All entries by Geoffrey Botkin

What’s At Stake With Red Flag Laws?

Do we appreciate our American Bill of Rights? It’s a unique document, ratified in 1791 as the first amendments to the U.S. Constitution. It was written because of an ongoing argument about the character of man. 

The Federalists believed American politicians were respectable and reliable leaders – and always would be. They believed our government would never mess with rights given by God. They were convinced a Bill of Rights was an unnecessary addition to our Constitution. But the wiser Antifederalists knew political corruption was a reality.  So they insisted on a Bill of Rights, to protect all future Americans from government overreach. Thomas Jefferson explained it like this: “In questions of power then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the constitution.”

Thanks to the Bill of Rights, it is impossible for American politicians to deprive Americans of their right to own personal weapons – unless those politicians willfully break the law. In a vain attempt to end gun violence, the panic-stricken American media demands that Congress defy the Constitution and disarm free Americans. So will American politicians become unthinking slaves of shifting public emotion? Or will they stand firm on their oaths of office and defend the Constitution?  

Today’s Fearful Majority

Judge Andrew Napolitano has written nine books on the US Constitution. He realizes that if US legislators cave to pressure and pass Red Flag gun confiscation laws, “No liberty — speech, press, religion, association, self-defense, privacy, travel, property ownership — would be safe from the reach of a fearful majority.”  

He also explains why the Supreme Court ruled twice that citizens can own the same weapons the government has: “Because the Second Amendment was not written to protect the right to shoot deer. It was written to protect the right to shoot at tyrants and their agents when they have stolen liberty or property from the people.” 

This truth should be enough to stop every gun confiscation law. But it’s not. In the wake of violent acts, the media screams, “Do something!” and the voters amplify the screaming. Thanks to a perfect storm of voter fear, misinformation, and media pressure, the politicians begin to tremble.  

Hoisting the Red Flag of Pragmatism

Over the din of chaos, the Left offers a brilliant pragmatic solution to reassure nervous gun owners: America just needs to disarm mentally unstable gun owners before they harm themselves or others.  

This sounds so practical. It sounds like good governance and public safety. Fearful politicians think it sounds like a judicious solution. But it is not judicious. It is illegal. As Constitutional Law professor Kris Kobach points out, Red Flag laws commonly violate the law in four ways:  

1. The law would allow confiscation based on the testimony of one unrelated person. 

Frivolous accusations can be made against any gun owner for reasons of spite or political bitterness. An angry ex-boyfriend or college roommate could have an innocent citizen disarmed on fraudulent charges.  

2. The law would enable the seizure of guns without any hearing at all. 

This is a clear denial of due process. The Fourth Amendment makes clear that a person’s liberty and property (including his liberty to own and use firearms) are secured by due process.  

3. The law would permit a very low standard of proof. 

Even at the formal hearing, the standard of proving the gun owner’s deficiencies is far below the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard used in criminal trials.  This is not due process of law.  

4. The law would shift the burden of proof to the gun owner. 

Once in place, the confiscation order becomes difficult to remove. To get his weapons back, the gun owner must prove he does not pose a threat to himself or others. Proving a negative is nearly impossible. A third violation of due process.  Legislators considering a Red Flag law should also consider these points: 

  • Every 13 seconds, Americans use firearms successfully to stop crimes against themselves or others.  
  • The vast majority of mass shootings occur in gun-free[4] zones.[5]
  • Data from 1970 through 2017 shows that Red Flag laws have no significant effect on murder, suicide, mass-public-shooting fatalities, robbery, aggravated assault, or burglary. These laws do not save lives.[6]  

Our Founders deliberately armed every man age 18-45 in The US Congressional Militia Act of 1792.  They would never have supported Red Flag laws… laws requiring Americans to inform on one another in order to strip basic rights from their neighbors.  

The Founders knew that Constitutional rights are God-given rights. The Constitution only established them — it didn’t create them. As such, they cannot be touched by legislators. They cannot be infringed.  

The Solution

So what can you do? Engage the threat. Contact your legislators and tell them not to be bullied by the hysteria, virtue signaling, or polls. Tell them to vote against all Red Flag laws. Remind your local judges that they can’t issue a gun confiscation warrant on the basis of a Red Flag law; remind the sheriff or chief of police that he cannot order officers to confiscate an innocent citizen’s guns; and remind sheriff’s deputies or city policemen not to obey orders to confiscate fellow citizens’ guns on the basis of a Red Flag law.  

They swore an oath to defend the Constitution. Tell them to keep their word.

[1]  660 individual murders in Chicago in 2017. That’s nearly twice the number from mass shootings in the whole country and six or seven times the number murdered by random psychos mass-shooters. 

[2]  There are more privately owned guns in the United States than ever before and the number of murders has been declining for decades and has been at or near a multigenerational low for several years. About 100 deaths were the result of the random, psycho-killer shootings that dominated news coverage for days and weeks at a time. Mercifully, those are quite rare.

