Bill of Rights II.

 

The Articles of Confederation provided a poor sort of national government. The “United States” received scant respect either from foreign or state governments.  The men who authored the Constitution were determined to correct this fault.  However, they knew that the great majority of Americans feared the power and ambition of any central government.  Like the British monarchy, even the most “liberal” government might become tyrannical.  For example, a government might seek to abolish slavery in the Southern states merely because a numerical majority found it abhorrent.

Consequently, James Madison designed a government based on the separation of powers.  The executive, the legislature, and the judiciary would be co-equal branches of government.  Each branch would work to hold in check the pretensions of any over-mighty individual branch.[1]

Some delegates to the constitutional convention in Philadelphia worried that these provisions did not go far enough in insuring individual liberty.  Elbridge Gerry and George Mason proposed addition of a bill of individual rights.  This was rejected.  Later, Richard Henry Lee proposed that a bill of individual rights be added to the Constitution.  This, too, failed.

James Madison had argued against any bill of rights.  He believed that such a bill would do no good against a “republican” government based on popular sovereignty.  That is, the “people” would brook no opposition from a minority.  Furthermore, a government might interpret a Bill of Rights as stating the maximum, rather than the minimum, liberties of the people.  However, during the ratification process it became apparent that many ordinary citizens shared the reservations of Gerry, Mason, and Lee.  Essentially, they believed that even the most “liberal” government might become tyrannical over time.  Madison had argued that no bill of rights need be included because the division of powers and the conflict between interest groups would hold tyranny at bay.  This argument failed to persuade many of his readers.  The promise to add a Bill of Rights then became a bargaining chip in the effort to persuade state conventions to ratify the Constitution.  Six states recommended that a Bill of Rights be adopted once the Constitution had come into effect.  There were only 13 states then, so…

Madison abandoned his opposition to a Bill of Rights.  He wrote his own.  He offered these to Congress in June 1789.  He proposed to splice-in Amendments One through Five within the Constitution itself in Article I, Section 9, between Clauses 3 and 4.   Clause 3 bans Bills of Attainder.  Clause 4 bans direct taxation except equally according to the census.  In short, Madison intended that the Bill of Rights be individual rights.

Added instead as an appendix to the Constitution, they were adopted by Congress and ratified by the required number of states by December 1791.  Critically, the Ninth Amendment stated that “The enumeration of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”  In this way, Madison responded to his fear that a tyrannical government might treat a Bill of Rights as a maximum statement of the rights of individual citizens.

Subsequently, the courts, including the Supreme Court, held that the “right of the people” referred to the rights of individuals.  Freedom of religion is an individual right.  Freedom of speech is an individual right.  The freedom to petition for redress of grievances is an individual right.  The right to be safe from unreasonable search and seizure of papers is an individual right.  The right to not be compelled to testify against oneself in a court of law is an individual right.  The right to trial by an impartial jury is an individual right.  The right to not suffer cruel or unusual punishments is an individual right.  God save the United States of America.

[1] Although that left the danger that two branches might, for their individual reasons, gang-up on the third branch.

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Bill of Rights I.

English people, including the Anglo-Americans, understood their history as the product of a bitter struggle between tyranny and freedom.  Stuart absolutism had sought to restrict the rights of Englishmen.  This led to the English Civil War, the execution of King Charles I, and the republican Protectorate.  The Stuarts had been restored in 1660, but had acknowledged the role of Parliament and the laws as guardians of the rights of Englishmen.  King James II (r. 1685-1688) had tried to tip the balance toward French-style absolutism during his brief reign.  This had triggered the Glorious Revolution of 1688, while the constitutional fruits of that revolution had been harvested by the terms of the Hanoverian Succession in 1714.

Britain’s American colonies, and New England in particular, were peopled by the descendants of anti-absolutist Englishmen of the mid-17th Century.  The Englishmen who did not migrate had fought the English Civil War and created the republican Protectorate government.  The two groups shared many ideas.  These ideas were in some respects, pre-Enlightenment, rather than Enlightenment ideas.  John Locke occupied a central position for both strains of thought.  Locke had argued that a “social contract” bound both governors and the governed.  If either party broke the contract, then the other party was not bound to comply with the terms of the contract.  A tyrannical ruler had no legitimate claim on the obedience of his subjects.

