Friday, June 27, 2008
"The U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 decision overturning Washington, D.C.'s handgun ban is the biggest gun rights ruling since the Second Amendment was ratified in 1791. The Court had not waded into this divisive issue since 1939, when it declared, "We cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear" arms. But on Thursday the Court broke its silence to do just that, ruling for the first time that the Constitution confers an individual right to gun ownership beyond providing for "a well regulated Militia," as the amendment states."
This decision comes right in time for Independence Day. The spirit of America is still alive and kickin' -- and armed!
In other Independence Day news, the ARI has released an excellent op-ed and video titled Put the "Independence" Back in Independence Day. Check it out.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
This blog entry was posted on The Undercurrent blog on June 12, 2008.
A high school valedictorian in California, whose parents fled violence in Armenia when he was two years old, is being deported. Arthur Mkoyan dreams of applying to medical school after he finishes high school next week, but instead immigration officials plan to send him back to Armenia ten days after graduation.
Arthur has petitioned California Senator Dianne Feinstein to pass a “Private Bill” which would allow his family to stay in the country. Very few such bills are ever passed, but with all the media attention this story is getting, there’s a chance. Arthur has asked the major news organizations to publish his email address (artmkoyan [at] gmail [dot] com) so that he can forward letters of support to Mrs. Feinstein. I will write such a letter to him today, and I encourage everyone else to do the same.
This story, which may soon become a tragedy, is an instance of the horribly broken immigration policy of the United States. For a rational view of immigration policy, read Rebecca Knapp’s excellent article on immigration from a 2006 issue of The Undercurrent.
**Update - According to one website, a Private Bill has been filed on behalf of the Mkoyan family and their deportation has been delayed. I could not confirm this news elsewhere.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
(Jeff Widener, Associated Press, June 5, 1989)
No one knows who this man is or what happened to him after this photo was taken. But nearly 19 years ago, he heroically stared down a line of Chinese tanks in defiance against tyranny. He was later branded 'The Unknown Rebel' by the media. I call him 'The Unknown Hero.' Hundreds of civilians, many of them students, died that day as Chinese soldiers opened fire on a group of protesters in Tiananmen Square. The students were protesting for free media reform (freedom of speech), one of the key components of a free society.
This image has always been evocative for me because it demonstrates the courage that free men must have to overcome violent irrationalism. I look at this picture often, for the same reason I look at news footage of the WTC attacks every year on September 11. I want to remind myself of the importance to fight against evil, in any form, wherever it rears its ugly head. The cost of inaction is dire.
And more, images like this one inspire me to live my life to the fullest. Heroism is not restricted to characters in stories. Anyone can be a hero in his own life. If this lone man has the courage to walk in front of a line of tanks, then I can certainly do my best every day to become a better man.