Armed And Serious

I’m going to open today’s remarks with an act of contrition. In Tuesday’s column, I identified the M1 Garand as having a 10-round capacity. A number of you pointed out that that weapon’s capacity is eight. You were right, and I was wrong. In watching gun-grabbing general Piers Morgan’s daily self-embarrassments, I watched a liberal refusing to acknowledge his ignorance despite irrefutable proof that he had his head wedged so far up his overbred British rectum that he could see the scones he had for teatime. I can admit when I missed the bull’s-eye. Working with the gang here at the Personal Liberty Digest™ is a source of real pride. Working for a sharp, intelligent readership is even more so. I’m so inspired by you that I’m going to take a break and watch some “Band of Brothers” clips on YouTube.

In recent days, I’ve noticed an increase in the chatter regarding a planned “Gun Appreciation Day.” Promoted by Larry Ward and his pro-Bill of Rights group Political Media, Inc., the observance is scheduled for Saturday and is fairly self-explanatory. It’s a chance for firearms enthusiasts to cheer the 2nd Amendment and thumb their collective noses at President Barack Obama, his liberal accomplices and their assault on our rights — all without missing a day of working to cover the Democratic voters’ Obamaphone bills.

Gun Appreciation Day: It’s a sentiment with which I can agree, in a general sense. But count me out of those who will tweet, hashtag or Facebook post my support. It’s not that I don’t recognize that a day spent at the range is every bit as worthwhile in a Constitutional sense as a few moments of watching Piers Morgan beclown himself. But observing Gun Appreciation Day strikes me as a bit on the juvenile side. It’s almost as if the celebrants will be throwing an exceptionally noisy tantrum. It also undersells the importance of the central issue: making private firearm ownership a bone of contention instead of the symbol of American unity it should be. Moreover, every day is as much Gun Appreciation Day as it is Free Speech Appreciation Day or States’ Rights Appreciation Day. As an aside, notice all three would be conspicuously absent from a liberal calendar. I celebrate each time I take my AR-15 (affectionately known as the “M4-gery”) to the nearby outdoor range, pen a column about Obama’s crimes or vote for a candidate whom I believe to be the least likely to threaten to stop me from doing either. Think of it this way: Planned Parenthood, which kills an exponentially higher number of Americans each year than all the gun owners in the country could even imagine, doesn’t celebrate its taxpayer-funded massacres with a big, annual shindig. It’s too busy providing – ahem — women’s healthcare.

One of the things that has always gratified me about the pro-Bill of Rights side is the intellectual sanity we dispense in the face of an endless stream of brainless invective from the other side. While sock puppets like Morgan humiliate themselves by dismissing the Constitution itself as “your little book,” Constitutionalists respond by systematically dismantling every aspect of the gun grabbers’ agenda with the same Constitution that Morgan foolishly dismissed.

Sometime after this column makes its way to Bob Livingston’s electronic in-box, Obama is going to announce a fascist end run around the 2nd Amendment, the separation of powers and common sense.  During the speech (in which he will claim imperial prerogative in abrogating the Bill of Rights without having even approached proving the necessity of such a move), he will be surrounded by passel of fresh-faced kiddies. The little moppets will fill the role of stage props for Obama’s liberal dog and pony show.  Exploiting children to sell a plan to violate their civil rights in perpetuity repulses me, as it should anyone with even a shred of decency.

That’s the sort of political theatricality conservatives eschew in favor of real logic. I don’t want the people on the side of the Bill of Rights to behave like a bunch of unbathed trust-fund babies at some Occupy rally. We have the weight of history on our side. Armed with that knowledge, we should be the serious ones in this political war. Then again, Saturday at the range does sound like a fine idea — even one I can seriously appreciate.

–Ben Crystal

The Gun Gap

Over the weekend, I had a chance to discuss with an acquaintance firearms and the current controversy surrounding them. This friend falls into the “not a fan” category when it comes to private ownership of anything powerful enough to stun a squirrel. During the course of our discussion, I realized that he also falls into the “doesn’t really know much about firearms” category; he joins nearly every liberal on the planet in that ignorance.

My friend continually referenced the availability of “automatic weapons with high-capacity clips.” I responded that those do sound awfully intimidating, and it’s a good thing they’ve been illegal in this country — excepting a tiny number of special permit-holders — for decades. He looked stunned, more so when I explained that “high-capacity clips” don’t really exist.

That’s the understanding gap that plagues the United States regarding gun politics; it isn’t a simple lack of communication between “pro-“ and “anti-.” The anti-liberty leadership has been lying to and frightening their supporters so effectively and for so long that the “anti-“ group has no idea what it’s actually protesting against. President Barack Obama and his accomplices are not trying to ban automatic weapons; those are already tightly controlled. For those of you who dismiss my argument as focusing on minutiae, I would respond by pointing out that focusing on minutiae and disseminating erroneous information are the essence of the liberal position on gun control.

It’s difficult to take seriously the Democrats’ fear and hatred of firearms if their rhetoric belies a lack of understanding of the subject. While “clip-fed” weapons do exist, they aren’t particularly plentiful, they aren’t particularly “high-capacity” and they certainly aren’t “automatic.” An M-1 Garand is clip-fed; but its capacity is limited to 10 rounds, and it weighs a relative ton. The ones owned legally by private citizens are also only capable of firing one round per trigger pull, meaning they are no more “automatic” than a .22 pistol. Furthermore, banning “military characteristics” like pistol grips may seem productive, but banning cosmetic effects would be about as useful in stopping crime as banning cars with spoilers would be in stopping the auto accidents that kill far more Americans each year than madmen with guns. Sure, you might clear out a few of those Lamborghinis favored by drug dealers, Hollywood blowhards and South Beach Eurotrash types; but mostly, you’d be ruining the weekend projects of a country full of teenagers who have seen too many Vin Diesel movies.