That fear of a strong central government had arisen from these earlier experiences.  In the 1760s, the Americans had still seen themselves as Overseas Englishmen.  They still possessed the rights of Englishmen.  Those rights, in their understanding, included the right to be taxed by their own elected representative and the right be tried by a jury of their peers.  Both of these rights had seemed threatened by new taxes imposed by a British parliament elected only by British voters and by the Admiralty Courts appointed by the Crown and operating without juries.  As early as the Stamp Act Crisis, a handful of Americans had seen the measures as the leading edge of an effort to subjugate the colonists to absolute government.

In these circumstances, resistance offered the best path to preserving existing freedoms.  Colonial legislatures had denied the right of Parliament to impose the Stamp Act, then organized boycotts of British goods, and worked-up mobs to intimidate potential stamp distributors.  The organizers of this violent intimidation then went on to create the Sons of Liberty as a continuing resource.

The threat of superior military force added another dimension.  Until the French and Indian War (1756-1763), Anglo-Americans had defended themselves—and occasionally made offensive war—through their militias.  These were call-ups of all able-bodied and self-armed men in every Middlesex village and farm.  Anglo-Americans associated “standing armies” with the expansion of absolutist/tyrannical government like that in France.  Paranoia added another dimension.  After the defeat of the French, the Quartering Act had required the colonists to house British soldiers.  If the foreign danger had passed, why did Britain need to keep troops in America?  Did the Crown intend to impose its will on its American colonists?

In September 1768, two regiments of British infantry were ordered to Boston to support collection of the Townshend Duties.  The “Boston Massacre” (1770) cemented American hostility to regular troops.  The “Boston Tea Party” (1773) demonstrated the uses of violence.   Then came Concord and Lexington (1775).  Then came the Revolutionary War.  In the minds of many Americans, the ultimate defense against tyranny lay in the ability to shoot back.

“Bump Stocks.”

The purchase of fully automatic weapons has been tightly restricted in the U.S. since the 1930s. Outlaws great and small used fully automatic weapons (machine guns and sub-machine guns) against rivals and against the police.[1]  The 1934 National Firearms Act narrowly restricted ownership of fully automatic weapons; a 1986 amendment prohibited most transfers or possession of automatic weapons, except those that had been manufactured and registered with the government in the past.[2]  It would appear that most privately-owned fully automatic weapons are in the possession of licensed gun-ranges.  You can go to a range, pay a daunting fee, and fire a fully automatic weapon at a paper target.  That’s enough for most gun-owners

Still, a small number of gun-owners yearned for the experience of firing a weapon on full-auto at a lower cost.  Then, some physically-disabled shooters wanted an adaptive technology that would allow them to enjoy one of their favorite pre-disability sports.  Admittedly, this is kind of a niche market.[3]  Numerous attempts to design retrofits for semi-automatic weapons failed.  Then, in 2008 or 2009, someone invented “bump stocks.”  The particular technology doesn’t seem to me to matter.  The effect does matter.  “Bump stocks” allowed shooters to “simulate” full automatic fire.[4]

In 2010, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (commonly ATF) considered whether they violated federal law by creating a new form of fully automatic weapons.  ATF concluded that they did not violate federal legal restrictions on automatic weapons.  They did not alter the internal firing mechanism.  They just exploited it to achieve the same effect as a full-auto weapon.  So, “bump stocks” were good to go.  This was two years before the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.  In the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings, President Obama said he would “use whatever power this office holds” to prevent a new version of the massacre.  Alas, when he issued 23 Executive Orders in January 2013 to enhance gun-control, these did not include ordering ATF to revisit its approval of “bump stocks.”

Still, “bump stock”-modified weapons have problems.  First, they are Hell on accuracy.  Still if a sniper has 22,000 people penned inside a concert venue, s/he doesn’t need to be very accurate.  Anything within range can become a target.  Second, firing weapons designed to fire as semi-automatic on “simulated” full-auto generates more heat than the weapons are designed to handle.  They tend to jam.  So Stephen Paddock attached “bump stocks” to 12 of the rifles he brought to his room in the Mandalay Bay.[5]  It seems likely that he walked back and forth between the two windows he had broken whenever a weapon jammed, picking another off the bed on the way.

The obvious solution here is to revisit the 2010 ATF decision and declare “bump stocks” illegal.  That won’t do the casualties in Las Vegas any good, but it might help forestall mass shootings in the future.  Still, “mass shootings” as conventionally defined and long-guns (rifles and shotguns) account for a small share of the murders and suicides that still give America a high homicide rate.  Certainly, action on this front is needed.  It should not distract people from the much larger problem of hand-gun killings.  However, it will do just that.  For now.

