Tuesday, April 09, 2013

2013 NCAA Champions!

Congratulations to the UL Cardinals Men's basketball team.  They won a great game on Monday night, 8 Apr 13, against a very tough and young Michigan team.  The accumulated a 35-5 record, including a 16-game winning streak to finish on top.

This is UL's third NCAA Championship.  Years of championships are 1980, 1986, and 2013.

Here's the season recap, borrowed from our friends at ESPN.COM

Friday, March 15, 2013

More on Gun Rights

I recently wrote to my new freshman congressman, Mr. Scott Peters. I wrote on the issue of gun rights and I was pleased to receive the following reply from him.

Dear Mr. Hughes, 

Thank you for writing to me with your views on the gun violence debate. I appreciate hearing from you.

In the wake of the horrific tragedy in Newtown—and Aurora, Tucson, and Columbine before that—we must do what is in our power to prevent not only these massacres, but the horrific acts of violence that plague families on our streets every day. These events demand that we engage in a rational and nonpartisan discussion that leads to lower rates of gun violence. 

California already has some of the nation's strongest gun laws. We can improve our national laws to promote greater security for families around the country. We should implement an effective system of background checks that gives law enforcement the tools they need to ensure that guns are available only to responsible, law-abiding citizens. We should prioritize improvements to our mental health system. And we should ensure that gun traffickers are punished to the fullest extent of the law. 

We can do this while at the same time respecting Second Amendment rights. Through reasoned discussion and debate, Congress should take steps to improve the safety of our children and families. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to achieve the common goal of a safer America. 

Thank you again for writing to me. In San Diego, we know what kind of results we can achieve when we move past party politics and work together. That is the approach I am bringing to Washington. To stay updated on the gun debate and other matters I am working on, please visit scottpeters.house.gov to sign up for my e-Newsletter, like us on Facebook, or follow me on twitter @RepScottPeters. 

Scott Peters 
Member of Congress

I responded to his Email with the following:

Dear Congressman Peters, 

Thank you for your reply to my prior message regarding gun rights. Respectfully, I disagree with many of the positions in your reply. First, you site as justification for action on gun control the "horrific tragedy in Newtown". While everyone is saddened by the deaths of children under any circumstance, it does not justify any efforts by the Federal government to restrict our rights under the Second Amendment. Your argument is strictly emotional, and it is sad that you would react emotionally here rather than reflecting on your duties to the citizens of your district and work to defend our rights. Remember that these are inalienable rights that come to the people from God, and are not the government's to restrict or take away. I hope you were as pleased as I to hear Sen. Feinstein questioned about the "slippery slope" of rights restrictions by her Senate colleague. And she agreed that restricting the First Amendment's right of free speech was illegal, while standing by her conflicting position that restricting rights under the Second Amendment was OK. 

You state that "California already has some of the nation's strongest gun laws." You need look no further than Connecticut, which also has strong anti-gun laws and registration requirements to see that it is a fallacy to conclude that strong control laws makes us more secure. Certainly the death rate in Chicago, and the crime rate in Washington D.C. also demonstrate this sad fact. Regardless, my rights to own guns are not the federal government's to control. 

You state that we need more controls "to ensure that guns are available only to responsible, law-abiding citizens". Need I remind you that in 1935 Mr. Hitler implemented gun control in his country, and that was the for-bearer to the deaths of over 30 million people worldwide. Six million of those were murders of unarmed citizens of countries under Hitler's control in his murder factories. History shows over and over again that gun registration leads to gun confiscation and to tyranny. James Madison wrote in Federalist Paper No. 46 that the reason the US citizens are armed is to defend our rights, ourselves and our States from a tyrannical federal government. It is not to hunt deer. We are guaranteed the right to own guns in the 2nd Amendment, without infringement. 

You state that we "ensure that gun traffickers are punished to the fullest extent of the law". I respectfully suggest that the Congress spend its time getting to the bottom of the "Fast and Furious" scandal as a start, and to the international arms running that was reported to have been taking place in Libya (leading to the deaths of our Ambassador). Please remember that you are my representative. You have sworn to uphold the Constitution (as have I). Please act to preserve the rights given to all men by God, and prevent the government from acting to restrict them. 

Very truly yours, 
Henry Arch Hughes, Jr.

I hope the Congressman changes his minds and votes to leave our gun rights alone.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Newtown, Aurora, Webster, Taft; Gun Control

I am a strong supporter of civilian gun ownership, without restrictions.  My support is based on the US Constitution and the 2nd Amendment: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Just as I would hate to see the First Amendment over-ridden by the President, a State, or local laws. Both are fundamental to the rights expected by citizens of the United States

There has been a lot of slanted reporting in the press lately about shootings, to say nothing of hyperbole from our elected officials. Here's a linked list of some of the more recent well publicized shooting incidents: The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, CT, the theater shooting in Aurora, CO, the Clackamas Town Center Mall shooting near Portland, OR, the Taft High School shooting near Fresno, CA, the Webster, NY First Responders shooting, and the St. Louis Stevens Institute of Business and Arts shooting.

