Punishing Good Deeds
"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of the truth." – Albert Einstein
Audie Murphy was the most decorated American combat soldier of the Second World War. He received every medal for valor and gallantry the U.S. government offers, including the Congressional Medal of Honor. He is credited with killing, wounding or capturing hundreds of enemy soldiers in three years of combat in Europe. He was wounded three times and survived the war.
In later years Audie Murphy became a successful actor, mostly in westerns. He also suffered from the insomnia, depression and other symptoms of what was then known as "Battle Fatigue." The better organized psychiatric industry of today calls it "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" (PTSD).
Murphy slept with a loaded revolver under his pillow until the day he died. He never shot or even threatened anyone with it. But it obviously made him feel better, which is reason enough to justify his having it. If legislation working its way through Congress right now had been in effect during Murphy's life he would have been banned from owning a gun.
If the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007, HR2640, passes in the senate, hundreds of thousands of veterans will be classed with convicted felons, psychopaths and terrorists — people too dangerous to trust with guns.
The Clinton administration put over 80,000 veterans on the gun ban list with a simple, and illegitimate rule banning anyone diagnosed with PTSD from owning a gun. Their names were placed on the National Criminal Information System (NCIS). People on that list can't buy a gun from any federal gun dealer. And it's pretty much impossible to get off the list. The new law is designed to give legitimacy to Clinton's arbitrary rule. But, as we would expect, it goes a good deal further than just jumpy veterans.
The language of the bill expands those banned from owning weapons to include anyone diagnosed as the slightest danger to himself or others. Those folks would lose their gun rights forever. The bill requires unfiltered medical records to be dumped into the NCIS system. The records will serve as the basis for decisions on who is banned.
The bill also redefines some key legal terms. The first terms is "mental defective." It's an expression refreshingly free of euphemism from a less sensitive time in American law. It used to mean a person who had been found "not guilty" of a crime by reason of insanity. Under the new law, "mental defective" will mean anyone whom a psychiatrist has found to be in any way a danger to himself or another.
Psychiatrists have historically been eager supporters of governments trying to suppress dissent. Compliant shrinks were happy to diagnose Russian writers, poets and artists who opposed the old Soviet regime as "mentally ill." The diagnosis justified sending them to Siberian hellholes for indefinite stays. Any trial lawyer will tell you if you can't find a psychiatrist to support your case you just are not paying enough. The new definition of "mental defective" is a term designed for abuse of self-defense rights.
The other term redefined in the "Veterans Disarmament Act" is "adjudicate." Adjudicate used to mean "decide in a court of law." Due process requires that before a citizen can lose any fundamental right, like that of owning a gun, there has to be a trial, witnesses, the opportunity to confront those witnesses and present opposing argument in open court. The definition of adjudicate in the new bill is a lot broader, and includes decisions of "a court, commission, committee or other authorized person…" "Another authorized person" could easily be a compliant head shrinker. It is a mockery of due process.
There are other Catch 22's as well.
The sponsors of the bill, the usual heroes of the victim disarmament lobby, McCarthy,(D. NY) and Leahy,(D. VT) et al., say that veterans can always apply for "an expungement" and get off the list. But they also know that legal maneuvering by famous gun banner Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) has blocked the expungement process for over a decade with a "funds cutoff." There are no expungements. Once on the list you are on the list for life.
Just because our masters in Washington can't ban guns outright, doesn't mean they don't want to nor does it mean they won't continue to attempt total civilian disarmament piecemeal. Any law or rule that increases the number of people who cannot own weapons or that decreases the availability of weapons is for them a wonderful thing. HR2640 serves the purpose well. It treats veterans who suffer PTSD like criminals by denying them a fundamental human right.
It is an insult to veterans and law-abiding Americans both. It is legislative punishment for the good deeds done by veterans for their country.