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Who's To Blame? (a soldier's perspective)

When I was arrested for the first time in my life three years ago, my eyes were opened. I had never been in trouble with the law in my life and possessed the highest security clearance available. I began seeing things I never paid attention to before.

I used to have such faith in our legal system, from the code enforcer to the beat cop to the Supreme Court. Then I witnessed firsthand how the system is rigged. I witnessed firsthand the lying, underhanded, and scheming ways of the police forces. I witnessed the cover-ups and obfuscations of the police departments and government agencies, the corruption of the courts and prosecutors. As I opened my eyes wider, I realized it wasn't just happening to me. The corruption, abuse, and oppression was everywhere! I can no longer give ANY government official the benefit of the doubt and think they actually care about my well-being or rights. Not all government officials are like this, but too many are and that's the problem. If they can treat me like a criminal because there are criminals among us, why should I treat them any differently since there are crooks and frauds among them?

The mayhem as a result of the shooting last night hits close to home for me since it happened in my home state and just a few hours from where I live. I want to share my thoughts on the incident.

I realize that not everyone will agree with my assessment and only those with the capability of being objective and analytical, having an open mind, and can accept hard truths will understand what I'm trying to say, even if they disagree. Some of these are hard truths and many will refuse to accept them at face value in spite of the evidence. I freely admit that I have gone from an apologist to a cynic. I no longer have the ability to bestow the benefit of doubt towards any government officials when even blatant violations of law by the highest of officials in government is cast aside by the leading law enforcement branch in the country.
 http://asp.tacticalgear.com/whos-to-blame/

Who's To Blame?

by CJ Grisham

When I was arrested for the first time in my life three years ago, my eyes were opened. I had never been in trouble with the law in my life and possessed the highest security clearance available. I began seeing things I never paid attention to before. I used to have such faith in our legal system, from the code enforcer to the beat cop to the Supreme Court. Then I witnessed firsthand how the system is rigged. I witnessed firsthand the lying, underhanded, and scheming ways of the police forces. I witnessed the cover-ups and obfuscations of the police departments and government agencies. I witnessed the corruption of the courts and prosecutors. And as I opened my eyes wider, I realized it wasn't just happening to me. The corruption, abuse, and oppression was everywhere! I realized I can no longer give ANY government official the benefit of the doubt and think they actually care about my well-being or rights. Not all government officials are like this, but too many are and that's the problem. If they can treat me like a criminal because there are criminals among us, why should I treat them any differently since there are crooks and frauds among them?

The mayhem as a result of the shooting last night hits close to home for me since it happened in my home state and just a few hours from where I live. I want to share my thoughts on the incident. I realize that not everyone will agree with my assessment and only those with the capability of being objective and analytical, having an open mind, and can accept hard truths will understand what I'm trying to say, even if they disagree. My intent is to hopefully help in understanding why these things are happening and why I feel the way I do. Some of these are hard truths and many will refuse to accept them at face value in spite of the evidence. I freely admit that I have gone from an apologist to a cynic. I no longer have the ability to bestow the benefit of doubt towards any government officials when even blatant violations of law by the highest of officials in government is cast aside by the leading law enforcement branch in the country.

"RIGHT WING NUT CASES" ARE NOT THE PROBLEM

In spite of what our Justice Department and the Obama Administration has been claiming since 2009, this is not a rightwing, returning combat veteran problem. These tragedies are happening across the entire spectrum of social, economic, and political ideologies. They are being perpetrated by so-called conservatives, so-called libertarians, and so-called liberals. They are conducted by the godless and the faithful. They are perpetrated by black and white people alike. It is happening in the midwest, northeast, west coast and everywhere in between in varying scales. It's happening in small towns and big cities. The incident in Dallas was carried out by a leftwing, racist. Other incidents, like the Murray Federal Building bombing were rightwing in nature.