Should the left wish to be taken seriously on the subject of so-called “gun control,” perhaps it should reconsider not only the information on which it bases its prejudices but also the people who speak for it. I remain mystified by the idea that disgraced British gossip columnist and eternally smug peacock Piers Morgan has taken a leading role in the liberal anti-liberty passion play. The fact that Morgan is a mouthy twerp with clear disdain for America and Americans really isn’t material. The fact that Morgan is a moron really is. In an exchange on Twitter, Morgan pressed the liberal case against guns by inventing a new firearm and caliber.

…(Adam Lanza) used a Bushmaster .233 AR-15 assault rifle… Do you understand how a modified AT-15 behaves? It can fire up to 6 bullets a second, like a M-16 military assault rifle. Wise up.

Oh, my.

The Newtown, Conn., massacre that spurred on the liberals’ latest assault on the Bill of Rights tore into our sense of calm weeks ago. Since that time, the Democrats have proposed everything from forced registration to outright confiscation. Not one of those proposals would have prevented Newtown any more than similar draconian measures have made Chicago any safer. With sock puppets like Morgan leading the anti-Bill of Rights cheering section, at best, the gun grabbers think that forcing me to turn in my AR-15 will somehow avert tragedies elsewhere. At worst, they’re proposing non-existent solutions to the wrong problems. Classifying weapons as possessing “military characteristics” and then banning them based on that classification is ludicrous. My AR-15 isn’t a military weapon; it’s a replica of a military weapon. Anti-Constitutionalists like Morgan and Senator Dianne Feinstein don’t understand the difference; subsequently, they either can’t or won’t recognize that their demands will produce only one effect: more victims. And my friend (along with quite a few other people) doesn’t understand the difference… yet.

–Ben Crystal

Guns And Obama: The Stand

The Newtown, Conn., massacre has touched off a new front in the liberal assault on our most basic freedoms. And this time, the cult of personality around President Barack Obama and his accomplices appears to have rendered them all impervious to not only criticism, but even simple justice. Not only have they used the mindless fealty of their liberal subjects to avoid answering for crimes like Operation Fast and Furious and Benghazi, Libya, they’ve deflected attention from those disgraces by turning the Newtown victims into political carrion.

The reality is that the Democrats’ war on the Bill of Rights isn’t markedly different from their efforts to punish success and achievement in order to pay for “Obama phones” and Detroit. But their macabre use of human suffering to further their nefarious goals — while fairly predictable — has never coincided with a perfect storm like this one: a criminal President who actually believes he’s above the law and the Constitution, a Democratic Party bent on subjugation of the people and an electorate willing to trade freedom for perceived security.

Hence, Senator Dianne Feinstein’s opening salvo: a bill that would not only restore the useless so-called “assault weapons ban” but take it to its fascist extreme — with national registries, magazine restrictions and the rest of the Democratic list of meaninglessly symbolic gestures that have been repeatedly proven to exert no discernible effect on actual violence and actual crime. (See also: gun Grabber paradises like Chicago and Washington, D.C.)

But former concealed-carry permit holders like Feinstein are just the tip of the projectile. Behind her, Obama charges ahead, flanked by cohorts like the anti-Constitutionalists in the Brady Campaign, media sock puppets who use phrases like “gun violence” and the very same masses of liberal sheep who consistently vote to keep in power the architects of violence and poverty who now claim high-capacity magazines and so-called “assault rifles” are the cause of the problems they themselves deliberately exacerbate. And recent Obama tactics such as Vice President Joe Biden’s so-called “task force,” in concert with fire from Democratic legislators like Feinstein and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) expose a push toward a Federal attempt to disarm the populace.

If Obama and his cretins’ attempts to grab your guns give you the willies, consider this response to their best laid plans: “Taking my guns? You and what army?” Certainly not the U.S. Army. While Obama clearly believes he lives beyond the reach of the Constitution, I doubt he can convince the U.S. military to violate Posse Comitatus based on his whimsy. Despite Obama’s delusions, I suspect the overwhelming majority of servicemen and servicewomen, many of whom own firearms privately, would be loath to break down their own doors — not to mention those of their comrades, active and retired. If the Democrats want to take that up with the 1st Ranger Battalion, they’re welcome to it.

Of course, Obama could follow the example set by Bill Clinton — aka “the first black President” — and “go Waco” on the gun-owning population. But the gun-owning population is a great deal bigger than a handful of religious kooks on a compound. There are somewhere in the neighborhood of 270 million firearms in private citizens’ hands in the United States. Even if Obama does try to restage Tiananmen Square domestically, the results would be the kind of catastrophe that usually involves Occupy protestors and defenseless teenage girls.

Of course, any attempt by Obama and his cronies to abrogate the Bill of Rights by force of arms would physically tear the Nation apart. To suggest such a plan would be the equivalent of suggesting the 22nd Amendment should be eliminated to keep Obama in office in perpetuity — not that anyone would ever dream of such a colossal error in judgment. (I’m looking at you, Representative Jose Serrano [D-N.Y.].) An attempted government gun grab would likely lead to armed insurrection. A Democratic attempt to violate both the spirit and the letter of the law in such a manner would be an exceptionally bad idea. So they’ll probably try exactly that. Lock and load, kiddies.

–Ben Crystal

An Incredibly Convenient Sale

If a greater living liberal than Al Gore exists, I would dearly love to meet him. The scion of an exceptionally wealthy Tennessee clan that built a king’s fortune on tobacco and racism, Gore took the prodigious wealth bestowed upon him and used it to construct an empire. Between his inheritance, the money he made from pseudoscientific screeds like the book Earth in the Balance and the sci-fi slideshow “An Inconvenient Truth,” Gore has salted away a pile large enough to fuel his private jet, heat his multiple homes and send his progeny to the finest schools. But forget about his time as a U.S. Senator.  Forget about his complicity in the various crimes of the Clinton Administration. Forget even about his subzero treatment of his ex-wife. Hell, forget about those allegations that he relates to massage therapists the way his old boss Bubba Clinton relates to chubby interns. Focus on Gore, the liberal icon, Democratic hero and super-capitalist.

