Tag Archives: activism

The libertarian Chick Speaks – Why Not?

gadsden flag

I’ve been taking a break from social media for the last few days. I won’t lie and say that I didn’t expect it to be difficult. I did. I live and breathe social media, especially my political circles. Funny thing, though… it HASN’T been difficult. It took me until this morning to figure out why I haven’t really missed being on Twitter and Facebook that much.

Before I get to my epiphany, I want to explain why I finally (abruptly) decided to take a break from social media. part of the reason is this:

ggtweets.
And that is pretty much consecutively. There hasn’t been a 48 hour stretch since the day that I joined Twitter ( as @GaltsGirl) that I have not tweeted… about politics. My tweet count will more than bear out that statement as fact.
Another reason, and one that has weighed on my mind for awhile, was that I was losing a sense of accomplishment. I continue to grow my follower count. I continue to engage people from across the political spectrum. I continue to get positive feedback about the way I choose to engage.

You see, I am generally a “happy warrior.” (Yes, that is a h/t to Andrew Breitbart) But, despite all of those things, I am seeing a replay of post-primary 2012 sentiment on social media.. and it is getting worse. It is very frustrating to concretely define your reason for being on social media as being one of bringing people to the same table, only to see them all stand at the outer edge and never take a seat and TALK. Or worse, to see those who have a seat, never stop talking long enough to listen to anyone new. Twitter has become ( at least in #tcot and #tlot circles) the high school cafeteria, and very few want to move over and grant someone new a seat at the “cool table”.

I took the week off to decide if I needed to approach my presence differently… or if I should bother to continue at all. I have been more and more tempted to just shut down my twitter and political Facebook account and go back to participating in politics locally only. It would be much easier on me, and far less time consuming, than trying to be active locally and inspire others to do the same online. It REALLY, REALLY would, and I was very much leaning in that direction.

This morning I had three conversations and stumbled onto something my ten year old daughter drew that changed my mind. The first two of the conversations were praise for my BTR show from people I have never talked to on Twitter and had never interacted with on Facebook. One was a guy who joined Facebook last Sunday after being told to listen to my show by a friend. The other was a guy who had been fighting his family and friends on Facebook over is political beliefs and felt like he was alienating them because he didn’t know how to communicate his thoughts in a way that wasn’t offensive to them. He credited listening to my show as inspiration to keep trying to convince them. The third conversation was with a long-time friend, and it wasn’t nearly as flattering. I was reminded of something I said to him in 2009 when he was flabbergasted by the local support he heard for Obamacare: I told him to quit complaining, get educated, get off the couch and DO SOMETHING. I can be blunt when the situation calls for it. Apparently, he has learned well.

Finally, while walking outside this morning, and trying to finally make a decision, I ran across a chalk drawing my daughter did:
WhyNot

I should probably explain that, in her view while drawing, was a Gadsen Flag. And I grinned. Huge.

I have asked myself if I am doing anything good. I have asked myself if anyone is listening ( No one listens to the libertarian chick™ is a common tweet of mine). Both of those questions were answered, to my satisfaction, by the conversations I had this morning.

I have asked if I am even qualified to be spreading my political opinion all over the place. What I probably should have been asking was “Why not?

Self-doubt plagues us all. Activist fatigue is unavoidable. It *is* okay to take breaks… and it’s good to know that others are just as passionate as I am, when I need one.

I’ll be back. In a few more days. “Why Not?” has become “What Now?“.

whoquote

It’s time for a little activist-on-activist action

The Occupy Wall Street movement started almost two months ago when a ragtag bunch of anti-capitalist demonstrators attempted and failed to take over the famous street that is home  to the New York Stock Exchange.

Police had security set so that protesters could not approach the financial institution so the movement .. moved – to Zucotti Park.

The 33,000 square-foot space is privately owned by Brookfield Office Properties – a commercial real estate company – and is named after that company’s chairman. It is not the occupiers’ property to do with as they wish. It is not their park as they so often claim. It is someone else’s private property and they are trespassing.

