Threats to Civil Liberties arising from the fallout of the Virginia Tech Forcible-disarmament Frenzy

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Threats to Civil Liberties arising from the fallout of the Virginia Tech Forcible-disarmament Frenzy

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May 1, 2007 4:51 pm

<b><i>An article from a new contributor:
Loren Bliss</i></b>

<b>THERE ARE TWO EXCEPTIONALLY</b> grave dangers to American liberty arising from the present, post-Virginia-Tech forcible-disarmament frenzy. These are:

(1)-The criminalization of even the mildest forms of mental illness, as proposed by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), in HR 297.

(2)-The criminalization of political protest and dissent, as proposed by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, (D-NJ), in S 1237.

Each of these measures is enthusiastically supported by the Bush Regime. The Lautenberg bill was written at White House/Justice Department request — a leading Democratic senator serving as the mouthpiece for a despised Republican administration — an unprecedented act of collaboration with the most corrupt regime in U.S. history. Once again, opposition to the Second Amendment is being used as a diversion behind which to conceal an all-out, bipartisan attack on the entire Bill of Rights- including, via S 1237, repeal of the presumption of innocence that is the cornerstone of all English-language jurisprudence.

Meanwhile, welcome to the New American Reich, where (if McCarthy, Lautenberg and Bush have their way), anybody deemed a mental case, an effective labor activist or a disruptive political nonconformist will soon be forcibly disarmed, denied all rational means of self defense and thereby condemned to perpetual victimhood.

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Modern efforts to criminalize mental dysfunction have a long history dating back to Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany and are typically part of a broader right-wing agenda of oppression and euthanasia. But in the United States, the primary advocates of criminalization are the forcible disarmament cult and the Communitarian movement, members of which universally (and often vehemently) claim to be leftists and/or "progressives."

The Communitarians have argued for at least two decades that diagnosis of mental illness should instantly terminate not only all one&#39;s civil rights but also strip one of all privileges as well, driver&#39;s licenses included, after which the victim of such determination could then theoretically earn back the abolished rights and privileges in carefully supervised increments. Toward this end the Communitarians — who despite their leftist disguise and innocuous-sounding name are radical Skinnerian fascists of the harshest sort — are demanding creation of a national registry of mental patients. Deliberately established and maintained as a powerfully oppressive tool of social control, this roster of official pariahdom would include the names of anyone now or ever in any form of mental health treatment, regardless of the relative mildness or severity of the condition for which they are being treated. (Google "communitarians" and scroll at will for additional information.)

<i>Despite its huge contempt for the Constitution, the Communitarian faction is but one small portion of the forcible disarmament cult, but it is probably disproportionately powerful. Its intellectual prowess is considerable, and it often assumes a behind-the-scenes leadership role, focusing on the development of strategy, tactics and ideology. Another venue of profound Communitarian influence is the Hillary Clinton wing of the Democratic Party. It was the Communitarians who provided the Clintons and their cronies with the ideological justification for the Democratic Party&#39;s abandonment of New Deal principles and its subsequent wholesale betrayal of the working class. The Communitarians&#39; grasp of Orwellian principles is also very evident in the present-day effort to redefine forcible disarmament as "gun safety" and the present tactic of concealing disarmament schemes behind apparently friendly but patently false gestures toward firearms owners.</i>

All this dovetails neatly with the broader forcible-disarmament-cult agenda of reducing legal firearms ownership by any means possible. Since it is credibly estimated as many as 50 percent of all U.S. citizens will at some time require some form of mental health treatment ("treatment" defined in the broadest sense, to include grief counseling, post-divorce therapy and even self-esteem classes or remedial reading for dyslexics), a favorite ploy of forcible disarmament fanatics is to demand closure of "the mental health loophole" in such a way that participation in any treatment process is penalized by automatic forcible disarmament: either turn in your guns before you see the professional caregiver, or the police will soon be there to kick in your front door, shoot your dogs, wreck the interior of your house by violent search and terrorize your spouse and children into lifelong bouts of shivering catatonia.

Typically — and the forcible disarmament advocates make no secret of the fact they are obscenely aroused by the prospect of unleashing such police brutality against firearms owners — this means criminalizing all forms of mental illness or mental dysfunction and thereby forcibly disarming anyone who is or ever has been in any sort of therapy or formalized healing, permanently abolishing their gun rights, no appeal allowed. This is already the law in New York City — if you consult a mental health professional even once in NYC (no matter the nature of your problem), your name is reported to the police and you lose your gun rights forever. Indeed, the Democrats attempted to impose a similar restriction on Washington state residents in 1994, but it was vigorously resisted there by a coalition of mental health professionals, who recognize in such criminalization a huge disincentive to voluntary treatment.