With the impending sale of his failed hate-speech outlet, Current TV, to terrorist-linked Al-Jazeera, Gore has transcended the usual hypocrisy that defines modern liberalism to become its living god. He will personally make somewhere in the neighborhood of $70 million by signing over a cable outlet that struggled against more intellectually stimulating content such as “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.” And Al-Jazeera, which is owned by the government of the nation of Qatar, floats on a sea of the same oil against which Gore has railed for the better part of the generation generously augmented by Gore’s own prolific fertility. (Despite his efforts to convince brown people to stop reproducing, Gore has extended his own lineage by a factor of four.)

A man who may well be the biggest hypocrite in recorded human history — no small feat against the competition afforded by not only American liberals but the various and sundry dictators who live like emperors on the backs of oppressed populations from North Korea and China to Venezuela and Cuba — will bank eight figures from the oil barons in the Mideast. Already wildly wealthy, Gore has sold a vanity project with all the journalistic credibility of VH-1 to guys who were probably wiping the crude off their hands when they shook on the deal.

And (insert liberal-approved deity here) bless Gore for the effort. I’m a conservative. If Gore can turn a lifelong crusade on behalf of the biggest scientific fraud of the modern age into a nearly 10-figure personal fortune, then I say: “Ditch the ball and chain and the rug rats, stride proudly out of whichever of your palaces in which you’re lounging, jump in that SUV, tell that chauffeur to drive you to the airport, board that private jet, fly to the nearest tax-haven tropical island, check into the Global Warming Suite at the Ritz and start pawing the masseuses, Albert!” I don’t blame Gore for making a few hundred million bucks off liberal gullibility — even if he blames me for trying to make a few bucks of my own.

And look who he sold out to. Al-Jazeera, aka the al-Qaida Channel, floats on sea of oil money. While Gore and his shrieking sideshow clowns have repeated laughable Democratic conspiracy theories about some so-called “war on women,” the new owners of the network have proudly campaigned against women doing anything but cooking and bearing children. While Gore and his merry band of idiots have imagined a conservative lack of tolerance, the new owners support programming that includes a weekly host who proclaims the Holocaust “divine punishment” for the Jews. Despite all that, liberals nationwide are lining up to offer their endorsement to what is about to be Al-Jazeera America. I can’t decide if their sudden love of a network that shows al-Qaida recruiting videos stems from their usual “America last” attitude or a desire to let Gore off the hook. But, hey, at least he didn’t sell to that bastard Glenn Beck.

Global warming is dead, buried under the weight of data falsified by its primary perpetrators and titles that change — by necessity — more often than Hollywood freaks change their designer clothes. Perhaps now is as good a time as any to cash out before Gore’s Democratic accomplices finish destroying the economy. After all, that’s what Gore did.

–Ben Crystal

Over The Cliff: Us And Them

Like many Americans, I rose to greet 2013 with a renewed sense of hope and a belief that the new year would bring forth joy and success. Following a couple of aspirin and three or four cups of coffee, I actually began to think my optimism might stem from more than just whatever booze was still pumping through my system. (Note to self: absinthe = bad.) Maybe 2013 will be the year that decent Americans rescued our beloved Nation from the clutches of President Barack Obama and his accomplices. Against the rising tide of statist crimes like Obamacare and the Democrats’ war on the Bill of Rights, we red, white and blue stalwarts will press our government to steer the ship of state away from the storm-tossed seas of class envy, racial animus and outright crimes into which Obama has steered us.

I made it as far as my morning news roundup before I realized my rosy view of the coming year really was just the booze talking. As a present to those of us whom they purport to represent, the U.S. Senate gave us the proverbial crap sandwich. With a very mere 8 “nay” votes, the upper house of the Nation’s Legislature passed a plan to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” a plan which may push off the spending sequesters for a month or two but simultaneously serves to push the rest of us into the gaping chasm of budgetary excess.

89-8. That was the final vote count. Although the plan, supposedly constructed by Vice President Joe Biden, will avert financial calamities for Obama’s “green energy” cronies and the dependent-class minions who have repeatedly traded their individual rights for a vote (or two, depending on who drove them to the polls) for the Democrats, the plan really hikes taxes and spending while offering almost nothing to the regular Americans upon whom this and every other flimflam ultimately comes to rest.

Forget about the economy-crushing punishment the deal inflicts upon the most successful among us — punishment that will reverberate through the economy in the form of lost jobs, lost revenue and lost hope for the Nation’s future. Instead, focus on that vote count: 89-8. Most Republicans joined their Democratic partners in crime in passing a so-called compromise that compromises only their own respectability. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the deal, which spans 157 pages, costs $4 billion in tax hikes per page. The ratio of spending hikes to tax relief comes in at 41-to-1. With Majority Leader Mitch McConnell behind the wheel, the Republican Senators may not have robbed us of our money and dignity; but they certainly drove the getaway car.

While I’m willing to offer kudos to those great eight who stood their ground on our behalf, I’m hardly dancing a jig over the House following suit in butchering this abominable compromise deal and feeding it to the hogs. We needed someone to play King Leonidas and his Immortals. Instead, we had House Speaker John Boehner and a bunch of Congressmen who would look really stupid dressed as Spartans. And in the late-night hours of New Year’s Day, the House wall cracked and crumbled; the Republican-led House voted to approve the deal, 257-167. Ostensibly conservative Representative Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) described the fiscal cliff avoidance boondoggle as the “safest bet.” What Barletta left out was that he and his fellow Washington wire-pullers are betting with our money.