Over the two month occupation, cardboard box parts, tents, pavilions, cooking centers and electrical generation equipment have moved into the squatter’s camp – also known as an “Obamaville” or a “Class Warfare Shanty Town”.

This has occurred on a medium-to-large scale in several U.S. cities. Oakland, Portland, Denver, D.C. and New York City. Smaller efforts have struggled in cities like Chapel Hill, NC.

Due to long hours of incessant drumming for dollars and crowd-powered “Mic Checks”, neighbors around these movements had started to tire. Add in the businesses that were losing revenue and laying off workers due to the presence of the unpleasant, unkempt and unhealthy tent villages and that the city’s leadership was getting an earful from the citizenry, a series of sexual assaults, health issues, assaults on non-protesters, trespassing issues, thefts, an attack on an EMS crew and more – and the real 99% (or whatever) started a revolt of their own – the occupation of parks had to end – NOW.

The struggle: capitalism and individual liberties/property rights vs. collectivism and “redistributive  change”. The free-market philosophy favored by Conservatives vs. the class warfare strategy in-use by President Obama. Even the Pew Research Center decided that a poll pitting the Occupiers against the TEA parties was necessary. Everyone wanted a war between those working hard to keep what they earn  and those working hard to take it from someone that earned it.

Some label the battle as the ‘haves’ versus the ‘have nots’, but in truth, it’s the ‘haves’ vs those that envy what the ‘haves’ have done with their lives. Why is this tiny group of do-nothings getting so much say and the majority of hard-working Americans not protesting in return? Where are those loud and rowdy TEA partiers?

It does bring to light an important point – how serious are Americans about their rights to pursue happiness, own property and be free from an oppressive government ? In 2009, the liberty-loving TEA parties were a force to be dealt with. In 2010, they molded an election but, in 2011, the energy behind the TEA party may be waning.

The results in Ohio show that the Unions out-organized Conservative groups. More people showed up to vote down the public union collective bargaining reform than all that voted for Governor Kasich in the last election. How does that happen? Simple – apathy.

There is no denying a strong link between Unions, progressives like Michael Moore and the Occupy movement just as there is no denying the link between The TEA Parties and Conservatives like Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan. The battle lines are drawn – each side has it’s communicators and techniques and whichever is better motivated will shape the 2012 elections as the TEA Parties did in 2012.

It’s time to raise that Gadsden flag. It’s time to dust off that pocket version of the constitution. It’s time to volunteer, march, read, write, email, call, register, donate, and most of all –  VOTE!! Get informed and vote in the primaries. The caucuses and primaries start in just a few short weeks. Are you working for a candidate,

Conservatives don’t need to take over a park for two months to bring together several hundred to a few thousand like-minded as-did the Occupiers. Marches like the 9-12 Marches and events like those at the Lincoln Memorial in 2010 show that there are hundreds of thousands of willing, active and awake Americans that will come to the call. A call to activism.

Activism against sloth;  a revolt against class-warfare;  a revolution against socialistic change; a rebuke against most-everything for which the occupiers stand.

We cannot be silent any more. Just sitting and watching as an entire generation idolizes the failed ideology of wealth redistribution that has been tried in nations near and far. We have to speak out and say “not now” – “not HERE” – “NOT EVER”.

When will the true defenders of freedom speak out in public and tell these small groups of ill-thinking trespassers that they are NOT the 99%. They aren’t the 50%, or even the 1%. They are a scrambled set of failed liberal ideas trying to join together against a common enemy – success – and those willing to work for it.

It’s time for a little activist on activist action. This is not a call to violence – but a call to challenge the loudmouth, small-minded, short-term thinking coming out of places like Zucotti park.

Changing the Gun Laws in North Carolina – Part I

It all started with an article at Conservative Daily News by Benjamin Wallace. Ben’s post described how Florida state lawmakers were able to remove overly-burdensome local regulations on gun ownership through state action. I realized that my State had a similar problem and perhaps could take advantage of a similar remedy.

