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Who Was That Fat Lady?

by Edgar J. Steele

"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards." -- Claire Wolfe, "101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution" (1999)

"They have treated me and others like me with utter contempt. They have confiscated our property and put people in maximum-security prisons over ownership of fender washers, claiming they were unassembled silencer parts. ... They have shot a man's wife in the head because his gun's buttstock was too short. ... They burned 90 people alive over a disputed two hundred dollar tax." -- John Ross, "Unintended Consequences" (1996)

"It ain't over until the fat lady sings." -- Old Southern American saying (concerning church service)

"It ain't over 'til it's over." -- Yogi Berra (1973)

It's over. The fat lady has sung. Elvis has left the building. The great American experiment finally fizzled on December 1, 2003, when the US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from a 9th Federal Circuit decision which gutted the Second Amendment. It was a nice run - over two hundred years - but all good things must end...I least, that's what they say.

We all know how saying nothing sometimes can be among the most profound of statements. Ask any husband. Nowhere is silence so profound as when offered by the Supremes. And, never has their silence been so overwhelming as on December 1, 2003. That's when the US Supreme Court issued its ruling, refusing to hear an appeal in the case of Silveira vs. Lockyer. That made Silveira the law of the land, you see.

Here's the background, briefly: California's legislatively-crafted "assault weapon" ban was stronger than the national ban. Both bans essentially outlaw any rifle that looks like it means business, regardless of capability -- I kid you not, cosmetics really is the upshot of these bans. Silveira sued in a losing attempt to overturn the more-stringent California ban. Silveira unsuccessfully appealed up through the legal system to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Next stop: US Supreme Court, which now has "denied cert," which means it allows the ruling below to stand.

Here's the real kicker, though. Silveira doesn't just nationalize the California definition of assault weapon. In Silveira, the 9th Circuit Court made the following pronouncement: there is no individual right to bear arms contained within the Second Amendment to the US Constitution.

That means that no American citizen, since December 1, 2003, has a fundamental right to possess a firearm.

You heard me right. You no longer have a right to own a gun.

Mind you, here is the Second Amendment, in full:

"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."

Not just some people, but the people. You and me, in other words.

And it's a fundamental (God-given) right, therefore the government can't mess around with it...ever. "Unalienable rights," was how the Declaration of Independence described these fundamental rights. Unless we let it. We just did, by tolerating this sort of behavior from our government.

Mind you, the Ninth Circuit Court's judges didn't just come out and say you don't have a right to a gun. They did it in legalese: they merely "affirmed" a prior decision of their own, in which they said as much.

So, the US Supremes affirm the ruling of a lesser court (by silence, thereby making it the law of America, nonetheless, because contrary rulings from other jurisdictions will not be tolerated), which affirmed its own prior ruling, which says you have no right to own a gun. Like thieves in the night, with stealth, the black-robed dictators steal your rights. All this silence and misdirection clearly tells you how they feel about what it is they are doing. Yet, they go ahead and do it anyway. And the average American is too stupefied to know any better...or, worse, care. No, it does get worse: many who care and understand actually applaud this result.

The ground now has been set for blanket bans and confiscation. What? Cold, dead fingers, you say? Yeah, sure. When martial law is declared, hardly anybody will resist.

What? Martial law never will be declared in America, you say? Yeah, right. Just wait until the next Reichstag event which occurs on US soil. The smart money is betting that happens within a month or two, by the way.

Some will ask, "What's the big deal, anyway? Guns are no match for government munitions these days, anyway. Guns really are good only for hunting. Who needs hunting, with the Safeway just down the street?"

Here's my response, which echoes that of America's founding fathers: The Second Amendment's guarantee of the individual's right to bear arms actually comprises the teeth of the Constitution; what enables us to enforce the provisions of the Constitution against an out-of-control government.

"Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government..."

Sound familiar? It should. It is from the second paragraph of the American Declaration of Independence.

Furthermore, small arms are scarcely outmoded. One need look only to the debacle occurring in Iraq at this moment for the proof of that statement.

And as for the Safeway? America's supply line is about 3 days long - no more, certainly. In a crunch, you can bet that all the publicly-available food will disappear overnight...into government hands, for consumption exclusively by "our leaders." Safely tucked away in all those nice, little underground shelters they built for themselves with our tax money in recent years.

Does the current system of elections in America constitute "Consent of the Governed?" Scarcely. Hardly anybody votes these days, it seems. We realize that any candidate allowed to run for office already has been vetted by the real powers that be. You think Howard Dean will be any different from Bush II? Really? Nobody who could make a difference will make a difference because such a person is not allowed to run for any level.