At this point, I should probably tell you all to contact your respective Congressmen and remind them just who it is who really signs the checks around here. But the lesson we should all be taking from Washington’s ham-fisted handling of the fiscal cliff negotiations is the virtually complete lack of respect most of the people in that godforsaken city have for every single one of the rest of us. We’re not witnessing the usual partisan Republican versus Democrat political theater. We’re witnessing the politicians teaming up to stick it to the rest of us. Should my Congressman choose to continue to toe the line, I’ll contact him from the ballot box. Remember this moment. Obama and his liberal cronies are waging war on our most basic freedoms. And when the time came to stand fast at the proverbial battle of Thermopylae, the Republicans didn’t run away. Worse, they turned and joined the onslaught.

–Ben Crystal

Obama Opens Fire

So I went ahead and watched the rotting corpse of Meet the Press this past Sunday morning. While I harbored no delusions about David Gregory suddenly demonstrating the journalistic integrity which apparently joined Tim Russert in the great beyond, I was curious to see how that pale imitation of Russert would guide President Barack Obama through his latest public salvo in the Democrats’ war on the Bill of Rights. What ensued was less an interview and more the sort of thing that airs on Cinemax after midnight. Hollywood freaks don’t fawn over each other the way NBC’s Sunday morning poodle bowed and scraped before Obama.

Obama, who sends his children to the excellent — and well-defended — Sidwell Friends School (as does Gregory), repeated his opposition to the National Rifle Association’s suggestion to place armed security at the schools Obama’s and Gregory’s children pass on their way to the mall. While the NRA owed neither an explanation of recent tragedies with which it had nothing to do nor suggestions as to how to correct the problem of ill-supervised insane people, Obama was quick to denounce their plan: “I am skeptical that the only answer is putting more guns in schools. And I think the vast majority of the American people are skeptical that that somehow is going to solve our problem.”

The idea of scattering firearms randomly throughout the halls of our National cradles of government-dictated “learning” does sound fairly sketchy; after all, one of those union thugs posing as teachers might get ahold of one. And we’ve certainly seen what armed union thugs are liable to do; witness their knife attacks in Michigan last month. But no one has suggested anything of the sort. The NRA merely suggested offering to the students trapped in government schools the same protection that the children of the Democratic elite enjoy at their private schools. Obama twisted the NRA’s idea in order to lead up to his showstopper: “We can’t have a situation in which somebody with severe psychological problems is able to get the kind of high-capacity weapons that this individual in Newtown obtained and gun down our kids.”

As we know, his solution to that problem has nothing to do with “somebody with severe psychological problems” (nor protecting children) and everything to do with so-called “high-capacity weapons.” For further proof, take a gander at the summary of the bill Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), herself a former concealed-carry permit holder, squeezed out last Thursday. The bill stops just short of leaving us to defend ourselves with our kids’ BB guns. The bill promises all manner of pointlessly symbolic gestures involving pistol grips and “military characteristics” without addressing the inadequate supervision of mentally disturbed citizens.

Liberal logic dictates that we ban firearms that frighten liberals in order to protect ourselves from the kind of people who ignore such bans. But Adam Lanza himself was living proof of the lack of such restrictions’ effect — as was Tim McVeigh, who needed no firearm at all. Indeed, Newtown, Conn., occurred despite precisely the sort of gun laws that liberals claim will prevent tragedies like Newtown.

Places that force such draconian measures upon their citizens — Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. come to mind — also share well-deserved reputations for being slightly better-landscaped versions of the Thunderdome. Actually, they also share long histories of Democratic political hegemony; but I’m sure that’s purely coincidental. Obama and his accomplices now want us to believe that we should all aspire to live in such lofty circumstances. And he actually thinks he has credibility on the issue.

This is the President who willingly and willfully condemned the “Benghazi Four” to a brutal death while he partied in Las Vegas. This is the President who willingly and willfully backed Attorney General Eric Holder when Holder lied his way into criminal and civil contempt of Congress. This is the President whose minions in the Administration and the corporate media brazenly lied about the tragic consequences of Operation Fast and Furious, an over-funded but under-conceived (or not, depending on just how sinister Obama and his minions really are) program ostensibly designed to… cull the herds of wild Mexican beauty queens threatening the safety and stability of Mexican narcoterrorists.

And we’re supposed to give up our best means of defending ourselves because Obama thinks that’s the best plan? If we do, who will protect us from violence? For that matter, who will protect us from Obama?

–Ben Crystal

Hypocrisy Unchained

The days between Christmas and New Year’s always seem to bring about a bit of the lazy in all of us. Fortunately, Hollywood rides to the rescue during the holidays; proffering blockbusters aplenty to keep you — and more importantly, your family — from potential harm inflicted by inappropriately swinging your new 3-wood in the kitchen.

Nonetheless, millions of my fellow citizens will meander to their local megaplexes in the next few days. Being the helpful sort of fellow I am, I thought “why not catch a movie and then yammer about it in print for the Personal Liberty Digest™?” Since Bob Livingston wasn’t around to say something like “that’s the kind of idea which makes me consider replacing you with a syndicated horoscope;” off to the theater I went.

If you DO decide to brave the crowds, there ARE a few films worth watching. “Django Unchained” is seriously not among them. Quentin Tarantino’s latest effort carries a tremendous amount of either buzz or baggage; depending on your perspective. Truth be told, Tarantino’s direction doesn’t ring any bells for me. Although I’m a fan of “Reservoir Dogs,” I insist that Tarantino’s movies are self-indulgent schlock. They employ stunt-casting, bizarrely stylized violence and spectacular profanity to tell tasteless tales about almost routinely horrendous people. Some might suggest that’s the point; but I would retort that I already know what monotony sounds like; I don’t need to pay to hear it.

