in the bud. As usual, and as remarkable as always, it’s a look back – to these early Issues of the LA FP – that tells us how to move forward.

To wit, this last presented article from this ‘current’ Issue tells why neither the motivation nor the operation of a police force should ever be hidden (kept secret) from the public.  As importantly, it shows you how such a thing came to be.  And, perhaps most importantly, it gives you not only a reason as to why we have arrived to where we are today – yes, 50 years later in 2019 –  but a good reason as to – even with the new law – why we might wind up back in the same old place.

 

On 08-06-19 TODAY’S RANT is: A Few Thoughts on the One and a Half Amendment


Today, we start with a simple proposition. How did the original Second Amendment;

“A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but no one religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person.”

Later edited by the Founders to the actual Constitutional text;

“A well regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

End up as this?

“The Second Amendment has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word ‘fraud,’ on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.” – Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger (January 14, 1990)

The answer is fully illustrated on the wall in the front lobby of the NRA. You capitalize a “T” and cut the Amendment in half.

“The right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

The current interpretation of the Second Amendment was largely formed through manipulation of public opinion and not by scholarly investigation. For nearly 200 years, the Second Amendment was virtually ignored. There is very little case law or scholarly analysis available. The Second A was on its way to becoming as obsolete as the Third Amendment. You know, the one about not requisitioning and quartering troops in private homes? Thought so.

Historically, the meaning of the Second Amendment was never in serious question. The Founders did not want the Federal Government to have its own standing army. To protect their new nation, the Framers chose the model first introduced in England by Alfred the Great and already under use in Colonial times by Virginia. The militia. Militias are formed when citizens are “mustered” together into groups and then trained by the states to be part of their militia. In times of both domestic and foreign peril, the individual states could unite their individual militias into one national fighting force. No muss, no fuss and no need for a Federal standing army of professional soldiers that could be used to terrorize the states and their inhabitants. In those days, militias were BYOM as in Bring Your Own Musket as the militias did not supply weaponry. Toward this end each male between the ages of 16 and 60 was required by law to own a musket.

Notice how the words of the Second Amendment refers to the security of the “free state” and not individual rights to gun ownership. Historic context further informs us that “bear arms” was a term describing the right to go to war and not the individual right to own a gun. So how did we get into the mess we are in today?

The NRA was founded in 1871 by two veterans of the US Civil War to promote sport shooting with rifles and pistols. In the beginning, the body was involved with sponsoring exhibitions and competitive gun contests based on accuracy. By the 1970s the body was under “new management” and its mission changed, dramatically.

The NRA became a full-time, well-funded, political lobbying organization bent on spreading the gospel of gun ownership as a fundamental right protected by the Constitution. It wasn’t until 2008 when in the District of Columbia v. Heller opinion, written by right wing lunatic/activist judge Antonin Scalia, found the rights of individuals to own guns a fundamental feature of the Second Amendment. Scalia, a guy not above arguing the meanings of words like and, if, or and the placement commas as they relate to Constitutional interpretation, discards the entire first section of the Second Amendment as mere verbiage not central to the issue of gun ownership. Meaning, he adopts as his own the writing on the NRA’s wall of shame. Now, the shame is his. The pity is that we, the people, are stuck with the horror, carnage and continuing blight of an epidemic of gun violence spreading across the land.

That’s what happens when you cut an Amendment in half, Charlie Brown.

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