Certainly all of these make for compelling reading. And together along with other news stories, comprise something that makes you wonder what's going on? What's caused the rash of shootings? Essentially, I have to conclude, no one knows. No one can get into the heads of the shooters. Some of them are labeled as unstable. Some of them are legal gun owners and some of them are not.

The myth of "assault weapons".  There's a great attraction on the part of politicians and the press to label any semi-automatic weapon as an "assault weapon".  To my knowledge, non of the weapons used in the shootings listed above are really assault weapons.  An assault weapon is one that a military will use to arm its troops.  It includes fully automatic and burst mode weapons that are illegal for individual citizens to own in the US since at least 1986.  But just because a semi-automatic rifle has a flash suppressor, a folding stock, a bayonet attach point, or a scope rail, or is made to look like an AK-47 or an M-16 variant does not make it an "assault weapon".  It's not the physical shape, color, or weight that makes a handgun or rifle deadly.

The myth of "large magazines". The press and the politicians are also greatly concerned about "large capacity magazines" and the "thousands of rounds of ammunition" purchased by the Aurora theater shooter. Anyone with a limited amount of training can remove a small magazine and replace it with a full magazine on a handgun or rifle in under 2 seconds. Remember that President Kennedy was killed with a single-shot, bolt action Carcano rifle fired by Oswald with the use of a 4-power scope. It's not the magazine size that makes a weapon deadly.

You don't need a large clip or a cool looking weapon to kill a lot of people. What you need is a mental defect and the will and skill to kill people. There are many incidents of mass killings without the use of rifles and handguns. For example, Oklahoma City, 9-11, the Unibomber, the 2001 Anthrax attacksAuschwitz, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, and numerous others.

Sen Gloria Feinstein, one of California's proud products, help create an earlier so-called Assault Weapons Ban, has promised to introduce a bill restricting assault weapons on the first day of the current session of Congress. (It appears she failed to keep that promise.) Her site reports that "A Justice Department study found the Assault Weapons Ban was responsible for a 6.7 percent decline in total gun murders. However, since the 2004 expiration of the bill, assault weapons have been used in at least 459 incidents, resulting in 385 deaths and 455 injuries." I'm sure you can see that her note plays with the numbers to support her case instead of presenting a truthful version of the facts. (She cites a percentage decline without providing the two points being compared, and then makes a false correlation between that claimed decline and some raw numbers post 2004.)

Chicago has a complete ban on handguns, but there were more deaths in Chicago from handguns in 2012 than coalition forces in the Afghanistan war in that same year.

Isn't it obvious that gun bans simply don't work?

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) found the banning of citizen owned weapons to be illegal. And yet the State of New York passed a new ban that flies in the face of the SCOTUS decision, and Washington DC continues to "push back" on the Court's finding. I have to conclude that "the rule of law" is only respected when it is convenient to these highly Democratic-party governments. Hopefully the ALCU will recognize the infringement of rights the common man is facing due to these laws and file cases to overturn these over-reaching laws. The ACLU's mission, after all, is "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States. In this the ACLU and the NRA (of which I am a member) should be coordinating their court actions.

FactCheck.ORG has an interesting article on gun crimes, ownership, and deaths. I expected it to be one-sided and am surprised that it seems fairly level. It notes that despite increased gun ownership, gun deaths are down, gun suicides are up, non-fatal wounds are up. They say lots of things, and here's one quote I like: "The United States has the highest rate of gun ownership in the world, by far. And it has the highest rate of homicides among advanced countries. And yet, gun crime has been declining in the U.S. Firearm murders are down, as is overall gun violence, even as gun ownership increases. Read our Analysis for more insight on what these statistics mean.". Please read the linked article to get the context. I'm not trying to misquote them here.

Movies and Video Games: Is there any actual correlation between these high-revenue industries and gun violence? Do Dirty Harry and Grand Theft Auto cause gun violence, insanity, or other types of violence? I don't know. It makes an interesting discussion point. But certainly I have enjoyed many violent movies and my son played Halo for years. Both of us have access to guns. Neither of us have used them in a criminal manner.

I hope the madness and grandstanding end soon before we all lose our rights of free speech, assembly, a free press, and our ability to stage a peaceful demonstration to petition the government. These rights come to us from God. They were not given to us by the Government to be taken back. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness (US Declaration of Independence).

Update: Here's the URL of an interesting YouTube clip which claims that at least several of the recent killers are registered Democrats.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acu1aB86dBM.  All I can see is that if it's true, you have to wonder, eh?

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

2013 Sugar Bowl

I couldn't have been more surprised to see Louisville not only win the 2013 Sugar Bowl, but to win it convincingly.  I had expected a big Florida win.  Time for me to eat crow.  Excellent game by Louisville from the first play to the last.  The UL defense was better than I saw it all year.  And the UL offense was effective against the highly regarded Florida defense.

The UL 11-2 season (from ESPN):