“Django Unchained”purports to proffer a tale of a slave who gains his freedom with the help of a white man; and then sets about killing pretty much every white person he encounters. I suppose there’s some sort of empowerment message contained therein; but it gets lost in the same profane, non-stop violence which turns every Tarantino flick into a funhouse-mirror reflection of the old “Blaxploitation” films of the 1970s. If Tarantino wanted to share a message about the plight of blacks in post-slavery America, he certainly had room in the script for it. In between bouts of semi-dimensional characters delivering paper-thin pronouncements on… something, the dreaded “n-word” appears nearly as often as the word “the.”

Ostensibly an homage to the spaghetti westerns of the 1960s, “Django Unchained” stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Christopher Walz and the man who called President Barack Obama “our Lord and Savior,” Jamie Foxx. In addition to his fawning over his big buddy Barack, Foxx is essentially the actors’ version of Tarantino: a marginal talent who has benefitted from remarkably fortuitous timing and a magnificent lack of humility. During publicity touring for the film, Foxx crowed about getting to “…kill all the white people… how great is that?” I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised; nor should I have ever expected better. I could say Foxx is a hypocrite for appearing in a film like “Django Unchained” while lecturing the rest of us about our conduct; but suggesting some Hollywood bubblehead is a hypocrite is hardly an earth-shattering revelation.

And Foxx revels in all of it. In fact, amidst nearly 2.5 hours of non-stop gratuitous EVERYTHING (except worthy storytelling), Foxx barely contains his glee. As I watched the film, I couldn’t exorcise the last image of Foxx I saw, pre-Django. Following the Newtown nightmare, Foxx joined some of his fellow Left Coast lightweights in filming a YouTube spot demanding an end to so-called “gun violence… for the children.”

I’m hardly a puritan, but I hope I’m not the only one who catches the dichotomy of pretending to worry about guns and children while simultaneously appearing in the title role of a film which features more killing than a serial killers’ convention and more frequent cursing and racist language than a busload of Democrats passing the home of Justice Clarence Thomas.

People like Foxx shouldn’t really affect us. But in the age of a tabloid Presidency, it’s tragically apropos to see him palling around with Obama and being taken seriously on issues like violence and our children. What’s worse — as bloviating Hollywood hypocrites move into central roles in the national discourse, voices of sanity are muted.

“Django Unchained” hurls gunplay, violence, profanity and racial epithets; all in an effort to hide a lousy film. I suppose it might qualify as a guilty pleasure; but it’s not worth the price and the hassle. Come to think of it, it’s not just a perfect metaphor for some smug Hollywood hypocrites — it’s a perfect metaphor for the Democratic Party.

“’Twas the Night Before Christmas, 2012”

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and the White House heard cheer:
“Kwanzaa is coming! The best time of year!”
A stocking cap hung in the bathroom with care,
In hopes Pluggsy Biden would give up on that “hair.”

Hillary looked toward 2016, while pundits wondered:
“Can she win? She’s so MEAN!”
Reporters joyously exploited our grief,
Except when they smiled and just lied through their teeth.

Susan Rice in the cold, her mouth left agape,
While John Kerry measured his new office for drapes.
Obama sat down with Holder the liar,
To plan throwing the Bill of Rights in the fire.

When out in Benghazi arose such a clatter,
Obama demanded, “What the heck is the matter?
We’ve given you money; covered up stuff as well.
I’ve got a damned Peace Prize; I mean… what the hell?”

Obama and Clinton then both hit the links,
And Boehner surrendered (that sell-out stinks).
Joblessness, homelessness, the debt is ginormous,
But Harry and Nancy don’t want to inform us.

Instead, blame the Tea Party, they say with a wink,
They’re evil and racist; they should be in the klink!”
But when Nikki said Tim was her guy for the Senate,
They called them both tokens, and they actually meant it.

On, Griffin! On, Maddow! On, Sharpton, poo-tender!
On, O’Donnell and that fat guy whose name I can’t seem to remember!
All my millionaire pals who live behind walls,
We’re smug; we’re stupid; we’re hypocrites all!

And I heard Barry say as the limo doors slammed:
“I’d do something worthwhile, but I don’t give a damn.”

My Christmas Message

When Mr. Livingston told me that I’d be leading off Personal Liberty Digest™ on Christmas Day, the only suggestion he offered involved “something short and light.” Suitably forewarned, I mused on the idea of finding something short and light amid the chaos and anger that grip our Nation and our world. Eventually, I turned away from the keyboard; and in an almost ludicrous moment of serendipity, I glanced at the bookcase and spied my old copy of the Bible.

Feeling not a little sheepish at how long it had been since the last time I had even cracked the spine of the Good Book, I began leafing through for suitable Christmas inspiration. As visions of holiday cheer danced in my head, I turned to the most Christmasy passage I could think of: Luke 2:10-14.

And the angel said unto them, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign to you; You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

I read it twice. And it occurred to me: I can’t say it any better than that; no one can.

Merry Christmas, and may God bless you in the coming year.

–Ben Crystal

Christmas With The Maya

The extinct stone-age culture got the dates wrong — who saw that coming? Ol’ Pluggsy is on the job; more or less. And guess who’s coming for the guns? All this — plus — remedial pirate geography! Presented in 1080 hi-def, FOR FREE! It’s The Great Eight, from the Personal Liberty Digest™!
 
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cR3YSFWEFHI?rel=0&w=640&h=360]

It’s Always ‘Too Soon’

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter when the “right” time to delve into so-called “gun control” has arrived. Once the smoke clears, we all step back into the rhetorical ring for another round of debate about what liberals call “gun violence” and conservatives call either “crime” or the lyrics to a rap album.