[1] See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJ-gYx7hXZg and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84Lo0iNy4bg

[2] Kind of like “legacy” admissions to Ivy League universities.  I don’t mean to suggest that they have equally harmful effects on American society.

[3] One Georgia gun-dealer judged that he had sold a couple in a couple of years.

[4] See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7DTjSla-O8

[5] At maybe $200 each, that cost his about $2,400.

“It Must Be a Peach of a Hand.”

In spite of the confident assertions on the right and the left, violence in America is full of puzzles and contradictions.  First, murder rates have fluctuated.  In 1980, America had a murder rate of 10.2 per 100,000 people.  The rate drifted downward for the next ten years, then began to fall sharply from about 1990.  By 2014 it had fallen to 4.5 murders per 100,000 people.[1]  Then, in 2015, the national murder rate increased to 10.8 percent.  However, the sharp increase can be attributed to selected cities (Baltimore, Houston, and especially Chicago).  There murder rates jumped to highs not seen in half a decade.  For example, by about 22 November 2015, Baltimore’s homicide tally hit 300 deaths.  This is 42 percent higher than the total for 2014 and we still had the holidays to go.  Most of the rise seems to have come since the rioting that followed the arresting-to-death of Freddy Gray.[2]  That’s scary because the last time the US had an increase like this came in 1971, at the dawn of several violent decades.[3]

One question to ask is if these changes reflected government action or some other influences.  A second question to ask is, if it did reflect government action, then did it reflect federal, state, or local action?  A third question to ask is, if it reflected some other influences, what were those influences?

Second, superficially at least, declining murder rates were tracked by declining support for the death penalty.  In 1994, fully 80 percent of Americans supported the death penalty for murder, while 16 percent opposed it and 4 percent were unsure.  By March 2015, 56 percent supported it.  By October 2016, 49 percent supported the death penalty.[4]  Similarly, the use of capital punishment continues to decline in the United States.  It fell from 98 in 1999 to 35 in 2014 to 20 in the first two-thirds of 2015.  Extrapolating from that latter figure, there would be 30 in all of 2015.  Even in Texas, the state most prone to impose the death sentence, no one has been sentenced to death so far in 2015.[5]

Third, just over half (55 percent) of Americans think that gun ownership can be restricted without violating the constitution (and the Second Amendment be Damned!) and slightly more (57 percent) want a ban on assault weapons.  Conversely, 43 percent of Americans believe that gun ownership cannot be restricted without violating the constitution and 25 percent oppose banning even assault weapons.  All the same, almost three-quarters (73 percent) of Americans support universal background checks.[6]

Fourth gun control is bad for gun control.  After the liberal characterization of the San Bernardino terrorist attack as a “mass shooting,” gun sales zoomed upward.  In December 2015, Americans bought 3.3 million guns.  All of these sales have been from licensed gun-dealers because the government background check system has been swamped.  Attorney General Loretta Lynch has asked for the hiring of 430 additional people just to process the background checks of Americans complying with the existing gun laws.[7]

In spite of the obvious violation of individual civil rights, most (80 percent) of Americans favor banning people on terrorist watch-lists from buying guns.  A small minority (17 percent) suspect that the ban would not be very effective.[8]  There are 25,000 to 40,000 Americans on terror watch-lists.  Of these people, 244 of them tried to buy firearms in 2015.[9]  That is, about one tenth of one percent sought to buy weapons.  People on terrorist watch lists buy guns at lower rates than do “ordinary” Americans.

Fifth, what is a “mass shooting?”  Orlando or Newtown, right?  Actually, the EffaBeeEye’s definition is a little more expansive: a single event in which four or more people get shot.[10]  So, criminals probably commit the bulk of the mass-shootings as a by-product of their business or personal lives.  By the EffaBeeEye’s standard, there have been 133 mass shootings in 2016.  Florida has suffered 15 (or 11.2 percent) of them.

Americans are sharply divided over how to interpret Omar Mateen’s massacre in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL.  Most (60 percent) Democrats see it as an example of “domestic gun violence,” while most (79 percent) Republicans see it as an example of “Islamic terrorism.”[11]  The trouble is that the partisan filter on the vision of observers inhibits both understanding and civil discourse.  The further trouble is that both are right.