Which brings us to the present "mental health loophole" bill pending in Congress. As originally written, it was called the "Our Lady of Peace Act" (Google for details), and it would have permanently denied firearms ownership to anyone "adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution," which is further defined as occurring whenever "a court, board, commission, or other lawful authority determines that an individual is mentally retarded or of marked subnormal intelligence, mentally ill, or mentally incompetent" (HR 4757, 2002, Sec. 103 and 103:c). By including the phrase "other lawful authority," the measure would have empowered any psychiatrist, psychologist or even guidance counselor to deny someone their gun rights forever, merely by declaring that person "mentally ill" — a designation that covers everything from definitively murderous Andrea Yates/Cho Seung Hui psychosis to the mildest cases of neurotic nail-biting and low-self-esteem fidgets.

<i>The generic designation "mentally ill" would also have allowed the forcible disarmament of anyone ever found to be "mentally disabled" — never mind that "mental disability" is a very specifically focused evaluation of one&#39;s employability or lack thereof, typically for purposes of granting welfare stipends or Social Security disability payments. Thus a finding of "mental disability" has absolutely nothing to do with one&#39;s suitability to own firearms, vote or exercise any other Constitutional right.

But the Our Lady of Peace Act, which McCarthy has introduced in every Congress since 2002, would nevertheless require the Social Security Administration and every state welfare agency to add to the federal government&#39;s computerized catalogue of criminals the name and dossier of every individual who had ever been found to be even temporarily "mentally disabled" — resulting in a permanent loss of Second Amendment rights against which there would be no possibility of defense or appeal.

Thus criminalizing "mental disability" (or any other mental disorder in even the mildest forms) would clearly further the forcible disarmament cult&#39;s long range objective of making the requirements for legal firearms ownership increasingly prohibitive — ultimately reducing the number of legal firearms owners by the aforementioned 50 percent. The cult&#39;s triumph would be all the greater for the fact the imposition of "prohibited person" status would allow disarmament by outright seizure, thereby exempting government from any compensatory (buy-back) costs.</i>

Under extreme pressure from mental health professionals, McCarthy has slightly modified her present proposal, HR 297, so that those denied their Second Amendment rights on the basis of mental health considerations would be specifically limited to persons who have been "adjudicated as mentally defective or...committed to mental institutions." Alas, the term "mental defective" remains undefined — leaving unanswered whether it includes those who have been found to be "mentally disabled." It also leaves a number of other questions as to its scope, such as whether a child diagnosed as suffering from attention deficit disorder is to be branded "mentally defective" and therefore — after reaching adulthood — denied firearms ownership for life.

Apparently — though this is not clear either — McCarthy has meanwhile broadened the term "committed" to make it as prohibitive as possible: that is, to permanently deny gun rights to anyone formally committed to a mental institution of any kind (including out-patient clinics) regardless of whether the commitment was mandatory (court ordered) or voluntary. (Present federal law allows those who undergo voluntary commitment to retain their Second Amendment rights unless other specific prohibitions apply.)

Furthermore, McCarthy — who formerly made no secret of her froth-at-the-mouth hatred of firearms and firearms owners but now (in service to the Democrats&#39; new deception policy) speaks much more softly — recently told ABC News that in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings, she would amend the bill back to its original, criminalize-all-mental-disorder wording except for the fact "the NRA...is holding everybody hostage." Given that the National Rifle Association has supported the Our Lady of Peace Act from the very beginning, HR 297 included, McCarthy&#39;s accusation is not only false but is an especially misleading, hypocritical and even malicious claim: no surprise given the infinite maliciousness that is the forcible disarmament hysteric&#39;s most notorious characteristic.

<i>But on the HR 297 issue, the NRA (to which I have belonged since 1951) is equally treacherous and hypocritical, especially given its demonstrably false claim to be a defender of the entire Bill of Rights. Indeed the NRA&#39;s opposition to the civil rights of mental patients reveals the frustrating extent to which the organization has deteriorated into nothing more than an instrument of the Republican Party. (And the Republican Party — especially since Big Business America&#39;s 1930s alliance with Hitler, Mussolini and Franco — is itself the U.S. equivalent of the fascist parties that formerly dominated Europe.)