Of course, the actual debate takes a moment to get under way. First, the media have to descend on the bereaved and gorge themselves on misery like buzzards feasting on roadkill. In the Newtown, Conn., nightmare, ABC News editorial producer Nadine Shubailat began stalking victims’ families and friends on Twitter, begging for face time, until outraged respondents buried her Twitter feed in an avalanche of spam. Meanwhile, the Democrats had to take a moment to adhere to Rahm Emanuel’s famous adage: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” Barack Obama’s creepy little pet, David Axelrod, even tried hyping Obama’s gun-control speech (which was ostensibly supposed to comfort the Nation) to direct people to donate to Obama’s 2012 Presidential campaign. Nothing says “we care” like exploiting dead children to grub for cash for an electoral effort that ended six weeks ago.

Among the citizenry, emotions run high, often obfuscating reason. Some proffer laughable conspiracy theories, my favorite involving both the Aurora theater shooter and the Newtown murderer being stooges for a secret gun-lobby conspiracy trying to create an artificial spike in prices. Others try to resurrect the ridiculous talking point about the 2nd Amendment referring only to flintlock muskets and blunderbusses. They blissfully ignore that abortion is now Constitutionally protected.

And we must not forget magazine capacity. Anti-2nd Amendment zealots suggest that no one needs high-capacity magazines. But Connecticut already bars the sale thereof. In fact, Connecticut is a liberal’s paradise regarding gun laws. Capacity makes no real difference. A determined shooter with even moderate training can cycle through 10- or even 5-round magazines in rapid succession. When the shooter is spurred on by the voices in his head and the victims are 5- and 6-year-olds, he doesn’t even have to be all that proficient. Hell, terrorist Timothy McVeigh was highly proficient with firearms — as an Army veteran, he was probably better with an M4 than Adam Lanza ever hoped to be — and he didn’t need a firearm at all. In China, some hopped-up lunatic went after a couple dozen schoolchildren with a knife about 18 hours before Lanza proceeded with his grisly plan. The Chinese, who have gun control to quail the hearts of even the Brady Campaign, have seen a number of such attacks in just the past few years.

Still others took advantage of the situation to press an assault against the National Rifle Association. Twitter was set ablaze by concerned liberals issuing death threats to not only the group’s members, but their children as well.

Liberals are so opposed to violence that they’re positively homicidal over it.

Gun control is really people control. And people can be controlled a lot more simply than an ill-advised frontal assault on the Bill of Rights. When I first offered my curriculum vitae to Bob Livingston, I remarked that gun control requires nothing more than common sense: You don’t allow criminals, illegal aliens or the guy down the street with a tinfoil hat access to firearms. Imposing draconian measures on the only part of the populace likely to abide by them merely tilts the field in favor of the criminal element. For those who remain unconvinced, take a look at Chicago, Detroit and Washington, D.C. (I suggest you do so from inside a tank.)

So-called “assault rifles,” high-capacity magazines, the NRA and one or two really intricate conspiracy theories might qualify as meaningful debate among liberal audiences who are as receptive to dissent as a Third World dictator, but they aren’t really the topics we ought to be discussing in the wake of Sandy Hook or any significant tragedy. From Newtown to Oklahoma City to China, the problem is on full display; and that problem isn’t guns.

Gun-grabbers claim they want to have a meaningful discussion about societal violence. I’m fine with that. Let me know when they’re ready to start.

–Ben Crystal

Angels Among Us

I probably started and aborted a dozen different columns before I wrote this one. What happened Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., doesn’t lend itself to easy expression. After all, the massacre which stole away the lives of 27 people, including 20 children, so exceeds the capacity of mere words that even remarks like “words fail me” seem trite and clichéd.

Yet words dominate the discourse in the wake of the tragedy. Of course, the nature of this unimaginable horror engenders the usual debates about gun control. And the usual suspects tread far beyond the borders of dignity in trying to exploit the misery for ideological purposes. I even found myself participating in a fairly civilized discussion featuring a wide variety of viewpoints.

But my heart just wasn’t in it. To be honest, I still can’t bring myself to examine the root causes and long-term ramifications of Friday morning’s waking nightmare. I’m not suggesting the inevitable debates are not worth the time; they are. If we 2nd Amendment supporters want to be heard on topics such as abortion, then we have to be willing to listen to the opposite side on firearms. And there will be time for that talk. I just don’t feel like having it yet.

Don’t mistake my hesitation for excessive emotion; I’m neither avoiding the topic, nor am I trying to attach myself to the tragedy like one of those “victim-by-proxy” types from whom we hear way too much in the wake of every public horror. There is an issue that I want to address, and I think it offers a bit of light in this latest darkness into which a madman has plunged us. A friend of mine, an unrepentant atheist, took to expressing his rage at Friday’s horror by citing it as proof that God doesn’t — couldn’t — exist. Now, this friend of mine is neither stupid nor evil. And I’m willing to cede some space to him. After all, who among us can honestly say in moments like Friday morning that we haven’t shaken our fists and thundered at the Almighty?

But His voice was audible above the din. To be sure, the events which unfolded do quail even the stoutest of hearts. Twenty babies stolen from the world by a soul consumed by darkness; six adults who sacrificed everything to protect those they could. Every bit of the story is sad. It’s hard to imagine finding even a kernel of joy amid such unrelenting pain. Yet the proverbial rose blooms amid the thorns. Those six teachers and administrators at Sandy Hook Elementary gave up their very lives in an effort to save their charges. Against unstoppable evil (not to mention the basic instinct to preserve one’s own life), they charged an armed assailant; they threw themselves into a hail of bullets; they placed themselves directly between certain death and young life.

That’s magnificent. That’s beautiful. That’s miraculous. A world which occasionally produces a monster like Adam Lanza also produced six angels named Victoria Soto, Dawn Hochsprung, Anne Marie Murphy, Lauren Rousseau, Rachel D’Avino and Mary Sherlach. I will bask in the spiritual light of their heavenly sacrifice rather than squat in the shadow of the murderer’s onslaught. Lanza made noise, but theirs are the voices I will hear.

