By Jim Beers
As we squirm about federalized "health care", financial "bailouts", auto company "buyouts", and "cap and trade" seizure of every aspect of American life; we are assuaged by the media, bureaucrats, politicians, and other federal harlots to "trust" the federal government and its intentions.
This nation was formed (i.e. a Constitution formed a "federal" government) to provide for our common defense and to encourage (not discourage) interstate commerce. It was precisely because every Founding Father knew that an all-powerful government would lead to abuse and eventually tyranny that the Constitution carefully proscribed the duties and limits of the necessary but feared central government. One such example of the increasingly omnipresent FEDERAL TYRANNY in America today has just come to my attention.
I have a Minnesota Concealed Carry Pistol Permit. One of the primary reasons for this is that often I hunt or fish alone and as I age I am more aware of my apparent vulnerability to robbers, drunks, or other nefarious persons when I am alone at a boat landing at 3 AM or in a tent asleep or simply alone in the woods. As a former City, State, and Federal law enforcement officer I am only too aware of how crimes occur and how they can turn deadly very quickly. The potential victims options are limited and as the old saying goes, "I would rather be tried by 12 than carried by six".
Enter the FEDERAL government. Federal agencies and Federal employees are formed to and sworn to "uphold the CONSTITUTION of the United States of America". The Constitution plainly states "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed". On what basis can any Federal employees or Federal agencies or Federal appointees or Federal politicians "infringe" on this Constitutional RIGHT?
The Federal government (by Congressional authorization) claimed 260 River miles of the Mississippi River from Rock Island, Illinois to Wabasha, Minnesota in 1924 as the newly formed Upper Mississippi National Wildlife Refuge to (ostensibly) "protect" 240,000 acres of floodplain. In fact today, just like all the closed and unmanaged (i.e. "Native ecosystems", "Natural Area", "Roadless Areas", Wilderness", etc.) closures of National Forests, this National Wildlife Refuge is a hodgepodge of closed areas, electric motor areas, etc. public "use" regulations so as to make any use complicated and legally perilous to the casual user. This area is one I would like to hunt ducks on this fall so I am trying to familiarize myself with all the intricacies of its use.
As I prepared to take my canoe to some boat landings I had checked out recently, it occurred to me to check the regulations regarding carrying of my concealed weapon. The regulations only mention authorizing using or possessing a gun when legally hunting in an "open to hunting" area. So what of legally carrying a pistol in Minnesota waters (or are they "really" Federal waters)? I know barge workers and pleasure boat owners that routinely carry pistols on their persons and in their vessels in all four states as a wise matter of personal protection. Why is there any concern here in Minnesota on Minnesota waters by Federal bureaucrats even though the other three states "in the refuge" (WI, IL, and IA) are notorious anti-concealed weapons states? I should have known better: once the National Park Service almost a century ago got away with gun-bans as part of their "save-the-animals-from-the-hunters" charge, other Federal agencies inevitably figured they were vested with such ANTI-CONSTITUTIONAL POWERS as well.
There are four "District Offices" for the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife Refuge, one in each of the four States (shades of those defense contractors everyone condemns for putting their plants and employees in every state to make every Federal politician an advocate). First, the Minnesota office had no one in that could answer a question and they didn't know if anyone would be in today. Second, the Wisconsin office had a confusing answering machine and after a couple of calls I was told that there was no one that could answer my question but I could leave a message and someone would get back "later" (than today?). Third, the Iowa office also had no one that could answer a question but likewise I could leave a message for some "later" call-back. So I called the Illinois office and got the first helpful answer from a receptionist that the fellow that could answer such a question would be back in about an hour and she was sure he would call me.
He called later and told me that "No, you cannot carry a pistol on the refuge." Not only is it "illegal" per Federal regulations to carry it, it is illegal to have it in your boat. When I asked if it was prohibited to leave it in the vehicle, he said that shouldn't be a problem since you can't park on the refuge. When I told him I was just at a Federal boat ramp where I would have to park my vehicle, he said , oh yes in that case you would be in violation by having a pistol in your vehicle (this vehicle prohibition for otherwise lawful carry is a common ploy by anti-gun folks to make it increasingly inconvenient and dangerous to exercise your legal 2nd Amendment right). He concluded with "WE don't allow pistols on the refuge" (did he have a frog in his pocket or who was this ominous "WE"?).
When he detected my disgust he informed me that there is legislation proposed to change that and he would be glad to cite it for me. I told him to never mind. Sure, I will write a letter to President Obama or one of his appointees or to Speaker Pelosi or to Senator Reid or to one of my Senators (Franken or Klobuchar) and ask for a Federal Agency to respect the 2nd Amendment. Maybe I should write the State government as they are desperately trying to get every Federal "Stimulus" nickel and ask them to stand up to the Federal government FOR taking away 2nd Amendment rights AND MINNESOTA SOVEREIGNTY ON MINNESOTA LANDS AND WATERS FROM MINNESOTA RESIDENTS? (Writing these autocrats about things they either oppose or shrink from is reminds me of old Esquire cartoon I once saw wherein a long line of bearded slaves chained neck and foot is winding its way past enormous Roman soldiers with spears on a dock with a moored galley with hundreds of oars sticking out each side. One of the shinny little bearded guys looks up and smiles saying, "My what a magnificent ship, I wonder what makes it go?")
Folks this sort of insidious Federal Tyranny has been going on too long. It seeps into our daily lives like WD-40 and it provides precedent after precedent to feed its own growth. The National Wildlife Refuge managers will take this as an attack on them. The US Fish and Wildlife Service will take this as "sour grapes" from an ex-employee. The Department of the Interior will just smile and wonder who is this upstart that questions US? The Presidential crew and Congressional staffs will say this is exactly the sort of person to beware of and put me on some list to teach me a lesson as a warning to others.
The lesson here concerns way more than pistols or refuges or useless bureaucrats. The lesson is the shredding of the Constitution by those sworn to uphold it; the lesson is the craven acquiescence of state government to allow the theft of Constitutional State's Rights for the pottage of Federal dollars; the lesson here is the way in which the constant success of such thefts of liberty has accelerated the fall of this nation from "The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave" to the land of the handout and the home of the helot. "What does one dead helot matter when 'WE' know what's best?"
"Helot" was the name given to serfs in Sparta. They were "owned" by the state and leased out to landholders (i.e. the rulers). The tyranny of Sparta is being reborn by the FEDERAL TYRANNY in modern America. By the way, where is Sparta today and whatever happened to the helots?
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