The single best piece of commentary I have seen on the Silveira case is by another lawyer: Reflections Upon the U.S. Supreme Court's Rejection of Silveira by Peter J. Mancus. His is a passionate and brilliant, albeit lengthy, article worthy of your time. Among Mr. Mancus' observations:

"What value is the 'right to petition to redress grievances' or to file a lawsuit (which is a form of the right to petition government for a redress of a legitimate grievance) when the petition or lawsuit or both crashes into the solid legal wall of government immunity or the government refuses to hear the petition (lawsuit) or refuses to take it seriously or refuses to apply the applicable law correctly? That is what happened with Silveira at the Federal 9th Circuit...

How viable is the 'right of self-defense' if you must first beg government's permission to defend your life with a gun, when government thinks it has the power to withhold its permission, with immunity, and to criminally prosecute you if it catches you packing a gun without its permission?...

(T)he entire purpose of the U.S. Bill of Rights was to take away government's unfettered discretion, but, guess what, government now claims it has that very discretion that the Framers intended to deny to government, and, to exacerbate matters, government now hides behind its immunities when it commits wrongdoing, and, still worse, it has the gall to accuse citizens of hiding behind their rights and being "gun nuts" or worse when they refuse to go along to get along...

We are on an increasingly steeper slope toward a free fall into tyranny. The U.S. Supreme Court's rejection of Silveira made that slope steeper-much steeper. That fact is simply not appreciated by some...

I am afraid that a violent confrontation with our own Government(s) looms ahead...

We are in a downward spiral toward some flashpoint where a hardcore of no-nonsense "no more" constitutionalists will press the issue and not submit to perceived, insufferable oppression...

I know 'the gun solution' (political assassination, open rebellion, etc.) is fraught with peril and inadequate and morally complex and legally illegal. But, what is left? When we peacefully claim our birthrights, peacefully pursue a lawsuit to the U.S. Supreme Court and are stiff-armed while we point to what is written in the Constitution, we are mocked, scorned, ridiculed, rebuffed, ignored, dismissed, and rejected...

(I)t is not about guns. It never was about guns. It is really about this:

  1. liberty;
  2. ordinary citizens retaining a legally enforceable right to retain the most efficient, pragmatic means to enforce the rest of their rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution-privately owned, registered or unregistered, firearms;
  3. holding government accountable;
  4. keeping government from indefinitely blowing through Constitutional red lights, violating the Constitution's commands;
  5. forcing government to wear its Constitutional collar, connected to a Constitutional chain, staked firmly into the bedrock of Constitutional law.

Now, when government slips that Constitutional collar and refuses to put it back on and wear it compliantly and honor the Constitution's commands, with the judiciary's blessings, what then?

How does one make a snarly, robust, active, gargantuan government wear a collar it does not want to wear? How does one get close to the beast's teeth and claws to put on that collar and survive?...

Before Silveira and now with Silveira, the peaceful, legal way was tried...It failed because the Black Robes and the system failed...

Currently, the United States is not led, run, nor operated per its own Constitution's rules and commands. Our governments are out of control, and we, the People, have lost control of our own governments...

When Governments succeed in manipulating us to focus on, and to chose between, Security versus Liberty, they win. They win because the instant we choose either, we forfeit the other, and we will inevitably lose what we chose. We especially lose when we choose Security. That choice makes us too dependent on Governments to protect us. Governments cannot protect us in all ways at all times. Governments can, and do, however, use this issue to manipulate us against ourselves, to surrender more Liberty so it can increase its powers over us and tie us down with its chains rather than we tie it down with the Constitution's chains..."

Keep in mind that Mr. Mancus, like myself, is a lawyer. He well appreciates what he dare not say aloud concerning judges and our government, on pain of being disbarred. Outspoken as are both he and I, still we are incapable of advocating things that you might legally advocate.

It is not yet illegal to bury weapons, so I can in all seriousness advise you to bury those you previously acquired "off paper," via private sales. Do it properly, with ammunition and in well-sealed, watertight containers. Be innovative and bury them where metal detectors will not ferret them out. Keep a couple, the ones for which the dealer ran background checks, to hand to the nice soldiers who inevitably will come to your door, gun registration lists in hand. At that point, it will be illegal for me to tell you to withhold any guns from the government, so the guns you bury today will be an issue only between your conscience and yourself.

Oh...and I don't know who that fat lady was, either. All I know is that, as she left the stage, I saw she was wearing a yarmulke.

"I didn't say it would be easy. I just said it would be the truth." - Morpheus

Copyright ©2004, Edgar J. Steele

Forward as you wish. Permission is granted to circulate among private individuals and groups, post on all Internet sites and publish in full in all not-for-profit publications. Contact author for all other rights, which are reserved.

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(Isaiah 33:22) For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us.

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