We ask God to tell us why animals like Lanza exist; He answers with Soto, Hochsprung, Murphy, Rousseau, D’Avino and Sherlach. To those who refuse to believe: You’re welcome to deny Him based on what happened Friday morning in Newton. But that doesn’t mean He denies you. And to those who ask how He could allow Lanza to commit such crimes: Without villains, the world has no heroes. Without demons, there can be no angels. Without the crimes of the worst of us, we might never know the grace of our best.

The Almighty allows us the gift of free will. Some squander it, even desecrate it. Others rise to new heights of greatness. I choose to gaze just a while longer at the latter, if only to remind myself that they are — and that they carry me — closer to Him.

–Ben Crystal

An Unholy Union

During the course of the pitched battle Tuesday between union thugs and the people of Michigan, the Democratic Party, which usually pretends its union storm troopers are no more prone to violence than my Labrador retriever, took an unusual step by actually tweeting its endorsement of the union thugs’ physical tactics: “There will be blood.” The tweet, which was deleted far too late for the blogosphere to miss it, represented a none-too-subtle statement of support as the unions — notably the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers — tried to undo Michigan’s decision to join 23 other States in declaring right-to-work conditions.

Michigan has struggled mightily in recent years. Thanks to endless Democratic hegemony and the death-grip unions have used to choke the life out of former economic cornerstones like the automotive industry — not to mention the usual suffocation created by almost unbelievable corruption in places like the dying hulk of Detroit — Michiganders face 9.1 percent unemployment. Thus did the State Legislature push to open the labor pool to people unwilling to pay a fee to some union crime syndicate for the right to work. And thus did the unions respond by unleashing the kind of violence usually seen only in the Detroit mayor’s office and the late, unlamented “Occupy” movement.

Tweet

Perhaps bolstered by the Democrats’ tweets of endorsement, the unions went on an even more mindless than usual rampage throughout the day, attacking a FOX News contributor on camera and trampling a conservative group’s tent while the conservative group was still inside. And with the Democratic Party of Michigan’s call to arms still echoing, Barack Obama mouthpiece Jay Carney said about its incitement: “I’m not sure (the offending words) mean what someone interprets them to mean.”  Jay Carney is neither the Merriam nor the Webster of the modern age, but it’s tough to imagine “there will be blood” is open to all that much interpretation. In essence, Carney’s dismissal of the unions’ tactics is Obama weighing in on the chaos by hiding in the closet.

And yet “there will be blood.” The tweet was deleted hastily; I’m guessing after party functionaries realized they could be held liable should their union thug brethren start sending their enemies to that great New Jersey Turnpike rest stop in the sky. And the media certainly didn’t fall all over themselves to squawk in outrage over the overt threat of politically motivated violence — perhaps because they were waiting for instructions from their Democratic masters on how to spin and/or ignore it. Nonetheless, the message was clear: The people of Michigan want to pursue work without the added nightmare of required union involvement, and the Democrats and the union thugs will draw blood — or worse — to stop them.

The battle between the people of Michigan and the Democratic Party ought to serve as a reminder — and not just of the danger of allowing too many union members to congregate without responsible supervision. Obama’s re-election despite scandals like Operation Fast and Furious and Benghazi, Libya, has given the Democrats the impression that minor details like the rule of law and common decency no longer apply. In turn, they’ve green-lit an all-out assault on everyone who stands up to them. In Michigan, the unions not only got physical with the people they perceive to be enemies, but the teachers’ unions walked out on the kids to back their fellow Big Labor brute squad members.

The war between the unions and the people of Michigan calls to mind the similar battles fought in Indiana earlier in 2012 and in Wisconsin last year. More importantly, it reveals that the Democrats’ reliance on lies, cover-ups and corporate media excuse-making and demagoguery may be replaced by outright violence. Should that be the case — and the union thugs’ behavior certainly indicates it is — then life in the good ol’ U.S. of A. is about to get a lot more interesting.

–Ben Crystal

Not Worth The Effort

Last week, word filtered back from the Mideast: Syria, normally a veritable Shangri-La, loaded chemical weapons into warheads for deployment against rebels in the civil war which has torn the land asunder and absorbed billions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives. While initial reactions focused on details such as the source of the weapons of mass destruction and/or how feisty Israel might respond to the news, the bigger question loomed: whither the United States?

Outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned the regime of Bashar Assad against doing an impression of Saddam Hussein circa 1988, cautioning him against crossing what she called a “red line.” Assad should be careful. After the “red line” comes the yellow line. Beyond that lies the dreaded fuchsia line… I think. Actually, Clinton’s warning on behalf of President Barack Obama is no laughing matter. If I were Assad, I’d be quaking in my keffiyeh.

Obama’s once-lauded stance against war has, ahem, evolved. And the installation of the Islamofascist Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and absolute chaos in Libya prove that Obama’s evolutionary progression is taking him farther from the Nobel Peace Prize he didn’t earn. He seems to have developed an enjoyment of war without any sense of responsibility for the outcome. Hell, he and his cronies are behind the deaths of no fewer than five Americans, including a U.S. Ambassador. And rather than admit that he and his accomplices hit the guardrail, he led an effort to leave the scene of the accident.

Should Syria — one of the world’s top supporters of terrorism — engage in chemical weapons attacks on its own people, the eyes of the world will turn toward the United States. Like Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush before him, Obama has made it clear he won’t tolerate such tactics — hence Clinton’s “red line” remark.  But what form would the U.S. response take? As Libya taught everyone outside Obama’s coterie of cretins, aerial strikes and material support serve only to destabilize an already wobbly situation. Giving guns and ammo to the slightly less bad guys is the diplomatic version of kicking out a table leg. In a worst-case scenario (as Obama should have learned from Benghazi), covering up the murders of Americans at the hands of Islamofascists armed by America is a real hassle.