America is becoming a less violent place in comparison to the past, if not in comparison to Denmark.  Murder rates are generally trending downward; support for the death penalty is trending downward; and support for gun-control seems to be rising.  However, the politics of gun-control may well be hampering further progress.  It is common to blame the National Rifle Association for this problem.  It is common to use “terrorism” and “mass shootings” as labels that justify pushing ahead rapidly with strict gun-controls.  All that this does is to put the backs up on gun-owners.

Instead of shaming campaigns (satisfying though they are to many liberals), perhaps the best answer to a violent America is education campaigns.  Between 1964 and 2004, the number of Americans who smoked fell every year.  But in 2004, the decline bottomed out at 20.8 percent.  It stayed there through the end of 2007.[12]

Still, in these regards, America is a better, safer place to live than when I was a child.  Unless, of course, you are living in one of the broken cities where the War on Drugs spawns the “war for corners”; and where the “war for corners” spawns a confrontational style among young men with no better future.

This doesn’t end up exactly where I wanted to go when I began writing.  It just ends up where some random facts led me.

[1] “Noted,” The Week, 29 July 2016, p. 16.

[2] “Noted,” The Week, 27 November 2015, p. 16.

[3] “Noted,” The Week, 7 October 2016, p. 16.

[4] “Poll Watch,” The Week, 14 October 2016, p. 17.

[5] “Noted,” The Week, 25 September 2015, p. 16.

[6] “Poll Watch,” The Week, 5 August 2016, p. 17.

[7] “Noted,” The Week, 5 February 2016, p.8.

[8] “Poll Watch,” The Week, 1 July 2016, p.7

[9] “Noted,” The Week, 1 July 2016, p. 16.

[10] “Noted,” The Week, 24 June 2016, p. 20.  By this standard, the “Gunfight at the OK Corral” was a mass-shooting.  Especially if you were one of the Earp brothers.  If you were a Clanton or a McLaury, then it was a mass getting-shot.

[11] “Poll Watch,” The Week, 1 July 2016, p.7.

[12] “Noted,” The Week, 23 November 2007, p. 16.  Why did the decline stop?  What has it done since then?  Who are the remaining smokers?    I don’t know.  Perhaps they constitute a libertarian revolt against the intrusive nanny-state of liberal fascism.  Perhaps the people who rush to buy guns and ammo (as opposed to buying Guns and Ammo) are operating under the same star.

Assault Rifle.

Rates of gun ownership in the United States have fallen sharply since the 1970s, from 50 percent of households to 30 percent of households.[1]  However, ownership of “assault-style weapons” has increased dramatically.

An “assault rifle” is a military weapon that is shorter and lighter than a traditional military rifle; and has a “selective fire” capability.[2]  The latter term means that it can fire on “automatic” (pull the trigger once and then hold on until all the ammunition is gone); “burst” (fire 2-3 rounds each time the trigger is pulled); and semi-automatic (fires and then loads one round each time the trigger is pulled).  In most cases, private ownership of automatic weapons like assault weapons was banned by the National Firearms Act of 1934.[3]

The weapon that is commonly referred to in the media as an “assault weapon” or “assault rifle” actually is an “assault-style weapon.”  These are solely semi-automatic versions of the “selective fire” assault weapons used by the military.  They look the same, but they don’t do the same.  Neither gun control advocates nor journalists care about the distinction.  Maybe they’re right.

Generally speaking, “assault-style weapons” make little contribution to America’s high homicide rate.  In 2014, 3 percent of homicide victims were killed with any kind of rifle.  On the other hand, the weapons have been used in several spectacular mass shootings in recent years.  The killers at Sandy Hook, Aurora, San Bernardino, Orlando, and Dallas all used “assault-style weapons.”

“Assault-style weapons” have long been a bete noire of gun control advocates.   In 1994 Congress passed a ten year ban on the sale of 19 different variants of “assault weapons.”  Mass shootings increased slightly during the period of the ban.  Congress did not renew the ban when it expired in 2004.  Mass shootings increased slightly after the ending of the ban.

The most popular “assault style weapon” in the United States is the AR-15 or one of its many knock-offs.[4]  (There are more than 8 million AR-15s in private possession in the United States.)  The AR-15 is the semi-automatic version of the fully automatic M-16 rifle used by the Army and the Marine Corps.  The weapons are light, rugged, carefully machined, and easily personalized.  They’re a lot of fun to shoot.  It is also likely that gun owners want them just because control advocates want to ban them.