Much of the violence has been perpetrated by liberals against conservatives. Just look at the hate and rhetoric against Trump. The Black Lives Matter movement has morphed into a modern day Weather Underground or Black Panthers hate group. There are even unsubstantiated reports conspiracy theories of them working hard to usher in martial law and hand Obama a 3rd term.

The reason that there appears to be a growing extremist element in society is because as government continues to grow and negatively affect the lives of Americans of walks of life, more are forced into fighting back. Unfortunately, too many believe that this fight must be kinetic and take matters into their own hands. Too often, they have been given no other option. After the system makes them a criminal, they find it hard to get meaningful employment. Since the government has destroyed the job market, this becomes even more exacerbated. When you can't provide for your family, some believe their only option is crime. And the cycle continues.

When you have citizens taking matters into their hands against the BLM on one side and law enforcement on the other, it's hard to blame those that are upset. That doesn't mean we don't condemn violence. You'll notice that no one at the Bundy Ranch fired a single shot in spite of being extremely angry and a man has his livelihood destroyed. Violence should only be used in response to violence and no other time and for not other reason.

THE GOVERNMENT IS BRINGING THIS ON THEMSELVES

This is difficult for many people to fathom because they instantly go into defensive mode when you say it. Images of vigilantes, the Matrix and Guy Fawkes come to mind. We all know there are good cops and bad cops, good troops and bad troops, and good politicians and bad politicians. I won't argue whether there are more good or bad in any of the groups. However, what we as a nation need to do is look at these issues through the lens of "government" and stop apologizing because there happens to be good people in it. We also need to stop idolizing ANY government entities. Yes, it's important to respect our troops and law enforcement (and really EVERYONE), but not to the point where we are so blinded by that respect that we can't criticize them for fear of offending the good ones or being labeled "anti-cop" or "anti-government." Ronald Reagan said, "trust but verify." I'm going to focus on law enforcement for the purposes of this post because that is the catalyst for a lot of what is happening these days. As I say this, readers should understand that I know not all cops are bad, but that won't stop me from criticizing a profession that is bringing this on themselves. I'm speaking generally and nothing I say is intended to suggest everyone is at fault. Take away the faces and names of law enforcement for a bit and focus on the profession of law as a whole. Just as we criticize the EPA, IRS, etc., this is about the actions of the entity, in spite of the good people that may work in it.

For too long, law enforcement has been given carte blanche protection to do nearly anything it wants. Don't believe me? Just go sit on any gun bill in any state legislature and listen to the law enforcement unions and community work hard to ensure those bills fail. Yes, there are LEOs scattered about that support them, but good luck finding a single law enforcement union or lobby group that does. "Qualified immunity" has been so abused that it's nearly impossible and definitely cost prohibitive to hold all but the most egregious violators accountable. I hear people say all the time that "the time to stand up for your rights isn't on the streets. It's in the courtroom." Obviously, these people have never had to try suing one after having their rights violated. If you voluntarily surrender your rights and obey unlawful or unconstitutional orders, you have lost your "standing" to even sue in the first place. No one, even the most staunch and ardent supporters who refuse to criticize any police action, can honestly deny that cops now have more rights than the people they serve. You are only fooling yourself if you don't believe that. I would love to debate you on this if you don't agree.

Cops are "allowed" to speed, have busted taillights, fail to come to a complete stop at a light or sign, or even drive while intoxicated because of "professional courtesy." Cops are allowed to lie to you, but you can't lie to them. Cops are allowed to disarm you "for their safety," but you can't disarm anyone for yours. Cops can throw you into a police car for no reason or because they didn't like the way you talked to or looked at them, but you have no recourse when they are rude to you. They can shoot you based on a "fear" and only have to endure an "investigation" while on administrative leave at taxpayer expense, but you must prove that "fear" in court after being arrested or sued if you shoot in self defense at great expense to you. If you were justified in having to use lethal force against a cop, don't expect to just worry about an "investigation." Expect to be treated like a serial killer, locked up, and possible no bond or so high the only time you leave your cell is to attend your hearings. Forget it. Your life is over.