Eliminating half-assed regime change efforts — and we should — seemingly leaves only two options: do nothing or roll heavy into Damascus like we’re Notre Dame and they’re the Crimson Tide’s cheerleaders. However, dropping the proverbial house on Assad and his goons requires justification. We can’t really say it’s about human rights (ask George W. Bush how well that blarney flies). We can’t even really say it’s about securing oil; Syria is hardly a spigot — and the country’s intramural squabble has severely dented what little petroleum it does manage to squeeze from the bedrock. Heck, if we wanted oil that badly, we could invade Mexico.  Considering the success of the Democrats’ votes-for-amnesty-for-votes plan, invading our Southern neighbor would take considerably less effort; most of their population is seemingly on our side of the border already.

What about a third option? Perhaps we could give our boys and girls in uniform a break.  Instead of committing them to fighting in their third hellhole inside a decade, we could task them with securing a reasonable defensive perimeter around Syria (we could use some of those troops we’re pretending we don’t still have in Iraq). Then we can sit back and let the Islamofascists kill the other Islamofascists. That’s a win-win for the whole world.

Syria is a dump. Its leaders have wrecked their own economy, and the place is a mess. Think: Detroit with sand. Sure, there’s some cool old stuff; Jordan, Israel and Egypt have cooler old stuff. With a resurgent Russia, a still-sinister China and a host of other issues facing us here and abroad, let’s allow Syria to shake itself out… or apart.

–Ben Crystal

An American Hero

On Thursday, I shared with you the story of Devin McLean and the decision by his former employer, AutoZone, to terminate him due to his violation of its policy forbidding firearms on company property. I shared with you the tale of McLean racing to his car to retrieve a gun and then racing back into his store in order to confront a miscreant known colloquially as the “fake beard bandit.” And I related the tale of McLean’s heroic actions, preventing not only a robbery by a known offender, but the possible murder of his store manager.

That McLean, an Air Force veteran and father-to-be, is a hero is hardly a debatable point. However, McLean himself called the offices of Personal Liberty Digest Thursday afternoon to correct some details that have raced across the Internet. McLean asked — and we happily agreed — to inform you all that he is 22, not 23. He did serve in the Air Force, but he was not deployed to Afghanistan. And while the assailant did threaten his store manager, there were no customers in the Yorktown, Va., AutoZone at the time of the attempted robbery. McLean also expressed concern that I described him as “sending the would-be assailant scrambling for cover.” He felt that verbiage indicated that he opened fire, which he did not do.

I am happy to pass along McLean’s concerns and correct details as he requested. But I’d be remiss were I not to draw attention to the fact that McLean worried that he was being depicted as more heroic than he felt was warranted.

Mr. McLean, if there were any doubt about the sort of man you are before, there certainly isn’t now. You’re a 22-year-old Air Force veteran, proud papa-to-be, former AutoZone employee. You’re sharp and humble beyond your years. You, sir, are a hero.

Get Out Of The Zone

Devin McLean is 22 years old. A veteran of the Air Force, McLean served his country and countrymen with pride and honor. After departing the Air Force, McLean went to work at AutoZone. Were you to drop by the Yorktown, Va., AutoZone location where McLean was employed, you likely wouldn’t have noticed him except to ask for directions to the spark plugs. Like hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of his fellow veterans, McLean had almost seamlessly reintegrated into civilian life. Indeed, his concern for his fellow servicemen and servicewomen had been replaced by concern for family; McLean is due to be a first-time father soon.

Last month, as McLean and his manager faced an armed robbery attempt by a man believed to have carried out nearly three dozen similar crimes throughout the region, McLean put his training to good use. He ran to his truck, retrieved his firearm and pointed it at the would-be robber, who then fled the scene. Given the criminal’s alleged history, McLean likely saved a number of lives.

But AutoZone isn’t promoting McLean. It isn’t throwing a party in his honor. He will receive no certificate of appreciation for his valiant efforts. Indeed, instead of accolades for bravery, he received a pink slip for violating corporate policy.

As it turns out, AutoZone has a strict corporate policy forbidding firearms on company property. When McLean moved to defend himself, his coworkers and his customers, he violated that policy. When AutoZone management learned of his heroism, they terminated him. And Devin McLean the hero became Devin McLean the unemployed hero.

The sorry saga of Devin McLean spread across the Web like gonorrhea rocketed through Zuccotti Park during the height of the so-called “Occupy” movement. While most interested parties shared their outrage over AutoZone’s silly stringency, some pointed out that the AutoZone policy was likely motivated by fear of collateral damage arising from an exchange of gunfire in one of the shops. I expect random shootouts are as common at AutoZone as they are at most auto parts supercenters — meaning a no-gun policy is more a result of a corporate fear of lawyers than a corporate fear of warfare breaking out in the brake pad aisle.

If an employee squeezes off a couple of rounds in the parking lot to show off for the transmission guy, then showing him the street is not only reasonable, but required. If an employee saves the transmission guy with a gun he would otherwise have left in his glove box, then firing him is not only silly, but sad. Sure, he violated policy; but had he not done so, the Yorktown store manager might have changed his last fuel filter. Corporate policy is one thing; human life is another. In favoring the former at the potential expense of the latter, AutoZone isn’t acting beyond the realm of corporate reason. After all, it has the right to maintain any policies it wishes, within the bounds of the law. Leave it to the hero himself to offer his former bosses some perspective: “If I can save somebody’s life, I put that way above a store policy.”

AutoZone ought to consider that while it is quite free to enforce a no-gun policy beyond the borders of rigidity, I am likewise free to buy everything from wiper blades to tail lamp bulbs at NAPA.

–Ben Crystal

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Update: This article was corrected to reflect Devin McLean’s correct age and to remove language that indicated he served in Afghanistan (he did not) and that there were employees or customers in the store (there were not), as well as to properly describe the events as McLean said they occurred.