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Legendary violator of constitutional rights, prodigious target of lawsuits (currently two), and America’s least favorite crazy-drunk-uncle-who-lives-in-the-attic Joe Arpaio – who also happens to be the elected Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, which includes the Phoenix metropolitan area – has struck again. And no – shock of shocks – the infringed-upon individuals in this case were not immigrants, or drug offenders, or inmates…they were school children. As reported by ABC:

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced that at least 59 Phoenix-area schools now have armed volunteers posted outside to deter would-be shooters from carrying out acts of violence.

About 3,000 volunteers will patrol the 59 schools in the sheriff’s primary jurisdiction each school day for the rest of the year, Arpaio said at a news conference on Wednesday. At least 500 of the volunteers will be armed and authorized to use the same weapons as deputies do.

The sheriff told ABC/Univision in December that he has the authority to direct the posse to take action if it is warranted, but said the guards are intended to be a deterent.

Arpaio decided to post posse members outside of schools in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting and another incident involving a 16-year-old Mesa, Arizona student who threatened to kill fellow students at Red Mountain High School. The girl was arrested after she posted threats on a YouTube channel, before any shooting took place. The school is not one of the 59 the posse will monitor.

Apparently, Sheriff Joe has been organizing his own little police-state, patrolled by militant adult males with guns who have no where else to be during the day, like, say, a job, who are loyal only to him. The all-volunteer “citizen posse” program has existed in Maricopa County for fifty years, but has been widely expanded under Sheriff Joe, extending now to schools.

But hey, he’s served as sheriff since 1992 – maybe Sheriff Joe has the wishes of his constituency at heart?

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I have to say, this is getting harder and harder to refute.

This is probably the most informative article I’ve yet read on the Newtown shooting. It is brought to us by none other than the Wall Street Journal. I encourage everyone to read it, then read it again, and then forward it to people you know.

As anyone who reads this blog probably knows, I’m generally a left-leaning moderate (or at least that’s what I aspire to). I began, one week ago, on the left-leaning side of this issue. Though I’ve never been in favor of much harsher gun laws, the idea of more guns in that school seemed, at first blush, preposterous. But I’m having a hard time even holding the line on that. Though some of their rhetoric can be pretty batty (see Wayne Lapierre’s long-winded statement today at the world’s most bizarre press conference), and arming the teachers still sounds ridiculous, I’m having a harder and harder time getting past the logic of the argument for armed guards in schools (see Lapierre’s statement), and against supposed “gun-free zones” at which nothing is done to ensure guns are not present. One widely made suggestion coming from the pro-control side is to instate a ban on assault weapons, but the designation of “assault weapon” has to do with cosmetic differences between weapons and has no functional meaning. I’ve also always thought that stricter gun control to combat these shootings is kind of missing the point. A gun in and of itself is not good or evil (yes, the “guns don’t kill people” argument). The root issue here is violent tendencies, which stems from mental health. This article addresses all these things, and adds some enlightening statistics.

I’m posting the article here in its entirety, adding only bolding of some particularly salient statements. The article is titled “Guns, Mental Illness, and Newtown” and is written by David Kopel for WSJ Online. Once again, I encourage everyone to read it.

Has the rate of random mass shootings in the United States increased? Over the past 30 years, the answer is definitely yes. It is also true that the total U.S. homicide rate has fallen by over half since 1980, and the gun homicide rate has fallen along with it. Today, Americans are safer from violent crime, including gun homicide, than they have been at any time since the mid-1960s.

Mass shootings, defined as four or more fatalities, fluctuate from year to year, but over the past 30 years there has been no long-term increase or decrease. But “random” mass shootings, such as the horrific crimes last Friday in Newtown, Conn., have increased.

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founding-fathers

“Future citizens will need muskets to assassinate their oppressive viceroys,” James Madison might have hypothetically remarked during the intermission of a slave auction. “In fact, this is probably the second most important freedom any of us will be able to come up with. Somebody should write this shit down.”

Everyone knows Thomas Jefferson’s “tree of liberty” quote – at least, everyone who has ever studied American history, perhaps in school, or for fun or profit. What it leaves out, and what I think is important to realize, is that we, as American citizens, do not have merely the right to overthrow the government – the Right of Revolution, as political philosophers have so eloquently named it. Having the right, the ability, did not go far enough in the minds of our forefathers, a group so violently and vehemently revolutionary that they have yet to be matched in the eras since (which is partly the point, but I’m not there yet). Nay, they embedded in us the duty of revolution, and described it as such (emphasis mine):

[W]hen a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce [the people] under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government.

Giving us the option was not enough. It did not reliably ensure action. We needed to be compelled to overthrow the government, should the need arise. Compelled how, you ask? By our founding and indoctrinating documents, such as the Declaration of Independence, from which the above excerpt is taken. We are obligated to throw off the yoke of our tyrannical monarch, should it begin to weigh heavily upon us. Our founders insist on it, rather than simply allow us to.

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