The justice system itself has now created a separate class of protected people: the government. At any level. For example, it's okay for prosecutors and judges to be armed without a license, but not the "little" people. We must get a license. They can carry into a courthouse, but we can't. Politicians can violate federal law about the protection of classified information, but we are raked over the coals and our lives ruined. IRS agents don't have to worry about being audited. The government can murder its citizens in Waco, disarm them after a hurricane in New Orleans, and pepper spray them during a peaceful sit-in at UC Davis. They can tax you into oblivion, take your property on a whim, search you without warrant, and kidnap you without cause. They can shoot you for lawfully possessing a gun (or even a toy) without recourse or punishment. And the people are getting fed up with it. The government has forgotten that we are not slaves and that their sole purpose is to protect our liberties, not their own. This is why we are faced the current environment in America.

POLICE ARE NOT HELPING THE PUBLIC FRUSTRATION WITH GOVERNMENT

Every single day, there is a story about a no-knock raid on the wrong house, shooting of an innocent man, confiscating money from someone with "too much" (civil asset theft), beating someone who made a smart ass remark, or in some other way infringing on the rights of the people. A man killed a cop and injured two others during a no-knock raid on the wrong house locally and is in prison facing murder charges. I see a bunch of people with "Remember Officer Dinwiddie" stickers on their cars, but no one with stickers wanting justice for a man trying to protect his home from supposed armed robbers in the early hours of the morning. And no, they found nothing alleged in the warrant! But, when they accidentally kill us, it's because of the "complex" situation and we shouldn't complain until we've "walked in their shoes." They are harassing, assaulting, and arresting photographers, peaceful protesters, kids selling lemonade on the sidewalk, walking across the street somewhere other than a crosswalk, wearing NRA t-shirts, feeding the homeless, walking down the wrong side of a road, or simply for looking and dressing a certain way. That's all okay, but if you dare stand up to their harassment, you are OUT OF LINE!

When a police officer is obviously in the wrong, the departments and fellow officers do everything to protect him instead of demanding his resignation or charges be filed. The "thin, blue line" has become nothing more than a "thick, watch my spine." Near unanimously, when a cop is violating the rights of someone, other cops won't stop it and most will join if a citizen is simply trying to defend himself against the abuse. There is no honor because there is no one willing to do the right thing. It's become a profession of groupthink. There was a time when the unwritten motto of America's law enforcement was "choose the hard right over the easy wrong" and "protect and serve." That is no longer the general rule. If it were true that there are only a "few bad apples," where are the rest putting a stop to it?! How is it possible that all those "few bad apples" just so happen to be in the same place at the same time helping each other out beat people up?

On top of that, when law abiding citizens are wrongfully accused or treated poorly in error, instead of simply admitting they were wrong and letting bygones be bygones, they will typically find another offense to charge them with to save face. They will alter their reports accordingly. For example, in my 2013 incident, I was stopped for the lawfully carry of a firearm. When the officer tried to illegally and unconstitutionally disarm me, I naturally response was to defend myself. When the department and the county realized that I didn't do what I was charged with, they simply changed the charges several times to find something that would stick. They had no right to disarm me, but when I naturally reacted to that attempt, they simply charged me with resistance instead of dropping the false charges altogether and reaching out to me that they made a mistake. Too often, pride gets in the way of ego in our nation's police forces. Whenever a citizen stands up for his rights and directly challenges the unlawful or unconstitutional actions of a cop, the reaction by the cop is generally one of "I'll show you."