Thus the NRA implicitly embraces the right wing position that "mental defectives" should be savagely oppressed if not actually euthanized. Not that the NRA is out of step with American opinion: most U.S. citizens — though they are loathe to admit it — emphatically agree that "mental defectives" deserve the harshest treatment possible. As a consequence, the U.S. has long been infamous for the industrial world&#39;s most superstitiously ignorant fear of mental affliction and its most violent rejection of anyone so afflicted, attitudes that have been credibly traced to the enduring influence of Abrahamic religion and the grave extent to which our society remains a defacto theocracy. (Anyone who doubts this assessment of our national values need look no further than our officially murderous hatred of those who are homeless.)

Meanwhile other Second Amendment advocacy groups remain stonily silent on the patient-rights implications of forcible disarmament,* understandably (given these selfsame U.S. attitudes) terrified they will be accused of supporting "guns for crazies." Never mind that study after study proves mental patients are statistically no more dangerous than any other group of Americans — and far less dangerous than some.</i>

_________

*Gun Owners of America has vehemently opposed the Our Lady of Peace Act and HR 297, and it has done so for the very best of reasons: these measures could "bar mentally stable people from buying guns" merely because they had sought mental health treatment, and it is "morally and constitutionally wrong to require law-abiding citizens to first prove their innocence to the government before they can exercise their rights — whether it&#39;s Second Amendment rights, First Amendment rights, or any other right."

Alas, GOA — which based on its rhetoric seems to be very closely tied to the Christian Theocracy faction of the Republican Party — also opposes such legislation for the very worst of reasons: it echoes the traditional Jewish/Christian/Islamic stance that the husband is god&#39;s representative in the household and, as god&#39;s enforcer, has unlimited god-given right to beat his wife and children. Thus GOA protests that denying guns to family patriarchs convicted of domestic violence is inflicting punishment for "very minor offenses that include pushing, shoving or...merely yelling at a family member" — never mind the bloody testimony of Crystal Brame&#39;s death and far too many other murders just as bad or worse.

*********

The criminalization of labor activism, political agitation and effective dissent is not the stated purpose of Lautenberg&#39;s newly introduced S 1237, which was dropped in the Senate hopper very late Friday 27 April 2007, the introduction obviously timed to minimize public disclosure and avoid press scrutiny. But given that the Republicans now and for a long while have condemned anyone who opposes Führer George Bush and his New American Reich, denouncing each opponent as a "terrorist" or "terrorist sympathizer," the impact of the measure is made obvious by its stated purpose: "to increase public safety by permitting the Attorney General to deny the transfer of firearms or the issuance of firearms and explosives licenses to known or suspected dangerous terrorists." Predictably, Bush himself has already demanded S 1237&#39;s immediate enactment. Just as predictably, Lautenberg — perhaps even more fanatical a forcible disarmament advocate than McCarthy — lauds its unprecedented subversion of the Constitutionally implied principle of presumed innocence as "too long" overdue.

Absolute proof of the calculated political malevolence embodied in the Lautenberg proposal — proof too of how the Democrats have finally abandoned any pretense of being civil libertarians and now (in the name of forcible disarmament) fully and even gleefully embrace the Bush Regime&#39;s agenda of totally nullifying the Bill of Rights — is found in the federal government&#39;s post-9/11 redefinition of the term "terrorism" to include any form of political protest that is genuinely disruptive. Participants in a legitimate strike or a protest that blocks or even slows vehicular traffic could thus be persecuted as "terrorists."

Quoth the American Civil Liberties Union in an analysis disseminated on 6 December 2002: "The definition of domestic terrorism is broad enough to encompass the activities of several prominent activist campaigns and organizations. Greenpeace, Operation Rescue, Vieques Island and World Trade Organization protesters and the Environmental Liberation Front have all recently engaged in activities that could subject them to being investigated as engaging in domestic terrorism."

Meanwhile Reason magazine, the official journal of the Libertarian Party, has repeatedly noted that in the eyes of the Bush Regime, "terrorist" and "enemy combatant" are synonymous

In other words, any member of any labor union that participated in the Seattle WTO protests could be labeled a "terrorist" merely based on the union&#39;s presence there and — under Lautenberg&#39;s S 1237 — he or she could be forcibly disarmed forever. But the reality is far more chilling: given the criteria of disruptiveness, the participants in any effective strike or job action can now be subjugated as "terrorists."