[3]  https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3316573

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What Is Sacred Honor?

The names of the Signers on the Declaration of Independence

Look closely at the last sentence of the Declaration of Independence.  “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

Without honor between men, no civilization can hold together. George III provoked this war by treacherously violating his own word of honor, making it a worthless thing. By signing this Declaration, America’s Founders were renewing the proper definition of honor, and modeling it with their lives. They pledged their word of honor to fight together for independence in a way every other signer could rely on. Furthermore, they understood oath-breaking, dishonesty, breach of contract, and lying to be sins against the God Who defines honor, and Who defines the terms of all human government. British politicians had been replacing these definitions with cheap human imitations of honor with fake political grandeur and rule by tyranny. George III placed “his will alone” above all law and order in the American colonies. The Founders wanted to restore God’s sovereign authority to the affairs of life and government so they could live in true freedom. After the Founders finished signing their names, Sam Adams stood and solemnly summarized what they had just done. “We have this day,” he said, “restored the Sovereign to Whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun; let His kingdom come.”

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When Peace Gives Way to War

“The Second World War took place not so much because no one won the First, but because the Versailles Treaty did not acknowledge this truth.” Paul Johnson, British Historian

One hundred years ago today in Versailles, France, a weary group of some sixty diplomats signed a 240-page “Treaty of Peace” which formally ended World War I.  The terms were so complex, and composed in so much anger, that virtually no signer was happy with the final document.  Nor were their represented nations.  Military hostilities may have ended that day, but resentments began to simmer, and would approach a boiling point not too many years in the future.  As Pat Buchanan summed it up, the treaty “had created not only an unjust but an unsustainable peace.”  One political cartoonist of 1919 made the eerie prediction that infants born at the time would be cannon fodder for a new war in 1940, thanks to the disastrous terms of the treaty signed in 1919.  He was right.  World War II erupted right on schedule and mowed down some 25 million young soldiers, and another 80 million civilians.  That war involved all those nations which signed the treaty and led to the slaughter of the Jews and tens of millions of Christians, the devastation of Europe, Stalinization of half the continent, the fall of China to Maoist madness, and half a century of Cold War.

What can be learned from the errors of Versailles?

1.       Pride and childish bickering can lead to serious, long-term, kinetic war.  The same vices can lead to useless peace treaties which make no peace.  Then the same vices create new wars.

2.       The details of treaties which bind nations to policy positions are always religious.  Justice is a religious concept, and the rules of jurisprudence are always based on someone’s morality.  The general thrust of the treaty was “War is bad and we must punish those Germans for starting the war we willingly joined to fight.”  One war-guilt clause forced the Germans to pay out some $400 billion in reparations, which took them more than 90 years to complete.  This debt did not prevent them from embarking on a new war in the 1930s.

3.       The religious content of all treaties can shape the religious identity of nations.  Versailles was a game-changing document.  The great historian Paul Johnson said “at Versailles, the 20th century was set on its course. And its course was set on the basis of 3 great overriding principles that threw out all of the traditions of Christendom, perhaps forever.”

Johnson identifies those principles as bureaucracypluralism, and faith in contemporaneity.  What this means is that the peace delegations were not looking for moral solutions from the foundations of Christianity.  They were looking for modern solutions to problems of anger, conflict, and disagreement.  They were looking for modern schemes to manage the childish bickering going on between proud nations.  The architects of the treaty believed that new-fangled ideas of scientific social engineering, managed by secular governments, would solve all modern problems.  These 3 principles were ideas which had consequences.   The incredible repression and violence seen throughout the 20th century’s secular regimes brought in fresh opportunities for unending global war.  

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Ambushed by Reality

Urban millennials Jay Austin and Lauren Geoghegan, both in their late 20s, came to the popular opinion that they were wasting their lives working. Austin wrote on his blog about his intention to quit his job and “to charge headlong into indulgence…”

Persuading his girlfriend to go cycling with him in exotic overseas locations would be one indulgence; another was clinging to the politically correct notion that evil does not exist in the hearts of men. These two indulgences do not make a wise combination in the real world.  Especially in a 96.7% Islamic nation[1] like Tajikistan, where the couple came face-to-face with the opinions of Muhammad, who commanded all Muslims of all times and places to “Seize [the disbelievers] and kill them wherever you overtake them.” (Quran 4:89 – 91)

As Jay and Lauren were cycling on a dirt Tajik highway with some other Western cyclists, they were overtaken by a van of devout Muslims.  The Muslims knew their religious duty, and so the van passed the American cyclists, turned around, and smashed at high speed into the group, knocking Jay and Lauren into the ditch. The devout worshippers then descended on Jay and Lauren with knives. The State Department won’t release details of what happened next, but here’s what we know:

Jay, Lauren and two other cyclists are dead from lethal knife wounds, ISIS took credit for another Islamic victory over the disbelievers, and the murderers celebrated publicly on the world wide web.