The public enables this attitude. I can't tell you how many times I hear people say, "the time to stand up for your rights isn't on the streets. That's what the courts are for." Or, "well, he got what he deserved for not following the officer's orders" even though the officer's orders were unlawful, wrong, and/or unconstitutional. The public attitude is that cops can do whatever they want to you and you are just supposed to suck it up and do their bidding. They say that if you later feel like you were wronged, that's what the courts are for. What they don't realize is how nearly impossible it is to get justice in a courtroom for two reasons: 1) qualified immunity and 2) the prohibitive cost of suing. So, literally the only place you can possible get any justice is on the street at the time your rights are being violated and just hope it works out for the best. I've actually had much success just educating myself on the law and knowing how to argue it. A good cop will recognize he is wrong and stop what he is doing and a bad cop will simply ramp up his attitude. Other bad cops will jump on the bandwagon. The problem is that there are too many of the latter these days. And there are too many of us willing to suffer it.

When I was Iraq and more recently Afghanistan, our rules of engagement for firing our weapons against the declared enemy threat were more strict than the rules of engagement police departments have about shooting the American people. The police merely need say they "feared for their lives." In combat, we needed to actually see and identify a threat. Fearing for our lives was a daily reality, but we didn't kill everyone that looked suspicious, darted behind a corner, or made a sudden move in our presence.

THE PUBLIC PERCEPTION OF LAW ENFORCEMENT NEEDS TO CHANGE

This needs to happen on many levels. First, the public needs to treat everyone with respect to the point they are being disrespected. We cannot blame all cops for the actions of some. But, cops also need to stop blaming all citizens for the actions of a few. Just as most cops are likely good people, so is society. So, why is it okay to treat everyone like a suspect or a bad guy, but bad when the people do it to them? That doesn't mean, however, that we give them all a pass just because they wear a badge and put themselves in harms way from time to time. Respect is a two-way street. Unfortunately, every time there is an incident, the default judgment is that "police have a tough job" or "it's just a few bad apples." Anyone that tries to hold those "bad apples" accountable are attacked because they want to protect the rest. If you dare expose those bad apples, suddenly you're a "cop hater." You don't protect the good by protecting the bad.

The public needs to stop dismissing the bad apples by diverting attention to the good ones. This process of apologizing for bad behavior has gotten us nowhere. We need to admit that we do have a problem in this country with how law enforcement engages the public. On the Open Carry Texas YouTube channel, there are videos of both good and bad police encounters with open carriers. However, many comments are critical of the bad encounters with cops and they accuse us of being "anti-cop" without even acknowledging the other videos we share of positive encounters. This is why the problem is getting worse and not better. Instead of dealing with the bad events, we try to deflect by engaging in the "not every cop is bad" rhetoric. We all know that, but when holding any government official accountable - and let's face it, cops are government officials - giving them a pass helps no one.

We love to say that cops are brave and selfless, but when they kill an innocent man, we revert to "they have a tough job." We blame the victim. Heck, before my dashcam video came out, people blamed what I must have done to deserve it. That's the impulse every time: he must have done something wrong. We are training these officers in the academies to treat each of us as a threat; as the enemy. They are told to care more about "just wanting to go home at night" than we do the public just wanting to go home at night. We need to insist that if cops can't handle the job and aren't willing to assume any risk then they need to get a new job. This isn't conjecture, this is fact!

Yes, it can be a tough job, but it's not even in the top 10 most dangerous jobs. In fact, according to a Time study it's down at #15. Loggers, taxi drivers, landscapers, truck drivers and other have far more dangerous jobs than police and those industries aren't tasked with protecting our liberty and don't have contact with criminals all day. The way the media and pundits talk, you would think we need to cut them a lot of slack because they're dying left and right when in fact intentional homicide of police is at its lowest point in over 30 years.

According to the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, there were 124 officers killed in the line of duty last year, which is a slight increase from the year before. However, that is because there was a spike in traffic fatalities. "Fifty-two officers were killed in felonious incidents, a 16 percent decrease from 61 in 2014... Firearms-related incidents decreased in 2015. These fatalities accounted for 42 deaths, dropping 14 percent from 2014 when 49 officers were shot and killed." Meanwhile, traffic-related fatalities increased 6 percent, thirty officers died from other causes, 43 percent increase, job-related illnesses, such as heart attacks, rose to 24 officer deaths compared to 18 in 2014. Don't get me wrong, I'm not playing the "well it could be worse" card. ONE felonious killing is too many, but it's to be expected in that line of work much like combat deaths are expected to occur within a military at war. That doesn't mean it's a good thing, just a known risk. I share this only to disarm the arguments that are continuously utilized to justify police abuse or mistakes, not to minimize their sacrifices.

