The Heller Case, commonly referred to as the DC Gun Case, went before the Supreme Court today and may finally resolve the question of whether or not owning a gun is an individual right. Since the Constitution is unambiguous about it, "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed," this case should be a slam dunk. But since the Supreme Court seems more open to the whims of the members rather than bound by the oath they swore upon entering office (see the Kilo decision), anything is possible. There's no point in arguing the merits of the case, some people support individual rights, other don't like them and want the court to rule them on to the ash heap of history (rather than go about doing away with an amendment to the Constitution the way it was designed to be done - by amending it again (see prohibition). That's fine, they can think it all they want, at least until someone doesnít like what people think and gets a legal ruling against having those thoughts, thatís not really the point.
What is telling about this case is the clear line of editorial input in the first line of this Associated Press story:
Advocates of gun rights and opponents of gun violence demonstrated outside the Supreme Court Tuesday while inside, justices heard arguments over the meaning of the Second Amendment's "right to keep and bear arms."
Catch the implication there? As if those who advocate for gun rights somehow support gun violence, perhaps not explicitly, but implicitly. What is really telling about the different sides is this part of the story:
Anise Jenkins, president of a coalition called Stand Up for Democracy in D.C., defended the district's 32-year-old ban on handgun ownership.
"We feel our local council knows what we need for a good standard of life and to keep us safe," Jenkins said.
Jenkins and members of Stand Up for Democracy in DC have full faith in government to take care of them over themselves. That is both telling and disturbing. Washington DC has one of the highest murder rates in the country WITH a gun ban, yet Jenkins "feels" the government that horribly mismanages the District will somehow magically take care of its citizens when criminals strike. Criminals specifically avoid the strong in society, hence the phrase "prey on the weak." People are free to be as weak as they like, but the Constitution clearly grants everyone the right to choose whether they wish to so or not. Mr. Heller chooses not be to weak, he chooses to protect himself. It's now in the hands of the Supreme Court to determine if he's allowed to exercise that right.
The right to bear arms was only upheld by a 5-4 vote in quite possibly the most conservative supreme court in United States history. Don't you think it's time to outlaw ALL guns? In simple percentage points, how many crimes have pistols stopped, versus how many have they enabled?
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. ó A man recently fired from a Target store barged into the Arkansas Democratic headquarters Wednesday and fatally shot the state party chairman before speeding off in his pickup. Police later shot and killed the suspect after a 30-mile chase. Police identified the suspect as 50-year-old Timothy Dale Johnson of Searcy, a town about 50 miles northeast of Little Rock. They said that moments after the shooting, Johnson pointed a handgun at a worker at the nearby Arkansas Baptist headquarters. An official there said he told the worker, "I lost my job." Chairman Bill Gwatney died 4 hours after the shooting. The 48-year-old former state senator had been planning to travel to the Democratic National Convention later this month as a superdelegate. He had backed Hillary Rodham Clinton but endorsed Barack Obama after she dropped out of the race. Clinton and her husband, former President and former Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, issued a statement saying Gwatney was "not only a strong chairman of Arkansas' Democratic Party, but ... also a cherished friend and confidant."
Conway police said a Target store 30 miles north of Little Rock had fired Johnson earlier Wednesday because he had written graffiti on a store wall. The age and address provided by Conway officers matched those provided by Little Rock police for its suspect. Witnesses said the gunman entered the party offices shortly before noon and said he wanted to see Gwatney. "He said he was interested in volunteering, but that was obviously a lie," said 17-year-old party volunteer Sam Higginbotham. He said that when the suspect was refused a meeting with Gwatney, he pushed past employees to reach the chairman's office. Little Rock police spokesman Lt. Terry Hastings said the suspect and Gwatney introduced themselves to one another, at which time the suspect "pulled out a handgun and shot Gwatney several times." Hastings didn't say what the two discussed, but said their discussion was not a heated one. Police said after leaving the office, the suspect pointed a gun at a worker at the Baptist headquarters 7 blocks away. When asked what was wrong, the man said "I lost my job" said Dan Jordan, the group's business manager.
After the suspect avoided spike strips and a roadblock along U.S. 167 near Sheridan, police rammed his car, spinning it, said Grant County Sheriff Lance Huey. He got out of his truck and began shooting, and state police and sheriff's deputies fired back, striking him several times, he said. Hastings said investigators found at least 2 handguns in the suspect's truck. There was a busy signal Wednesday night at a phone number listed under Johnson's name. Little Rock police said they could find no criminal record for him. According to Conway police spokeswoman Sharen Carter, Target fired Johnson before 8 a.m. Wednesday because he had written on a wall. Other store employees said Johnson's body shook as he turned in his ID badge. A Target manager had called police because of the incident but the wall had already been cleaned. The state Capitol was locked down for about an hour until police got word the gunman had been captured, said Arkansas State Capitol police Sgt. Charlie Brice. Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat who served with Gwatney in the state Senate, had been on a flight to Springdale in northwestern Arkansas. He returned to Little Rock and joined an impromptu vigil at University Hospital after what he called a "shocking and senseless attack." Gwatney had been Beebe's finance chairman during the governor's 2006 campaign.
"Arkansas has lost a great son, and I have lost a great friend. There is deep pain in Arkansas tonight because of the sheer number of people who knew, respected and loved Bill Gwatney," Beebe said. Karen Ray, executive director of the Republican Party of Arkansas, sent her workers home early "out of an abundance of caution. Our hearts go out to everyone at the Democratic headquarters. What a tragedy," Ray said. "This is just a very upsetting, troubling and scary thing for our staff as well." Sarah Lee, a sales clerk at a flower shop across street from the party headquarters, said that around noon Gwatney's secretary ran into the shop and asked someone to call 911. Lee said the secretary told her the man had come into the party's office and asked to speak with Gwatney. When the secretary said she wouldn't allow him to meet with Gwatney, the man went into his office and shot him, Lee said. Last November, a distraught man wearing what appeared to be a bomb walked into a Clinton campaign office in New Hampshire and demanded to speak to the candidate about access to mental health care. A hostage drama dragged on for nearly six hours until he peacefully surrendered. The confrontation brought Clinton's campaign to a standstill just 5 weeks before the New Hampshire primary. Security for her was increased as a precaution. She said she did not know the suspect.