In North Carolina, it is legal to purchase a handgun after obtaining a pistol purchase permit from your county sheriff’s office. But, in just one county, Durham, you are also required to register the pistol within 10-days of purchase. It is the only county in the entire state where the registration of any firearms is mandated and state law has no such provision.

There are two major problems with these impediments to firearm ownership. First, the requirement of a pistol purchase permit is nothing more than a hassle that was put in place during the Jim Crow era so that local officials could deny permits to blacks or otherwise decide who should and should not posses a firearm. Second, the Durham County requirement to then register a pistol after purchase is just one more step in an already painful process.

These two regulations together create a climate where law-abiding citizens may just not even bother to purchase a pistol just to avoid the hassle of dealing with a near 6 week long process that one must go through in order to own a handgun. It would seem that this is much the purpose.

As a citizen journalist and activist, I wanted to see if there was something I could do to remove these infringements upon the right to bear arms.

The Process

First, a prospective gun owner must obtain the pistol permit application from their County Sheriff. In Durham, the form requires two notarized affidavits from non-family members as to the applicants character, a copy of your driver’s license and social security card and some basic personal information.

The affidavits mean that you now have to disclose to someone that you intend to purchase a gun and that two people that you know are willing to go through the trouble to write an essay about you, give the County their personal information, and spend the time and money to get the affidavit notarized. An applicant is left to hope that their friends aren’t as scared of lawful gun ownership as the County government seems to be.

Once all the paperwork is filled in, it has to be hand-carried to the County Sheriff’s office where it starts a 30-day clock. Background checks are now instantaneous thanks to the National Instant Check System (NICS) so this 30-day processing period is nothing more than a 30-day waiting period – another undue barrier to gun ownership.

Once the application is approved, the applicant must go in-person to the County Sheriff where they can purchase two permits for the application. Each permit costs $5.00 and allows for the purchase of a single handgun. An applicant would have to go through this process for every other gun they wished to own.

The permit is required to transfer a handgun purchased outside the County, given as a gift to the applicant, or purchased within the county. The permit must be given to the transfer agent or the seller which they must retain forever.

Once the gun is transferred or purchased, Durham County requires the registration of the handgun within 10-days. Only Durham has this restriction and it seemed the most logical place to start in reversing these antiquated and restrictive regulations.

Finding an Ally

I realized that a County had a more strict regulation than provided for in the North Carolina Constitution so I contacted the Republican co-chair of the State and Local Government Committee in the North Carolina Senate – Senator Jim Davis. A simple email started it all.

Senator Davis,
  As the Republican co-chair of the State and Local Government committee, I would like to draw your attention to and request comment on a story we did on local government regulating the second amendment.
The story: http://conservativedailynews.com/2011/08/guns-and-sunshine/, explains how the lawmakers at the state level prohibit local governments from creating confusing and complicated rules trying to regulate the right to bear arms, where the state had found it unnecessary. North Carolina has the same problem – Durham county.
In Durham, hand guns require a permit to purchase -AND- must be registered after being purchased. It is the only county in North Carolina with this restriction.
Would you sponsor a bill that would disallow local government’s from further taking away the rights of North Carolina citizens?
Best Regards,
     Rich Mitchell

Within one day I had the response that let me know I had found the right lawmaker to get things changed.

Rich,
    I wasn’t aware of this problem. My office will do some research to determine if action is warranted.
Jim

And two days later:

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me regarding Durham county’s firearm purchase policies. The strength of our 2nd amendment rights remains extremely important to me and my colleagues at the General Assembly. Our research and policy staff is currently researching the firearms provisions of Durham county, along with past action taken by the General Assembly regarding Durham, in order to assess the need for legislative action for the upcoming session of Spring 2012. I will get with you as soon as I hear back from research and policy staff (certainly within the week). My early research indicates that this legislation was originally put in place through a local bill. Normally, this would need to be a local bill introduced to repeal the original local bill.