This impulse appeared in the huge increase in sales of “assault-style weapons” after the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012.  President Barack Obama urged Congress to re-instate the expired ban on “assault-style weapons.”   Gun-owners flocked to buy the weapons before Congress acted.  They needn’t have worried.

While most Americans move—ponderously in the eyes of enlightened opinion here and abroad—away from gun ownership, a minority of Americans embrace more extreme forms of gun ownership.  It is trite, but true, to see two cultures struggling to assert their views.  America has a long history of the majority trampling on minorities; and of minorities finding ways to survive.  It might be better to treat guns like smoking: “education” rather than coercion.

[1] The Sixties and Seventies were more menacing times to live through than they appear in gauzy hindsight.  The men of the “Greatest Generation” had some experience with handling firearms and didn’t have an attack of the vapors in the presence of firearms.  The rural areas hadn’t emptied out yet.

[2] Generally, these weapons have a much shorter range than traditional rifles.  The effective range of an AR-15 is less than 500 yards, while the effective range of the M1903 Springfield used in the First World War is 1,000 yards.

[3] “Why assault weapons are so popular,” The Week, 15 July 2016, p. 11.

[4] The patent expired, so more than 280 manufacturers crowded into the market to compete with Colt.

Watch List.

The federal gummint’s terrorist watch list has crested at about 800,000 names.[1]  The vast majority of these people are foreigners.  Many are candidates for drone strikes.  Most never seek entry to the United States.  That would just end in a flight to Guantanamo.  The “no-fly” list contains the names of about 64,000 people who will not be allowed to board airplanes bound for the United States.   “Only” about 25,000-40,000 of the people on the list are Americans.  People on the terrorism watch list who try to buy guns are automatically flagged for further FBI investigation.  In 2015, the names of 244 people who were on the watch list were sent to the FBI when they tried to buy guns.  Apparently, that further check really amounts to applying the normal standards for buying a gun: no history of involuntary commitment for mental illness and/or no criminal record.  (So, how does someone with no interest in buying guns get on the watch list?  If I went around denouncing the US Government in scurrilous terms, I’d want to have guns for when they got pissed off.[2])

In December 2015, the Senate Democrats offered a bill to give the Attorney General the power to deny the sale of a firearm or an explosive “to a known or suspected terrorist.”  Critics of the whole watch list thing point out that inclusion on the list is an administrative decision, while there is virtually no way to appeal against the decision.  The Republicans countered with a bill to delay sale for 72 hours to enable the FBI to investigate the purchaser.  Neither bill mustered a majority.

Had the Democrats’ bill passed, Omar Mateen would still have been able to purchase the weapons that he used in the Orlando massacre.  On the one hand, “suspects” are investigated by the FBI.  If the FBI concludes that they are not a current threat, then they are removed from the list of people banned from purchasing firearms or explosives.  On the other hand, there is a more or less “black market” for guns to be had on the internet from private dealers.

Perhaps long experience with the ineffectiveness of government regulation explains why Republican support for tighter gun laws fell from 55 percent in March 2000 to 26 percent in July 2015.  In any case, in states with Republican majorities in the legislature, mass shootings actually are followed by a loosening of gun laws.[3]  Conservatives throw up a smokescreen of rationalizations when their real concern is that liberals will try to disarm the country.[4]

One of the sources of the bitter partisanship that has disabled American democracy is revealed in a comment in a New York Times article.  “The “legislation does not specifically require that someone be named on a particular watch list to be considered a known terrorist or a suspect, so it is possible that Mr. Mateen could have been flagged under other procedures implemented by the attorney  general.”  Yes, yes, yes, the Justice Department says that this means that people once on a watch list and subsequently removed could still be banned.  However, what springs to mind in this post-Patriot Act/post-Snowden age is that an endlessly expanding list of people not allowed to buy guns will be created by presidential ukase.  Like work permits for illegal immigrants.  Like the assertion that the War Powers Act does not apply in Libya.

[1] Alicia Parlapiano, “How Terror Suspects Buy Guns—and How They Still Could, Even With a Ban,” NYT, 16 June 2016.

[2] See an over the top account in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Hampton

[3] Neil Irwin, “After Mass Shootings, It’s Often Easier to Buy a Gun,” NYT, 16 June 2016.