My experience with Temple PD Officer Steve Ermis actually opened my eyes that it's not a Temple problem. It's not a Texas problem. It's not a Minnesota problem. It's not a California problem. It's a systemic problem that most people simply don't want to address. These aren't isolated incidents. I want our police to be respected again, but we don't do that by turning a blind eye or not being outraged at things like this or sticking our heads in the sand. We should all be uniformly pissed off about these events instead of criticizing people for daring to share them. I used to be ignorant about what has happened to this once noble profession. Not anymore. It happens everywhere, every day. I don't hate cops. I hate bad cops and departments that do nothing about them and a justice system that protects them. I also abhor people who apologize for them. This isn't a black vs white thing. It's become an us vs them thing - the "us" being the government and the "them" being the citizenry.

RACISM UNDER OBAMA IS AT AN ALL TIME HIGH AND ITS NOT JUST WHITE PEOPLE

The racial division under Obama has grown to a fever pitch. Perhaps the earliest hint of how he was going to govern began just six months into his presidency with the "beer summit" between Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Cambridge, Massachusetts, police sergeant James Crowley. Crowley was called to the scene because as Gates was trying to get into his home, someone mistook him for a burglar and called police. Gates was arrested for "disorderly conduct" when he argued with the police. While I agree with Obama that the arrest never should have happened, once officers confirmed that he lived there (see the third section of this post), the officer should have left it at that and recognized that a man was merely protecting himself on his own property. Obama instead inserted a racial component into the incident that was never even applicable. Quite frankly, the president shouldn't be meddling in local issues to begin with. Any president.

As police departments and other government agencies like the DEA continue to oppress and kill Americans, Obama only ever makes statements when the incidents involve a particular race. He never makes a public comment when an unarmed white or hispanic guy is being gunned down. He has fostered this PERCEPTION in society and certain circles that the only people being affected by government assassination are black people. This has caused a divide in America down racial lines. It has emboldened the extremists on that side of the issue and has given rise to hate, violence, and senseless contention.

We all know there are racist extremists on both sides. There are white supremacists and black supremacists. When Obama gets up there along with his other Democratic race baiters, he only incites the black extremists and pisses off the white extremists. He drives that wedge as far as he can. Meanwhile, those of us that see the big picture that this isn't a black vs white thing, but a cop vs the people thing are told we can't have an opinion because we are white... male... or both. This kind of division is exactly what government wants. By inciting a race war, they can impose martial law. If they impose martial law, they can try to disarm us. If they can disarm us, they can rule without limits. The longer we continue to fight each other the more power the government gobbles up in the name of "safety." The nation returns to its pre-Civil War slavery, only ALL of us will be the slaves.

Because of this huge chasm in racial politics, even when you get people to admit to the fact that twice as many white people are killed by police than black people, they want to instead dismiss those numbers and argue the "proportionality" or ratio of killing by race. In other words, it doesn't matter that people other than black people are being slaughtered. Obama says only "black lives matter." Listen folks, I don't care if cops were killing white people disproportionately, proportionately, or whatever. My concern is that unarmed people are being slaughtered because our government thinks its lives are more important than ours.

That is the real problem. It all boils down to the fact that our lives are insignificant and that Americans' lives are to be viewed as nothing more than collateral damage in the fight against government manufactured "crime."

GUNS ARE NOT THE PROBLEM, GOVERNMENT IS

The people can only take so much from a government that is continually finding ways to control every aspect of our lives. There are so many rules, regulations and laws on the books that govern every aspect of our lives that it's impossible to obey them all. This is actually what government counts on!