I take this issue very seriously, and appreciate your bringing it to my attention.

The North Carolina Senate was in recess at the time of my inquiry, but Sen. Davis promised me he would work with his staff starting on Sept. 12th once they reconvened. I was skeptical, but set a reminder on my calendar to touch base with the Senator on the 14th.

Collecting the Data

When September 14th rolled around, I sent a short note to let him know that I wanted to do a series of articles hi-lighting the fact that some in our government are looking for opportunities to undo wrongs. He responded in a way that showed he was serious. He contacted me to relay the entirety of the research that his staff had completed and what they were expecting to complete in the next several days.

His staff had found the the bill that caused the undue regulation was recorded in Chapter 157, Public Laws of 1935. The bill is indeed specific to Durham County and forces the registration of pistols and similar firearms.

Locating the bill wasn’t where they stopped. His office also learned that the Administrative Office of the Courts, is unable to track if a violation of “failure to register firearm” has ever been committed because it is considered a local, not state matter. Carol Morris, Deputy Clerk to the Criminal Division in Durham County. She could not recall a single reporting of violation of the registration ordinance ever being filed.

The Senator’s office also found that there is no electronic data for the registration of pistols. All of the registrations are kept on paper, in large filing cabinets at the County office.

A local Durham City police officer has given some anecdotal evidence to why this might be happening. He says that if you are stopped and are otherwise lawfully in-possession of a handgun, an officer is not going to check to see if you bothered to register it. In fact, it would be nearly impossible to prove in a court of law. The officer would have to personally go down to the courthouse and try to find your registration in the massive paper records store. If he was unable to locate it, he would have to prove it had never been there – an impossible task. The County does not enforce this regulation showing even more that it is intended as nothing more than a barrier to legal gun ownership.

Senator Davis also reported that he was “currently waiting for numbers from the Durham County Sheriff’s office to report the number of pistol permits issued. The Clerk of Court’s office has verified that they do not have a count for the firearms registrations, but offered to let someone come over and count through or estimate the total number of registrations.” He offered that he was intending to send someone to do just that and “once we get the number of permits issued, we can hold that up against how many have actually registered and verify that the Court cannot remember/provide an instance in which this law has been violated to make a strong case for the repeal of this needless provision unique to Durham County which was originally passed in 1935.”

On top of the excellent research that the Senator’s office has done, there is statistical evidence to show that these kinds of regulations do no good whatsoever while costing taxpayers to fund an unnecessary office and process.

The county with the most-restrictive gun laws is also among those with the worst crime rates. Durham County had the 6th highest crime rate among all counties in the state for both 2008 and 2009. It would appear that overly restricting gun ownership may actually be making it easier for the criminals who do not need to respect gun laws and prefer the easier-to-pray-upon, relatively disarmed populace.

Durham’s violent crime rating, according to Sperling’s “Best Places to Live” is 6 on a scale of 1-10. Neighboring Wake County, that does not have the registration requirement on guns, fairs much better with a rating of 4 – and wake has a 300% larger population than that of Durham.

As everyone knows, legal gun ownership is not the issue. In areas of high legal gun ownership, violent crime rates tend to be much lower.  In other highly-restrictive areas like Washington, D.C. and Chicago, violent crime rates have been soaring for decades.

Precedent

The supreme court has ruled in McDonald v. Chicago that the second amendment could not be infringed at a State or local level. That case has direct bearing upon Durham’s law and should be instrumental in the dismantling of an out-dated and ineffective provision.

Creating the Bill to Repeal

Senator Davis is reaching out to Durham Senators McKissick and Atwater to see if either of them would object to the initiation of a bill to repeal this antiquated and unnecessary provision. Of course, I have written both Sens. McKissick and Atwater alerting them to this story, the law’s offensive Jim Crowe ancestry and the attention we are giving it.

The Bill

Part 2 of this series will cover the actual legislation, who’s helping make it happen and who, if anyone, is trying to block it.