21st century reality can be observed, evaluated and measured in a number of ways.  Let’s do some simple math.  Since the day Jay and Lauren were old enough to read simple statistics, there have been over 33,692 successful (meaning lethal) attacks by theologically-motivated Muslims against those they determined needed to be humiliated and punished with death.[2]  Jay and Lauren have been added to that numerical account of reality.  As we and others look at these brutal facts, how do we interpret the ideological force behind these murders?  How do we view this recent incident in Tajikistan?  Was it evil, or was it just some multicultural guys charging into the indulgence of a customary local sport?

What if evil is not a make-believe concept but a force of informed, deliberate destruction and slaughter?  The Muslims in the van clearly understood the commands of the Quran, and the commands of the Caliph.  In a 2014 internet message, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the chief spokesman for the Islamic State, reminded Muslims worldwide, “If you are not able to find an IED or a bullet, then single out the disbelieving American, Frenchman, or any of their allies. Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him.”[3]

Writes John Hayward, “A pro-Islamic State media operation called the Nashir News Agency published a poster…depicting an SUV driving across a mountain of skulls beneath the caption, ‘“Run Over Them Without Mercy.”’

“This is not the first exhortation to vehicular jihad published by the Nashir News Agency.  A few weeks ago, they published a message in both English and Arabic that said, ‘“Kill the civilians of the Crusaders, run over them by vehicles, gain benefit from Ramadan.”’

“This earlier poster was a much less polished bit of propaganda, accompanied only by clip art of a handgun, knife, and truck. The pictures were helpfully labeled “Handgun,” “Knife,” and “Truck” for the benefit of less subtle jihadi minds.”[4]

If less subtle jihadi minds can understand evil instructions and practice them, why can’t average American millennials see the reality of this false theology and call it evil?

On his blog, Jay Austin invoked political correctness to justify his own superstitious theology of living, traveling and indulging himself. “Evil,” Austin wrote, “is a make-believe concept we’ve invented to deal with the complexities of fellow humans holding values and beliefs and perspectives different than our own—it’s easier to dismiss an opinion as abhorrent than strive to understand it.”

But what if an opinion is abhorrent, and we understand it perfectly?  Should we not abhor it as destructive evil?  We could dismiss 33,692 crimes as accidents,[5] and live in blissful denial of reality…or we could tell the truth about evil and resist it with equal or greater force.  This is the present conflict millennials need to settle in their minds, or destructive evil will ambush them continually until they face the cold, hard truth.  Evil is not a make-believe concept.  Millennials need to stop supporting the agenda of the left which opposes the fighting of evil and works to disarm those who might understand evil and resist it.  Evil does exist.  The sooner millennials understand this, the sooner they can join the fight against real evil.  The sooner they understand that the childish denial of truth contributes to evil, sorrow, suffering and pain, the quicker evil can be overcome with good.

Dr. Jordan Peterson got to the heart of the matter when he told a bunch of college kids, “Maybe it’s not the world that’s at fault,” he said.  “Maybe it’s you. You’ve failed to make the mark. You’ve missed the target. You’ve fallen short of the glory of God. You’ve sinned. And all of that is your contribution to the insufficiency and evil of the world.”

Is it possible for left-leaning millennials to come to their senses?  Of course.  Thousands are, all across the West.  In the 20th century, the American leftist James Burnham rejected political correctness, and learned to describe evil for what it was.  Way back in the 1960s he could see where fantasy and wishful thinking about ethics were headed.

“Modern liberalism,” he wrote in Suicide of the West, “does not offer ordinary men compelling motives for personal suffering, sacrifice, and death. There is no tragic dimension in its picture of the good life. Men become willing to endure, sacrifice, and die for God, for family, king, honor, country, from a sense of absolute duty or an exalted vision of the meaning of history…. And it is precisely these ideas and institutions that liberalism has criticized, attacked, and in part overthrown as superstitious, archaic, reactionary, and irrational.”

It’s time for the West to call political correctness “superstitious, archaic, reactionary, and irrational,” and aggressively replace this false faith with truth.  Or we will continually be ambushed by a determined, confident, muscular and relentless evil.


[1] http://www.globalreligiousfutures.org/countries/tajikistan

[2] thereligionofpeace.com has been tracking Islamic violence since the 9-11 event and records, by nation, fatalities and, separately, injuries, which are roughly equal to the fatalities.

[3] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/03/22/as-the-london-attacks-show-the-sedate-sedan-can-be-turned-into-a-deadly-unpredictable-weapon/

[4] https://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2017/06/23/islamic-state-video-shows-car-crushing-skulls-run-without-mercy/

[5] The media in the UK is describing the latest vehicular jihad as “definitely an accident.” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6060821/Sudanese-immigrant-terror-attacker-drove-London-hours-smashing-car-cyclists.html

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