This is seen frequently when otherwise law abiding citizens who are "rude" or "non-compliant" with bully cops or illegal orders suddenly find them charged with a crime for "interference," "obstruction," or some other invented crime that didn't exist until the officer created the circumstances for it to occur. This has been used on people doing nothing more than filming an encounter, refusing to speak, or trying to walk away from what was initially a consensual encounter they didn't consent to. This is what happened to me. I was initially arrested for resisting an arrest that never occurred in the first place. Then, the charges were changed to "interfering" with the unlawful police actions of being assaulted and disarmed in front of my son. In other words, no crime was being committed until the police officer created the circumstances where he could claim one.

Our government, for around 100 years, has precipitously found ways to regulate every aspect of our lives, steal our treasure, incrementally destroy our liberty. When anyone stands up to the micro and macro oppression, they are violently suppressed. When government screws up or suffers a violent backlash, they look for a scapegoat. It's everyone else's fault. It's guns' fault. The constitution is outdated. If they could just have MORE control, they could fix the problems that their quest for control caused in the first place. If only they could take our guns. If only they could perform searches without warrants. If only we could listen in on their phones, internet, and public conversations. If only they could do all that, they could solve all of our problems.

It's plainly obvious that it doesn't matter how we vote, Republican or Democrat. The tyranny and government overreach grows with each new administration. Each party accuses the other of destroying the country. The irony is that they are both right! The excuse for their ineptitude in creating crime, poverty, and chaos is always staring them right in the mirror.

They realize they can't do these things overtly, so they find fancy catch phrases and efforts that may sound good t o the people. "No fly lists." "Terrorist watch lists." "Common sense gun reform." "Gun safety." "National defense authorization act." We need to ban people from buying guns if they are on the no fly list because "we can't have terrorists getting guns, can we?!" It sounds so great, but they don't define what a terrorist is. To some, the Black Lives Matter movement is just a bunch of terrorists. To others, Open Carry Texas members are terrorists. To some, the Black Panthers and to others preppers and militia members. So, as great as it sounds - and while no one thinks anyone should be able to murder another person - what's to stop the government after they've been given this authority from simply labeling any political opposition as a terrorist or terrorist organization? What's to stop them from putting all of us on the no-fly list?

Look what they did with the felon prohibition on having guns. The overt intent was to keep guns out of the hands of violent convicts. However, the law applies to ALL felonies. This means if you're caught with a bald eagle feather that you found on the ground, you can be convicted of felony possession of that feather. You just lost your gun rights. Read your husband's email without permission to track an affair? You can be convicted of felony hacking. If you get arrested for refusing to allow government agents to fondle your breasts, felony obstruction and banned from flying. Just lost your rights. Refuse to leave a home that was passed down from your ancestors because of a flooding after a hurricane? Felony obstruction and gun confiscation.

The fact is that if "felons" are too dangerous to be in society with a gun, why are they in society? If someone is deemed too dangerous to fly on a plane, why are they safe enough to drive a car or walk the streets? The problem is our accommodating and pampering penal system, not guns and not felons who have served their time and just want to get on with their lives having learned from their mistakes (most at least). But, since it sounds so good to "keep guns out of the hands of felons," most of us simply nod our heads in agreement with the infringement in the name of supposed "common sense." Meanwhile, someone like Martha Stewart has no rights.