[4] Yet national disarmament—as in Britain or Australia—is the only real means to reduce gun deaths.  The president needs to speak the truth, rather than run from it.  Same goes for drugs, taxes in the middle classes, and a carbon tax.

Expect the Unexpected.

Change and innovation lead to un-foreseen effects.  Caller ID allows people to tell whether they are being called by someone they know or by some unknown person.  If the call comes at the dinner-hour, it’s 99.9 percent sure to be somebody trying to raise money for the local fire department or somebody conducting a survey.  In either case, most people don’t want to talk to the caller.  In 1997, the response rate to telephone surveys was a measly 36 percent (unless you count “Go to Hell!” as a response).  By 2014 it had fallen to 9 percent.[1]  How exactly is anyone supposed to measure public opinion if the public won’t give it?  Hard for politicians to pander to the voters if they don’t know what the voters want to hear.  Maybe they’re stuck pandering to the donors?  We could end up back in the land of “Dewey Beats Truman!”

“Baby Boomers” are entering the “golden years.”  One natural response to having the kids out of the house is “downsizing” to a smaller home or an apartment.  Lots of older people with—comparatively—lots of money are entering the market for smaller homes and apartments.  This pushes up the price of what used to be “starter homes” (now to be re-labeled “finisher homes”?) and the rent for apartments.  Between 1995 and 2005, the average share of income devoted to rent was 24 percent.  By Summer 2015, it had risen to 30.2 percent.[2]  This is likely to make things more difficult for younger people with—comparatively—less money.[3]

The “fracking revolution” has brought down energy prices.  (By August 2015, they were at a six-year low.)  The fall in energy prices has damped down inflation.  Low inflation means that—for the third time since 2010—Social Security recipients will see no increase in their benefits.  On the other hand, Medicare premiums are not linked to the inflation rate.  So these will rise in 2016.[4]  The disposable income of retirees is likely to shrink.

When energy (if not yet the climate) became a grave concern back in the 1970s, a sustained drive got underway to make all sorts of things more energy efficient.  Today, American houses are 31 percent more energy efficient than they were forty years ago.  On the other hand, American homes are 57 percent larger than they were forty years ago.  In the 1970s the average American home was about 1,300 square feet.  In 2012 the average American home was 1,864 square feet.  The most recently built homes are averaging 2,657 square feet.  This cancels out the gains in efficiency.[5]  Several puzzles arise.  Where does the extra space go?  Garages?  Bigger bedrooms for the kids?  A bathroom every ten feet?  Why are homes larger when families are smaller?  What is it like to live in one of these homes?  Do family-members retreat into their own space and close the door?  Is the same thing true of the improved gas mileage of cars?  Is efficiency improved, but we drive more?

The current, much-discussed surge in opiod addiction has led to a surge in deaths from drug overdoses.  That, in turn, has led to a rise in the number of organ donors.  They now provide better than ten percent of all organ donations, up from about 3 percent in 2006.[6]  So, higher death rates for some mean longer lives for others.

After the San Bernardino terrorist attack liberals characterized the attack as a “mass shooting” and called for tighter gun controls. Unlicensed gun-dealers, a common “bete noire” of gun control advocates, came in for special presidential attention.  Gun sales zoomed upward.  In December 2015, Americans bought 3.3 million guns.  All of these sales have been from licensed gun-dealers because the government background check system has been swamped.  Attorney General Loretta Lynch has asked for the hiring of 430 additional people just to process the background checks of Americans complying with the existing gun laws.[7]

The Americans with Disabilities Act bars discrimination against people with disabilities.  Some of this is left open to interpretation by government officials.  As a result, the state of Iowa will issue gun permits to blind people.[8]

Should these random reports make people cautious in regarding business plans, campaign platforms (“The New” Anything), or succeeding at their New Year’s Resolutions?  Just asking.

[1] “The bottom line,” The Week, 5 September 2014, p. 32.

[2] “Noted,” The Week, 28 August, 2015, p. 14.

[3] “The bottom line,” The Week, 15 October 2015, p. 36.

[4] “The bottom line,” The Week, 30 October 2015, p. 36.

[5] “The bottom line,” The Week, 20 November 2015, p. 32; “Noted,” The Week, 27 November 2015, p. 16.  .

[6] “Noted,” The Week, 20 May 2016, p. 18.

[7] “Noted,” The Week, 5 February 2016, p.8.

[8] “Noted,” The Week, 20 September 2013, p. 16.