And given the Third Reich cloak of secrecy that now hides all U.S. security matters from judicial scrutiny, such subjugation could never be appealed. Indeed it is conceivable a labor activist (or any other opponent of the status quo) could be disappeared forever into the gulag of Guantanamo merely on the basis of the spurious argument that the (denied) attempt to purchase a firearm is absolute proof of "enemy combatant" intent.

The law that would enable such outrages should more properly be labeled the Lautenberg/Bush/Alberto Gonzales Bill of Rights Nullification Act of 2007 because it would not only subject all future U.S. firearms ownership to the tyrannical whims of the modern-day incarnation of the dread Reich Security Service (RSHA), but it would but it would repeal the presumption of innocence that is the great wellspring of the American legal system.

Thus, with active Democratic party collaboration, at the very least the Bush Regime is laying the groundwork to forcibly disarm every labor activist in the United States — and anyone else it chooses to put on its (secret) enemies list. Thus too another advance for the modern-day variant of fascism — not marching forward on hobnailed jackboots but sneaking past us on politically correct rubber soles.

Note also how McCarthy&#39;s HR 297 undeniably anticipates enactment of S 1237: "The Secretary of Homeland Security shall make available to the Attorney General...records, updated not less than quarterly, which are relevant to a determination of whether a person is disqualified from possessing or receiving a firearm..."(Sec. 101:b.1.A). Now the relationship between the two measures comes into sharp focus: Lautenberg abolishes the presumption of innocence and grants the government the unprecedented power to rule on our political reliability while McCarthy provides the infrastructure to make sure the secret police get every possible scrap of information.

Suddenly I wonder if closing the alleged "mental health loophole" — though no doubt an egregious blow to our freedom — isn&#39;t maybe just another red herring to distract us from the genuinely fatal wound that would be dealt our liberty by Lautenberg&#39;s coup-de-grace against due process.

*********

Predictions past and future: as some of you may remember, before I was booted off Progressive Independent for speaking tactless truth to tacky tyranny, I predicted that the Democrats would take back Congress in 2006, would founder pathetically in their efforts to accomplish any meaningful socioeconomic change, and would then cut a win-win deal with the Bush Regime to impose forcible disarmament and further subvert the Bill of Rights in general, thereby enabling each side to claim accomplishments dearest to its ideologues&#39; alleged hearts.

Though the onslaught is not developing exactly the way I imagined it would, there is no doubt such an offensive is underway. But just as I foresaw the betrayal of our electoral hopes for Medicare reform and the restoration of labor rights, I can no longer doubt this new Democrat/Republican collaboration to abolish the presumption of innocence and grant the Homeland Security apparatus the ultimate power of approval or disapproval over all individual civilian firearms purchases is (A) the beginning of the final assault on the Constitution by representatives of the corporate ruling class and (B) the beginning of a Bush Regime effort to co-opt public reaction to the Virginia Tech massacre and thus rehabilitate its public image by launching its own forcible disarmament campaign — not out of the craven hoplophobia that so agitates the Democrats and alienates so many voters, but in the name of the same self-proclaimed robust patriotism that seduced us into cheering the (failed) conquest of Iraq. I can hear it now: "if y&#39;all love your country, you&#39;ll give us the common-sense power to determine who&#39;s politically reliable enough to have a gun." The last time the politicians said something like that, the language was German.

*********

NOTES:
The text of HR 297 and the unfolding details of S 1237 are available through the excellent and superbly useful Thomas legislative search engine: <a href="http://thomas.loc.gov/">http://thomas.loc.gov/</a>

I am posting this same essay on my blog, Wolfgang von Skeptik, <a href="http://wolfgangvonskeptik.mu.nu/">http://wolfgangvonskeptik.mu.nu/ </a>

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Original Source: <a href="http://www.midwest-populistamerica.com/articles/threats-to-civil-liberties-arising-from-virginia-tech/">http://www.midwest-populistamerica.com/articles/threats-to-civil-liberties-arising-from-virginia-tech/</a>

Licensed under <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/">Creative Commons Attribution 2.5</a>.

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Loren Bliss

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2007-08-09

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Loren Bliss, "Threats to Civil Liberties arising from the fallout of the Virginia Tech Forcible-disarmament Frenzy," in The April 16 Archive, Item #980, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/980 (accessed October 23, 2014).