DO RIGHTS EXIST OR NOT

What all this boils down to is whether we, as citizens, have rights or not. If we do, then we need to protect those rights even when it's inconvenient to government at any level. Agreeing to a little tyranny is no different than saying it's okay to eat just a little dog poop in your brownies. No one wants ANY poop in their brownies and I hope they don't want any tyranny either. For too long, we've voluntarily given up our liberty in the name of "convenience" or expediency. I can't tell you how many people have attacked me for refusing to ID to a police officer when I've done nothing wrong and I'm just exercising a right. Yes, standing up for my 4th amendment right results in me spending 10 minutes or more during an encounter instead of 5, but I'm not willing to sacrifice my rights at any cost. Too many people are and they're critical of those of us that are not. We are called "rude," "disrespectful," or worse. If you stand up for your 4th amendment right and the officer becomes demanding and forceful, you become the problem because you didn't "do what you're told" and surrender your rights, as minor as it may seem. No rights should treated lightly and given up so easily. Once you do, you've just set the new baseline so that the next infringement doesn't look so bad.

Do you know what is rude, though? Having your 2nd amendment rights violated by being illegally disarmed just because a cop wants to talk to you. Do you know what is disrespectful? Having your 4th, 5th and 6th amendment rights violated just because a government official says so. Where do we draw the line? Is that line just handing over an ID when you have no duty to so that you can prove you're not a felon? Is it allowing a search of your vehicle to prove you're not a drug dealer? Is it allowing them to search your home, dressers, and closets to prove you're not a child porn collector? Is it allowing troops to be quartered in your home to show that you're not an anti-government insurrectionist? Is it allowing for indefinite detention and loss of freedom to prove that it's for the greater good while looking for a suspect?

Look what happened during Katrina.

If we have rights, why are we so afraid to stand up for them no matter how small the infraction? Why is our love for law enforcement so strong that we allow our rights to trampled? Probably because it hasn't happened to you yet. It's easy to cheer on when other people are having their rights violated, but how hard is it to speak up when it is happening to someone else? It's easy to armchair quarterback. I did it for years. I was that guy that said, "he did something to deserve it" or "he should have just done what he was told." Isn't that what they did in Auschwitz? When you boil it down to the root concept, is it really that much different?

At some point, we need to take back the liberty that we've given up incrementally for far too long. It's time to say enough is enough. The government is getting away with everything it is because we are allowing it. We nod our heads approvingly under the banner of government brainwashing of "common sense." We have stigmatized guns and gun owners in public to the point where we are supposed to be ashamed of owning them, much less carrying them, and even less carrying them where people can see them. We've gotten to a point where government can carry any and as many weapons as they want, but we need to be disarmed or at least hide our guns for fear of being shot. Is that really how we should be living our lives: living in fear that if we make a wrong move, look a certain way, or exercise a certain right, we are taking the risk of being killed? Is that really what it means to be a free people?

Why is it okay for government to simply assume someone is a criminal because he/she carries a gun? Why do we allow ourselves to be treated guilty first and innocent after being "cleared" to be innocent? And if we're innocent, why do we allow them to turn us into criminals when we refuse to give up our rights?

All this said, nothing justified what happened in Dallas Thursday night. Nothing. Violence should never be used in an offensive capacity. Violence should only be used to defend against violence. At that point, the violence should be overwhelming to the point that the initiator of it thinks twice about ever doing it again. The 2nd Amendment is a wonderful protection of a pre-existing right, but it's a right of last resort and it's never meant to justify offensive use in my opinion. So, I don't want anyone to think I'm justifying what happened in Dallas in any way whatsoever, because if I were there, I'd be standing shoulder to shoulder with those officers or storming the parking garage to take the shooter out.

Our Founders went to war for much less than what we are facing today. Either defend liberty - all of it - or prepare for continued slavery. We're bringing it on ourselves. We have no one to blame but ourselves. Government is just doing what we allow them to do. Just look at what happened to California after the people continuously allowed the government to incrementally take away the rights people have fought, bled and died to protect little by little over time in the name of "public safety."

I lost friends who thought they were fighting for liberty and our constitutionally protected rights. I will honor their sacrifice and not suffer a single infringement if there is a breath in me. When I am 80 years old (If I'm not assassinated by then), I want to be able to look at my kids and know that I either left them a better life or did everything I could to prevent what became of it. Will you stand for liberty or are you just a modern day Tory?

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